Men’s Health magazine: Don’t feed a man meat

The well-known magazine columnist Karen Shahinyan wrote in the latest issue of the Men’s Health magazine the author’s column “Do not kill”, where he honestly spoke about how a real vegetarian man lives among meat-eaters. “I don’t tell you how to dress, walk, or talk. But don’t try to feed me meat either,” Karen writes.

LAST WEEK, FOR THE FIRST TIME AFTER A YEAR hiatus, I pulled myself together and went to a fitness club. This time I wanted to do everything smartly, so I forked out for an individual training, which, as usual, began with a conversation about the regime of training and nutrition. “… And most importantly, you need to eat after each workout. Protein. Chicken breast, tuna, something lean,” the sensei explained to me. And I honestly answer, they say, it won’t work with a breast, because I don’t eat meat. And I don’t eat fish, except for dairy products. At first he did not understand what he was talking about, and then, with poorly hidden contempt, he said: “You have to eat meat, you understand? Otherwise there is no point. Generally”. 

I have long and firmly decided not to prove anything to anyone. I could tell my instructor about vegans I know who swing on vegetables and nuts alone so that anabolics are jealous. I could explain that I have a medical school behind me and I know everything about proteins and carbohydrates, and I have been involved in various sports for most of my life. But I didn’t say anything because he wouldn’t believe it anyway. Because for him reality looks like this: without meat there is no point. Generally. 

I myself did not believe in herbivorous jocks until I met one. He, among other things, was a raw foodist – that is, naturally, he did not consider anything but fresh plants to be food. I didn’t even drink soy cocktails, because they contain processed protein, not raw. “Where do all these muscles come from?” I asked him. “And in horses and cows, in your opinion, where does the muscle come from?” he objected. 

Vegetarians are not disabled or eccentric, they are ordinary people living normal lives. And I’m even more normal than the average vegetarian, because I refused meat not for ideological reasons (“I feel sorry for the bird”, etc.). I just didn’t like it for as long as I can remember. In childhood, of course, I had to – kindergarten teachers are not particularly interested in the gastronomic preferences of the wards. Yes, and at home there was an iron law “until you eat, you won’t leave the table.” But, having left my father’s house, in my personal refrigerator I exterminated any hints of meat products. 

LIFE OF A VEGETARIAN IN MOSCOW WHERE is more comfortable than is commonly believed. Waiters in decent places are already distinguishing lacto-ovo vegetarians (those who eat dairy and eggs) from vegans (those who eat only plants). This is not Mongolia, where I ate doshirak with bread for two weeks. Because in this amazing, fantastically beautiful country, barns (what are called roadside cafes) serve only two dishes: soup and lamb. Soup, of course, lamb. And Moscow is full of old-fashioned Caucasian restaurants with menus the size of War and Peace. Here you have beans, and eggplants, and mushrooms in every conceivable form. 

Friends ask if vegetables with side dishes get bored. No, they don’t get bored. Rabelaisian zherevo is simply not our eroticism. When I go out to dinner with non-veg friends, I enjoy company, conversation, good beer or wine. And food is just a snack. And when the rest of the party ends with a control dessert in the head, after which you can only get to bed, I go to the hot places to dance until the morning. By the way, over the past 10 years I have never been poisoned, I have not even experienced the slightest heaviness in my stomach. In general, I get sick about half as often as my meat-eating friends. Despite the fact that all other human weaknesses are not alien to me, including tobacco and alcohol. 

The only thing that sometimes annoys me is the attention (or inattention) of others to the features of my menu. Mom for the last 15 years, every (EVERY!) time when I’m visiting her, she offers me either a herring or a cutlet – what if it works? With distant relatives, Greek or Armenian, it is even worse. In their homes, it’s scary to hint that you don’t eat lamb. A deadly insult, and no excuses will help. It is also interesting in unfamiliar companies: for some reason, vegetarianism is always perceived as a challenge. “No, well, you explain to me, plants are not alive, or what? And that’s how it is with your leather shoes, a problem. To read a detailed lecture in response is somehow stupid. 

But the hurray-heroic vegas, which, at any convenient or inconvenient occasion, denounce meat-eating, are also annoying. They are ready to kill anyone who is not fighting for the life of animals and the Amazon forests. They pester customers in the grocery departments with speeches. And, believe me, they prevent me from living more than you, because I have to answer for them. The dislike for these saints extends to me, because ordinary people are poorly versed in the nuances of vegetarian movements. 

GET AWAY FROM ME AND THAT AND OTHERS, okay? Well, if you are so interested – sometimes I think that I live more correctly than you. True, this thought came many years after the rejection of animal food. Some time ago, I lived with a staunch vegetarian, Anya, who gave me a reinforced concrete ideological argument in favor of herbalism. The joke is not that people kill a cow. This is the tenth issue. The joke is that people produce cows for slaughter, and more than they need by nature and by common sense, about twenty times. Or a hundred. Never in the history of mankind has so much meat been eaten. And this is a slow suicide. 

Advanced vegans think globally – resources, fresh water, clean air and all that. It has been calculated more than once: if people did not eat meat, then there would be five times more forests, and there would be enough water for everyone. Because 80% of the forest is cut down for pastures and fodder for livestock. And most of the fresh water goes there too. Here you really think about whether people eat meat or meat – people. 

To be honest, I would be glad if all people refused to slaughter. I am glad. But I understand that the chances of changing something are small, since in Russia Vegians are at most one and a half percent. I’m just chewing my grass to clear my own conscience. And I don’t prove anything to anyone. Because what is there to prove, if for 99% of people without meat it makes no sense. Generally.

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