Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Well..I'm a Pescavegalactotarian...
It seems like more and more often, I have conversations that go something like this:
Them: So, you're a vegetarian?
Me: Well no...mostly. We eat fish.
Them: But you and your husband don't eat dairy?
Me: That's correct. Well, I just gave up cheese. I decided I could have a little dairy on special occasions.
Them: So, you are not vegan...why don't you drink milk?
Me: Well no, we eat fish and eggs. But we drink almond milk, and I use coconut milk in my coffee. I just think dairy is really bad for us. Milk is good for baby calves--not humans--especially since we can't purchase raw milk here.
Them: Why don't you eat wheat? Do you have Celiac disease?
Me: I don't, but I think I'm wheat sensitive. I just feel--and look---better when I don't eat wheat. And even though I'm very active, carbs seem to cause weight gain. Of course, now and then--on special occasions I falter. I had cake and ice cream on my birthday.
Them: So what are you then?
Me: I don't know....human?
I wholeheartedly believe in healthy, clean eating. I do my best to eat the healthiest foods I can. But I sometimes I stress myself over labels. Am I a bad person or a bad role model because I can't commit to being a full-fledged vegan? Of course, some vegans I know have terrible diets--ingesting all the processed fake meats and pre-prepared vegan entrees. If I were going to go vegan all the way, it would have to be straight fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains.
And then there are those who believe (and I'm related to many of them) that a vegan diet can't possibly be healthy. "You need meat for protein!" "Milk! It does the body good!"
Do I have to have a dietary label? Is it really necessary? Must I be vegetarian? Vegan? Paleo?
I try to eat healthy, whole (unprocessed) foods 98% of the time. But I'm not perfect. And I get cravings--and sometimes I eat things I regret afterward. Sometimes when I falter, it's worth feeling cruddy for a few hours.
At the grocery, we shop the perimeters and buy organic whenever possible. I haven't eaten beef in years. And I've never been a fan of pork (and I really don't think we should eat pigs. They are far too intelligent), but a few times (usually after a few drinks--also not healthy) I've snarfed down a piece of pepperoni pizza (whoops). Did I feel bad? Yes. I felt incredibly guilty. Was it delicious? Yes. Was it worth it? I don't know.
In a way, I understand the label. If you are vegan, you are making a statement--you believe it is morally wrong to eat any animal product. You have a passion for animals. And I get that. In fact, I'm often jealous of it. I believe that someday, I will probably be a full-fledged vegan. But I'm just not there yet. The eggs I eat are from a small, local farm--where the chickens live a pretty nice life. And fish...I just don't feel as much guilt or compassion for fish. Maybe I should. Who's to say their life is less valuable than a pig or cow's? We do stick to wild caught fish because they are better for you--and they are not farmed strictly for human consumption.
I have a friend who eats low-fat, raw vegan. And she passionately follows this diet. I am often in awe of her passion for it--and I start to think, "Why can't I be like that?" But you know what? I do pretty well. And I enjoy a warm meal. So I don't think that lifestyle is for me. But it does encourage me to add more raw fruits and vegetables to my diet.
Picking and choosing what foods we want to nourish our bodies with is a continuously evolving process. A process that is complicated by all the contradictory information we receive (i.e. eggs are good for you...eggs are bad for you).
Mark and I have settled into a pretty pure way of eating, that we feel nourishes our bodies and prepares us for the activities we enjoy (running, biking, hiking, adventure races, etc.). But we do not happen to fall within any of the dietary labels (as far as I know). We pick and choose what makes us feel good about our bodies and minds.
What do you think?
- J.J. Kunkle
- I am the owner of The Fit Life, LLC. The Fit Life, LLC offers fitness instruction and nutrition counseling in a holistic way. I focus on personal training using mainly your own body strength--very little equipment. I also hold a certification in holistic nutrition. Because nutrition counseling regulations are very strict in Ohio, I'm still working on what nutrition services I can provide to my clients; however, I'm happy to provide general nutrition information. I enjoy teaching TRX, Indoor Cycling, and Boot Camps.
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