I’m not even officially a vegan yet. Not even sure if I will ever get there 100%. There’s that pizza thing. That’s huge.
I ate my last meat on Shabbat a week ago. January 5. We have friends who make a special dish for Parshat Shemot called Moshe b’teva. In the rest of the world, it’s called pigs in a blanket. We spent Shabbat with these friends and I ate Moshe b’tevas. And chicken. And meatballs.
That was my last meat. This week, I have been heavily plant strong. Still some diary. Still some eggs. Mostly from supplies that were already in the kitchen.
I feel like I stepped into another dimension. So many things are new. Flax seeds. Chia seeds. Sietan. Coconut milk. Tofu. Egg substitutions. Vegan mayo.
We went out to dinner this past Friday night. The wife is a fabulous cook. I had to remind myself that I don’t eat fish, don’t eat chicken, don’t eat red meat any more. “No thanks,” I said over and over. I almost forgot. It was disorienting. Like when you’ve been in bed with a cold for a week and it’s your first day back in the real world.
I came to this dietary change from a health perspective, but you can’t help but bump up against the issue of cruelty in factory farming. It is said that eating non-kosher food reduces your spiritual capacity; it clogs up the pores of your soul. How then does eating meat filled with anxiety and fear of industrially-produced meat impact us spiritually?
There was a fascinating conversation at the table about kosher slaughter. A major carnivore at the table admitted that kosher slaughter was never intended to be commercialized. He told of an experience at a shechita where the animal was raised by a farmer, not in a pen, not in a cage. The trebering took four hours. This, he says, is the way it was meant to be.
This morning, I made three vegan dishes. My DH is already happily eating what I prepare, including my poor first attempt at baked tofu. (I’ll get better!) And DD #1, anxious about this whole change (“We’ll be the weird vegetarian family no one wants to come to for Shabbat.”) ate two helpings of my first attempt at Bulgar and Noodle Pilaf. And she let me make her a fresh fruit juice this morning.
My last meat.
But not my last meal.