Friday, December 11, 2015

Becoming Vegetarian; or eating the "glue" of the fish

"The contents of this [blog] are personal and do not reflect any position of the US government or the Peace Corps."

If you've read Upton Sinclair's Jungle and still eat processed meat, I'd say it's pretty safe to assume that either you probably did read it very thoroughly(or forgot it) or you have a poor imagination. I can say that the thought of biting into a sausage after reading what is likely to be in it is certainly not an appealing thought. But I still eat meat just not processed meat. Which I recently read is healthy for you since the carcinogens in the processed meat supposedly cause cancer at similar rates to cigarette smoking. 

Just by living off of a small food allowance has curtailed my meat eating while I am in Guyana but just as large of a factor is how close I get to the livestock. I have cows and pigs that just roam free in my neighborhood and there isn't a run that I have done that doesn't at some point involve negotiating around a herd of cows. Being so close to them allows me to see how disgusting they are. There are sores all over them and they are just filthy. So I've pretty much limited my meat intake to chicken and fish. 

That was until last night. I was out with some friends and ordered some fish cutters(a generic term for anything fried here usually some meat and is a snack). I guess I haven't looked too closely at them before but after getting a fried head complete with the eye balls, I have decided that I can cross fish off my list(at least when eating out) too. 
The fish head

Even grosser, in my opinion, is the jaw of obviously a much bigger fish. One friend said: "that's the best part. You get the glue." Yes glue.

But you have to be wary of fish here anyway because, supposedly, the way the transport the fish catch is up to international norms so it's actually safer to eat the salt fish.  

I may just go vegetarian. When you think about it, it actually makes sense. Part of my mission here is sustainability, and eating meat is far less sustainable than eating a plant-based diet. When you think about it, we are providing nutrition to livestock, only to get nutrition. Why not cut out the middle man and just eat the plants ourselves? 

I  just read a study that livestock is one of the number one reasons why we are developing antibiotic resistance, because farmers use them to prophylactically keep their cows from getting sick(and thus losing weight). We them consume the antibiotics and the bugs get resistant to them and ineffective.

In addition to antibiotic resistance, livestock have been blamed for increases in greenhouse gas emissions. The UN found that raising animals for food contributes more pollution than all of vehicles in the world! And while I don't want a flame-war over whether you believe in global warming or not, I cannot think of anyone who can argue more methane gas is a good thing...

Add to that the amount of water and land livestock have to consume and then throw in the amount of water becomes polluted with water run-off and it is pretty compelling to avoid meat. Then consider how much we have depleted our fish stock throughout the world and I'd say becoming a vegetarian is easier and easier to consider.

I probably won't ever really become one, because once I tell people I am, there's all this pressure to NEVER eat meat. I don't want to make that kind of commitment. But what I will do is commit to eating as little as possible which I am sure will probably help.

Until next time,


1 comment:

  1. Enjoying your posts. Picturing the bus ride to Cartagena in "Romancing the Stone". Too funny! But, my favorite post is the marathon back in Nov. where the guy in the plaid shorts and striped cotton shirt wins!! Happy New Year!! -------- Denise