Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Intro

I am not a vegetarian....yet. The idea never occurred to me until I watched my first documentary on the mistreatment of animals for food production nearly two years ago. At the time I was pregnant with my third child, and the most change that came out of it was buying organic meat at the supermarket for one shopping trip. I also had a very strong urge to monitor my new son's eating habits from early on, but I fear I have already lost the battle since processed foods, sugar and fast food has already started seeping into his 18 month old body. I decided back then it was too hard to change my eating habits, let alone my entire family's, and the cost of organic was too expensive. I continued, however, to watch these documentaries and was shocked and overwhelmed with all of the information I was receiving. Pretty soon I didn't care any more.

At the moment I am 34 years old and weigh 250 pounds. I struggle every day with food choices and portions. At my highest I was 306 pounds (at nine months pregnant with my second child), and I have never been a healthy weight in my adult body. I don't even know what I would look like if I was trim, and have no pictures of myself I can pin on the fridge for inspiration. Don't get me wrong I have not completely given up. I go to work out at the YMCA Monday through Friday. I do minimal weigh lifting on machines only...working on arms every other day and legs the days in between. I also do about 35 minutes of cardio every day I'm there (usually on the elliptical machine) and burn about 470 calories. As for food, I know I eat more volume than I should and I tend to cheat with the wrong food, big portions and alcohol on the weekends. It is easier for me to resist the urge to drink alcohol than bad food, and I don't drink every week. I have been on this routine for six months and I am stuck. I know what to do to not be stuck, but the food is challenging. I also know I need to be focusing more on working out all areas of my body, but I just don't make the effort. The good thing is that I know I am healthier than I was four years ago, but the more information I take in on food choices makes me doubt I am "healthy" at all. Previously my thoughts on Vegetarians were I'm sure typical of most people, and the thing I wondered the most is how they could possibly be taking in enough protein. I have come to realize that there are more sources of protein than I knew about. I also didn't know until 10 years ago about the term Vegan and what that meant.

Things changed again yesterday when I watched two documentaries (Netflix).
1.  Vegucated :
taken from IMBD.com
"Vegucated is a guerrilla-style documentary that follows three meat- and cheese-loving New Yorkers who agree to adopt a vegan diet for six weeks and learn what it's all about. They have no idea that so much more than steak is at stake and that the planet's fate may fall on their plates. Lured by tales of weight lost and health regained, they begin to uncover hidden sides of animal agriculture that make them wonder whether solutions offered in films like Food, Inc. go far enough. Before long, they find themselves risking everything to expose an industry they supported just weeks before. But can their convictions carry them through when times get tough? What about on family vacations fraught with skeptical step-dads, carnivorous cousins, and breakfast buffets? Part sociological experiment and part adventure comedy, Vegucated showcases the rapid and at times comedic evolution of three people who are trying their darnedest to change in a culture that seems dead set against it."
taken from IMBD.com 

2. Hungry for Change 

"HUNGRY FOR CHANGE exposes shocking secrets the diet, weightloss and food industry don't want you to know about; deceptive strategies designed to keep you coming back for more.
We all want more energy, an ideal body and beautiful younger looking skin. So what is stopping us from getting this?
Find out what's keeping you from having the body and health you deserve and how to escape the diet trap forever.
From the creators of the best-selling documentary FOOD MATTERS comes another hard-hitting film certain to rock your world.
Featuring interviews with best selling health authors and leading medical experts plus real life transformational stories with those who know what it’s like to be sick and overweight. Learn from those who have been there before and continue your health journey today." taken from the Hungry for change Facebook page

I had an epiphany when I learned that if I became a Vegan I could possibly lose weight and eat a quantity that wouldn't leave me starving all the time.  Today I watched yet another documentary:

Forks over Knives, which explained that eating a 500 calorie meal of whole foods/plant based diet fills up your stomach completely, where as a 500 calorie meal consisting of animals products only filled your stomach by 1/2 and 500 calories of fat only 20%.

Besides all of this I learned of new ways in which animals are treated that I didn't previously know (watching Vegucated).  Two of the things that stuck out the most were that when chicks hatch the girls are kept for begin egg layers and to use for meat, but the boy chicks are dumped live down a ramp into a grinder and made into feed.  The second in that no anesthetic is used for certain things including castration, which in pigs is done when they are piglets.  I COULD NOT watch Vegucated and not cry.  I am sure there are more things I don't know which are unimaginable.   But like any other good American housewife I turned off my program and proceeded to make a dinner which included meat, for my family.  The only difference this time was that I was wondering who the cow was that unwilling gave his life for my meal and if he was treated nicely during the time he was alive.  Answer: Not likely.
Then I couldn't get the images from the show out of my head and just cried the whole time I was preparing dinner.  This quote sums it up:

“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.”  - Paul McCartney
When I watched Forks over Knives today I also learned about how dairy products affect our body in various ways.  I now understand just how many good reasons there are to become a Vegan.  Making that decision would be so tough.  I would also not force my children to do so.  ...and if I do it I am going all in.  I would do so in phases for my family, but eventually I'd be all in.  "All in" because if eat dairy I am still contributing the the companies who slaughter.
Forks and Knives talked about how animal products contribute to heart disease and cancer.  I have said for a while now "If I ever get cancer, I WILL NOT go through Chemo therapy, I will look into other options" (for example high doses of Vit C. given intravenously is one), but, how about instead preventing cancer altogether with a proper diet. DUH!
So in collecting thoughts and ideas, lists of do and don'ts, facts and fiction, what better place to keep it organized than a blog?  Since the decision isn't set in stone, I will make sure to post a blog when and if I start, but for now, I am researching.

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