Friday, December 11, 2009

Edging on Vegging

I feel like I'm edging towards going vegan.  But don't tell my husband. 

Just kidding.  In fact, I think he's one of the only ones reading this blog.  And, more importantly, he is courageously encouraging of my culinary endeavors.  Especially in light of the meals I prepared in the early days of our marriage.  My early failings in the kitchen were magnified by the fact that I followed recipes that were intended for families of four to six people.  Not two people.  So we ended up eating "Dilly Meatballs" for a few days before we decided to cut our losses and throw out the rest of the ill-fated concoction.

I'm entering through the back door to the vegan diet.  Most people start off as vegetarians, and then slowly, and reportedly painfully, give up dairy and eggs.  I'm allergic to all things dairy and eggs, so I said my sad goodbyes long ago to melty cheese and milk chocolate and omelets.  The goodbye was not so sad for most of these things.  The association between them and violent digestive events tends to sever the fond attachment to milky goodness. 

The more I read about dairy, however, I believe that I might have made this choice even if I had not been forced to do so.  Beyond the questionable claims of health benefits put forth by the dairy industry, the whole idea of drinking another creature's milk seems so bizarre to me.  Ever since I've had my own baby, and my body miraculously started producing milk, it seems so strange that we would drink milk from a cow.  In our prenatal classes, we learned about how (human) mothers' milk is tailored specifically for her baby at each stage of her baby's development.  If a baby is born prematurely, the milk is different than if the baby is born at full-term.  If a mother nurses her toddler consistently on one side, and her newborn on the other side, the two sides will produce different milk tailored to each child.  So what are we doing drinking milk that is tailored to a baby cow?  Strange.

Eggs.  Eating reproductive cells.  Again, this is strange.

The evidence seems to point that eating a plant-based diet is healthier, kinder to the environment for a number of reasons, and kinder to my bank account to boot.  I don't think there is anything inherently wrong in a moral sense in eating meat.  However, with today's factory farming methods, it is hard to support an industry that seems to disregard decent treatment of animals who are destined to end up on our dinner plates.  I am ashamed to admit that this has, for a long time, been last on my list of considerations.  That is, until I read about a cow in England who escaped from her dairy farm and was found miles away at another farm, nursing her calf.  Apparently dairy cows are separated from their calves immediately after giving birth, and begin producing milk instead 

Who would have thought that I would feel some kind of strange kinship with a mother cow?  I think I would escape the farm too and find my baby. 

I don't know if I will ever go completely vegan, but I'm content to keep moving in that direction.  I've found some amazing recipes that almost make me forget about bacon.  Mmmmm....bacon. 
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