If you’re reading this – I like you a lot! 🙂 I know there are a million blogs out there (over 2.7 million based on my google search) and plenty of food & fitness blogs available, but you have found your way to mine today. My hope is that you’ll find something interesting on my contribution to the blogosphere and you’ll want to come back and read more tomorrow!
Since this is the beginning, I think it makes sense to explain why I’m writing this blog. Over the past 6 months, I’ve made a lot of changes in my eating habits. I have had a fairly healthy diet since graduating college – not perfect, but basically good. I love to cook, so I’ve focused on cooking healthy meals for years. My biggest weakness – fruits and veggies. I ate a few, but whenever I tried to answer the question about how many servings I ate a day, it was a pretty low number. This year, I decided it was time to change that.
It started after a friend ate a Vegan diet for about 6 months (she went Vegan in support of her mother’s fight against cancer). I’ll admit I thought it was a little weird at first, but I really heard her talking about how good she felt as compared with a “traditional” diet. Inspired by her change, I decided that eating a Vegetarian diet for Breakfast & Lunch each day would be a great way to up my fruits & veggies. At the same time, I was starting to ramp up my training for my first Ironman-distance triathlon – I hoped that my diet changes would help me get all the nutrients I needed for training and help me focus on good-quality foods.
Over the next few months, I ended up eating less meat even at dinner – only once or twice a week, instead of nightly.
Surprisingly, I really didn’t miss it! I had plenty of energy for my training and had a great time trying foods I had never had (and sometimes never heard of) before. As the race got closer, I starting planning for how I was going to avoid the typical post-Ironman weight gain. Your body is used to burning lots of calories and your appetite doesn’t adjust as quickly when you stop training as much. I decided that after we got back from the race & vacation, I would eat a vegetarian diet for a full month – both to see how that felt & to prevent that weight gain.
During my vegetarian month (July 2011), I started looking for fun new recipes to try (I had a lot more time to play on the internet after the race!) and found some excellent blogs with veggie & vegan recipes. One of the first I found was a Green Monster – adding spinach or kale to a morning smoothie? Sounds weird, but yum! Then I found Peas and Thank You – which has so many awesome recipes to choose from and entertaining stories to go along with the recipes. This is my favorite blog to read and we’ve been eating tons of “recipeas” over the past month. No Meat Athlete was another blog that really inspired me – look at all those awesome athletes fueled by veggies! From there, my list of veggie blogs continued to grow and my veggie month flew by.
At the end of my veggie month, I was a little unsure about what I wanted to do. I really loved the way I felt on a vegetarian diet, but was this something I was prepared to change permanently? I’ve struggled with this question a lot over the past month and I’m not sure I have that question resolved completely, but here’s where I am today.
- I LOVE veggies – there are so many awesome meals without meat and I am going to continue to enjoying those (and discovering more) on a regular basis.
- I don’t like what I’ve learned about factory farms and how we mistreat animals during their life. I want to support the farms who care about the lives of animals, from meat to dairy.
What does that mean? When I’m cooking, I’ll continue to eat a mostly veggie diet with meat thrown in the once a week. The meat/dairy that I do eat will be from humane (hopefully local) farms. I’m very lucky that a Whole Foods just opened in our area that carries both. When we eat out, I’ll be looking for mostly Vegan options (Veggie as my fall-back), since I can’t control where their food comes from.
So, that’s my food journey – a little longer story than I planned. 🙂