Friday, September 25, 2009

Two "flexitarians" in the house?

Hmm. Okay; so I am still feeling a little bit guilty about doing the fish thing a couple of times a week, but I also realized something else. I apparently have had a "veggie" impact on my boyfriend, such that he's become a "flexitarian" himself. He used to be much more of a diehard meat eater than he is now. He still does burgers a couple of times a week (I just leave the room when he's cooking them), but he does a lot more without meat than he used to. And, there are a lot more fresh fruits and veggies in the fridge than there used to be for him -- and we're both actually eating them. So although I've had a slide in the opposite direction, somewhat, he's actually come more toward being vegetarian. Both healthier for it? Most certainly. Cheaper grocery bill, too? You bet.

So for those of us who have had to go back to eating a little bit of meat or fish after many years without, we can at least rest assured that at least we do have somewhat of an impact, apparently, on helping those around us eat healthier even as we strive to. (And of course, this helps our animal friends out as well.)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Gimme a break: Soda's not "food"

There's a TV ad (in the US) running right now against the proposed soda tax where a (slender, natch) "mom" begs the government not to impose it because it's already expensive to "feed" families and this would make it more so. NOT! Soda isn't a real food, and is nowhere near "nutritious"! So just don't buy it if you can't afford it. Problem solved. (And psst, your kids just might be healthier for it, too.)

I'm for the tax, personally. We got soda as a treat every now and then when I was growing up, but we didn't get to drink it like water. (We got to drink *water* like water; funny thing.) Imposing a tax might just offset the healthcare costs that can come from too many unhealthy food choices -- including too much soda -- even if it won't necessarily stop people from buying nutritional "junk" like soda as food staples.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More protein, please

This flies in the face of everything I truly knew as a vegan for 25 years, but as a 40-something woman, protein seems to be of paramount importance all of a sudden. Things have changed drastically. Until now, I actually favored complex carbs over "too much" protein to feel my best (which isn't hard to do, since beans have a nice complex carb mix and fiber along with the protein punch), but now, things are shifting. Before, "too much" protein (even from veggie sources) left me tired, cranky, and craving bread, rice, or pasta. But now, I figure I'm easily getting 20% more protein than I was just a month ago, and carbs are no longer such a favorite. The result is a clearer head, more energy, and (yay!) some pretty decent muscles showing up, finally, from workouts.

Can you do that with vegan sources? Lots of people probably can, and I first tried peanuts, soy, then (at least still vegetarian) eggs to try to get what I needed before I started on the fish. So if you're vegan/vegetarian and just can't seem to shake a hungry "muddled" feeling that's new, you might want to give some moderate protein boosting a try. It just might fix things for you.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Just like any religion …

… vegetarianism has its zealots who think that their way is the only right way to think, to be, to live. (Not all, just a few.) It's one thing to know unshakably that something is right for you, but entirely another to try to project that on others, besides. These folks'll try any number of tactics to bring everyone to "their" way of thinking, too. Shock, with horrid pictures of suffering animals pasted on placards (or on websites), shame, coercion, bullying, etc. – all for the sake of peace and innocence, of course. ;-)

But I've also noticed something else. It doesn't work for long, and hooray for that. My sincerest admiration goes to those who won't be coerced by such low-life tactics.

People may be repulsed in the short term, but they're usually so disgusted and dismayed that it drives them further away from trying vegetarianism, instead of drawing them closer. They might even continue to eat meat defiantly because they don't want to be like "those people."

I've also noticed something else. Those same people who won't be coerced are also usually kind, thoughtful people, many of them animal lovers. They just aren't vegetarians. And these kind, thoughtful people are pleasantly surprised to learn that they can make a positive impact to lessening animal cruelty and to the environment by a few small changes in behavior. Like going meatless a few meals a week, or only buying free range, or refusing to wear fur. Rendering a little education is much better – and far more respectful – than being a bully.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Starting to be convinced

About three weeks into this new "not quite vegan" lifestyle, the psychological struggles are starting to abate and I'm just starting to admit that darn it, I feel better physically than I have recently as a complete vegan. All for a couple of servings of fish a week.

For one, I have a lot more energy and can concentrate better. I wasn't sure at first, but I'm starting to be convinced that it's because of the fish. It wasn't always that way, by the way; in my younger days, I never ever thought that I would eat meat again after I became vegetarian at 18. (Actually, after that initial assessment, I never gave it a thought for the next 28 years or so.)

And number two, I have a lot more stamina when I work out than I've had for probably the last year or so. I'm not sure when the shift happened, because it didn't occur to me to try anything to fix it or even that anything was really wrong until I just had a craving for fish one day (for the record, I've never really liked fish before this even when I did eat meat and never thought I would). Then presto, a little fish, and it's like I'm on speed -- only in a good way.

I've always said that some people need meat and shouldn't be belittled just because they do, but it never occurred to me before this that individuals probably have different needs throughout their lives and that even once-vegetarians can become "flexitarians," or part-time vegetarians, when the need arises, such as when they get older. And, as it turns out, there may be some science to this.

In part because I was trying to make myself feel better about this shift, I was reading up on this and I found out that middle-aged women (of which I'm one) tend to need more protein, and more concentrated protein, to help build bone mass just before they reach menopause. If that's true, then I'm relieved to be where I am, that's for sure.

Friday, September 18, 2009


I know this blog doesn't have a huge following, but dammit! One of the things I'm struggling with is that I feel as though I've "let people down" by having to include fish in my diet again. And again, intellectually I don't agree with that; I'd be the first to say, "Have your fish, if that's what you need" to anyone. The reality of oh-so-messy feelings is quite different, though.

The intent of this blog, and the website before it, was never to do what so many vegan sites do, which is to try to convert folks to being full-time vegetarians or vegans, or even to provide a cozy spot for veggies-only to sit a spell (though you most certainly are welcome to; it's just not the main focus). There are already plenty of those kinds of blogs and sites.

Instead, I just wanted to kind of bring the two camps together – meat eaters and veggies – so that in some small way, any kind of militancy would stop and both sides could start talking about solutions to all of the problems we face now; solutions to help end commercial meat production and bring it back to free range, humane practices; solutions whereby just maybe, people would give careful thought to what they were eating so that even if they did need to eat meat, they could think about where it was coming from and scale back consumption a bit to help out the environment and give less business to the meat industry.

And I'll continue to do that, even as I assimilate this new identity for myself. Things are just going to be a bit fragmented for a while until I can do that, so bear with me.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

One thing about the grocery bill …

… is that the "fish twice a week" thing actually is less expensive than the completely vegan diet (even from scratch, as I cook), because I eat a lot less and rarely get hungry. So I like the convenience of not having to eat so often (or as much), and I like the savings. Still, having to adjust to knowing I'm eating a poor defenseless animal bites. Aargh! :-) Knowing too much can suck sometimes.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

More on this "new" identity

It's strange. I've never been of the opinion that *everyone* can be vegetarian or vegan, because each of us has different dietary needs. So I'd be the first one to tell someone in my shoes who has begun to eat fish or meat again that if that's what had to be done, so be it. And just like so much else, it's a lot easier said than done. Because … it's okay if it happens to "other" people, but not me. Yep; double standard. Imperfect, contradictory thinking, trying to sort this all out.

Because here's the thing. Now I suddenly "need" a little fish a couple of times a week. Not sure why, but I suspect my age (46) and a ramped up workout program might have something to do with it. Building muscle, and I can't be as efficient as I once was at it because I'm older, so I need a more concentrated protein source than beans and rice can provide? (I even tried eggs and soy protein powder, to no avail. Fish was the only thing that "clicked in" and made me feel energetic again.)

So, okay, it makes me feel better physically, but I still struggle ethically with it. How many other vegans or vegetarians have spent the last 25 years not once thinking about eating meat or fish, and secure in the knowledge that no animal was going to suffer because of them today – only to have that vanish the instant their bodies said they needed something they didn't want? And how many like me struggle with that and do it anyway, because they somehow must? That's where I am at the moment; I'll continue to sort this out.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A change

This "lazy vegan" isn't quite one any longer. For the past couple of weeks, I've felt the need to add a little fish to my diet, this after more than 25 years without anything of the sort. So I guess you "never say never."

I continue to support veganism, vegetarianism, and anyone who wants to try it even part time. (And actually, I still eat a mostly vegan diet, but with a couple of servings of fish thrown in every so often.) It feels strange to have a need to eat fish, and I struggle with my own feelings on that. But I've also always supported those who "need" meat and fish, and I guess I should count myself among them. This will continue to evolve, I'm sure, and I'll keep you posted.