It’s a lobster of a tail…
I seem to only come here when something big in my life changes. When my brother and I were kids my mom would make us spend time in our rooms alone and write, and what seemed like torture at the time became truly one of the best gifts she could have ever given me. Unfortunately that gift didn’t come with the ability to be good at it, but that’s besides the point. It all started when my spin classes began to take off – that was how this blog came to be. I wanted a place to write about my journey, document the process, gloat to my invisible online friends – you know. The momentum slowed down – or the need to write dwindled I should say – but I found myself back here again when I decided to quit smoking (10 months strong tomorrow and never looking back! You can read that journey here.). So here I am again today – another big life change, maybe the biggest yet, and shit do I need to write about it… I watched Forks Over Knives last night.
If you haven’t heard of it – It’s a documentary about the correlation between ‘whole foods and healthy bodies’ – simply put, the health benefits of a plant based diet vs the negative effects of meat, dairy, oil, additives, proteins, etc and their correlation with cancer, disease, and all around poor health.
I’m still learning… obviously… I only watched it last night. However, when I quit smoking – until I put it out into the universe that this was something I was going to do, it was just an idea in my head that I could fail at, at any time with zero consequence. But when I wrote it down – even if it was only my mom reading it (hi again mom) – it became real. A real goal, a real lifestyle change – So here I am, writing it down because I’m ready… I think.
So I’m going to tell you – the internet world – my story. Unless you can relate, or you’re my mom, it’ll probably bore the hell out of you – but I’m putting it out there right here right now, consequences and all: I’m choosing Forks Over Knives.
I’m pretty sure I always knew at some point I’d become a vegetarian… it was just a matter of when. I keep relating it back to smoking, but it feels so familiar – I always knew I’d quit smoking, it was just a matter of when I’d grow a pair and decide to be healthy. So with my diet – I always knew I WANTED to eat better – but I seriously love Doritos and bacon. I have this memory as a kid- I’m not sure who my friend was or how old I was, but I can see her kitchen so clearly in my head – and I remember the moment she told me she was a vegan. A what? I didn’t realize it even existed. I’m sure I asked her the normal questions – “so you don’t eat eggs?” “Well, what about cheese?” I was fascinated… not interested… just seriously fascinated.
I grew up in a home where eggs were a staple, meat was a given, cheese was a god, so on and so forth – you know, “normal.” Fast forward to college – I drank beer like water, ate late night pizza, consumed burritos like a main food group, devoured mudslides and other milky drinks and told myself “at least there’s protein”, filled my weekends with hungover greasy diner eggs and bacon, and when I felt like I was bingeing too hard – I’d go get a healthy meal at Subway – turkey grinder, light on the mayo, load up the veggies – see, veggies! I had the metabolism of a skinny 20 year old, the tolerance of a veteran drunk, and was having the time of my life – I regret nothing (almost).
I didn’t see the weight gain coming, but all the sudden my necklaces fit like chokers and I was considering which classes to chose based on if they were on the first floor and in buildings close to one another. Before college was over, I had lost most of the weight I’d gained – but by doing it the typical gym bunny way – cardio-cardio-cardio, vodka -vodka-vodka, salad-salad-salad… you get it. So I looked healthier, but it didn’t mean I was. And honestly… I didn’t fucking care, I was 20.
Anyways – I’m going to fast forward a couple years after college. I’m still smoking, still partying, but holding down a big-girl job, paying bills, blah blah blah. My friends and I were active – we’d go for hikes… well, that’s really it, occasional walks and hikes. But my point is, things were fine and we were having fun.
My friend works for a radio station, and often times local companies would want her to try out whatever it was they were offering so she could talk about it on the radio. Insert here – “Meira, will you try this spin class with me?”
Well – we all know where this story goes. I fucking hated it. I’d never sweat so hard, I hated feeling like I couldn’t keep up (there were literally two pregnant women in my first class – like big belly, about to pop pregnant – and they were out-riding me in their sleep), my crotch hurt from that stiff as a board seat, and because I’m too competitive for my own good – I obviously couldn’t have that and had to go back. Anyways, this doesn’t need to be a story about how I got into spin – but there are two important factors that happened when this studio came into my life – it was the moment I started focusing on being healthy, not skinny – and I was also surrounded by a community where a large portion was vegetarian or vegan. Enter that childhood fascination again.
The words, “I think I could be vegan if I didn’t have to give up cheese and eggs” have come out of my mouth more times than I can count. Hi excuse #1 – nice to meet you. But I was asking more questions and even occasionally cooking vegan… but just for fun. I was becoming veg-curious.
November 15th, 2015: The lobster. Ugh, the dreaded lobster day. Each year my friend throws a giant FriendsGiving, and this year it was decided to do lobsters… as a little added bonus – THE LOBSTER WERE MY FUCKING IDEA! So 20+ people RSVP, my boyfriend and I are responsible for picking up 20 – 1lb lobsters, and we’re to have a crustacean feast like no other. So the night before the party, we had two large boxes of lobsters sitting in our garage – in excitement I went out there to say hello to them… and looking back on it now, like what did I really think I was going to do? Baby talk the lobsters and then eat them the next day? The second the lid opened I started to cry, pulled my shit together, and then went back inside and got over it.
When we got there the next day I told myself I just wouldn’t watch them go in the pot, once they’re cooked I’d have no problem. So here we are, gathered around picnic tables, bibs, lobster hats, butter everywhere, and I fucking lost it. I was so grossed out. The carnage. Everyone around me was ripping these things open, sucking the shells, butter and lobster literally everywhere – faces, hands, floor, lap – it was a blood bath of butter, a butter bath! Everyone around me is laughing, eating and enjoying… and I was miserable. That was the day I decided I was going to become a vegetarian… it was just a matter of when… I had to prepare myself.
I say vegetarian – because I never had any interest in going full vegan. Cheese and eggs, remember? My reasons for always being interested in it was always the poor cows, piggys, sheep – yummy – but sad. Yeah sure, farm fresh eggs are better blah blah – but we’re talking .99 vs $4.50 dozen – so in my mind I was just going to cut out meat, and that was it – fish was free game! So I started telling people – and they started laughing at me and saying things like, “yeah right, I’ll believe it when I see it.” “You know that means you’ll have to cook right?” “What about grilling on holidays?” “How will you get your protein?” “I could never give up steak.” “Eating at restaurants will be so difficult.” All the things I’VE said before. So it lasted… I honestly don’t know if it lasted 24 hours – this was 10 months ago… (10 days after I quit smoking – ironic?). But all in all, it didn’t last. So I kept randomly making vegetarian meals, eating steak, and telling myself – those poor cows are going to die whether I eat them or not… so I mine as well enjoy it.
So what’s different now? Forks Over Knives, that’s what. If it was only a sad thing, poor baby animals – I could probably get over it, I’m the queen of rationalizing. But after watching this movie – it literally feels suicidal to keep eating the way I was. From the film’s website, “The feature film Forks Over Knives examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods.” My interest in eating a vegetarian lifestyle turned from wanting to be humane to the animals to pure survival. I want to be in control of my body – plain and simple.
So like I was excited to see what kind of changes I’d experience when I quit smoking – I’m excited to see what I notice by changing my diet. Since I started writing this, this morning I already feel energized, excited, and eager to start this path. So I sit here, eating quinoa because it’s literally the only thing I know how to make so far – ready to flip my world upside down and eat vegan. Day 1 starts now – this is only the veganning (see what I did there?).
SO! On that note – who has recipes and blogs I should follow – I accept all advice!