Yesterday was Katarina's birthday. We went to San Francisco and walked around Crissy Field near the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a little chilly, but an absolutely beautiful day. Lots of birds on the shore and in the wetlands, lots of dogs and kids running around on the beach and the field.
Our original plan had to go for a hike at Briones Regional Park near Lafayette, but it rained much of the weekend, and while it would have been beautiful, it would have been quite muddy, too. Crissy Field also had the advantage of being near our destination for dinner.
Dinner was at Greens. It's not only one of the top restaurants in San Francisco (a city renowned for great food) and has great views of the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge, it's also all vegetarian. I've been vegetarian for quite a few years, and Kat doesn't eat much meat anymore either. I refer to myself as an ovo-pesco vegetarian. Wikipedia's article says I'm a pescetarian. My pastor calls me an eco-tarian. The last touches on my primary reason for not eating meat -- raising it has a horrendous impact on the environment. There are places in the world where it makes sense to raise cattle because the land won't support traditional crops that people can eat, but will support cattle that people can use for milk, blood, meat and leather. But many places in the world, the environment is not suited for it, and land must be irrigated to support the cattle, and it goes downhill from there from antibiotics, feed lots, sewage, slaughterhouses, and a cornucopia of diseases.
For me it was a gradual process. First I gave up beef. Then when I learned about how much sewage huge pig farms around the country create and how intelligent pigs are, I gave up pork. Chicken and other poultry followed shortly after that because of factory farms. I only buy free-range eggs, get cheese made with microbial or vegetable rennet, and I'm careful to buy fish that's sustainably harvested. There are other reasons besides the environmental impact, like animal cruelty, cost, and health, but that's the main one. And while various diseases appear in vegetable handling, they're usually ultimately from animal sources, and are much more common in meat. Then there's stuff like mad cow disease or the as yet unnamed neurological condition from pig's brains, and I really don't miss it. Especially when the vegetarian food is as yummy as it is at Greens.