I wish I could tell you I'm reducing my meat consumption to save the world from global warming and slaughterhouses, but the truth is I'm doing it because quality meat is too expensive or cumbersome to find while I'm traveling.
You might have heard about force-feeding gooses to produce foie gras. Well, where I come from, gooses are not force-fed to produce foie gras, they eat oak tassels by themselves until they get sick (a foie gras is a sick liver).
I grew up in Gascony, most famous for carnivore delicacies such as foie gras or duck confit. We love high-quality meat. I saw my parents raise and slaughter chickens in our garden. Even though I never did it myself - I'm far from excited about the idea - I know how to kill and prepare a chicken.
In Vietnam, where my father's parents were born, every living being is a possible dish.
My mother grew up in a farm in the Landes forest. Her parents raised chickens, gooses, rabbits, and pigs. My grandfather hunted does, deers, and boars. My uncle was still hunting a few years ago, and even though he is now too old to shoot, he stills attends hunter meetings where preys are cooked and shared.
I'm well aware of what goes into the process of eating meat, and even though I'm not particularly disturbed by the idea of consuming a dead animal body, I do want to avoid unnecessary killings.
I've been eating less meat over the last two years, but regularly still. The Netflix movie "The Game Changers" pushed me to think about it again. I talked about it with one of my best friends, who happens to be a professional dietician nutritionist and a flexitarian, and even though there are flaws in the documentary, we can still agree on the relevance of a plant-based diet to be healthier.
The more you research the topic, the harder it is to make an opinion, so I've decided to follow a plant-based diet and see the results for myself. I'll have a blood test in a few months, and I'll keep doing it as long as everything stays alright. My family doctor is a vegetarian, and my mother used to be, so I don't risk much.
My meal plan is quite simple. I follow recipes from the Minimalist Baker and buy as locally and seasonally as possible. I learned a great deal of cooking during the transition process. When I don't feel like cooking, I can buy a humongous falafel pita for two bucks. In Eastern Europe, the Turkish diaspora brought many vegan-compatible food staples, such as hummus or falafels.
I didn't give up on meat though. I do intend to eat an organic goose or a stuffed capon this Christmas. I think eating meat and drinking alcohol used to be similar: tools to strengthen the social bonds within a tribe. The violence of killing an animal used to be ritualized (hunt, sacrifice), and thus participate in the creation of a spiritual relationship between givers and receivers, between Nature and humans. Eating meat used to be a matter of survival, it's not the case anymore: we take it for granted. I'd like to experiment with alternatives and see what works for my body.