Monday, September 24, 2007

The end of a season?

Number ten. (See "He Returns" in the archive.) Today is the first full day of Autumn. So, according to my plan, meat is back on the menu. But I'm having some reservations about it. Last year it was a given that I'd go back to eating meat, and I did. But this year........... I don't know.

Common questions:
-Why? Just because I want to. I like to give myself willpower tests every so often. This seemed like a pretty easy one due to all the fresh veggies I can eat all summer.
-Was it easy? No. I never realized how often I ate meat. A little chicken in a salad, some ham in an omelet, pepperoni on pizza, pork in take-out fried rice. It wasn't that I was missing all that meat, it was just hard to order in some restaurants.
-What did I dislike about it? I hated going to eat somewhere and everyone feeling they had to tip-toe around my decision. I always felt like I was a sick kid everyone had to take care of. Most of my friends got over it, and I think it would get easier if I did it for longer.
-Did I crave meat, and what kind? Last year I craved chicken almost the whole time. This time I got a hankering for bbq chicken just once, and it passed quickly. The weirdest part of that craving is that I don't like chicken all that much. Other than that, I saw an ad for ribs once that looked really good. Maybe I just like bbq sauce more than I thought.
-What did you eat more of? One thing I ate too much of this summer was cheese. It didn't help we went through Wisconsin twice and Ell had to stop at a cheese house both times. (Her favorite food is cheese.) I ate a lot of peanut butter too. I think if I did this for a longer time, I'd learn how to eat better and not over-eat common things.

The big one:
-Are you going back to eating meat? (I think only one or two people asked me that last year. This year at least ten people have asked. I must be putting off a vibe that I'm internally debating it.) I am intrigued by the healthy aspect of living without meat. For the last month or so I've been buried in a vegetarian cookbook that is more like a health guide to living the lifestyle than an actual cookbook. I'm learning all the common mistakes (like too much cheese and pb) as well as learning how to pair foods that compliment each other in the body. That's really exciting to me.

Vegetarians (smart ones anyway) tend to be more healthy than most of their meat eating peers. Because an absence of meat causes a lack of certain nutrients, vegetarians are always examining their diets and making up for those. They eat more fruits and vegetables, something most Americans don't get enough of. They understand the importance of mixing the proper kinds of foods from different groups that compliment each other. They are more aware of processed and nutrient-zapped foods that many Americans live almost entirely on. They limit unhealthy foods that cause their digestive systems to go wacky. All in all, they seem to understand what each different kind of food does for the body more than your average Joe.

So what's the actual answer to the big question. For now, I think I'm going to stay vegetarian at least one more month and see where that takes me. I'll revisit my goals and plans and make a decision at that point. So yes, I'm still a vegetarian until the end of October.


Blogger Adrienne said...

Hmm...What if I give up fruits and veggies just to test my willpower? I get giving up a lot of things for that reason. However, to me, meat seems like a staple. But, I know that people can survive without meat and with extra thought to their diets, be as, or more healthy as meateaters.

I guess what I don't understand, is why it makes you healthier to give up one form of nutrient just to exchange it with other forms.

We had these friends, the daughter is 40's, her mom 70ish...they're, what I have been known to call 'healthfood', anyway, they were vegetarians for a long time and went to a vegetarian conference thingie...They said by the end of the day everyone look so sick and emaciated to them that they went and ordered giant hamgurgers. I always thought it was funny to hear them tell the story.

I think it would be quite easy to become a poor eater because of the mindset that one is automatically healthy if they are a vegetarian.

Anyway, I admire your willpower...but don't think I would get anything out of going vegetarian except low-iron.

Not critizing, or even questioning your decision...just rambling about what I thought of various points.

3:04 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

You're 100% right about stupid people thinking just doing a no-meat diet automatically makes them healthier. Which is why I threw in the "smart" comment. There are way too many people (myself included last year) who think just taking meat out does some miracle cure for health. That's so not the case. A lack of meat, and the proteins, iron, etc. it offers can't be duplicated. They can be exchanged though, and that's where doing it a smart way comes into play.

That brings me to your next point, which is a good one again. It doesn't neccessarily make you healthier to give up one nutrient in exchange for another. The main difference is that (smart) vegetarians understand the importance of companion foods. Like in a garden, where one plant compliments the other and they both grow better, the same is true for food. Peanut butter by itself is far more fattening than if you make a sandwich on whole grain bread with it. The grains help the digestion and don't allow all the fats of the pb to get fed into the blood. A burger is another great example of this. People will usually eat a burger and fries and be full. They won't eat any veggies or anything else. But if they had just eaten some greens or beans, the oils from the fries and burger would be broken up and not immediatly formed into artery-clogging cholesterol.

There's a lot more to be talked about, like eating till you're full, portion sizes in America, eating foods out of season, blood types, etc. But maybe that's for another post. Great stuff Adrienne. Don't worry, I doubt I'll be a vegetarian forever. I have some elk waiting for me in Colorado.

3:23 PM  
Blogger lyndsay said...

ahhh your such a ball buster! seeing as i don't have a set it didn't bother me much. Anywho sounds like fun you can do it Sam! praying for you! Miss you like crazy

4:56 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Thanks for keeping us posted....

1:08 PM  
Blogger GUYK said...

Not me! I have to live on just about a vegetable diet as it because of blood sugar and the four oz of meat I get each day is the highlight of the meals.

7:27 PM  

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