I felt that a reply to Elise’s recent comment warranted a whole post. She asked:
Would you be willing to share a little more about your own vegetarian lifestyle? Are you 100% strict on not eating any animal products, or do you eat a little bit of meat here and there?
I’m not a strict vegetarian right now. I occasionally eat meat or meat-based products (e.g. chicken broth) on conditions of necessity or hospitality. For example, if a friend cooks me dinner and doesn’t know of my vegetarianism, then I will often taste some of their meat-based food (though I rarely eat much of meaty stuff and I generally refuse beef altogether).
Having said that, I must confess that I do occasionally eat seafood. I cook salmon about twice/month (wild caught Alaskan or Canadian) because it is a family favorite. I also indulge in sushi a few times per year.
I try, with some success thanks to Trader Joes, to source our dairy products from organic farms. I feel that organic dairy tastes better and is a better choice than traditional dairy practices. I wish I had the time and energy to give up animal products altogether. I did for a few months and my body felt wonderful. But it was an awful lot of work and I think my kids would be unhappy if I encouraged them to eat that way all the time.
Elise and others, I heartily recommend Francis Lappe’s Diet for a Small Planet if you want to learn more about the environmental costs of meat production. This book is a bit old, but still a good read on the topic and you can generally find used copies of it for just a few dollars.