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Diets - not the calorie restrictive kind

Monday, March 04, 2013

This week for some reason I've been pondering the diets of people in culture.

Since my independence as a woman I've been asked many times if I'm a vegetarian. While the answer has always been no, I've taken pride in that question being asked. When I do buy "meat," it's fish which I've been informed by many that it's not truly not considered a meat. weekend I was asked by a friend since high school, "you're mostly a vegetarian, right?" I thought this was actually a great way to describe by diet. While I won't turn down someone making me food just because it carries a meat product, I typically don't buy or actively choose meat products. At one point (before being married) I actually bought soy milk rather than cows milk.

I don't know if it's just me, but I feel like I have a LOT of friends with very specific food diets.

-Three friends are lactose intolerant. Apparently as much as twenty percent of Americans are lactose intolerant and have digestive issues relating to this intolerance but they don't connect the allergy.

-I have one friend who is a PKU. This means that this individual cannot tolerate proteins. So beyond milk products, eggs, meat, beans, lentils, quinoa, ect. He now has some medications that have increased his ability to tolerate and digest some proteins but he still can only eat no more than 10 grams in one meal with the max amount of meds taken.

-Two friends are vegetarians. This is obvious - no meat products.

-One friend who follows the Atkins diet. This is diet that focuses primarily on proteins, fats, and fibrous vegetables. No simple carbohydrates, and limited complex carbohydrates IF has started to introduce fibrous carbs back into their diet. But this means no breads, pastas, crackers, pretty much all desserts, fruits, honey, and certain vegetables starchy vegetables such as corn, peas, carrots, potatoes, squashes.

-Surprisingly I have no friends (yet) who are diabetic or cardiac. I guess I'm too young to have friends diagnosed with coronary disease. Diabetics would follow a diet close to Atkins. Cardiac diets would another step further in low fat, low cholesterol, and low salt.

- I also have no Vegan friends. Ironically I follow a lot of Vegan blogs. Vegans go a step beyond vegetarians and eat no animal by-products such as eggs, milk, honey, and cheese. Typically Vegans are ethical - meaning they choose a lifestyle (beyond food) because of the injustice we put animals through. A great movie to watch for more information is called "Vegucated!" and it's currently on Netflix instant stream.

-Other than than diets I mentioned, all other friends appear to eat generally whatever. I do not have any other friends that count calories like me which is another characteristic.

After a little more internet research, I guess there is a term for people like me. Flexitarian. It marries the works Vegetarian and Flexible. This means I focus on a plant based diet, with an emphasis on home cooking to reduce processed food. It also means that I don't eliminate meat completely - if I'm pressed with an burger or having a craving, I don't refuse it.

After watching Vegucated I finally understand why people go beyond not eating meat. I'm actually more concerned with how the animals that are kept alive for producing milk and eggs are treated. It's extremely disturbing what cows are put through to produce milk for us. It's also sad how chickens are treated in the pursuit of eggs. I am actually frustrated in myself that I love eggs so much because I really do not like what happens to these chickens. I guess the way I currently rationalize that its still okay that I eat these foods i know that there's injustice going on when it comes to other foods I eat. Fruits and vegetables are picked by illegal immigrants who make below minimum wage and have no insurance. Coffee is produced in 3rd world countries for even less than the illegal immigrants are paid - $3 a day for a bag of coffee beans picked. And then monstrous companies make a fortune selling these caffeinated beverages for $5. It has raised an awareness to be more conscious about where my eggs come from and the conditions the chickens are treated with.

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