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Food to nourish the soul as well as feast the belly

Veges (photo by Noël Zia Lee)

In a comment Larry pointed to the site with Paul McCartney’s impassioned video advocating a Vegan lifestyle to avoid cruelty to animals. While I respect the desires of Larry and Paul to avoid hurting fellow creatures, and to some extent share it, I am speciesist. I can see no reason to accord the same protection and care to other species that we do to our own. “Don’t eat a fish, fish have (some small measure of) personality” does not work for me, sorry! And showing selected clips of the worst atrocities of the US meat industry did not convince me either.

So I then flipped to the recipes, that’s surely where I can use some help. And got a shock, under the heading Breakfast the top recipes offered a collection of dodgy meat substitutes making wannabe carnivore dishes like ‘Eggs’ Benedict; ‘Bacon,’ Potato, and Green Onion Frittata; ‘Chicken’ With Artichokes and Olives; ‘Eggnog’ Pancakes. The first is described as:

Baked tofu, eggless hollandaise sauce, veggie bacon, and fresh tomatoes top a toasted English muffin for a delicious vegan version of a French classic.

The only thing that’s real here are the tomatoes and the muffin. The rest is faux meat. The thought that the best “Vegetarian” can offer is a collection of wannabe carnivore dishes is a real turn off. I want real, tasty, nourishing food, food to nourish the soul as well as feast the belly! And “tofu, eggless hollandaise sauce, veggie bacon” ain’t it :(

Maybe if you are a vegan, or the friend of a vegan, who has a recipe that fits the requirements below you would like to enter it in my vegan recipe competition and help me out?

Repentant carnivores? or Is it Christian to eat meat?

Stuffed tomatoes by hlkljgk

I’m increasingly concerned about the issue of meat-eating among Western Christians. The statistics seem quite clear, on a globe with limited resources, producing a meat diet takes far more of those limited resources than producing a Vegetarian diet, and the difference for Vegan meals are even more pronounced.

A person following a low-fat vegetarian diet, for example, will need less than half (0.44) an acre per person per year to produce their food,” said Christian Peters, M.S. ’02, Ph.D. ’07, a Cornell postdoctoral associate in crop and soil sciences and lead author of the research. “A high-fat diet with a lot of meat, on the other hand, needs 2.11 acres.”

It is as simple as that, the globe cannot sustain the carnivorous lifestyle we Westerners take for granted. No understanding of Christianity that I can recognise can accept that my diet choice and eating pleasure causes others to starve.

Now, at this point I need to clarify a few things:

  • When I talk about unrepentant carnivores I do not mean merely people who sometimes eat meat, by carnivore I mean people who eat meat more than 7 times a week on average. (But yes, some ham or meat paste, or tuna in a sandwich at lunch does count!)
  • By Repentant Carnivore I mean someone who recognises that the carnivorous lifestyle of most Westerners is sinful and who is seeking to change.
  • I am not a Vegetarian – I eat meat of all kinds (almost, horse is a delicacy, rat is pretty tasty, croc delicious, but I’m not over fond of tripe ;)

But Jesus ate meat! Of course he did, and fish. Peter was a fisherman, and Jesus apparently a better one, though he may have had supernatural help ;) But Jesus, Peter and even most relatively affluent people in the Ancient world did not eat meat more than once a day, most of them only ate meat and fish on high-days and holidays, or when someone in the whanau (approximately extended family) or village had killed a beast.

Even though a moderate-fat plant-based diet with a little meat and dairy (red footprint) uses more land than the all-vegetarian diet (far left footprint), it feeds more people (is more efficient) because it uses more pasture land, which is widely available. (Credit: Illustration by Steve Rokitka/University Communications)

That sort of diet (occasional meat eating) is not unsustainable, it makes good use of land that is good for pasture but less good for crops and may have lower demands on scarce resources than Vegetarian or Vegan ones do (see Diet With A Little Meat Uses Less Land Than Many Vegetarian Diets from which the quote above and the graphic are taken).

Conclusions:

Western Christians must become “Repentant Carnivores”, we should reduce our meat (including fish, fowl and even eggs and dairy – for Vegetarians are merely wolves in sheep’s clothing, semi-carnivores) considerably.

Having lived the carnivourous lifestyle for years, with four children who (apart for Nathan for a couple of teenage years) demand meat, and complain when fed beans, I’ve regularly cooked the carnivorous way. I now, the children having left home (except Sarah who can I guess cook the meaty meals ;) am free to repent, and plan over the coming months to work towards a low meat mixed diet, with only a meal or two per day (on average) using meat, fish, fowl, cheese or eggs.