We have all heard the adage, “You are what you eat.” I have recently realized I don’t have the desire to be anything I eat…okay, maybe besides a cupcake. My Environmental Ethics class today on “food ethics” really brought this issue home. One part of life I consistently feel out of integrity with is my food and views on non-human (we are animals after all) animal rights. I won’t kill a cockroach, moth or spider, and yet several times I week I eat chicken, eggs, and fish (mostly pescatarian diet). As a little girl (and sometimes as a big girl) I remember crying at rodeos and zoos and now my only non-human relationships consist of an occassional cockroach or dog on the street. This disconnection troubles me and reminds me of what a profound impact they can have on our lives.
I have attempted vegan and vegetarian lifestyles (paying very close attention to my protein and nutrient intake) several times and even with iron and other supplements my body suffered – practically fainting on command. It appears something in my DNA or blood makes it very difficult for me to have that lifestyle (by difficult I mean fainting and overall malaise). Call it an unevolved or stubborn on my part, it doesn’t work for me. I am able to stay away from milk and cheese, but the “meat” of the issue is indeed meat.
In my ideal world my relationship with eating animals would be those I killed myself and would be able to make the act sacred and beautiful. I would grow my own food and have chickens for eggs and live so closely in relationship with the earth I could never forget how intertwined we are. Alas, I am an urban dweller and I go to Whole Foods and farmers’ markets and I tell cockroaches to leave my apartment wishing I could communicate with them.
Examining our relationship with non-human animals gives us perspective on how we live our lives and how we see our role in this beautiful world. My only incongruous relationship with N.H. (short for non-human) animals are the ones I eat, otherwise I am completely on their side for getting rid of zoos and circuses, wearing fur, ending science experiments on them, and the like. While caring for N.H. animals extends far more than these issues, I feel incredibly connected with them and do what I can with what I know to keep myself in integrity to support them, while keeping myself nourished.
I walked away from the class realizing I can make choices that make a difference, even if it’s only cutting back 15% (as in the Meatless Mondays movement). Reminding myself to be as mindful of my negativity towards myself as I am of my food. Ah yes, certainly food for thought.
Today I’m grateful for curry, full moons, and passover.