Why yes, I am a vegetarian. Well, actually, a pescetarian. A vegetarian eats a mostly plant-based diet, including eggs and dairy. A pescetarian eats a plant-based diet, includes eggs and dairy and aquatic animals. I am most often asked, simply, “WHY” or, “don’t you miss BACON?!”
The reason a person chooses to move to a plant-based diet varies by individual. I have flirted with being a vegetarian/pescetarian for years. I would go weeks at a time without eating meat, often as a way to diet and lose weight. I always felt better during those times. I know that our meat industry is terrible for the environment, and that would be a good reason for me not to eat meat. But the real reason is I have seen too many videos on the way animals are treated when taken to slaughter (I mean, the word “slaughter” is enough to make me want to stop eating meat) AND too many videos showing how smart pigs are and how sensitive cows are, and it makes me sad to think about eating another creature that displays a level of intelligence and sensitivity.
Once people stop trying to convince me that I don’t need to be a vegetarian/pescetarian, that I can eat locally farmed and slaughtered animals, they ask me if it’s hard to give up meat. Meat itself? No, it’s not hard to give up meat. Learning a new way to cook and grocery shop? Yes, that is hard. But for me, worth it.
Being a vegetarian/pescetarian crystallized for me when I started researching for a sermon series on the wisdom of Mister Rogers, who was a vegetarian beginning in the early 1970s. He was famous for saying, “I don’t want to eat anything that has a mother.” The more I thought about his statement, the more it resonated with me, although I like to say, “I don’t want to eat anything that has a nurturing mother,” which is how I feel better about eating aquatic animals.
This is a journey to being, for me, a better and more spiritual person; and maybe that is the driving force, spirituality. I don’t want to have a part in the brutality of meat processing. I also know the cruelty that is present in our dairy industry. I have pretty much given up milk; cheese is what I have to deal with next! And eggs would be even harder, which is why I try to buy cage-free and free-range eggs from local farmers. This is also a journey to health for me; I come from a family with a history of heart disease and diabetes. I, personally, am healthier now that I don’t eat meat. I no longer have heartburn and acid reflux.
What is the point of this blog post? Not to convince you to be a vegetarian/pescatarian. But if you want to be convinced, just do an internet search on slaughterhouses. The point for me is to invite people to stop laughing or joking when I say I am a vegetarian/pescatarian. I think they laugh because it makes them nervous and as we know, anything that is outside of the norm often makes people nervous. I invite people to stop feeling sorry for me; they say they feel sorry that I cannot eat meat. Trust me, my quality of life is not somehow diminished because I don’t eat hamburgers.
But maybe the real point of the blog is to invite you to simply be mindful of what you choose to eat and the effect it has on the environment, your body and other living creatures.
I attended seminary at Louisville (KY) Presbyterian Theological Seminary and have served churches in Indiana, Illinois and Missouri. I have also worked for the national offices of the denomination in Louisville.