Becoming a Carnivore—5 Reasons To Start Eating Meat in 2012!

Via on Dec 31, 2011

What pushed me over the edge this week? It started with a recent commitment by Waylon Lewis to go vegan for a year.

Parker Bean as Photographed by Simone Jowell (Vegan) of Cleveland Groove.

Yes, it is a New Year’s Resolution and a particularly extreme one (makes doing yoga six times a week seem relatively easy).

The argumentative rebel side of me bristled just thinking about Waylon getting 500 people to comment pressure/support him into being vegan. “Anything for web traffic” I snickered (although this type of year challenge is one of the reasons I like Waylon).

[ed’s note: I stated several times that I wanted to make a big stink about going vegan, not make a merely private decision, in hopes that my decision would inspire others to consider their diet. Whether we all go vegan or not isn’t my business, but getting all of us to be more mindful…was my goal. You can read my reasoning here. I tied it to comments, not views, for that reason. All that said, yes, it’s my business to connect with readers, so I’m fine with our site reaching 900,000 unique viewers a month, boom! ~ Ed.)

On my mat yesterday with one of my favorite yoga teachers, Parker Bean talking about extreme resolutions people make for New Years, I looked at my reflection in the pool of sweat on my flat black lululemon mat. Staring at myself in low plank with muscles gently shaking, I saw someone who wants to lose the battle against moderation, a rebel in the yoga world who with the transition between Low Plank and Upward Dog made the decision to eat meat in 2012. As I exhaled into Downward Dog, I smiled, deciding to eat meat again was strangely liberating.

Something about Vegans always irritates me, oh right…Cheese. It is my achilles heal. I can go weeks at a time eating a veganesque diet and cheese shows up and takes me out. The honey thing irritates me also, because I love the sweet side of life and I don’t really think of bees as being harmed in the production of honey. A conversation with my friends at Breathe Yoga, where they have an incredible kitchen and serve amazing food really started me moving towards eating meat again. They serve all locally sourced food at Breathe Yoga and the combination of delicious food and an inspired approach to the dirtiest word in the English language, MODERATION. The concept of knowing where my food comes from is very attractive to me and far sexier than how many calories or how much fat is in my food. 2012 is the year of where, not what…it is the year of sexy and dirty, not pious restraint and control…2012 is the year of being comfortable, even when life is messy.

I was a vegetarian for the last 8 or 9 years and today is my last day. I am returning to being a carnivore in 2012. It has been brewing inside of me for the last year or so and a series of events over the last year have inspired me to get over myself and eat meat. This last run as a vegetarian started as a political protest to Mad Cow, angered by the government cover-up of Mad Cow in America, I decided to use my buying power as a small but effective protest against the meat industry. Along the way I became a yogi and slowly started to reduce my impact on the planet. The ideas of Sharon Gannon particularly resonated with me (Get her book on Yoga and Vegetarianism)and her definition of “doing the least harm possible.” I am still committed to this and will continue to integrate this philosophy into my yoga/life. The movie Food Inc. reminded me that every time I spend a dollar, I am voting on where our food comes from. I am ready to start voting local.

Looking at the vegan chicken salad, vegan pizza and vegan frozen chicken sticks at whole foods yesterday after yoga, I laughed out loud (yes, I know this is a sign of craziness-but so is spending your Friday lunch sweating on and with 65 people at Cleveland Yoga). Is eating random soy products from who knows where any better than eating a hamburger made from a cow raised by a local farmer? No, I will not be ordering pepperoni pizza from random pizza place. Yes, I will be picking up sausage at my local farmer’s market for when I make pizza in 2012. It is not easy to get local meat, but it is my new way of living.

5 Reasons To Start Eating Meat In 2012

  1. I love eating meat, it is delicious. We eat 3 times a day, this is way too much not to indulge in and truly enjoy the process. Just thinking about a bacon blue cheese burger gets me kind of excited. Live a life of love and enjoy what you eat along the way.
  2. Good-bye random soy products, hello locally sourced meat. Knowing where my meat comes from is a compromise that I am going to try living with. Instead of being a vegetarian or a vegan, I am labeling myself a locavore.
  3. Supporting a local farmer is a great thing to do. Farmers come in all shapes and sizes, some do vegetables and some do meat. I am going to meet the meat – slow my life down enough to meet the farmers who raise the meat and understand where my food is coming from this year. Your Organic BlueBerries from Chile are more damaging to the planet than my steak from the local farm. I think.
  4. You can be even more high maintenance at restaurants. Instead of asking if there is chicken stock in the soup, I will now ask where the chickens were raised that was used in the chicken stock. I will send the waiter back to ask the chef if the hamburger meat is from the same farm as the steak and if it was a grass fed cow.
  5. More Sex – Maybe Even Better Sex. This is going to take some research, but if it is true, I think a lot of vegans and vegetarians are going to start eating meat.

Seriously, you are not any more of a yogi if you are a vegan or if you give away all of your worldly goods and go meditate on a mountain in India. You are a great yogi when you are concious, when you live with your eyes wide open, when you have a choice and you make a decision based in kindness. Next time  you look down at your mat and see yourself reflected in a pool of sweat, I hope you smile and love the person you see looking back at you. In 2012, my resolution is to eat locally sourced meat. I will also share a lot more articles with you on how to share yoga with more people as well as what I learn about meat and farmers along the way. Namaste!

Parker Bean as Photographed by Simone Jowell (Vegan) of Cleveland Groove

About Jamie Ginsberg

Jamie Ginsberg is a yoga teacher and the co-founder of Marin Power Yoga. He is a technology and education evangelist focused on using the social web to increase interaction and engagement. Jamie is a yogi (200 hour teacher training at Cleveland Yoga and Level 1 & Level 2 with Baron Baptiste) and has shot and produced videos and photography for Baron Baptiste, Yoga Journal Conferences and yoga studios across the United States. Jamie’s expertise is a rare blend of creative, business, legal and technology. Jamie has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the The University of Michigan and a Juris Doctorate from The Cleveland-Marshall School of Law. Link to Jamie here and like him on Facebook.

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Comments

136 Responses to “Becoming a Carnivore—5 Reasons To Start Eating Meat in 2012!”

  1. Haha! Love it Jamie! The title alone made me laugh out loud! I am also a locavore…just one that doesn't eat meat, and after today, doesn't eat any animal products at all. Good luck!

  2. MarySol says:

    Hopefully you were writing this "tongue in cheek" but if you were serious you may want to examine some of the Vedic texts of India, from which most yoga systems draw their roots. A lot of information regarding karma and karmic reactions is explained there. Generally, the vedic emphasis on vegetarianism is not only health related. It also points out the very heavy Karmic burden that the eating of flesh foods can cause for an individual who chooses to eat meat. We choose our activities but the results come according to the karmic laws. At least that is how yogis of long ago presented it in their teachings.
    All the best for the new year!

  3. hya says:

    "Is eating random soy products from who knows where any better than eating a hamburger made from a cow raised by a local farmer?" Erm, apples and oranges? One involves a killing, the other one doesn't? If all you cared about is local as you claim, you could have found local vegan produce.
    Wasn't aware that yogis engage in sophism these days! 😀

  4. Valerie Carruthers Valerie Carruthers says:

    One of the most powerful things about doing Yoga is that you never know when it's gonna show you something about yourself that's not spiritually or politically correct and that's still something you just gotta do because the journey is yours and yours only.

    Wanted to mention a couple of points.

    It's said that the original reason meat eating was proscribed against in the scriptures was to stop the wholesale slaughter of animals for ritual sacrifice.

    Another reason that meat was frowned on by the ancient seers is the digestive burden it creates for many people who plunge into serious practices of asana and meditation. In Ayurvedic terms, we aren't just what we eat—we are what we digest and assimilate. Anyone who's attempted a twist or solar plexus lock (uddiyana bandha) within an hour of chowing down on that blue cheese burger knows what I mean. Practices such as Yoga, meditation and chanting require a certain lightness in the body. So locavore, carnivore, omnivore, vegavore, whatevervore—the first thing is to take care of your digestion.

    Ultimately, whatever dietary path we choose, it comes down to eating with humility, gratiitude, respect, reverence and love.

    Keep us posted on how your progress, Jamie!

  5. deleted3199113 says:

    For me, veganism is about health and reducing harm. Notice I said reducing, because it is impossible to live on this planet and "do no harm". I don't agree with many of the authors points/opinions in the article. IMO, veganism is the best way to reduce harm.

    But it does appear that the author will be eating only local and ethically raised livestock. Because of that, the author is doing much less harm than the majority of people who eat animals. I'm not sure a vegan inspired pile on is warranted in this case.

  6. dan says:

    5 Reasons To Start Eating Dessert For Every Meal In 2012

    1. I love eating dessert, it is delicious. We eat 3 times a day, this is way too much not to indulge in and truly enjoy the process. Just thinking about a cinnamon brown butter breakfast puff gets me kind of excited. Live a life of love and enjoy what you eat along the way.
    2. Good-bye random soy products, hello homemade food. Knowing where my food comes from is a compromise that I am going to try living with. Instead of being a consumer, I am labeling myself a human.
    3. Supporting businesses and farmers is a great thing to do. People selling stuff come in all shapes and sizes, some do vegetables and some even do desserts. [here i break the joke and say that the author is not "going to meet the meat" by meeting farmers, and that the ecological impact of imported foods vs. the open- free- etc. leans toward veg being slighlty less impactful, though of course if you want to keep dollars local, that is another priority entirely. Digging up/remembering sources takes way longer than making this joke. :)]
    4. You can be even more high maintenance at restaurants. Instead of asking if there is something actually good to eat, I will now ask where the wheat used for the pastries was grown. I will send the waiter back to ask the chef if the sugar is organic, and if the vanilla was harvested using slave labor.
    5. More Sex – Maybe Even Better Sex. This entirely unfounded claim is going to take some research, but if it is true, I think a lot of humans are going to start eating dessert.

  7. I like it. I worked with a farmer for seven years on her tiny chicken farm where I helped to humanely slaughter, pluck and butcher those birds. The great thing about the whole deal was this: People who would have normally paid for conventionally raised birds switched to her birds, thus preventing about 600 horrible commercially raised chicken tragedies every year. Those chickens were happy, well cared for, adorable and delicious!

  8. Mariy says:

    It's fine if you enjoyed slaughtering chickens but I assure you they were not "happy" or felt "well cared for" while experiencing the slaughter…

  9. NotaSundayYogi says:

    So by engaging in a lot less ahimsa toward other beings, and toward your own body…. what exactly are you planning on accomplishing? More sensual pleasure? Is that your real idea of yoga? Sounds like plain stretching.. Best of luck.

  10. kiely says:

    it isn't a "pile on" but your "reasons" aren't reasoned … they are statements and preferences (i like it? better sex? being an ass at restaurants?) for the most part. OK, there was one near reason but i would like to see your evidence for the blueberries vs. beef argument. is this a carbon footprint thinghy… based on a per calorie/mile or a weight/mile scale?

  11. kiki says:

    Being vegan is not a fad nor a requirement, it is about non-violence and respect for sentient beings. Murder is murder.

  12. kiki says:

    And how about being "conscious" of how you treat your waiter and restaurant staff?
    "You can be even more high maintenance at restaurants. Instead of asking if there is chicken stock in the soup, I will now ask where the chickens were raised that was used in the chicken stock. I will send the waiter back to ask the chef if the hamburger meat is from the same farm as the steak and if it was a grass fed cow."
    How very "yogic" of you.

  13. reikimaster says:

    If one believes that life is sacred, that we are all one and that a lifeforce moves through and connects us all, one can not justify eating meat. Unless, ofcourse, you only value and hold sacred human life? Does not the same lifeforce that moves through you and I, move through a cow? A chicken? I am not going to ask the question all vegans ask when making the pro vegan argument….who decides that a cow is food and a dog a pet? Why not eat them all?( oops i think i just asked…sorry). There really is no difference when it comes to life forms. If its wrong to take one life, its wrong to take any life. Being a ” yogi” means having and practicing compassion. Not just toward human life, all life. If you are going to brand yourself a ” yogi” you have to do more then just yoga and utter namaste. You have to feel it in your entire soul and pay it forward, no matter how yummy that blue-cheese burger may look! Namaste..

  14. Katie says:

    When did yoga become about self-indulgence? _No animal wants to be slaughtered, no matter how “adorable and delicious” they may be. What exactly is humane slaughter, anyway? Lethal injection?_”You are a great yogi when you are concious, when you live with your eyes wide open, when you have a choice and you make a decision based in kindness.” I’m not a vegan. I don’t eat soya. I’m far from perfect. But I try to do the right thing – and I certainly wouldn’t try to justify killing another creature as a kindness-based decision, let alone the very un-enlightened 5 reasons for eating meat. _1. I think meat is delicious too. I also think lots of other things are delicious – and they don’t have to die for my pleasure._2. Why do I need to label myself anyway? I eat well, and enjoy eating. I don’t kill to do it. That’s it._3. My organic blueberries come from the farmer down the road, not Chile. I eat them in season and each taste is a burst of pleasure. Your meat causes toxic methane buildup, among other things. It’s not better than my blueberries. And I gotta tell you, when I go past the local beef farmer and see those torturous little boxes they keep the veal calves in…I know I’ll never eat veal, not even if it would add ten years to my life._4. Even more high maintenance at a restaurant?? Even as a joke, that’s just not funny, cause it smacks a little too much of the truth._5. Is your sex life suffering? Mine’s just fine, and nothing has to die for me to get my groove on, thanks all the same._

  15. bill says:

    lol all of these Yogi's came here and blasted this guy for his honesty….
    Really are you all that narrow minded? I suppose while you crunch on those non sentient carrots that didnt want to be harvested from a field that was patched in after all the sentient beings that lived there lost their lives and homes, its cool to say you are makin a keen difference….Bullshit, death comes in all shapes and sizes….whenever something is consumed remember something did die….

  16. Elena says:

    So your previous decision to do not eat meat, wasn't based on the believing that maybe is not so ethical to kill animals, I suppose.

  17. Tatum Bacchi tatumann says:

    I'm excited to follow this. I find your reasoning fascinating. My personal decision to go vegan was prompted by health reasons, not ethical ones, and cheese is still my achilles heel. But ultimately I am an animal lover, and as you've probably discovered, no matter what your reason for becoming vegan, it's hard to avoid the moral argument once you start researching eating vegan. For me, I think it was easier to eat meat when I didn't know where it was coming from (pre-vegan, pre-yoga ignorance is bliss viewpoint…) and I'm not sure that I could ride my bike past the local farm and still enjoy that burger. Good luck on your journey! Keep us posted.

  18. ARCreated says:

    Good Luck :) I was vegan and am now vegetarian for some of the reasons you state…mostly I was just freakin' hungry and I was sick of all my food having to come from far off places…it was easy being vegan in AZ in colorado winter? not so much. I am allergic to soy and am convinced that it's just not a good food choice for 90percent of humanity. I have a few vegan friends that I think have worse diets than my omnivore friends so I hear you but I have to say – I actually TRIED to eat meat. I just can't. Once upon a time I thought meat was delicious too, but I don't know if it's awareness, years without, emotional reasons or psychological but seriously it just tastes and feels gross. So I'll be curious how it goes for you. Locavore is truly the best way to go I believe and I'm adjusting to the eggs and goat cheese in my diet but that's as far as I could take it…Oh and butter and honey. OMG I have so very very grateful for honey.
    I studied with this funny Swami this summer and he had this to say – first take care of yourself, eat what you need to be HEALTHY, if you eat for pleasure it will interfere with your practice but it is not wrong and when you eat do the least harm possible (he went on to say that it was the object we ingested that mattered most the lesser the "sentience" of the object the better but it wasn't morally wrong to eat animal flesh, simply harder to reach a sattvic enlightened state) I loved his distinction – we are not morally obligated to not eat meat but recognize there are consequences for all we do – that is all. In his opinion householders should eat meat if it helped them manage their life and true abstinence or strict dietary adherence is for monks – now that's food for thought.

  19. James says:

    Veganism can be a legitimate lifestyle choice in response to the crimes of industrial agriculture and the existential quandaries of our modern society. An honorable and aware choice if made with open eyes and mind.

    What grows tiresome is the sanctimonious preaching of mostly first-world urban humans who consider themselves morally superior to all other creatures who participate honestly in the cycles of life and death, including the indigenous peoples for whom the hunt is a sacrament.

    Veganism can also be a transcendent check-out, a rehash of original sin, a denial of your animal nature and the realities of your gut. If you think you’re a herbivore, graze on grasses for a week and get back with us. If you think you’re a carnivore, try roadkill. Follow a black bear around and do what she does, you’ll probably survive.

    A most interesting contemplation is to recognize that each day we’re alive, other beings must die to sustain us. We each take life to live. There’s no way around it, more importantly no need to transcend it. In fact, to try may be an ecological error and fundamentally immoral. It’s not a cosmic mistake except in the minds of some out of touch humans. It’s a good earth, we can be good human animals. Let’s try it.

    I admire Waylon for his honesty and will follow his experiment with interest. And Jamie, as regards eating for pleasure, you’re on thin ice with this crowd!

  20. Suzette – I LOVE "MEGAN" – that is a new one to me. We are an incredible diverse and intelligent community made up of people who walk to yoga class and others who drive a suburban…I appreciate our differences and welcome them to the mat and off the mat!!!

  21. Christina Liepold says:

    Wow Jamie!
    I just love animals, I feel their beautiful spirits and so I just can't eat them, but certainly respect that what we put into our bellies is a personal choice. For example, my hubby eats meat, and I will be sharing your article with him, thank you!
    I'll be curious to see how it goes for you, I am sure you will keep us updated? What I am most curious about is how eating meat again will affect your digestive system and your body. For me, digesting meat had always been a problem, but it sounds like that may not be the case with you.
    Namaste!

  22. Mr. Science says:

    I’ve considered this one from every angle, decided to eat the meat.

    Try this on for size, it is more than just using too much fuel that promotes meat. . .
    http://theconversation.edu.au/ordering-the-vegeta

  23. Josie says:

    Watch your terminology. You say you are going back to being a carnivore. NO, you are not, unless you won't even eat a bun with that burger. Carnivores eat meat and only meat, like a predator animal like a tiger or hawk. You are going back to being an omnivore, eating both plants and animals. If you have a bun or piece of lettuce or pickle with that burger, you will be an omnivore.

    Words have meanings that help us communicate. Use words correctly or you will confuse people.

  24. Bippim says:

    "On this day ______ I'm going to do this______ ".
    Why do people choose a particular day to start / finish / change something? ie. 01/01/2012.

    Doesn't sound at all like be present.

  25. Liza says:

    This article makes way to many superficial assumptions about very personal and philosophical choices. I am very saddened and disappointed by this article. The mocking nature of giving away earthly possessions and im sorry, did you compare eating "random" soy to the death factories that torture and murder sentient beings, are you seriously asking "what's the difference"–seriously? . And im sorry, did you call yourself a yogi? Oh dear. Elephant Journal, you have had some bad ones lately.

  26. In regards to #5: Meat eaters dont taste or smell as good as veggie people. Fact.

  27. karlsaliter says:

    The article is bunk. Jamie, you are bowing to your taste buds, and giving your compassion the finger. The rest is rationalizations, none of them intellectually compelling.

  28. jonathan says:

    "Vegetarianism allows me to live my values — to "pray ceaselessly," as St. Paul puts it: Every time I sit down to eat, I cast my lot: for mercy, against misery; for the oppressed, against the oppressor; and for compassion, against cruelty. There is a lot of suffering in the world, but how much suffering can be addressed with literally no time or effort on our part? We can just stop supporting it, by making different choices."

    read the whole article. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bruce-friedrich/res

  29. […] Becoming a Carnivore – 5 Reasons To Start Eating Meat in 2012! (elephantjournal.com) […]

  30. Dkg says:

    I love this blog. I have been a pescatarian for most of my life, with various bouts of veganism when I'm cleansing and I really appreciate a great grilled salmon steak :) I am a yogi and no one could ever question me on that. I respect your decision and agree with you about local organic meat being a better option then random soy meat products over processed and full of brain numbing gluten. Namaste :)

  31. Jamie Ginsberg drunkandfull says:

    DKG – Thanks for the support, nice to know you are not only living your truth but sharing it!!! I am on the fence with Fish, that was the last thing I cut out a few years ago. That said, the new habits will have to be flexible…

  32. Rachel says:

    Jamie, you rock! have your read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver? I think you will really like it!

    I also have to say that the amount of judgement toward you and others on here seems very sad to me, live and let live people!

  33. Signe says:

    Wow….lotta judgement and anger in these comments.

  34. karlsaliter says:

    Oh yeah? Well, umm, quit judging me for judging.

  35. Cristina says:

    anthropocentric

  36. Rich K says:

    First, I applaud you, Jamie. Great article. I hope your choice turns out well for you. I won’t get into the vegetarian/vegan vs. meat eater argument. It is moot.

    You should google U.S. Wellness Meats. They may have some foods that are local to Cleveland that you would be interested in. Their pemmican is especially good.

    The last thing I wanted to talk about about was the compassionate killing of animals. All those who commented that have ever taken a life understand that compassion is a huge part of taking an animal’s life whether you are pulling a trigger or using a blade to open the blood vessels of the neck. Killing is a very personal, grateful, intimate act. It is not easy; nor should it be. I see the problems of commercial meat. They have removed the humanity of life and death from that life cycle. That is without compassion.

    Anyway, peace and love to you all!

  37. chonying says:

    I do yoga and eat meat too. Cheers!

  38. karlsaliter says:

    Thank you everyone who commented on this article. I came down pretty hard on you, Jamie, and have enjoyed and learned from your replies. I respect how well-informed you are, and that you are willing to engage.

    I want to explore something, and if this is the wrong place to do it Jamie, just let me know.

    How can I, as a vegan who cares deeply about raising awareness of animal suffering and its optional nature grounded in our choices, present my thoughts without instantly donning the robe of "sanctimonious jerk?"

    In most things, I wear life pretty loosely. But I want to make sure that the languageless animals
    have a voice in me. I'm coming from caring about these creatures, but based on the feedback, I think I sound like "Oh, I'm so much better than you."

    How do you tell someone that what they are doing is causing suffering- without telling them that they are wrong, or morally less, or whatever garbage it is that they tell themselves? I only point to actions, I never say those things, but people hear those messages from what I say, all the time.

    Maybe this is not so off topic. Can we discourse about veg/ meat diets without insecurity and animosity?

  39. […] recently wrote an article sharing my decision to return to eating meat this year, the reactions and comments surprised me. Why? Because I forgot how much anger, judgment and […]

  40. Sue Schrader says:

    I'm a vegan because I'm not convinced I have the right to cause suffering to, and kill, sentient beings for food that I can survive without. Simple as that.

  41. Karma says:

    Yogi schmogi, you're just selfish.

  42. soopaj says:

    yes vegangster ive heard that too (here) that eating mass quantities of rescue puppies is better for your sex life… kittens too! its going to take some research but think about all the self absorbed sexy bloodlust deliciousness. as long as it is locally sourced and organic blood lust… go for it. fuck it. why not.

  43. theyogaBSpolice says:

    this is a joke, right? …oh sorry, so is this website….

  44. BidNinja says:

    Well, I believe that clears up two difficulties for me personally. How about anybody else?

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