|First harvest from our garden. (Yes, that is a really tiny eggplant!) © Cheese Curds and Kimchi|
OK, I'm going out on a new topic today, but it's something that is really important to me.
I've been full-fledged vegetarian since 1993. I began the process in 1991, and it was a slow progression. But it made a huge difference in my health.
It started when I was 19. I was on my own and able to make my own decisions. Which meant I ate at Mc.Donald's. A lot.
I also was sick. A lot. With frightening regularity, I seemed to get the flu at least once a month, and had a chronic cold. I was teaching at the time and attributed my illnesses to being around children, AKA, Tiny Germ Factories.
I'm not blaming my ill health on McD's. It was what I was eating that was the culprit.
I never really liked the taste beef. It gave me a creepy weird feeling. I can't describe it, but it's like having worms under my skin.
But I ate meat because...everyone does. After all, my grandparents owned a dairy farm and we were raised drinking right-out-of-the-cow fresh milk. Our beef was raised on that same farm (although when one of the cows had to go to butcher, Grandpa said the cuts of beef in the freezer were from a different cow, because I considered most of the cows on the farm were my personal friends and the thought of eating them freaked me out).
And then I realized, I had a choice. Duh! Once I realized that, I never ate red meat again. I had never been a fan of pork either (although I did love hot dogs, but can you really call that pork??) so that went by the wayside right away too.
After a few weeks, I wasn't getting nearly as sick as I had been. At first I didn't connect it to the food.
I was eating a lot more chicken and after about 8 months, I was getting that same creepy feeling from chicken that I did with red meat. So chicken went too. And a few years after that, seafood as well.
I had withdrawals, for sure. I craved chicken nuggets and hot dogs and other crappy things that really weren't meat at all. But as I continued to stay the course, there was no denying that I felt better. Being a vegetarian was not only good for my health, but also got rid of that pang of guilt I felt each time I ate meat. It hasn't been easy because back then there weren't any meat substitutes and most restaurants did not have any vegetarian options. But the difference in my health wasn't to be ignored, so I stuck it out.
My motto now is "No food with a face".
That was the beginning of my healthier food journey. I'm a die-hard junk food fan, so this has been a long and slow progression. And although I've never eaten meat again, I do still eat some pretty crappy foods (Oreos, any sort of pie, chips, candy bars, etc.). I'm a long way from a health-food nut.
I've had many a long discussion with people who badger me for my food choices and seem personally offended by them. "People are at the top of the food chain, so why not eat meat?" I'm not going to respond here to that question, because that would warrant an entire other posting. My choices are not a statement of judgement about other people's decision what to eat. They are simply my choice about what works best for me. I can go on and on about all the reasons I feel eating a veg diet is the best thing for people to do (humanness to animals, better for the planet, etc.) but I don't do that. Because food is personal. And so is your health.
You don't have to be a vegetarian to take steps to be more healthy. And that's what this whole diatribe was about. There's a lot of controversial stuff out there in the food world right now. Added hormones, manufactured ingredients, dangerous chemicals. The list goes on and on. And while you are consuming that stuff, there is more and more data showing just how dangerous this stuff can be to our health. So today, do something good for yourself. Get a little more educated about food practices that might make you feel better. Take a little time and learn about the issues. A little knowledge goes a long way.
I've included links today to some great posts on food issues. No one is going to push you to become a vegetarian (although I did include a link if you are interested)--this is just an effort to give people more information about the foods that we are eating and how you feed your body.
Hope you find some new information to keep you and your family healthy! And please, if you know of links that would be of interest to others, leave them in the comment area!
(BTW--The Man and LM's health is obviously of the utmost importance to me as well. The Man went veg a while back and we are raising LM as a vegetarian too. That seems to be another hot-button issue for people, but I'll save that for another blog post.)
Have a great and healthy weekend!
To be healthier: The Unhealthy Truth (also see the blog hop link at the bottom of this post to find other great bloggers supporting The Unhealthy Truth campaign)
To watch out for BPA: Attack of the killer tomatoes! Canned tomatoes and BPA
To avoid: Scientists Finally Prove High Fructose Corn Syrup Risks
To spot the fakes: Blueberries faked in cereals, muffins (link via Write Mind Open Heart)
To drink healthy: Just one more thing to make your family healthier: no rBHG in your milk
To fruit it up: The Organic Dirty Dozen vs. The Clean Fifteen (with a handy chart!)
To go veg: How to become a vegetarian