I was disappointed to read that Molly Katzen, the famous vegetarian cookbook author of vegetarian bibles: The Moosewood Cookbook and The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, has put out a new cookbook with recipes for beef!

Molly, whose cookbooks were very influential, was a vegetarian for over 30 years. She began eating meat again a few years ago, and now calls herself a "flexitarian." For those of you who have no idea what a flexitarian is; a flexitarian is not a yoga practitioner with great flexibility, no, a flexitarian is someone who eats a vegetarian diet except for when they eat meat, i.e. they "flex" with whatever they feel like doing, if they feel like eating dead cows today, then okay they "flex" their diet and eat dead cows, if they feel like eating only vegetables tomorrow, then they go vegetarian that day.

“Flexitarians” like these, who are mostly vegetarian, or were vegetarians, but now allow themselves the so called flexibility to eat meat when they feel like it, feel little if any concern or guilt in betraying their vegetarian principles in light of the so called “superior” meat choices available today: grass-fed “sustainably raised” cows, and of course, there is the greatest oxymoron of all (a word that does not make sense) "humane meat," i.e. meat from animals who are "nicely" slaughtered (maybe they play nice music in the slaughterhouse or something like that). So, if you eat grass fed beef, and especially if the cow was so called humanely slaughtered, it is ok, it is just being "flexible," no point being a rigid fanatic vegetarian in the flexitarian's view.

Says Molly, "Somehow it got ascribed to me that I don't want people to eat meat. I've just wanted to supply possibilities that were low on the food chain." Thus her reason to eat vegetarian was not concern for the innocent animals and the horrendous lives they lived on inhumane factory farms, and their brutal slaughter in the factories of death, and all this so people can needlessly eat flesh and blood, that is not only bad for their health, but is also bad for the environment. No, it was just about "possibilities" and "eating low on the food chain."

Flexitarians have described their forays into meat-eating as “primal” (whatever that means). Like does this mean that I try to live as animalistic a life as possible, that this is progress? Is this a good thing? Animals are forced by the laws of nature to eat other animals; humans, however, have the capability to consider, "should I eat animals, is this good for me, is it good for the animal," etc. To merely say, "it is 'primal' to eat meat therefore I will," is a big step backwards, but it fits right in today's "if it feels good, do it" society.

The December 31, 2009 Newsweek article, “No More Sacred Cows,” points out it’s hard to argue that eating slaughtered sustainably raised, grass-fed beef is any better for the cow. Author Jennie Yabroff writes, “no matter how ‘lovingly’ the cow was raised, no matter how much grazing or rooting he did in his life, he gave up that life to become their dinner.” That sums it up pretty well.

To clarify one thing, I am not judging Molly or other flexitarians, or meat eaters in general. Every individual has free will, the freedom to make their own decisions in life, to live their life as they choose. This freedom defines our very existence as individuals. So if Molly or anyone chooses to eat meat, that is their business and I don't judge them for it. My purpose in speaking so directly is to encourage my readers to reflect upon the practice of eating meat, to consider what it really is, to think about it. If my speaking in this way impacts only one person then it has been worthwhile as change is made one individual at a time.

Love Life! Love animals, don't eat them.

Thanks for reading.

Mark Fergusson