Giving Up Vegetarianism

If I’m going to bring this blog back, I think I’d better get this out of the way first: At the start of 2015 I gave up giving up meat and began eating chicken. I’ve been doing so, most days, for three years now.

And I never stop dreading it as it sits there on the plate.

I made the decision to give meat-eating a shot because the specialist I’ve seen for myalgic encephalomyelitis, while supportive of my vegetarianism, had also several times encouraged me to try taurine as a supplement, as he does for all his patients. I found that I couldn’t tolerate it in the form he prescribes (magnesium/taurine injections), so as an alternative, tried a dietary source.

It didn’t take long to tell that it helped. I was doing really terribly at the time, and within a couple weeks it was apparent my strength was improving. I’ve tried going off the chicken for a week or two, and after that amount of time it’s clear that not eating it results in me losing ground.

So this is a positive result, but disheartening. Meat was not a favorite of mine growing up, and 24 years of vegetarianism solidified that indifference into loathing. And though I’ve been eating it for three years now, I haven’t been able to overcome that. I don’t know if I could with beautifully-carried-out poultry cookery (had I not so many ME-imposed dietary restrictions), and frankly, I suppose I don’t really want to.

I know that hating eating chicken doesn’t keep the chickens I’m eating from needing to be slaughtered to be on my plate, but I think I’d feel still more guilty about the whole matter if I were enjoying it. I can imagine an argument that the best valuing of the slaughter of that life would be to get the maximum enjoyment out of the flesh it yielded, but that’s an appeal to a hedonism that isn’t in my makeup.

It’s probably best for my social relationships that the cardiac insufficiency compels me to I eat as I do, alone, reclining, because I know I make horrible faces while trying to get the chicken down with the minimum awareness of I am chewing and eating the flesh of another animal.

There is the possibility of taking taurine as a supplement, which would be less traumatic for me and certainly for the chickens, but would mean repeated trials of supplementation vs. meat-eating to determine what I could tolerate and evaluate whether it gave as much benefit. And with the instability, fragility, and lack of margin that are fundamental to ME, it’s often a lot easier to go on with something you know works than to undertake a lot of efforts toward something that might or might not.

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