Don’t you hate when you try to adopt some new dietary maneuver, only to find yourself occasionally forgetting all about it until you’re halfway through the new forbidden food?
That’s been happening to me every so often since I decided to quit eating four-legged animals a while back. The other day I realized I’d inadvertently put ham on a sandwich instead of turkey, temporarily forgetting that deli meats were more than just different flavors of flesh.
I try not to beat myself up too much when it happens, because this time around it’s usually a failure of forgetfulness rather than resolve. That’s not been the case during past attempts to restrict my carnivorous dining to fish and fowl.
A food decision or restriction that feels like a penalty — even if you really do think it’s a good idea and only one tiny, caveman-like part of your brain registers it as unfair — just isn’t as likely to “take” as one that’s framed as a journey into new terrain full of possibilities and opportunity.
So this time, instead of focusing on what’s being taken away, I’m focusing on the good feelings that come from sparing bigger-brained animals higher up on the food chain.
For the record, this maneuver is No. 27 of Michael Pollan’s book Food Rules, which is based on a wordy Chinese proverb that he shortens to “The fewer the feet, the better the meat.”
I’m allowing myself to consume two-legged animals like chicken and turkey for the time being, along with fish. Those have always been my favorite kinds of meat anyway. But according to Pollan, as well as the proverb, the most desirable “meat” of all has only one “leg” — the stalk of a plant.