Wednesday, November 04, 2009
6 Months Vegetarian?!? Yup!!
I promised this post a while back, and yes, I am just getting to it. I've been told I'm a good writer, in fact my mom was sure I should have gone into Journalism, but my problem is that I don't write well under pressure. I like to take my time and choose my words wisely. That would be why I took A.P. English, but never took the test. It served me well, though, in college. English 1010 was pretty much the same class, therefore I looked like I was super smart or something. Haha! But anyway, blogging isn't something I can do spontaneously or in a short period of time. It usually takes me at least a few hours (not writing continuously, but by doing it is spurts. Taking breaks.) And I'm usually doing something else at the same time like watching tv or listening to music, which helps and hurts. But I can't just sit down and blurt words onto the computer screen. I have to feel inspired, or at the very least, I have to MAKE myself do it. Along with the "encouragement" of others. ; ) So there's my explanation for why I don't blog more. I really will try to post more often. But as I said, no promises. : )
So, here I go! Yes, I have indeed been a vegetarian for 6 whole months! Which is really hard to believe, considering how it started. It wasn't at all planned. I was always one of those who said, "What are you INSANE? You don't like MEAT? I could NEVER do that!!". Seriously. And yet here I am. It all started with a book. I'm not going to type the name of the book in the text just...because. But I put a picture of it at the bottom of this post, if you're curious. : ) So I'll just refer to it as "SB". Ahem. So it started on a Monday. May 3rd, 2009, in fact. I had work off, as I usually do, so I went to a movie and lunch with my friend Ally. I don't remember the movie, but I know we ate at Fazoli's. I had never been there, so I didn't really know what to expect. It was more...fast-food-y than I thought, but I love Italian, so I ordered some pasta dish with sausage. It was pretty good, but the sausage was WAY spicy and it reminded me that I really don't like sausage. Seriously. This goes way back to those meat and cheese Hickory Farms boxes you get at Christmas. I think I had waaay too much of the sausage stuff, and I got really sick. After that, even the smell made me want to hurl. Also, for dramatic effect, I'll tell you that in school I MADE sausage several times and I KNOW what goes into it. I won't divulge that information, but trust me...ew.
Anyway, little did I know, that was the last piece of meat I would eat for the next 6 months. Or however long I decide to remain a vegetarian. My mom still asks when I'll start eating meat again, and I really don't know. It started out as just an experiment. "One month", I told myself. And then it became 2, then 3, and so on. At this point, I kind of know what I'm doing. And I kinda like it. But back to the point, after I dropped off Ally (or she dropped me off at my car at her house, I can't remember) I headed to Barnes and Noble just to browse. I cannot be trusted in bookstores, just so you know. As much as I would love working at one, I can't. I would come home with no paycheck. : ) I REALLY LOVE BOOKS!!! Ahem. So, I was browsing and a certain book caught my eye. If you've looked at the name, you know it is definitely eye-catching, right? Yeah. So I picked it up, looked at the back and I found it intriguing. It says something like "A no nonsense guide to stop eating crap and start looking fabulous" (I don't have the book with me, I loaned it to a friend). Sounds good, right? I read a few pages and I automatically knew this is what I needed: a swift kick in the pants to point me in the right direction. I was sick of feeling bad about myself and trying to lose weight without really changing the way I live. I was at the breaking point. It was all or nothing. Something had to give. And here was my answer. SB. : )
The book wasn't lying about the no nonsense part. They (2 female authors) sort of used the "break you down so we can build you up" philosophy. More swearing than I would care for, but that was their version of "hard love", I guess. Anyway, needless to say, I bought the book. I actually ended up reading the book within the space of a few hours. It was interesting and new and "in your face". And NOT at all what I was expecting. Well, it was...but it wasn't. It started talking about how you need to get rid of the horrible vices and habits you have like coffee(not a problem) and alchohol(also, no problem), but also fast food, junk food, carbonated and caffeinated sodas, and all the other crap the TV commercials tell us to buy. I was indignant at first, but when they started listing all the stuff they put in it and how literally, chemically, really REALLY bad for you it was....I started to believe. Like diet soft drinks. Yes, there are less calories, but the artificial sweeteners they use like aspartame? I don't remember the info verbatim, but basically, it will kill you. And also, it just makes me feel bad, you know? I have never eaten at a fast food place and thought afterward, "Wow!! I feel awesome!!". It's all very dramatic in the book, but they definitely prove their point. So after the junk food kick in the pants, they went into meat. Like I said, I didn't think I was signing up for vegetarianism when I started to read this book, but it is very convincing. There is indeed a chapter in there about animal cruelty, which was a factor in my "transformation" that I won't go into, but once again, VERY CONVINCING!!
Not only was it the animal cruelty, but the hormones they put in meats and therefore get into cow's milk and chicken eggs and everything...anyway, it's involved. And yes, the "recommendation" is to go vegan. (I use that word loosely because they basically call you an moron if you don't) I did try veganism for a few days to begin with, but I knew I couldn't do it properly and safely on the budget I live. And I love cheese. Haha! Also, my boss and my parents were concerned about my protein intake, so I do eat eggs. I don't really drink cow's milk anymore, though. I loved it SO MUCH, but I drank a lot of it, and...anyway, that's easy to explain but, now I put soy or rice milk on my cereal. Neither are good by themselves, but I do like chocolate soy milk! : ) So a vegetarian I became! Everyone has had a different response when I tell them. I don't actually blurt it out to everyone, but if it comes up, I let them know. Many are curious and supportive. Some like to tell me how "unhealthy" and "crazy" it is. A lot don't even know. Or didn't until they just read this. ; ) It's still hard sometimes, but for the most part, I don't miss meat at all. But I will say that I still enjoy the smell of bacon frying. I miss it a little. Besides, there is a meat-like substitute for almost anything. I've tried a lot of them and they are not all good. Like this soy faux turkey deli "meat" stuff. One bite, and I tossed it. Truly disgusting. I have an issue with certain textures, and that one was too much for me. I keep trying stuff to see what I like, but I haven't actually technically tried tofu. I really need to cause it's an excellent source of protein. Next on my list, I swear!!
But this vegetarian choice wasn't all I had to do. It is very possible to stop eating meat and still gain weight. So, basically I had to completely change the way I looked at food. It doesn't even need to be said that I LOVE FOOD!!! If I didn't I would not have chosen the culinary profession, you know? But for so long, I had been living to eat. I now eat to live. My portion sizes are a lot smaller and no between-meals snacking. Or if I do, it's something healthy. It's not like I've gone TOTAL health nut. I still have sweets occasionally and I do eat out. I just don't go crazy. I have to ask myself, "Is it worth it?". Also, I do my best to exercise. Evening walks, yoga, resistance bands, that kind of thing. So, basically I've lost....40 lbs, give or take? I try not to be super concerned about the amount cause it'll drive me nuts. And I'm still working on it. But, yay for progress!! I'm getting better at altering recipes and I have vegetarian cookbooks that help. Yup.
Anyway, this has gone on long enough, as predicted. So there it is. There's more to it, but that's pretty much the gist. And then some. ; ) Hope you enjoyed it!!