On the weekend of America’s vaginal birthing, I would like to discuss something blatantly un-American and generally immoral: vegans. I just spent a week with my sister’s family in Seattle, who are all vegan, and I just don’t get it. I don’t necessarily mind the vegan diet – if you want to eat nuts and berries, knock yourself out. It’s the soapbox and sheer idiocy of vegans that makes me want to tear out my now brittle and malnourished hair. The reasons that humans eat meat are many; but to keep it simple, we have evolved our incisors, canines and molars for the purpose of chewing and breaking down meat, plants, and anything else we decide to mow. Like delicious, preferably rare and bloody sinew. Did I mention delicious?
I must admit something to you all: I was a vegetarian for 8 years. However, I have been liberated, as the spell was broken by the good doctor’s introduction of a “Full English breakfast” to my particularly rough hangover one fateful afternoon. I will never forget the first smell and taste of real (read: not streaky) bacon.
I simultaneously felt angry that my kosher upbringing had not allowed such a clearly amazing and necessary sustenance, and afraid that my powerful and guilt-inducing mother would cosmically know that I had veered from her instruction. But I threw caution to the wind. Because bacon.
During the 8 years of my vegetarianism, I remember having some moral sentiment, which is now only a whisper covered by the strong suggesting smells of real barbeque. I didn’t want to eat anything with a face, animals on farms are mistreated, I don’t want to fill my body with second-hand injected hormones and antibiotics that make those chicken breasts so full and juicy…the list goes on. These sentiments are not all false and unwarranted; I like to know where my meat/poultry/eggs/dairy comes from; I have looked up the farm from which I buy my eggs; the good doctor knows that when possible (read: convenient), it’s better to buy organic and grass-fed meat. But I do know that in the end, it’s all really the same. It’s just nice to have nicer meat whenever possible, as the pink slime stuff I could do without. However, the alternative is NOT this:
The good doctor hails from a part of the world where, living so close to farms, locally produced (read: less than 10 miles away) meat and vegetables are available everywhere from roadside stalls at farms to butchers shops and greengrocers. Hell, even the English national supermarket chains sell local produce, and everything is labeled with the details of the farm it came from. If you live anywhere other than a major city center, sourcing good local food is not the preserve of the rich and idle, it is how everybody exists. No extra time and effort is required. So, you don’t need to go vegan or vegetarian to eat a healthy diet – you just have to be resourceful. Or, eat whatever you damn well please and leave the rest of us in peace. Either mantra works.
Now, back to what is wrong with vegans. My sister’s entire family is vegan. I repeat – the entire family, including her children, but not the dog, despite the fact that I will never understand how they justify the hypocrisy of owning and feeding a domesticated bred animal, but I digress. My sister’s husband is a doctor and Iron Man enthusiast, so you would hope that you could trust his medical opinion in these matters, and might even assume that he eats enough calories to cover training. However, he is a surprisingly illogical individual, and it all manages to come out when he talks about his vegan diet and why it is so important for him and his family. This conversation usually traverses dangerous territory and travels to talk of why it should be everyone’s way of life – including mine, despite my actual food limitations from food allergies, and my mother’s, who has type 2 diabetes but whom he is trying to convince would be cured with a low-fat, raw vegan diet. After this conversation, my mother and I laughed maniacally while devouring 3 different kinds of cheese. Lesson be learned – never try to tell a woman in my family what to do.
My sister’s husband, who shall hitherto be known as ‘the bad doctor,’ seems to ignore some basic, scientific facts. A vegan diet is very bad for growing children. Research has shown that children growing up on a vegan diet suffer medical issues like early onset diabetes and intensely painful dental problems, including a higher rate of cavities. For my niece, who consumes a lot of soy products and essentially lives on a diet of noodles, weight gain and early puberty linger as health risks. Regardless of all of this actual research, the bad doctor touts that he has never felt better, despite looking like a gaunt former version of himself. My sister ignores all of the research and says that since she has stopped eating oil, she feels amazing and her pre-diabetes [read: former gestational diabetes, which does not always become diabetes but rather just disappears with the birth of said previously gestated child] has been completely thwarted by her vegan diet.
I overheard a woman in the farmer’s market earlier that day ask her probably 6 year old child: “You see that bag? It’s made of a cow. How do you feel about that?” The good doctor retorted “wow, cows are REALLY useful!”
And then the torture came. They subjected us all to “Meatless Sunday.” The good doctor and I knew that we needed to eat a meal prior to whatever oxymoronic feast we were about to be coerced into. While my sister was cooking, the good doctor and I noticed that there were a great number of things that they were doing that went directly against their previously proselytized sentiments. They claimed to be oil-free, but were cooking with foods that had oil in them – like mustard and nuts – and just didn’t know any better. My sister also mentioned that they are essentially low-carb and sugar-free, all while I watch her pour maple syrup and molasses into a pot of beans. I also watched my sister eat a popsicle that she said was healthy and sugar-free: it only contained fruit juice and evaporated cane syrup! At which point, the good doctor and I looked at each other, and he said, “she does know that both of those things are pure sugar, right?” WRONG, she had no fucking clue. Then she mentioned not knowing why she had so much energy and felt so happy, but we all recognize this phenomenon as a typical toddler’s sugar rush, and left her to her own devices. After dinner, while the bean burgers were stewing up a fart hurricane inside of all of us, we were offered ice cream. Oh, thank the Lord and pass the ammunition, we might get something that tastes like something. I then saw the bad doctor pull out frozen bananas, enter them into a machine that pureed them into a bastardized form of “ice cream,” and watched the vegan family scarf it up while telling us it tasted just like ice cream. We had entered a cult, and knew we had to leave slowly and safely from the premises before being force-fed frozen banana diarrhea. My father mentioned that the good doctor and I needed to pack, my mother feigned sleepiness, and we all exited out the front door while the children of the non-GMO corn stuffed frozen banana slime down their hungry gullets.
So, in honor of America, eat meat this weekend. Don’t be the guy that tries to convince everyone that his tofu hot dog actually tastes like anything other than a smoky rubber penis. And just remember, you are not benefiting your health or the environment by travelling umpteen number of miles every day in your SUV just for the sole benefit of procuring the elements of a nutritionally deficient and restricted diet to foist upon everyone you come into contact with. If we see you, we will stuff your mouth with bacon until you shut up. Or pass out, whichever comes first. This is Kitty and the good doctor, signing out.