The Slippery Slope of Becoming an Omnivore Again.

Via on Feb 17, 2012

I committed to eating local meat in January of 2012, only to discover it is a slippery and confusing slope.

I aspired to think and care about my food sources and make educated decisions. That lasted about 2 weeks, primarily because I didn’t eat any meat for the first week.

I started off thinking I wouldn’t eat any white meat, just red (yes, I know I am a rebel).  While I was at the Yoga Journal Conference in San Francisco, I was faced with the tough choice of locally farmed free range chicken that was never frozen or beef that was not clearly defined as local at Gott right in the Embarcadero. Turns out the chicken sandwich was amazingly delicious. Welcome to the slippery slope.

It was only 2 days later as we headed up to Sacramento to shoot videos at Zuda Yoga, that we stopped for burritos at Taqueria San Jose in San Rafael. This is commonly called Burritos Under the Bridge by me, there green salsa is to die for! In a moment of weakness I ordered the pollo asado burrito,  acknowledging as I bit into each juicy bite that I was eating random chicken that had probably lived a miserable existence.  I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.

I used to work with a guy who loved to point out the “people are not week, drugs are just very strong.” This resonates with me as I look back at the last six weeks of indulging in meat. The Tandori Rib Eye from Miller Farm at Fire Food & Drink was just as delicious as I remember it from 10 years ago, so was their grass fed Miller Farm Burger! I have met the Millers and they are good people who care about the animals they raise and the food we eat. Am I weak or is meat just very strong?

I am addicted to ham and cheese right now. I try and get the Applegate farms organically raised hormone free ham. It tastes delicious, especially when paired with the Whole Food brand 365 Provolone. I am at Whole Foods a few times a week and have tried to make sense of their numbering system for animal care, but I have more research to do before I am comfortable explaining it. What I have done is tried to select the most local and best cared for meat products.  When I have to choose I go with better cared for over local.

The truth is, I am really enjoying eating meat again. Food is delicious and I love experimenting with flavors and textures. From the stripper burger at B-Spot that comes on a salad with bacon bits and blue cheese to the pepperoni pizza at Whole Foods to the insanely delicious random meat dishes I ate at Diva – a great Indian restaurant in Boston. I know that I removed a stone from my journey when I started eating meat again.  I will still struggle with my control issues and will compensate for my indulgences by giving generously of my time and knowledge to help this yoga community grow and communicate better. I am very conscious that we have one life to live and we have an obligation to ourselves and society to live it truthfully, making every effort to reduce our impact on the planet. That said, I am happy to meet up with you for a bottle of wine and some grass fed burgers next time I am in your hood.

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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11 Responses to “The Slippery Slope of Becoming an Omnivore Again.”

  1. Louise Brooks says:

    Good for you Jamie. You sound happy and content within yourself.

  2. Austin says:

    It's hard to have rules about eating, especially when there such large grey areas in all of the choice that we have…And when you eat three meals a day, there is always the temptation of saying "Well, it's just this time." But I think you touched on what I consider to be a good guideline (I won't call it a rule, because rules are made to be broken, right?), and that is, no matter what you choose to eat, it's more important to care where that food comes from. As you pointed out, I too would rather eat a locally-raised organic chicken rather than beef of unknown/unspecified origin. But having said that, I'd also rather eat locally-raised organic beef, or lamb, or pork rather than chicken of unknown/unspecified origin. Red meat, white meat, I care more about the source than one meat over the other.

    But there are two issues at play here…One is choosing what you eat based a strict dietary point of view, i.e.: Chicken and fish have less fat and calories than beef and lamb, and are therefore more healthy for you…Versus the concept of whole-body health, i.e.: Any meat that is locally-raised and organic is not only more healthful for your body (by way of keeping unwanted chemicals and hormones out of their and your system), it also encourages and supports the locavore movement and, when dining in you own town, supports those in your own community that choose to propertied selling their goos locally.

    So, what's your priority? Dietary health, or whole body health? In a perfect world, we would all pick both, right?

    • I detest the words balance and moderation, but I am trying to consider them these days. I'd like to think I am prioritizing living the experience, recognizing the moment and what I am eating. That may be wishful thinking. When it comes to health, I agree with you on local and the source…it is our personal health and the health of our planet! Thanks for sharing your thoughts Austin!

  3. karlsaliter says:

    I agree Jamie, your flesh chomping slope is slipperier than a greased politician.

    Your idea that you "will compensate for my indulgences by giving generously of my time and knowledge to help this yoga community grow and communicate better." values your time and knowledge quite highly. Are you referring to your writing here at elephant? It would take gems that shine far brighter than "It tastes delicious, especially when paired with the Whole Food brand 365 Provolone." for me to buy into it. If I have this right, you are telling me that you are excused your servitude to your taste for animal flesh by illuminating us. Try the salad, or crank up the wattage, dude.

    To me, "making every effort to reduce our impact on the planet." involves maintaining a merciful mouth.

    I like your style, but I'm left cold by your reasoning, as are the animals.

    • Jamie Ginsberg drunkandfull says:

      Karl, my food posts are definitely a self-indulgence and I am not sure if they benefit anybody beyond me. That said, the social media posts I write for Elephant Journal, elephantjournal.com/author/jamie-ginsberg/ – are done purely as a service to let you spread your vegan and yogic ideas as far as possible. Yes, there is plenty of illumination there on how to use social media to spread yoga…
      Let me be clear, I excuse my "taste for the flesh" by simply enjoying it and trying to be concious of my buying experience and appreciate what i am doing.

      • karlsaliter says:

        Ah, gotcha. Mistook your "indulgences" for diet choices. It reads that way.
        You mean you are balancing articles like this with factual, service-based writing. Ok.
        I'm glad that's what you meant: better to offer no excuse than a bad one.

        Being conscious of the "suffering index" or numbering system
        is of course choosing, buying, paying for, and ingesting suffering in a mildly more mindful way. Bravo?

        Holding your feet to the fire on "making every effort to reduce our impact on the planet." and I'll tell you why.
        Not that you're asking.
        I removed the same stone from my journey nine years ago, and fell
        down that slippery slope. I rue the years of sleep. That stone gives more than it takes.

        Cheers bud.

  4. Annie Ory says:

    I am a foodie, and a wonderful cook (thanks Mama) and I am ever so grateful that I don't – really seriously – ever miss meat in my house. I don't buy it and I don't cook it. We do eat meat when we eat in other people's homes and I sometimes – very occasionally – order it in restaurants, though I'm more likely to go for fish. Your food posts make me thankful for the rich delicious flavors and textures I am able to create with vegetables.

    I am always amazed at your honesty here Jamie. It's not popular stuff, the stuff you write about food. You are straight forward and clear that it is something you struggle with and you don't make any excuses about it. It's a conversation I think we all need to have. No, there's no one way to eat that is right and good for everyone, and yes, we need people to speak honestly about their food because most people still eat meat.

    Enjoy the journey my friend, and I'm gonna rock your vegan world when you eat at my house brother.

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