They say the first step is admitting you have a problem, acknowledging that you’ve lost control.
So, not to belittle anyone with an alcohol/drug/sex/food addiction…I can’t stop eating hamburgers. Not just hamburgers. Reubens, pulled pork sandwiches, chicken salad on baguettes. Hamburgers, I guess, were just the gateway meat. For a while I was deluding myself. Thinking I was in the driver’s seat. I rarely dabble in steak or other more serious roasts. I never ate meat for breakfast. I didn’t eat as much as some of my friends.
But the other warning signs were there. I was eating meat alone. I was eating to get stuffed. And not just on Thanksgiving. I’d eat meat for days at a time.
So, at this point that metaphor is running pretty thin. But the point remains. I can’t stop eating meat. And I know it’s not great. For my body. For the environment. For the animals that get meat-ed. I’ve read statistics. Or, people have told me about statistics. Or, I assume there are statistics. Heart disease. Cruelty. Havoc wreaked on the earth by methane and other animal waste. But, like, hamburgers taste so good, you know?
Here’s the dilemma. How do I begin to put the intellectual concept of good over my direct sensory input? Do I just immerse myself in data until it becomes reflexive and visceral? Do I train myself to ignore physical pleasure and live according to philosophical precepts? Do I stop writing rhetorical and vaguely masturbatory blog posts? I don’t know. I don’t have any answers.
And how much is enough? Cutting out red meat? Cutting out white meat? Fish? Eggs? Dairy? Cooked food? Food shaped like an animal? Could I eat a carnivorous plant? Is that ethical? Would it be delicious?
I think, empirically, any cutback is a good and valid choice. And full on vegetarianism and veganism seem like a lot to jump into right away. I have friends who have quit drinking and started smoking a lot more, and I worry that’s what I might be like. Like, I’ll cut out turkey clubs, but my pizza intake will skyrocket. So I think what I’ll probably do is wait until my birthday (January 15th) and then cut out red and white meat for a month. Then reevaluate. See whether I still have a problem with my consumption habits.
But, as they say, if you start thinking about whether you have a problem, that’s a sign that you have a problem.