Conscious Carnivore

My sister in law was vegetarian for many years, but in recent years she and her husband have been eating some meat.  Lucky for us in the Northwest, we have a lot of fantastic organic local resources for our food, it allows us all to be conscientious about our meat choices without too much effort (and a fairly reasonable increase in cost).

I have been inspired by my family and friends' consciousness about their food choices. And having gotten more into cooking, and thoroughly thrilled at the bounty we have around us in our area, I have been interested in cutting down on my meat intake and explore alternatives. This is partly due to wanting to cultivate a more compassionate approach to my world in general, but also, frankly, for the challenge and inspiration that comes from cooking meatless in a world of MEAT! MEAT! MEAT! You may have already seen this reflected in my meat-free cooking once a week I have been blogging about, and the vegetarian alternatives I have been slotting into my posted recipes as well.

I have been doing a little reading of wonderful "meat lite" recipes, and have come across a couple interesting resources I thought I would share:

"Becoming a Compassionate Carnivore"
written by a city-kid turned farmer, who raises animals for food, which addresses the following:

"Here’s a heads up, though: Becoming a more compassionate carnivore requires change, and change requires time, the one thing most of us lack. How can we possibly change how we eat when we barely have enough time to eat?"

And brings us the hopeful remark:

"This is an exciting time to be both a carnivore and a farmer, and I’m optimistic we’re approaching a tipping point when it comes to buying meat from animals raised humanely."

From the authors of Almost Meatless comes a weekly recipe installment on Serious Eats:

About their book:
"Despite its title, almost every recipe in this book uses meat, fish or eggs. A collaboration between Manning, a former vegan, and Desmond, an unabashed meat lover, the aim is to help Americans, who they believe eat far more meat than is healthy or good for agricultural sustainability, compose meals that are both tasty and filling without having a slab of meat as the overbearing star ingredient."

The Flexitarian Diet"

The 100 Mile Diet - looking at eating regionally to cut back on fossil fuels:

Frankly, I am personally not interested in becoming a vegetarian. Never have been. I eat animals and believe humans are part of a system in which this is our role in the food chain--I don't judge people who feel otherwise in the least, and hope they won't judge me in return. But I am always interested in little and big ways that I can live a healthier, more conscious life, and this is one way that my region, finances, and energies allow me to explore food consumption with more consideration than I might were I not who and where I am at this time in my life.

What are your thoughts on all this? Do you eat out of habit, or out of actual thoughtful choice? How important is the source of your food in this day and age compared to how you thought about it growing up? I welcome any feedback.


  1. You may also enjoy "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Polland. I'll bring my copy to class next we meet if you're interested in reading it.

  2. I think this is an excellent compromise. It's a difficult subject for us to talk about which means we have some guilt in how the process works. Westerners are really not at ease with how to reconcile it in our brains and so we don't talk about it, but we still consume it (Kind of the 'don't ask, don't tell' thinking).
    I too am not ready to become a vegetarian but am happy to hear that better options are becoming more readily available.

  3. One argument against eating meat is often "If you can't bring yourself to kill it yourself, then why would you eat it?" Well, I also am not interested in cleaning up raw sewage, but I still use my toilet. There are many systems that modern humans have put in place so we don't have to have direct contact with the messier aspects of a given product or service. That doesn't mean I am completely unaware, or lack understanding about its importance as a part of the larger cultural machine. Today we are lucky to have more information than ever, and that includes about our food sources, and that's fantastic!

  4. Red meat and poultry I can take or leave, but I gotta have my seafood, eggs and dairy. I am perfectly happy when I don't have red meat as the primary ingredient....but there's a die hard meat-and-potatoes person at home. Basically I just cook with red meat once or twice a week to satisfy his meat craving (or else it's WW3!), once with chicken, once with fish and once meatless. I wish locally grown stuff wasn't so expensive. I now buy WA organic eggs and dairy only. I buy NW grown whenever I can. I guess that's my small contribution.

    I stumbled upon this really cool food blog, worth checking out. Haven't tried any of the recipes yet, but I have gotten some good ideas for meatless alternatives!

  5. Thanks for the suggestion, Meissa! And Sara, I own that book but haven't gotten around to reading it yet. Thanks for the nudge.



On this blog I share my personal posts about cooking and knitting, travel and other musings; while I will blog about dance-specific topics over on the Deep Roots Dance blog:

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