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My meat funeral

I’ve come to the realization that I shouldn’t eat meat. I’ve given you my take of my plant based diet in The Reluctant Vegan post awhile back. I’ve been sticking to it. Sort of. So I don’t always eat plants. SUE ME! I like bread. And baked things. So sometimes there’s butter and eggs in things.

I found out the hard way that despite all my denial, I am indeed lactose intolerant. And possibly beef intolerant.

I have felt so good not eating any dairy or meat these last few months. But I thought I would just cheat. A little.

Father’s Day in our house meant meat, cheese and beer. The McSweetie trifecta. He loves his meat and cheese. And honestly, there’s been a lot of tofu and lentils in the house and fish, and he’s been very compliant. Not complaining at dinner time. Just eating what he’s given. He deserved a treat.

So I started the day with bacon and sausage for his big papa breakfast. The pancakes were gluten free. But everyone likes them, so it didn’t count.

Before dinner,  I got out our special artisan cheese we can get from Seattle’s Beecher’s cheese. The best cheddar ever. I made a nice cheese plate with good bread and crackers and fruit. Then I made some steaks with baked potatoes and homemade herbed butter, complete with real bacon pieces. Let’s say, I helped myself to quite a bit of cheese, butter, some more butter, a little bit more cheese, and a little bit of steak.

I felt pretty good. So the next day I tempted fate, and had some left overs. Hey- I’m a frugal gal, remember? I don’t let things go to waste!

I might have, maybe, I’m saying, maybe had some more butter the next day, and MAYBE a little more cheese. Quite possibly, there was a little meat leftover, and I snacked on one of the rib-eye bones. Uhm, did I mention that I marinated the rib-eyes in garlic, cabernet, and brown sugar and black pepper? It was good to say the least.

Well, by the fourth day, my intestines had enough debauchery. They revolted. I won’t go into the details. It wasn’t pretty. But I will say that if you remember that Ben Stiller movie Mystery Men and the character Spleen, that was me. My children banned me from their rooms. It was like a cloud of Pig Pen from Peanuts following me around. I didn’t feel so great either.

He’s not pretty you say? Neither was I last week.

I didn’t really want to leave the house. Okay, enough. That’s all I need to share about that part.

Geeze kids- make mom feel bad! It’s not like YOU haven’t stunk too ya know!

So in conclusion; I mourn meat. And cheese. And butter. I’m kind of sad, that unless I want to experience the bloat and nastiness of those few days, I will have to avoid these delights. Hot fudge sundae? No. Prime Rib with a side of aus jus? Not gonna happen. Cheese Fondue? OH dear lord, just stick me on the toilet now.

I realize that feeling good, not having to worry about where the nearest bathroom is, means more than just something rich and creamy. I enjoy many of my vegan options. I love vegetables. I love grains. There’s fabulous food out there. I’m just sad for what I don’t think I’ll be enjoying for some time. Maybe I’ll try again one day. Maybe my system will change. Since my 20s, I’ve known I’ve been lactose intolerant. College binges to Dennys late at night for hot fudge sundaes or cheesy nachos made in my apartment watching the early episodes of ER with George Clooney, only to have an upset stomach the next day, was clearly the writing on the wall I tried to ignore.

the crispy onions on the side are clearly mocking me.

I can probably cheat a little too without going overboard. I might have OD’d just a bit on the cheese and butter part.

RIP fromage. It was fun while it lasted. (okay, clearly not so much for me, but just let me be!)

If you need to find me, I’ll be at Whole Foods getting all my plant friendly, vegan goodies.

Eat your vegatables. I am!

It’s been 4 weeks since my post, (The Reluctant Vegan) about my primarily, plant-based diet. And yes, I’m still following it.

I’m not Vegan vegan. If you know what I mean. I don’t wear hemp, I will eat honey and I cheat with seafood from time to time. I am following the Engine 2 diet.

But I’ve stayed true to no milk, butter, cream, eggs, cheese, fowl or beef. My palette almost feels cleansed. Like what a smoker must feel like when they’ve given up smoking and their senses return. Foods taste richer now. And I enjoy the vegetables and grains I eat. I eat organic as much as possible and fresh, not canned and frozen only occasionally. Which is fine, since most freezing of vegetables is done right after harvesting and you are getting quite a fresh product. I read labels all the time. I look for non GMO. But don’t send the junk food police because there is a box of Pop Tarts in my pantry along with a bag of Ruffles. Yeah, whatever- sue me.

Also- a big part of this diet- nothing processed or fried. You don’t just go out for sushi and have tempura vegetables instead. Too much fat. Not that I wouldn’t, just saying, that’s not part of the plan.

Kale chips are a huge part of my daily snacking. I make a fresh batch a few times a week. A drizzle of lemon juice, sea salt, olive oil baked until they are just crisp but still bright green- are so good. They do get stuck in your teeth so do a quick mirror check before answering the door or going out to the school bus stop. You’ll look like this if you don’t:

Another fun snack is popcorn. I make it on the stove. I don’t have an air popper, but if I did, that would be awesome.

Whole Foods has these bean chips and rice and lentil chips. They are so good. I still try not to go overboard though. Just because they are ‘healthy’, doesn’t mean you eat the whole bag!

Emma and I did go out for southwest mexican the other day, and they had fresh deep fried corn tortillas. You bet your sweet Paula Deen ass, I ate those! The salsa was freshly made too- so good and smokey. Oh and I had fish tacos- the fish was fried. No cheese or anything though. But it was a cheat day. And I felt B L O A T E D that night. Just sharing.

I went to a neighborhood ale house, The Whistle Stop and enjoyed the portobello burger they had. It was juicy and flavorful. I went to dinner with friends to a local restaurant called Tilth. It was heaven. Everything was so fresh and delicious.  They had a vegan and vegetarian menu to choose from aside from their main menu. The smoked bean cassoulet with mushrooms was outstanding!! The hazlenut chocolate sorbet was so good, I licked the bowl. It’s nice that there’s restaurants out there like this where I live. I like supporting small and local. We don’t always need to be eating good in the neighborhood with the chains, you know.

Beef and meat in general is getting a lot of bad press. And you don’t need a PhD in nutrition to agree with the information out there. Ammonia was accepted by our FDA as an additive in Ground beef. Lovely. Chicken nuggets at McDonald’s were made with pink ooze. They say they’ve stopped now. I just won’t eat there anymore. Even my kids don’t want to. But those that do, I’m not judging. We just prefer Five Guys, Chipotle or other local ‘fast food’ options that aren’t the big chains with mystery meat.

An article in Huffington Post was called, Meat is the New Tobacco.  I won’t go as far as to say I categorically agree with that statement, BUT and I mean a BIG Pork ‘BUT’, I do feel we have been duped by the meat and dairy industries and our FDA. There is big money in beef and cheese. Lentils are cheap. Let’s hope they stay that way.

Considering the top killers in our society today are diet related, – obesity, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, don’t you think we have an epidemic when it comes to food? We are literally poisoning ourselves. Processed, GMO, chemically treated, hydrogenated-this, bleached-that, sodium, refined sugar… ugh.

For those of you who are worried about my nutrition, I haven’t felt better. And I take my vitamins. It takes research, time and effort to stick to a diet like this and get the most from it. I don’t just have a salad and bread for dinner. My lunch can be braised brussel sprouts, black beans on pita bread with avocado. My snacks are fruit, nuts and LARA bars; kale chips, popcorn, squares of dark chocolate as a treat. Dinner might be couscous with a saute of mushrooms, onions and spinach or lentils. There’s so much out there. Mix it up, keep it colorful and cook fresh. A simple equation.

Isn’t it weird that milk has more sodium than calories? Have you ever read the label?  Almond milk has less calories, more calcium and very little sodium than cow’s milk.

Hmmm,

Bottom line- I’m eating to live better. I want to prevent cancer and disease. I want my kids to develop healthy eating habits. To cook their own food, to know where their food comes from. To eat kind.

Here’s an interesting article relating meat consumption to cancer: Cancer project.org

I’m not here to say I will never eat meat or dairy again. I’ve had baked goods here and there, bites of meat now and then. I’m doing what makes me happy. (Psst, even my husband says he would like to try eating less meat and more plants.) Shh, you didn’t hear that from me.

So don’t mail me some pig head or drop off some cow’s hoof on my front porch to protest my new habits. If I said, I’m going to eat Pop Tarts and only foods that come in a box or package for two weeks, people wouldn’t bat an eye. But tell them you aren’t eating meat or dairy, their jaws drop. The only thing I like dropping is my blood pressure, cancer risk, and cholesterol.

Okay, it’s time for my Circle Of Moms contest plug. And not like Hair Plugs for Men, all you have to do is click here and vote for me- I think the prize is a new Mercedes, or a fridge magnet, I don’t remember.

Circle of Moms Funny Moms Contest- CLICK HERE!

The reluctant vegan.

Okay, let me start by saying a few things. (That sounds ridiculous. I’m always saying a few things.)

I am not in any way imposing my choices on anyone. These are my personal choices that work for me. Maybe they will work for you too. Maybe not. But please don’t whine to me how much you love your meat and dairy and that ‘real people’ don’t eat squirrel food. That’s bull shit. Okay, my husband has always said I eat squirrel food, so now I’m just living up to his expectations.

I’ve been a ‘vegan’ for 21 days now. I say vegan with ‘ around it, because I still don’t believe it myself. But I will say this- I lasted Superbowl Sunday, a weekend in LA for the Grammys (with a stop at a steak house on Rodeo drive) and Valentine’s day; and I didn’t cheat!! Yay me!

I love food. I love good food. I love really fancy food. Exotic food. I even love crap food. I admit to a Taco Bell burrito now and then. Or a bag of Doritos. Or yes, a bowl of Cap ‘n’ Crunch. So I have no food prejudices. However, I’m learning more and more that food is the gateway to our well being. OH yeah- let me say that again. “FOOD IS THE GATEWAY TO OUR WELL BEING”. Snap. I’m like Oprah.

My friends started this diet before Christmas called the Engine 2 diet. It’s a book all about plant based whole foods. Meaning- nothing processed, no fats or added salt or sugar, no meat, no dairy. Wow, sounds awful doesn’t it?

But I like a challenge and deep down, I mean deep, deep, deep down, I knew I was lactose intolerant in a really bad way. But to take me away from my tea with milk and all my yummy bread and butter- gasp- was it possible?

There’s a gradual way to this diet. But I just jumped in all balls to the wall. Why not? Baby steps would just make me cheat or make excuses, so I headed in and didn’t look back.

You’re asking- am I doing this to lose weight? Duh! Who wouldn’t? Yes, I can afford to lose a few pounds. I don’t have to. But I like when the muffin doesn’t hang over the jeans. I like thighs that don’t squish together when I walk. So sure, losing weight is great. Have I lost a bunch? Five pounds is all. But five pounds is something.

Also- you’re thinking- but how on earth does she get her protein and proper calcium? Well, easy. There’s proteins in whole foods everywhere. From legumes to mushrooms, spinach to grains- it’s in there.

AND- calcium you ask. Well, think about this- we have the largest dairy and meat industry and the highest case of osteoporosis in this country. Hmm, coinkidink? Asian countries where their diets are primarily vegetable based have almost no osteoporosis. Could it be dairy is evil and full of additives and crap that we have been spoon fed by our FDA to think it’s good for us? Okay… forget I said that.

Now ask me how I feel.

I feel great! A little TMI warning here- I don’t have the stomach and digestion problems I had so much. Translation- gas and bad poops. I always blamed food like coffee or the apple I ate gave me gas, or wow, ‘my system really doesn’t like bananas’. NO. It was that it didn’t like the milk or half and half I was having with other stuff.

Do I want to cheat? Sometimes. Like I said, I managed to stick it out through Valentine’s day and a steak house without cheating. Sometimes a hot fudge sundae sounds really good. And maybe one day I will have one. But I also think how awful I will feel the next day. What will I do at Christmas when my mom makes goose and Yorkshire pudding? I’ll probably have some. There’s no diet police. Just my lower intestine talking to me.

I have a new love for almond milk and quinoa granola. It’s amazing how satisfying lentils can be. Who would have thought roasted cauliflower could taste so good? Plus, it’s organic, non GMO and good for you.

I feel so much better. Add the new thyroid medication, exercising a little more, and I might just shun PMS right out of my life.

Well, slow down there pardner- haven’t been through that roller coaster yet. We’ll see what a couple more weeks brings. But my energy is better, and I think I have a few less wrinkles. I’m aging backwards!

Again, just sharing- not preaching. Think about what ails you. Think about what you eat. Maybe there’s a connection.

I will not look down my nose at any meat eaters. I’m not going to throw paint on someone’s fur coat. I might even stray once in awhile to a croissant. STEP AWAY FROM THE FRO YO! Almost forgot myself there.

Oh- and gin and tonics are totally vegan. Just a little is fine.

If you are interested in the book- here’s the link:

The Engine 2 Diet

Doesn't that look fresh and delicious? courtesy of greenwaycafe.co.uk