Archive | June, 2018

I’m Back Baby! (But Please, Hold the Baby Back Ribs)

19 Jun

It’s been about 3 years since I last posted on this blog. Wow! Time flies. For the past 3 years, I have been eating any/everything that I want (well, sort of. There was a pregnancy in there somewhere, and I had to restrict certain things during that time.)

Anyway, I decided to revisit this online journal for a new dieting venture: veganism.

My desire to go vegan is two-fold:

1. Help the Environment: Knowledge is power – Eating a vegan diet is the best way for a person to reduce their carbon footprint. https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/veganism-environmental-impact-planet-reduced-plant-based-diet-humans-study-a8378631.html The leader of my country doesn’t seem interested in supporting initiatives to help make a dent in this cluterfuck of a climate dilemma. So, I guess I have to pick up the slack. Thanks a lot, Trump! First you take away my faith in humanity and now you I have to give up cheese too? This is just great.

2. Reduce Animal Suffering: Ignorance is bliss – What goes on in factory farms has become more transparent over the past decade thanks to food documentaries like Food Inc and other films easily accessible through Netflix. However, like most people, I chose to turn my head the other way. I’d like to stop doing this.

When I first started this blog, I flirted with veganism in a non-direct way. I called myself a “factory farm vegan” which meant I was only eating animal products that I could verify the source of and felt comfortable with. Unfortunately, I decided to do that at the same time I was restricting other foods during my various diet experiments. This complicated things, to say the least.

Veganism seems more attainable for me now. I have calmed down a lot about food additives, preservatives, sugar, and other unnatural atrocities in my food.  I am lazy, and I refuse to make everything from scratch. These days, I welcome mock meats and other processed vegan goodies that I would have shunned back in the day in lieu of driving myself crazy for the sake of purity. I also recognize I may accidentally eat something that is not vegan, even while claiming to be one, and somehow this won’t cause me to spontaneously combust.

Is a vegan diet for everyone? I really don’t think so. People with certain health or eating disorder issues may find such an approach to be problematic. I’ll be curious to see if I can hack it. Here are the things that have derailed my vegan efforts in the past:

1. Disordered Eating: This is my biggest fear. For me, restrictive diets tend to coincide with perpetuating an unhealthy relationship with food. I am so lazy, that I will skip meals if nothing is available or looks good. Also, I’m not sure it’s possible to follow such a culturally incompatible diet without forming a ridiculous fixation on food. Is this inherently a bad thing? I guess we’ll find out!

2. Chronic Illnesses: I have two chronic pain conditions that wreak havoc on my body. I’ve talked about these at length in other posts, so I’ll keep this short.

-IBS: I have a finicky gut which may be aggravated by a predominantly plant-based diet. Following an IBS-friendly vegan diet is possible but not necessarily easy. On the plus side, my intestines seem less sensitive since pregnancy, so there’s hope.

-Fibromyalgia: I have a hypersensitive nervous system which doesn’t respond well to blood sugar swings. I have to be careful to emphasize plant-based proteins when consuming carb-heavy staples, such as grains, fruits, and starchy veggies, to avoid upsetting my altered equilibrium. Again, not impossible but will require conscious effort.

3. Social Convenience: I am a natural-born follower who SUCKS at being assertive. I am not the type of person who wants to be noticed or make a scene or have to explain myself. These personality characteristics create an unfortunate hurdle for me. “Is there butter in this?” “Are there eggs in that?” “Oh sorry, I can’t try your amazing cookies. I’m vegan.” Somehow, I would have to become the type of person who can whip out sentences like these without wanting to barf. But what are experiments good for, if not eliciting some personal growth?

4. Taste: This is the last, and also, the least of my concerns. My current diet is predominantly vegetarian, based on preference, laziness, and the high cost of higher quality meats. Of course if you make ribs for me, I’m going to be sad if I can’t eat them. And if I go to JL Beers, I will obsess over the fact that I’d prefer to get a chicken sandwich with bacon rather than another goddamn black bean burger. But so far, I’ve discovered some vegan “chicken” tenders (Gardein brand) and “bacon” (Upton’s Naturals) that I’ve enjoyed enough to trick myself into thinking this experiment won’t be a total disaster. My current favorite past time is watching vegan food taste tests on YouTube.

What about my husband? – He will continue to eat whatever he wants, but by default, he will be eating about 2/3 veg, since I make his breakfast and supper. We aren’t big meat eaters, so it shouldn’t be (too) jarring of a change for him. We already eat a vegan smoothie every morning. Now, suppers will be more plant-based as well.

What about my daughter? – Even though the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Dietetic Association insist that well-planned vegan diets are appropriate for all stages of life, I’m hesitant. Maybe Big Dairy has brainwashed me, or maybe I just shudder to think of how socially ostracized she would become. (P.S. Do NOT google “Big Meat”. Trust me on this one.) In any case, I have no plans to offer a vegan diet to my child at this time. However, I may eventually raise her as a vegetarian since I don’t plan to cook meat at home. Of course, she’ll be free to go off and eat burgers and pepperoni pizza and whatever else she wants when she’s with friends. I know what it looks like when something is 100% off limits to someone, and I don’t want to have to pay to send her to rehab for a McDonald’s addiction in the future.

What about my kitty friend? – Cats are carnivores. As a general rule, they need meat in their diet to thrive. She will continue to receive fancy Paleo cat food with plenty of meat and very little carbs to help keep her feline diabetes in remission.

What about Bob? Ha! I love Bill Murray. But seriously though…

What about me?!

Here’s the Plan:

As evidenced by all of my ramblings above and even more so by my previous ramblings on this blog, it is clear to me that the only chance in hell I have at being successful at this is by taking things very, very slow. Baby Steps!

July: I will follow a (mostly) Pescatarian diet with a meat allowance of 4 servings for the entire month. (I currently eat meat about twice per week, so that’s a 50% reduction for me.)

*Pescatarian: a vegetarian who also eats fish.

The “meat allowance” is my own invention. I don’t expect to buy meat to prepare at home, but I want to keep my options open for restaurants and social outings, so I can better mentally prepare for the eventual loss of this option.

August: I will follow a (mostly) Pescatarian diet with a meat allowance of 2 servings for the entire month.

September: I will follow a (mostly) Pescatarian diet with a meat allowance of 1 serving for the entire month.

October: I will follow a full Pescatarion diet (No more meat allowance)

November: I will follow a (mostly) vegetarian diet with a fish/bug allowance of 4 servings for the entire month

Yes, you read that right. I said “fish/bug” allowance. I’ve been curious to experiment with cricket flour for awhile now, and this experiment gives me a great excuse to do so.

*Vegetarian: generally, this term is used to refer to a person who does not eat the flesh of animals (meat or fish) but still eats dairy, eggs, and honey. The technical term is “lacto-ovo” vegetarian, but if people went around calling themselves by this ridiculous name, the veg movement would get mocked even more than it already does.

December: I will follow a (mostly) vegetarian diet with a fish/bug allowance of 2 servings for the entire month

January: I will follow a (mostly) vegetarian diet with a fish/bug allowance of 1 serving for the entire month

February: I will follow a full (lacto-ovo) vegetarian diet. No fish or bug allowance. I’m sure some of you are relived to hear this. Ha!

March: I will follow a (mostly) vegan diet with a lacto/ovo allowance of 4 servings for the entire month

*Vegan: a person who refrains from eating any/all animal products including: dairy, eggs, bugs, fish, meat, honey, and toenails (I assume?) Can a vegan eat their own fingernails and still be vegan? These are important details I’ll have to iron out later.

April: I will follow a (mostly) vegan diet with a lacto/ovo allowance of 2 servings for the entire month

May: I will follow a (mostly) vegan diet with a lacto/ovo allowance of 1 serving for the entire month

June: I will follow a full vegan diet

July: ??? We’ll see how I’m feeling physically and mentally and proceed from there!

What can YOU do today?: This project may look ambitious, and I’m inclined to agree with you. If you have an interest in reducing your meat intake, but you don’t know where to begin, try committing to meatless Mondays! https://www.meatlessmonday.com/about-us/

Wish me luck, friends!

 

 

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