Last week I decided to be more like a vegetarian because I wanted to see what it was like to eat mostly fruits and veggies all day long, every day for a week. I did a little research and realized one thing, right away. Being a vegetarian is not all about what one eats but about what one does not eat. Does that make sense? It's about the foods we DO NOT eat!
Okay, okay, I get it. Make a list and check it twice. Eliminate animal products - meat, fish, chicken, milk, eggs, cheese, yogurt...ice cream? I have an issue with that, of course they do make soy ice cream and milk and yogurt, but eggs? Fish? Chicken? These are all good for me or maybe they're just all good --yummy. Either way, I wasn't prepared to give up ALL animal products and I know me, I will give it up for a day and then take three steps back like an animal whose afraid this will be his last meal.
A little more reading on the subject and I learned that there is such a thing as a Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian (LOV). LOVs eat eggs and dairy, there is also a pescatarian and they eat fish. OK this makes me happy.
My experience as a LOV/pescatarian was fantastic. I learned that....
1. I don't have to jump in with both feet, changing one meal a day is a better way
2. finding recipes in advanced makes it easier to stick to the meal plan
3. cleaning out the pantry and fridge before starting ANY new meal plan is most important
4. you can discover a million ways to cook vegetables and still please the palate
5. there's no rule saying you have to cook your vegetables
6. dark green and dark red are the best colors to look for when selecting fruits and vegetables
I also included more whole grain foods, brown rice, a lot less added sugar then usual.. I think my usual is about 3 teaspoons a day with my morning coffee. We'll talk about eliminating the coffee altogether, but one addiction at a time please.
In my short experience I felt like I went through a detox program. The bloating, fatigue, and fuzzy brain syndrome all gone, in one week. I am looking forward to another week of trials and this will be a real trial because it's Thanksgiving week and come on, you know what is like here in the States - lots of carbs, lots of dessert, and appetizers. I will be challenging but I will give it my best shot.
Time to share the love -
The Reluctant Vegetarian said this about the connection between food and chronic pain:
"it makes perfect sense that the food we put into our body has a direct impact on how our body performs. or, rather, how it doesn’t perform. and yet, most doctors have no clue. or would rather treat the symptom versus finding the root cause."
Visit her blog to learn more about food and pain. Imagine eating something you enjoy and eliminating pain and inflammation...what a concept!
I also visit very creative cooks like Kristen at Passion4Eating to find easy, very delicious recipes with vegetables I have never heard of before.
I think we all have food allergies in one form or another but we don't know it or fail recognize the symptoms as part of a reaction to what we eat because that would mean we'd have to give up that food and that would be terrible. I'm learning a lot about food allergies from The Nut-Free Mom who reminded me that having food allergies is not something we do to ourselves, that there are ways to survive the holidays and that Emeril can show us how to cook a safe, nutty-free meal.
Then there's the Lazy Vegetarian with easy, quick recipes for those of us who are too lazy busy to spend hours planning vegetarian meals.
So I don't really know what I am because all I've given up is chicken, beef and pork and anything associated with these animals but I do know that by eating more vegetables, more fruit, more whole grain, I am eating a lot less and craving a lot less of the foods that are empty and insignificant. I focus more on foods that actually fuel my body and I try harder to be conscious of what I'm eating and why instead of simply satisfying a craving.
In the mean time I am going to rely on friends in the blog world to help me through the learning process, recipes, ideas, and support - there's so much, it can be overwhelming, but I will take it one step at a time, one meal at a time - thinking in the now and go from there.
Have you recently changed your eating habits to vegan, vegetarian, octo, ovo or pescatarian? What has been your experience? Any ideas for me? I want to hear from you and your stories.