On Vegetarianism

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In 2021 concluded one year that I have stopped eating meat. It has been a very interesting experience, bringing along nice reflections.

At my family, meat was always really significative and present. To most people, having meat at the table is directly attached to the idea of having food, “having something to eat”. This idea is introjected unto our lives way before we born, and specially living at the South of Brazil, is expected that the act of eating meat as something daily 1. Actually, I didn’t actually see much of point in not eating meat. When that idea started to enter my mind, and I slowly started to get more familiar with the idea of vegetarianism, I started with the more simple act possible, I join the “Meatless Monday” movement, which I failed miserably. Still couldn’t drop the idea of eating meat, couldn’t barely think about other meals which didn’t have meat, or at least I always had this feeling that it “wasn’t the same thing”.

My turnaround, was in fact pretty curious, at a monday evening I decided to order a cheeseburguer from a unfamiliar place and it was enough. I spent the whole week with food poisoning. That not being enough for me, on that same Friday I went to a barbecue and for some reason I thought that “well, I’m feeling better already, it has been a week almost”. Needless to say that I went to the hospital that morning, from mixing beer and LOTS of meat. The doctor that attended me said, short and straight: “until you finish taking these meds, no meat and no heavy stuff. That friday was the last time I ate meat.

The transition, If I can call it so, was in fact pretty seamless. Today, a year later, there have been few times I actually craved something with meat after feeling the smeel from some neighbour cooking, I think most are rememberances from afective memories. The greatest and most effective point I think that helped through this trasition was that I saw the opportunity to *not only stop eating meat, but to rethink my eating as a whole.

I had some debates with some colleagues and friends of mine, and one of the things that seems pretty pointless to me, is seeking for foods that bear ressemblance with meat. Sometimes made out of plants, filled with chemicals, industrialized and canned food or even “hamburguers” made in labs, or worse yet, search experiences “like eating meat”. That math don’t check to me. Stop eating meat, at least to me, is way beyond that. It’s look at chains of supply and production, it’s think on agroecology, in organic food at a fair and reasonable price for both the consumer and the producer. It’s thinking about the crossing chain to that food to reach your pan. It’s think about food politic as a whole, in eating things different and differently. Eating more typical, local food, food from the current season, and so on and so forth. Explore other foods and other way to eat. Being part of the Bem da Terra gives me the opportunity to see those things happen in practice and debate to construct alternatives.

I’m getting ready to do a more complex and profound transition, at least to me, that is remove my consume from animal products as a whole. I consider that harder, so it needs a better organization and a more thoughtful work. It has been a lot easier following the work and discussions from some inspiring people, notably: Ruan Félix, Vitor, the blog and podcast of Juliana Gomes (Health Food for Everyone), the feed of Luciele Santos, Ju Couto, Carla Candace, Vegano Periférico (Periferic Vegan), Movimento Afro Vegano (Afro-Vegan Movement) and the União Vegana de Ativismo (Vegan Activism Union) it’s some of the indications I leave for to the reader, specially to think about within different approaches and backgrounds, althought keeping a common sense of veganism for a more local, accessible, inclusive form of political activism.

  1. Rio Grande do Sul, the state I live and was born is well known for being the “king of barbecue”, local and international contests and other forms of events happens to celebrate the tradition of making barbecue. ↩︎