Monday, June 17, 2013

Where's the Beef?

I am about to write something I would have bet millions I'd never say: I am going vegetarian.

To be honest I have been thinking about this lifestyle for awhile.  Three of my closest friends are some variation of vegetarian and that has made me curious. I also know that I have to do something different in my diet to better manage my weight and my skin health.  But why vegetarian?

In the beginning of the year I asked my friend Shelia to just THINK about doing a half marathon with me.  She said basically.. "I don't want to think about it because then I might say no. So I'm in!"   The race I want to do is in Detroit, this October, so my training program starts this week.  I am not worried about the running; one thing the marathon taught me is that I can do anything I set my mind to and even though it has been forever since I did a long run, the prospect of running 13 miles is no longer a big deal; I just need to get the training in.  Shelia is just starting her running journey and is a bit nervous; the idea of running 13 miles seems daunting to her.  Shelia is also a vegetarian.  I am so thankful that she agreed to run this half with me since we can motivate each other, but it didn't seem fair that she was worried about running and I was not.  It seemed like there needed to be some aspect of this that was a challenge to me.  I am a runner and she has committed to being one.  She is a vegetarian, so I decided I would commit to be one as well and train for this race as a vegetarian.  It only seems fair. Daunting yes, but fair.  We are both pushing ourselves to a new goal.

Many people may immediately say you can't do endurance sports on a vegetarian diet but there are actually mounds of research to combat this and basically it comes down to basic nutrition.  You need protein; most people get that from meats and chickens, but that is not the only place to get protein. So as long as you are smart about it, you can get all the nutrition from a plant based diet.  And God bless the Internet, because you can get a ton of information on diet. Shelia referred me to The No Meat Athlete and my friend Mike referred me to Vega Sports and the book Eat and Run by Scott Jurek.

I ordered Eat and Run and have read The No Meat Athlete. One thing that I really liked was the mention of a "Before 6" transition plan. Basically it says that after a lifetime of eating meat, your body might have a hard time transitioning off meat, so it recommends being a vegetarian for all meals before 6pm, which leaves the dinner time to have meat in it. This plan eases you into vegetarianism since most people are used to a meat centric dinner. I like it because I grocery shop for the month so have a stock of chicken and hamburger in my fridge already.  I am one of those people that budgets out exactly what I spend on food, and since I have already spent my June food budget, I can't afford to go buy all new vegetarian food.  So I can transition my body, get used to eating vegetarian but also make use of the food I already have.  I already take iron and potassium supplements and will add a B12 since that comes almost entirely from animal meat. I already don't do dairy so that won't be hard to limit and since I am still able to eat eggs and cheeses,  I should have enough protein.

To say I am nervous is an understatement. Unlike my vegetarian friends, I LOVE meat. I crave a good steak, love chicken, turkey is my favorite meal. Sure the thought of the whole killing an animal makes me sick, but as long as I stay away from the process, I am OK.  I did go 6 months without eating chicken after I was driving next to a truck filled with chickens, made eye contact with one right before the truck pulled into the Purdue plant. But I eventually recovered and now chicken is a staple. And it's not just the craving that makes me worry; it is the socialization.  Dinners with my parents are steaks and hamburgers and any other meat that is on sale that we can grill.  I am heading down to see my bestie Margaret and worried about being a guest in someone's house and being a problem "don't eat meat" person.  I feel pretty good about eating out; most places at least have a veggie burger I can get.  But overall I feel like a child who has just been told they can't have something and now want it more than ever.

If it were easy it wouldn't be a challenge.   So today starts my training program.  I ran this morning and I will not eat anything that was alive during the days. Then starting July 1, I will be completely no meat for the duration of my training program.  Then after? I think that depends. I believe that everyone's body is different and it is important to do what your body needs. If I feel better and have a ton of energy on a plant based diet, then I will stick to it.  Or I might do some combination like Sandy, who doesn't eat anything with legs.  I am leaving that decision up to my body.  Now I just need to get my head on board!   

Monday, June 3, 2013

May Music

It's June.  How did that happen?   Here are my favorites from May.

Without a favorite song in a long time: Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke with TI and Pharrell.  Great beat, funny lyrics and I think Pharrell Williams looks adorable in the video.  I can listen to this over and over again.  LOVE. 
Hurricane by MSMR - new duo from NY...haunting, pretty, odd.
I Love You by Said The Whale - Listen and tap your feet.  It's pretty perfect and I love it.
Aviation High by Semi Precious Weapons - I seem to be going back and forth between poppy and ethereal pop and this is the latter...if it fits anywhere. Is Happy Haunting a thing?   We're alive alive and apparently so are parachute pants.
It Never Stops by Bad Books - OK so this is one of those "technically published in 2012" songs, but I like it anyway.  I'm a fan of Bad Books, even though I am not a huge fan of Manchester Orchestra.
You and I by Crystal Fighters- back to poppy - take a listen to this summer song and feel happy.
Instant Crush by Daft Punk/Julian Casablancas - OK Daft Punk is one of those bands that has done so many random things over the last few years you probably either love them or hate them.  Generally I really like them so was pretty excited about their latest release.  So they get two inclusions this month...this slightly annoying and yet hooky Instant Crush and then....
Get Lucky featuring Pharrell Williams - OK so I may have a wee crush on Pharrell.  He's a cutie.  This song is awesome.
Diamonds by The Boxer Rebellion - I have a book next to my computer and when I hear a song I like I write it down. If I look and I have already written it down, I star it to note that I really like it.  This one has a ton of stars.  Really like it. The band has been around since 2001and their stuff has been in a ton of commercials and tv shows.

Have you watched Blurred Lines yet?  Bought it?  It's so great!!