Vegetarian?!! You?!!

Vegetables

Poww!!! I stopped eating meat!!! It kinda just happened. No fuh real! Who’dda seen that coming??? I sure didn’t. Well until recently…

I’m gonna call my turning point a summary moment. It wasn’t the thing that made me affirm a change in my diet, however it consolidated threads of my most recent rational thoughts and informal eating practices I’d followed over the past four months. Ill get back to what it was in a sec…

I may have told you that since being able to walk and talk, I’ve had a visual learning style, which gives me a propensity to make sense of the world in SpiritedStrength caricature? Baring that li’l nugget in mind, picture me on holiday over the festive season in Gran Canaria, where food is big. In tourist season. Where the visitors are predominantly Scandinavian. British, or American. The tallest and thickest versions of these natives. All of them-including the Spanish, love their food. The Spanish – known for their love of meat – showcase it at every opportunity. Restaurant menus are a roll-call of cuts of every animal from poultry to game. A big deal is made of both displaying the massive cuts of meat in glass display fridges for the customer’s benefit, as well as cooking it in full view, then bringing it to the table loaded with extras. Can we talk portion size. No pissin-way – I’m serious – I saw some folks polish off starters, two large steaks plus hefty sides and desert without blinking an eyelid, then puffing on a fag and a cigar like: what? what??! My SpiritedStrength caricature fuelled me to crack a reoccurring a joke: their poor stomachs must have to work like the clappers to digest that!!! Also: could you imagine when they buss farts in bed tonight??! My guffaws lasted for a few days until I turned the lens back to myself and continued the parallel, also seeing  – in SpiritedStrength caricature insight of course – what was happening with my stomach and body when I ate meat (in much smaller portions though yeah? Let’s get that part right!).

I’ve told you about my 16-year battle with dyspepsia, right? I’ve had a turbulent time trying to address the psycho-physiological aspects of my stomach reacting to the internalisation of anxiety & stress: the overproduction of stomach acid, chronic gastro spasm-crises requiring hospitalisation, vomiting, diarrhoea  Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) to name but a few symptoms. My long term treatment has primarily focuses on addressed the root cause, however it also focuses on the contributory factors relating to  diet. Over the years I have adapted my diet a few times – I’ve tried low-carb, gluten-free & FodMap to name but a few…

In the past 4 months, I’ve not relished the thought of meat, for the noticeably increased work my digestive system was having to undergo following a meal. I’d become overwhelmed thinking about the stomach issues that would surely follow a meat meal, so I quietly started eating fish primarily and to a much lesser degree, chicken, avoiding dyspepsia crises for the duration!!!

Summary Moment
Back to holidaying in Gran Canaria – the daily stomach knot from witnessing the extreme choice, presentation & quantity of meat, made sense through my caricature mind, triggered a quiet realisation that I was essentially stressing my body way past its comfort & ability with digesting meat and it was time to cut it out in a more explicit way than I had adopted in recent months – my summary moment. I said to ImIndoors over an evening meal, I’m giving up meat. He looked at me like I had told him we’d won the Euro-Lottery. Dyarm big head vegetarian brute.

I know that my friends & colleagues will be shocked that I – a life-long self-celebrate meat lover (until recently) – made such a daring change – and are likely to suspect that it is because I’m dating a vegetarian, however it’s not that one iota.  ImIndoors never influenced me at all…we’re accustomed to him eating his own thing and me eating mine at home, restaurants – there’d never been any galvanised persuasive arguments or quibbling on either part; his diet is flesh-free is because of humanitarian reasons, however mine recently changed to meat-free because I want to be kinder to my struggling stomach…

Meat Loves
Can we just take a moment to talk about my historical meat loves? Round-kneck lamb, ox-tail, curry goat, curry chicken, brown-strew chicken, jerk chicken, goat-water, fried chicken, chilli wings, meats of any kind cooked in jalfrezi, rogan josh, korma or Thai Green or Thai red green curry styles…

Curried Goat

*checks his pulse…seems to be ok…*

My Personal Pros & Cons
This evolution towards a principled dietary change ended up with me going cold turkey while on holiday over the Xmas and since being back, I’ve not suffered at all! I’m motivated by several positive points:

  • I’ve always loved vegetables – I’ve just got to find more adventurous ways of cooking them
  • I’ve a few vegetarian friends who can help me to learn about dishes and restaurants
  • Indian food is has an extensive repertoire of vegetarian cooking – with lots of flavour and texture
  • My health will keep on the great par it has for the past few months – less wear and tear on my stomach

Although I have to acknowledge the negative:

  • Vegetarian food in restaurants is dry like crackers!


My Challenge
I need to seek out the right restaurants who can not only provide dishes based on appetising vegetables but that also cook then with a satisfying taste – hey I’m from the Caribbean – I don’t do any food boiled or bland!!!

Learning More About Food
Since getting back from my holiday I’ve dug out a vegetarian cookbook I bought 10-years ago after being stumped a few times, when cooking for dinner parties at home, I’d  been faced with the horror of realising I’d vegetarian guests on my hands. It’s a damned good book that’s got me inspired! I also did a bit of a search on Amazon for an Indian vegetarian cookbook, which is now in the post. I’ve been in the kitchen creating some magic, rustling up some SpiritedStrength concoctions – it’s been refreshingly tasty & fun!

Indian Curry

I’m gonna try this for a few months and see how it goes…I don’t intend to give up fish though. I’ve already been called a Pescatarian – branded already??! Isn’t it funny how society gives labels for everything???! I remember when I came out at age 27 after being an alleged heterosexual the rest of my life- there was no way you’d get me to call myself gay at that time – as far as I was concerned I was bi-sexual for a few years, until I settled realising I wasn’t going back. So if I’m anything right now, I’m bi-pescatarian for a while at least [ah joke-business mann – cool nuh?!!]! Seriously though –  the extreme visual representation of the meat eating issues in Gran Canaria, now calibrated, have helped me to realise that it’s worth trying an alternative approach, for the potential benefits.

I Could Do With Your Support
This decision to give up meat is going to be a challenge after 43 years of both dietary conditioning and self-developed dietary habits. There will be a lot of adventure & learning, which I’ll share here of course. I could also do with your help – if you’re a vegetarian or have any vegetarian recipes, or top-tips, please pass them on! I can’t promise ill stick at this, but my intention is to give it a good shot…

SpiritedStrength = daily life driven by: • heart • realness • liberation • purpose • learning • happiness

Here’s to a healthier 2013!

SpiritedStrength Signature

 


6 Comments

  1. Si 10 January 2013 at 23:37 - Reply

    Cool. Go for it. Veggie food is much more interesting. Was veggie myself for a couple of ears. I got fat doing it. Became too interested in the joys of lovely food! Good luck then. Dive in. Yum!

    • SpiritedStrength 14 January 2013 at 22:45 - Reply

      Ha! With an extremely healthy-conscious #ImIndoors by my side, I wont take the cheese-laden route, truss me Simon :) I’m amazed at how much I’m enjoying the new taste sensations – bloody lovely! Had my first vegan meal on Saturday – surprisingly scrumptious!!!

  2. Lelanie 17 January 2013 at 19:36 - Reply

    I am also very keen to try out a vegetarian diet. Unfortunately, I have a lot to learn. I have no idea how to cook a meal without meat in it and make it taste nice also! I also need to find quick and easy recipes or recipes of stuff I can just cook in one pot or slow cooker, because my time is very limited to spend hours in the kitchen… Would you say going vegetarian is more expensive than the normal diet?

    • SpiritedStrength 20 January 2013 at 12:55 - Reply

      It’s a lot easier – vegetables don’t have to be cooked down like meat – they can be raw or lightly steamed / stir-fried, so cooking time can be 30 mins! I’m experimenting lots so don’t think I’m in a position to give advice about recipes and books I would recommend searching ‘Vegetarian’ in Amazon and choose a couple of books that suit the way you like to learn and the types of dishes you’d like to try. I’ve two that I’m working through right now. In terms of cost, vegetarian cooking is definitely cheaper – look at the price of meat compared to buying some vegetables to rustle up!!! Keep me posted on know how you get on :)

  3. Charlene Grant 13 February 2013 at 09:44 - Reply

    Good for you! I have reactions to red meat, not so much chicken, but I make an effort not to eat more than 3/4 red meat dishes a year, it’s funny though as I always get reactions I still eat it! Whyyyy! Glutton for punishment! Good luck. Xx

    • SpiritedStrength 13 February 2013 at 21:43 - Reply

      See what I mean?! Ghurl I’ve had a lot of feedback from people who tell me they have the same problems with meat – some who herald relief from switching to vegetarianism. interestingly though, so many report still putting their body through it?! My stomach is loving me right now…

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