Then, I go from being the vegetarian who’s full of questions (is the soup made with chicken broth? Does the salad dressing contain anchovies? Is this actually TVP, because it definitely appears to be ground beef?) to the Portlandia-esque meat-eater who wants to make sure the chickens get to spend enough time cuddling.
What all of this points to, I think, is that we still live in a climate where it’s not easy to both be busy and make healthy choices. Because, while my dietary decision is just based on my own principles and ideas about health, plenty of other peoples’ are not.
Whether you work in a food desert where there’s no fresh produce and fast food is all there is, or, like me, you live in a city that’s enamored with haute comfort food and meat-based-everything, if your diet is as all different or divergent from “the norm” (whatever that is), it’s tough to get good, healthy food in a pinch.
Like people with allergies. Or people with celiac disease, for example, who don’t get to choose whether or not they should start eating gluten again–they just can’t. Yet many gluten-free options are highly-processed and, often, not as healthy as the whole grain ones. Or they don’t exist at all.
And maybe it’s no one’s fault but our own, whether it be because our bowels can’t handle certain foods, or because our minds are made up to avoid others. Maybe, if I want to eat healthy food that’s within my diet/lifestyle/whatever, I should just suck it up and get better at cooking and not expect restaurants/convenience stores/places I frequent to have anything that is both rich in protein and good starches and lacking in meat.
But again, what about those people with alternate dietary needs who are, by and large, left without choices? Or people who just don’t have the time/skill/ability to make and pack around three meals a day? Or people who, heaven forbid, like to eat in non-specialty normal restaurants with normal people?
The fact is that I live in a city with a pretty huge, supportive vegetarian population, in the most densely populated neighborhood, and I’m still confronted with this decision. No, I don’t want to start eating meat again. Probably ever. It would make me deeply unhappy to participate in a system that I mostly don’t agree with or like. But the lack of diversity that still present in our food climate–even here in crunchy, green, vegan Seattle–still makes me consider it.