I have decided to kick off the new year by officially starting this blog about my future Peace Corps experience. January 1st is typically a time for so called resolutions where people decide that today is that day that they will dramatically change their lives for the better. I can't say that I buy into this whole phenomenon. I am more of the mind set that you should implement any change you see necessary as soon as possible. However, with the start of January and my hopefully impending departure in March the reality of the Peace Corps is forcing me to realize that I am going to have to make some serious changes in my life. One of those changes is my diet. I have given this quite a bit of thought and I have decided that I am going to give up my vegetarianism/90% veganism during my Peace Corps service.
My rationale for this decision whether you disagree with it or not is the following: I became vegetarian for purely environmental reasons. It was not necessarily from a strict animal rights perspective, although I strongly dislike the mass slaughtering and terrible treatment of animals, my decision first came out of environmental awareness and concerns for the future of the planet. Now the reason I am okay with changing my diet during my time in the Peace Corps is because I feel that these concerns are not as relevant in other areas of the world. (And when I say relevant I don't mean to imply that we are not all part of the same planet, but I mean that in the area of my future residence the practice of obtaining meat is not nearly as environmentally devastating or the largest part of the problem) The practice of eating meat is based on survival when the growing season does not necessarily produce enough variety of other foods. There is also less of a meat "industry" or "system" to be concerned about in the treatment of animals and the shear environmental impact of vast meat consumption. Now one can argue that I should maintain my diet as a way to expose this lifestyle to the rest of the world as a method of introducing so called sustainability, but I cannot say that I am the vegetarian on a mission type. I don't think it is for everyone. But I will always encourage people to think about where their food comes from, how they are getting it, and to be grateful for what they do have.
Furthermore, a large part of my decision is cultural. One of my goals is to integrate myself completely into my future community. I believe a large part of community, family, friendship, and relationships is based around food. I would hate to alienate my community upon arrival by refusing their chosen delicacies. I am there to experience everything and anything that I can. One cannot refuse certain parts of culture and I would like to embrace it all. That is what I believe part of the Peace Corps is all about.
So, "Operation Bacon" is my journey over the course of my time remaining in America to learn to eat meat again and to allow my body to readjust to consuming more animal products. I will admit that I am going to maintain a heavy vegetarian diet as much as I can, but I am going to work my way into the meatatarian world once again. I will also try to do this as sustainably as possible. Wish me luck in this endeavor!