During the last few years as I would walk by the “fake meat” section of the produce section I’d always roll my eye’s. My pass reaction and thinking was some what narrow minded and old school. Meaning, that if you were going to be vegetarian then you lost the right to eat things like sausage. I think it came more from organizations like PETA (which do good work people but God almighty there is a middle ground) and preachy vegetarian/vegans that would try to guilt and shame you for eating meat. I get it, they have a good points about not eating factory farmed animals and there really is too much animal cruelty throughout the world. I heart me some animals so I get it. However, there’s an easy fix for that, choose to buy meat from local farms that pasteur raise their animals in humane conditions. Educate yourself before going to restaurants or where the store your shopping at buys their meat. However, as we head into a literal new climate, going meat free isn’t always about saving the bambie’s of the world, but more often than now, about saving the human’s of the world.
This passed month I experimented with trying to eat a more plant based diet at home. Not vegan, but vegetarian. However, sometimes it would end up being vegan like the French lentil soup I made. I decided to try eating more plant based for a few different reasons, starting with the impact that livestock farming has on the environment. It is something we can not ignore anymore.
The second reason is I was sick and tired of seeing nutritionists and dietitians posting picture of their “yummy creations” and it was a hodge-podge of veggies on a plate. No, it’s not yummy looking and it sure isn’t going to help make me put down the steak. For christ’s sake, if we are going to move towards a more plant based diet, we need real food that tastes good, that’s filling, that’s creative and actually looks like something we want to eat. I wanted to spend the month of January creating and posting recipes that not only was going to make vegetarians happy, it would make ardent meat eaters happy. Any Google search or Instagram search of “healthy vegetarian recipe by xx type of professional” leads to recipes that look bad. I understand that not everyone is a photographer, but it’s not that. There usually isn’t any cohesiveness to what it is and that is what annoys me. A big bowl of whatever veggies mixed in with rice doesn’t cut and neither does an egg white omelet with spinach. This is not what is going to make people want to eat healthy and it needs to stop.
The final reason was truly a self serving one in the sense Dwight and I needed to lose weight. Anyone who knows us know’s that we are the yin and yang of being healthy sometimes. We’ll go for a 3-4 hour trail run and then spend the rest of the day drinking high-gravity IPA’s and chowing down on the Steinbeck burger from the U-Joint. Disclaimer though: we do eat healthy most of the time (see Athlete’s Kitchen), but we do like beer and eat whatever we want on big training day because it’s a hobby, not out careers. However, those big training days were not as numerous during the months following the Ironman and during the holidays. We put on weight and I needed to find a way of losing it without sacrificing a damn thing. You know, that thing everyone wants and they say you can’t have. Well, guess what people: go plant based, drink some beer, train and guess what? You lose weight! Maybe not as much as if you put the beer down, but it’s a nice balance.
Anyways, it’s now the end of January and I’m reflecting on what it’s been like eating mostly a plant based diet. I gotta tell ya, it’s been easy. It’s been tasty. It’s helped us knock off some extra weight. I think we will choose a more plant based from now on. I’m a foodie and chef, there will be sweatbreads in the frying pan one day and some pigeon roasting in the oven maybe the next. I guess my point being is that there just won’t be as much of it from now on.