I like eating meat. There, I said it.
I do. I really like sitting down to a juicy steak. I enjoy the occasional fish and chips. And I can’t go past a good roast lamb.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way I want to talk about the recent rise in food shaming.
These days I can’t seem to go a week on social media without scrolling past a video of a poor animal screaming in pain or some grotesque image of a cow getting slaughtered. I hate seeing those videos. My eyes start to well up. I start to panic because I want the animal to stop crying. I want to save it. I want to rescue the poor thing. I hate seeing any animal in pain.
My grandparents own and run a cattle farm. Every few months we would muster the cattle and have to drench them (to prevent them from getting sick) and ear-tag them. I hated the muster. Hearing a little calf call out to it’s Mum is heartbreaking.
I stopped going on musters because I couldn’t take hearing that anymore. It broke my heart. The mustering had to be done and I couldn’t be a part of it.
In saying this, I still eat meat. And I enjoy it. This is an unpopular thing to say these days. Even as I’m typing the words “I enjoy meat” I feel like a bad person. I feel guilty for enjoying something that has been consumed by human beings over thousands of years.
I want to make something very clear. I think we need tighter ethical regulations when it comes to the slaughtering of animals. The way animals are treated in slaughterhouses today is not acceptable.
But I believe this isn’t the fault of the everyday citizen rather the fault of large corporations who are motivated by profit.
Food shaming these days doesn’t just stop at meat. It’s animal products. It’s sugar. It’s gluten. It’s “clean eating” everywhere you look. Everyone has some sort of opinion about what I should and shouldn’t be eating.
Please. Stop with the food shaming. EVERYONE. If you’re vegan, I absolutely repect your choice. If that makes you happy, healthy and fulfilled, go for your life. If you don’t eat sugar or gluten, if you’re paleo or vegetarian I wouldn’t dream of stopping you. You are free to consume what you like, when you like. And so am I.
For me, cutting meat out of my diet isn’t a good idea. For a variety of reasons. I have struggled to maintain my energy levels and my menstrual cycle since I started recovery earlier this year. I need the iron and the energy. That’s not to say I eat meat every day because I don’t.
For me, cutting gluten out of my diet isn’t a good idea either. I’ve had a fear of complex carbohydrates for over five years which I am starting to get over now. Watching my gluten intake is a recipe for disaster. And you know what? Pasta is pretty damn tasty.
I have to say I’m concerned. I’m concerned that there are plenty of men and women who are attempting to hide eating disorders via their veganism or vegetarianism. Who are pretending they’re lactose and gluten intolerant to get out of eating with family and friends.
I am sick of people attaching morality to food.
So to anyone who feels guilty for eating intuitively and not being a “clean eater” I am here to give you permission to eat whatever you want.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned this year, it’s that what you eat doesn’t determine whether you’re a good person. Whether you’re a good person depends on how you treat others and most of all how you treat yourself.