15 September 2012

On Becoming a Ovo/Lacto/Veg'n

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Founder of The Art of Living, said, "When you become subtle in your mind and go deeper in your heart, you turn vegetarian naturally.”

I went Veg/Ovo/Lacto/Pescatarian late July 2012. I honestly never had any inclination to ever become a "vegetarian" of sorts. I was pretty much sure I could never give up chicken in place of beans. ugh. Beans. I hate beans. I don't do the bean scene. Sorry daddy, beans are just plain nasty-ola.

Ironically, at a horrible festival, I ate at this veggie food stand a lot. I subconsciously started lessening my meat intake. I started really thinking about my craving for a fried chicken strip. Was it worth the horrid treatment, de-beaking, sick, starving chick's life for my selfish desire? Nah. I love animals. I don't support the chicken, beef or pork industries. They are horribly vile and un-necessarily cruel to animals. For what gain? A slab of steak? I could sail away to happiness on a fat bowl of pasta. I also had been experiencing meat side effects, shall we say. After eating beef, issues with ma' bowels and horrid arm pit odor. Ok, tmi but these are solid facts.  I was on the war on B.O. I gave up anti perspiration because I don't believe we should block our bodies natural response to heat: sweat. I've been using Jason's Tea Tree Oil Deodorant. So I had to do several deo-reloads (as I endearingly called them) a day.

I started reading.

Apparently meat purifying in the gut causing this horrid aroma. I'd already nixed cow milk and seen unbelievable benefits. Skin cleared up, less phlegm, not feeling sick for hours, no hurricane feeling in the gut. Maybe giving up meat could benefit me too. 

I decided to give it a try...with stipulations.

I would keep fish until I could officially give it up. Yes, its still an animal and they have ridiculously inhumane techniques for them too. I've started looking into flaxseed oil which is high in omega 3 as well. I love to make yogurt and have a strong affinity for cheese and ice cream. So I am the Episcopal of vegetarians. If you weren't following me there (Catholics consider Episcopal lazy Catholics) I've sworn off chicken, beef and pork. I just don't agree with the practices. Since when did the harvest of an animal have to be so entirely inhumane? Abusive? Polluting? I think we've lost our appreciation for animals. We were given animals to sustain us. But our digestive system is designed to be an herbivore (thus the purification of meat) and un-necessary abuse to animals. Is it necessary? Animals being skinned alive? Male chicks being tossed in full trash bags of other dead male chicks, swine being cattle prodded up their anuses, multiple attempted to behead a cow unsuccessfully. So painful, it hurts my heart.

I started doing my research.

It was feasible. I could do it without beans! hahah! In fact, boca burgers, no way to tell if its a real burger or not. Well I have noticed with faux meats your don't have that grimy feeling left on your teeth after eating. Digestionally, my gut approves. I've lost weight! Thank goodness :) I am even more nutritionally conscious about my food than before. I know, you're wondering how that was even possible. Its true. I'm keen to add plenty of fermented foods (tibicos, miso, yogurt, etc) to my diet for probiotics, B12, folic acid, protein, antioxidants. I checked the vegetarian food pyramid. I'm right on track. Interestingly enough, meat and dairy lobbyist push hard for milk and protein consumption. But processed milk is loaded with pus, blood, antibiotics, and feces. I'd prefer not to eat shit for breakfast like most Americans. Also isn't it weird we're the only people who drink the milk of another animal past childhood? No other animal does that. Weird side note. [This organic red wine is really kicking in]

Protein, is it what its cracked up to be?

I did a calculator online about how much protein I should consume. I came out with like 51 gm of protein. Holy Shit! I'd have to harvest a whale for that. I started to think about it. Growing up we ate plenty of carbs not a lot of meat. I felt fine, good energy. I figured what if I cut that figure in half. 25.5 grams of protein. That seemed totally reasonable and already achievable. Again, I'm getting the sneaking suspicion that the meat lobbyist are at it again. When I eat a lot of meat protein, I feel laden down like a big piece of shit. Also I'm not 200lbs, an athlete or Olympian (can you believe it?! so 51 grams seems excessive.
So basically cutting meat, with the rare exception of seafood, out of my diet has been joyous. I can eat an Yves Good Dog and not feel shitty afterwards (mentally and internally). I bake/cook more now. I plan our dinners more effectively now to include vegetables and faux meat and carbs. And maybe try some beans...maybe. 

I feel great!

My armpits smell great! No stink, really no need for deo. I feel great. Good energy. I feel less lethargic. My digestion has greatly improved. I've been exercising 4 days a week. Losing fat, toning. A dream. I'm managing my nutrition and exercise. Cooking more. Inspecting labels and ingredients. Skin is clear, hair and nails strong and healthy.

Is it right for you?

I'm not saying you should force yourself into vegetarianism if it doesn't feel right. For me, it came on naturally. I just sort of fell into it. I don't really crave junk food anymore. Maybe start with some meatless dinners. Then maybe some meatless weeks. Give meat alternative a try: TVP, Tofu, Tempeh, Beans, Seitan, etc. Technically, via  paleo perspective, we were opportunistic feeders. Meat was not an every day, or every week occurrence. It doesn't make sense to consume animal bodies 1-2xs per day based on this notion. I have aspirations to make it to full vegan. But life is a journey, I'm learning along the way and trying to make better choices everyday. I know people get all down on non-hardcore vegetarians. But its not a competition. Just because I'm slowly making my way to a less violent diet doesn't mean I'm any better or worse than old man vegan. I encourage all to give it a try and don't let anyone upbraid you for giving it a shot.  

This is my story of how it happened.