I often wonder what the obsession with absolutes is. Why are people so preoccupied about what is absolutely right or absolutely wrong in their opinion? It is really interesting and something I am curious about.
I recently wrote a guest post on the Canadian Beef blog about my life as a farmer’s wife. It was how I went from city to country, and vegetarian to omnivore.
A commenter wrote:
“The animals may be treated well but you’re still killing them in the end. A true vegetarian would not have been swayed.”
This is true on all accounts. We do raise cattle and in the end they do get killed. We don’t kill them. They are bought and sent off-Island. Ultimately, they do end up getting killed though. This is not something I think I can ever get used to. It’s always really sad for me to see the truck leave with the animals.
“A true vegetarian would not have been swayed.”
Things are not always black and white. I don’t feel I have to defend or justify my decisions, but I suppose a little explanation is fine. The background information: I spent most of my adult years as a non-meat eater. I wouldn’t even touch anything that had been cooked with meat or in a non-vegetable broth. People would tell me to “just pick the meat out and don’t eat it” or “don’t drink the broth then!”
Back in the day, it was not as easy to be vegetarian as it is today. There weren’t so many vegetarian options. At restaurants, I’d have either a baked potato and salad or fries and salad. Now, there are so many delicious options out there and at home, we eat meatless meals too.
Back when I was a teenager and in my early to mid twenties, people balked at the fact that I was vegetarian. They said I was “difficult” to cater too because of my beliefs and decisions I made on what I ate. I was even told once to “go grind your own soy beans” when I asked for soy milk instead of cow’s milk at a cafe.
Now that I’ve started eating a bit of meat again, I still get balked at. This time it’s from the vegetarians. Meat eaters gave me flack when I didn’t eat meat and non-meat eaters give me flack for eating a bit of meat every once in a while.
“A true vegetarian would never have been swayed.”
True. However, like I said, things are not always black and white. I could still live a meat-free life, but years ago, I ended up having to get regular B-12 shots at the doctor’s office. I became anemic, my hair started to fall out by the clump-full. It wasn’t that I wasn’t following a “proper” vegetarian diet. I was. I was followed up by the doctor, who made sure I was getting all the nutrients I needed. My body was just not able to do completely meatless. To this day, I make sure we have Meatless Mondays and other meatless meals. We only eat beef once or twice a week, chicken once or twice, and seafood once or twice. We have lots of fresh vegetables and fruit. We have a varied diet and with all food groups. Everything in moderation.
Before people make comments about absolutes, it is important to understand that there may be something more than just on the surface that makes a person decide what they do. Even so, is it up to a person to say what is right or wrong?
Not that this is a good comparison in any way, but it’s kind of like when a woman who has to bottle or formula feed her baby and people tell her (or insinuate that) she is not a “good” or a “real” mother if she doesn’t breastfeed her child. I’ve done both. If I had the choice, I would have strictly nursed my baby. Because circumstances dictated otherwise, I was forced to bottle feed her in her early days. Because she was a preemie and in the NICU for the first 70 days of her life, I had to do a combination of breastfeeding and the nurses feeding her a bottle of breast milk when I wasn’t at the hospital.
I am a breastfeeding advocate. I believe that breast milk is liquid gold and it’s what is best for babies and for mothers. This said, I also understand that sometimes breastfeeding isn’t in the cards for some moms and babies. Sometimes it’s a personal decision. Sometimes it’s because of circumstances beyond our control.
What is the need for absolutes anyway? You’re either vegetarian or a carnivore. You’re either a breastfeeder or a bottle feeder. In the end, who really cares?
What is important is to do your research so you can make informed decisions for what is right for you. Live your life and let others live theirs too.