Aine McAteer
There was a time in my life when I would rather cross the street than walk by a butcher shop. I scorned those who partook in all things flesh-related and raised my vegan banner for the world to see. I even went on national radio in Ireland advising against the consumption of meat and dairy products—needless to say, in an agricultural country like Ireland, my proclamations were not so well received by the farming community. I didn't quite go as far as yelling at old ladies wearing fur coats, but I certainly judged them and associated myself with those who did yell. I felt I was walking the high road and doing my bit for my own health and the health of the planet—and I was, to a point.

I quickly learned that my food has a much louder voice than any ranting and raving I could do in my attempts to change the world—I could simply do it one veggie burger at a time. I also learned I was holier than nobody, and that it's the intention and love behind our actions that create a negative or positive impact. I learned that I must, at all times, respect people's choices, and that the best I can do is offer the gift of my experience and encourage people to move in a direction that will take them closer to the goal of health, peace and happiness.

These days, I can occasionally be seen perusing the meat department in my health food store or chatting to a meat farmer at my local farmers' market. I've learned that butchers are not all murderers—in fact, most of them are lovely people and many have become my good friends. Cooking meat is still a learning curve for me, so I'll often rely on my butcher friends for advice in this area.

Now, I'm not personally a meat eater, except on a rare occasion when I feel I need a certain kind of energy that meat can provide, but I have relaxed my moral principles a bit and will now cook it for my clients if requested. I still believe a diet that relies mainly on whole grains, pulses and vegetables from land and sea is optimum. I believe food creates our consciousness, and if we are aware of making healthy food choices, the ripple effect will be that we'll treat our environment and fellow humans in a more conscious and respectful way.

Find out what happened the first time Aine ate meat. 


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