Monday, March 22, 2010

Still not eating meat...

Okay, so I've had a crazy week after posting about my decision to cut WAAAAAAAY back on the meat we eat here in this house. Saying that I'm switching over to a semi-Vegan diet apparently was like saying that I'm joining a new church. EVERYONE has an opinion, and let's face it...people in this country LOVE meat. It's a second religion.

My good friend's husband (who happens to be my husband's best friend) is not about to let me influence his wife (who is reading The China Study right now) to stop eating meat (or more importantly--to stop feeding him meat). Our food swapping days have come to an end. He brought some pork in an envelope to my husband for their weekly basketball night with a note attached that read "Always eat meat." I actually think it's pretty funny, and am glad I've gotten such a rise out of the most mild-tempered guy I've ever met!

If my only motivation to stop eating meat was to save the animals, I don't think I'd last very long. And I'm not doing it to lose weight (for obvious reasons...I'm steadily gaining more than I'd like to admit with only 3 months to go). I'm not doing it to mimic any celebrities, or because it's the "cool" thing to do. In my few short days of announcing my new meal plan, I've actually found it to be quite unpopular. I'm doing it because I really, honestly, truly feel like cutting back on animal products, and increasing my consumption of whole, plant-based foods is really the healthier way to live.

I know I will have uncomfortable moments at social gatherings, and I may still occasionally eat some meat. But I am an extremist when it comes to health, and I'm up for the challenge. My bigger challenge will be to not make anyone else uncomfortable. Don't be afraid to invite us over, or out to eat. I will not be scrutinizing what is on your plate, or what is going into your mouth. And I won't ask you to prepare any special dishes for me. I may eat before I come, or I may leave a bit hungry. That's my decision...not your worry. I'm okay with that.

Lucky for me, I love vegetables. And even the ones I don't love, I love. I'm the weird girl who will drink the nastiest concoction of vegetables, and like it just because it's good for me. But I'm also excited to experiment, and to find some super tasty, super healthy dishes. Last week, I had great luck with a vegetable soup, coconut beans and rice, and Vegan lasagna. My family hasn't starved, and my husband even said he would eat it all again.

Some people are leery of change, but I'm the type who makes up my mind, and jumps head first into the water. I don't mind a total life overhaul every once in a while. It's actually quite refreshing.

As for all of you readers, thanks for all the tips! A few more books I'm going to read (thanks to your input) are:

"Eat To Live" (Fuhrman)

"The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals" (Michael Pollan)

"In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto" (Michael Pollan)

"Food Rules: An Eater's Manual" (Michael Pollan)

I'm also visiting the following websites for much-needed help:

I would like to encourage those of you who are brave and willing to just give this lifestyle a try. You can dive in headfirst like me, or slowly add changes to your diet. Add an extra serving of vegetables to every meal. Just go meatless a few days a week. Find some good vegetarian recipes that don't leave you feeling like something was missing (and share them with me!) There are enormous benefits from eating a whole foods, plant-based diet. Try it out! Who's willing?


Anonymous said...

This is exactly how I've been feeling lately! Unfortunately I have some food to eat up before I can fully make the switch in good conscience (she says while eating semi-unpleasant frozen chicken nuggets). Good luck!

esherman10 said...

I'm wondering what you feed your kids for lunches, etc...and what do you use to replace the dairy for them?

Michael said...

Thanks for posting my book suggestions. I think they'll broaden your view of the food industry and help you continue on the path you're on.

Since you've already tried my quinoa and black beans recipe, here's the link:

I'm sure you already know this, but some great foods to add vegetable-based protein to your diet are whole grain pasta and brown rice. No one ever said spaghetti has to come with meat sauce, and in countries all over the world, brown rice is viewed as a quick fix to some major problems of malnutrition.

Also, quinoa is a great source of protein, and even contains ALL of the essential amino acids. Take that, meat.

Jen said...

you might also want to add "Eating Animals" by Jonathan Safran Foer to your list. I haven't read it yet, but from what I hear it is along the lines of what you are talking about. There is a documentary out now called "Food, Inc" that goes along with all of that too, and how food is now a business and so much of our meat in genetically "enhanced" to produce more in a shorter amount of time. Can that really be healthy? I know it was on HBO, but maybe you can find it other places too. Good luck with your endeavors!
Btw, don't know if you can have cream, but there is a recipe on that has an amazing Butternut Squash lasagna. You need to try it, it is so good!:)

Supermar said...

I read you China Study post and the last few posts you wrote about giving up meat. I say, go for it. I personally have a very hard time giving up certain foods (cake, candy, cookies, ice cream, do you see a theme here?) but I know that I would be better off if I did. Don't let the "haters" get to you.

My mom has always been really into nutrition. I'll ask her if she's heard of this book. Here is a story for you to help you feel even better about what you are doing:

When I was 18 my dad was diagnosed with malignant melanoma (really bad skin cancer). The doctor gave him 6 months to live. I'm 30 now and he's still alive, this is why: After the diagnosis my mom and dad refused to believe that there was nothing they could do. My mom became obsessed with finding out new things he could eat and not eat to make him better. She searched the internet day and night and finally came up with a new way for him to eat and new supplements and vitamins for him to take. He changed his way of life completely as far as eating and exercise. I am convinced the combo of this change and their willingness to do the work is the reason God worked his miracle's and he is still alive today (and much healthier btw). It is God's gift that he is still alive today, but I know that my parent's vigilance in making him healthier was a HUGE part of that.

Keep fighting the good fight. I'll try to be better and join you too! PS-My mom's been us for as long as I can remember that cow's milk is bad for us!