Thoreau and Flexitarians

Is eating meat more trouble than it’s worth? Henry Thoreau thought so, one of the many reasons he became a Vegetarian. Stefany Anne Golberg covers his conversion in an article for the Smart Set (h/t: The Daily Dish)

“The practical objection to animal food in my case was its uncleanness,” [Thoreau] wrote in Walden, “and besides, when I had caught and cleaned and cooked and eaten my fish, they seemed not to have fed me essentially. It was insignificant and unnecessary, and cost more than it came to. A little bread or a few potatoes would have done as well, with less trouble and filth.” You can stand around in the forest, waiting to spear, skin, and roast a bunny for your next meal, but…why?

These days, since we see so little of the effort that goes into producing meat, choosing to pay for others to exert that effort instead, it’s easy to lose track of this. But you are spending more of your resources of money and health each time you choose meat over equally nutritious fruits, vegetables and grain. That’s why I and others like me continue to argue for smarter meat eating, which means eating less meat, but that meat is of a higher quality. Kind of like the way a long-term relationship is more rewarding than random hookups to all but the most lustful of individuals. Give up quantity for quality (of meat and of life).

Mark Bittman’s new book, Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More Than 75 Recipes, contains a bold argument for Flexitarianism. In this way of life, a majority of one’s meals are vegetarian. Bittman claims that the best way to achieve this is to eat no meat before dinner. Not a bad plan, if you can kick the habit of that ham sandwich at lunch.

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