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Kristi
The Boy, 2 Muttleys and I have finally realized our dream of living 1 mile from the Lindt Chocolate Factory. Leaving Atlanta (the World of Coke) for Zurich (the World of Chocolate) hasn't come without challenges, incredible fun or giggles. Follow along as I chronicle our adventures as we acclimate to this new Swiss lifestyle.
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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bacon Free Since November

Actually, you can only click and look inside if you are on Amazon.com.
Thanks for the pic Amazon, you are a pal.
Considering I wrote blogs about the stuff, took pictures of the stuff, daydreamed about the stuff, searched aimlessly in the local Swiss supermarket for the stuff, ate it on a daily basis once I found the stuff...I am sure it comes as quite the shock to you all.

So how did I kick the habit? Did I wear a bacon patch? No, although that does sound strangely delicious. I read a book called "Eating Animals". This book wasn't about kicking obsessive bacon habits, rather it was about factory farming. It explains, in graphic and honest detail, how the meat you consume gets to your plate. I not only stopped eating slices of pure heaven, I stopped eating meat all together.

So the boy and I are vegetarians living in Switzerland. I liken it to being a Mormon who lives in the Vatican City, sometimes lonely and definitely weird. This is a germanic society and many times it seems like there are two food groups - meat and Roesti. Ok, so it really isn't that bad. There are some incredible vegetarian restaurants, plenty of ethnic eateries and many stores that carry a variety of meat substitutes, but the fact of the matter is, only 3% of the population is vegetarian or vegan. This means many people don't understand the lifestyle choice and have asked us some very difficult questions like:

1. Even fish? You don't eat fish? No, that is meat.

2. Do you still wear leather? You do? GOTCHA! No, you didn't get me, rather you just learned that I am not a vegan. Leather products are a product of factory farming for sure and I have tried to find a pleather outlet, but after my search, there were none to be found. I would happily buy pleather shoes if they were available.


3. Do you miss it? Only when I smell a BBQ. I don't dislike meat. Rather I love the taste of the stuff, but I can't shake the imagery and the truth about how meat is produced from my brain.


4. Are you going to try and change my mind. You know, get all crazy PETA-ish on my ass? No, but I will tell you my story if you ask and I may ask that you at the very least get educated about factory farming. It is  up to you whether or not you want to change your eating habits after you become educated.


5. Will you ever eat meat again? Maybe. If we know for a fact that the animal being offered had a good life, one without torture. Honestly though, I don't miss it enough to have it even under those circumstances.


I actually welcome the questions, especially if they come from a sincere and genuinely curious place. All I ask is, for every question you ask me, ask yourself a tough question like this one - Do you really know what you are eating?

9 comments:

Amanda said...

I am very curious about your decision because becoming a vegetarian is something I have thought about for a couple of years (though I have not read that book). We were quasi-vegetarians for the 2 years we lived in CH because meat was just too dang expensive, but I can't help but think that you are better off consuming the meat you find at Swiss supermarkets than what we find here in the States. I imagine the Swiss have very high standards for their farms and a lot of what you find in Swiss supermarkets is locally raised/grown. I don't know the cold, hard facts, but the pigs in CH (at least around my old neighborhood) seemed to live a pretty good life...

Lidia said...

Hey Kristi! I began to read this book a while ago but didn't finished yet... some sections are really hard to read! none the less the question if I know what I am eating bothers me... As I'm almost vegetarian since couple of years I'm continuing to eat meat rarely and if then I try to eat meat only from small regional farmer!

Jen said...

I HATE that book. Foer's ulterior motive is to get people to stop eating meat. He should be smart enough to know there are plenty of alternatives. But it's rather misleading. There is a lot of humanely raised meat out there to be had. I know where all my meat comes from. I know the farmers, I know their fields, I've seen the happy animals. Same applies to my produce and my dairy. And we only buy wild caught seafood. If more people were educated about their options and not just scared, we'd all be a lot better off.

Kristi said...

Amanda - there is no doubt in my mind Swiss animals are treated better than the ones in the States. I was hiking last weekend and I was on a farm with happy goats, happy cows, happy chickens, happy grass, happy everything. If I do eat meat again, it won't come from a large chain grocery. Not even in Switzerland. It will come from a farmer I take the time to know and one who shares with me his/her practices.

Lidia - it is most definitely a hard read. I think eating meat rarely is a great way to take a stand against factory farming and one I respect.

Jen - I actually agree with your points and those were my exact same criticisms. I saw him speak in Zurich and he seemed rather apologetic about his lifestyle, so I can't help but think what he learned and found out damaged him a bit. Factory farming is cruel but what you have taken the time to do is not. I do believe there are alternatives and since you are living in the States and I am not, can you share some tips with my readers? A lot of them are there and could benefit from your wisdom.

nickcecile said...

Hey Kristi, I'm glad I found your blog :-), I am a French girl living in Zürich for 2 years now, so I can definitely relate to your posts. I also make fun of the Swiss from time to time on my blog, but anyway, just wanted to say, I agree with J.S.Foer and his book is worth reading. As you say, eating less meat is a great way to protest against factory farming. I also wrote something on my blog about trying to be a vegetarian:
http://tryingtobeconscious.wordpress.com/2011/03/09/why-i-try-to-be-a-vegetarian/
I also took the decision after reading "Eating animals".

Kristi said...

Hi Cecile - Glad you found my blog too. Sounds like we have some things in common. I read your post and I have to say it was very thoughtful and thought provoking. Maybe we can meet for a drink sometime.

Jen said...

Kristi -

sorry for the lack of reply, they've outlawed looking at blogs at work and it's really cramping my style.

Here are some of my favorite sources:

http://www.localharvest.org/
Find a farm, farmer's market, CSA, co op, etc near you.

http://eatwild.com/
For all your grass fed products local to you.

http://www.coopdirectory.org/
Find your local Co Op.

Talk to the farmers at your local market. See if they CSA (produce, chickens, eggs). Find out how they raise their animals / plants. some may not be certified organic, but may practice organic, and just can't afford the certification. If they don't have something you're looking for, ask - they probably know someone who can hook you up.


For anyone looking to educate themselves about the issues and their options, I highly recommend the following books:

The United States of Arugula: The Sun Dried, Cold Pressed, Dark Roasted, Extra Virgin Story of the American Food Revolution by David Kamp

In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan

Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal: War Stories From the Local Food Front by Joel Salatin

Holy Cows And Hog Heaven: The Food Buyer's Guide To Farm Friendly Food by Joel Salatin

Know Your Fats : The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol by Mary G. Enig

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (P.S.) by Barbara Kingsolver

Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition, and Health, Revised and Expanded Edition (California Studies in Food and Culture) by Marion Nestle

Real Food: What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck


The following movies are also worth watching:

Food INC

Fresh

King Corn

The World According to Monsanto

Fast Food Nation

exboy99 said...

I'm a lot like you.

Paul said...

Might I also suggest "Good Calories, Bad Calories" or "Why we get fat" by Gary Taubes.

Scientific evidence links increased consumption of carbohydrates (in lieu of meat and fat) to prevalence of metabolic disease, e.g. diabetes, obesity, hyperinsulinemia, even forms of cancer.

The years of low-fat dogma were the nutritional equivalent of the dark ages.

I'd been vegi for two years but am back on the bacon. :)