Why I don't eat meat anymore

I used to eat meat a lot. Before I came travelling, it was the focal point of every meal – and I didn’t really see an alternative.

The thing that put me off vegetarianism was that I believed, wrongly, that a meal devoid of meat, was no meal at all. If a meal is all vegetables and pulses, where’s the action? Who’s playing the lead role on a plate full of supporting actors? Potatoes go great with beef, rice with chicken, pork with pie; but alone, they are the roof of a house with no foundations.

I was ignorant.

I’ve learned that the desire to have meat with your food, is really just a sign of ineptitude in the kitchen. Now, I’m not making out to be some star chef – far from it – nor am I suggesting that those who cook with meat are poor chefs. I’m just alluding to the fact that meat is not necessary. It is not crucial to the sake of a dish.
I haven’t eaten meat in three months, and not once have I felt unsatisfied; my stomach never communicating that it was unfulfilled.

Being a meat eater stems from lack of education, and the ignorance bred from normality.
Sure, I’d always cared for the environment – meat is the number one way of increasing your carbon footprint – but to actually act upon this, to exclude all things animal from my diet; it seemed like an unobtainable goal.
How was I to get enough protein? How was I to get excited for my meals? We’re carnivores by nature, right? – I’m obligated to fulfil the role of my canines.

Being in Asia for the past three months, I’ve finally realised it really is possible to change; to release the beef, to ditch the fish, to decline the swine. By being exposed to how many magical ways you can boil a potato, awakening to a whole new world of spices and seeing that everyone is happy and healthy – we really just don’t need meat.

Another issue is the dissociation from the meat we get from the packet, and the distressed animal that it came from.
Something that, unfortunately, some of us find difficult to swallow – or just lack entirely – is empathy. To care about animals can be seen as being overly sensitive; the word vegan connotes flower power and unshaved armpits.
Its simply an inconvienience to entertain the idea, that the bacon with our breakfast came from a real-life, breathing pig; with an emotional capacity to be scared, and a nervous system to allow pain.
So we label, lambaste and distance ourselves – hiding the truth under ridiculous stigmas and assumptions – in order to justify our ignorance and maintain our apathy. We don’t need to confront our selfishness this way.
But, when we see that it is possible to enjoy a meal devoid of meat, and we allow ourselves to question man’s dominion over all others; killing for our dinner just becomes an ungrounded source of suffering.

It really just doesn’t make sense to me anymore, continuing to consume like the dinosaur I was three months ago. Our taste buds have developed enough to appreciate food without flesh, and our brains can comprehend feeling for life other than a human.
We can still enjoy our grub, we just don’t have to enjoy at the expense of anything else.