Hello world! Goodbye Meat!

So this blogging thing is new to me, but I believe it will be therapeutic and require me to say what I want only once. Then if people ask me, “Why don’t you eat this or that?” I can just say, read my blog 🙂 Yes, I am just that lazy.

I suppose before I go any further, I should explain why I’m drastically changing how I eat. For those who know me, you know my life with food up to this point has gone through a few changes. As a child, I was super picky. There was limited food choices available to me due to my dad’s pickiness. We had the same five meals every week basically. Once I got into college, I started branching out. I tried new things like Chinese food (gasp!) and even apple pie! I had my first taste of ketchup at the age of 19. I know, I was quite sheltered. By the way, I can’t stand ketchup.

So anyway, life as a single girl in college did not present many culinary enriching experiences. I lived by myself in a small apartment and lived off of mac n cheese (from the box), baked potatoes, yogurt with fruit, and other easy fix (and not very healthy) meals. I never thought much about nutrition, I just wanted food I could afford. I stayed at a decent weight probably just because I ate small portions.

When I met my husband, Thomas, we still maintained our pathetic eating habits. He was in school, I was student teaching. Neither one of us had jobs to afford good food. Once I got hired as a full time teacher, things changed a bit. We became “culinary masters” and sought interesting and unique recipes. We loved experimenting with food and creating flavorful dishes. This tradition carried on as we got married this past June.

But then in October of this year, a series of events took place that changed our view of food forever. It started when we visited my brother and sister-in-law for my baby niece’s first birthday. I had always known that they were very health-conscious in their eating habits, and I’d admired them for it. But it wasn’t until we spent a whole weekend eating the delicious food they provided that I was really convinced. We didn’t have any meat the entire trip, and I didn’t miss it! Thomas and I resolved then and there to try and buy more fresh, organic foods and eat less meat and dairy.

Then came the documentaries. I have always avoided watching TV documentaries about food, because I thought they would scare me away from some of my favorite foods. But one day I was Netflix surfing and found a show called Forks Over Knives. It was a research based documentary on nutrition, so I thought I’d watch. I’m glad I did!

The show basically discussed how eating processed foods, dairy, and meat, causes us to gain excess weight and develop cancer and heart disease. The big shock to me was dairy. I had always thought it was good for you, but it can actually pull calcium out of your bones! Anyway, after seeing this show, I was convinced we should try to become vegans. This means you don’t eat any animal products, including meat, eggs, AND dairy. Well, I’ve come to realize that I can never completely give up cheese, but I will be cutting back.

Since then, I’ve also seen Food Matters and Food Inc., both of which confirmed the decision I’d already made. So this is the plan: starting January 1st, 2012, Thomas and I will be vegetarians. Right now, we’re no longer buying meat, and we’re cutting back on eggs and dairy. We are buying more organic fruits and veggies, and not buying processed foods. We make our own granola bars and read the labels on products to avoid things like “high fructose corn syrup.” Our goal is to have a largely plant-based whole foods diet that includes whole grains and less sugar and bleached flour products. We’re trying to drink more water as well and take vitamins regularly. While buying healthy foods costs more today, our spending in the future will be less because we’ll (hopefully) have less medical expenses.

Stay tuned for updates as we continue on our journey to better health!

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Anna on December 4, 2011 at 6:53 am

    I totally respect your decision (and am glad it’s based off health research rather than PETA propaganda!), but I’m curious–are you avoiding meat because you can only get “non-natural” meat (for lack of a better term), or because you believe it’s unhealthy altogether? Like if you knew people who raised pigs or chicken for meat, and they raised them very naturally/healthily, would you eat meat then?

    I’m just asking because while I understand that some processed foods can have negative effects on us, since God didn’t design our bodies to deal with the extra junk, it seems to me that He did design us to be meat-eaters. Or at least gave us the capability and allowance to do so, since that happened post-sin. What are your thoughts?

    Reply

    • Anna,

      Even if we could get locally raised, “organic” meat, we would still choose not to eat it. The reason for this is that animal protein, no matter how natural can still do damage to our bodies according to the research I have heard about. In the Forks Over Knives documentary, there were studies done all over the world comparing populations who consumed meat and populations who consumed plant-based foods. Here is one example: “While in the Philippines, he (a researcher) made a life-changing discovery: the country’s wealthier children, who were consuming relatively high amounts of animal-based foods, were much more likely to get liver cancer. Dr. Esselstyn, a top surgeon and head of the Breast Cancer Task Force at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic, found that many of the diseases he routinely treated were virtually unknown in parts of the world where animal-based foods were rarely consumed.”

      I’m sure that just cutting back on meat would also be beneficial, but I’d rather just cut it out altogether. As for protein, there’s enough protein in vegetables, legumes, and fruit. The only vitamin we would need to get as a supplement would be Vitamin B12. I know that in the Bible, people ate meat. But before sin, Adam and Eve were vegetarians. So I do wonder, did God originally design us to be vegetarians? Or since He obviously knew man would sin, did He give us the ability to consume meat? This is still something I wonder about, but I’m going to try to cut out meat and see if I have health benefits from it.

      Reply

      • Posted by Anna on December 18, 2011 at 7:19 am

        Interesting. Yeah I definitely wonder that too–if meat’s effect on our bodies is part of the sin curse, and I agree that God originally designed us to be vegetarians. Almost like by sinning, we opened the door to the pleasure of meat-eating but also its consequences…although obviously meat-eating isn’t a sin…so many possible viewpoints on all of this!! I admire your resolve!

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