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Ramadan Mubarak! And…I’m back on the meat

June 28, 2014

I am not in the business of explaining my behaviour, but given the tirade in my Eid-ul-Adha post, I still felt the need for account for this.

It started when a man I was talking to recoiled when I told him I was vegetarian–mostly vegan. “Sorry,” he said. “That’s a deal breaker for me.” Ok, I said, and waited for him to continue. There was a pause, and he continued: “All right, maybe it isn’t. But I very strongly believe that vegetarians have it wrong. Here is why.”

He by no means had all the answers, but he raised some points about making the “right” choices as consumers, animal treatment in Canada in contrast with the United States, and, of course, the “need” for meat protein in the human diet. (Digressive point: His high protein/high-fat diet consisted of almost no carbohydrates, meaning that it was not meat protein itself, but the combination of food types that worked in his favour. He also vehemently denied that protein could come from non-animal sources, which made me take him considerably less seriously.)

Nonetheless, it was a spark of sorts that resulted in a shift, and three months later, I find myself transitioning back to having meat. Below are some of the factors leading to my change in mindset:

  • Animal cruelty was a major reason I found it difficult to have meat. However, no one saved the world by becoming a vegan. One could make as much–perhaps more–impact by buying humanely raised meat. Why fork my dollars over to tofu, when I can do so and support halal, fair trade butchers?
  • Another factor has been becoming increasingly wary of the detrimental effects of sugar on the human body. Sugar is my greatest vice and a point for downfall for many vegetarians. There were too many times where I partook of extra dessert because my vegetarian dinner did not fill me enough. From a personal health standpoint, it became difficult to justify wreaking this havoc on my body. I also have started to tangibly feel the effects of excessive processed sugar on my body, the way I would feel the effect of excessive meat or excessive words.
  • The time has come to acknowledge and respect my desire for meat. In the year I was mostly-vegan, I could always honestly say that I had no desire for meat. But that is not the case anymore. I think about and desire meat more, and partaking a small piece here and there is no longer enough. The time has come to move on.

It was never my intention to be vegetarian for life, and it is to my family’s relief that I am making the turn back. However, my year of being vegetarian has significantly shaped me in the ways I wanted it to. Vegetarian foods will still constitute my meals by default, and I will have meat no more than twice or three times a week. I will gain better control of my sugar intake and ensure that I am so nourished that I do not have cravings for it.

Ramadan is a time when I will abstain from processed sugar and fried foods and readopt meat. In short summer nights like these, I have to make every bite count. May this month be equally physically and spiritually nourishing for all, and redefine what it means to eat to live.

I wish all those observing Ramadan a beautiful and glorious one!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 28, 2014 9:52 pm

    “I will have meat no more than twice or three times a week.” See, that’s the key. Moderation. I actually think being vegetarian/vegan is the way to go, but since I’m not that’s pretty hypocritical. But everyone reducing their meat consumption would reduce the reasons for so much of the cruelty/problems with meat production.

  2. June 29, 2014 9:53 am

    Salaam. I too went vegetarian for quite a while once upon a time. I could never go vegan because I love cheese and eggs too much. But it was healthy and I enjoyed it, but I sort of came to the same conclusions you did about it. Today I eat vegetarian 2 to 3 days of the week but have gone back to meat (being careful where I get it and its sources). Sugar is a huge deal and I, like you, have tried to cut it out, I have been partially successful but not entirely. If I marry again some day perhaps my partner can help me with this. *shrug*
    The bottom line is that it sounds to me that you’ve made the right decision.

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