Sunday, October 9, 2011

To V or not to V. That is the question.

I didn't mean for it to be so long between my last post and this one.  I've failed!!

A lot has happened in my "vegetarian" world the last couple of weeks.  The first (and most important) thing is a video of a lecture by Gary Yourofsky.  He is a vegan and animal rights activist, and is an excellent public speaker.  I had never heard of him before but happened to stumble upon this video on a veggie forum.  Even if you're not considering vegetarianism you should watch this video.  EVERYONE should be educated on the nutrition of what you're eating and where your meat is coming from.  There IS severe animal abuse in the meat processing industry, and everyone needs to see what happens.  If you watch this and still choose to eat meat then at least you're making an educated choice!!

Please watch the Gary Yourofsky video here

The lecture didn't change my views on vegetarianism and veganism, but I feel i'm much more educated on the subject.  Now when someone throws at me "Well people are made to eat meat" or "Veganism is unhealthy" then I can tell them why this isn't true.  I have started eating less dairy since watching the video though.  I am basically just eating whatever dairy products I have in the house and replacing it with mostly non dairy items.  And I do have some cheese or other dairy if I eat out and there is some on whatever it is i'm having  (And yes, there are nutritional benefits to cutting out dairy in your diet).

And that leads me to the new things i've tried since my last post.  There are several since it's been a few weeks!  The biggest thing was non dairy cheese.  It's the biggest because I LOVE my cheese and am very picky about it.  I was very nervous that I wouldn't like it.  It was surprisingly good though!  I have been using it on some things I have been cooking at home.  I still use regular cheese on occasion because I already have it in the house.  I don't see any benefit in throwing out food i've already purchased!  I also bought non dairy butter and dark chocolate almond milk the last time I was at the grocery.  The butter you can't tell a difference at all.  I was also nervous about trying any of the non dairy milk (it took me years to switch to skim milk!), but transitioning with a dark chocolate version was great.  I will eventually try the non flavored version as well as the other non dairy versions (soy, hemp, etc.) of milk.  One thing that I tried that I was not impressed with is a non dairy ice cream sandwich.  The soy ice cream had a weird taste in my opinion.  But, i'm not giving up on finding an ice cream that's non dairy just yet!

Tim and I have also tried several vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurants.  Yang Kee Noodle is great because they can substitute tofu for meat in almost all of their dishes.  I have loved their cool lettuce chicken wraps for years, and i'm SO glad I can still have it!!  If you've never tried tofu and are nervous about it I would highly suggest going somewhere like this to try it first.  They know how to prepare it correctly so that it still has the same flavor and texture as the meat it is substituting.  Vietnam Kitchen is also great for this.  My 3 favorite dishes there (hot and sour soup, cold spring rolls, and J7 chicken) can all be gotten without meat or dairy.  YAY!!  Btw if you like hot and sour soup you will absolutely LOVE theirs.  It is the best i've ever had!  Last night we tried Boom Bozz pizza.  They have tons of toppings to choose from (other than the boring typical ones you get at regular chain pizza places).  We both decided to order ours with no cheese and just add the non dairy version when we got it home.  Delicious, not to mention healthy! 

I have gotten mostly positive feedback to anyone I talk to about my decision about going vegetarian.  I had one frustrating moment at work last week.  We had a drug rep. bring lunch for the office, and they were very late getting there.  It's frustrating because we only have a certain time frame we are free.  When they got there it was KFC.  Whee, vegetarian paradise...(insert sarcasm here).  I had already had a busy and frustrating day/week, so when I got to the break room and discovered the majority of the sides were gone I was not pleased.  Someone asked me "Aren't you going to get chicken?"  to which I responded with my usual "No, I don't eat meat anymore.".  The response was "Why, what's wrong with you?" in a joking but condescending tone.  Being the true redhead that I am I wanted to say something smartass, but I refrained and just walked away saying nothing instead.  You would think that working in healthcare you would get more understanding responses.  However, i've found that most of the healthcare industry (from medical assistants and nurses all the way up to most physicians) know absolutely nothing about eating healthy.  It's frightening and sad, especially when I see a patient with conditions that could be reversed by simply eating healthy.  Instead they are given a bunch of medications and told "Oh yeah, and try to eat healthier." in passing.  It makes me frustrated and sad that our country is so unhealthy and no one is doing anything to really fix this.

Overall the transition is still going smooth.  I'm still feeling healthier and still enjoying everything I eat!  And, I am eating whatever I want without being concerned with how it may be unhealthy.  If you can change your tastes to where you crave healthier foods and be fully happy and satisfied, then what's wrong with healthier eating??  :-)

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