Confessions of a Meataholic

Aaron PonceOne of my biggest passions is meat. I’ve found the sport of eating a tender slab of steak, or dining on a succulent chicken to be most riveting. Not once have my forefathers contemplated the significant impacts of the possibility of human existence without ample protein. It was sir William Shakespeare who made the profound statement, “A man loves the meat in his youth that he cannot endure in his age,”. So if I am to love meat, why beith the distress of our crops? Our community? A service trip on sustainability right at home in Omaha and Lincoln has answered the unspoken question that has long been hidden in my head. I love meat, but do I really need it?

Within a month, we probably encounter enough waste to fill a building. It’s become an undeniable truth that waste is simply everywhere. Culture has taught us to mass produce and take on efficiency and profit over sustainability and renewable sources. But we transported ourselves to Shadow Brook Farm in Lincoln, and we experience life on the farm side with the Loth family. Their organic farm had a major emphasis on concepts of sustainability. Waste was kept to a bare minimum, and you would be surprised with what you think would be waste, could be food for a new crop of plants, or could be recycled into a new tool or decoration.

Now comes the meat. On our service trip, we decided to go VEGETARIAN. That’s right, no meat, for five days. Sustainability advocates for vegetation, as the amount of energy we acquire from meat requires a lot more energy input, than acquiring the same energy from a plant. Animals require food (plants), water, and maintenance. A plant only requires water, good soil (unless you have an aquaponic system), and sunshine. Plants are simple, and surprisingly, quite delicious. Not once on the service trip have I had a dream of lambs jumping over the fence, turning into a lamb chop, and falling into my mouth. In fact, I would be confident to say that the change in diet left me feeling more fresh and clean than usual. Harvesting energy from plants and other products instead of meat is definitely much more simple and renewable for the community and healthy for the individual. The people in my group actually became closer to each other, and the community by embracing vegetarianism. We worked together to create all vegetarian dishes that were still very delicious.

My meat cravings after the trip did not subside, however, coming back, I now know that vegetarianism is not really for eccentric hippies or tree huggers. Vegetarianism is for everyone. Working more vegetables like beans, fruits and leafy plants into a diet, and cutting back on the meat, will still keep you nutritionally sound, and not starved for life of meat. The key is in balance. I don’t need to splurge on meat, a diet with a healthy balance is perfect. I still indulge on a moist steak, but throw me some carrots, potatoes, and a salad, and I couldn’t be any happier.

Aaron Ponce
Class of 2017
College of Arts and Sciences

The CCSJ blogs are meant to be a place for Creighton students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, and friends to reflect on their experiences with programs sponsored by the office or related to its mission. The views expressed in these reflections, and all other blogs found on or linked to from this website, are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of Creighton University, the Creighton Center for Service and Justice (CCSJ), or any of the University’s affiliates. The University and the CCSJ are not responsible for the actions, content, accuracy, or opinions expressed in these blogs.