To Live or Not to Live… Without Meat?

Diary of a Fat Girl – Day 21

Weight:  235 lbs.

Life just happens!  Unbelievably, I choose to exercise over writing.  Where did that come from?  My passion is to write, my dream is to become a top selling author and write for the rest of my life.  This I will never retire from.  However, in the face of life, for the sake of a healthy life so that I could potentially create a new life, I choose to exercise and enjoy life over writing.

 Oh, the horrific tragedy for my friends, family, and beloved readers!

With my nephew’s All-Star softball championship for the 11 – 12 year old division, I found myself baked red like a lobster and a voice hoarse from cheering a runner to base.  The fervor of the parents encouraging their children to keep their chin up and beat the other kids would lead to the most intense finale of two innings into overtime.  The crowd was going wild; the parents were sparring with each other, and the refs hollering out calls.

 It was a great American past time.  Our boys won for the second year in a row.  What a way to live my life!

 Now that the softball season has come to a close, I get to look forward to Devon, my future NFL star, play as quarterback in the Thumb Area Football League.  This means more Saturdays at the football fields.  I love the crisp fall air filling my lungs and exhaling into a scream while I cheer on my nephew as he runs another 50 yard touchdown.

 Between my nephews, my husband, and all of my family and friends, I have discovered a social life that attracts my attention and has given me little time to support some of the decisions I have made for my life.  Learning how to juggle and balance my time between my dreams and my life has been a bit challenging, lately.

 First of all, I need to continue my exercise program.  This Mobile Fit program has proven to be very productive.  In one week’s time I have lost three pounds; a total of 14 pound loss since April of this year.  Amazing!

 Next, I need to control the types of food I eat and my portion sizes.  Done!  I am now a vegetarian. I have always wanted to be one since I was a kid, but I had my mother in my ear telling me all the reasons why I shouldn’t be.  Since then, I have learned that I could be a vegetarian without giving up milk, cheese, eggs, and fish.  I have also learned that supplements and certain foods will give me the protein and iron I would be lacking with no meat in my diet.

 I tracked down a list of foods with iron and protein and discovered foods such as enriched cereals, spinach, and cashew nuts rich in iron.  Beans, leafy greens, and nuts have a healthy dose of protein, and many other foods rich in the nutrients that are needed for a healthy body are readily available without sacrificing an animal.

 The main reason I wanted to become a vegetarian dated back to my preteen years.  I had watched the news about animal torture for the sake of food and asked my mother about the humanitarian group that strongly opposed the abuse of these helpless creatures.  She explained to me that they were vegetarians and did not eat meat.   Many thoughts about how these animals were treated followed me to the first episodes of The Simpsons.  I was still a young girl, but I understood Lisa’s desire not to eat the lamb.  How could one eat such an innocent creature that didn’t get a chance at a full life?

 After years of my mother in my head, I finally gave in and engorged on the horrific violence against animals.  I managed quite well, and I even forgot about the cruelty.  In the last couple of years, my conscious took on a mind of its own.  More television shows brought to the forefront about the dangers of eating meat; such as parasites in pork and mad cow disease.  Then there was an episode on Dirty Jobs about a farm of chickens.  I was horrified to learn that hundreds of these creatures were jammed into what they called a “hen house”.  Only the fittest would survive.  There was no individualized attention and no space for the chickens to move around.  They were just stuffed in there from wall to wall, and many would die.

 The final straw was what I had recently discovered.  As I was learning about the extra testosterone levels in my body converting into an excess of estrogen essentially teaching my body a new way of birth control, I stumbled across another educational show on the effects of processed meats.  Corporations such as Tyson and KFC were encouraging farmers to administer their chickens mass quantities of estrogen; plumping them up to meet the demands of the market.  Speculations of too much estrogen in a female’s body may be the cause of girls developing at a younger age and increasing the PCOS diagnosis.

 After that, I started browsing the bookshelves for books on how to become a vegetarian.  Anything remotely related to this topic was geared for the adolescent group.  Are adults such a hopeless cause that no book exists in this area? 

 Not wanting to give up so easily, I started looking at the cookbooks.  Did anyone ever notice that there are a ton of cookbooks with little or no pictures of each recipe?  I did!  I’m a visual person; especially when it comes to cooking.  How am I supposed to know if the dish was done right if I don’t have a visual aide to compare it to?  I couldn’t believe that there were no vegetarian cookbooks with pictures of every single recipe. 

 Then I found it.  The book that would give me healthy eating the vegetarian way, and I bought it.   I read it and I loved it!  It gave me visual aides of the foods I would cook and eat.  The transformation was amazing, and so easy!  I decided to not eat meat, and my first stop would be Subway. 

 Can I do this?  Yes, I can!

 For the first time, I ordered a veggie sub.  As I glanced at the menu, I wondered how I would fill this sub since the only thing on the menu that I would eat was lettuce.  It had been a long time since I had eaten a few of those vegetables on the menu, so I became creative.  I ordered it on honey oat bread with cheese, lettuce, cucumbers, green peppers, and olives.  I topped it off with a bit of mayonnaise, and then I sunk my teeth into the sub. 

 At first bite, I was amazed by the deliciousness of it.  The crispy green peppers and cucumbers accentuated the lettuce and the mayonaise gave it extra flavor.  The second bite, however, left much to desire.  Within that second bite I tasted a black olive.  It seems that I don’t like black olives.  Opening up the sub, I picked out each black olive and enjoyed the rest of my savory lunch.  Afterwards, I drove over to my favorite organic food store and purchased more goods that were meatless, had no enriched flours, was either full of whole grain or gluten free for my pantry.

 Now that I have control over my eating habits, it was time to move onto time management.  I have so many projects that I don’t seem to have time to sleep, let alone breath.  I am participating in a craft show this year, reading several books, and of course, writing. 

 My novel has been sorely neglected due to my poor self-esteem.  There are so many talented authors out there who have excellent credentials.  Who am I to compare to these great writers?  I have reservations that this novel may be a flop.  I’m scared to continue on, because I feel that I may ultimately fail to deliver a thought provoking and moving novel.  So, I find myself coming up with more ideas for my web blog and focusing all of my effort on creating new and fun articles to read; a great excuse for procrastination.

 Each day I struggle with myself.  I struggle to find the time to do all the wonderful things that I want to do to enjoy life and create beautiful memories.  I struggle with my guilt over not writing the way I want to.  I struggle to get out of bed each morning and look forward to another day of work when all I want to do is write.  I struggle with myself throughout the day to avoid the ice cream that my work has decided to treat us with.  I struggle on my way to the gym, thinking to myself that I had exercised 3 times this week, why do I need to go back again?  I fight each day to find a little bit of time to spend with my husband before he runs off to his midnight shift, and I continue to struggle with avoiding the sugary sweet snack that I crave.

 But through it all, I have a determination inside of me.  Another friend would post a picture of a newborn on Facebook and I would rediscover the motherly instincts inside of me ready to burst.  My sister would tell me the name of her unborn child and I would feel the excitement soar through me as I think of this little boy cradled in my arms.  This is who I was meant to be and I am no longer going to allow myself to hold me back.  I will be able to lose the weight, I will be able to finish my projects, I will be able to write my book, and most of all I will be able to live my life!

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2 thoughts on “To Live or Not to Live… Without Meat?

  1. I have been a vegetarian for 5 months now. So far my favorite cookbook is Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. I’ve also enjoyed reading Vegetarian for Dummies. Some other great books are The Kind Diet, Skinny Bitch and another great book on healthy eating is The Lazy Girls Guide to Diet and Exercise. My decision to become a vegetarian was strongly influence by The Kind Diet, Skinny Bitch and Food, Inc. I really limit my intake of dairy because most milk is also produced from cows who’s bodies are tricked into believing they are pregnant all the time. I try to only buy dairy products produced from organic farms and grass fed cows, but again I really do limit my intake. Fish is also full of mercury and they have feelings too. I just can’t justify eating one animal and not another for many reasons, but that is my choice. I’m glad you have made the decision to become a semi-vegitarian and I think you will find that the further along you get on this road the more plant based your diet will become. I’ve got some great veggie recipies on my blog. I know you will love them.
    http://fittofatandbackcarrie.wordpress.com/

    • Thank you for all of the helpful book ideas. I will make sure on put them on my list for my next trip to the bookstore. As for the milk, cheese and egg products, I’m slowly transitioining over to organic. I was aware of the hormomes that they inject in these animals but completely forgot about it. I somehow knew that in the back of my mind I needed to make the switch. In regards to fish, I wouldn’t worry too much there. I grew up in a fisherman’s family and have developed an aversion towards fish. I’ll only eat tuna in my favorite tuna noodle casserole, and that’s about the only fish I will ever eat. Tuna is one of the fish out there that can be “manufactured” in a mercury free environment. Therefore, I feel comfortable eating it when I do. I supplement my lack of fish with flax seed oil that has Omega-3. Thanks for the recipes. I can’t wait to try them!

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