We’ve had a comment on the discussion of ‘the hunger illusion’ in our earlier blog entry; that a transgression be viewed as a way of giving your body time, and thus not guilt-inducing. We all agree that feeling guilty is counter-productive to any constructive progress – but it’s so human! There could also be a more nuanced discussion here on the difference between an episodic feeling of guilt for a single transgression vs shame-based beliefs of oneself as a chronic reaction. Our meat pledge volunteer fell off the wagon in the third week of the pledge period but she wrote with irony:
I finally succumbed, feeling like an adultress while I guiltily ate my deep-fried special with chips. It was expensive and it had been sitting there a long time. Tough, dried out; it did not taste as good as it looked, reaffirming the moral of the tawdry affair story. If only I could actually have the guilty pleasure that’s usually connected with breaking one’s pledge or moral code!
But the biggest disagreement around the meat pledge is not about how the participants feel, but about whether meat is necessary for survival or whether humans as a rule can thrive without it. Lobbyists for the meat industry claim that meat is necessary for all people and that it’s even dangerous to eat too little of it. Colin Sage, chairman of the Cork Food Policy Council has voiced concerns about the health and safety of a long-term rigorously vegan diet, and Marily Mehlmann, winner of the Rachel Carson award in 2011 has written; ‘not everyone can survive and thrive on a meat-free diet, no matter how much time they give it’. On the other hand, vegan activists like James O’Donovan and Bronwyn Slater argue that although one must have a greater nutritional awareness, it’s ‘easy’ to meet your protein and other nutritional needs as a vegan.
Let’s let a few other voices be heard from among our particpants while in their third pledge week. Nicholas is a long-distance runner whose pledge is cutting down from 1500 grams to 800 grams of meat weekly (with unlimited fish and dairy), and he has met with incredulous reactions from his friends and fellow runners in the club:
I feel the same amount of energy in my sports. I am still able to eat a lot but don’t get the bloated, tired feeling I’ve had when eating too much meat. Other extreme sports people tell me that meat is necessary for us. As I not have felt any difference in my sports performance I do not agree.
We also wrote that Jake longed for the meat dishes that he saw displayed, but in his third pledge week he writes that in general he doesn’t feel a lack of anything:
I suppose it is not that difficult avoiding meat in most situations, especially not, when eating fish is an alternative.
What is your opinion; is meat a natural human necessity, or an out-dated and problematic luxury item? Write your comments here on Meaty Matters, and we promise they will be discussed!