“You are a nudist vegetarian? That’s a cute combination!”
That was a comment that a new acquaintance recently made to me. And I found it amusing. Still do. But why is this combination not more usual?
Being a natural naturist
Many nudists also call ourselves naturists. The thought being that by being free of artificial covering we are closer to our true human nature. I completely concur with the concept. And it is this idea of living more in tune with nature that led me to become a vegetarian. The keeping of livestock animals for meat production creates many detrimental effects on the planet in addition to the one to the welfare of animals themselves. But for me, it was the former that drew me in.
There is a movement called Meatless Mondays which is designed to increase awareness of and to minimize the environmental impact of industrial meat production. The idea being that if each person in developed countries forgo meat one day a week, there would be a tremendously positive effect on the environment. And Meatless Mondays was how I came to vegetarianism. In fact, I had previously been a total carnivore which is typical of blacks from the American South. Our typical cuisine — known as Soul Food — is very heavy on pork. We use it for flavoring and cook nearly everything with it. I was so ingrained in eating flesh that I would stop eating and leave any non-meat items on my plate as soon as the meat was gone.
Learning to eat again
So I never imagined myself a vegetarian and with trepidation and doubt did I approach the task of giving up meat for one day a week. In all honesty, I began with one meal a week and even that was a struggle. But as I adore cooking and inventing in the kitchen, I viewed this a challenge to my creativity. I like challenges. The joy of discovering my ability to make appetizing and delicious meals without meat spread and within a year my one day of meatlessness had turned into me being totally vegetarian at home. I would still consume chicken, pork or the occasional lamb when dining out. But this too became less frequent until I got to where I am today, a vegetarian nudist. I had to learn a whole new concept of diet and food. It was a reward and generally enjoyable process.
Of course, flexibility is always a good thing and so I am not militant in my vegetarianism. I’ll have meat two or three times a year. But this generally happens when someone else is doing the cooking for me — I don’t want to force others into my way — or when traveling and there are limited options.
Meat’s effects on the environment
Roughly 800 million people could be feed annually from grains used to feed cattle each year in the USA. And to produce this grain means using a lot of fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides, water and fuel for transporting all this. This is not to mention the all these chemicals leaching into water supplies.
EWG estimates that growing livestock feed in the U.S. alone requires 167 million pounds of pesticides and 17 billion pounds of nitrogen fertilizer each year across some 149 million acres of cropland. The process generates copious amounts of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide, while the output of methane—another potent greenhouse gas—from cattle is estimated to generate some 20 percent of overall U.S. methane emissions. -Environmental Working Group
Clearing land for animal rearing also contributes to deforestation and erosion.
A Proud Nudist Vegetarian
So eating meat clearly has adverse effects on nature. And as a naturists, I prefer to minimize my contribution to this when I can. For this reason, I am proud to wear the label nudist vegetarian.