Wot I loved today: Guilt-free bacon sandwiches

I gave up meat when I was thirteen because I could no longer reconcile the contradictory imperatives of desperately loving animals and desperately wanting to eat them. I did fourteen long, miserable years without meat. It was awful. If you’re a vegetarian, don’t be cross. Just understand that I was born a carnivore. There wasn’t a day when I didn’t long for a nice pork chop or some roast chicken or a rare steak. I was nearly sacked from a hotel I worked at as a teenager because the chef caught me with a  lamb shank in my hand, sniffing it with great and anguished longing.

Aged twenty-eight I couldn’t take any more. I started eating meat again and was happy. A lot healthier too,  actually, although I’m sure committed vegetarians would tell me otherwise. But as I said – I was just born a carnivore.

Nonetheless, the hypocrisy of it all has gnawed at me ever since. I’m the kind of person who’ll burst into tears driving past a field because one of the cows looks like he’s just been dumped by his girlfriend. I routinely weep when I see lambs because I know that most of them are doomed and the other day, when my friend Bert read out the chapter in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s MEAT book about how terrible life is for intensively-farmed pigs, I cried uncontrollably. There’s also been a growing sense of unease about the amount of antibiotics pumped into intensively-farmed animals that I must be ingesting, not to mention the hormonal imbalances that miserable, stressed animals were probably passing on to me in burger form.

So I called a halt. Not to eating meat, because that would be madness for me, but to eating meat that’s had a shit life and offers me the nutritional properties of a turd steak.  I gulp at the expense of organic, free-range, local, happy – but, well, bollocks to it. If it means compromising on other expenditures – things like nail varnish that simply don’t matter -then so be it.

And I’m genuinely enjoying my food more. Really, truly. I mean, I always enjoy my food. Probably more than I enjoy conversation or human company. Erm. Today’s bacon sandwich brightened up a grey morning because I knew the piggy had spent his time rooting round a field in Somerset. Last night’s wild venison casserole (eaten in pyjamas in The Man’s edit suite because he was working late) was all the more tasty for its wild roaming-round-local-woods provenance.

Guilt-free meat is a new a very welcome addition to the life I love. It makes me feel happy, not guilty. RAH!

(By the way. After I went to the effort of driving a beautiful casserole to The Man’s edit last night – even bringing a bottle of wine – he repaid me by getting into bed later and letting off the loudest and most awful fart I’ve ever heard.)



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4 Responses to Wot I loved today: Guilt-free bacon sandwiches

  1. Emma says:

    What a fantastic decision Lucy, I’ve been a veggie for 25 years now and I never EVER crave meet, but there’s no point being an unhappy (and possibly unhealthy vegetarian) choosing meat that has been ethically reared is definitely the next best thing and I wish more people would follow your example xx
    #happyhens #contentedcows #perkypigs

  2. Carrie says:

    Agree with you! I always buy free range eggs. I reach for the cheapo ones and then just can’t go through with it! I’d much rather imagine the hens running around having a happy life in a field laying the occasional egg, than shut in a cage popping them out miserably.

  3. Lisa says:

    Oh Lucy I love you!

    Its good to know I’m not the only who loves eating meat but feels so sad every time I pass a field of animals I know I’ll be eating.

    I can’t even stand to see sheep in fields because they look cold and sad, they should be indoors with a cosy bed and treats. Much like cats and dogs.
    But then the next day I’m putting mint sauce onto them.

    I’m not sure if its all just in my head that I think organic meat tastes better? Maybe its as you said and its that guilt free meaty feeling telling me it is.

    Lisa Xx

  4. Lisa says:


    You have just helped me make up my mind. I have been battling with the guilt of loving animals and loving meat for many years now but only had the emotional strength to start delving into my energy reserves and look into and research “guilt free meat”. I have tried to be a veggie, but like you I was born (as we all are, actually) to be a carnivore. My crave and love for meat is just too strong…….so, I’m going to eat it but i’m going to eat it from the farmer I had a great and helpful meeting with. He raises all his cattle without over medicating, his animals are turned out most of the year on a clover pasture where they can behave like cow and interact with each other. To reduce animal stress he only has between 3 – 5 culled at one time at a local family run, experienced slaughter house the animals are not left for anymore than a few hours and are not held in crates or over crowded barns, as they are in production line slaughter houses. The staff there are dedicated to their work, in the sense that they are fully trained and have a great deal of respect for the animal. Yes…..I do believe him, but just to be sure, I’m going to visit the slaughter house on Friday. I won’t like it but I feel it’s part of the duty I have towards the animals that I’m going to be eating “guilt free”.

    I’m sure there are many veggies reading this and many more not that will say I ‘m just using my “finding a humane farmer” an excuse to continue eating meat and still feel like I am doing the animal a favour. Well the one question I would like to ask those dairy eating veggies is “What do you think happens to the cow’s that provide your milk, cheese (if not veggie) and butter after it is to old or ill to produce anymore milk” I’ve do the re-search on my quest to be a veggie and here is the answer. You many need to be prepared to become a vegan or stop being a hypocrite, which is what I would have been if I had decided to do what I thought was right and stop eating meat but not become a vegan:

    So what happens to the redundant dairy cow? What happens, is that cows are culled from herds for various reasons, mostly economic. Each herd will have a different rate, but a 25-percent turnover in a year is not uncommon. In other words, 15 of our 60 cows become available for meat each year. If each of those animals yields 450 pounds of hamburger, that’s 6,750 pounds of meat as a by-product of this dairy.

    That’s not all. There’s a lot of fooling around with genetics and embryo transplants, but in general, a cow gives birth once each year in order to keep in milk production. She has a 50-percent chance of bearing either a heifer, who has the potential to become a herd replacement, or a bull calf. Hardly any bulls stay bulls, because you just don’t want that much testosterone around the place. They become steers, they get raised up by someone (if they are not used for veal), if not the dairy farmer, and they become meat. So if 30 bull calves are born in our herd and become 1,200-pound steers at market weight, we’ve got another 15,000 pounds of meat on our hands. That’s about 21,750 pounds of meat that those 1,020 people are “responsible” for. About 21 pounds of beef per person.

    So just eat a burger or two a week, and then you can go ahead and eat your share of dairy products, guilt-free. Otherwise, you’ll have to get a friend to eat three or four burgers per week or become a vegan.

    Thanks Lucy, from Lisa x

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