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Sunday, August 03, 2008

Meat



This year, I have been consciously eating less and less meat; and, consequently, grains and vegetables have been taking an increasing proportion in my diet. I will be honest and admit that this did not come about as a result of animal rights convictions or any other quasi-religious beliefs, but one of simple pragmatism — meat sits like a brick in my gut and seems to take a comparatively longer amount of time to digest; and, as I not only upped the ante on the intensity of my exercises, but the frequency as well, this year, vegetables became "the better, preferred fuel."

The results were astonishing: contrary to warnings that I would suffer from malaise and malnutrition; suffer constipation (??? that's a good one), muscle atrophy, and even anemia, my energy levels went up; strength and endurance increased; I became healthier, and "muscle density" (visible as striations) improved.

What I lost was fat. 10.5 kg (23.1 lbs) of it, in 5 months.

That said, I still occasionally enjoy a good steak, burger, or lamb kebab with a pint (or two) on my "off" days. I am no tree-hugger (NSFW), enviro-weenie, veggie-fascist, PETA activist, ELF cell operative, or eco-terrorist.

When Mr Wang posted an article on going vegetarian, I didn't pay it much heed. No, not even when he followed up with another post. Now, after Mr. Kristof's piece, I am not so sure I'm comfortable with my occasional bouts of flesh-eating.

As if the slaughter — graphic to the point of obscenity — of the pig in Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure wasn't disturbing enough, op-ed columnist, Nicholas D. Kristof reflects on the ability of livestock to cultivate and maintain relationships:

                                                                -------

Then there were the geese, the most admirable creatures I’ve ever met. We raised Chinese white geese, a common breed, and they have distinctive personalities. They mate for life and adhere to family values that would shame most of those who dine on them.

While one of our geese was sitting on her eggs, her gander would go out foraging for food — and if he found some delicacy, he would rush back to give it to his mate. Sometimes I would offer males a dish of corn to fatten them up — but it was impossible, for they would take it all home to their true loves.

Once a month or so, we would slaughter the geese. When I was 10 years old, my job was to lock the geese in the barn and then rush and grab one. Then I would take it out and hold it by its wings on the chopping block while my Dad or someone else swung the ax.

The 150 geese knew that something dreadful was happening and would cower in a far corner of the barn, and run away in terror as I approached. Then I would grab one and carry it away as it screeched and struggled in my arms.

Very often, one goose would bravely step away from the panicked flock and walk tremulously toward me. It would be the mate of the one I had caught, male or female, and it would step right up to me, protesting pitifully. It would be frightened out of its wits, but still determined to stand with and comfort its lover.

We eventually grew so impressed with our geese — they had virtually become family friends — that we gave the remaining ones to a local park.

(Kristof, Nicholas D.  "A Farm Boy Reflects."  The New York Times  31 July 2008: Opinion.  3 Aug 2008.)

 
Read the full article here.

When Robert Wilson comes home each day, this is what takes place.

Kinda gives a different perspective to smoked duck, doesn't it?

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