I haven’t written in a while, but I’ve been doing some research on a very underappreciated way of living. I’ve been delving into the the life of a vegetarian. Tired of countless failed resolutions, fad diets, exercise binges, poor body image, and…..well……just plain tired, I’ve started looking at my health in a new light. I have never been one to eat a lot of meat to begin with and my main choices were generally chicken or turkey. So in a way I have played with the idea of becoming a vegetarian. What really sparked my interest to quit eating animal products was the movie Food, Inc. It is a wonderful documentary that showcases exactly how animals are treated, housed, fed, slaughtered, and processed. It was actually pretty disturbing to watch and I immediately began telling people about the brutality of the meat industry. I would definitely recommend watching it, it will change the way you look at a burger (or any meat). However, I still needed more fuel to my debate against eating animal products. I realized most people don’t realize what the process entails and have no idea what they are actually eating with they cook up that burger or steak.
A friend turned me on to Alicia Siliverstone’s new book titled, “The Kind Diet”. In this book she discusses every reason to switch to a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. She includes information on meat processing, health risks, nutrition aspects of plant based vs. animal based, and much more. It is a two in one deal with part of the book being informational and the other part being a cookbook with some really great recipes. Reading this book, researching on the internet, and talking to other vegans around town solidified my decision to revamp my eating habits and become a vegetarian.
Now I use the term vegetarian and not vegan because vegetarian is a blanket term used to describe a person who does not consume meat, poultry, fish, or seafood. This grouping includes vegans and the various sub- categories of vegetarian (there are many); however, it generally implies someone who has less dietary restrictions than a vegan. A vegan on the other hand is the strictest sub-category of vegetarians. Vegans do not consume any animal products or by-products. Some go as far as not even consuming honey and yeast. Others do not wear any clothing made from animal products. I have not gone strictly vegan…yet. I am working my way into it, but currently my downfalls are fish and cheese. Cheese, I have found, is a hard thing to give up and also a hard thing to subsitute for. However, I also feel like a hypocrite because I no longer drink cow’s milk and have switched to soy. So eventually I will also reject cheese from my diet as well. Some known benefits of a plant based diet are that “Vegetarian diets offer a number of nutritional benefits, including lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal protein, as well as higher levels of carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, potassium, folate, and antioxidants such as vitamins C and E and phytochemicals. Vegetarians have been reported to have lower body mass indices than nonvegetarians, as well as lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease; vegetarians also show lower blood cholesterol levels; lower blood pressure; and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer.”–American Dietetic Association, June 2003 position paper
So I wanted to update everyone on my newly adopted lifestyle. I am now eating to nourish my body and mind and living healthy! I will keep updates on my progress into veganism, health benefits, and great recipes so keep checking back!