I have finally crossed over- I am going vegetarian. My thinking is that if I am public about it, it will create a form of accountability, which is a good thing.
I have been considering the switch for years. I liked the term flexitarian to refer to my eating habits. I have several cookbooks and a magazine subscription that have taught me a lot about being vegetarian, even as I continued not to be one. I am not going vegan (which is avoiding all animal products), so I'll still eat eggs, dairy, etc.
There are several things I find persuasive about being vegetarian....the health benefits, the environmental benefits and the moral implications. It was the moral implications that finally sent me to this point.
Several years ago, I heard a professor of Christian ethics talk about being vegetarian flowing with her desire to have a consistent ethic of life. So if I value life, this extends to animals as well. That apparently settled into the back of my mind and stayed firmly lodged there, because when I heard a radio program talking about meat eating, it brought this lecture to mind. The radio interviewee made the point that culturally, we vary about what we call food and what we call a pet. Pigs are just as smart as dogs.
I am not a pet person. And I love pork products especially. I could have always lived without beef and poultry. It was ham and bacon that were my sticking points. So when I began to think about eating something as sentient and intelligent as a dog, that started really working on me.
Combined with the fact that I have been focusing on paying close attention to my sin as I have been working through the Ignatian spiritual exercises with my spiritual director, this was the last straw. Every time I think of biting into meat, I think of flesh tearing, and life being destroyed.
I am still not decided about sea food though. There is not the same level of sentience involved, and that is what I am finding most persuasive.
I actually thought that I would always toy with the idea, but never actually be able to do it. It feels like an act of grace to be in this place....that the Spirit is empowering me to make this choice.