Life Without Red Meat

2012-09-24 10.53.34

Just yesterday, my lab-mates “interrogated” me about my diet. We were eating cakes that sunny afternoon, thanks to a visiting old senior. All these times my lab-mates thought the reason why I don’t eat meat was because of my religion. It required a thorough explanation in Korean to make those guys understand that my decision of not eating meat had nothing to do with my religion, except for pork. I told them that I never like red meat ever since I was a kid (only eat because my parents pushed me to) and 100% stopped eating one since high school.

One of my lab-mates was so determine to make me eat meat. He asked me questions like, “What if I give you money…?” “What if you are stranded and nothing else to eat but meat?” “What if the president is the one giving you the meat?” I told him to give up, but I didn’t see him listening. So I told him that the feeling of eating meat is like eating human flesh. Then he asked me back, “Have you eaten any human?” Talking to him is really eyes-rolling. Then he asked me if I ever tasted whale’s meat. I told him I never tried or even see one. Considering it’s mammal, I thought it’s gonna be the same red meat as other mammals. So he asked again, “Would you try to eat one if I buy you one?” Just for information, whale’s meat is very expensive. I told him I had no idea about whale’s meat, but I don’t think I can try if it’s red meat. The taste would be the same. But another guy said the taste was pretty much like fish. So the determine-lab mate saw my rethink-face and shot, “Okay! I will buy you whale’s meat and you will have to try!” Everyone, especially me, was wondering why he was so determine in making me eating meat. Well, he’s the exactly my opposite. He once said to me that he couldn’t live without eating meat. So he answered us: “Because I’m seeing her life like this” (he licked the edge of a white paper, literally). I think I was not the only one who was frowning. “What’s that suppose to mean?” I asked. He said, “I’m seeing your life as tasteless.”

In one point, I was touched. Really. Well, among other lab-mates (all six of them are guys), with him was the toughest starter to build our friendship as lab-mates. Mostly because he cannot speak and hate English. So I was pretty surprised that he cared for my diet that much. He sees my life as tasteless and concerning about my nutrition. In another point, I will appreciate him more if he respects my choice of consuming food. I know he was serious when he said he was going to buy me whale’s meat and I know he can afford it, but I really really really hope that he will never do that.

I want him and other people know that I’m happy to live my life without red meat.

Well, this topic reminded me of the time when my friend visited me here few weeks ago. This one stuck in my mind because I felt it was insulting. So, we were eating kimbab (Korean version of sushi roll) and there’s a ham stick in it. I was sorting it out and was very surprise when she said, “You will eat it, right? You can eat it.” I was so surprise, because she above everyone who knows I don’t eat red meat could say that. I know it’s not a big deal, but somehow I felt it was insulting. Really. I don’t know why, but I was hurt with that sentence. I mean, she’s also a vegetarian so she should have known the definition of not eating red meat!

No red meat means: no flesh, no sausage, no meat-balls, no ham, no bacon, not even stock! I don’t even let my mom fry my food with the same oil she used for frying meat. I once refused her food, seriously. I was sorry, but  I just couldn’t swallow them.

I know many people decide not to eat red meat for so many reasons. But for me, I’m just born this way. And I think it’s somehow…in my blood. I’m not the first in the family. My father’s eldest sister also doesn’t eat meat since she was young. Many people say not eating meat will make my body lack of many things, in terms of nutrition. But the fact that many vegetarians are healthy and smart, I think those “many people” should review their arguments. So I value vegetarianism as very high.

I still eat sea fish and other seafood, egg, and occasionally still eat chicken. But it’s been two full months now that I have been poultry free and I think it’s very possible for me to really stop eating chicken as well.


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