well i have a bit of news for you all! ready?
today marks my first month meat-free.
why did i go meat-free, you ask?
let me back up a bit...
as a child, i was a very hearty eater. i liked food... a lot (some things haven't changed)! i was always very active (thanks swim team!) and had the metabolism that goes along with it. so naturally, i ate a lot of whatever was served. mom did a great job of providing wholesome foods for us, usually a meat (lots of chicken), bread, a starch, and a veggie (carrots or canned grean beans normally). good food. the problem was none of us liked veggies... so those often got skipped. if you don't eat veggies, what fills a growing athlete's belly?
meat. a lot of meat.
even though i wasn't super crazy about the texture (or taste, really) of meat, i ate it because... i was hungry! as i got older, my taste for meat started to fade as i met new friends, branched out, and explored new cuisines. i made a shocking discovery - other cultures have WAY better food than we do.
now, don't get me wrong. if you want to borrow money from/apologize to/woo me, the way to do it would be with a bag of french fries in hand, so i'm not knockin' the old U.S.A. this girl loves her some fries. but for the first time a few years ago, my eyes were opened to a whole new world of spices, flavors, and ingredients, and i wanted to know more. i was hooked! i started going to quirky, ethnic restaurants and ordering things i couldn't pronounce (like this!). i started baking with alternate flours from the bulk secion! and i started noticing dramatic differences in my health - mental, physical, and emotional.
and you know what?
i like other things way more than meat.
i'm not sure when it was in america's history that a good meal started revolving around a mammoth slab of cow with buttery mashed potatoes... not to say that there's anything wrong with steak, but when did such lavish excess become standard? since my "awakening," i've started pursuing eats that are nutritionally diverse - a balanced (tasty!) mix of protein, spices, fats, fruits, and veggies. unfortunately, i've also been exposed to new information that puzzles me...
... food isn't just food anymore, y'all. especially meat.
seriously... 100 years ago, people just ATE. they ate what they could, when they could, because who knew when they could eat again? there were no diets, no cleanses, no pills, no genetically modified organisms, no hormone-fed chickens, no bpa-free waterbottles. you ate to live. it's not so simple anymore, is it? it's hard enough to manage your weight, but then add vitamin deficiencies, organic products, and artificial sweeteners, and you literally could spend your life scared to death (info overload, anyone?).
there are so many things in life i cannot control - toxins in the air, genetics, car accidents, heartbreak, and misunderstandings to name a few, but what i eat is one i have power over.
so my (simple) reasons for going veggie stem from that knowledge*:
1. i don't like that i don't know what's in my meat. farmer's spray their grass with pesticides, administer antibiotics to sick livestock, feed them genetically modified soy and corn, and house them pretty tight... michael pollan shoutout. they do what they have to do to make their living - even organic, grass-fed, hormone-free farms have flaws. i can't blame them with the way the economy is.
2. my family's history is full of heart disease and lung/breast cancer. saturated fat and hormones can increase your risk.
3. it's not necessary in my diet. eating meat bumps out an opportunity for me to add in much-needed veggies, fruits, and whole grains. i get plenty of protein and iron through cottage cheese, hemp and flax seed, nuts (and butters!!!), legumes, greek yogurt, etc.
4. i don't really like it. i think it smells/tastes/looks/feels/chews funny. yeah, i've five.
* i didn't link any research or references to my reasons because you guys are intelligent and informed. you also have your own opinions, and i would never force mine on you. i've been researching my decision for about a year, and i couldn't collect all the information that's impacted my choice in this one post.
** i respect and welcome feedback! thank you guys for valuing my story. what's yours?
eastah family recap in photos.
the group (minus dad, the brother, and the nephew).
oh, here's the nephew.
the gorg older sister, outdoors.
the eats! (non-veg heads had burgers)
grilled zucchini, squash, asparagus, local tomatoes, and cantalope
with my first taste of chemical mustard in a while.
KSS (kitchen sink salad)
the list: green beans, spinach, cukes, local tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, carrots, roasted bell peppers, habanero pepper, avocado, feta cheese, mary's gone crackers herb flavor, dried cherries, slivered almonds, pistachios, hemp seeds, apple, scallions, garlic powder, strawberries, black pepper, peach mango salsa, and lime hot sauce!
i need to start a business. except it takes like 30 minutes to make one. slow turn-over rate?
thoughts, questions, comments on going veggie?