The time is 10:05am. I recently ventured into the realm of vegetarianism, more specifically, pescetarianism. I did this for completely selfish reasons at first, because I wanted to lose some weight and I reasoned that since i don't know any fat vegetarians, switching to a vegetarian diet would be an effective way to shed some pounds. I also knew that giving up meat would reduce my protein intake significantly. My comprimise was to become a pescitarian coosing to only eat fish and eliminating red meat, pork and poultry from my diet. I also love sashimi and figured this would be an effective (albeit expensive) substitution for protein intake normally acquired from chicken, pork and beef. I added to this diet the caveat that everything i ate had to be with chopsticks, i rationalized that since i wasn't an expert at eating with chopsticks this would slow my eating process down and i knew that was also a big contributor to weight loss. I was on this diet for two months. And it worked.... sort of. At first I shed pounds like a madman, I lost almost 20 pounds in a month. Im not entirely sure that this was a result of my shift in the type of foods eaten or if it was in response to the type of mindset I was constantly reminding myself of and making overall better choices in my eating habits and lifestyle. Probably a combination of both. But after about a month I started noticing something else. three things actually:
First, I was starting to feel.... I wouldn't call it sick, but i wouldn't call it completely healthy ether. I started getting headaches almost daily. My energy levels were noticeably decreasing and i had these abnormal mood swings (abnormal even for me). Plus, and perhaps "worse" than all of that, I stopped losing weight. In fact I gained back 5-8 pounds. The problem was that even though I was eating fish, and beans and soy and all that other hippie crap, I was not getting nearly enough protein every day to sustain a mildly active lifestyle. I noticed other things as well, like my fingernails were becoming abnormal in a way that i cant really explain in words, or at least i dont think its worth the words to do so.
My diet everyday consisted basically of breads, pasta, red bull, cigarettes and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And as awesome as all of those things are... and they are awesome, they were not providing a sufficient amount of protein to my body and in turn my body started using the protein reserves in my muscles to compensate. This is all self diagnosed mind you, but lets be honest, today general practitioners have been adequately replaced by an internet connection and honest self assessment.
the second thing i realized is that I was continuing this lifestyle in some small part because I thought it made me a better person. And when i really took an honest look at this emotion I realized that it wasn't the kind of euphorian idealistic image of a humanitarian not eating meat because they think its making the world a better place rationale... although that's what i tried to convince myself of. It was far more an conceptualized image of self-righteousness as compared to others. Basically, I thought i was better than everyone else who did eat meat, and I wanted people to believe that to be the case. But this comparison and the values given to these life choices were and are completely unfounded. In fact it only showed as proof that I valued the image of myself in the eyes of others, more than how I felt about myself and the person I knew I was. It was my way of saying that i am better than you and here is some tangible proof.
But being a vegetarian, at least when you love the act of eating really great foods regardless of their origin, was being dishonest to myself. I was creating a value that didn't exist and applying it to my personality. I do not believe that eating meat is immoral, every piece of meat that I eat comes from an animal who only existed so that they would serve as food for me to enjoy. Many others benefit along the process through their exploitation of this enjoyment but I am a willing participant, as are they. To say that these animals lives are displeasurable or lives not worth living flies in the face of everything I know to be true. There is a value to all life, and its usually far less significant that we think, sometimes its only purpose is to be enslaved and then butchered for limited and distant enjoyment by some fat guy in suburbia. That animals very existence is predicated upon the idea that it would serve a higher purpose, beyond any sort of intrinsic measurement. I think this is also the way humans existence should be accurately viewed, but that's a post for another day. So the idea that i was somehow better than anyone else by being a vegetarian was a false construct that I created which simply didn't hold up, and its realization meant that i wouldnt even benefit from this false sense of superiority.
Lastly, I no longer enjoyed the act of eating. I found myself craving foods like fried chicken and hamburgers (man how i missed hamburgers). Long ago I realized that there are only two basic truths driving the actions of sentient beings, namely the quest for physical and emotional comfort, and part of that physical comfort was enjoying the act of eating foods I liked. At the most basic level humans are just biological robots wandering around looking for our next meal or thing to stick our dicks in with random things done in between to kill time. So why would I want to go through my entire life not taking pleasure from that basic human instinct. I was making a conscientious decision to remove that enjoyment by finding mostly inadequate replacements that would only serve to keep me from a healthy physical state. And if the reasons for doing so were ones born of rationale and empirical assessment and the tradeoffs that resulted I would be fine with that, but that is simply not the case. The time is 11:08am