Starting from scratch in an elite fitness-blog-world full of expensive gear, and Personal Records she couldn't beat with a car.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Just another Meatless Monday

I am a part time vegetarian - one seventh of the time.

Mondays to be precise.

I'm not morally opposed to eating meat, but I am opposed to wasteful killing and the conditions in which the animals are kept in the process, and am also trying to get a better handle on exactly what it is I am eating.

When I was in grad school I became very sensitive to nightshade plants and soy due to my high stress levels and after a confusing several months I finally figured out that I could expect to either read labels, or treat hives.

There are so many additives and so much processing between raw materials and plate that being an educated eater can be pretty eye opening. If you've never paid specific attention you would not believe how much soy there is in pre-packaged food, but there was a point in my early 20s that I could tell you within 10-20 minutes of eating it whether a food contained soy or soy byproducts (soy lecithin was the worst) so I got a very personal sort of education on the subject.

At the time I was just way too stressed to deal with much beyond "will this make me itchy". Those sensitivities went away as I got older (they only show up on occasions when I am immensely stressed), but watching for problematic ingredients is still second nature.

In February 2010 I saw the video below, a TED talk entitled "Why I'm a Weekday Vegetarian" (title links to the original site posting, but I could not get that to embed directly).

From the TED site:
We all know the arguments that being vegetarian is better for the environment and for the animals -- but in a carnivorous culture, it can be hard to make the change. Graham Hill has a powerful, pragmatic suggestion: Be a weekday veg.
Weekdays is a bit of a stretch for me, but the general idea of "every little bit helps" is still sound and so I decided on Mondays. I don't think I would ever transition to full vegetarian (especially now that I'm dating a weight lifting protein-avore), shrimp, pork, steak, and my mom's turkey are just too awesome, but I do think this has given me a much better appreciation for what it is I'm eating. It's hard to balance things financially but I would like to start moving toward more ethically sourced foods.

In truth I probably don't eat meat more than three or four days a week on average anyway (hooray for cheese!) and many people just seem to assume I am a full time vegetarian.  I did have had the occasional botch in the beginning (mostly long weekends where I just plain forgot what day it was until halfway through breakfast, also Rice Krispy Treats), however other than one family birthday dinner where I wasn't about to make extra work for my Mom I haven't willfully cheated once. Sure I could swap out for another weekday in a pinch, but if it were easy all the time I think I'd be missing the point.

If things are giving up their lives so that I can get nourishment it's worth it for me to be mindful of that.

I am a lot more aware of just how many things I eat which I just took for granted actually have animal protein in them. Soups are a big one for me. Restaurants, parties, and the like can be a bit challenging, but it's forced me to try things I never would have bothered with otherwise. I will say it is much easier getting a straight answer as to whether something contains animal than whether something contains soy. It helped that one of my dearest friends (and housemate for most of the last two and a half years) is a vegetarian who happens to be an amazing cook. I don't have her mad kitchen skills (or much of any kitchen skill, truth be told) but it helps to know what can be done outside of salads and soy protein.

I will however say I might well have starved to death if I was still sensitive to peanuts.

September Blogging Challenge Day 17 - Your most embarrassing fitness story

Thankfully I don't have anything too terrible lurking in my fitness past. The only thing I can really think of was a yoga class in college where I ripped a finger nail off spectacularly in mid forward fold.

We were doing a very active fold which involved swinging forward from the waist and sweeping our finger tips along the floor. I kept my nails very long at the time so when I swept my hands I managed to hit the pinky nail JUST right to rip it off about halfway down the nail bed. My entire body spasmed from the pain and as I was mid-forward sweep my hamstrings took the brunt of it.

I think I might have actually fallen over from the pain but the details are thankfully hazy now.

The copious dripping blood took most of the mystery out of the incident for the rest of the class but it was still a bit mortifying. Not to mention that this was the Friday of a weekend long Sci Fi convention on campus and I had volunteered to do a job which involved walking a constant circuit of the convention activities for the entire weekend.  Totally an awesome time when you can barely walk for days!

Fun note: I ended up working my way up through the ranks of that convention eventually to run it years later, and that job was one of the first things I axed of when I got senior enough.

What active/fitness related things did I do today?

Nothing active as of yet, but I DID buy a used Garmin Forerunner 305 with heart rate strap from The Cheerleader so I suspect most of the rest of my evening is going to be taken up poking at that.

That's TOTALLY fitness related!

Do you have any self imposed dietary limit? Why did you choose to do this?

Have a good fitness botch story to share?

Do you have any devices you use to monitor your fitness?

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