The Continuing Diet Dilemma

I just bicycled up town and spent exactly $2 on junk food. I bought a McDonald’s caramel ice coffee for $1.05 (which is totally my naughty little weakness) and I rode over to Tim Hortons for a sour cream glazed doughnut for $0.95. I cannot remember the last time I had a doughnut. Coffee on the other hand is an occasional special treat. I used to drink coffee every day. I had a little coffee maker from my grandmother and I would make coffee at home before I went out for the day. I have never understood people who buy coffee from places like Tim Hortons or Starbucks or McDonald’s daily.

Here I am now with an empty plastic cup, lid, straw, paper wrapper for straw and paper bag from the doughnut tucked into my pocket to take home to recycle. Good golly there was a lot of garbage from this little adventure.

I have mulling about my diet a lot lately. I mean I am thinking about it ALL THE TIME. I have always identified myself as my diet. So many people want to be known as their occupation; not me, I am what I eat. Oh you are a doctor? I am a lacto ovo pesca vegetarian. I have been  this mouthful of morsel munching labeling for twenty years.

Lately I have been reading so much documentation on whole food mostly plant based diets but is it for me? Sure I want all the health benefits, it would be great to reverse aging, lose weight and magically start running marathons but is this diet for me?

I tried a whole food mostly plant based diet as an experiment. I did a stint where I cut out gluten and dairy. I also spent time not eating any fish or refined white sugar. The only sweetener I had was local honey and the only other animal product I had was eggs. What did I decide from my food adventure?

I am going to cut back on fish. I love me some sushi and ALWAYS will. The thought of barbecued salmon makes my mouth water and I do adore tuna salad especially with dandelion petals. There are also times when I have a crazy craving for squid. I also have a not so secret love affair with McDonald’s Filet o’ fishes with light tartar sauce add pickles (don’t judge it is what it is.) How often am I going to partake in fish? I am not sure. As it stands I think it will be less than once a week. Maybe it will be only once or twice a month. I am not sure. This is a work in progress. I know I used to eat fish a few times a week so this is a change for the better. This is a change towards less animal products in my diet. This is a change towards a more sustainable lifestyle.

I love eggs. I have always loved eggs especially hard boiled and eggs fried over hard or as I like to call them weaponized.  Maybe it is some left over thing from all the time I spend in Hawaii but eggs are onolicious. What am I going to change about eggs? I used to buy eggs. Sad eggs. Eggs from abused chickens. I did not know better. I then switched to eggs that are free range, all organic, vegetarian fed. Happy eggs from happy chickens. I buy them at the grocery store though. I honestly have never met those chickens so I am not sure what mood they really are in. Recently I have been bartering/paying for farm fresh eggs from chickens I am well acquainted with. I am not sure what their feed is at the moment but I got to visit with my fine feathered friends before I took home pretty colored eggs. Each one is a different size and color and sometimes still have poop on them. I cannot get eggs off the farm all the time. But that is okay. when I can, I will. At first I might still buy Happy grocery store eggs when I cannot find farm fresh but maybe at some point I will end up eating eggs in season. This is a goal I will work towards, but not fuss about at the moment. My last dozen eggs was bartered for with a stack of empty commercial cardboard egg cartons. Getting farm fresh eggs will mean that I can make homemade mayonnaise. This means I will not have to buy scary processed mayonnaise that comes in plastic jars with questionable additives. I am totally okay with this. This leads me to my next item.

PROCESSED FOODS. I think this one needs capitals. Heck, this one needs defining. I still have processed foods in the house. I am totally going to eat the aforementioned processed foods. I am going to limit the processed foods I bring into my life and put in my body.

  • I have stopped buying canned goods except for coconut milk, tuna, salmon, tomatoes and occasionally mushroom soup. I am preparing all my beans and lentils from dry.
  • I am going to limit buying processed dairy items. I will buy milk but I want to make my cheese from scratch and I will only buy yogurt as a starter to make my own. I stopped eating sour cream years ago. I do like butter and I am on the fence whether not I am going to use it, or olive oil or coconut oil as my fat of choice. Do I want raw milk straight from the teat? You betcha, but it is hard to get (read illegal). Right now I still drink milk that is from industrialized farming. I am not comfortable with this. This is going to be something I am going to have to change. I have cut back substantially on my dairy intake. Will I be able to secure farm fresh? Will I splurge on organic store bought? My wallet right now determines what will happen. All I promise is there will be change.
  • I am making most of my crackers from scratch. I am happy with this. I can make noodles from scratch but I am not ready to give up on the convenience of not buying dried noodles. I am however choosing quinoa, rice and other items like buckwheat more frequently. I am okay with this.
  • I do love potato chips but I think these are going to have to go. I know it is almost all GMO but I am going to mindfully switch to popcorn with homemade spiced topping. I am sure I will have weaknesses but I think it is for the best if I no longer have a relationship with chips.
  • It is summer and right now I receive a community supported agriculture box of food grown locally and organically. I also hit up farm markets. This is my second year. I have not been into a grocery store for a while. What am I going to do in winter? I don’t know exactly. I am going to be going foraging for blackberries to freeze for winter. I am learning to dry fruit in season for months fruit is not available locally and in season. It is a work in progress. I am trying to eat in season, preserve some of my own food through canning, freezing and drying and I am growing some of my own food. I am certainly not self sustaining but I am working in the right direction and I am happy with the progress I am making.
  • Most packaged foods are going to be excluded from now on. I don’t care if it healthy junk food. I don’t need it in my life so I want to not chose it anymore. I will make mistakes but this is for the best.
  • I like local honey. I need white sugar for my kombucha and other fermented experiments. I occasionally want an ice coffee with caramel syrup. I am slowly winning my battle against. Sugar. I have never liked pop. I occasionally chew gum when bike riding. I am going to win against sugar!

Vegan vegan vegan vegan. It is a word that implies so much more than just diet. I don’t want to go vegan but I do want to have a lot more vegan meals. Vegan will allow me to be a localvore, vegan will allow me a truly whole food experience, vegan will give me sustainable options, vegan will allow me ethical meals. If meatless Mondays offer meat eaters a conscientious choice to create little waves of change in this world, my adding more vegan food to my diet should offer some good karma and health benefits! How man vegan meals am I going to add to my dietary plan? I am not sure. I want the change to be organic; get it? Organic! Sometimes I am punny. I am choosing to add vegan options and I am really excited about the opportunity to let my diet and my dollars create positive changes for the environment.

So there it is. I still look to be a lacto ovo pesca vegetarian, but I am leaning more towards a whole food mostly plant based diet. At first I was not sure if I was making a change, now I realize how far I have really come. I will not dwell on times I make bad food choices but I am going to appreciate the positives of my new culinary adventure!

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2 thoughts on “The Continuing Diet Dilemma

  1. So, tell me. Why are you a lacto ovo pesca vegetarian? Why do you feel an animal based diet is not sustainable?
    Also, just for clarification, vegetarian chickens are definitely not happy chickens. Happy, healthy chickens are omnivores.

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    • first question: I think farm raised food is awesome. I know people that raise their own meat and I totally think that is fabulous. I am not a fan of industrial farming methods for meat or veggies. I was all of 17 when I decided that I wanted to be vegetarian. I did it because of the way most super market meat is treated and I wanted to choose healthier options (read no hormones, antibiotics and the like).
      Second question: fish is not really sustainable and farmed fish has concerns with GMO feed and unclean growing environments. (China is a huge provider of seafood and uses humanure extensively).
      Third: Chickens that can forage for bugs and enjoy an outdoor natural lifestyle are healthier. My concern with the vegetarian diet is I do not want animals being fed animal waste products. I am not too familiar with the dark side of industrial farming but there has discussions of chickens being fed dead/sick chickens so the vegetarian feed I assume is a band-aid label to alleviate such concerns. The eggs I have in my fridge right now are from a woman who allows her hens to forage and dust bath and be hens! She loves them and still eats them and they have an amazing natural life.
      Does that make sense? I hope I answered your questions okay. I am always happy to talk to you! If you have more feel free to ask!

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