Reflections of an Ethical Eater: A Time of Transition — A Retrospective

I’ve been thinking a lot about my ethical eating habits lately. Sure, it’s the New Year and everyone’s given to introspection, but I don’t think that’s why. It’s an interesting time for me right now for four reasons, and it just happens to coincide with this annual time of reflection. Each of these reasons involves a change in my eating habits for 2014.

For starters, we sold the family laying hens last month (I don’t know yet whether we’ll be getting more next summer, but I’ll post once I do). It’s been bothering me since I really like producing our own eggs — I know they’re not fertilised.

I’m not sure about the eggs we’re buying now. I keep forgetting to get Marc to ask the farmer when he drops by for a dozen, but perhaps now that I’ve written it down, I’ll remember (winky face).

But I dread the answer because I do not want to learn I’ve been eating fertilised (i.e. not vegetarian) eggs.

Why didn’t we ask before first buying them? We used to buy them there and just made an assumption, but that was a long time ago. Who knows whether things have changed?

Next, the holiday season and the New Year have special meaning for me as I became vegetarian on December 26, 2007. For the next three and a half years, apart from a few ethical eating experiments, I was a strict lacto-ovo vegetarian.

In the second half of 2010, I began eating wild meat and fish hunted or caught by family members as well as meat from animals raised on our family farm.

But, we didn’t raise any animals for meat in 2013, so the family stock has pretty much dwindled and I’m practically vegetarian again.

Memories of a Carnivore

And since it’s almost the third anniversary of the publication of Memories of a Carnivore, that seems highly appropriate to me. I’d been thinking about reducing my meat consumption anyway, going back to a vegetarian diet.

So other than occasional gifts of wild meat from our fathers and the fish that Marc catches, I’m pretty much going meat-free again.

Uh, how’s that? That’s the part where ethical eating comes in. Clearly, I’m no longer a strict lacto-ovo vegetarian if I eat wild meat and fish.

But I won’t eat anything purchased commercially, although I make exceptions here and there for products bought at the farm gate if I know the farmer and have seen the farm. Usually I’m a dinner guest when I make these exceptions — I don’t buy any meat products myself.

Does that make me a flexitarian? No. I’m very strict about my eating ethics — I don’t just “do what I feel like.” I hear that one a fair bit.

I’ve struggled so hard to answer ethical eating questions for myself, and the decision is so personal and individual, it can be hard to talk about sometimes.

Like over the holidays, when things can get complicated with large families to feed and loose tongues to avoid.

Memories of a Carnivore was my way of expressing the doubts I felt during my initial period of transition and of explaining what had led me to make the change in the first place.

As I begin this new transition, I can’t help but think about Memories of a Carnivore. Things simply won’t be that tough this time around.

If anything, I’m glad to have gone through those past hardships, to have learned from my experiences.

I’m much more comfortable now being a quirky ethical eater with different views — that is, with myself at least.

Talking about it can still be hard, but I find that as I get better at succinctly describing the concepts, people are more willing to listen. Lol.

Or maybe it’s just that six or seven years have gone by and things have changed a lot since then. The world seems to me to be a much more open-minded place these days! I definitely see a huge boost in awareness of various food issues, and that’s so encouraging (smiley face).