Cutting Out Take-Out

Posted on April 29, 2011

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I recently posted about the importance of choosing responsibly sourced meats.  I’m really good about this at home.  If I don’t know where it came from and how it was raised I don’t buy it.  Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) are just too terrible.  Meat is a lot like soy in that way, if it doesn’t say non-GMO it’s probably GMO.  If meat isn’t organic (Or from a local responsible farmer.) then it’s probably from a CAFO.  Anyway, I’m pretty good about what kind of meat I bring home.  We don’t eat a lot of it either, so when it comes to my own kitchen I’m in a pretty good place.  The same is not true of restaurants.

When I go out to eat I tell myself it’s ok to order meat for a few different reasons:

  1. I Don’t do it that often. (While technically true it doesn’t mean I’m not contributing to the problem, albeit in a small and infrequent way.)
  2. It’s a treat. (Also true, but is it really a treat when I just feel guilty and it’s generally not as good as what I would have made at home?)
  3. I avoid unsustainable meats like tuna.  (Obviously sustainability is important, but is quality of life any less so?)

I’m starting to think that none of these reasons are adequate justification for my restaurant food choices.

There are also a number of really good reasons why I shouldn’t be ordering meat when I go out:

  1. Antibiotic resistant bacterial contamination. (See my previous post on the subject.)
  2. Stress, unhappiness, and sickness.  (The lives of these animals are unpleasant, painful, and short.)
  3. Quality and taste.  (Factory farmed animals are constrained in their movements and are fed mostly corn.  This means tender fatty meat, which many people enjoy, but personally I think it has less flavor.)
  4. Environmental impact.  (Factory farms are terrible for the environment, requiring an immense number of resources and creating a huge quantity of waste.)

There’s also the old adage, “You are what you eat.”  Do I really want to be eating an animal that was stressed and unhappy, constantly in pain, specifically bred to grow very large very quickly, force fed antibiotics and hormones, and possibly mutilated to keep it from killing its fellows out of terror and frustration?  I think not.  Those are not qualities I want to be taking into myself.

For all these reasons I have decided to stop eating meat at restaurants.  (Except on the rare occasions when I find myself in an establishment that uses organic or locally sourced meats.)  Pizza will be easy- I like mine with onions and mushrooms.  Burger joints and road trip fast food pit stops will be harder.  Still, I’ll get the hang of it before too long.  I’ll know who has the best vegetarian options, and start getting creative with side dish combos.  Hopefully, when all is said and done, I’ll be one step closer to a truly Ethitarian lifestyle.

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Posted in: Production