Let’s just get this out of the way. I am not an animal person. I think puppies and kittens and bunny rabbits are all cute, to be sure. I’m not a monster! But when my friends who love their pets tell me about their hundred and thousand plus dollar vet bills all I can do is scratch my head. When I tell them I think it’s crazy to spend that kind of money on an animal, they give me the same type of spiel that parents (I don’t have kids) give me about not understanding -insert issue relating to children here- because I’m not a parent. Whatever. I don’t love animals.
At several points in my life I have “gone Vegetarian”, including when I was in the Army and would be regularly ridiculed by my fellow soldiers in the mess hall for my food choices. I have been overweight for most of my twenties, all of my 30′s and into my 40′s (I will be 46 this year). I have done every diet in the book. Atkins, South Beach, Low Carb, High Carb, Master Cleanser “Lemonade Diet”, Juice diet, etc. My wife says she has “lost track” of what I eat or don’t eat and I think has pretty much had it with all my failed attempts at sticking with something.
At my heaviest, I was probably around 315-320 and wearing 3XL shirts and size 54 pants. I have been on blood pressure and cholesterol medication for about 20 years now. I’m currently between 275-280 and wearing size 42 pants and 2XL shirts. I’ve lost over 30 pounds since keeping track. So, I’ve made some progress.
I went back to being Vegetarian at the beginning of this year. I’ve been at it for almost 7 months now and I’m finally feeling like I’m in the zone. I’m also back in the gym 5-6 days a week (crucial). I’ve been playing the drums which is fun and has also been great exercise.
I tend to be very extreme in my life. I use a lot of gross generalizations about pretty much everything. I’m very black and white without much gray. I don’t enjoy people who have a hard time making a decision. For better or worse I am “all in” and “what you see is what you get.” This would probably be fine if I actually stuck with something! So, I’m trying to change.
The reason I brought up the animal issue in the beginning is that I’m toying with the idea of giving up dairy, which would make my diet Vegan. I eat eggs and yogurt on pretty much a daily basis. I have cheese, but not a ton. At this point, after 7 months, I don’t think I would miss it that much. My hope in doing this is to get to my goal weight of 200 pounds (what I weighed at 19 when I was in the Army and in peak physical shape) and get off all the pills! That’s it.
My problem is that I am really put off by a lot of people who are Vegans. They tend to be very self-righteous (especially when it comes to the animal part) and in a lot of cases worse than uptight right-wing born-again evangelicals. Yuck.
Case in point, I recently picked up a book by New York hardcore band Cro-Mags frontman John Joseph called “Meat Is For Pussies“. I ran across a post on social media where person after person (who had not even read the book) was condemning him and the book claiming he was a lot of terrible things (misogynistic, homophobic and on and on). They don’t even know the guy! I think context is important and matters. The book title is a jab at all the men who called the author a “pussy” over the years for not eating meat. It’s obviously meant to also catch attention. It’s not my job to defend him, but there’s plenty of things in the world to be upset about and this book title is not even on the list as far as I’m concerned.
I’m fairly low key about what I eat. I just do my thing. I don’t tell other people what they should eat or not eat. I don’t care. And I really don’t enjoy a lot of questions about what I’m eating or not eating and why. It’s hard enough eating Vegetarian with all the questions. If I make the transition to Vegan then I feel like I will really be between a rock and a hard place. I guess I just need to get over it and do what I feel like I need to do for my own health. I like that Joseph doesn’t refer to himself as a “Vegan,” but rather says he follows a whole-foods plant-based diet. I can get down with that.
I have been tracking (for those of you interested in this stuff) a lot of what I’ve been eating and my progress on an Instagram account called VegYear. You can check that out or follow along if you like. I’m feeling pretty good and encouraged that I might finally hit my goals once and for all.
If somebody thinks I’m doing it because I’m an animal lover, I guess I will have to live with that. Just don’t call me a Vegan!