What a release!

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Vegan, Vegetarian, Pescatarian, Fruititarian... WHATatarian?!?!

A couple of years ago I did a week long detox and was absolutely blown away by the crap that came out of my body... Some in the same form it had gone into my body... EEEWWW!!!  The most startling of which was meat.  I will spare you the details because I am pretty sure you already have more of a visual than you wanted.  Keep reading, I promise I have a point...

 Coincidentally, I read this book the week after doing the cleanse:
Title aside, it was an enlightening book... Basically, the authors use brash humor and "in your face" comments to educate readers about the benefits of eating a vegan diet and the realities of animal cruelty.  Aside from being incredibly entertaining, it motivated me to stop eating red meat.  Since finishing the book, I can count on one hand the number of times I have eaten beef since.  Now, to be fair, I was already considering this decision after my cleanse.  So this left me not eating red meat in a house with my husband who doesn't eat pork.  You can do the math - we found ourselves pretty much down to fish and poultry in terms of meat.

Over the course of the next few months, I found myself bombarded by people who were going vegetarian, seriously cutting back on meat and even found out that a couple of my friends had become vegan.  Given that I had been a self-professed "meat and potatoes girl", I was shocked that I didn't miss beef AT ALL and I felt better.  I also had friends at work who were going through similar thoughts and experimenting with eating less meat.

SOOOOO, I started to educate myself more about our food supply and all of the absolute CRAP that we eat.  Let me just preface by saying that I am one of the biggest offenders... I didn't reach 200 pounds eating fresh veggies and organic grains!  That said, I truly have a desire to honor my body and to KNOW what is going into my body.  So then I read this book...

I absolutely loved his philosophy of "Eat food... Mostly plants... Not too much".  So simple, yet so profound.  He talks a lot about locally grown food and knowing exactly where and how it was raised.  Some of his great "rules" from one of his other books,           Food Rules are:
Avoid food products containing ingredients that no ordinary human would keep in the pantry.
Eat foods made from ingredients that you can picture in their raw state or growing in nature.
If it came from a plant, eat it.  If it was made in a plant, don't.
Treat meat as a flavoring or a special occasion food.

This really inspired me to consider starting my own vegetable garden and to give pescatarian eating a go.  For about six months I cut out all poultry and pork in addition to beef.  I really didn't miss the meat and felt great.  My biggest issue was cooking and how to find vegetarian recipes that I liked, could serve my family and that were familiar variations of things we already ate.  I also struggled to not go crazy with the carbs that I knew wouldn't help my waistline.  After about six months, I gradually went back to eating poultry.

And, HERE I AM... I have continued to eat very little meat, maybe several times a week.  I am still so compelled by all of the reasons to go vegetarian or even vegan.  I love my dogs and love animals, but the "animal killer" argument doesn't fuel me.  What DOES fuel me are the well, well documented health benefits and the thought of WHAT I am putting into my body along with how IT has been treated or raised.  At the minimum I have decided that I WANT to know where my meat is coming from and how it has been raised. 

What continues to intrigue me is THIS... 
With the number of people that don't eat meat, there have got to be good, easy recipes out there AND there have to be easy ways to incorporate it into my everyday busy life.  

By chance (or not so much...) I had dinner with one of my vegan friends on Friday night.  She has been so inspiring to me and has really encouraged me in my journey to discover not only what healthy eating looks like, but also in my transformation into a runner.  She is the picture of health and maintains the ability to run marathons while completely abstaining from meat and dairy (with the exception of the eggs produced from her own chickens).  She is married and has four children - they all are vegan.

So, as I was picking her brain while we ate, I asked a favor.  I asked her if I could come over and raid her recipes, gaining insight and learning from her how to make this work.  She is just as busy as I am (she is a neurologist, mom of four under age seven, athlete, avid reader and vegan), so I truly look at her and think that "if she can do it, I should be able to do it"... 

I am not sold on being a vegan, but would really like to see if I can make a vegetarian diet work.  I bought these two books to get me started and will soon go over to my friend's house to get some tips...

A great guide to eating "local" along with great recipes... More inspiration to continue my gardening and discover all of the local spots to purchase my food.

A fabulous cookbook that caught my eye because I flipped through it quickly and found multiple recipes that were versions of dishes I already loved, like Shepherd's Pie.

So, what do you think?  I would really love to know what you think... Have you had any of the same dilemas?  Have you made the switch to being a vegetarian?  Have you always been a vegetarian or vegan? Do you have any suggestions?


  1. I was a vegetarian for several years but gradually went back to eating meat again. I've had several friends recommend the Skinny Bitch book to me, but I've never read it yet.

    During my years as a veg, there were a couple of cookbooks I used that were my absolute "go to" favorites. The first was the Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites: Flavorful Recipes for Healthful Meals, and the other was 1,001 Low-Fat Vegetarian Recipes: Delicious, Easy-to-Make, Healthy Meals for Everyone. Both of them should be available in your local bookstore or on Amazon.

    Miss you! xoxo

  2. I would love to go vegan but don't seem to have the push to get there. I'd love to read about your journey, glean ideas and maybe see you post recipes of your faves? :)

  3. I've practically become a vegetarian in my last month of losing weight, and not on purpose. I've just filled up on so many veggies and fruits every day that I hardly have the room or the desire for meat anymore. I don't really enjoy chicken... I love red meat but don't like to cook it. So I basically stick to fish and seafood if I'm going to have any meat. I heart tofu!!! So I've been substituting that a lot for meat in my dishes.

    But I have noticed that as I consume less and less red meat, I feel better and am losing weight much faster also.

    I dunno. Good luck with the whole thing.