“Why did you give up meat in the first place” asked my well intentioned friend, upon learning about my recent foray into the world of a vegetarian life. We were also discussing type two diabetes, which I am skirting. “Well I gave up meat to pursue a healthier lifestyle”.. which was greeted with hilarious laughter, geez.
This may be funny ha ha, but actually, considering that I may have brought this onto myself, is not so funny to me. We follow our own gut instincts to live a better life. A health scare two years ago made me take stock of the choices I was making in my life. What we eat is important, and I think we all can agree on that.
Before you think I am going to go all holier than thou on you, know this, I just opened a bag of cheezies! I also just made myself a salmon salad sandwich on thin sliced brown bread with no butter. There-in lies the problem, I make the justification that I am making good food choices, therefor I can eat the cheezies.. I got this!
Fish and thin bread, is good, and the cheezies are a small bag, 36 grams.. and cheese is healthy! It says right on the bag.. made with real aged cheddar cheese (seasoning), right after the cornmeal and vegetable shortening! NO SUGAR.. geez that was a freebie, I didn’t know that, hmmm.. contains tartrazine.
OMG.. do not Google tartrazine!
Let’s just say this.. don’t feed tartrazine (#5 yellow food coloring) to your kids or your animals and well, sugar doesn’t look so bad anymore. Now where was I.. oh right, healthy eating habits. Becoming a vegetarian was easy, I did miss eating a great medium rare steak and cold hotdogs were my go-to in the fridge.
I am still trying to shake off the ‘tartrazine’ side effect claims, unexplained itchy skin? Purple dots on skin (I just seen one on my arm the other day) never mind asthma, migraines, thyroid cancer, anxiety, depression and blurred vision! Wow.. that certainly opened up a can of worms. Oh.. and it was banned from use in Europe a long time ago.. why are we still ingesting it? I wonder what other foods have tartrazine in them?
Jesus.. don’t Google that either!
How the heck can pickles have food colour in them? Kraft dinner and all the look-a-likes makes sense, but pickles? Ok I am getting way off track here, but I need to send this info to my daughter and daughter-in-law. Eating healthy is what I was aiming for but seeing as I have an affinity for all food, well I led myself astray on this one.
Eliminating the killer white sugar was easy enough, pure Canadian maple syrup took its place. I was especially delighted to find that adding it to my previously black coffee habit was particularly satisfying. Adding organic cold pressed ‘not from concentrate’ fruit juices, especially apple juice, became my next favorite.
The meat disappeared from my diet but not fish. Shrimp is one of my favorites, pairing it with pasta and rice (brown organic rice and whole wheat pasta) dishes was easy. Cereal (frosted flakes especially) and skim milk became my go-to instead of cold wieners. Tim Hortons became another go-to (the donut place.. no meat in doughnuts!)
A holier than thou attitude towards meat made me justify my occasional (read.. not so occasional) foray into my sweet spot (donuts, pies, and.. well anything resembling pastry, actually). I need to say here that I did make it worthwhile.. I mean if you’re going to eat something not really good for you, at least make it worth the effort. (what effort.. you are wondering.. hmmm, me too)
My kids rolled their eyes at my semi-vegetarian lifestyle (I only ate fish) especially because of our BBQ Catering business. Ok, so I did take special delight in stressing I was a vegetarian when they were with-in earshot, in retaliation to their eye-rolling. I also learned a new word, ‘pescatarian,’ those who eat fish but abstain from meat.
I enjoyed my newfound status as a pescatarian and lamented the fact that potlucks and family dinners were all meat focused! Did I feel better .. I like to think I did, not bloated, but not svelte either.. that is a joke! I was svelte once.. when I was thirteen.
The only exception to my ‘pescatarian’ rule was thanksgiving turkey and I travelled to my uncles in Edmonton for that. My kids were serving up beef. There is more to that story, but needless to say, that turkey was a little piece of heaven and well worth the trip. It was also great seeing my uncle and his family (but that turkey .. omg!)
Fast forward to over a year being a vegetarian/pescatarian and an annual check-up with my doctor. Turns out I am skirting type two diabetes! My surprise and disbelief is humbling, my holier than thou attitude was not only pretentious but stupid too. I really do hate stupid but here I am..
I am back on the meat wagon, albeit more turkey than beef. I have cut out the copious amounts of fruit juice I was drinking and the sugar runs to Tims (donut/coffee place) have all but disappeared. I quit buying maple syrup, and I am taking this diagnosis seriously. My kids still roll their eyes, I’m sorry but bread is not the culprit here, eliminating protein was my mistake.
Do I feel better… hmmm.. not really, this has been a year of challenges for me, my health and my personal life. Lack of a love life is more concerning to me some days and others its ‘what the hell am I gonna eat today’.
AND NOW I have to worry about Tartrazine.. Google it .. I dare you!