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I've never liked social justice warriors. They always annoyed me, primarily because half of them seem like they're only doing it so they can post about it on Facebook and act like they're holier than thou. I've also never had a problem with people eating meat. I do, however, have a problem with the way most of that meat is obtained. It's one thing to hunt and kill your food- it's quite another to have entire warehouses packed with living beings who are slaughtered brutally by the thousands after a lifetime of mostly suffering. It's quite simple for me, it's a principle based on survival of the fittest- if I can't kill it myself, I don't deserve to eat it. I would be the predator that failed to catch its prey. If I was desperate maybe I could, but at this point in time there's plenty of other things to eat.
So this weekend I decided to give vegetarianism a try. I'd been putting it off because I hate going with the flow or doing the same thing everyone else is doing. Also because I love eating meat- most of my life I've practically lived off bacon sandwiches. I even get something of an addictive rush from tearing flesh with my teeth. It was never something I was aware of before, but in the last few years (probably due to my interest in the occult nature of the human condition) I've become very conscious of the feelings, desires and thoughts that I experience. You can learn much from self-study, and being aware of these things definitely contributed to my decision.
Another thing holding me back was the way I would be perceived. I didn't want to be seen as generic or less masculine, or as a "do-gooder", simply because I chose not to eat meat. After a while I put two and two together and realised there's nothing masculine about standing idly by while suffering is occurring. Still, my image was at stake and most people are superficial- so I decided to only tell the people closest to me and people that I knew were vegetarian or vegan who would be willing to help me out with ideas for meals.
One of those people sent me a link to the film 'Earthlings'. I've linked it below. If you're like me—someone who has eaten meat their whole life and done their best to avoid thinking about where it comes from—then I urge you to watch it. I warn you now, it is graphic. I cried for most of it and I don't cry easily. But I forced myself to watch it through, because I needed to see it. I'd seen similar things before, of course, most of us have- but we choose to walk away and ignore it, pretending that we aren't a part of it. Somehow, this time, it finally became real to me.
Currently I'm on day three of being vegetarian / mostly vegan. I've cut out directly eating meat and dairy, but I'm still eating biscuits and things that use dairy in their ingredients for now. One step at a time- I'm trying to undo a lifetime of bad habits, after all, and you can't do that all at once if you want it to be a smooth transition.
Thus far I have experienced what I'm referring to as 'meat hunger' a couple of times. I'm eating vegan meals and finding I feel strange afterwards. As though I'm full, yet still hungry. I get to a point where I can't eat anymore, but I still feel unsatisfied. It made me realise something very important- that the feeling I had been associating with 'fullness' wasn't fullness at all. It was bloated-ness. If I didn't feel stuffed, like I needed to lay down after a meal, then I didn't feel like I'd eaten properly. Sound familiar?
Of course, when we feel the need to lay down after ingesting something it's usually just because our bodies need to purge themselves of toxins. It's the same reason one feels like sloth-ing around after too many hits from the bong.
I'm not saying meat is bad for you, but I do feel like it's supposed to be 'for emergencies only'. When food is scarce we can consume other conscious organisms, we're physically capable of it. But our bodies are not designed to consume them all the time, as our western obesity "epidemic" shows, and right now food is not scarce.
I hope my thoughts will ring true to somebody who is perhaps on the fence about trying vegetarianism or veganism.