The Smell of Success


My vegetable stir-fry tonight
My vegetable stir-fry tonight

Sometimes when I tell people that I am a vegetarian, they ask me how I can resist the lure of meat, particularly the smell of meat. I can’t give them any kind of easy answer, because the question makes some important assumptions about me that are untrue. For example…

  • I don’t, as a rule, eat everything that smells good to me. A fire in a fireplace smells great, but I don’t pick up a chunk of hickory and put it in my mouth.
  • I don’t believe that it’s right, morally or practically, to do something or consume something just because you desire or crave it. In the world of psychology, the key phrase in this arena is “impulse control,” and it’s being replaced by “impulse obedience.”
  • Meat, dairy and eggs can, of course, be part of a healthy diet. But look around you, or in the mirror, and ask yourself if you are seeing people on a healthy diet.
  • The wealthy nations of the world are at an unprecedented crossroad: their people have access to unlimited dietary calories. It’s difficult to say no to a cheeseburger without some immediate, compelling reason. 75 or 100 years ago, the reason was that there wasn’t enough money to put such opulence on the table.
  • The next time you talk to a vegan or vegetarian and feel compelled to ask them one of the typical questions about how they get their protein or vitamins, ask yourself this: do you currently know anyone, anyone at all, who is suffering from a deficiency disease? Rickets? Scury? Anemia? Then ask yourself how many obese people you know. How many people do you know with diabetes? Heart disease?
  • This is all moot, of course, to all the obese, spiritually empty, orally fixated poozers out there who ask me, “what do you eat?” I’m an air person, tubby. I get my nutrients by osmosis.

Anyway, I was thinking about this as my family and I cooked dinner tonight. Abby had rib-eye steak, with broccoli, cauliflower, and baked potatoes. It seemed like a pretty well-balanced, well-portioned meal (as opposed to the ever-increasing super-size-esque mileu of gimme-more dining). The steak smelled great while Abby was broiling it, although I had no desire at all to have any. At this point in my life, having been a vegetarian since 1989, I don’t even really regard meat as food for me.

Sometimes I think it’s good for your spirit to go to bed hungry once in a while. Sometimes I think an economic depression would be the best thing ever for this county’s waistline.

I know. I’m kind of all over the place with this rant. If you think I’m talking about you, please note that I haven’t named any names, and that it’s not about anyone in particular. But if you DO think I’m talking about you, it’s your voice you’re really hearing, not mine.