The Post in which Diane becomes a Vegetarian – Again

What's that I hear? Diane's a vegetarian...again???


It’s been a long time coming.  And last week’s chicken dinner didn’t help.  

To take you back, in the late ’80s and early ’90s (when I was like 3… ahem.) I was a vegetarian.  Maybe not for the reasons my friends would have suspected of me, me in my fringe suede jacket and untimely tie dye.  Yes, I would have liked to have a pet duck if my mom would have okayed it, and yes I once quit a job at a retail store because they started selling fur coats.  But the reason I gave up meat was because I was tired of eating it.

I never cared for the stuff – just ask my parents.  I was cutting the fat off pork chops and casting aside chicken skin long before it was en vogue to save your arteries.  I was known for having the ability to retain an unsavory portion of gristle in the side of my mouth for Olympic lengths of time waiting for the perfect opportunity to dispense it in a napkin as soon as all heads were turned.  So for me giving up meat in my early adulthood was simple.  And everyone assumed I did it for the chickens.  

It doesn’t help that I actually knew a person (not in the far-removed way but in the personal, neighbors-for-two-decades “been to each other’s houses” way) who had a very bad experience with a chicken sandwich from a famous fast food restaurant.  I won’t go into the gory details, but let it suffice to say that the “urban myth” about finding a horribly disgusting growth in one’s chicken sandwich, then going on to collect a huge settlement is indeed fact, not fiction, and that the myth is not based on this one person I knew, but I suspect comes from several similar stories.

Fast forward to last week.  Usually we buy the organic chicken.  We cook it ourselves.  Last week we were hungry and tired from an evening of shopping and got the astronaut chicken.  You know, the hot roasted chickens in the nasty clamshell containers that many a grocery store sells to hungry shoppers who are too tired to cook what they just purchased.  That was us.  We took it home and ate one half.

Next day I hauled it out of the fridge for the leftovers and cut into the other side.  Inside near the breastbone was some horrid looking brownish-red grainy stuff; a lot of it.  I freaked out as all my old childhood memories came flooding back.  I told my husband, “There’s something in the chicken!”  Perhaps he thought I meant a mouse or a finger, because based on the look on my face he flew to the kitchen.  “Oh,” he said, “it’s just blood.”  I wasn’t convinced at first, but then I figured he was right.  But why a big pile of it there at the breast?  Perhaps an embolism?  A poultry heart attack?  Okay, then why?  Did our chicken freak out on the chicken truck?  If the incident was deadly does that mean our chicken died before the slaughter house had a chance to do its job?  And if so, who decided “Eh, it’s just fine.  Someone will eat it anyway”?  All these possibly obsessive thoughts flooded my head.  

In the end I decided I didn’t really care what the reason for my chicken’s demise.  I couldn’t even touch it to throw it away.  That was last week, and I haven’t had any meat since.  Not that it’s a huge leap, mind you.  We eat meat about once or twice a week anyway, and I didn’t even tell my husband until last night that I was a vegetarian again. His response?  “Okay.”  How cool is that?

As it turns out, I feel healthier without meat anyway.  I’ve always noticed that my asthma kicks up after meats that have additives such as in sliced deli meat, really cheap chicken, and anything in a buffet.  I have more energy on a vegetarian diet too.  I can eat a big meal and not fall asleep before clearing the table.  I may  never get the chance to claim a huge settlement after finding a growth in my roast beef, but I feel really good about my decision.  

Astronaut chickens of the world, unite.

10 thoughts on “The Post in which Diane becomes a Vegetarian – Again

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  2. I was a vegetarian for 10+ years, and have recently started back up after eating some chicken and fish during pregnancy and nursing. Not sure why I ate meat during that time, maybe I just craved those foods (or the protein or something). Anyway, I too never found meat very appealing growing up, possibly because my mom overcooked everything and somehow chewing a piece of steak for 20 minutes was not very appetizing.

    But I cringe thinking of the hell that (most) animals go through to get onto our plates and truly believe that their terror manifests itself somehow in our foods. Call me crazy, but I just can’t eat stuff like that. Not to mention the antibiotics and other stuff that allows food to be so cheap. I truly feel better and quite well-rounded culinarially with grains and veggies, probably because my poison tends to be carbs.

    I hope it all goes well, even just eating less meat.

  3. I grew up eating a lot of meat and poultry because my grandparents had a farm. (At least it was hormone free as was our milk!) I eat and enjoy meat now, but I eat a lot less. I gave up those “astronaut chickens” (love that name) a couple years ago when our friend who works for a large grocery chain told us the deli actually injects fat into them with a large syringe to make them taste better. That was just too gross for me!
    .-= Some Lucky Dog´s last blog ..Win a $25 Verizon GC at Rockin’ Mama! =-.

  4. Well thanks for informing us of your squeamishness. I think people who want to eat should eat it without feeling guilty. I have never eaten it because of digestion problems. After years of not eating meat I have other problems. So I say if you eat meat and enjoy then go ahead. It is better to eat it then not eat it. The health benefits alone are worth it if you can. I think if you like fur wear it. I don’t wear fur but I don’t object to those that do. Everyone has their own conscious. Follow it not anyone else’s.

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  6. Kathleen, seems we have even more in common than blogging! And a love of natural stuff too, of course! And Some Lucky Dog, I didn’t know about the injecting of the meat. Just what we need, more fat! Susan, I’m not informing you of my squeamishness. I suggest you read the article again. I’ve never cared for meat. As you say, “Everyone has their own conscious. Follow it not anyone else’s.” I’m pretty sure that’s what I’m doing here. That, and I sure like breathing, which as I mentioned, many forms of meat seem to really kick up my asthma. My decision has everything to do with health and personal preference, nothing to do with telling other people what to eat. In fact, I like the freedom of making my own decisions about what to eat and what not to eat. As for it being better to eat meat than not eat it, again, that’s up to the individual. Balance is key, and being vegetarian is extremely healthy – when you learn to do it properly. I think it’s a wonderful thing when we can learn to take cues from our bodies and eat what makes us feel healthiest. If that’s meat, fine. If it’s sprouts and raw tofu, more power to you.

  7. Congrats on a healthy life choice – um – again! My three year old may end up one – he naturally avoids meat so we have to very creative in giving him complete proteins. We offer him chicken and such but he refuses – although he loves fish and seafood!
    BTW – its not that funny that you wore suede! That’s my favourite animal product to wear. But I try not to – try to find suede like clothes.
    My mom lost over a hundred lbs becoming a vegetarian – of course becoming a vegetarian doesn’t guarantee that – its about the choices you make as a vegetarian. But she used to eat a lot of fatty meats – and every night. She thought I was crazy my first time being a vegetarian – but it was a personal choice for me – she is a like a Born Again – but with food – she prostelsizes (spelling!) to everyone!

  8. Hi Amy. Thanks! Yeah, that was me as a kid – always trying to hide the meat on my plate. As for the suede jacket, the exuberance of youth had me telling people, “It’s a byproduct!” And I dearly loved that jacket. It took a long time to thread all those wooden beads on every bit of fringe! Haha! I do still own leather goods; but I have tried some amazing leather alternatives as well. Man oh man, that rubber tire purse is the coolest! Well – almost as cool as a suede jacket with fringe and wooden beads that click when you run.

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