Meat George Jetson

This is not a post discussing the merits of designing a life-sized cartoon character out of animal flesh.

This is a post about my falling-out with vegetarianism.

When I was dieting, I cut meat out of my diet entirely. It wasn’t out of any particular sociopolitical agenda, nor was it by the design of some radical “eating animals is wrong” mindset. Eating animals isn’t, I don’t think, particularly wrong. We have the enzymes. We have the teeth for it. It’s naive for humans to think that, as animals, we are “above” the idea of eating another animal’s flesh. Food chain, blahblah, etc.

We kinda sorta treat our food like crap, but that’s another story for another day.

I stopped eating meat because I was trying to cut fat out of my diet entirely. It worked for the most part. There were days that the very few grams of fat I received came from a Boca Burger here or there, and nothing else.

In my attempts to begin a healthier lifestyle of late, I did some research. Fat is an important part of a balanced diet. We should be getting anywhere between twenty and thirty-five percent of our calories from fat. This aids in insulation, healthy cell-function maintenance, and muscle-building, among other helpful bodily functions.

Oops. No wonder I’m always cold. I’ll just try to avoid saturated fats and trans-fats, thank you.

With that stumbling block out of the way, it was really only matter of time until I returned to an omnivorous lifestyle. The eventual cracking point was at Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill.

I am a seasoned calorie-counter. Caloriecount is my Bible. When I saw that Applebee’s had a “Weight Watchers” menu that included specific caloric/fat information, I was ecstatic. I wouldn’t have to nurse a Diet Coke until it was time to go home and nuke up some veggies.

With the exception of cake and onion soup (I was on a date, so onion soup was out of the question, natch), all of the Weight Watchers options were full of meat. Glorious meat!

I decided to go with the Italian Chicken and Portabello Sandwich (pictured above in all of its grainy, dark, cell-phoney glory).  Applebee’s calls it “Grilled, marinated chicken breast topped with sliced portobello mushrooms, a slice of tomato and chunky marinara sauce. Served on a wheat bun along with fresh fruit.”   I did not receive the promised chunky marinara sauce, and the mushrooms were flavorless at best.  As for the first taste of meat I’d had in over three years?  What kind of culinary pleasure did I experience on my grand reentry into the world of the societal norm?

Eh.  Tasted like chicken.

I may eat meat a few times a week at most.  Look forward to more vegetarian recipes and whatnot, simply because they tend to be more flavorful and healthful, and therefore worth more of my time.

4 Responses to “Meat George Jetson”

  1. I actually stopped eating meat inadvertently in college. Meat was just simply expensive fare at the grocery store, so I stopped. Then I moved to Germany, and, well, I’m back on it. Döners are the greatest thing ever to happen to me.

    I agree that it is “natural” for some people to think they shouldn’t eat meat insofar as absolutely everything that exists (including concepts of things that don’t) can be considered “natural.”

    Recently I stumbled upon some quip that one shouldn’t eat anything that doesn’t rot. I thought, “Well, duh.” Then I realized there are things I eat that wouldn’t rot. I’ve done my best to cut those out of my diet (I’ve never been conscientious about what I ingest), and I guess it’s doing me well.

    But I’ll be damned if I stop eating cookies every now and then.

  2. I’ve heard the “don’t eat things that don’t rot” thing, too. Another helpful food hint is to “stick to the outside” of the grocery store (although I’m not sure how handy/true that advice is in Europe). The produce and dairy aisles usually surround the place, and eventually you work your way dead-center to the bags of chips and–yeah!–cookies.

    That said, it’s all a load of hullaballoo. Everything is doable in moderation and/or as a special treat, including cookies and pork rinds. While the quotable tips mentioned above probably serve a person well, they’re nothing that couldn’t be divined by eating a balanced diet informed by the same food pyramid we learned about in Kindergarten.

  3. I’ve sort of inadvertently stopped eating meat…to a certain degree. I’m terrified of touching it, and therefore will not cook it (raw meat freaks me out and LOOKS like a dead critter, and the thought of eating a dead critter scares me), so I only eat meat when I’m out somewhere for dinner. If I get a burger at a restaurant, somehow I’m not reminded that that was once a cow, but if I try to make a patty out of some ground beef at home, I will FREAK THE HELL OUT.

  4. I’ll definitely agree to that. The more degrees of separation between you and your meat, the more appetizing and palatable the whole deal looks.

    After my shenanigan with the chicken sandwich at Applebee’s, I’ve been cooking up a sliver of fresh turkey breast every night. Actually touching, marinating, and seasoning the flesh puts you right there with the animals in the holding pens.

    It’s a little harder making the switch back to omnivorousness than I thought it would be. It’s probably from the years of PETA pamphlets telling me just HOW my food is killed.

    I’d probably be a little better with ground meat, only because it no longer has the semblance of muscle, and you can theoretically create that texture with tofu or any other reasonably mushy food.

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