It wasn’t well thought out or painstakingly debated. I didn’t assiduously draw up a list of pros and cons nor did I consult my parents or my friends. One day last month, I impulsively decided to become a vegetarian. Right there on the spot. With no thought given to the overreaching consequences or dietary alterations. It was so frivolous, so flippant almost, the way I decided to forgo the consumption of meat for the rest of my days. And to tell you the bloody truth, it’s been one of the easiest decisions to stick to in my life.
I never was a big meat eater anyway. My dalliances with animal carcass were reserved to the odd Meatball Marinara from Subway or hot chicken roll from Spar. When cooking in college I never prepared meat. This was partly because I just didn’t overly enjoy it but also because I ain’t much of a cook and I like to make meals where there’s less probability of messing up. Spuds, cheese and beans, can’t go wrong there. So quitting the meat was never going to be particularly hard right? Right. Once you get over the first 24 hours it is a doddle. I’ll admit, the first time I strolled through Red Raisins in UL and passed by my former lover Subway I did feel an urge. It was only slight but it was there, pinching my stomach and my taste glands. You soon realise however that abstinence from meat can be very beneficial to your college life and more pertinently, in these frugal times, beneficial to your bank account.
It wouldn’t be so simple for some people. Yes, many of my carnivorous friends have marvelled at the ease in which I’ve undertaken vegetarianism and explained how they wouldn’t be able to live without meat “in a million years”. Their words, not mine. The benefits of vegetarianism are endless however and aren’t just reserved to mere financial boons. Health-wise, vegetarianism wins too. A recent study by Harvard University claims that eating red meat daily increases the risk of dying young by up to 20%. Makes you think about devouring your next Tesco Finest lamb chop, doesn’t it? As for red meat being a viable source of protein and iron, nuts and baked beans are almost bursting at the seams with protein and green vegetables are chockfull of iron. There is always a substitute.
I don’t think I’ve addressed the main benefit in converting to vegetarianism yet though. No it isn’t the health benefits, it isn’t the financial savings in these impecunious times and no, it isn’t even the knowledge that you’re sparing the lives of countless lovely little chickys and piggies and calves. Nope. The main benefit in abjuring meat is being able to absolutely, conclusively and gloriously lord it over every one of your meat-eating friends. It’s become one of my favourite past times, up there with creeping on Facebook and mocking people who are members of Fine Gael. It’s probably the main reason I’ve found converting to meat-free meals so easy, the satisfaction you get from being a condescending arsehole towards your friends.
One of my favourite quotes to use to properly guilt-trip the macabre carnivores is a Buddhist one. “If you put death into your body you will emit death”. Charming. It implies that not only is a carnivore an arsehole for eating meat but that they are also simply an arsehole in general. Emitting death from one’s body is indeed a harrowing thought. Nice to make the carnivores feel loved. There is one caveat however. To truly reap the benefits of said glorious condescension, one must simply be a pescetarian. A pescetarian is someone who eats seafood but does not eat any other types of animal flesh. They have been colloquially referred to as “fake vegetarians”. If you are a pescetarian, carnivores will use this as evidence as how you are not a “real” vegetarian. They would be partially correct. So I would advise that you would absolve from the consumption of seafood also. If not for the bragging rights then for the horrible taste and squidgy texture of seafood.
Maybe my last couple of paragraphs were a bit too flippant and jocular. I mean, it’s been easy for me to give up meat but I’d imagine it would be a much more laborious undertaking for a lot more people. Please consider it though. It’s like how Father Ted described giving up cigarettes. “Once you get over the first 24 hours, it’s a doddle”. Ted of course, failed miserably to kick the smoking habit but I assure you meat is different. It ain’t a drug after all.