Plight of the Reluctant Omnivore

The Plight of the Reluctant Omnivore

Green salad in a glass bowl
What happens if you cannot live on a vegetarian or vegan diet due to food intolerances, allergies, or autoimmune disease, AND you love animals so much, it’s difficult to eat them for meat? Photo by Imei Hsu.

In a chorus of happy plant-based friends and colleagues, I admit that I am sometimes skittish about mentioning that I am a Paleo, allergen-avoiding omnivore. With my current animal protien-intensive meals, my diet is the furthest cry from vegan and vegetarian.

However, my soul is not.

You see, I love animals. I am that woman that says, “Squee!” out loud when I see pictures of cute, furry pets, barnyard animals playing with one another, mini donkeys, unusual animals in their natural habitats, and the big animals of the wild. I shed tears when I hear about elephants killed for their tusks or used as laborers for their ability to pull heavy loads. I have even come around to find unusual spiders and bizarre insects as fascinating co-habitants of our diverse planet.

Every Friday on my Facebook page, I post pictures of cute kittens and cats under the hashtag, FurballFriday for my friends to enjoy with me. It’s become a bit of a ritual, where I search Pinterest every Thursday evening to line up the best pictures to share the next morning. I’ve even created a few, “Hey Girl” photos of my own, using a photo of a kitten and a blanket.

And so, every time I sit down for a meal, prep my lunches, or select something from a menu, I am painfully and mindfully aware that my choice to eat meat cost an animal its life. I am eating the suffering of an animal, along with vegetables, rice, fruits, and oils, to keep me alive. If I love animals as much as I say that I do, why on earth do I eat them for food?

The answer is simple, but never easy:  to survive. 

So, what do I do — and what do you do — if you find yourself a Reluctant Omnivore?

Continue reading