Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cow, Hide!!! My Beef.

My mom recently had an old chair upholstered and a pillow made to accent the chair. She told me ahead of time that it was going to be made of real cowhide. I admit, I wasn't paying enough attention or didn't let the reality of that statement sink in, assuming the chair would be leather somehow.

Which was why, when the pillow came home with the chair yesterday, I got really, royally icked out. My mom pointed out how the skin of the cow's spine went straight up the pillow (as pictured). I didn't say anything to her, other than the pillow wasn't very fluffy. But it was just gross. I had no desire to feel it's softness. I felt bad for the cow, and certainly had no desire to sit upon the chair .

I wear leather shoes and boots, and have 2 leather jackets (my short, lightweight leather jacket, I think is lambskin, an even cuter animal than a cute cow, not to mention again that cows are sacred in India.) So I don't, obviously, subscribe to the vegan lifestyle, though I'm a big fan of it and power to the people who can manage it successfully.

I can safely say I'm not a big fan of MEAT.

I've been vegetarian on/off in the past, but I didn't do it right, apparently, because I lost 16 lbs over the summer of 2009 (I think it was), had bruises all over my body and scant energy.

At present, I'm pretty anemic and on iron supplements, weigh far too little, though know how to take care of my body better with regard to getting enough iron and protein to replace the nutrients found in the meat I don't eat. I know plenty of successful, life-long vegetarians and vegans who enjoy a bevy of foods and thrive just fine. (Just don't tell me to eat tofu, because I can't stand it.) I've never tried tempeh, though I have several vegetarian friends for whom it's a dietary staple.

I've said before that if the choice were up to me in my house, which it's not, it's my mom's, we'd be a raw vegan family, which I think would benefit all of us enormously. Sadly, I don't see that happening any time soon, and I'm not the family cook. I'm assigned one night a week to cook, which is always Vegetarian Wednesday. And eating raw vegan is NOT cheap! Recipes are HARD, because they include ingredients my mom doesn't keep on hand, so I have to buy them. We do a lot with black beans and quinoa, that's for sure.

The only meats I still (sometimes) consume are chicken breast, turkey breast and beef, though the latter I'm thisclose to giving up for good as well, for a number of reasons. The whole "Pink Slime" scandal at least fractured my mom enough to stop her from buying ground beef at the store, and now we schlep to the local butcher shop for ground beef. We haven't had ground beef in close to a month, I think, and if given the choice, I'd stop eating beef altogether. I certainly don't allow Luke to order anything off the school lunch menu that is made with, or features ground beef of any kind, which he agrees to, though the kid loves him some serious filet mignon and beef.

When did my interest in vegetarianism begin? Sophomore year of high school, fall of 1987. Biology class. We had to do dissections. I was ok with the crawfish, but once we upped the ante to a fetal pig, I was sickened. (Apparently, pigs have the closest inner anatomy to that of human beings, hence the piggies to take apart.)

Then and there, I swore off any pig meat (bacon, ham, pork, in any shape or fashion). I haven't consumed a pig in 25 years, and I'm fine with that. I sort of flip out when bacon is sneaked into something I plan to eat, which happens a LOT. (See the blog about me surgically removing the bacon parts out of the pasta dish a church friend made for my family recently. It didn't matter--the whole dish permeated of pig meat, and I wanted no part of it.)

I always said that if I had to dissect a cow, chicken or turkey, I'd stop eating them too. Meat eaters wonder why the dissection of the pig was so pivotal in my decision to stop eating pig meat. I can't explain was just enough to deter me from eating that animal.

Kate's theory is that she won't eat anything with eyes bigger than her own. That's an interesting way to look at it, literally.

I don't eat seafood, either. Never have. Never plan to. I enjoy sushi, as long as it's vegetarian. But I have never, in my life, eaten a fish, and the times I tried crab, lobster or shrimp, I wanted to hurl. Thank you, sea creatures, but I'll get my Omega-3 fatty acids somewhere else (like in flax seed).

If it's a protein issue, I know of other substitutes than the sickening tasting fake ground beef they sell at the major grocery stores. I've been advised to try Morningstar Farm's version of vegetarian "beef" crumbles and something called Quorn, on which I need clarification. I, gasp, might have to take a trip to Whole Foods, home of the $55 dollar single bag of groceries.

The cowhide pillow really disturbs me. Visit

If I subscribed to the credos of Hinduism truly, I wouldn't dream about sitting on a pillow made of cowhide.

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