From Our ReadersCalling all Borderline VegetariansFrom Our Readers

Hi, my name is Gabriela and I’m an on and off vegetarian.

Where’s my support group? Does anyone understand the scrutiny and ridicule we borderline vegetarians go through? I mean really, even though our moral compass is always active, we have our weaknesses. I’m here to present to you evidence of our bleeding hearts and sensitivity which then in turn leads us to becoming vulnerable enough to act on heinous and ravenous crimes motivated by hunger and temptation.

The Plea: Vulnerability made me do it. The succulent shrimp and roasted chicken that taunts us at the store… The roast duck that’s on the menu that’s dripped in luscious paprika seasonings… The lightly battered cod fish that slips down your throat with a rare and satisfying desire. Wow, #foodporn, is real. I feel a bold and italicized, ‘anyway’ creeping in on us. There it is. Thanks for joining us.

In my defense, I was clean for 2 years of my college career. Some claim it is because I was financially unstable, while others saw me as crusader for all animals on our planet. Okay, nobody thought I was a crusader. I just said that. Just now. I may have also thought it at that time. I also lost a crap load of weight. I guess I’m straying from my main points. Remind me again why I’d never be a good attorney? Also, remind me why I’m pretending this is a court case and I’m representing myself? (rhetorical on both counts).

The point of the matter is, it feels beyond deceitful to have a voice in the world of vegetarians and it feels dishonorable to have a voice in the world of meat eaters. Is there no place in the world for the borderline vegetarian? I’ll be the first one to admit to having a soft spot for Wilbur, Mary’s little lamb (& in retrospect, I don’t really feel Mary, if that’s even her name, was the best caretaker, what was she, 6?) and all the other fictional animals (that I strongly believe were probably slain at the end of the story). Accusatory, I know. But I have my doubts.

So I hereby ask you kindly to judge me not for the food that I intake, but for the thoughts that I inhabit. Can I not be sensitive about animals 100% of the time and eat them 50%- 65% of the time? Nonsensical, I suppose. I believe in the justice for animals and being kind to all, but I also believe in eating them, sometimes.

I’m sorry, Lamb Chop. Vulnerability made me eat you. And I probably won’t eat you tomorrow.

The people rest, your honor.

By Gabriela Medina

Featured image via.

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  1. I’ve had similar feelings, but I’ve continuously remained an omnivore. The issue is cognitive dissonance. I have a really hard time associating the delicious meals I prepare with the death of an animal. Furthermore, I admit I even have a hard time eating meat off the bone, because it forces me to acknowledge that somber truth. So with cognitive dissonance, you can take what you know about eating animals and dismiss it, be selective about which parts of the truth you accept, or change your beliefs and remain vegetarian. It is one of the aspects of myself I consider hypocritical, because I still experience inner turmoil about it, although I lesson the discomfort by assuring myself that humans are omnivores and have had the teeth to prove it for hundreds of thousands of years. Is it mean when a lion eats a lamb? Are we supposed to be more ‘evolved’ than our ancestors? I’m no more resolved about it than I ever was. Questions of the ages, I suppose.

  2. I don’t see what the big deal is. You eat meat, so you’re a meat-eater. No matter how often or rarely you do it, that’s what you are. Why be ashamed, or scared of that? If you’re feeling shame, wouldn’t it be better to act on that, rather than just having a whinge?

  3. I’m a “part-time” vegetarian, but when I eat meat I’m fussy about about it. A little meat is good. But not the usually cheap, nasty meats like hot dogs, bacon, sausages, etc, generally they’re not from a good source. As for chicken/beef, I eat them once or twice a month and only if it’s good quality.
    I think there’s a misconception that you either eat meat all the time or you don’t at all. I think it’s good to simply be fussy about the meat I choose! Eat meat when you want to, but maybe think about it first, there’s probably a healthier choice.

  4. I don’t get why you’re making such a big fuss about this. I have been vegetarian my entire life, and i don’t judge people on whether or not they eat meat, just as i know most people care about animals. There aren’t ‘two worlds’. I think if you stopped having to tell other people that you’re one of the three categories you have here, then maybe it would be less of a problem for you and you wouldn’t need to post slightly pointless articles like this.

  5. I feel you!! (And I am impressed with your 2 years in college!) I have said many, many times that if I had to kill the creatures myself, I couldn’t do it. But – I also just can’t not eat chicken. I can cut everything else out (though currently I am eating all meats) – but chicken is tough. I think my longest without chicken was a month, tops. I get mean without it. I also can’t do a lot of meatless substitutes – I have celiac disease and can’t eat gluten (and those often contain gluten.) Sometimes the only thing safe for me to eat when out with a group is a hamburger patty, and I will always choose being safe than being meat free. I definitely try not to cook meat at home though, and definitely understand the reasons behind becoming vegetarian (and vegan, as well.)

  6. READ EATING ANIMALS BY JONATHAN SAFRAN FOER. I was a vegetarian waffle for almost ten years and this book made me go cold turkey and I will never ever touch meat ever again, ever. Unless I hunt it and kill it myself, which will not happen. So. There you go.

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  8. My whole in-law family is Greek and the thought of anyone going vegetarian is big fat NO and glaring stares. completely feel for this article.

  9. I just hope people who are “borderline” (I hate the term “flexitarian”) or actually pescatarians refrain from referring to themselves as vegetarians. Because it makes it that much harder to explain to people that as an actual vegetarian, no, I don’t eat fish and no, I won’t make an exception just this once.

  10. I recently watched a TedTalk introducing the idea of “weekday vegetarianism” where you only eat meat on the weekends. It makes BBQ and parties and things like that that often happen Fri-Sun easy to navigate, but you don’t feel guilty or like you’re cheating all the time. I do a mostly vegetarian diet because it’s a lot healthier and often cheaper, but if I go out to dinner with friends or can’t get the idea of a hamburger out of my head, I don’t make myself completely miserable.

  11. Just because you can’t do everything doesn’t mean you should do nothing. Way to go with your support of a cruelty free world! If you’re doing what you can when you can, it’s still better than doing nothing and giving into temptation all the time. And I’m sure the animals that you prevent from being born into a tortuous state (supply and demand, no demand no need to supply) thank you for trying even a little in your life.

  12. Quick Internet search comes up with this definition for vegetarian:
    Noun
    A person who does not eat meat, and sometimes other animal products, esp. for moral, religious, or health reasons.
    Adjective
    Of or relating to the exclusion of meat or other animal products from the diet: “a vegetarian restaurant”.

    I’m sorry, but there is nothing vegetarian about only eating meat every now and again or because you are vulnerable. I am a vegetarian but not a preacher – you will not find me trying to convert anyone or ranting on about animals, health or religion. Similarly, I don’t appreciate when people question my diet. It’s my business, just as it’s their business what they choose to eat (my protein intake is fine, thank you). However, I do take offence at someone claiming to be “borderline vegetarian”. Part of being a vegetarian is resisting the urge to eat any kind of meat. Yes this can be extremely difficult if, like me, you became vegetarian later in life but that’s part and parcel of being veggie. What you’re describing may be a healthy diet, but it is not a vegetarian one.

  13. I am as well. Borderline vegetarians for the win! I try to have as many meals “animal product-less” as possible. I’ll sometimes go a few weeks without, and then I’ll have an egg or two here, and then some chicken there, and next thing I know, someone is pulling a sample of an amazing beef roast that I can’t resist. Then – I’ll turn right back around and be all veg, grain, and beans for another few weeks.

  14. I noticed that I started being a borderline vegetarian because I could not afford meat at my local food store. It is the only grocers in walking distance and caters to college crowd (meaning half of it 5000 sq ft building sells liquor, red cups, and ping pong balls). So the prices are terrible and they would only sell in bulk. I really cannot eat 12 stakes. There were times when I realized I had not had meat in weeks! I still love meat but tofu is the best also.

  15. I understand this. As a vegan, I relapsed quite a few times with a slice of Swiss or a French macaron. Recently, I’ve started eating a chicken egg about once a month… monthly eggs: a girls’ bff. Period jokes! The chickens belong to friends and are treated well. The ethics of the veganism still stand, but not the diet, therefore, I no longer call myself a vegan. I may stick to a strict vegan diet when that one egg isn’t being consumed, but I’m not a “vegan” by definition. What I mean is, the label doesn’t matter. Many people think the way you do. Every educated person with compassion for animals that eats meat tells me this. I hate to say it so bluntly, but calling one’s self a borderline vegetarian or an almost vegan is something between a cop-out and a forced label, not to mention, it serves no purpose. You have nothing to prove, little homie. Eat what you want, and if it makes you feel guilty, find the strength to stop.

    P.S. May I suggest the documentary Forks Over Knives or Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Eating Animals?”

  16. I totally feel the same way. My friends and I have discussed this before and we came to the consciences that I have the mind set of a vegetarian but I love meat. I know its shameful but when you grow up in a family like mine you eat a lot of meat and that makes it a little hard to not crave it every so often.

  17. I think you should probably reconsider calling yourself anything ‘vegetarian’. To eat any meat defies that label and its not an on/off lifestyle choice. If I ate meat everyday of the week except Tuesday and Wednesday, am I a vegetarian on those days? No, because being a vegetarian or a vegan means to do it for ethical reasons and making a commitment. Not choosing when you decide to support factory farming and the slaughter of millions of innocent animals that only lived 3 years.

  18. Me too! Except, I call myself a flex-atarian

  19. Yay Im not the only one!!! I just try to limit my meat eating, everything in moderation.

  20. I’ve felt this way SO many times!! and sometimes, when I can’t help it and I eat meat, I feel horrible afterwards! like I’ve been on a diet and I woke up in the middle of the night to eat a whole chocolate cake!