Saturday, August 22, 2009

the latest cure

vegan food pyramid adapted from recommendation...Image via Wikipedia

I admit I'm continually renewing my outlandish health and fitness goals, from training for this half-marathon to endlessly trying to nail down the best nutrition program. I could see all these passing goals as a series of failures, but they are always, always informative. For example, I've learned in the last year that I feel healthiest when I exercise everyday and keep a food journal. I've learned that with just a little effort, I can see obvious fitness gains. And I need yoga everyday.

What's the latest grand scheme? I hesitate to even say, but too much of my recent readings have been pointing to it: vegetarianism. I always thought my legacy of animal husbandry automatically disqualified me from being a good vegetarian, but now I'm sick. Chronic illness demands loyalty only to getting better. But let me explain why I've been approaching this as a possible solution...

It started with a health book I bought and read over vacation: Quantum Wellness. I had no idea until I was half way through it, but this book is a handbook for vegetarianism. At the same time, I heard an interview with Dr. Neal Barnard, whose research supports veganism as a cure for diabetes. I ALWAYS pay attention to research that claims to approach a cure for diabetes. I bought Dr. Barnard's book last week, and then I read an article in the magazine Natural Solutions also about veganism as a cure for diabetes.

I can't responsibly ignore these hints. I have to conduct this experiment on myself and see if I can withstand it, if it works. I'm starting small, with the food I bring into our house (not being so strict right now on food we eat in restaurant). First I want to cut out red meat and chicken and highly processed food. Eventually, ideally, the experiment would mean eating only fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans. Oh wow, look, that's not terribly revolutionary.

I don't think I would ever be a 100% vegetarian or an ethical vegetarian, but for the sake of losing weight and going off medications, I'm willing to be an 80% occasional flexa-pesca-lacto-ovo-vegetarian transitioning to an 80% vegan eventually.
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2 comments:

  1. Hi, Anna. I just wanted to share with you that during all of my adult life I have been basically a vegetarian...and in the past three years, I've really taken a hard look at what ingredients are in the food we eat, and have become a lot more of a natural foods advocate. My kids and I have quit eating any processed foods, sodas, etc., (except for when we really need to go to Sonic!) Of course we're not vegan by any means, because I still bake with eggs and butter, and they drink milk, and we love cheese. But I even started baking my own bread, since I realized that store bread has like 100 ingredients, and it should only have 5. I think it makes a big difference in how I feel and on my kids' concentration, that we don't eat food that has artificial dyes. (these have been found to contribute to ADHD in kids!)
    Here are two great books you might like to read:
    In Defense of Food
    The Omnivore's Dilemma
    both by Michael Pollan

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  2. erin -- i have read and LOVED both those books. i like to make bread too because it's not so much frankenfood as the stuff you get in the store.

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