In 1992 I made a major decision that affected my life since. I became a vegetarian (for about 10 years I was vegan). It was tough back then as there were not many meat replacement choices as there are today. I truly believe that being a vegetarian has kept away many health issues that my family has gone through (especially cancer and diabetes). Yes for my health and healthy eating as well as in consideration of how animals are treated in food production.
Then this past year I gained a ton of weight was having trouble sleeping and developing sleep apnea! So my wife and I decided to go on this Hormone diet through http://integrative.ca. It is a 45-day diet of daily hormone injections and 500 calories a day. So on March 3rd my wife and I started (I started at 320 pounds!) and now just finished and I am 45 pounds lighter (my wife 35 pounds)! It was tough to do only 500 calories a day that consisted of one egg and four egg whites, lettuce, tomatoes, cottage cheese, cabbage, cucumbers and such. It was one cup of coffee for breakfast, a tiny lunch and tiny supper.
You’d think you’d be hungry all the time, and it was tough, but the hormone injection kept you from being truly hungry. What it does is use the fat in your body to give you energy and also so you don’t lose much muscle as it happens with most diets. It is truly a reset of the body’s metabolic rate as well as the psychological considerations around food. I was an emotional eater and ate HUGE plates of any food. Not healthy for me. Even though I was a vegetarian, doesn’t mean that you can’t get fat!
So I mentioned Vegetarianism at the start. I am no longer one as of today when I cooked a steak for myself.
For a long time I’ve been thinking about it and doing research about how my body desires meat and its dense protein. But the thought of an animal dying to feed me was difficult to fathom. I always harken back to an argument with a rather overzealous religious woman who said that animals are put on the Earth for our use. How arrogant this statement was to me, how it was an egocentric and plainly uncompassionate way of looking at not only animals, but other humans and the world in general. I think this was something that stuck with me and kept me from ever eating animals ever since.
Then during the diet I watched this doc on CBC called “In Defense of Food” by Michael Pollan (http://michaelpollan.com). He agrees that a largely plant-based diet is best; however, “largely” being the operative word. I was already following a lot of what he said, especially the edict of: “don’t eat anything advertised on TV”. While being a vegetarian meant I had to really pay attention to ingredients and this is a great habit to get into. I really suggest you do, whether you are a vegetarian or not.
So while yes, for 23 plus years I was a vegetarian and thought I would be the rest of my life; however, looking at my health, this extreme diet and my body’s needs, I decided to leave vegetarianism behind. And, I’m not going to call myself a part-time vegetarian. This is what I will be as I plan to only eat meat once or twice a month, and ONLY if I cook it myself. The reason being I will only eat organic clean meat and with only ingredients and cooking methods I can trust!
So I’ve already removed the word vegetarian from my on-line bios and feel quite sad about it. I’m grateful in what it taught me about compassion towards all things, what I eat and how I view the world. This will never be changed or forgotten. I still hold life precious and to be protected. Only, now, from time to time I will be feeding myself something my body craves. Maybe that is being hypocritical? Perhaps. I just won’t every call myself a vegetarian again.