My disclaimer: Much of my rambling is a result of my personal experience, and my own thoughts and ideas. I was going to add a few links to back some things up but now I can see that that isn’t an option on Facebook notes, but there is a lot of speculating going on in my head that I may not be 100% accurate on…if you want to contradict me in a polite fashion..I’m fine with that. If you want to slam me…really, I guess I’m fine with that too, but don’t be surprised if I don’t really care what you have to say today or any day in the future. Delivery of information is key…if you want to be heard, do it in a mature fashion. We’re not in High School anymore. (okay, some of you might be in High School still…but those of you I know are better than that!)
I kind of wanted to put down into words why I felt it was best for ME to continue on the vegetarian path. I am not going to tell you why you should do it, because this – like many other life decisions – is a personal choice. I find it amazing how much kickback this particular choice brings, and how many people want to tell you how wrong you are.
So first, let me just address a few questions. YES, I’m getting plenty of protein. Anyhow, it’s not the protein that our bodies need; it’s the amino acids, 13 of which that can be broken down from a single protein, that our body uses. So while I may not be getting as much actual protein as I have in the past, I can tell you without a doubt that I am getting many more amino acids than I was in the past. And doesn’t it just makes sense that it is easier for our bodies to give it what it needs straight out rather than making it “work for it?” Outside of that, I eat many other protein sources that are not meats, in fact all of the foods that we eat include small bits of protein. I’m also going to point out, that unless I decide to become some kind of big-time body builder, I don’t need an unusual amount of protein.
The second most frequently asked question; do I ever crave a big fat juicy steak? No. I don’t. I was never a “cow” person to begin with. Hamburger was always a struggle for me to eat in any form. I could somewhat tolerate sirloin hamburger meat in my spaghetti, but most days I just wish I would have left it out. What I did crave was a turkey and cheddar with chipotle sauce on pretzel bread sandwich. YUM YUM! When I first started attempting this diet and I did fall to temptation, this was always my go-to. And then, recently, my father-in-law stopped in for a visit and he bought a big bag of Taco Bell tacos. Nothing special, just plain and simple tacos, but they did smell divine. I wanted to eat one…and this was just a week or so ago. But then I thought about the effects of the red grease of death (taco meat) when I WAS eating meat and how bad it could possibly be when I hadn’t had meat in months, and figured that was one negative reaction that wasn’t worth the “fall in to temptation.”
We were created to eat fruits and vegetables. I know many of you, my friends, are not Christian – but surely you can respect the fact that prior to becoming privy to the scrumptious meats that can be found by killing a mammal, bird, or sea dwelling creature, we had to survive somehow. Now I’m not going to go into the politics or the “but’s” – I’m just saying that fruits and vegetables are the easiest foods for our bodies to process, we gain the most nutrition from them simply because our bodies easily break them down into the nutritional pockets our bodies need (vitamins, fiber, minerals, amino acids, etc…). It is food in its purest form; rather than being manipulated, shaped, pushed, and magic-ed (by use of eggs, flour, milk and an oven) into a different shape and form.
And to all my friends who are Christian – YES, God did give us permission to eat meat. I’ve used this argument over and over and over. But what God did not tell us to do is to pump said animals with hormones to make them bigger and fatter and more meatier (is that really a word, because spell check is letting it go through…?). We [humans] do some really stupid crap to get the “biggest bang for our buck” [$] when it comes to our food. And we have had some really awesome results – need I remind you of Mad Cow Disease?! Not to mention the conditions in which these animals are forced to live in. It is my conviction that this is NOT what God meant when he said to “have dominion” over the animals, fish and birds. So we know that steroids have negative effects on us mere humans. Yes, big muscles do result in some cases, but there are so many negative side effects that we are not allowed to use steroids in this fashion. I suppose the thought is that the hormones we put into these animals is putting out results into our meat products that are so small in amount that it’s not really effecting our health. I beg to differ…
Wait, pause! Okay, here is my mind cutting in and tossing around another truth that at this point is necessary to address. YES! We do these same crazy stupid things to our fruits and vegetables. We grow them so that they come out bigger and prettier; we add pesticide, herbicide, insecticides, suicides, homicides, and whatever else we can use to make our fruits and vegetables bigger and badder than ever. So now I’m walking in circles. And unfortunately, it is EXTREMELY difficult to get away from all of this “we add everything to our products” scenario – unless you happen to be a wealthy and are able to buy the most organic of the organic of products 100% of the time, or you’re a farmer with a very large fertile land, and are able to grow everything under the sun. I guess the same can be said about meat, assuming you can hunt, skin and…do all that fun stuff to get your own meat, that would be most ideal. But unfortunately, my inner Katniss has yet to make an appearance, so I don’t see any version of this happening in my family. Additionally, once again I go back to our bodies breaking down nutrition; it can take up to a week for our body to fully digest some meats, while fruits and vegetables are digested in a much quicker fashion – it’s a much easier process for our bodies. So, basically, I’m saying that it’s impossible to get away from all the bad stuff in our foods – but I’m also saying that by cutting the meat I believe I have chosen to lessen the evils.
Okay, this is the point when I tell you about my personal experience. If you are of the male gender and are still reading my lovely musing – I just want to warn you. I am going to talk about my female monthly cycle….feel free to continue to read, but I’m giving you a heads up out of politeness.
So for the past two years I’ve been dealing with monthly…issues. It’s not been pleasant or pretty or fun. I am very sensitive to hormone changes. This first became evident when I was between 18 and 19 and taking birth control pills. I didn’t know what was going on at the time, and it took a few trips to the Dr before we figured out the root of the problem, but every month in the first week of taking the pills I would react by vomiting until there was absolutely nothing left in my stomach, and then dry heaving for at least an hour afterward. This would happen for at least days 1-3, if not for 5 days. Once we figured out the association between the pill and the vomiting, I got a sort of placating “well, sometimes this medication has this sort of side effect.” (really, violent vomiting?) So, because I was on the lowest hormone enhanced pill, I was given another medication to counteract the vomiting. I don’t know what it was. At the time I didn’t care, it worked so I was fine with this.
My second (third, and fourth) indication that I’m a tad bit sensitive to hormone changes was when I had my kids – the shift from being pregnant, and all of the hormones that build up over 40 weeks time, to suddenly not being pregnant and having practically none of those hormones made for an EXTREME shift in my emotional well being. I could explain this to you, but it was not a fun time and to me is kind of personal. So no. Let’s just say it was pretty bad.
Back to the now, or the last few years anyway. I’ve been having increasingly bad monthly cycles. Bad as in I have NO CLUE when I’m going to start, I would spot for one, two, three weeks before having a fully fledged flood on my hands. I was emotionally a wreck during these times. Some months were pretty good, some were bad, some were really bad. It seemed like there was no rhyme or reason to the entire cycle ever. I go see my Midwife, who refers me to a Gynecologist. Both of which have said that I seem to be in a pre-menopausal state, and that I wasn’t ovulating every month. (And this is EXACTLY what I wanted to hear at 30 years old!) So the prescribed solution was to put me on a medication that would boost my hormone levels and tell my body to ovulate, and then regulate my cycle further by taking birth control (which I hadn’t taken since before having kids). I tell the doctor of my birth control issues, and they said that if I have problems with the one prescribed to come back and they would try something different. Seemed logical at the time, so I decide to give the solution a try. I took ONE PILL…ONE! I was up all night, and I had not adequately remembered my body “on” birth control pills, but it is NOT pretty. Violent is too delicate a word for it. And all the time in my head I’m thinking, “there is something just not right about all of this.”
So from here I decide I am NOT taking this advice, no medication for me. I start tracking my cycles on a calendar, including every ache and pain, every spot and flood. I determine, on my own, that the Dr and Midwife were partially correct. I was likely ovulating every other cycle. I would have a semi normal month, 28 day cycle everything was okay, and a horrible month (or 40 days rather) of hormones, craziness, non-predictable stuff. I’m guessing this was a month of non-ovulation, but I’m not a doctor. I decide I can live with this. We aren’t having any more kids, and at least I have a better idea of what’s going on.
And then we started making changes to our diet. Justin is head first, ALL IN! Vegan, mostly raw food if he can. I am WAYY too attached to milk, cheese, and eggs to go vegan, despite the fact that I know many of the same hormone issues exist there as well. But I decide to give being a vegetarian a try. At first I struggled. I was like a kid that you told they couldn’t have something, they become more desperate for that one thing. I never did like meat all THAT much prior to making this move, but suddenly I wanted it much more. That first month I experienced the motherload of hormonal breakdowns. It was very reminiscent of the type of emotional shifts that took place after giving birth. I do not know for sure, I have no information to back up my hypothesis, but I suspect that I was going through a withdraw – a “meat hormone withdraw” if you will. Because after a month of wishy-washiness I stuck to my guns and went full on vegetarian and have yet to look back.
I noticed a difference right away. That first month (after the crazy month mentioned above) instead of being somewhat hateful when my period came around, I didn’t even notice a shift in my temperament. Usually I have to be very deliberate about what I’m thinking; make myself realize that I’m getting mad over something extremely stupid, (WHY WOULD YOU COLOR THAT CAT GREEN…CATS CAN’T BE GREEN!!! – okay, that was a completely made up scenario, but it was a bit like that). This was 2 months into the diet change and I couldn’t even tell I was moving into my monthly cycle. The cramps, while still there, were not nearly as painful. So, I’m thinking…”okay, this is my ‘good’ side” and I wait for the next month. 28 days later, another perfectly smooth cycle. Now I’m thinking…hallelujah, I’m healed!
The truth is, I believe I am. It’s been several months now and I have had perfectly timed 28 day normal cycles ever since I changed my diet. This is just one change. Between more energy and generally less doomsville and more happy feelings from my end, I can’t help but think that cutting meat has been the reason why. It has honestly been the only real major change that I have made in my life that could have such a drastic effect, and it makes me wonder, what other things have changed that I just don’t know about? By getting rid of all the unnecessary hormones, and I think it’s possible we are getting much more than we realize, has affected my body in such a way that I can’t see myself going back to eating meat…no matter how tempted I might be by a taco bell red grease of death taco!