My last post was about my journey to consume only natural foods. Thus far, the “journey” has consisted of watching documentaries (Vegucated and Food Inc., people!) and actively thinking about what foods I would like to cut out of my life.
I was really inspired by a quotation used at the very beginning of Food Matters, a documentary about food that really makes you think:
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
This quote made me think about why my diet is so important. I am not just feeding my body. I am not merely fueling myself to get through the day. I am medicating my body and feeding it the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and function at the level I want it to. I am also supporting certain industries with the choices I make. And some of those industries are so disgusting to me that I am ashamed I ever supported them. So, instead of feeling guilty because of decisions I’ve already made, I am going to commit to a new diet and a new lifestyle.
I have labeled and re-labeled my diet over and over again. I was a vegetarian turned vegan turned unprocessed food person (that title needed work). Then I was back to vegetarian. Then I was vegan again. Regardless of the title, if I am really going to make this happen, I need real rules. The only way the classy and fabulous ladies of Mean Girls stayed pretty and popular was by committing to logical and reasonable rules (created by the glorious Tina Fey while writing the script for the movie). Okay, their rules sucked. Who has enough pink to wear it every single Wednesday? What’s that you say? Some people do laundry often enough to have clean clothes of a particular color each week? Nonsense. Nevertheless, they functioned as a perfect, popular society by following rules about their life choices. And I am going to apply that model to my food choices.
After much thought, I have compiled a lengthy list of rules. I am not saying I will start following every single rule on day one (which is today, by the way). What I’m saying is that I’m going to try. I am going to wake up every morning and immediately crave something fattening and probably cheesy, but I am going to resist the temptation and eat oatmeal instead. I am going to pass on my mom’s delicious brisket during every Jewish holiday and opt to eat the carrots and potatoes alone. I am going to ignore the urge to participate in Drunk Pizza. And I am going to try as hard as I can to enjoy this process because I am doing something wonderful for my body. Here are my rules:
Fruits & Vegetables
At first, I will have no rules for fruits and veggies. I can eat as many of these as often as I want to. Eventually, I will be using this list to determine which fruits and vegetables are the best for me to eat each season. This used to be a concept that everyone just knew without any thought. Strawberries are only available in the summer. Pumpkins are used for Halloween because that’s when they’re in season. Now, we can have any food any season. I’m not saying it’s the worst thing in the world to be able to eat whatever I want whenever I want it, but it certainly doesn’t feel natural.
Being on a school meal plan, I cannot really choose what type of eggs I consume. When I want to eat eggs that match my beliefs, I will buy eggs from my friend whose small farm is not only adorable, but also very ethical. I will be cutting eggs out of my diet unless I purchase them separately from the school meal plan.
To say, “I love cheese,” would be the largest understatement I have ever made. Giving up cheese is a useless goal. I would be torturing myself, really. I will be continuing my relationship with cheese, but limiting it as much as possible. I don’t need cheese on my salads or in my soup, but if I want a slice of cheese on my hummus sandwich, I can get it. For now, it’s the best way to keep my sanity. My friends, family, and students that have to come to me for conduct meetings will all be grateful (See what I did there? Grateful…).
I will, however, be cutting out milk completely. I haven’t had a glass of real milk in a long time, so I will not miss milk as a beverage. This is only a difficult task because of how many wonderful things are made with milk: butter, milkshakes, sugar cookies, smoothies, chocolate, milk mustaches…
Unfortunately, there are not many sources of protein left when I cut out eggs. In order to maintain some level of variety in my diet, I will be eating soy products like tofu and fake chicken (fondly referred to as “chik’n” on meal plan).
In the past, I haven’t given these products much of a chance. I look forward to trying some new things and hopefully not being completely grossed out by dishes like “Fried Chik’n” or “‘Beef’ Stew.”
This one is easy. I will not be eating any meat, poultry, or fish that wasn’t killed by me or someone I know.
For all of the other stuff not covered under these categories, I will be following the rules of a vegan lifestyle. The good news is: I can still eat Oreos and Teddy Grahams! The bad news is: marshmallows and sour gummy worms are out. Hopefully I can handle this challenge and eat food that truly reflects my environmental attitude.Let’s just pray that I don’t turn into a doesn’t-wear-deodorant-or-shave-her-legs vegan. I would probably be fired and disowned from my family.
Request to friends and family: if I start to smell like I’m a vegan (you know what I mean), follow these steps:
- Throw me in a cold shower (for the dramatic effect, but also to reduce the smell)
- Slap me across the face
- Give me a piece of cheese to calm my nerves
- Tell me I’ve gone too far