I am an enthusiastic meat eater (keep any and all dirty thoughts to yourself); however, I do have a number of problems with the meat industry. On this blog, I’ve covered everything from the unethical production of meat to the amount of food waste produced every year. No matter how many problems I have with the industry though, I still eat meat because it’s so gosh darn delicious. I can see that there is a problem and that eating red meat 24/7 isn’t the healthiest life decision, but I think there are ways to curb the issues of the food industry that don’t include me completely forgoing the yummy things I want to eat. I’m just one of many that feels this way and Graham Hill wrestles with this feeling in one of the shortest TED Talk’s I’ve ever seen, clocking in right under four minutes.
Hill’s talk, entitled “Why I’m a Weekday Vegetarian,” is intended to encourage those who love meat to treat it as more of an exciting goody than a main course seven days a week. There are multiple health, ethical, and monetary reasons behind his talk that lead to a multifaceted, inspiring argument. He relates his own experiences of wanting to continue to live a green lifestyle while also enjoying his food, which is no simple task when we’re eating two times the amount of meat we were eating in the ’50s. As the title of his talk suggests, he found a middle ground between his intention to do better and his desire to dig into a steak by cutting his meat intake and keeping it to the weekends. Between the statistics he shares and his own experiences, he’s convincing enough so that even I’m considering cutting out meat two or three days a week. Although there is strength behind his talk, there are a few moments where he stumbles. He tends to generalize and doesn’t clarify soon enough that he’s specifically targeting red meat over fish or white meats. Yet, the biggest error comes when he states that eating meat increases one’s risk of dying by one-third. Last time I checked, one’s risk of dying runs somewhere around one-hundred percent, so I don’t find this particular statistic all that convincing. I’m sure it was just uttered incorrectly, but nevertheless, it does nothing to help his case in my mind.
Hill touches on a subject that really riles people up, but there’s a lot of truth to what he says. I’ve seen message boards where meat-eaters complain about how preachy vegetarians are and those where vegetarians complain about how meat-eaters are heartless unethical humans. I don’t believe those who spout either of those ridiculous beliefs are willing to sit down and have a rational conversation about the positive and negative aspects of eschewing meat, so they probably wouldn’t benefit from this sort of discussion. Hill’s talk promotes a more tempered balance between these two extremes, which I think is the real way to win people over and keep the majority pleased. Given the fact that this video could easily be pulled up and finished on Netflix during a commercial break of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, it’s worth a viewing for those of you who are willing to at least consider the middle road.
I am nowhere close to being a vegetarian, but I have no difficulty not having meat every meal. There’re so many good vegetables and so many fun ways to fix them that sometimes meet just isn’t necessary.
I am definitely a fan of meaty meals, but I’ve had just as many fantastic vegetarian or vegan ones! Meat definitely isn’t necessary for them all.
I must confess that I find preacher vegetarians rather tedious!
Mark Bittman had suggested something similar -vegan before 5p. That seems easier, but I will die without real half and half in my coffee. And eggs. Maybe just vegetarian before 5?
I could probably do vegetarian before 5pm easily (definitely not vegan), it sure sounds more appealing than cutting out meat 5 days a week. Especially since I only think I’ve ever done one or two days meat free.