Thursday, January 31, 2008

Coles Notes Vegetarianism

Hey Folks,

Alright, so we've got some new readers, including one of my Professors, who is actually attaching some grades onto a few of these posts. Those that pertain to nature and sound a bit more academic mostly. The water ones, are just interesting events in my life. No real connection.

Anyway, in response to my first natural article he gave a couple questions/ideas that I should talk about. He asked about my vegetarianism. I pointed out that he could read all the many wonderful, expansive posts that I have, but figured I could do him a favor and do a Coles Notes version.

It all started in October when I was bored. School was getting me down, work was sluggish, my life was at an all-around crash point. I needed a change - and a positive one at that. Luckily for me, I read an Organic Vegetarian Blog. I initially found it a couple years ago accidentally through the other blog that I read, by Mike Elgan, The Raw Feed. A Tech blog, where "culture meets technology." A blog/newsletter that I've been reading since Highschool.

This blog is written by Mikes wife Amira. A wonderful woman whom is really an inspiration. October is Vegetarian Awareness Month. And for the month she offered a challenge - for meat eaters to go vegetarian for 3 weeks, and for vegetarians to go vegan. She touted the health benefits of it all, and as a proper deal sweetener, offered two free phone sessions with her and all the email support necessary to outline how to properly and healthily make the transition.

Well I'm not one to back down from a challenge. My diet was ridiculously unhealthy before. Pop, chips, fast food, etc. Things that are basically hardly edible and leave one feeling heavy and tired. I never ate vegetables or anything healthy really. I look back and find it amazing I was able to function as well as I did back then.

And so I did a complete overhaul. Went grocery shopping and spent around $200. Completely restocked my cupboards with healthy food and not a single piece of meat in sight. The first few days were HELL. My body, such as it was, had become used to its unhealthy diet. Switching over, not only to a vegetarian eating regime, but also to a healthy one, caused my body to purge out the toxins as well. Not a pleasant experience. It was as if my body was shouting "What are you doing to me?!"

However, with Amira's support and the mentality that I was challenging myself and couldn't quit, I persevered. After those first couple days and into the end of my first week, my body regulated and I found I was actually liking the food I was making. Having cut out all meat also meant I basically shut down my options for eating out at fast food restaurants. I was cooking more at home, and being creative. Without meat as your staple, you have to figure out what the focus of your meal will be. I developed a taste for peppers and for new spices and textures. Foods that I formerly shied away from I now embraced with fervor. With every grocery shop I tried to pick out something new and interesting to try in a new and interesting recipe.

It was in this time, after switching, that I began noticing more when it comes to commercial agriculture and the meat and dairy industries in general. I have a couple of rants concerning dairy and eggs especially in earlier posts that most will remember. It was becoming such that at the end of my three weeks, I couldn't in good conscience go back to being a standard meat-eater. For one, it would hurt my body to do go back to my former diet, now that I had adjusted to eating healthier. For two, I was becoming more and more aware of the ethical and moral implications. The treatment and slaughter of standard farm animals (organic does not mean ethically treated) was weighing on my mind. For three, my carbon footprint diminished greatly being a vegetarian. No longer were vast tracts of grazing land needed for me to survive, and no longer were cows emitting methane on my behalf. Finally, for four: I now had a column in the school newspaper and this blog. Now, if I were to give up after 3 weeks that would have been fairly disappointing for my public, now wouldn't it?

And so, here I am. Approximately four months into being a vegetarian with less than a dozen slips in all that time - some purposeful, some not. Varying from marshmallows to bacon bits to chicken nuggets. All in all, I think I'm doing pretty well.

And that is why I'm a vegetarian.

Cheers all


Shannon said...

You ate those chicken nuggets when you were back in St. Thomas for Christmas, didnt you? Haha. I think I was there.

Keck said...


Big mistake. The evils of alcohol. lol

Danielle said...

I fell once or twice during Christmas. If only mum was a worse cook and less convincing...
Proud of your conviction Adam!

Dr. B said...

Looks like you have community support Adam. Doing this in public also makes you accountable in new ways. Think of it like this: you are constructing a "public self" online, a virtual double, who can come back to haunt you.

I think of diet as like a ritual -- it is practice that often has ideas and ideals embedded in it. It is interesting that you went from the practice to understanding the ideas and ideals that inform it and not the other way around. Do you think this model has any applicability to the larger question of how to change people's ideals, say, about our relationship to nature and the environment?