Is it possible to be a vegetarian and still eat the occasional cheeseburger?

I love cheeseburgers. Like. I LOVE cheeseburgers. I could easily give up chicken, pork, fish, shellfish, and virtually all other meat forms so long as once a month or so I could burry my face into the delicious, juicy, mouth-waterwatering goddess blessing that is a good cheeseburger.

But I feel guilty.

On and off from the age of 17 I have attempted to kick meat out of my life. I would do really well with it for a while but then have some kind of minor life crisis – a breakup, a job loss, backing into a guard rail, etc. – and then I’d fall off the wagon. In these times of high anxiety nothing could calm me like a Big Mac or a Dicks Double Delux could (those of you who are from Seattle know what I’m talking about).

But I really do want to be a vegetarian. Honestly, I want to be a vegan. I respect the lifestyle choice so much and I am aware that if everyone on Earth was a vegan, we would be able to easily feed all the world’s people. And that’s amazing! I am also aware of the effect of livestock on carbon emissions and of what goes on in factory farms – and of what goes on even to animals lucky enough to live on organic, free range farms when they are trucked to the slaughterhouse.

I feel like the most ginormous hypocrite in the world for the fact that I still occasionally eat meat. It’s no longer a regular thing but it still does happen. The other day, for example, I ate a venison pie. It was on a four-wheel driving course and I was the only woman there. The boys were all eating pies and so I ate a pie .. and it was delicious .. but I hate to think of what was involved in getting it to the table.

Some of my other weaknesses are oysters, sardines, and buffalo (I guess I just love weird stuff).

About two years ago I started to (yet again) begin transitioning meat out of my life. I stopped eating it at home but still allowed myself to eat it, if I wanted it, when I went out. For a long time I was happy with that. I was aware that it wasn’t ideal but at least I had lessened my consumption .. and that was (and continues to be) what I recommend for other people. I don’t tell people that they have to become perfect non-chemical, non-GMO, Vegans – it’s just great to substitute meatless, more humane, and more natural choices whenever possible.

And yet I expect more than that of myself. I don’t know if I just have higher expectations for myself than I do for the rest of the world or what, but I am finding myself with a lot of guilt for ever eating meat at all – and yet I really struggle with giving it up. Gahhh!!

What are everyone’s thoughts??

Photo credit – with thanks.

Want to help the environment? Be a little cheap!

To decrease my spending and wasteful ways I have come to appreciate SO MUCH all the free things in life like the radio, the library, free podcasts, and hand holding (aww).

Another thing that I’m learning to love is thrift stores! I still have a slight aversion to buying clothes at thrift stores although I’m starting to get over that. I’ve always, though, been really into them when it comes to furniture (not couches – yuck – but old wooden hutches, book cases, etc). Every single piece of hard furniture that I own was either given to me or purchased at a thrift store – and I have some killer pieces! I’m also really into buying old kitchen stuff from thrift stores – casserole dishes, teapots, china, wine glasses, etc.

I really like the look of sexy, modern pieces mixed with really old, interesting pieces. There is something sort of sterile about a house (or wardrobe) made up completely of brand new stuff. And similarly, someone who hasn’t bought a new item since 1974 is just weird. I think you need a mix.

Also, I have been gifted some unwanted cosmetics/bath goods and clothes, lately (thanks Shaz and Lesh!) and that has been just awesome. If I didn’t constantly throw stuff out (and therefore had stuff I didn’t want) I would throw a clothes swap with my friends. It’d be fun to put on a chick flick, order a pizza, and have everyone throw their old frocks and purses and things in a pile for people to try on.

It all got me thinking – the environmental impact of keeping up with the Jonses’ .. or Kardashians, for that matter – is just huge!

All the new stuff we buy costs energy and resources to make and then has to be packaged in disposable plastic crap, and shipped in big, dirty trucks around the country or world to get to us. Actually, there are so many more costly, energy-zapping, resource-squelching steps than just that. Most things are manufactured in one area (with all the supplies similarly manufactured and trucked into that area) and then shipped somewhere else for labeling, then shipped somewhere else for packaging, then shipped to a storage warehouse, then eventually shipped to a store where you will buy it and then throw it away five minutes later.

OMG we are wasteful!

Imagine what the environmental impact would be if we all acquired 20% of our possessions from “second hand” sources. It’d be massive! I know, I know .. the word “second hand” sucks! I cringe at it myself at but hey, “vintage” is second hand, right! “Antique” is second hand! It can be cool.

So .. my point, what is my point? Ah yes. Free community resources and cheap, used stuff is awesome! It not only helps you get your finances under control but it makes a huge positive environmental impact, too. This probably seems obvious to most of you but I think we could all do with bringing less new crap into our homes.

free love in the animal kingdom

Like most women I have a keen interest in trying to understanding the dynamics of romantic relationships. I have never been particularly lucky in love and in trying to understand the reason for this have dedicated thousands, probably millions, of hours analysing, tearing apart, and seeking desperately to figure out what it is that makes for a lasting, nurturing, and healthy human relationship. As a University student I took a class by evolutionary psychologist Dr. Dave P Barash, author of “The Myth of Monogamy.” Dr. Barash’s class was one of my very favourites over the course of my degree but despite how much I enjoyed it, I did not enjoy the fact that it obliterated any hope I had for discovering in the animal kingdom an example of untarnished, fully-requited, monogamous love.

We’ve all heard stories of animals that “mate for life” – lobsters, swans, ducks, etc (check out “ducks, heartless rapists or evolutionary geniuses” if you are interested in a gigantic rant on this subject). The fact of the matter, though, is that of even the animals who form the strongest pair bonds, there are only a few examples of animals who have not been found to sneak away every once and a while to cheat – to form “EPC’s” or “extra pair copulations”. I learned from Dr. Barash, in fact, that the only species that we know for sure is fully monogamous is a species of tape worm that, at the time of sexual maturity, fuses its genitals to its mate. I suppose the praying mantis could also be considered monogamous as infidelity isn’t possible in a society where females eat the heads of their partners as a post coitus snack – to call that monogamy, though, seems a pretty desperate stretch.

If the quest is to understand human males, I suppose we have to look to primates, our closest relative being of course, the chimpanzee. In primates, interestingly enough, promiscuity of females can be predicted by looking at the testicle size of the males. Chimps have giant balls, the biggest of any primate and twice the size of the average man. To see what I mean, have a look at this post on DailyRandom.

They use these giant balls to produce in excess enough semen to flush out the lingering semen of any males to which their partners may have recently mated. In essence, male chimps have big balls because female chimps are whores. Ouch. To be fair, the males are whores, too though. In fact, chimpanzee society is reminiscent of 1960s style Haight Ashbury free love and males will stop nothing short of screwing a frog for the sake of a decent orgasm (look this up on YouTube if you feel the need to be disturbed for the rest of your life.) As human’s closest living relative, the love lives of chimps have done nothing to give me faith in the possibility of a future loyal and loving partner.

I was relieved slightly to find out about gorillas, a species whose testicles are microscopic in comparison to chimps and whose manhoods swell to a throbbing 1.5 inches in preparation for coitus. Their societies participate in a harem structure centred around a dominant male. The females tend to be extremely loyal and as a result, the male has no need for excessive genatalia. This is by no mean an example of monogamy but it is at least a stable and reliable social structure whereby the females are loyal to their partner and are in return, cared for.

Humans are about mid ranking across the primate testicle spectrum which suggests that our females have a tendency toward fidelity but that males still require a respectable volume of semen to flush out their women on the off chance that they have been acting lately more like a chimps than gorillas. There is significant variation, though, in testicle size amongst individuals of our humble species with some falling more toward the chimpanzee end of the spectrum and others toward the gorilla. Could it be that perhaps those men with large balls come from a genetic lineage of men who would be attracted to more promiscuous women and who, like chimps, would tend to be promiscuous, themselves? And could it be that men of smaller bits and pieces would tend to, like gorillas, attract more loyal women – or perhaps entire harems of loyal women?


This would be a perfect campfire disucssion!