The Baconvore’s Dilemma.

New life goal: Drink this. This can be my bacon substitute.

Today I’m going to talk about my decision over the past few months to eat less meat. It sounds pretty inconsequential, because it is, but enough people question me about it that I figure I should justify my reasoning.

First of all I’d like to apologize for not adhering strictly to my Commandments, in particular, the one that says to make a blog post every week. You will note that it is now two weeks after I said that. I’m currently trying my best to uphold my 8th Commandment – that is, to fulfill all of my obligations. I have spent my free time catching up on one particularly important obligation, which I will show to you all once I’ve finished it. Status report of my resolutions is at the bottom.

Now, to discuss my diet.

General diet rules I follow:

1 – The larger the animal, the worse to eat

2 – The more processed, the worse to eat

3 – Food is a tool to live, flavor is not very important by comparison

4 – Avoid throwing away or otherwise wasting food

5 – Maintain fluidity of social interactions

The first rule has resulted in me eating substantially less beef and pork recently than I ever have in my life. Large mammals are a very unsustainable food source, because the time / energy / resources put into producing things like beef are disproportionately high in relation to the benefit of eating it. I generally avoid buying things that contain beef or pork (or lamb, etc.), so that I minimize my contribution to the demand for these meats. I worry less about chicken and fish, because they are much smaller and require less energy to produce, although I still lean towards vegetarian choices. I avoid tuna because there is massive over-fishing of tuna.

The second rule just kind of makes sense – again, it’s primarily a matter of efficient energy use. More processed things tend to take more energy to produce and tend to be worse for your health. I still eat snack foods like cheez-its and chips and the like (in fact I’m eating goldfish right now) but I try to avoid it for major meals. I prefer to either prepare food myself or eat somewhere where it is prepared on the spot from raw materials.

The third rule is very important to me, and I feel that it is something that many people scarcely even think about. Food, to me, is primarily a way to provide my body with energy. When deciding what to eat, I mainly care about how much energy I’m getting for the price I’m paying and the time invested. I also try to eat balanced meals, so I make sure to have a carb, vegetable, and source of protein in everything.  Of course I prefer my food to taste good, but that is not my primary concern. It also happens that most food tastes fine to me anyway, especially when I eat out. Burritos and fried rice are among my favorite dishes, because they have everything I want and are cheap and easy to make.

The fourth rule should be new to no one who knows me. I eat everything I can, so if you have leftovers that you intend to throw away, please just give it to me. I don’t care if the leftovers have any kind of meat in them, because discarded meat is far more wasteful than the meat itself.

The fifth doesn’t really seem like a dietary concern, but it is. A prime example would be when I went to in-n-out burger about a week ago with old friends. It’s hard to get a good meal at in-n-out and still avoid meat – you either have to get a sandwich without a patty, or fries and a shake, which are not very nice options. The first is not enough food and the second too unbalanced. My only other option would be to suggest a different place to eat, or else refuse to eat and just eat somewhere else. I would rather not do this because it would adversely affect my interactions with my friends, and if you know me at all you know that I care about my friendships a lot. I would prefer if my dietary considerations, at least for the time being, minimally impacted the lives around me. Perhaps at one point if I ever go full-vegetarian I can start preaching the virtues of it, and I certainly think there are virtues, but until then I want this decision / these rules to inconvenience only myself.

A general summary of my eating habits would be to say that I care about efficiency. I want to take energy from the sun and put it into my body in a way that is time efficient for me and energy / resource efficient for the world. I want to promote sustainability while leading a happy and healthy life, and that must be reflected in my diet. The only real advantage I get from eating meat is the taste, as I can easily get the necessary protein from other sources. Flavor is so transient, so ultimately inconsequential to overall personal happiness and the happiness of the world, that I can’t reasonably justify giving it a higher priority than efficiency. Even if it means that I get to eat less bacon.

That all being said, since I plan on boarding at the Hoyt Hall coop this semester, where the kitchen and pantry are already stocked all the time, I’ll already have access to meat without having to worry about contributing to its demand. Even so, I don’t plan on eating that much of it, and I won’t encourage anyone to order it. I’m more worried about promoting the production of meat, not about eating it myself, so as long as I’m not doing that then I don’t mind much. This way, I can at least get some bacon into my life.

Now before I go, here’s a quick status update on my resolutions two weeks into the new year:

1) Maximum 1 hour of reddit each day.

Pretty good. I don’t actually time myself when I’m on reddit, but I haven’t spent too much time on there so far. Maybe just a few links each day.

2) Minimum 1 hour physical activity each day.

It’s been closer to every other day for me so far. This is a failure for now, but it’s going to get better very soon because I’m going to start doing P90X with my friend Nicole who got it for Christmas. She’s very focused and intense, so she’ll make sure that we stick to the schedule, which will involve about an hour a day of exercise.

3) Minimum 1 blog post each week.

Fail. I missed my first week. I’ll try to make 2 this next week to make up for it – I certainly have enough ideas, just no time.

4) Maximum 10 minute showers.

Success! I shower practically every day, and have not broken this rule so far. My showers are now almost exactly 10 minutes, and often faster.

5) In person > call > email. Text only when necessary.

I’ve been trying to call more and text less. Time will tell if I can keep this habit up. I expect that it will be harder during school. This one is going to take a while to perfect, because I’m so bad at calling. I don’ t even think about it – it’s just automatic for me to text.

6) Eat at Hoyt 5 days a week, home 2 days.

Can’t know if this will work yet. I still need to actually sign a contract to board at Hoyt.

7) Fulfill all obligations.

I’m working on it. I need to finish this project I’m working on and I need to do quite a lot of work for CalSol, and then I will be caught up in terms of obligations.

8) No more porn.

Fail. I don’t think I need to explain. I think this will be easier to do during the school year when I’m more busy. I had a bit too much free time over break.

9) Collect mementos.

Success! My dresser at home is now decorated pretty nicely with mementos, and now I have a growing collection at school as well. Fond memories all around.

10) Never lose perspective.

Hard to say if I can keep this one up. There’s no way to directly measure success. Being constantly reminded of it helps, which is why I wrote these Commandments on my white board.

There you have it. I think I’m doing alright – I didn’t expect to be perfect at all my resolutions right away, but I’m getting there. Doing P90X is going to be tough. I’m excited though.

This was in Breaking Bad’s season finale – the recorded version is actually much better sounding than this version, but this was the only good video I could find, plus the younger kid is cute. Recorded version is in the video description, and also on Spotify.

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