Thursday, January 09, 2014
I wrote a post a few months ago about what they donít tell you about becoming a vegetarian. I thought, after some reflection and hearing how others transitioned and continue to live as vegetarians, it was important to write about what they donít tell you about being a vegetarian. Partly so that it doesnít feel so foreign and also so that you know that you arenít alone in this Ė because its easy to feel that way. Here are a few things to get you through.
There is a lot more mainstream acceptance than before. There are more coops, organics, food labeling, documentaries, books, websites and outreaches. We are looked at less and less like a hippie commune, full of dirty gardeners and more and more like smart, global and socially conscious meat expats.
People will sometimes speak for you. Once you tell one person, it can spread like wildfire. When I mentioned it to someone at work after not eating something someone brought, they decided the whole office deserved to know. Iíve also been out with friends and when it came to ordering, someone decided to explain that, although I ordered a garden salad, our waiter should know that Iím a vegetarian. This can make you feel incredibly uncomfortable when someone tries too hard to be your advocate, but stand up for yourself. Really, do that. Say, Thanks for that, but Iím the vegetarian, not you. Okay, so maybe not that harsh but an eye-roll might get the point across.
You will inadvertantly recruit people. Some of you friends will convert. As much as it should seem like you should be proud of their decision, it doesnt usually feel that way at first. It can be incredibly disheartening like they are invading your journey and you might assume that they are doing it as a fad by jumping on the bandwagon. Try to see past yourself and wanting to keep something like this personal. See this as way to extend your journey and your outreach. You are your change, let them be theirs.
There are a lot of uneducated people who are terribly misinformed, they usually stand on the biggest soapboxes. These are the people that have an opinion about everything, especially when it has nothing to do with them or impacts their life whatsoever Ė this includes everything about a vegetarian lifestyle. Donít take others comments or opinions personally. They donít live your life and you donít live theirs. Donít try to understand their logic, either.
You will feel strangely connected to other veg heads, even ones youve never met, You will identify with some or all of the subculture. Nothing more, just that you might find your people.
When you hear someone say, OMG how could you do that!? I could never give up XYZ, you will think, Yes, yes you could.
The more regulated your body becomes, the quicker it will dispell things that are bad or donít work. You will notice when your body starts to get sick sooner and you have have shorter down times because you can take more preventative measures.
Think beyond the Vegetarian Option. Nearly all restaurants nowadays offer substitutions and donít fret. Fettucini Alfredo with Chicken becomes Fettuchini Alfredo with Broccoli in a snap. All you have to do is ask. This will make going out with non-vegetarians a breeze.
Holidays can be exceptionally rough because of families. Whether youíve been a vegetarian for a year or ten or twenty, if you have meat eaters around Ė you are bound to get a reaction. Its hard to know how others will react. Some are disapproving, some are ecstatic and everything in-between. It can be be quite a roller coaster. Everyone thinks they are entitled to their opinion and everyone thinks they need to accomodate you, whether they like it or not. Just be graceful about it no matter how annoying it is.
MY FAVORITE. People think they are funny. These are actually things you might here this year! (Not kidding.)
Lets make her cut the turkey. Oh stop being a brat, you can eat that gravy, thats just juice, not meat. That stuffing doesnt have meat, it was just inside the the bird to cook. Hmmm, are just sure this doesnt make you want to try meat again. This chicken is soooooo good, you really should try some. Are you sure, really sure you dont want any??
Donít worry, its not so bad, really. Just stick it out and think about how youíll be the only one this year not getting Ďmeat-sweatsí (Ick!).
Friday, November 08, 2013
With the holidays approaching, I'm trying something new. If you would like a holiday/Christmas/Hanukkah card - maybe you never seem to get any, like getting cards, don't have any family or never get any mail... It doesn't matter. If you want one, just send me your name and address (comment, email - firstname.lastname@example.org) and I'll add you to my list, no questions asked. :)
Friday, August 02, 2013
When I was at my heaviest, "fat" was a dirty world. I could have been
heavy, chunky, chubby, overweight, obese, big-boned... ANYTHING other
than FAT, and I would still be okay.
I could justify it somehow; "Oh, I'm just big-boned.", "Yeah, but its
mostly muscle.", "There are a lot of overweight people in my family.",
"I'm just overweight - not obese." Anyone else said the same thing?
Well, I have. I said it a lot. They were all convenient ways to excuse
myself instead of owning up to the fact that I was fat.
I would hear the word and just cringe. If someone said a baby were fat,
it would just bother me. Now, if they were to have said, chunky or
chubby, suddenly itíd have been okay. For some reason or another, fat
meant something devastating. It meant no way out, no light at the end of
the tunnel. It meant putting something in a box. Saying it out loud or
having someone tell you, somehow made it true. Somewhere along the way,
fat was a period at the end of a very long sentence.
Well, here I am, 60 pounds lighter and 'fat' isnít so scary. Fat isnít a
loaded word and doesnít carry the same stigma. When you honestly give
your body the nourishment and attention it deserves; the word 'fat' is
something else. Itís the bottom of the ladder youíve climbed halfway up.
The starting line of a race you just finished.
Maybe you are fat or were at one time. Thatís okay.
Perhaps you've tried, unsuccessfully to lose it. Maybe you're in the
in-between. You can change. I did. Itís not about becoming less-fat
anymore, itís about becoming more 'you'.
Fat is something you can come back from. Fat isnít some-thing you have
to be, There are a lot worst things in the world to be called than 'fat'
- even if it doesnít seem like it.
Get healthy. Right. Now. Today. Let fat be a coma, not a period.
Sunday, July 07, 2013
Aside from to obvious benefits of going vegetarian like, cheaper grocery bills, lessening your environmental impact, getting slimmer and preventing cancer, there are a lot of things that happen that people donít tell you about. And things that can help the transition.
Donít think of it as minimizing your diet. Add good things and the meat will seem less and less like a staple. You will actually end up with a more diverse palate. Vegetables with taste more robust, fruits will be sweeter. Be prepared to try a lot of new things. You may have cravings.
You may love meat and want the same taste. Thats ok. The options for faux-meat and protein replacements is vast.
There really are a lot of options for fast food, you just have to be willing to take the time and look ahead. But be careful with grease. It becomes pretty foreign to your body so you can end up pretty sick.
Meat-eaters can get weird when they eat out with a vegetarian Ė cut them a little slack because they really donít get it. They way people are treated with food allergies is a lot like they way vegetarians are treated.
Beware of peoplesí reactions, positive and negative. Some people are deeply offended, some think you are foolish, misinformed, etc. On the other hand, some may see it as a segway to starting their transition. Just try to be understanding and donít take it personally.
Also, back away from being preachy. The majority of people donít want to know where their food comes from, how pets are being treated, what their clothes are made from or how animals are abused. Just be your own advocate and let your actions be a beacon to the people that are receptive to it.
Your bowels. Youíll learn this all on your own. Your body will take some time to get used to the change. The more meat you ate prior to switching, the more difficult it can be. I didnít have a totally meat-based diet so mine was a relatively small change. I did get to experience all the uncomforable trips to the bathroom like any one else, though. Opt for a gentle cleanse or a flush to help your body adjust.
Start listening to your body. It will be easier to figure it our as your body detoxes and cleanses. You will know what you need and donít let other people bully you (protein intake) or tell you what you need (that you MUST eat meat Ė not true). Make sure you are getting the right vitamins and supplements.
Activists wont seem so extreme. You will start identifying with people who are just passionate about their causes. When you start opening up yourself to watching vivid documentaries and reading graphic books on slaughterhouses and the dangers of meat and environmental impacts, careful. Some of these things cant be unseen. It will break your heart, pain you to your core and eat at for a while.
Figure out the reasons why you chose to become a vegetarian, because people will ask. People will be really intrusive. People will ask about protein intake (which Iíve never understood, they never asked me about my cholesterol or fat intake when I was a meat-eater).
When eating at someones house, just opt for more of the sides. The hosts tend to go over board to accommodate, just suggest they make more of the sides. Otherwise youíll end up with cheese Wellington when others have pork Wellington. Welcome to stomach issues.
Weight-loss isnt automatic. Regulate your body first, and they rest will come. Donít be discouraged. And try to have a sense of humor about everything, youíll need it.
Two big things for me personally: my food allergies virtually disappeared and that my skin changed so much so that I had to get all new makeup.
Try not to take these as discouraging. These are meant to help guide you through so this doesnít seem as scary and you donít feel as alone.
Monday, June 17, 2013
People always ask me, ďHow can you eat salads everyday, doesnít that get really old/boring after a while?Ē And I think, for a lot of people, thatís true. I used to think the same thing, ďsalad is goodÖ in small doses,Ē until I started experimenting with different topping, dressings and took out the meat.
I figured that the only way I could explain the varieties Iíve found is through pictures. This series will show you the different ways you can make a salad so it never has to be boring.
Try it all. Donít be afraid to venture out of the ordinary. Like hot? Add salsa for dressing. Love carbs and baked potatoes, cook Ďem, cube Ďem and throw them in. Cant get enough salt? Toss in green or kalamata olives Ė or, hey, be brave and throw in some pickles!
Garden lettuces, ripe avocado and sunflower seeds.
Garden lettuces, green and red bell peppers, alfalfa sprouts and unsalted pumpkin seeds.
Hearts of romaine, strawberries, blackberries, dried pomegranates, almonds and feta.
What are your favorite salad variations?
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