The Moral Crusade Against (Certain) Carnivores

According to last month’s issue of Playboy, food and travel confidant, Anthony Bourdain‘s opinion on vegetarians and vegans is this:

Click on image for source.

This (unfortunately) brought to mind this picture:

Found this by accident; Ew.

… and (again; more importantly; anything to get that image out of my mind) the concept of freeganism: i.e. “avoiding buying anything to the greatest degree we are able” in an effort to topple the capitalist system as a whole. While this is the most widely accepted definition of freegan, some of the dumpster divers I interviewed for my college manuscript labeled themselves freegan in a slightly different way. They refused to buy any meat or dairy products personally, but were inclined to accept them if and when the products were offered to them by others for free.

Like both Bourdain and those flip-flopping freegans I interviewed, a part of myself can understand how it might be more open-minded, more polite and even more efficient to accept free animal products but not to buy them on your own. The other, larger and more logical part of me thinks it’s, well, ridiculous.

A great deal of individuals in this day and age are so stubborn and closed-minded (read: “traditional,” “picky,” “shy,” “self-conscious,” “macho,”) that they wouldn’t even consider researching the benefits of a plant-based diet, let alone eliminating meat from theirs–heck, even eliminating it from a single meal! If vegetarians and vegans are wary of sharing their opinions of or choices around plant-based foods in fear of coming off as “rude,” how do we plan to change the world? When is a better time to share your lifestyle choices with family, friends, colleagues and hosts than the moment you inform them that you are veg? Embrace their questions! Share what you know! Look out for one another! Spread health and happiness! Most likely, the person you are sharing with is simply mis- or uninformed.

A side note: B.R. Myers offers a worthwhile opinion on the topic of foodies like Bourdain in this March 2011 article in The Atlantic, “The Moral Crusade Against Foodies.” Check it out and let me know what you think.

Well… what do you think?

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Filed under Books, Diet, Food, Friends, Goals, Health, Inspiration, Politics, Travel

2 responses to “The Moral Crusade Against (Certain) Carnivores

  1. I go by the “teeth counting” philosophy: count all of your teeth. what is the ratio of pointy teeth to non-point teeth? a small one, but it is still there–in EVERY human (with all of their teeth). This is about the ratio of meat I try to put into my diet. I don’t buy meat to keep/make or eat at home, but I’m also not in any way a vegan or freegan–and I really don’t have any dietary restrictions. But, the amount of meat that is cooked for me from others (and I have a lot of friends who cook) or times I go out to a specialty restaurant or eatery where a meat dish is “the thing to get” is usually enough automatic meat to fulfill my ratio. And I also don’t offend those generous people who put time and money into making food for me.

    I gotta agree with Mr. B (which is rare) in that vegan-ism and vegetarianism are “first world” conditions. This is probably as much because of the higher levels of education about food and how it’s made in the first world, as much as it is the money/privilege to “decide” on what diet is best for you and the privilege to inject your politics into your diet, instead of HAVING to eat what’s in front of you.

    I think that most of the people I know with extreme dietary restrictions and refusals to eat certain kinds of food (based on politics or principles) have one thing in common (in my experience), which is at least a middle-class, but usually a considerably wealthy upbringing and background.

    At the same time, there are a million and one reasons to eat vegan, (and any variations) and it’s a powerful, positive thing to inject politics into the way one lives their life. You can’t really criticize people for having beliefs and living up to them. But I will say that I think that in cultures of poverty (here AND abroad) it is perceived as rude, and condescending to turn down food as much as in extremely wealthy cultures, it is “rude” to over-indulge. It’s up to vegans and vegetarians to decide when it is worth it (or if at all) to momentarily sacrifice their beliefs and self-image for the sake of respect, participation, or at least for the sake of not looking like an ass.

    • Sam, thank you for this awesome comment!! I totally hear what you are saying. It’s great to know that you’re thinking about your food choices and the political implications of those choices, as well. And thanks for reading my blog :)

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