Monday, April 13, 2015

Back Of My Mind

It's funny to me how some truths take some time to really sink in.  I'd heard years ago that meat consumption was worse for the planet in terms of global warming then the entire petroleum industry.  This was from a conservative that was trying to downplay the need for concern about global warming.  I guess the argument was that if I'm not talking about meat, which is worse, then global warming isn't a concern?  That doesn't make sense but in any case, maybe that is something I should be talking about.

So that's been in the back of my mind for a while.  Also in the back of my mind is something I think a lot of people have in the back of their mind and don't think about.  Humanity's treatment of animals is a horror show.  There's a movie called Earthlings which shows the violence directed towards animals by humans.  I haven't watched it, I'm not sure I want to put myself through it.  Here's the trailer.  I watched that.  That might be about all I want to try and handle, though maybe I will watch the full movie at some point.  This is beyond bad.

So I've decided to step it up and stop eating meat and dairy.  So far, about two weeks in, I have to say it's been easier than I thought.  I don't really crave it.  The only problem I've had is sometimes the limit on my options has been inconvenient.  We had food brought in for a work meeting and all I could eat was cole slaw and corn bread.  It's not ideal, but tolerable.

I can't say it's done me any good health wise here nearly two weeks in.  Nor can I say it has made me worse off.  From what I read it should be a more healthy way to eat.  The down side is it may cost more (I'll know soon enough) and of course I have to pass on some tasty food.  I can live with that.


Darf Ferrara said...

It should be cheaper. We always have some sort of potato and sweet potatoes at dinner (nuke them til soft, then slice them and put them in the oven until they're crispy), rice and other grains are really cheap, and if you have a pressure cooker then cooking your own is incredibly cheap. The expensive thing is the spices, and those are cheap if you buy in bulk from costco.

Speaking of spices, getting the spices right is the key to tasty vegan meals. Look into this site and others for good recipes. If you feel like a meat substitute, look into seitan and tempeh. The only thing I haven't found a good substitute for is half and half for my coffee.

Also take a B vitamin supplement. You won't have any problems getting enough protein, but it is really difficult to find a vegan B12 source.

Darf Ferrara said...

Edit: If you have a pressure cooker, then cooking your own beans is incredibly cheap.

Jon said...

I've gotten really into tracking my expenses, and I actually load all my food costs in a spread sheet, breaking them down by category. I've been doing this all this year. And just switched to veg April 1. I thought this would improve things. So far though it doesn't seem to, but there have been some staples I've gotten, like spices. I've been heavy on fruit, avocado. Maybe a bit of splurging. But we'll see if that levels off. We're relying heavily on the rice and beans. Love the beans. You can't beat that for the price, and it's something the somewhat finicky kids like.

Been doing sugar only in coffee. Not thrilled about it, but it's OK. I drink it much slower now.

Had a pressure cooker and got rid of it during a declutter event. Blew it on that one.

Darf Ferrara said...

We get alot of organic stuff and that is more expensive, but overall it's still cheaper for us. Lentils are another good cheap source of protein. There was a lentil taco meat recipe that I used to do alot.

Jonathan said...

Kudos for taking active steps to bring your lifestyle in line with your convictions. To me, I find it strange that there are so many vegans who are pro-choice. Don't drink milk or eat eggs, but it's ok to off our unborn because you know, it's my right.

Not implying where you fall on the subject, but I think it's fair to say that having a consistent moral framework and also actually trying to follow this framework is something we all struggle with (if we bother to even think or care to do anything about it in the first place).

Jon said...

Not that I agree, but you have to admit that in terms of sustainability abortion is right in line with being a vegan. I read that 1 human in the US means carbon emissions that are the equivalent of 1 flight from NY to LA and back every 3 weeks. There are too many people on this planet if long term survival of the species is a goal. Not that I want to see people getting whacked, but less births? Definitely.

But we are all flawed. I'm a capitalist parasite. I have lots of frequent flier miles, which I suppose I'll use. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good though. Yeah, it's good to try and reduce animal suffering, even if you aren't concerned about fetus suffering, which I think people should be concerned with.

Jonathan said...

I completely agree that one could go down the path of trying to optimize sustainability, and start rationalizing active forms of population reduction. When you skip over the "why" we should care about sustainability, and jump straight to the "how", then you can start making arguments for active depopulation and abortion.

And that is the danger of making decisions based off of the visceral - look how horrible it looks when animals are still alive after being skinned, but how one answers the "why" we should care directly impacts how we rank order what we focus our energy on.

I completely agree that we should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good, but that of course begs the question of given one's willingness to expend effort on something that is "good", how best can they spend their time and effort?

If someone is open to spending time and effort and change their lifestyle to alleviate the suffering of animals, perhaps they would also be open to spending time and effort to help eliminate human suffering as well...

Jon said...

then you can start making arguments for active depopulation and abortion.

Population control, yes, any specific means of achieving it, I don't think you can justify that the how takes us there.

But I take your point. For you the "why" question I assume is related to how man is made in God's image and therefore needs a special moral consideration. An alternative answer might be that of Peter Singer, who will say that some animals are more deserving of legal protection than some humans. Does logic say I must go there? Not sure I like that conclusion, but at the same time I don't know how to answer that. For him though his veganism is more consistent. He'd probably say that more abortions means less animal suffering, so it can be worth it in his world.

These are definitely tough issues. In sum I'd say that I respect all those that seek to reduce both human and animal suffering. Concern for fetus suffering is a legitimate concern and worth our attention.