That Husband and I try to read scriptures out loud together each night, and after finishing the Doctrine and Covenants we decided to start reading through the bible, starting with the Old Testament. We’ve been simultaneously reading the LDS Institute Old Testament Manual for a verse-by-verse analysis of the scriptures and the paragraphs on Genesis 9:2-6 really struck me. That message, combined with a Formspring question sitting in my inbox that asks “Why do you eat meat? I’m not trying to accuse you of anything, but aren’t LDS folks supposed to “eat meat sparingly”?” made me realize that I was ready to make a change in my life. I’ve lately felt this very strong desire to spend some time analyzing my life and looking for areas I can improve. This isn’t meant to be a post analyzing this particular area of the Word of Wisdom and what “sparingly” actually means, but I knew I didn’t feel like I was eating sparingly by any measure I could come up with.
To my surprise, TH was thinking the exact same thing! Silly me, I never brought it up because I assumed he wouldn’t be interested. Once when we were having guests over I wasn’t going to include meat with the meal and he insisted that we should have some. I assumed that mean he always wanted to have meat (or fish I guess) with every single meal. I now think that he only reacted that way because he wanted to provide something he knew our guest would really appreciate?
I kept him up way too late talking excitedly about all of the different ways we could approach this change in our life. Then I woke up and realized I was feeling a bit scared of the change. I don’t know how to overhaul my habits so completely! What I want is to start eating less meat (again, still not really sure what less means, and I have no intention of becoming a vegetarian) and ideally I would like all of that meat to be local or grown with an interest in the well being of the livestock in mind. Organic isn’t as important to me as buying from growers/farmers who place an emphasis on the living conditions and slaughtering practices of the livestock they produce.
I don’t have a picture of me with my pigs to show you, so I went with this one of little me feeding calves on my grandparent’s dairy.
I told That Husband about my first experience at the county fair, talking to my mom about what was going to happen with the pig I had just auctioned off. When I realized that my sweet pig (I believe his name was Peter Pan), the same pig I had recently climbed into a sawdust covered pen with for a cuddle, was going to be roughly rounded up with a hundred or so others and shipped off to a slaughterhouse, I sobbed. I had grown to love that animal, and I had seen those trucks. How could they treat my sweet Peter Pan that way?
Now that I’m older I realize that I wasn’t sad about the fact that Peter Pan had to die, I think I knew that it was inevitable. It was the manner in which he would do so that affected me so deeply. I want to buy from and support those who believe it is possible to produce meat in a way that both provides me a bacon cheeseburger and treats the animal to a happy and clean life.
When I wasn’t focusing on cutting back on my meat, I couldn’t afford to buy this locally and humanely grown kind of meat. Now that we’re going to fixate on incorporating more beans and other plant based protein sources into our diet I think we can meet both of my goals.
The plan for now is to focus on making one day per week a “meat free” one. Then two, then maybe three. We’ll continue to cut back until we both feel comfortable with the amount we’re eating. Like I said before, I’m a bit nervous to do this because it feels like a big change to my dietary habits. I haven’t cooked a lot with beans, quinoa, lentils, and other such protein rich plant based sources in the past. I’ll also have to have greater discipline when it comes to getting out of bed on Saturday mornings and visiting the Farmer’s Market. I am looking forward to feeling more at peace with the content of my diet though.
If you’ve made this change in your own life, how did you do it? I’m of course interested in favorite recipes to bookmark, but even more so I’d love to hear a bit about the process you went through to cut back on your meat consumption if you used to have a grocery shopping/cooking mindset similar to mine.