I have always been very extreme when I make a decision about something. A year and a half ago when I first went vegan, I was so inflexible with my diet that it was interfering with my life. I then started letting myself eat some eggs and dairy so I could actually eat out with friends again and not always be the annoying person who couldn’t eat anything. I consider myself a vegetarian and I would say I probably eat vegan at least 90% of the time. I believe vegan food is the healthiest for you but I also believe it should not become an obsession to have to eat 100% vegan ALL the time.
Today something happened that I felt the need to write about. I worked four very quick flights and had no time to get food in between deplaning and boarding, so I was very hungry. The pilots I was working with were two of the nicest guys ever and knew I didn’t have time to get food so they were very kind and went out and bought me a burger. I didn’t even think about it. I just ate it. I don’t eat meat. But in this case I felt as if it would have been the rudest thing ever to reply with “I don’t eat meat” after they went out of their way to do something nice for me.
It’s funny that happened to me today, because yesterday I was just reading an article about Buddhism and Vegetarianism. I am not Buddhist – I am a Christian – but what Buddhism teaches in this article really spoke to me – though mosts Buddhists recommend a vegetarian diet, they believe it’s important to accept food offered to you out of kindness, even if it is meat (unless it was specifically killed just for you.)
Here is a direct quote from the article:
“For example, let’s say you visit your elderly grandmother, whom you have not seen for a long time. You arrive at her home and find that she has cooked what had been your favorite dish when you were a child—stuffed pork chops. She doesn’t do much cooking anymore because her elderly body doesn’t move around the kitchen so well. But it is the dearest wish of her heart to give you something special and watch you dig into those stuffed pork chops the way you used to. She has been looking forward to this for weeks.I say that if you hesitate to eat those pork chops for even a second, you are no Buddhist.”
I know I have turned down my friend’s and family’s food they have cooked for me in the past because it had meat in it. I hated doing it but I felt as if I had to do it to be true to my vegetarian diet. I’m sure it hurt their feelings too.
Today, my views about eating has changed. If I am cooking for myself I will eat vegan, if I am out to eat with friends, I will pick the vegetarian option on the menu. But I think that for now on, if someone specifically cooks me a meal that has meat in it, I will no longer turn it down.
I have seen all the documentaries about how terrible the meat industry is in America. Believe me. I whole heartedly believe eating vegan / vegetarian is the healthiest way to live in our time. But one burger won’t kill you. Consuming meat every now and then is not going to hurt you.
I think this decision comes down to respecting my loved ones who are being kind to me by cooking me a meal or buying me food. In the end, I think kindness is the most important thing.