Sunday, February 13, 2011

All or Nothing?

When I was 15 I became a vegetarian.  I remained a vegetarian for 10 years.  I remember one of the greatest books I have ever read was at that time.  It was "The Gradual Vegetarian" by Lisa Tracy.  My mom had bought it for me.  It's a fabulous book not only for those wanting to be vegetarian, but also for those who just want to eat healthier.  It's a book that really inspires me.  I love to read it again & again over the years just for inspiration.  I also love that it's from before the world-wide-web era.  There is no mention in it anywhere of any websites, which I happen to think is REALLY cool.  It was also written prior to organics, at least prior to them being a big deal.  So there's no mention of that either, but I know if it was revised it would certainly touch on the organic topic as well.

During my college education I had to take a communications (aka speech) class.  There were different options to meet this requirement.  I didn't like the idea of the public speaking class where you have to give a lot of different types of speeches in front of the class.  But I also didn't want to wimp out & take the class where you don't give ANY speeches.  So I chose a class that covered a wide array of communication topics & at the end of the semester you give one speech in front of your classmates.  I chose to do a persuasive speech.  And my topic was "why you should eat organic".  I remember my teacher wasn't positive about my topic, she felt I should change it & gave me permission to change it if I wanted to do so.  But I felt very strongly about wanting to do this particular speech.  There were 2 other classmates that were older than me, but the rest of the class was all fresh out of high school.  Even the teacher was in her early 20s!  I thought that I could really make an impact, plant a seed per se.  I have to say that when I got started on my speech it was tough.  I did consider giving up on it & changing to an easier topic.  This was mostly due to there being SO MUCH info & having to eliminate & really focus on what's most crucial to cover in such a short time.  BUT I stuck with it & made it work.  I also learned A LOT about organics/conventional foods along the way that has been valuable to me.  My teacher was REALLY impressed.  I got an A.  My teacher made a comment after my speech that struck me as odd.  She told me that I did really open her eyes, that she had always viewed an organic lifestyle as an "all or nothing" thing.  And I had touched on prioritizing & choosing what types of foods you wanted to make sure are organic.  I remember thinking how odd, why on earth would someone think it's an "all or nothing" thing.

Fastforward to current time.  I'm not an Oprah fan, I rarely watch her show.  I used to REALLY dislike her I must say.  But then I realized it's not really HER that irritates me, it's the way the general public hangs on her every word & follows whatever she says.  That's what irritates me.  And I have to admit that's not really HER fault.  She does try to use her influential name to do good & I know if I was her in position I'd do the same thing.  Occasionally I see that she has an interesting guest (Michael Pollan for example) or topic & I will DVR it & watch it.  She recently had an episode where Oprah & some of her staff went vegan for one week.  I thought it sounded interesting, so I DVR'd it & watched it.  I can't remember the name of the lady who was running the whole "vegan for one week" campaign.  But she wrote a book called "The Veganist", that much I do remember.  I don't agree with her on everything, but I was absolutely blown away when she said that her husband is "veganish".  You see, at home he eats her vegan cooking, but if he eats out he eats whatever he wants. 

Now I must say that I first learned of vegans back when I read "The Gradual Vegetarian".  I have always known that I could NEVER be vegan because I can't give up honey.  Not just because I like honey, which I do, but I also use honey in medicinal ways that I could never give up.  And so, because of this, I have NEVER pursued being a vegan.  But after watching this Oprah show I suddenly realize that being vegan doesn't HAVE to be an "all or nothing" thing.  That is exactly how I've viewed it all these years, without even realizing I was viewing it that way.  And that's what reminded me of my speech teacher.  At this point in my life I would also have to say that I cannot give up my whey protein shakes.  You see, the older I get the slower my body recovers.  I first started working out when I was 19 & I NEVER used protein shakes or any sort of recovery system for my body after a workout.  My body just naturally recovered quickly on it's own.  But once I got into my 30s I started finding that my body's recovery was slowing down.  And so I did some homework & I now ALWAYS have a whey protein shake immediately after my workout.  I know there are other types of protein shakes out there, but my body responds best to whey.  I have no plans to stop using my whey protein shakes.

Last August or September I returned to my vegetarian ways once again, for a wide variety of reasons.  And now I am definitely looking more & more into vegan options.  I don't like being legalistic, so I'm not holding myself to a super strict vegetarian rule.  If I see meat & want it I will eat it.  I have to admit that since September this has only happened a couple of times & each time when I taste it I am soooo disappointed & don't even finish it, LOL. 

"The Gradual Vegetarian" also touches on macrobiotics.  Back when I was  a teen a lot of the ingredients were too hard to find & it all seemed a little too far from mainstream eating for me to pursue.  But as the years have gone by I keep stumbling on macrobiotics & am becoming more & more interested.  So I plan to also continue to learn more about it & incorporate it's ways into my diet as well. 

So that's all, just some health/food rambling for today.....


Danielle-Marie said...

I would love if you shared some vegan and/or vegetarian recipes on your other blog! I myself could never give up meat or cheese but I've always been interested in trying vegetarian recipes that leave me feeling "satisfied."

Frau Guten Tag said...

I definitely plan to, just waiting til next payday so I can pick up some ingredients to try out some recipes. I like to wait until I actually make a recipe before I post it on the blog.