Have you ever sat back and thought about all the things you want to do in your life, and then thought about how much time you had to do them? To me, it sometimes seems like an awful lot to cram into not very many years, especially when you’re twenty five and heading back to school.
I don’t think I have ever mentioned this, but I am a vegetarian. (People who introduce themselves with “I’m *Jude, and I’m a Vegetarian,” diminish their credibility right off the bat.) This time, as my family is so fond of pointing out, I started in July of 2012. Yes, it’s true; I have dabbled in meatlessness in the past. For the purely practical, meat is very expensive. Ceasing to buy ground beef, and chicken breast, and frozen Thai Chili Lime chicken wings takes a considerable weight off of your grocery bill. Besides, I have never really eaten much meat, so it wasn’t much of a stretch for me to stop buying it entirely. I do still eat fish because, honestly, sushi is the best food humankind ever dreamed up.
I have been red meat- and poultry-free for about 11 months. Since I have never eaten much of it, I have not noticed any considerable weight loss or other physical health benefits, but that wasn’t the point, anyway.
I didn’t choose this lifestyle for the sake of innocent animals suffering, but over the past months that has become another tick on my list of reasons. Don’t worry, I am not going to preach at you about cruelty to animals. We all know it happens, and most of us think it’s terrible, but the plain fact of the matter is that humans are omnivores (at least I’ve always assumed we are), and as long as it’s available, I’m not going to spend copious amounts of mental energy stressing over that fact that I can’t stop everyone from dining bovine. I’m just going to worry about myself.
I’ve been reading The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone. Before you write it off on the mere fact that it’s written by a celebrity, hear me out. She’s actually a pretty good writer (nice and casual, like chatting with a friend), and she did a crap load of research for this book. I have seen the results of the method: “Killing those poor, sweet, adorable, defenseless animals is cruel and mean! Would you eat your family pet, Cuddles!?” The cheeseburger-lover being questioned tends to be instantly wary, and I can’t say I blame them. You’re asking them to defend something that they – and much of the rest of society – have always done and see as perfect normal. Alicia tells some of that tale, but she also presents some extremely compelling environmental factors. And that is number one on my list.
I had some ideas along this angle before starting the book, but Alicia is equipping me with a whole arsenal of solid facts, and The Kind Diet sort of put the pieces in place for me. Basically, if how animals are treated, and the horrifying impact their massive population has on the world are my reasons for not eating steak, how can I justify still eating eggs and dairy? In regards to humanity, those laying chickens have their beaks hacked off just like the ones being sent to slaughter, and dairy cows are kept in just as close quarters, and pumped just as full of chemicals, as those on death row at the beef plant. Environmentally, farmers’ herds trample down our precious top soil (one inch takes 100 – 300 years to develop, and America has lost 6 inches since its conception) and produce toxic wastes that seep into the groundwater and neighbouring fields that might just be growing foods for human consumption. The most disturbing eco-fact I came across was that it takes 2,500 gallons to produce one pound of beef; that’s a frightening number, given the latest findings on the lifespan of H2O.
Suffice to say, I’m considering Veganism. Initially I though I would give it a week, my main focus being to get rid of crap like sugar. I’m enthralled with the suggestion by some health professionals that if we stop eating processed and refined sugar, we will stop craving it. It appeals to me to have to think about everything I eat, and I kind of hoped it would result in my eating less crap the few weeks before I have to march down the isle as my best friend’s MOH. But now that I’m actually doing it, and now that I’ve started this book, it’s kind of tempting to carry on.
It’s a ridiculous untruth that Vegans eat nothing but fruit and veggies. I eat pasta (some brands have egg, but most are just flour and water), quinoa, smoothies, stir fry, beans – all of the things that I eat anyway, just more of them. This soup is quite possibly the best one I’ve ever tasted; today I had it cold because I was so warm I couldn’t imagine siphoning down hot soup – it was just as good! I even found some tasty sweets that redirect the damn Craving Train pretty darn well.
I won’t be transforming this blog into one dedicated to Veganism, though I may throw in a recipe or two. Of course it could be a short lived experiment. I’ll definitely have a hankering for cheesy pizza at some point. Maybe I’ll give in, and maybe I won’t – or maybe I’ll compromise, and give the soy knockoff a try. Fact is, even cutting back 80% of the animal product that I consume is going to make me feel better, both physiologically and deep inside my little bleeding heart.
If nothing else, this fork in the road and this book have changed my way of thinking about the food I put into my body. I would very much like to hit 100, and studies are showing more and more that diet could make all the difference. Who knows, maybe I have uncovered my own Fountain of Life.
THE soup. Seriously, even if you pair it with a blue rare steak, you have to try this!!