Saturday, July 16, 2011

Reflections on Veggie Week & A New Resolution

I haven't done the most fantastic job of documenting the second half of Veggie Week here at GK, but I want to say that I consider it an unequivocal success. With a little planning, a consideration for nutritional balance (which we should all be doing anyway), and a sense that what you are doing is important, it was barely even a challenge. I never felt as though I was missing anything, and I felt that I was making principled, conscious choices that translated into meaningful decision-making. Okay, I admit that I am taking a Leadership class right now that has me all wrapped up in examining and clarifying my own values and corresponding actions, but again I say, we should all be giving our daily choices this kind of thought. In this case, our daily bread.

There was a small corner of my mind where I wondered, when deciding to go meat-free for seven days, if this would prompt me to give up meat altogether. I think that vegetarianism on ethical grounds is a noble choice, and I admire and respect anyone capable of daily placing their beliefs before their whims, desires and habits, but at this moment in my life, I think a slightly more flexible commitment is in order: I have decided that I will consume meat (beef, pork and poultry) no more than two times per week (probably 1 time, on average) and seafood not more than one time in the same period. Since it is eminently attainable and grounded in the intersection of my tastes and beliefs, this is a meaningful choice in my life.

And there is another truth to this: Money. As a graduate student working part-time who will soon be living on her own (a story for another day), money is a constant consideration. Vegetarian meals are generally less expensive to prepare, and will surely be a part of my everyday life. For some people this would probably feel like a sacrifice, but for me, it feels like an opportunity. There are lean times in all of our lives, and I welcome the challenge to eat well and often without breaking the bank. But yes, when this student goes home to visit family, I plan to abide by the resolution I've made. It's not just about who is footing the bill.

I can't pretend to know what the future holds. GK has forced me to confront many of my beliefs about food, and solidified my long-held beliefs about the importance of what we eat. But writing this blog has also lead me to recognize that just as my life situation is changing and will continue to change, our habits must change in step with our ideas and beliefs. If you say that your planet and your health are important to you, what are you doing daily to further these dialogues? To put it simply, you have to walk the talk. I hope many of my omnivorous readers will consider embarking on a Veggie Week of their own.

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