A Meaty Situation

by Holly on June 3, 2010

in reviews,seriousness

Recently, I was sent a new product to try out and review for the blog from the generous people over at Wanchai Ferry in collaboration with MyBlogSpark

A healthy, complete Chinese meal for two?

Well, how’s about one?

With leftovers to drown my single status in for the next day?

I’ll take it.

When it arrived, I immediately looked at the nutrition stats…

Per serving, 390 calories…6 grams of fat…1320mg sodium…18 grams of protein…

Hold up.

1320mg sodium?

As in more than half the amount I am supposed to eat in an entire day?

I might as well have that Argentinean love affair, get knocked up and rub my 3-month preggo belly now because that much sodium is guaranteed to make me look like Quinn, start singing, “It’s a Man’s World,” and hate on every man in my life (hey dad!) for the years of oppression they’ve bestowed on us of the female persuasion.

It only gets worse from there.

Corn syrup solids? High fructose corn syrup? Other words I can’t pronounce?

Goo.

I had two decisions: eat it or don’t eat it.

It’s not rocket science, people.

I ate it.

And my single leftover serving the next day.

Verdict? It was good.

The sauce was my favorite part – it was spicy, slightly sweet and tasty. If this had been served over brown rice, it would have been even better. However, my moral compass couldn’t help but make incessant 360 degree loops over and over and over while eating this.

It wasn’t the sodium content. I really don’t take in that much sodium in general so that amount isn’t going to kill me to eat every once in awhile.

It wasn’t the ingredients list. My favorite jelly ever (Smucker’s Regular Red Raspberry WITH seeds) contains HFCS. In other words, I’m willing to make exceptions for things I truly love.

It WAS the meat.

I know I call myself an Everythingtarian, and I am extremely proud of that label. I don’t believe you need to eliminate foods (outside special circumstances) from your diet to be healthy and more importantly, happy. This post isn’t intended to hate on meat either. I mean, did you read about my carnivorous consumption of brats + burgers this weekend?

But I’ve read Fast Food Nation.

I’ve watched Food, Inc.

And I’ve read just about every Michael Pollan book there is.

There’s a reason I was a vegan for two months and a dedicated vegetarian for two years. The vegan thing was tough – too much restriction (for me, that is). The vegetarian thing was easy. I’ve never been a huge meat eater, so basing my diet more on fruits, veggies, legumes, organic dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds and whole grains was easy peasy.

I started eating meat again right before I started this blog actually. In small amounts, I discovered I actually felt BETTER eating animal protein. Being a gal with naturally low iron, the boost I got from the occasional dose of red meat helped. A lot.

But sometimes, my innate morality still struggles with the question of whether or not to eat meat.

The arguments for and against eating meat swirl in my head like a twisted torpedo straight from Oz…

I don’t eat tons of meat, so it’s okay.

When I do eat it, it’s usually NOT the organic, free-range kind. That’s not okay.

Usually it’s consumed on special occasions – I’m okay with that.

Eating meat is bad for the environment – I’m not okay with that.

I am a generally healthy person, a little meat is okay.

For the record, The Wizard of Oz movie scares the beejeezes out of me so the thought of a tornado from that scary land of Munchkins REALLY scares the beejeezes out of me.

I have no conclusion to the crazy game of meat morality ping pong going back and forth in my head. It’s just something I’ve been thinking about lately and thought we perhaps could get an intelligent, non-judgmental and informative conversation going about the arguments for and against eating meat.

Key word: NON-JUDGMENTAL.

Recognize I will hunt you down like a rabid dog if you get all high + mighty with your viewpoints on this blog regarding the way people eat, act and choose to live their lives.

You’ve been warned.

Are you a vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, meat-eater, etc.? Why? What are your thoughts on eating meat? Sharing is caring!

{ 15 comments }

Crunchy Granola Gal June 3, 2010 at 7:26 pm

Dear Holly, thank you for bringing up this issue – it is most certainly relevant in blogland. I myself was a vegetarian from the ages of 12-20, with a stint at veganism for a year. Now I eat pretty much everything, except only red meat in small doses (bites of other people’s food, etc.) For ME this works best and I am happiest eating this way, and I think *that* is the meat of it all.

The other meaty piece of my choice: I crave protein like WHOA and too much soy/ bean/ legume protein makes me gassy. hilarious, embarrassing, but true.

Gracie @ Girl Meets Health June 3, 2010 at 7:32 pm

I eat meat. I love meat. I don’t feel bad about it. The only thing I feel bad about is the fact that I don’t feel bad about eating meat.

I wish I ate more organic/free range meat, and I plan on getting to that point in the future (I still live with the ‘rents, so they do the meat-buying). But still – I don’t feel bad that I don’t eat organic either…

The biggest reason I’d ever consider going veggie is the ethical issues of killing animals. But, call me a pessimist, me not eating meat anymore wouldn’t change a thing. So why even bother?

The last point I’ll make (that is probably the most “controversial,” I guess you could say?) is that I believe humans were meant to eat meat. I admittedly don’t have enough info/research to back that up (yet), but that’s where I stand. But I still think that vegetarians and vegans are sassy, lovely people, and I have the utmost respect for them…as I hope they have for me!

maria @ Chasing the Now June 3, 2010 at 7:43 pm

I guess I kind of consider myself a flexitarian because I do eat meat occasionally, but not everyday and not too often. However, I don’t really label myself at all because I don’t see it doing any good.

Katherine June 3, 2010 at 7:53 pm

Thank you for this post! Being healthy is about eating good, bad, and unpronouncable foods every now and then. As a struggler with ED, it is so GOOD to see people eat what people in the real world eat. I love you philosophy everythingtarian!

Katherine

runnerforever June 3, 2010 at 8:10 pm

I love a bit of fresh chicken, turkey or salmon, but I have a hard time with frozen meat. Like you, I feel better with a bit of animal protein in my diet.

rebecca lustig June 3, 2010 at 8:34 pm

this was such a great post. you are showing us all that it is OK to break the rules every once and a while and that it is OK to enjoy a meal for the sake of a meal.

you are simply stunning <3

Hayley @ Breath of Fire June 3, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Sometimes, I really want to be a vegetarian. Even a vegan. I really do. It’s healthy, it’s environmentally friendly, and it’s moral. But honestly, my body functions better with a little meat every once in a while. Not at every meal, and not every day, but I notice a difference and so I honor my body.

Erica D June 3, 2010 at 9:59 pm

I recently became a vegetarian for precisely the same reasons (Food Inc. did it for me too) but I’m trying really, really hard not to get all high and mighty from it. I just have to remind myself that this is what works for me; everyone’s needs are different.

Although it was pretty funny during my recent stay at a monastery, where the nuns asked me to prepare a package of tofu because they had never had a vegetarian stay with them before! It was quite a sight, and some even liked it!

But I don’t harp on straying from the path for special occasions. Like when you suddenly decide that you need to try a corndog once in your life. Meh…

Diana @ frontyardfoodie June 3, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Haha, funny I just decided not to eat meat AGAIN. I was vegan for quite a while and when I got pregnant and started losing weight I freaked out and decided to get calories however I could. Now, I’m still going to eat some dairy and eggs but NOT meat. I just got too grossed out.

Lynn @ The Actors Diet June 3, 2010 at 10:16 pm

we have very similar eating philosophies – i would’ve eaten the stuff too but definitely not a regular thing.

Katie June 3, 2010 at 10:49 pm

I’m technically a pescatarian, but I hate using a label. I eat what I want (like those jumbo chocolate chip cookies I just scarfed down) and do my best to eat as ethically as possible. But nobody’s perfect.

Also, I LOVED your positivity post. It IS contagious!

Hope to catch up with you soon, lady!

Ilana June 3, 2010 at 10:56 pm

I’m jjust stoppping by again to say I just read all these comments and I love the conversation this sparked.

BroccoliHut June 3, 2010 at 11:41 pm

I’m a vegetarian, mostly for health reasons. I stopped eating eggs for a while for ethical reasons, but I just recently reincorporated them into my diet because…well, I was craving them. I’ve had quite enough restriction in my life, thank you. Anyway, I feel great without meat, but I don’t try to convince others to eat the way I do–it’s a very individual thing, so I say eat what you like!

Susan June 4, 2010 at 8:32 am

Funny, I am reading a book right now called “Carnivore Chic” about a woman on a quest to find a way to ethically eat meat and not feel bad about it. I should bring it to Banff for you!

I was a vegetarian for 8 years, vegan for a month (not for me either). It was not a morality choice, the thought of meat just really grossed me out. But when i started getting really active and watching what I put in my body more, I decided that I rather get my protein from animals than uber-processed soy plastic. I feel MUCH better with animal protein in me, and I’ve found a happy place with it. Although, I typically buy my meat from the butcher, and try not to consume random meat strips in packaged goods put together on the other side of the world. Sketchy.

Jos June 5, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Hi, I just stumbled upon your blog and I”m glad that I also share similar point of view as you about food. I’m pretty flexible in what I eat, though mostly I like to consume more vegetables and fruits than meat dishes. I don’t really eat beef and pork, mainly either chicken or fish.

As fish in US here are not as fresh and not much variety as in Asia, I tend to consume chicken.
I am not quite a believer to have free range or grass fed chicken because I grew up in an environment where I saw a lot of poor people who couldn’t even afford to feed their family so I am grateful enough that I can still have food on my table on regular basis. For me, as long there are food is edible, I am happy. And I hate to waste food, it’s just a horrible thing to throw away foods, unless it’s spoiled.

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