Thursday, June 2, 2011

What's An Animal Lover to Do?

I have been waging a battle in my brain for months now. Both sides are not playing fair and I wonder if the war will ever be over. What's this all about? Eating animals.

I LOVE animals of all kinds. I have a catch and release program in my house for most bug removal. We foster kittens, getting them ready to be adopted. Most of my charitable donations (outside of disaster relief) go to animal organizations. I stopped eating air breathing animals about 22 years ago. I kept fish in my diet because it was hard to always find a vegetarian dish on restaurant and banquet menus (especially 20 years ago).

I flourished as a vegetarian, especially as new and yummy vegetarian items started hitting the market. I was a lover of everything Morningstar Farm, including veggie burgers and sausage patties. I am one of the rare few that actually enjoys tofu.

Then it happened about four years ago . . . I developed an intolerance to soy! Was it because I was eating too much of it? Maybe. But that didn't really matter. When I ate it, I got stomach aches. So, I stopped eating soy AND grieved the loss deeply. I felt better immediately and found a way to adjust by eating fish more than I normally did.

But that wasn't the end. About two years ago I started having similar stomach issues again. I wasn't eating soy so what was going on? Wheat. This time my body was rejecting wheat. I decided to test its elimination and sure enough I started feeling better. Yikes, what's a vegetarian to do when she can't eat soy or wheat? To add insult to injury, my doctor ran an IgG test recently and it shows I am also "allergic" to eggs, even though I notice nothing when I eat them.

That brings me to my dilemma. My life would be a lot easier if I ate meat. Eating in a restaurant (which we do regularly as part of our social life) is often a problem. Eating at home has become a creative nightmare. Being able to order a salad with a chicken breast or a bunless burger would be so easy, right?

Well, for me it isn't so easy because I am having a hard time wrapping my head around eating animals. Ethically. Add to that dilemma is the health issue side of it. Right now my cholesterol is more than perfect. If I started eating meat, would I also start having problems with that? Would my digestive system accept meat? Would I get colon cancer? The messages are so confusing.

So for now, I am hungry a lot, eating too many nuts and dairy and gluten free bread. I am praying that I don't develop an intolerance to those too. I suffer by eating beans (no digestive enzyme seems to help). And I wage a war in my head about what's best. This is my second post on this topic so obviously the war is raging on.

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