December 31, 2011

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

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

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