Sunday, September 18, 2011

A moderate trapped in a judgemental world...

When it comes to politics I consider myself a moderate.  Contrary to popular belief, that doesn't mean I waver on my opinions.  Anyone who knows me knows that I have an opinion and i'm not afraid to tell you about them.  I am a redhead after all!  My stand on certain issues fall most often to the left, but I do have a few right sided views as well.  The main reason I consider myself a moderate, however, is because I don't think that one side or the other is necessarily completely right or has all the answers.  Also, if someone has a valid explanation as to why their view is different from mine I can respect it, even if I don't agree.  When it comes to my religious beliefs I now consider myself a United Methodist.  Their beliefs are that although Christians have different opinions on specific beliefs, the main thing is that you believe in God and that you follow a good life.  Again, many people see the religion as having no opinion on specific issues, and therefore is a moderate religion.  Again, here I am stuck in the middle again!

So, why do I bring this up in my blog about being a vegetarian?  It seems I have found myself stuck in the middle of an issue yet again.  When I first announced that I was no longer going to eat meat I got a lot of slack from meat eaters.  The usual, asking what in the world I eat if not meat, judgements assuming that I suddenly hate all those who eat meat, etc.  The most annoying is the ones who seem to feel the need to poke fun and make jokes about it.  The most annoying was when people accused Tim (my boyfriend) of deciding to become a vegetarian because I had just announced that I was.  Which is very amusing!  He has been a vegetarian off and on for years now and has been talking about going back to it for months.  I also didn't even tell him that I was no longer eating meat until almost 2 weeks into it.  He is also much more knowledgeable on the subject than I am.  But of course many people have this view that a guy "needs" to revolve their life around the woman in their life and do everything they say.  Which makes me want to vomit!  I don't want a male clone of myself and would be annoyed if a guy tried to.

Since I was getting such a hard time from much of the meat eating world I decided to reach out to vegetarians, my peeps.  So I started browsing some vegetarian and vegan forums.  They would completely understand the struggles i'm having, and give me some good tips and recipes I could use, right?  Apparently that wasn't entirely true.  Many of the people on these forums were the stereotypical vegetarians that have turned many meat eaters against the whole idea of vegetarianism.  Killing animals for food or anything else is completely unacceptable to them, and anyone who doesn't believe or follow this will be judged and chastized.  They were even cutting down people that follow a vegetarian diet except eat seafood on occasion.  How dare they smear the vegetarian name like that!!  "Those" people just want to be in the "cool group" of the vegetarians without actually having to commit fully, to them anyway.  Then, I got judged and chastized for not believing that all meat eaters are going to hell.  How dare I not be judgemental!  Oh, and if you don't think eating animals for food is completely wrong yet you don't eat any meat for other reasons then you aren't ALLOWED to be called a vegetarian!

So here I am, stuck in the middle.  A moderate yet again!  What is funny is that moderates, the ones who judge no one and try to understand your point of view, are the ones that are chastized the most.  So should I not think that Americans should eat a more plant based diet to better our country's health?  Should I bash vegetarians for being "tree hugger" types?  I don't want to do either!  Of course it is up to me to be comfortable with my decisions, not others.  I know this 100%, but everyone still would like some support and validation in their life.  Ironically the most support i've gotten have been from many of the hard core meat eaters in my life.  Meat eaters that are educated on nutrition know that there are health benefits to becoming a vegetarian.  It's just not for them.  These are the people that are most supportive.  I have been able to weed through the crazy hard-core freaks on the forums and find a few supporters.  Imagine being supported for NOT judging others.  What a novel idea!!

I am 4 weeks into my no meat diet now, and still no desire to have any meat.  I figured I would have found my niche in this new lifestyle by now, or at least be closer to it.  Having a unique perspective it looks like it's going to take me a little while longer.  I can say that becoming a vegetarian has made me feel like i'm doing something I can really be proud of.  When I sit down for a meal I feel good about the nutrition I am putting in my body.  I feel good that I am not sacrificing the life of any animal to enjoy my meals.  And most importantly I am standing up for something I believe in, and still striving to make a difference in people's lives.  I've said from day 1 that if I inspire just one person to clean up their diet and take care of themselves then I will feel like i've made a difference.  I know it won't happen overnight, but I feel confident that it will happen.  :-)

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