Live Long and Prosper

That would be unwise.

–Spock

A few posts ago I promised to address the horrifying statement I made that vegetarianism (and even more veganism) is immoral.

I know that’s very hard to swallow. After all, nothing could be clearer than that our media and society views vegetarianism as a good thing, a laudable thing; let’s just say it: a righteous thing. Other ways of eating may be more or less acceptable, but only one way is actually morally right.

I recently read some articles decrying the “fad” of gluten-free, and I find them interesting in light of vegetarianism. Now I also don’t think people should forgo all wheat while still stuffing themselves with sugar, corn, low fat garbage, and every wheat-substitute carbohydrate on the planet. None of that is good for you.

And I also have to get behind the reporter who complained about people being “gluten-free” when they order the meal but then washing it down with beer.

Pro Tip: If beer is made from grain…guess what it contains?

However, to each his own.

These articles are interesting in that they scream and cry about how these gluten-free people are making it tough for the “tiny handful” of real celiac sufferers in the country. Want to know why? Because servers at restaurants get tired of people wanting the buns removed from their burgers for “no reason,” (translation: reason the servers don’t like), so the servers therefore cannot be expected to care enough to try hard to accommodate a real celiac.

Thus celiac sufferers get sick when they eat out because servers don’t think it’s serious to keep gluten away from them, and it’s your fault you gluten-free moron, you. Unless you’ve ponied up a couple thousand for medical tests your insurance carrier won’t cover to prove you have full blown celiac disease, the media would like you know that you are an ignorant, fad-following dolt who ought to be eating wheat like everyone else. How dare you.

It doesn’t matter if when you stopped eating wheat your joints stopped hurting and you lost weight and you got control of your emotions and your digestion improved and your IBS went away and your skin rashes cleared up and you had more stamina and clarity of thought at work and weren’t tired so often. That’s all in your head. It must be, for unlike in the past, human beings are no longer able to notice that a behavior or food might be bad for them based on how they feel. Now we must rely entirely on professional medical tests.

But the really irritating thing about these articles is that you never read anything like them about vegetarians or vegans. You never read in mainstream media sources about how awful it is that these people are cutting out a whole food group!!!!!!!!! from their diet. But that’s the cry you hear about gluten-free people all the time; I’ve read it a number of times in recent weeks.

Yet most of the people I know who identify as “gluten-free” (as opposed to Paleo or Primal or low-carb) are not cutting out any whole food group from their diet at all. They eat rice cakes, and popcorn, and gluten-free bread, and all kinds of grains. They just don’t eat wheat, or sometimes any gluten-containing grain. Yet somehow gluten has become a “whole food group” to the crazed reporters.

Meanwhile, vegetarians are actually cutting out a whole food group, but you never read articles about them like the ones you read about gluten-free. Oh no. Vegetarianism is “clean eating!” You might see an article warning vegetarians about the importance of getting enough protein and calcium, or the dangers of going blindly into vegetarianism; but you never see articles that treat vegetarians as if they’re just completely ignorant about nutrition and health–a common thing to read about anyone going gluten-free these days. (And if you want to see a pop-health reporter blow his top completely, go Paleo. Then you actually are cutting out all grains, and you might as well just go out and start shooting puppies in the street.)

Let’s get back to our point, shall we? You’re distracting me.

For the next little while, we’re going to look at vegetarianism. And we aren’t going be snarky and sarcastic. If you’ve noticed snark already, let me assure you it is aimed at the double-standard-holding, pop-health writers of “health” articles. It is not aimed at vegetarians.

I want to address the real vegetarians. There are gluten-free eaters who know nothing whatsoever about gluten and only eat that way because Rain’s cousin’s yoga instructor told her it would balance her inner humors. And yes, there are also vegetarians who haven’t the slightest idea why they are vegetarian except that somehow, some way, it’s “Better.” “Cleaner.” Some celebrity does it, so they should to.

But I’m not talking to any of those people. I want to address the people who actually care about what they eat, and if you’re not vegetarian to equip you to have a serious and helpful conversation on the subject.

There are vegetarians who genuinely believe that it’s the healthiest way to eat. They want to be the best they can; they want to avoid disease; they want to prolong their lives. Will vegetarianism actually do that, or are they being misled?

Then there are vegetarians who may or may not think it’s healthy to eat no meat, but they think it’s best for the earth and the environment, and the only way to feed everyone. Shouldn’t they be willing to sacrifice their own preferences for a bacon cheeseburger so that humankind can prosper, our world can stay clean, and we can feed our children? This is a laudable goal. Can they accomplish it through eschewing meat, or is it possible they are actually making the problem worse?

Finally, there are those who are vegetarians, and even more so vegans, because they abhor death and violence. There are those who genuinely, however fitfully at times, want to live a life that does not cost the life of another creature to maintain. And again, I applaud that desire. In fact, if you couldn’t care less what happens to any of God’s creatures just so long as you get yours, you are the one with the problem: not the vegetarian.

But is it possible for humans to live without something else dying in this world we find ourselves in? And if it’s not, what’s actually the best way to preserve and respect life?

I don’t have all the definitive answers to all these questions; but we can get some answers. Next time we’ll look at the first question: is vegetarianism actually a healthy way to eat?

 

Plato says he’s hungry

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