Ever since I moved into my own apartment junior year of college, I always felt weird making meals from scratch when I was using meat as an ingredient. My solution was to avoid making meat-based products and simply buying them pre-cooked or going to restaurants on the Ave for my dietary needs. It wasn’t until early this year when I began to question why I was so adverse to cooking with meat: my prevailing theory was that I simply wasn’t cut out to make food. After dedicating some time between classes to really think this through, I came to realize that maybe there was more going on than I thought.
Eventually I decided to become a vegetarian; this didn’t last very long. But what I did decide was to drastically cut down on my meat consumption. I don’t have one particular reason for choosing to make this decision, but had multiple contributing factors that collectively created a somewhat nonsensical reason:
- I don’t like preparing raw meat. The color, feeling, and scent are simply offensive to my senses. It always has been. Since I only really knew how to like and eat meat-containing foods, I didn’t make too many meals at home. Now that I acknowledge that there are plenty of tasty foods that I can make without meat, I’m cooking at home a lot more: and making meals the way I like them.
- Healthier. I think this just kind of goes without saying: we could all use a little less bacon in our diets.
- Animal rights issues. Yes, I’m a bleeding-heart liberal who doesn’t like eating animals simply because of the fact that they’re living creatures. Did you know that a pig can recognize itself in a mirror? Less than a dozen non-apes can do that.
- Organics: I was in college at the time I started this, so not having to spend much on meat meant that I could shift those food funds towards organic foods. How did I ever live without them?
- Exploring new cuisines: Looking for foods that aren’t based on meat flavors is a fun exercise.
- Environmental concerns: Raising all of this livestock that we eat is simply not a sustainable practice. Enough said.
Now the downside, of course, is that Mexican food just isn’t the same without some meaty flavours. While I try to get an avocado-based burrito whenever possible, sometimes it’s just too hard to resist a nice beefy taco. I rationalize my (usually monthly) splurges by saying that “meat isn’t that horrible for me in small quantities” and “I ride the bus, so I have earned the earth credit to consume this wonderful burrito.”