As the primary shopper in my house, I have a responsibility to put together a shopping list every couple of weeks that reflects the culinary preferences of my family and the food that is in their best interest to eat. Meaning, I cannot in good conscience let Hayden eat fruit snacks for every meal, because he would, if I let him. Every first and fifteenth of the month I hit the grocery stores to fill our fridge and pantry. I have subconsciously created a routine that involves rotating the same 10 meals over the course of a month. This makes for quick and easy shopping, a must when you tote along a toddler and infant. Nonetheless, not much thought or planning goes into my trips to the store, which if I am honest, I love. Grocery shopping lists, in my opinion, are for the birds.
Today, driving to the store, with the toddler and the infant, and without any list to speak of, I was making a mental sweep of what my kitchen was most in need of. Chicken and beef topped the list. Cutter had mentioned before vacation that the freezer was void of both. All of a sudden my mind was flooded with the faces of chickens and cows crammed into the factory farms that are their death. I couldn't shake the image. With all the reading I have done in the past week I have been reminded of why I became a vegetarian years ago. The reality that animals needlessly suffer so that I can eat them is just not okay with me. It's a personal decision, one I won't impose on my husband, but can I continue to buy products that go against what I personally believe?
I called my dad. Not sure why, he is a die hard carnivore. In fact, his chicken pot pie includes only that, chicken- and maybe some potatoes. I told him I had just been met head on with a moral dilemma, I think I was hoping for a meat buying pep-talk. He laughed, "funny thing" he said- "I couldn't get your veggie book out of my head last night as I ate your mom's steak." (I conveniently had left my "veggie books' out on the kitchen table while I was home over Christmas- Dad purused them.) So much for dad giving me a good reason to just buy the meat and avoid the conversation with my husband where I tell him he is going to have to hit the grocery store himself from now on.
It is funny how we can compartmentalize our knowledge. If something we learn about doesn't sit well with us, we can neatly package it up and shelf it in the "don't really need to know it" compartment of our brain. I am reminded of the image of repeatedly raped women in Darfur. One of those things I am aware of, but chose to put inside that handy, imaginary box. Knowledge is only useful if we choose to ac'knowledge' what we believe to be the truth.
Case in point is my dad. He has read the same information that I have, he believes it to be true and if he were to honestly answer, he doesn't agree with the maltreatment and needless suffering of any of God's creatures. I believe that most people would agree with this. So when confronted with such knowledge as the condition of factory farms, most people would say, "that's just not right." But that is the extent of it. It is one of those things we can easily box up and store in our heads.
I do not say this to make my dad look or feel bad, I say it to remind myself of my own tendency to do the same. I am notorious for picking and choosing what I do and do not acknowledge. Denial is a wonderful comfy place to dwell, I speak from experience. I have shelves upon selves of stored information that is really too inconvenient to do anything about. I am hoping that this challenge helps me unpack some of my stored information and refile it into an active part of my brain. I want knowledge to inspire, not shame me.
Today, as I filled my cart with fresh veggies, greens and almond milk I did feel powerful and inspired. As though I was allowing my beliefs to motivate my choices instead of hiding from the truth. Congruency between ones head, heart and stomach is pure bliss. Even better than the Hershey Kisses taunting me in my freezer! Oh, and Cutter (the husband) is okay with meat shopping responsibilities. Moral dilemma solved.