I filmed this video a month ago, edited it a week ago, and changed my mind about whether to upload it or not about a thousand times. But as Mistral Spirit is my creative outlet and this is something I’ve thought about and researched a LOT, I’ve decided to upload it anyways. My goal with this is to share my own thoughts and experiences and that’s all. I might come out tomorrow and say I’ve gone vegan, who knows? I’m human too and I don’t have the right answers. I’m still going through my own journey of determining what I want and can eat. In the end, I think we have to make a choice and this is the choice I’ve made at this point in my life.
Also, I want to mention that I’m open to any comments and criticism; I think having an open discussion about the arguments from both sides is valuable!
SO, at the start of 2018, I decided to try being pescetarian for ethical reasons. It seemed that there were so many reasons for it and no reason in the world not to. Plus, the “lifestyle” side of my social media was saturated with messages about veganism and vegetarianism that I felt compelled to give it a try. After all, why eat meat when we really don’t NEED it?
Reasons NOT to eat meat
Here are some of the most prominent reasons to be vegetarian. I haven’t bothered to include data or anything, but honestly if you research hard most of the data will be contradictory.
- why eat meat when it’s not a necessary part of our diet (we can get protein from other sources)
- animals are sentient beings that we ought not to exploit for our benefit
- egg and dairy industries cause a lot of suffering to animals
- the impact of these factory farms on the environment
Yet after three months of being pescetarian, it didn’t feel quite right for me. Although the reasons against eating meat resonated with me, most of them seemed exaggerated. And it felt uncomfortable labeling myself and being restricted by a “diet” rather than by my choices. Eating plant-based with occasional meat or seafood (that I purchased from sustainable, ethical sources) seemed a more reasonable, realistic, and healthy lifestyle.
But try as I might, I could not find any concrete reasons to eat meat that would convince me to. After taking part in a wine tasting while on vacation, I finally reached a few conclusions…
Reasons to eat meat
It’s unhealthy for our minds. As a way to ensure we eat “healthy”, we mess with our own minds and create extremely restrictive diets consisting only of foods we deem “clean”. Even the whole image of “eating another animal’s flesh” is exaggerated to create disgust, which is unhealthy.
There is evil in the world. People exist who torture other people. Who beat dogs. Who boil lobsters while they’re alive, and slit pigs’ throats so they bleed to death. The world is disgusting, and we don’t want to take part in that. However, veganism can harbor an unrealistic mindset that is very naive and sensitive – of course we won’t be able to get consent from animals, but is occasional meat-eating really the thing that will solve this? There are other ways to advocate against animal violence.
We all know that this planet isn’t a perfect sphere of rainbows and unicorns. We are here to survive and to put OURSELVES first. I’m not an egoist, I don’t think people are naturally evil like Hobbes said, but I believe that we cannot possibly live productive, happy lives unless we focus on our needs first. If I want to eat a little bite of a steak or add a bit of chicken to my pasta, then I will do me. If at the same time I want to lead a plant-based lifestyle, eat organic, and just make choices that feel right to me, then I will.
Meat is a culinary experience. It forms the basis of many dishes, and we ought to appreciate the nourishment that the earth and animals provide for us. To do this, we should TASTE our food and obtain it from ethical, sustainable sources.
Not to mention that fitting yourself into a little box so you can call yourself “vegetarian” restricts you from making choices based on the situation and your actual needs. If someone cooks a soup for me made of chicken broth, I don’t want to be constricted because of my “diet”.
My diet is my diet. I don’t like beef, so I don’t eat it. I find quinoa bland, so I don’t eat that either. I also don’t feel the need to label myself a “chicken-but-not-beef-and-gluten-free” individual. I’m Ioana, that’s who I am.
Diets with unprocessed foods may actually be healthier AND better for the environment – soy products are processed in huge factories as well, with added chemicals!
The Bottom Line
All in all, I’ve come to the conclusion that meat is something that you can eat and enjoy but should limit. We’re not killers and yes, it’s true: our diets DON’T need to be filled with meat. However it’s a food and it nourishes us and is extremely healthy. It’s not highly processed like many other foods today and contains many excellent nutrients. It’s yummy. There’s no reason to adopt a strict diet or fit yourself into a perfect little box. Not to mention that there’s also no right answer. What you eat is your choice, and sometimes you’ve just got to go with it and stop overthinking everything.
Most importantly, and as I learned in the wine tasting, we need to truly TASTE and enjoy our food. That is the mindset that promotes the most healthy lifestyle. Not only will your body tell you what it wants, but you’ll be more in tune with your actions.
Anyhow, without further ado, check out my video where I talk about this in more detail!