All through high school, I was that annoying vegetarian who pushed her beliefs about animals as food on everyone. I showed grotesque videos sent to me by PETA, and asked my classmates, “Don’t you realize what is happening to the animals before they are placed, clean and tasty, on your plate?” “Don’t you care?”
I haven’t stopped worrying about this reality with animals, but I now realize how complex the issue is. I’m no longer a vegetarian, but I am a conscious (white) meat eater. I look for organic free-range chicken and eggs, but I can afford that.
I don’t say that to brag about my financial situation, (I’m a college student who happened to find a very generous college.) I say that because that right there is my biggest frustrated with the food political reality in our country. Eating food that is good for you is expensive, and thus, only something people with higher socioeconomic status can do. Processed foods, low quality meats, highly sprayed fruits and vegetables; that is what is cheap and readily available.
Wasn’t it a reality that once upon a time, being poorer meant living outside of the big cities and growing your own vegetables and raising your own meat? But because of a million factors, industrialization and where jobs are for example, cities are the place to be. And from someone who knows, apartments and chicken coops don’t mix well.
But thanks to processed foods and antibiotic and hormone filled meat, people are getting sick; constantly, everywhere you look. I get emails about some kind of disease-curing walk or run at least once a day. It’s insane. But then again, the economic status will divide the sick as well. Can you afford the best oncologist if, heaven forbid, cancer was to come knocking at your door? If you are in the Lamorinda area, I would guess that answer is yes and good for you.
But what about your neighbors outside of this wealthy area? Preventive actions like eating well aren’t available, and now nor is proper health care to take care of what has transpired in people’s bodies.
I don’t know the answer, but I will continue to battle with issue. One thing I do know, however, is that I will no longer push my beliefs about vegetarianism and eating a certain way on others. It’s a luxury to be able to eat well, and while I do think this needs to change, it’s a bigger issue than I ever realized.