Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


Episode 188 Vegetarian


So my daughter said, “We won’t have a Turkey. I just want to let you know that we have become vegetarians.”


I never much cared for turkey anyway so telling me that Thanksgiving would be meatless was fine with me. There was always way to much to eat. I didn’t think turkey would be missed. “How come you became vegetarian?” I asked.


“I thought I should be a little more careful about what I’m putting in my kids’ bodies,” she replied. “After all, they don’t know what they should and shouldn’t eat. They eat whatever I put in front of them. And then I was reading about food we normally buy and I thought, “I can’t do that”. I’m responsible for them.”


This is Retirement Talk. I’m Del Lowery.


She went on to tell me that she had read this book entitled, “Eating Animals” and it was very convincing. We read the book within the next week and when we arrived at her place for Thanksgiving Dinner we had already gone over one week without meat. We never turned back.


I grew up on bacon and eggs. The delight of all dinners was a juicy steak. Hamburgers over the grill ruled on summer holidays. Hotdogs served as a simple meal that was quick and clean. Pot roasts, meatloaf, chicken and pork chops were regular fair. We were Americans and we were meat eaters.


Of course in the old days our meat was raised on family farms and came to us from a short distance. The animals roamed over the grass pastures and came to us pretty much as nature provided.


Driving across America today one is often reminded that family farms are a thing of the past. Factory farms are the norm. Animals are not like they use to be. They are feed differently and they definitely have different medication. Drugs have come to be accepted as part of their normal grown and development. No wonder our daughter decided against it.

One memorable note from the book: “Each hamburger you eat required 1300 gallons of water to produce”. I can’t get that little fact out of my mind; 1300 gallons of water for one hamburger. That’s ridiculous. I don’t think the planet can support that type of water consumption. It just doesn’t seem right.


My daughter’s decision brought me back around to thinking about what I was doing with my life in respect to the food I was consuming. It is hard to justify doing something that seems so very hard on the environment and certainly unfair to the less fortunate people on the planet.


On top of all of this, of course, were the health implications. I know that cutting meat out of my diet is something my doctor would approve. He and all of the stuff I read in print are always advocating for more vegetables in the diet. I don’t run into much that tells me to eat more meat. Study after study keeps popping up that tells us to eat more vegetables.


The last factor that entered my decision was my wife’s thoughts combined with her cooking skills. She read the book also. She agreed with the argument. And she is a chef of the first degree. She can cook and she loves to come up with new dishes. Vegetarian dishes add a certain challenge that she has been more than happy to meet.


Vegetarian meals of a wide variety have been placed on our table in the last seven months. I am always amazed at the color and taste. I think she enjoys the opportunity to look at food a bit differently and create something that is new to us and our family and friends.


Have I missed the meat? Not one bit. A friend came to a barbeque with some others at our place a few weeks ago and brought a tray of raw steak. It was no temptation. I do seem to avoid walking through the dead animal department in the grocery store. Have I lost weight? A couple of pounds.


What I especially like about being a vegetarian is eating out. Restaurants seem to only have two or three vegetarian dishes on the menu. It really simplifies choosing your dinner dish. And chefs seem to take great delight in creating some delicious entree.


One thing about retirement: it gives us time to slow down and try different way of living than those that have dominated our life through custom, convenience and habit.


This is Retirement Talk.




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