Friday, 29 May 2009

Buddha's Guide to Summer B-B-Q Grillin'

Ok, yes I eat meat.....and I sometimes feel less then good about it. Summer is almost upon us now here in the Northern Hemisphere and outdoor BBQ grillin’ season has arrived. This used to be one of my more favorite activities during the summer and the more meat I could fit on the grill the more serotonin my brain seemed to dump. It is almost primordial in its manly feeling and honestly, a rack of smoked ribs fired over a charcoal grill with sweet corn, baked beans and homemade buttermilk biscuits is pretty close to heaven on Earth if you ask me. (Yes, I am a redneck, I admit it…sans the mullet)

I’ve been rethinking this whole eating meat thing lately, but I feel it’s not something I should give up just because I think it’s the Buddhist thing or politically correct thing to do, but only give up because I understand the cruelness and sorrow the animals must be put through. I wonder if vegetarianism is more cultural or spiritual, or perhaps a bit of both?


  1. I've always felt like it's spiritual because it's social. Since we really don't need to eat meat anymore, we shouldn't. But I'm with you, nothin' beats throwin' down with a smokey rack of ribs.

  2. I've been vegan for a while. I'm vegan because it makes sense. Eating meat does not make sense to me. The cruelty and suffering involved is plain as day to see.

    As Bradley said: "Since we really don't need to eat meat anymore, we shouldn't."

    I wonder why people can have that view but then say stuff like "but I could never do that. I love meat too much"

    As if that excuses them. "Oh, you love meat? Nevermind then."

    There's lots of changes in our lifestyles that we are capable of making in order to reduce our contribution to suffering in various forms. I know there are more changes that I can make.

    Making the change to veganism was an obvious one for me.

    I encourage people to look into it a bit deeper. Don't turn your back to it.

    Even reducing your meat, dairy, and egg consumption helps reduce the amount of suffering the you are contributing to.

    I just read a book called "the ultimate vegan guide". It's great help for those interested in making the change.



  3. I am vegetarian and I encourage people to look into the matter of not eating meat but you can't force it.

    Making a commitment to do something when one is not ready is a recipe for failure.

    We vegetarians/vegans need to be careful to not sound preachy and forceful.

  4. I agree.

    I think my comment was a bit aggressive.

    Thanks for commenting, James.

  5. I am seriously considering trying it out. I have in the past, but never stuck to it. Could I ask one silly question, honestly, after giving up meat for a month, how did your body feel?

    Thanks for all the comments!

  6. Great...better.

    I began paying closer attention to what I was eating in general. So, my over-all health and well-being has greatly improved since I went veg.

    But you have to do it right. If you switch from your current diet over to lettuce and pb & j you'll feel crappy.

    If you're going to do it, I highly recommend getting the book that I mentioned above (the ultimate vegan guide), or doing research elsewhere.


  7. I agree that ideally the _default_ would be to be vegetarian and then a small minority of people would be meat eaters or maybe there would be no such distinction and everyone would just be 95% vegetarian, occasionally eating meat that was not subject to the cruelty animals are today.

    That being said, nowadays it requires a huge life change to become vegetarian, especially if you have a big appetite. You have to invest considerable time into learning what to eat and how to prepare it. It may take years to become proficient, unless you have a lot of support from friends and a lot of motivation. Most vegetarians at college years ago were quite unhealthy, myself included.

    Also, looking at it deeper what is the real reason for you(anyone) to become vegan/vegetarian? One person will not reduce the amount of animal products that are produced or thus the amount of suffering. I'm not making an accusation, it's just an open question. If you want to support vegan-friendly brands of food or companies, for example, you could do that without "becoming" a vegetarian.

  8. David - Those are some excellent points, thank you. Part of the problem of becoming a vegitarian, for other such as myself, is that I am 6'0 225lbs and such, have a huge appeitie. Meat is, unfortunatly, a staple of my food consumption, and been a meat eater for 35 years. It take a good amount of effort to make such a life altering change.

    Perhaps, one could start slow, with small things like David said, and buying animal friendly products and companies, and reducing meat intake gradually.

    As our community of Buddhists grows, and spread to different segments of the population, so will the amount of non-vegitartian's coming into the practice. I think this is an important question that will pop up again and again over the next 20-30 years.

  9. Three things:

    I have a series of posts on my blog about switching to a plant-based diet, and one of the posts addresses the transition itself, i.e. how you might feel as you make the change. If you are interested, it's here:

    Second thing: I haven't eaten meat in several years and I love to BBQ. A standard summer BBQ for my family would be red peppers, squash, tomatoes, and a fruit such as peaches - all foods from the farmer's market - perhaps with homemade vegan sausage or marinated portobello mushrooms for a heavier meal, served over whole-grain couscous or brown rice with some homemade relish on the side. We frequently host vegan BBQs and nobody goes home hungry or unsatisfied.

    Finally, from a clinical perspective, a few extra inches of height or a few extra pounds of weight does not actually change the necessity of caloric input in a substantial way. I'm 5'11, which is quite tall for a woman, and I work out a lot and have a heavy frame, and a vegan diet is perfectly sufficient for my needs. There are even vegan bodybuilders, whose supposed caloric needs are vastly expanded. Individual concerns do need to be addressed, but in our privileged culture, with such a wide variety of foods available to us, it's pretty much impossible to go hungry.

  10. I've been vegetarian twice for 2 years each time. Both times I decided to do it because I'd rather not kill animals if I don't have to. Both times I stopped because I lost my motivation - maybe I would kill an animal to eat it. The whole time I never missed meat. There is plenty of great vegetarian stuff. Both times I felt better at first, but as time went by I may not have felt as well, it's hard to be sure; maybe I wasn't getting all the nutrition I needed.

    I certainly agree with the arguments for vegetarianism, or at least much much less meat eating. Being vegetarian or vegan would be much easier if the society was built around it...Currently it's not 'hard' but it takes more effort to get enough food and the right nutrition. BTW I'm 6'2" and 210, I lost 10 pounds gradually after going vegetarian and my heart tremors stopped.

  11. Have traditions espousing vegetarianism existed before our times?