I’m a vegetarian, and I have been for the past eight days. Of course, I should make a disclaimer: I do eat seafood. I live in the center of one of the most famous seafood areas in the country and I don’t think I have that much self-control. But I don’t eat any other type of meat: beef, turkey, pork, emu, raccoon…you name it. I told myself I was going to try it out for at least a month.
Despite requiring a decent amount of self-control, this also requires a good memory. That’s most of my problem. The other day, for instance, I was out on a tour and had yet to eat lunch. We took our routine stop on an island, and one of my clients offered me an extra sandwich they had. I hadn’t eaten a thing all day, and I was starving. So I ate it. About halfway through, I recalled that turkey isn’t a vegetable and practically spewed my mouthful of sandwich across the shoreline, much to the perplexity of its creators.
“Is everything okay? Is something wrong with the sandwich?” They asked, much concerned.
“No, no, I’m sorry, everything’s fine.”
Their faces wrinkled in confusion. “Then why’d you spit it out?”
“Because I’m an idiot.”
And this has been my greatest difficulty. It’s not so much adhering to the no-meat lifestyle, it’s that I simply forget. It’s gotten to the point that I have to text myself a message a couple hours before meals, so that when I sit down to eat my phone beeps: “Remember, you’re a vegetarian.” This seems about as absurd as the Pope getting a daily email saying: “Hey buddy, just in case you forgot…you’re Catholic. Ciao!” But hey, do what you gotta do.
Why I’m a vegetarian is rather hard to say. I wish I could claim that there’s some sore of moral purpose behind it. I’ve heard plenty of arguments concerning the in-humane treatment of animals and utter brutality that occurs in the food industry. While I have no doubt that the morality of such atrocities is a concern, I simply haven’t done enough research on my own to make that my foremost conviction. Plus, I still eat eggs and dairy products. I think if I was truly concerned about having an eco-friendly diet, then I’d be vegan. And I definitely don’t have that much self-control.
Then there’s the health aspect. It seems as though every day some new study is emerging on how unhealthy we eat these days (“This just in, Americans are fatter than ever!”). On the one hand, I truly believe that certain nutritionists would complain about unhealthy diets if everyone ate spinach and carrots for each meal, and a single strawberry was considered an exuberant dessert. But, I also realize that I do not eat healthy. This is partly my fault, but (because I am, in fact an American, ergo I’m an expert at shifting the blame) I’ve decided most of this is due to Taco Bell.
The reason Taco Bell is unhealthy is not because of the quality of their meat (What? It’s not grade A meat? Um…duh). Rather, it’s because they sell amazingly delicious food at wee-hours in the morning for about 89 cents a pop. There simply isn’t a less healthy combination for college males. I had a roommate this past semester that loved Taco Bell, probably more than I did. At least (and I do mean least) twice a week, he’d peek his head into my room and simply say “TB run?” We’d both grab our penny banks and just like that we were off. For a while it didn’t show. But shortly after graduation, I found myself panting like an old dog halfway through a six-mile run. It was then that I realized it might have caught up with me.
Thus, as part of my holistic attempt to whip myself into shape, I no longer eat meat. Well, at least for a month. And only if I text myself before meals.