Former Vegetarian Reveals Why She Quit & Started HUNTING Her Dinner

Former Vegetarian Reveals Why She Quit & Started HUNTING Her Dinner

Vegetarianism is right for some, but for many, it runs contrary to the nature of man. We are omnivores by nature and one woman who has been both a meat-eater and a vegetarian explains the benefits of eating meat. Though current trends might make vegetarianism fashionable, this author reminds that a carnivorous appetite does have some serious benefits.

ZAmy

‘Why does everyone always assume I’m a vegetarian?’

I asked my fiancé this question after another of his friends phoned before a dinner party to check what I’d like to eat instead of the meat option. ‘I think you just have that look about you,’ he replied, ‘And, well, you do a lot of yoga…’

I was about to protest until I looked down at my outfit – a pair of tie dyed pants, a t-shirt made from recycled bottles and a yoga mat bag over my shoulder with the slogan ‘Peace and Love’ printed down the side.

I have to admit that I can partly understand why people assume that I have a ‘no food with a face’ policy. The truth is that I was a vegetarian for most of my life, as the daughter of a strict vegetarian mother who raised my older sister and I on Napoletana pasta and Linda McCartney sausages.

But, two years ago, I did a moral backflip and started eating meat, regularly and unremorsefully. In fact, I not only eat ‘food with feelings’ but I also kill it myself, proudly.

Those people who assume I’m a vegetarian would think differently if they saw me emerge from the ocean with a spear gun in one hand and three fish dangling from the other, shouting that I shot one ‘right through the eyeball.’

So, why did I change my eating ethos after more than three decades? I believe that, for me personally, vegetarianism was unhealthy – not just for my body but also my relationship.

I’m talking about this now because everyone else seems to be talking about it. The hashtag #Veganuary is currently gaining momentum on Twitter – a campaign asking people to give up meat for the first 31 days of the new year.

This morning the first image on my Instagram feed was a picture of a butterfly with the slogan, ‘Go Vegan in 2016’ written above it. In my friendship group five former meat-lovers have just converted to vegetarianism for ‘environmental reasons’ (farming cattle creates more carbon emissions than farming crops does).

Let me make one thing clear – I have nothing against vegetarianism, if it works for your body and lifestyle. My mum was so anti-meat that when she met my dad in a nightclub in the seventies, she was wearing a badge with a ‘V’ pinned to the collar of her Laura Ashley dress.

Even after I left home at the age of 17, I’d still skip the meat section in the supermarket, because I didn’t crave meat and I never missed it.

But, then a few years ago something shifted for my entire family. My dad was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and during chemo he lost his appetite completely. I know many cancer patients become vegan because of evidence it can help with healing, but my family did the opposite.

When your loved one is wasting away in front of you and suddenly craves a bacon sandwich, the welfare of the pig doesn’t seem so important. My dad’s illness also meant health became a talking point in my family.

One night I admitted to my sister, a biochemist and professional athlete, that I hadn’t had a period in five years and that I always felt achingly tired in a way that didn’t seem normal. I was surprised when she admitted that she’d started eating red meat once a week to help her sporting performance.

She suggested that I start drinking bone broth (it would be easy for my body to digest than a T-bone). I was sceptical at first, but within a fortnight I began to notice a difference: I was no longer cold all the time, I had more energy and even my moods seemed to improve.

The benefits weren’t just physical either. After I moved onto ‘solid’ meat, I had to admit that being a carnivore was more convenient and also more sociable. My fiancé Kurt, who I met shortly after, says he wouldn’t have gone out with me if I was still vegetarian (and he’s only half joking).

His idea of a dinner party is a meat tray on a barbeque or a spit roast, and he doesn’t ‘believe’ in salads.

Our outdoorsy lifestyle also doesn’t suit picky eaters. On the weekends we often hike to a deserted beach, sleeping in a hammock and eating from ‘nature’s kitchen’ (fish and some kind of native fauna). It was Kurt who taught me to spear fish, and to my amazement I fell in love with the activity.

I never thought I’d be able to look a living, breathing soul in the eye and then kill it but I was already eating the fish that Kurt caught; I felt like a hypocrite if I couldn’t pull the trigger.

It’s an ethos also followed by Mark Zuckerberg who, in 2011 set himself a ‘personal challenge’ to only eat meat from animals he’d killed himself (‘I just killed a pig and a goat’, he posted on Facebook).

When he faced criticism from his Facebook followers he explained that he wanted to get ‘personally involved’ in his dinner’s fate to ‘remind myself to be thankful.’

To me, spearing my own fish is the morally sound option. Unlike commercial fishing there’s no by-catch, we only shoot what we need to eat and there are strict rules about not aiming for anything endangered. I always whisper a prayer of thanks to my soon-to-be lunch as I pull the trigger.

I know that dedicated vegetarians will find my reasons unconvincing. I realise that some of the best athletes in the world don’t need meat to win gold medals, and that ‘convenience’ seems like a poor excuse for ending an animal’s existence.

But, the selfish truth is I just feel stronger now that I eat meat once or twice a week, especially when life is busy and I’m working long hours.

Plus, I’m already teetotal, dairy intolerant and don’t really do gluten– there are only so many dietary restrictions one girl can handle.

Whether one is vegetarian or a meat-eater matters little to most of us. Live and let live. However, Mallory’s candor is refreshing as she makes no apologies for her life choices but still remains mindful that she is taking a life in order to eat.

That is the true spirit of a hunter.

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