Good Food Marsh is back and she means business.
After two busy months of neglecting my delightful readers, I thought I’d break the ice with one of the most questioned aspects of my life ~ why I don’t eat meat. Upon the shocking revelation that (gasp!) I’m a vegetarian, people often form a stunned facial expression followed by “OH MY GOD HOW CAN YOU LIKE NOT EAT MEAT?!’. Well funnily enough, I’m sat here thinking the opposite. ‘Mmmm pig organs’, sounds supér tasty, bro!
Now here’s the deal. The worst thing about the clique of Vegetarians is the forcibly preachy one who has to ruin the carnivore/herbivore equilibrium by declaring “MEAT IS MURDER, SO STOP BEING A MURDERER, YOU…MURDERER”. Mate, that is SO not Good Food Marsh. The worst thing a Vegetarian can do is to alienate and isolate others from the wonderful world of a plant-based diet. So fear not, I’m not here to tell you how to live your life. I’m here to tell you about mine and I’m hoping that you’re nosey enough to keep reading.
So, on with the show. Seatbelts fastened, helmets at the ready and make sure you’re sitting comfortably. I hope you’ve brought your wellies, because you’re about to be knee deep in my opinions.
I’ve been Vegetarian twice in my life, totalling 9 years, with a brief interlude of a few pigs in blankets and one month spent as a Vegan. So it’s pretty likely that I’ve been where you’re sitting right now at some point in my life. I first took the plunge into the strange meat-free world when I was 7 and at this point I have to thank my dear mother for letting me be my own person when I barely knew my times tables. It has to be said I didn’t really know what I was doing or why I was doing it. I knew I didn’t like the taste of meat (SHOCK HORROR) and I felt this knot in my stomach every time I associated the slab of pork on my plate with something that once roamed in green fields. Or, perhaps by today’s industry standards – a ‘home’ not quite such a Famous Five idyl. Those years consisted of a lot of Quorn sausages and sideways looks from other parents who had to accommodate to my ‘fussy’ needs.
My Vegetarian life now is a very different story. I’ve evolved into a lifestyle I’m comfortable with and haven’t looked back. Being comfortable with myself, my choices as a conscious consumer and my developing ethical beliefs was the deal breaker for me. Oh, and it probably had something to do with the 13 chickens I received for my 13th birthday. As you can tell, my childhood was pretty ‘normal’.
Having chickens as pets aside, as my consumer consciousness began to emerge, I knew I couldn’t be a part of the deforestation of the amazon for meat, or extinction of marine populations for fish. I can’t accept some of the processes used in slaughter and the industry which produces such poor quality meat.
Now meat eaters, not for a minute do I think that you’re single handedly taking down the Amazon. You can wipe your sweating brow of that accusation. My problem is not with meat at all. In fact, I’m well aware that as humans, meat has been a part of our diet from day one. But that’s just it. We’re not running around in loincloths chasing some wild beast anymore. As an international society, we’re eating bad meat and far too much of it. My problem is not with you, or your bacon sarnie – but with the industry that makes it.
Paul McCartney famously once said “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian”. Thanks to my nosey nature and the unrelenting campaigns of PETA, I’m well aware of such images and can safely conclude Sir Macca is right. If one thing’s for sure, you can’t quite look at a sausage roll in the same way after seeing those videos. It’s not my place to show you them (you’re all going to watch them now aren’t you?) but they did mark a certain stage in my Vegetarian journey. I can safely tuck into my kidney beans knowing they haven’t been hung upside down and bled to death. But that’s besides the point. I’m a really lucky Vegetarian because I exist in this world with a genuine distaste for all things meaty. When I later developed a sense of morality that I was comfortable with, I just thought ‘oh, well it’s pretty bloody lucky I’ve never liked bacon then’.
So, what was the point of this post? Well, after continually defending my lifestyle choice to people who enjoy eating deep-fried birds, I thought I needed to settle the score for good. Secondly, if one person has read this and decided to go meat free just one day a week then I’ll die just that little bit happier that perhaps I’ve saved one Amazonian twig. Thirdly, if you do eat meat and think veggies are a bunch of ‘eco weirdos who wear organic cotton’, then please stop questioning us and instead think about where your meat comes from & go free range for good food marsh. That’d be great. Oh and for the record, I don’t own one organic cotton t shirt. So there.
Lots of meat free love, Good Food Marsh xoxo
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(For more information on the deforestation of the Amazon read this fabulous Guardian article)