In an ideal world, I would be vegetarian, no question.
(while we're at it, in an ideal world I would be married to a vet/retired model, with two adorable adopted kids and a house with a veggie garden. And someone would pay me to write this blog. In chocolate.)
But here in boring old "reality", I have found myself moving further and further away from meat in general, and red meat in particular, for various reasons.
Environmentally, eating meat is one of the worst things you can do for the planet (up there with driving a car and having kids). It's horrendous how much waste goes into that chain of raising animals, feeding them, slaughtering and butchering them, packaging them up and shipping them to supermarkets all over the world.
Ethically, it's not nice to treat sentient creatures so abominably just so that we can enjoy a roast dinner on a Sunday. As the meat.org website says, if slaughter-houses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.
Finally, eating meat is kind of gross when you think about it. Eating the cooked flesh of a living creature. Especially with red meat, there is a particular smell it gives off when it's just starting to cook that is stomach-turning.
And yet... human beings were designed to eat meat. We're omnivores. The smell of a sausages frying outside Bunnings is undeniably attractive. It has even been argued that meat was the essential ingredient that allowed us to evolve into the brainy idiots we are today. Closer to home, my mum recently gave me a lecture about getting enough protein when she thought I was looking a bit pale and skinny.
And so my answer for now is, in the emminently sensible words of my Pa (oft repeated by my Mum): "Everything in moderation". I eat a small portion of meat maybe 2-3 times a week, and try to buy meat from animals that are outdoor-raised and free-range. I am aiming to ultimately cut down to "only on special occassions when I really feel like it" meat consumption. I'm not there yet, but I hope to be in the next couple of years.
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For those of you with concerned mothers, good non-meat sources of protein are: potatoes, whole wheat bread, rice, broccoli, spinach, almonds, peas, chickpeas, peanut butter, tofu, soymilk, lentils and kale. Peanut butter, y'all! I'm going out to buy some right now.