Thursday, November 17, 2011

NaBloPoMo Day 17: Absolutes

I often wonder what the obsession with absolutes is. Why are people so preoccupied about what is absolutely right or absolutely wrong in their opinion? It is really interesting and something I am curious about.

I recently wrote a guest post on the Canadian Beef blog about my life as a farmer's wife. It was how I went from city to country, and vegetarian to omnivore.

A commenter wrote:

"The animals may be treated well but you’re still killing them in the end. A true vegetarian would not have been swayed."

This is true on all accounts. We do raise cattle and in the end they do get killed. We don't kill them. They are bought and sent off-Island. Ultimately, they do end up getting killed though. This is not something I think I can ever get used to. It's always really sad for me to see the truck leave with the animals.

"A true vegetarian would not have been swayed."

Things are not always black and white. I don't feel I have to defend or justify my decisions, but I suppose a little explanation is fine. The background information: I spent most of my adult years as a non-meat eater. I wouldn't even touch anything that had been cooked with meat or in a non-vegetable broth. People would tell me to "just pick the meat out and don't eat it" or "don't drink the broth then!"

Back in the day, it was not as easy to be vegetarian as it is today. There weren't so many vegetarian options. At restaurants, I'd have either a baked potato and salad or fries and salad. Now, there are so many delicious options out there and at home, we eat meatless meals too.

Back when I was a teenager and in my early to mid twenties, people balked at the fact that I was vegetarian. They said I was "difficult" to cater too because of my beliefs and decisions I made on what I ate. I was even told once to "go grind your own soy beans" when I asked for soy milk instead of cow's milk at a cafe.

Now that I've started eating a bit of meat again, I still get balked at. This time it's from the vegetarians. Meat eaters gave me flack when I didn't eat meat and non-meat eaters give me flack for eating a bit of meat every once in a while.

"A true vegetarian would never have been swayed."

True. However, like I said, things are not always black and white. I could still live a meat-free life, but years ago, I ended up having to get regular B-12 shots at the doctor's office. I became anemic, my hair started to fall out by the clump-full. It wasn't that I wasn't following a "proper" vegetarian diet. I was. I was followed up by the doctor, who made sure I was getting all the nutrients I needed. My body was just not able to do completely meatless. To this day, I make sure we have Meatless Mondays and other meatless meals. We only eat beef once or twice a week, chicken once or twice, and seafood once or twice. We have lots of fresh vegetables and fruit. We have a varied diet and with all food groups. Everything in moderation.

Before people make comments about absolutes, it is important to understand that there may be something more than just on the surface that makes a person decide what they do. Even so, is it up to a person to say what is right or wrong?

Not that this is a good comparison in any way, but it's kind of like when a woman who has to bottle or formula feed her baby and people tell her (or insinuate that) she is not a "good" or a "real" mother if she doesn't breastfeed her child. I've done both. If I had the choice, I would have strictly nursed my baby. Because circumstances dictated otherwise, I was forced to bottle feed her in her early days. Because she was a preemie and in the NICU for the first 70 days of her life, I had to do a combination of breastfeeding and the nurses feeding her a bottle of breast milk when I wasn't at the hospital.

I am a breastfeeding advocate. I believe that breast milk is liquid gold and it's what is best for babies and for mothers. This said, I also understand that sometimes breastfeeding isn't in the cards for some moms and babies. Sometimes it's a personal decision. Sometimes it's because of circumstances beyond our control.

What is the need for absolutes anyway? You're either vegetarian or a carnivore. You're either a breastfeeder or a bottle feeder. In the end, who really cares?

What is important is to do your research so you can make informed decisions for what is right for you. Live your life and let others live theirs too.


Anonymous said...

So true. People are so quick to judge without really knowing all the facts. I have been guilty of this too but am really trying to look at the whole picture before making any unjust notions about people!

BTW- have had to enter the word verification about 10 times now!! about to give up!

C said...

I admit, I've been guilty of it too. Back when I was in high school, college, university, and in my early 20s and vegetarian, I was very judgmental and quick to prove that I was right. I was also very defensive. I am still a little bit defensive. I don't know why. However, lately I've had to remind myself that we don't always have the full picture and shouldn't be quick to assert comments when we don't know the whole story.

I've also learned that what's right for one person isn't necessarily right for others. I try to tell myself "Live your life and let others live theirs". Let's just be happy. LOL! I a utopian world, right?

Frau Guten Tag said...

I couldnt agree more. From age 15-25 I was vegetarian. From age 26-37 or so I ate some meat. During my pregnancy I couldnt stomach meat, & so I ended up returning to my vegetarian ways again. And this time Im leaning more towards vegan most of the time. Let me tell you, there is sooooo much judgment for being a part time vegan. I still like it this way & will continue with what I want & ignore the judgment though.

And yeah, while I think breastfeeding is absolute best I physically couldnt & have suffered lots of judgment from that. Ive also had plenty of judgment cuz I chose to have an epidural!

I do believe there are some areas in life that have moral absolutes & these are in the Bible. But for all else (like these topics) there is no absolute right or wrong.

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City girl moves to the country, falls in love, and marries a farmer. She tries to incorporate her city ways with her new country lifestyle and blogs to keep in touch with friends, family & students who live far, far away :) Can this city girl go country? Watch as she learns all sorts of exciting things about life on the farm and in a small rural community. *UPDATE* We are now parents! Our baby girl was born on Nov. 11, 2008 (at 28 weeks gestation- 12 weeks premature, but she's quite the trooper)!!!
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