April 23, 2011

Chicken for Supper

Just a quick intro to set the stage for the following video. I met Leslie for the first time in Shanghai last September at a tech conference. She had crashed the event, but was soon one of our gang. We shared many a meal, sang songs, and connected on some bizarre dimension I find difficult to describe.

Once home we continued to chat on Twitter, share blog posts, but most importantly we collaborated on several movie and music projects. She plays a mean ukulele and sings vocals on a few of my songs. She did an amazing cover of one my original songs. In short, Leslie is a kindred spirit and far flung global band member. She is good people and one of the amazing success stories of my network. I look forward to the next time we meet, as I think we have much more to talk about since our initial meeting in Shanghai. I consider her a good friend and great conspirator. She is both a fan and a mentor. If you have never had a relationship like this, trust me your are missing out.

A few weeks ago she asked me my thoughts on vegetarianism, so I sent her this link. Today she sent me the video below. Please take a look. I have added a few thoughts below the clip.

Thanks for this Leslie. I think you have raised a very important idea to consider- food identity. Or better said a conscious food identity. I agree that no matter what choices we make, when it comes to our food, it is important that we have a conscious awareness as to why we are making the choices we make. I am vegetarian for a variety of reason, but I still suffer from a deep guilt because I am not vegan. I understand the callous, cruel, and irresponsible world of the global industrial food chain, but for reasons of weakness and an unexplainable hypocrisy I continue to eat dairy. It is important to remember that each person is on their own journey. All we can do is try to raise awareness and help people make socially considerate decisions.

Like you mentioned in the video in regards to your own meat eating, I know that eating dairy is wrong, but I choose to do it anyway. Some could argue that my actions in the face of awareness is worse than not knowing at all, and they may be right. But I see my food identity, like everything else in my life, as an evolving journey.  Personal growth is all we can ask from people. 

Your video does a great job of exposing feelings and thoughts that many purposefully hide. I love how you have approached a difficult subject in a light and easily accessible way. Like you,  I think that people would make different choices if they were faced with the act of butchering. While living in Africa, I sometimes ate chicken and turkey because I was able to butcher the animal myself. My philosophy was that if I could kill and prepare the animal myself than it was okay. I was able to murder chicken and fish, but could not do the deed when it came to larger mammals. This act of killing and eating animals myself was a very powerful experience for me. I can respect people who farm or hunt and butcher their own meat. I can respect the relationship people have with animals before they eat them.

What I  have a hard time with is the industrial system. I know it goes beyond the meat industry, anyone who has seen Food Inc or read The Omnivore’s Dilemma can attest to how screwed we are as a planet, and how we have allowed industrialization and commercialism to sour our most basic freedoms, but…..arghhhh I don’t know when it all became so complicated.

At the end of the day, I just think the act of eating flesh is gross.  I think that murder in any shape is violent, and I for one, am trying to find peace in my heart. The act of not eating meat is an easy way I can fool myself into thinking I am doing something right. I do not miss it. For me, it is not a sacrifice. It is simply who I am. It is beyond my food identity. I cannot even imagine what it would feel like to put flesh in my mouth. I hope that some day soon, I can say the same thing about dairy.

Thanks for making me take a few minutes to write out these words and think these thoughts. Videos like yours are important.

What do you people think? I hope post doesn’t turn into a us versus them comment thread. It would be nice to hear what people think about their own food identities and food choices. This is not about right or wrong or conversion from one side to the next, it is about thinking about the choices we each make. So please share some thoughts below.

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