Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Green has always been my favorite color


I've always been interested in vegetarianism.  I've loved going to the natural foods stores since I was a teen and consider myself an earthy girl.  I recycle, buy only eco-friendly house/laundry cleaning products, nearly every light bulb in my home is a newer compact fluorescent one (the ones that aren't haven't blown yet), been a loyal user of a variety of natural/cruelty free products for years. Heck I was using Tom's of Maine toothpaste before they were even ADA approved 27 years ago.   Even our cat eats a more natural grain free diet. In addition I was exposed to vegetarian/alternatives products because my daughter has a number of serious food allergies - so I was well acquainted with soy milk -ice creams-cheeses, vegan worcheshire sauce, etc. 

About 7 years ago I managed to maintain a vegetarian diet for about 7 months but got resistance from my then 7 yr old daughter's pediatrician. You know the protein issue - seriously besides world class athletes does anybody know how much protein they get or even need on a daily basis?  And then BBQ season beckoned. I love charcoal flavor on just about anything well maybe not cake but especially meat and the Colonel has nothing, I mean nothing on my Mama's fried chicken!!  And  I just got tired of defending my eating choices and feeling like a freak, so I bailed but never really forgave myself.  In 2010, I embarked on year of meatless Mondays and sometimes it lasted a week or more. Since I've always been a good girl who ate all her veggies...and everything else...man oh man do I have the figure to prove it, it just wasn't a big deal for me.  I also love to cook and am good at it - very good (it's the clean up afterward that I take issue with : ) so trying new vegetarian options are a nice way to mix things up in the kitchen.

Fast forward about 7 years, I decided near the end of last year that since I'd been interested for so long I needed to give this whole veggie thing another try.  I actually prayed that my desire for meat would go away. I am one to make new years resolutions every year without fail - unlike my resolutions. 2011 I decided to put my focus only on my diet and my finances both of which are about one car short of all out train wrecks. Nevermind that I desperately want an awesome new job closer to home and would like a date that goes beyond the first one.  My focus though is clear -laser like - diet & dollars, get 'em right girl!!! 

If you look in my fridge right now, you'd swear I am a lying omnivore looking for attention -because there in all it's glory lies a nice new package of Trader Joe's uncured bacon which is one of my top 3 FAVORITE meat foods (fish and burgers being the others), a lovely hunk of fontina cheese (for the spanakopitas I committed to as a vegetarian for my book club), as well a package of shredded cheddar, hot cocoa in my pantry and I cooked Tandoori chicken for dinner - I cooked separately, of course, Tandoori veggies for me - YUM! Let's not even discuss the stuff in the freezer.  Anyhoo, nary a bit's for me.  I am Madre (she actually calls me that) to a lovely teenager. As is the case with all teens - she is determined to do the absolute opposite of her Mom despite being a pretty sparse meat eater prior to my conversion. And I get taunted about it everyday but I can handle her don't you worry.  I believe that kids really do need exposure to make their own decisions about some things in life like eating preferences and even religion, so I am only requiring her to eat 2 vegan meals per week.  Oh she's getting her junk food fix but more often than not we're the ones cooking it - as it should be. Since I'm buying less meat now I can buy her the more expensive, organic/grass fed/ free range meat products one should be eating if you're gonna eat it at all.

I am actually having a harder time giving up soda than eggs, cheese or my beloved bacon. I converted to seltzer water years ago to  curb my desire for soda since I was never a diet soda lover. It is an immense help that we are not eating out every week - not even Subway so I'm not  in the presence of that caramel colored demon quite so often anymore. But it still beckons as recently as Saturday I hate to say! 

I have no interest in being on a soapbox about the cruelty of conventional farming practices - some know, many don't and many more probably don't have the energy to care. But more than that (to the dismay of many a vegetarian or vegan I'm sure) I have a serious weight problem - I was a fat kid, fat teen, and now a really fat adult. Short of surgery this might be the only other way for me to get and sustain a reasonable weight and live well.  I started the year as vegetarian but then realized that in the past I never lost weight when I removed meat from my diet and I believe it's because I replaced meat with cheese and you can really pack on the pounds with cheese - can you say Pepper Jack, Manchego or Havarti? About the third week of January,  I decided to try to see how hard it would be to live without dairy, eggs, honey and voila here I am the Emergent Vegan. It's not the choice

With my daughter starting high school in the Fall,  I figure I'm just a few years from being able to live the life I've always wanted - traveling the world - doing whatever I want or not -just living on my own terms - in the fullest while traveling.  Did I mention that I LOVE to  travel???  The thought just makes me giddy, absolutely giddy!! Anyway, there's just no freakin' way to get from here to there without lots of meds, drama and probably heartache given my family's history of diabetes, hypertension, polycystic kidney disease and my own funky probably arithritic left knee.

In little less than 2 months, I have lost 18 pounds. A combination of a nearly total vegan diet, Rhythm boxing and Zumba on my daughter's Wii (easily the best $300 I've ever spent).  I have a long way to go but I reached a threshold this weekend which has me feeling like I might just make it. Besides this is no where near as "out there" as being on the Biggest Loser. Anyway, I've given you the why and if you're interested, I'll be chronicling the hows and huhs?!- with pictures - (writing keeps me honest and gets it out of my head so I can go on to the next thing) as I inhabit my new space as an emergent and hopefully voluptuous vegan.

Cheers  & Greens,



Cintay said...

I love this! Good for you!

Teri's Trek said...

This is great! I'm looking forward to reading more. You make me proud. : )

Sure, post the pic of me and Nance. : )