I am a vegetarian, but sometimes I secretly crave pepperoni pizza. Those round eyes of red glare at me every time I am at a pizza place. I’ve never tried it, although, I’ve asked several of my pepperoni eating friends what it tastes like. They can’t provide any real points of comparison since I’ve never tasted meat, but all have replied that it’s a “spicy, good taste. You are really missing out.”
I guess I will have to take their word for it. Vegetarianism isn’t a fad for me. I was never a member of PETA or on a soap-box preaching to others about the virtues of having a meat-free diet. It’s something personal, something that I take as an oath as seriously as the vows of my marriage.
I am not going to cheat, not even for pepperoni pizza. Vegetarianism runs deep in my family. I am a 4th generation vegetarian. My mother always raises this point. She says to her relatives in India, “Even though my daughter was raised in America, she has never tried meat. She is still a good Hindu, even though she is around many temptations of meat.” I know, go ahead, laugh. Mom talks about my vegetarianism like I won the Nobel Peace Prize.
I know it is not as if lightning will strike if I ate meat. My friends have said, “Go ahead try it, I won’t tell anyone.” Something always stops me from trying it, even though I’ve secretly craved it from time to time. I believe in everyone’s life, there are certain principles we aren’t willing to sacrifice. For me, eating meat would be disappointing my mom. It would mean giving in. It would mean as a Hindu, I am violating a tenet of my religion, even though I am not terribly religious.
Vegetarianism has become one of those principles in my life. I know that, even though the meat-eating temptation may exist, I will never betray this principle. For me, as hard as those red eyes look at me, eating it is something I am not willing to risk.
What are some your principles? What are you unwilling to risk? Share your thoughts.
If it makes you feel any better (though I doubt it will) I do eat meat and still I hate pepperoni! Yuck. I’ll take a plain piece of cheese pizza any day of the week… though now that I write this, I’m not sure if you eat cheese.
As for vows we’ve taken, I wish I could say I have stayed as loyal to a value as you have to vegetarianism. I know that I will never break my marriage vows. But other than that, I can’t think of a personal commitment I have made — one for myself and my values and not to someone or something else — that I have stood by unwaveringly. Sure, I’ve dabbled in different stuff (my husband says I get on “kicks”) but eventually I move on to the next thing. Reading this makes me think I need something that I believe in the way you believe in vegetarianism. Clearly it has shaped part of who you are, in some small way. Being able to say no, even just to pepperoni, and know for certain we will always stay true to that, makes a person stronger. Hmm… you’ve given me something to think about!
I do eat cheese, although some of my vegan friends do not. I think it is equally necessary to “dabble” to find out what is important to you. Good luck in finding that one principle or more!
I find this topic, commitment to a principle with the same fervor as with marriage, very interesting. I pat myself on the back for being very flexible with most things such as e-mailing vs. phoning vs. meeting in person or driving vs. carpooling vs. taking public transportation. I wonder how I’d change if I committed to never driving a car? I think it would change me, but how?
I think eliminating something like driving would take a special commitment and one that would require the entire support of your whole family. If you could, it would certainly be admirable, but in modern society, probably inconvenient.
Pepperoni pizza is my one of my 3 year olds favourites. I like pizza, but could probably do without the pepperoni. You aren’t missing much in that department.
I was fascinated by this post though. I could see the question you asked coming, and I knew I would have nothing. Or at least nothing I can think of at the moment that even approaches your commitment. I think that’s sad. There must be something…I will think about this a lot now until I figure out what it is.
I am sure there is something Christine and it may take some brainstorming, but I am convinced that everyone has that one principle that they are committed to. Glad you liked the post.
I think you shed a different light into this subject. For me, as you mentioned, it is a huge part and I think one of the most important facets of Hinduism, and more simply just how we were raised.
Just like you, I’ve heard the same comment many a time, “You don’t know what you’re missing out on.” And to that I say, ignorance is bliss. Despite my conviction, I’ve questioned my own reasons for being vegetarian, and faith has been largely the bulk of my reasoning; but this post has made me aware that it is about sacrifice, maybe moreso about self-evolution and self-awareness. Vegetarianism makes me think about something other than myself, makes me realize there is more to this journey than just satisfying the self.
(and I suppose if these answers aren’t convincing enough for all the meat-eaters out there, I’ll just stick to ‘ignorance is bliss.’ 🙂
As far as the questions you posed, I guess it would be easy to answer, “Vegetarianism!! That’s what I’m unwilling to risk!” But I won’t take the easy path, and instead say I’m unwilling to risk “my faith” in God, in a higher Power, in a Being that is greater than myself.
It can be easy to be swept away in an egocentric way of life, believing that one’s own person is the reason for being, and ‘shooing’ away the thought of something Greater. I’m unwilling to let the false sense of ‘control’ or ego I have, to sway me away from my faith.
Rudri, I promise that I’m not laughing. I admire anyone who sticks to their guns, so to speak, and can articulate why (as you have done so here).
I’m afraid that I love my meat way too much to ever give it up, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate that someone else may avoid it for very principled reasons. I can see from what you have written that this is important to you. 🙂
It is important to me, but I can appreciate the humorous side of this subject as well. Thanks for your comment!
Rudri, I am also a vegeterian and I have the same feeling when we go to Indian restaurant and see/smell the Tandoori Chiken ordered by the other guests. Very tempting. Anway now a days you got the soy products which tastes similar to the meat products and a lot more healthier :). Though, I am not too sure if there’s a veggie pepperoni.
You’ve written very well and the topics are nice also. I am sure you’ll be a great novelist. Good luck.