Part-Time Vegetarian Seeks Meat

Forever I had assumed you either were or you weren’t…vegetarian. I was, with the exception of eggs, fish, and dairy. I got along quite well for about five years, but then noticed a decline in energy. I woke up tired and took naps in the middle of the day. I had to force myself to do yoga and get out of the house for a walk.

About that time I visited family in the U.S. My girls and their guys are meat eaters. While I was with them I decided not to rattle the cage. When in Rome, you know. So I ate grilled steak, barbecued chicken, burgers, and hot dogs. When I returned to Bali it was evident something had changed. I no longer needed naps. I jumped out of bed at rooster’s crow and went full speed until dark. There was only one explanation: meat.

The change was so dramatic I vowed to continue to include animal protein in my diet. Perhaps I had veggied myself into ‘iron poor blood,’ a phrase from a 1960’s TV commercial. In Bali, my meals consisted of fruits, vegetables, eggs, tofu and tempe, with an occasional Lake Batur fish thrown in. I’d supplemented with Bali coffee and kue, local empty calorie treats void of nourishment.

Image result for pre packaged rotisserie chickenKetut buys all my food at the local market. When he saw grilled chicken on the grocery list he asked, “How much you want? One-quarter? One-half?”I told him I wanted one whole chicken picturing the neatly packaged birds that turn on spits in U.S. supermarkets, their grease dripping into the pan below. “Ok,” he said.

The next morning he delivered everything I’d ordered, dragon fruit, apples, broccoli, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, and something ominous in a plastic bag. I was Skyping so he deposited the food on the counter and left. It’s always a high when I talk to family. I finished the call humming a Bob Marley tune as I tucked the produce in the fridge. I’ll admit, I’d forgotten about the chicken, but there was no mistaking what peeked through the translucence of the bag. I reached for a plate and extracted the contents.

Where was the neat container? And why did the creature still look like what it was, head and feet intact? The reality of ‘meat’ sank in. This wasn’t some mystery food that came antiseptically shrink-wrapped, sanitized and anonymous. This was unmistakably the charred remains of a fowl that yesterday had feathers – and life.

I stood in my pristine kitchen with chemically enhanced hair and painted nails, gawking at a reminder of a different reality. Living in Bali I’d rubbed up against it many times, but now it jarred. I knew too much. I’d been to the villages. I’d watched, unflinching, as chickens were slaughtered, drained, skewered, and readied for the fire.

But none of them had ever lain spreadeagled on my counter top.

The initial slam of shock passed. The smokey-rich odor emanating from the bird hit my empty stomach and saliva drooled into my mouth. Without further ado, manicured fingernails separated a leg from the body, foot and all. I took a bite. Mmmm. This chicken had spent it’s life unrestrained, scratching dirt, eating bugs, and dodging motorbikes in the road. The meat was firm, the flavor: strong, wild, and nothing genetically enhancing had gotten within a hundred miles of it’s muscular body. This was as naturally, locally raised, free-ranging, certified organic, GMO, pesticide, chemical and antibiotic free as it gets.

I chewed long, reflecting on the gift of food like this, savoring it.

My intention is to eat meat. In the process a life is taken. I don’t want to lose sight of the sacredness of that.







10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. gigicullins
    Jun 24, 2017 @ 00:17:00

    Awesome! What a great read!

    Liked by 1 person


  2. wedgroup, Nellie
    Jun 24, 2017 @ 00:48:02

    Those bones, especially the feet, will make a fabulous broth.

    Liked by 1 person


  3. healingpilgrim
    Jun 24, 2017 @ 15:05:00

    I also caved back into quasi carnivore-hood. Now I consider myself a mostly-vegetarian – with eggs, fish and chicken thrown in, all of which I get (only) from Jon the Farmer 😉

    Liked by 1 person


  4. sageblessings
    Jun 24, 2017 @ 22:54:45

    My daughter was a veggie for years. Then….”I woke one morning and absolutely had to have a hamburger!” She never looked back. She still eats super healthy but does include protein as needed. Our bodies know. Loved this….great fun to read.



    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Jun 27, 2017 @ 12:08:16

      Yes, Sharon! Our bodies DO know. Your daughter sounds like my daughter. To this day, in the middle of just about anything she’ll suddenly announce, “I need steak!” She becomes a single-minded, meat-seeking missile until that need is satisfied.



  5. Lottie Nevin
    Jul 21, 2017 @ 17:46:43

    and here am I, gone from voracious meat eater to vegan!! I wonder how long it will last?! I think the secret for all of us is listen to our bodies, listen to what they need. Right now I have no desire to eat meat but who knows, maybe sometime soon I’ll be craving a bit of juicy chicken. Lucky you to be able to buy meat that hasn’t been contaminated with antibiotics and growth hormones. I bet it tastes great xxx

    Liked by 1 person


    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Jul 21, 2017 @ 17:55:29

      Hey Lottie! You’re so right about listening to our bodies. When I added a little animal protein back into my diet I cut out coffee, sugar, and gluten. The boost to my energy level has been off the charts. And not only energy, but my mood! I’m so happy all the time! Anyway, good for you for taking on the vegetarian challenge. Just be sure you get enough protein!



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