I figured it’s high time to explain just why I went vegetarian. A small part can be attributed to reading books like Skinny Bitch and This Crazy Vegan Life. Obviously, since I eat eggs like they are going out of style, I’m not a vegan but I have abstained from meat for over a year now, and I never really was a big fish fan, unless you count the band, but that’s a whole different story.
After reading Skinny Bitch, what I thought would be a lighthearted funny book about losing weight, I almost went off food altogether. Turns out the book is an angry ranting, and sometimes funny, diatribe about food and the food industry, with supreme attention given to meat and dairy. I was literally scared to eat anything and practically starved for a couple of days. Obviously, not a good thing, but this was one of my many forays into a meat free lifestyle. It didn’t last.
About a year after reading Skinny Bitch, I picked up This Crazy Vegan Life, a much less angry diatribe about the food industry, and while not a vegan, I really enjoyed this book. It was fraught with things I appreciate: common sense and the science behind why we are what we eat and how it impacts us. I consider myself to be a semi-rational person, and I really appreciated this logical and straightforward approach. I especially loved the intro where Christina Pirello, the author, says:
“think about your world…how many of the people you see are truly vital, alert, and physically fit? How many have clear eyes, firm glowing skin, gorgeous hair and a body of normal size? Not many, sadly.
As humans, we have taken ourselves so far from what is natural that we don’t know what natural is anymore. We think it’s normal to feel tired, lethargic, to have aches, pains, bumps, lumps, bulges, dots, spots and hair in places we didn’t think possible and no hair where we want it! We think it’s normal to walk with hunched shoulders, head low, guts hanging over our pants, “muffin tops” spilling over our jeans, our hair as lackluster as our skin. What appears to be normal is not how it should be.
Eating food that is not fit for humans carries a hefty price tag; and we are paying it, with tired, achy, overweight, sick, weak bodies and foggy minds.”
It’s a much longer and pretty bold introduction, but also fairly accurate, as far as I’m concerned. I have friends who attribute their declining health and physical abilities to simply “getting old,” and while we are certainly aging (I cannot believe I just admitted it), we are still in our early to mid-thirties. We are by no means elderly, and the real reason for their decline is simply they are out of shape. It’s all about food and lifestyle choices.
Let me be clear; I am not saying meat is the culprit, although regardless of whether it’s organic or non, meat carries a lot of saturated fat, so when consumed multiple times a day, it definitely contributes to the problem. I think the main offender is processed food and fast food where we are literally consuming non-food ingredients. I don’t think it’s wise to consume things when I don’t really know what they are and can’t pronounce their name. For me, eating clean is as simple as that, but still not why I steer clear of dead animal flesh (sorry, I couldn’t resist).
In truth, I’m just not a huge fan of 95% of meat; the whole concept makes me a touch queasy, and I really don’t like the texture. Truly, I have no problems eliminating it from my diet. If you hated donuts (does anyone?) and knew they were a less than ideal choice, would you force yourself to eat them. I think not.
Growing up, I was the most picky eater. My food couldn’t touch and if it did, I wouldn’t finish it. To this day, I prefer to keep the food separate, and I would never combine different foods on one forkfull. As a child, I complained endlessly about the meat, no matter how my parents cooked it. It was always too tough, too chewy, too tender, too meaty (yes, I have said this). If I chanced upon a bit of gristle, which still grosses me out, I wouldn’t finish whatever I was eating, and I would avoid that particular type of meat for months on end.
I told you 95% of meat was truly a no-no for me, but the other 5%, not so much. The problem is the 5% I actually enjoyed was the worst possible kinds for me: bacon, filet mignon, ground beef, and hot dogs. Honestly, not a whole lot of good was coming from any of these options, so I made a conscious effort to eliminate them, and I have no regrets. I may change my mind one day, but for now I’m trucking along just fine with being a vegetarian.
Even though I’ve chosen a vegetarian lifestyle, I don’t have a problem with other people eating meat; the Hubby does, although I always buy organic and he eats it very rarely (maybe once a week), except for this trip where he is in hog heaven, literally. I figure everybody can make their own choices, and who am I to judge others. If you really are concerned with healthy though, I’d suggest getting a clean product and eating it in moderation. Clean and organic really do matter; and it is worth the extra cost since food producers are allowed to incorporate antibiotics, hormones, meat glue and pink slime into their products. Sounds appetizing, right? Yeah, not so much. Don’t believe me…check out these links: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wshlnRWnf30 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BWkRPY1Q7M
I do have one favor to ask of all my carnivore friends. Please, please stop asking me if I get enough protein. It’s a tad offensive, especially since you don’t hear me asking where you get your vitamins and nutrients. And then when I respond yes, I get plenty of protein (I have literally been tested), please don’t ask me where exactly my protein comes from because you simply cannot believe it exists outside of meat. I promise I eat protein in a variety of sources: eggs, nuts, beans, veggies, flax, quinoa and the list goes on and on. Did you know ounce for ounce, broccoli has more protein than any meat? Boo-Yah!
I believe to each their own so go ahead and enjoy your meat in whatever fashion you like, and please let me savor my veggies in peace. Keep in mind, being a vegetarian, when done correctly, is truly very healthy, so pat your veggie loving friends on the back and think twice before mocking their wise food choices, even if they aren’t your own.
That’s it; diatribe over. Thanks for listening.
Are you a vegetarian? Do you have any vegetarian friends? Do you or they get tired of the protein questions?