Saturday, September 22, 2012

On being vegetarian

GASP!  I have been working on this endeavor for a month.  The strange thing was that it just happened and for the most part, has been easy!  Yes, some of my family members are thinking, "Has she gone crazy hippy liberal?!"  The answer is, "No.  I've become more thoughtful in my conservativeness."

I did give into one McDonalds chicken sandwich.  I blame that on drinking vermouth with Russians the night before.  I don't crave meat, honestly.  I have found so many great ways to eat vegetables.  Just the other night, I made a wrap.  I had hummus, mozzarella, huge chunks of tomato, and onion on a pesto tortilla.  It was so good!  I love the freshness of fruits and vegetables.  I've been trying to eat more whole grains and less sugar as well.  The sugar has been a difficult journey.  Sugar is as addicting as cocaine, hence why we have so much type two diabetes in first world countries, so not letting myself eat it everyday has caused some major mood swings.  I'm balancing out now.  Sugar isn't evil, but I think 10 grams a day is the recommended dosage, while American consumption is WAY more than that.  I made a small batch of cookies tonight using organic unbleached bread flour, so the texture is weird, but it has a cool nutty flavor.  I kind of like it!

This summer I read a variety of books on being vegan thanks to my awesome friend Colleen.  (Crazy, Sexy Diet, Skinny Bitch, In Defense of Food, Thrive)   I was just curious as to why she lives that lifestyle and the books broke my prejudices.

I linked the books so that you can check out the websites for yourself.  I learned that you can easily get the amount of protein and iron you need each day (and more!) in a vegan diet.  I learned that a healthy vegan eats a large variety of different plants, sending so many more nutrients to cells than the traditional western diet.  Brendan Brazier, the author of "Thrive" is a professional triathlete and is also a vegan.  Every book was well researched and cited.

I am not going to go vegan.  I do not have the intentions of forever being a vegetarian.  So why am I doing the "vegetarian thing"?

1.  When animals are factory farmed, they live in their own poop and pee, are only fed genetically engineered corn often mixed with the meal of other animals (or their own kind), are pumped full of hormones to grow quickly and antibiotics to ward of infection, and their natural fear hormones are filling their own bodies.  Whatever, they are soul-less creatures, I used to think.  What goes into them, goes into whoever eats them!  Why would I want to eat a high-calorie food that has little nutrition, makes my body antibiotic resistent, and adds extra hormones to my body?  Not me!

2.  Most meat is not local.  This puts a huge strain on the environment.  A giant percentage of the food grown in the US goes to feed these animals from #1.  This food needs to be shipped. The animals poop, expelling excess methane into the air, which hurts the ozone.  To clean up yards and grow the food, tons of water needs to be used per EACH POUND of meat.  Then, the meat is shipped thousands of miles, all over the US, wasting more gas and polluting the environment.  Brazier conducted studies on the environmental impact the meat industry has on gas and water supplies in the US.  A person can make a bigger difference in reducing their personal carbon imprint by stopping eating meat than by stopping driving a car.  Isn't that crazy?

3.  When you eat a diet of mostly vegetables, there is no limit to what you can eat.  When I eat food now, I feel no guilt at all.

4.  You can prevent diseases by eating organic, unprocessed, whole foods.  You can even turn off certain genes that are in your DNA.  This preventative measure (with exercise) saves a lot of money in the long run.

5.  I have had difficulty with digestion, especially when I am stressed.  I learned that my body has a difficult time digesting meats and dairy.  When I cut these out of my diet, I honestly feel so much better.  I haven't had any IBS symptoms since being here, and if I was eating meat for every meal, my body would not handle the stress of McGill.

6.  Vegetarians and Vegans respect hunters!  Hunters are killing animals who live in their natural habitats, eat the food they are meant to eat, exercise and do things when they want, and need to be weeded out before winter.  When you hunt, it is often local and many hunters use most of the meat from the body.  It has a much higher concentration of nutrients than factory farmed meat and is leaner.  Go hunters!

7.  If you know somebody locally who butchers free-range cattle and chickens, you will be spending more money on food, but the meat will be substantially better for you.

8.  As a Libertarian, I hate government subsidies.  The government subsidizes #s 1 and 2 hardcore.  How is this right?  Meat should be way more expensive than it is.  Why are fresh fruits and vegetables competing with rotting animal carcass?  They shouldn't be from a cost standpoint.  It's all political.

There is my long list.  I want to be able to hunt my own meat.  I came to this realization very recently.  I want to have my own vegetable garden.  By doing these things, I can rely more on myself for food, and help sustain my body and the environment.

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