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Vegetarian

Posted on Saturday, February 4th, 2006

Dave!The fact that I am vegetarian is a source of curiosity for many people. I suppose this is mostly because I am not a "militant" vegetarian who is hell-bent on making everybody else a vegetarian too. It's a choice I made for myself, and I don't force my dietary habits on other people. Since many vegetarians do feel the need to preach their views, this makes me a bit of an anomaly.

I first flirted with vegetarianism 20 years ago as a New Year's resolution in 1986. I only really liked hamburgers, bacon and pepperoni growing up anyway, and so it seemed like an easy step to take. Unfortunately, the local burger joints kept tempting me back to the life of a carnivore, and I never made it more than three months at a time. Come Thanksgiving, I had given up completely, because I wanted a slice of dead turkey pretty bad.

Fast-forward a year-and-a-half. I was dating a girl who was a vegetarian. She was very vocal about animal rights, and made compelling arguments against eating animals. After a couple weeks of pestering, I finally kicked the meat habit on Earth Day, March 1988, because my girlfriend promised to make it worth my while. And while she lived up to her promise, we only lasted another couple weeks before breaking up.

But the diet has stuck ever since.

Part of it is for health reasons, but mostly it's because I can't make the leap from this...

Dave Vegetarian

To this...

Dave Vegetarian

And I have to wonder how many other people would continue to eat meat if they had to slaughter it themselves. It's easy to become detached from where meat really comes from when it comes so nicely packaged at the supermarket. I also wonder if people would be willing to pay the price to eat meat if the US government were to stop subsidizing the industry. Without billions in taxpayer dollars, a hamburger would cost around $14.00... would people be willing to pay it when suddenly a veggie burger was so cheap by comparison?

Anyway, vegetarianism fits neatly into my Buddhist way of thinking, so I am quite happy to stay the course. And while I am (unfortunately) still eating unfertilized eggs, milk, cheese, and other dairy, I can safely say that I won't be eating meat ever again. I seem to be much healthier because of it, and am happy to contribute to a diet that's not destroying the planet.

So while I don't begrudge people who choose to eat dead animals, eating less meat or becoming a vegetarian is easier than ever. Why not give meat-free options a chance next time you're at the grocery store or eating at a restaurant... you might be surprised.

On the other hand... boy do I miss pepperoni pizza.


Categories: DaveToons 2006, Food 2006Click To It: Permalink
   

Comments

  1. Annette says:

    I’ve never understood how vegetarians get enough protein. Great gobs of cheese don’t appeal to me. Seems like you’d have to try a whole lot harder to get that protein in. Living as I do in Nebraska, I have to say, there’s nothing so delicious as a corn-fed medium rare beef filet mignon, when one dines out. I rarely eat hamburger… I eat mostly chicken, and some fish. Eggs are OK, not in large quantities tho. Veggie pizza, mmmm…good! Nice graphic, Dave… looks like you could go into the sausage making biz… bleh!

  2. Naomi says:

    I’m reformed. I was a vegetarian for nearly all of the ’90′s–something about a burger at 2 in the morning though…

    (Still laughing hystericaly at the pix.)

  3. MRKisThatKid says:

    Do you still eat fish? I think i would miss sea-food more than I would beef and its butchered friends.

  4. Dave2 says:

    Protein needs are easy to achieve with whole grains, beans, and vegetables in your diet. It is a total myth that meat protein is required to be healthy… on the contrary, studies have shown that excess animal proteins are linked to kidney disease and osteoporosis.

    Burgers I can deal without, because veggie options are delicious and plentiful. I have found no good substitute for pepperoni, however… and bacon substitutes are only somewhat satisfying.

    I do not eat fish. I have never liked it, and seafood is a terrible health risk. Water toxins are absorbed by fish and cause sickness and death in hundreds of thousands of people annually.

  5. sandra says:

    I was actually a vegetarian for about five years — started as a bet with my brother, stuck because I felt good…and ended when I went overseas and encountered a lot of stuff I wanted to try, which didn’t fall into the non-meat category. It’s weird, though — I’ve tried giving it up again since, and I can’t seem to do it again. So while I don’t eat meat with every meal — or every day, even — my days as truly animal-friendly appear to be done…at least for now.

  6. brando says:

    hahahahaha! great illustrations!

  7. Jack says:

    Do you check for cochineal extract in your food as well? Got to love those crushed insects.

  8. Dave2 says:

    Until the animals attack Sandra… I’m sure their revenge is nigh!

    GAH!! A CLOWN! A SCARY, SCARY, CLOWN!!

    I do my best to look for ingredients like rennet and colorants which are animal-based, and don’t purchase foods which have them. But at restaurants I just do the best I can to ensure no meat products are used, and hope for the best. Otherwise, I’d never be able to eat out.

  9. Cavan says:

    My girlfriend’s one of your ilk – a non-militant vegetarian – so I’ve had my fair share of vegetarian friendly foods.

    Although there’s no danger of me going green (I don’t do red meat except for burgers and on pizza, but I love chicken), I actually enjoy tofu and have had a lot of tasty veggie burgers.

    Maybe I’ll suggest to her that I’ll become a vegetarian if, as you say, she make it worth my while. Then again, judging by your post, that path is fraught with bad relationship karma.

    (Now I’m off to have my Mesquite Chicken sub from Quizno’s…mmmm)

  10. James says:

    Love the chicken head…but where did the fish go? He didn’t seem to make it into the ‘after’ picture.

    I kind of like the idea of vegetarianism, yet a part of me says I would miss ribs too much, and that is about as red as you can get.

  11. Dave2 says:

    My girlfriend left to take a job and we decided not to pursue a long-distance relationship.

    All animals (or pieces thereof) made it into the final shot… I was careful of that much. The fish (in two pieces) is in the bottom-right corner.

  12. Dude, can you say veggie pepperoni? Hilarious toons!

  13. Dave2 says:

    どうもありがとうございました!
    Veggie pepperoni is the worst. I’ve tried every brand I can find, and they all suck. None of them get crispy edges on pizza and NONE of them have that wonderful mix of meat/fat texture that I remember from real pepperoni. They all taste mooshy and boring.

    If I ever fall off the vegetarian bandwagon, it’ll be a nice slice of pepperoni pizza that does me in. :-(

  14. Toni says:

    I used to date a somewhat militant vegan. Every now and then he’d mass email articles about the evils of meat and what they do to the poor animals yadda yadda. And when the topic of food would come up, he would always talk in this snooty, condescending tone to me and to other meat eaters, like he’s so much better than us for being vegan.

    I totally respected his eating habits. I myself could never do it, and I have to admit that he did lose a lot of weight when he went vegan. However, I couldn’t tolerate his high and mighty attitude and his attempts to convert me and others. I mean, I’m Catholic, but I didn’t try to get him to go to church or tell him that he was going to hell if he didn’t, ya know?

  15. Belinda says:

    Egads. Someone does make a good veg pepperoni (to me, anyway), and I can’t think of the name. I can see the package in my mind…drat.

    I go on and off the veggie wagon from time to time for health reasons, and always feel better “on.” But I always slip back off. Our dogs get a raw meat diet, though, and it’s fascinating to me how many vegetarian dog-owners I know who will do this for their dogs. Species-appropriate, and all that.

    Don’t most people get too much protein, anyway, to the extent that our filtering organs have trouble processing it?

  16. adena says:

    Yeah, but is pepperoni REALLY meat?? I have my doubts….

  17. *cotton says:

    you might want to check out this post by Maddox. He makes a pretty compelling arguement against vegetarianism.

    http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=grill

  18. karla says:

    I’ve never been a vegetarian, but I have found myself going for days (in the US) without meat and not really even noticing. I think I could do well not eating red meat or pork. I didn’t eat pork for years, just didn’t like it. Then I moved to Europe where it’s PORKORAMA, you just can’t avoid the pork and ham, and so now i eat it because it’s sometimes the only thing available of an affordable meat nature. Veggies and stuff are kind of expensive here. It’s cheaper to have pasta carbonara than a salad.

    Chicken, though, I gots to have the chickens. My parents raised and killed their own for a while, so I know what it entails. One night we ate “Featerfoot”, Dad’s favorite, for dinner. It was sad, but he was yummy.

  19. karla says:

    I’ve never been a vegetarian, but I have found myself going for days (in the US) without meat and not really even noticing. I think I could do well not eating red meat or pork. I didn’t eat pork for years, just didn’t like it. Then I moved to Europe where it’s PORKORAMA, you just can’t avoid the pork and ham, and so now i eat it because it’s sometimes the only thing available of an affordable meat nature. Veggies and stuff are kind of expensive here. It’s cheaper to have pasta carbonara than a salad.

    Chicken, though, I gots to have the chickens. My parents raised and killed their own for a while, so I know what it entails. One night we ate “Featherfoot”, Dad’s favorite, for dinner. It was sad, but he was yummy.

  20. MRKisThatKid says:

    Haha if you re-translate that thank you too many times it ends up “That meaning should be verified,” Whhaaa? Who was it to anyway?

  21. Neil says:

    This is a big surprise. You don’t look like a vegetarian. But I’m not that impressed. It’s almost too easy nowadays. It’s like collecting baseball cards. You used to have to go to conventions. Now you just buy it on E-bay. Vegetarians used to have nothing to eat except wheat-grass. Now supermarkets have whole selections of fake bacon made from tofu and tempeh. Damn, we all should be vegetarians. I even like those Gardenburgers.

  22. Dave2 says:

    Militant vegetarian/vegan persons scare me, Toni. It’s one thing to express your opinion, it’s quite another to attack people because their opinion differs from yours. I am expecting hate-mails any minute now because I still eat dairy.

    I’ve tried every new pepperoni substitute that comes out, Belinda… they just don’t work out for me. Some have pretty good taste, but none have the proper texture. Meat or no meat, me loves the pepperoni, Adena!

    Maddox doesn’t post anything new for months at a time, *Cotton… probably because all the meat he eats is filled with so many steroids and chemicals that he’s too sick to write. I fully accept the fact, however, that some creatures are killed as a byproduct of farming… yet, as I mentioned, I am vegetarian for health and ecological reasons too. Not only that, but at least the animals killed by wheat threshers aren’t pinned in tiny cages and could actually enjoy life before dying! :-)

    Chick… chick… chicken! I hope Mr. Featherfoot didn’t come back as a vengeful chicken spirit and haunt you, Karla. GO TO THE LIGHT MR. FEATHERFOOT! GO TO THE LIGHT!

    The Japanese “thank you” was to Thomas Webb, MRK… who is talented enough to not only speak Japanese, but write it as well. His blog is dual-language, which impresses the heck out of me. I studied Kanji for two years and eventually gave up.

    That’s what I meant by “easier than ever”, Neilochka… there are so many vegetarian options, that it doesn’t put quite the dent in a person’s lifestyle as it used to.

  23. I respect your decision, but I am a carnivore, I cannot help it…and yes I have no problem killing an animal myself to eat them…:)

    I appreciate that your not yelling at everyone telling them that you way is the only way…

    I love your blog!! You should have won the Bob!!

    Ok, gotta get back to doing my taxes..

    Jamie

  24. amanda says:

    I’m not a vegetarian, but I don’t eat red meat or anything processed. My husband and I try to eat local and organic whenever we can (ie buying stuff at farmer’s markets instead of at the grocerty store). We also try to make whatever we can from scratch instead of buying it premade.

    Some of that vegetarian stuff is full of preservatives and artificial stuff too–how much stuff do they have to add to veggies to make them look like chicken nuggets? Those “chik nuggets” are gross…

    But I loves me some spicy roasted veggie garden burgers. Damn, I’m hungry now…

  25. adena says:

    I eat meat, but I could NEVER hunt and kill my own food. There.is.no.way.

    When I was a teenager, my brother and his wife decided that they were going to start raising rabbits. Not because they were fluffy and cute, noooo…..but, because they decided it was a way to get cheap meat.

    There is nothing worse than walking into your brother’s kitchen and seeing about 20 rabbits splayed out on the counter…especially when the rabbits were ones that you were just admiring as being “so cute” the day before.

    Oh, and they scream like people. That’s always pleasant.

    I’d starve if I was required to kill my own food. One look from a pair of doe eyes, and I’d be giving them my last carrot.

  26. Used Hack says:

    That’s so cool. I would like to try it one day.

    My daughter is a vegetarian. She breaks free from it once in a while, but those “episodes” are getting farther and farther apart.

    She hadn’t eaten meat for more than two years, then broke down to a craving for a chicken sandwich last month. It lasted for less than a week — chicken nachos, maybe a couple of other things — then she decided she’d had enough.

    Like that, she’s a full-time vegetarian again.

    I think it’s cool. I think it’s something I’d really like to do one of these days.

  27. Katie says:

    I’m also a “non-militant” vegetarian… but it’s surprising about the amount of militant anti-vegetarians out there! When people find out that I’m a vegetarian, for some reason they frequently feel the need to interrogate me about my reasons and the nutritional value of my diet… wtf?

  28. Jill (and Mittsy) says:

    I’ve been a vegetarian for almost twenty years. I usually don’t talk much about it, I just eat what I eat. But when it does come up, two questions are always inevitable:

    Why did you become a vegetarian?
    Do you eat, fish, chicken, cheese, etc.?

    My answers:

    I became a vegetarian not because I love animals, but because I hate plants. (That always stops them for at least a minute!).

    And as for what I eat: If it has a face, I don’t eat it.

  29. Randy says:

    Dinner tonight: One half block of Trader Joe’s tofu, cubed, sauteed in olive oil, with a little chopped onion and one garlic and a few mushrooms. Add three egg-whites and cook until done. Top with a dollop of non-fat yogurt and a squirt of ketchup. PLENTY of protien and truly deliscious!!!

  30. tigerjoe says:

    There are definite benefits in taking extra portions of vegies. Having said that, I still reckon that being at the top of the food chain means that we have certain responsibilities in helping to preserve ecological balance.

    Vegetarians are cool though; only because it means more for us carni- and omnivores.

  31. Kevin says:

    Speaking of falling off the vegetarian bandwagon, Julia Stiles was once a vegetarian, then she gave it up. When Conan O’Brien asked her what it was like after eating a hamburger again for the first time, she said, “The word orgasm comes to mind.”

    I always found that funny.

    I’d like to be able to give up meat, but I enjoy it too much. I almost did once because I kept getting sick eating it. And then I was introduced to the concept of well done. Haven’t been sick since. My parents cooked everything medium rare.

  32. Harold says:

    ..Dave , you do know that vegetables have feelings too! (potatoes have eyes and corn has ears)..the thought of a poor carrot being riped up from it’s roots to be sliced and diced and then steamed to death is just to horible to think about….I cry everytime someone cuts into a defenseless onion!

  33. Delmer says:

    But Dave! How many people would be vegetarian if they had to grow their own food?

    It’s a lot easier to find a bunny in your yard, kill it gut it, butcher and cook it than it is to plow a field (even no-till can be a bitch) plant, fertilize, harvest, etc. It requires too much planning. Too many tools. Dirt under the nails. (Getting blood out of the creases of your palm is easier than cleaning dirt from under finger nails. At least, that’s what I’ve read.)

    Killing a deer requires nothing more than a Buick and, if you are at the right place at the right time, no planning at all. In Ohio, anyway.

    Having said that, I’ve cleaned but a handfull of rabbits in my day. The last pheasant I cleaned — about a decade ago — set off my gag reflex.

    I’ve run across only two militant vegetarians in my life. They were both smokers so the whole “it’s a healthier way to live” thing was lost on me.

  34. apryl says:

    wow! you opened up a can of worms with this post!

    okay…maybe a can of spinach instead.

  35. Patrick says:

    Hi David,

    I too am a non militant for 20+ years now. I don’t like meat or seafood. There is nothing in it that is necessary for a healthy diet (diseases associated with protein deficiency are almost unheard of in the developed world, except in cases of extreme eating disorders). On the other hand, there are many environmental and other toxins present in meats, that don’t exist in vegetarian diets, or at least are in significantly smaller quantities.

    Up until a few years ago there was no proof that smoking was addicting or that it was unhealthy, but many people believed it was nonetheless. People that didn’t want to breath other people’s smoke were not the militant non smokers that smokers accused them of being.

    In the same way, I think I am not alone in believing the absence of credible scientific research into a heavily meat based diet does not mean it is healthy. I also happen to think that if someone wants to eat meat in very small quantities, it probably won’t hurt them very much. The WHO recommends that, if you eat meat (or chicken or fish) at all, that it be no more than 100g (about 3oz) per day. This seems pretty reasonable to me, but of course I have to wonder why anyone would want to go out of their way to eat such a small amount.

    Like you said, a lot of it comes down to massive subsidies that farmers receive and other politics. These politics restrict the availability of other foods, determine what medical research is done, determines what we learn in school and establishes what is socially acceptable, just like it has with smoking.

  36. melina says:

    for someone who is starting a completely different eating routine, this post kind of came in handy. i’m not ready to completely convert yet, but i am trying to take a more fish route first and foremost, and definitely increasing the veggie, fruit and seeds/nuts foodstuffs. there are other ways of getting protein. but, you have to be mentally ready to give “it” (it = MEAT) up forevs. IMHO.

    i feel better already, really. working out almost every day is obvs. helping as well.

  37. Jube jubes says:

    I’ve been a full time veggie since I was 5,(for the record, that was only 8 yrs ago)and people I know are still kinda weirded out by it.

    sometimes I’ll just go for weeks without even thinking about it, then one of my friends will mention it, and I’ll be like
    Wuhhhhhhhh? Huhhhhhh? oh that.
    Its not like my religion er something (I to, am a follower of the Buddha; Dave) :-)

    It’s just that I don’t like eating meat, that’s all.
    My friend MADE ME eat a pepperoni in 5th grade, and I almost threw up. I think I’ve completely lost the ability to stomach it.
    Oh well, like I said, I hardly even think about it any more, much less miss it.
    still, it’s nice to here from some of my fellow veggans/veggies. I live in “liberal-pussy”
    “TAXachuessets”(MA), and yet, I’m one of only 5 or 6 vegetarians in my school (population:800 approx.)

  38. kilax says:

    Nice post and illustrations :)

    I am a vegetarian studying in Rome for the semester. It is easy to find vegetarian food here, but I am thinking of making the vegan switch. Unfortunately, they do not sell our “genetically-altered” boca burgers and soymilk and things here… at least not that I can find yet.

    But keep up the good attitude! I have never been one to preach either! And pepperoni is not that good anyway :-P

  39. shawmutt says:

    Found your blog as I was doing research for an anti-vegetarian site. Yeah, that’s right–anti-vegetarian. Let’s just say I was accosted by a nazi vegan while enjoying a nice steak dinner and it pissed me off enough to start collecting facts and figures.

    Anyhow, one of the interesting things I came across is that most Buddhists are not vegetarian. Even the Dalai Lama eats meat. In fact, Buddhism teaches that refusing an offered meal because it contains meat actually carries negative Karma. Labels are more harmful than meat.

    That’s my two cents, back to my research.

  40. Dave2 says:

    There is no “one path” for Buddhism, just as there is no “one path” for Christianity. Buddhists have different opinions on different matters. It’s not that I “refuse” an offering of meat, I simply do not eat it, and there’s a big difference there.

    Just remember… not ALL vegetarians are “nazis” when you make your site. Making generalizations about any group of people is not going to help your “cause” at all.

  41. da'vid says:

    I have been bothered lately by militants who are into animal rights. As a result I have been doing some research into the number of birds, animals and insects who are killed (and left to rot) as a result of the production of grains, beans, fruits and other vegetarian foods. If anybody has done anything similar I would appreciate hearing any suggestions.

  42. Art Khachatrian says:

    For curse’s sake! How could one fail to conceive that vegetarian diet more than suffices proper intake of nutrients essential for sustaining energy – is beyond me.
    I, being a vegetarian since over 9 years pack the most powerful punch in our boxing gym. And what about Keith Holmes, a former World Middleweight boxing champion; or Peter Hussing (former European super heavy-weight boxing champion); or champion powerlifter Bill Manetti; or Stan Price and many others?
    And as for ‘militant vegetarians’ – they don’t exist. Do to beasts what you wouldn’t mind being done to you – can you conceive any more objective principle than that?

  43. Harry says:

    I have just started going out with a vegetarian girl. I was looking on the internet for intersting meals to cook for her as I love to cook anyway. I stumbled across some very interesting and distrubing views that veggies actually hate! meat eaters with an absolute passion. I really don’t understand their point of view, I accept that my girlfriend does not eat meat, cheese, eggs and fish. And would have thought that for people ( Veggies ) that care about animals and the enviroment you would have thought that they would care about their fellow human beings. But all I seem to read is change your boyfriend into a veggie or even better into a vegan. Force feed your kids before they are old enough to decide for they selves and ditch your husband if he eats meat.
    Forgive me if I am wrong or offend anyone but it sounds like the majority of you ( veggies ) are a bunch of little hitlers in disquise.

  44. Harry says:

    I have just started going out with a vegetarian girl. I was looking on the internet for intersting meals to cook for her as I love to cook anyway. I stumbled across some very interesting and distrubing views that veggies actually hate! meat eaters with an absolute passion. I really don’t understand their point of view, I accept that my girlfriend does not eat meat, cheese, eggs and fish. And would have thought that for people ( Veggies ) that care about animals and the enviroment you would have thought that they would care about their fellow human beings. But all I seem to read is change your boyfriend into a veggie or even better into a vegan. Force feed your kids before they are old enough to decide for they selves and ditch your husband if he eats meat.
    Forgive me if I am wrong or offend anyone but it sounds like the majority of you ( veggies ) are a bunch of little hitlers in disquise.

  45. Dave2 says:

    The MAJORITY?? What evidence do you have that the MAJORITY of us HATE meat-eaters? That’s ridiculous. Most all vegetarians have friends and family who eat meat… you honestly think that we hate our friends and family? You are taking the views of a very small number of vocal people and making an assumption about MILLIONS of people. Where did you read anywhere in this entry that I am asking anybody to change their eating habits? I was explaining only my own views and, because of that, you label me a “mini hitler?” Sounds like you’re the one with the problem. :-)

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