Don’t let me eat take-out (Day 87)…

May 26, 2007

That was supposed to be a Marie Antoinette pun. Well, not a pun, exactly, but you know, “Let them eat cake” — oh, forget it, I can never come up with decent headlines. Anyway, moving on: I thought I’d continue with yesterday’s fast-food theme.

After eliminating all delivered food from my menu — in some part because of the packaging in which it always arrives but mostly because of the fuel involved in getting it to my front door — I’ve decided to go the extra step and ban take-out food altogether, unless I’m able to bring my own reusable containers or wrapping to store it.

So, basically, the only way I can now eat fast food is if it’s vegetarian, if I walk or bicycle to get it, and if I plan ahead and bring all my own plates and cutlery. The one other exception will be if I’m out all day unexpectedly for work and haven’t been able to make my own lunch, in which case I’ll try to find something I can eat in-hand — and if it’s something messy like a falafel, I might need to allow myself a single piece of wax paper (I shouldn’t need to use any napkins, though, because I’ll have my hankie — which I’ll only use if it’s relatively clean, of course).

Phew! I think it’ll be easier to just make my own damn pizza. Oh wait, I can’t use my oven. Crap.

No steaks on a plane (Day 80)…

May 19, 2007

Recently, I confessed to booking a somewhat elaborate summer vacation that requires a fair amount of air travel (which I’ve at least offset with TerraPass). On the plus side, I made sure to take one big chunk of time off work, so for the most part the flights will be short-haul; on the down side, due to scheduling conflicts, it also means taking a lot of connecting flights (and by “a lot” I mean … um… *cough* nine).

As I’ve already committed to eating meat sparingly — and, when I do, it has to be free-range, organic and/or grass-fed — this means I’d have to pick apart all my in-flight meals, being careful not to get genetically modified pork residue on the peas.

But the reality is, whether or not I eat the meat on my plate (or rather plastic tray), it doesn’t make a difference by that point; the demand for it is created as soon as I book my ticket.

Fortunately, this greenie plans ahead. I requested that all my in-flight meals be vegetarian or nothing at all. Most airlines these days are very accommodating — besides having veg options, they usually offer kosher, low-cholesterol, gluten-free and even bland/ulcer meals.

Unfortunately, I can’t request that they leave out the plastic cutlery set or make sure that both the coffee and any chocolate in the dessert is fair-trade. But if the cutlery comes separately, I’ll pass it back (then again, if I can’t get my portable chopsticks past security, this could be a problem).

Happy Meat (Day 41)…

April 10, 2007


I’ve had an on-and-off relationship with vegetarianism since university, mostly aligning myself with the Peter Singer school of thought. I usually cave when there’s a bottle of beer in my hand and chicken wings on the table, or a glass of shiraz in my hand and filet mignon on the menu, but that’s pretty much it. I haven’t had pork in over a decade — watching the trucks full of innocent piglets turn into the abattoir on my way to work every morning (yes, for some reason there’s a slaughterhouse in downtown Toronto) makes me cry inside, plus I’ve always maintained that pig tastes like human … I know, I know, I’ve never tasted human, but just consider this next time you sink your teeth into a pork chop or ham sandwich and you will totally know what I mean.

But while I don’t want animals to suffer, I do believe in small-scale, family-operated farms with cows grazing in the fields and chickens running around spacious coops; animals who are slaughtered quickly and humanely without being transported long distances and made to walk up ramps with the smell of death everywhere. I think it’s natural to eat eggs and dairy too, as long as it’s hormone-free and not genetically modified.

My family has always tried, whenever possible, to get what we affectionately call “happy meat” — that being of the free-range, preferably organic and local variety (actually, there’s a farmer across the pond who calls it this, too). My parents have a great relationship with the cute boys down the street at Oliffe, and I always try to stop by The Healthy Butcher or Cumbrae’s. But I don’t even eat very much meat to begin with (probably only once every week, tops) because I understand its toll on the environment, from the methane to the land required for not only the animals but their feed — on a side note: there’s a fantastic documentary coming out soon called King Corn, which will make the most die-hard Big Mac addict swear off corn-fed beef for good.

So to make a long story short (too late): I’m officially restricting myself to free-range, hormone-free and, when it comes to the cows, grass-fed meat. I’ll also make an extra effort to see that it’s local. In terms of fish, I’ll ensure it’s not farmed and not endangered, but that’s about it for now. And no exceptions to any of the above for restaurants.

Most Disturbing Photo Ever from tombland at Flickr