I’ve always leaned more towards the nuttier kinds of trees. When I was a kid I was convinced that at some point we would all be forced to live in the woods and fend for ourselves. I spent many hours devoted to crafting weapons out of sticks, string and thumbtacks so we could have tools to hunt for food with. Some of my favorite books were survival books and one of my favorite pastimes was trying the different plants and grasses that grew around our house to see what was edible.
I’ve always cared deeply for the earth and all the plants and animals in it. So I guess it was only a matter of time until I decided that the most logical thing to do in my quest to save the world would be to stop eating meat and processed, commercialized foods. Although I must admit my transition to this enlightened state of being did take a significant amount of pushing and shoving from mother nature.
I love eating meat, so becoming a vegetarian was something that I always knew I should do but never thought I'd be able to. How can one imagine eating their last cheeseburger? Giving up meat completely just didn't seem like something I could physically handle. Mother nature was soon about to change that.
I had been working as an animal trainer at Sea World for about 7 years when I badly injured my knee one day. I couldn't bend my leg without tremendous pain. However, that injury happened at the exact same time that all the other girls who could play the lead role in the show were gone on vacation. That left only me to perform 8 shows a day for a week on my injured knee. The doctor had prescribed me some pain medication, but I was taking ibuprofen on top of it, not realizing that that's what the doctor had prescribed, it was just labeled under a different name.
Around this same time I started getting immense pains in my stomach after eating. The pain would pretty much disable me it hurt so bad, and it would last for about 4 hours. I concluded that I had an ulcer and this made sense once I learned that ibuprofen can actually eat a hole in your stomach. It took me a loooooong time to pinpoint what foods would cause me the pain and I spent several nights alternating between being curled up in the fetal position and sitting on the toilet trying to wait out the pain. Milk seemed to be the only thing that would stop the pain.
So now, several years later, I've been able to narrow down the foods that hurt my stomach the most. The biggest culprit is corn. I simply cannot handle anything with corn in it. Mostly corn meal, which unfortunately is in just about every Mexican dish that I used to love. Some other foods I've found that cause the pain are pineapple, potatoes if they're not cook veeeery well, excess amounts of sugar. So starch and complex sugars. Through some internet search about why corn would be causing me so many problems I stumbled across the SCD (specific carbohydrate diet). The testimonials for the book on Amazon alone convinced me to give it a try. I bought the book and stayed on the program for about 2 months, until October which is the beginning of candy season; my birthday, halloween, thanksgiving, christmas, new year's, valentine's day and easter!
During the 2 months I followed the SCD diet I felt amazing! Even my skin improved and everyone seemed to notice that I was glowing more than usual. For once in my life since getting stomach pains I went through a long period where I didn't have any painful nights! I also was in the kitchen a lot more and found that I genuinely enjoy cooking and preparing food and trying new things. Imagine trying to make bread without being able to use any carbohydrates, no grains, flour, yeast, sugar etc. I learned a lot about our digestive systems and what is best for us to eat.
The only problem with this diet now is that one of the main things you can eat is meat. You can also eat all you want of certain cheeses, nuts, fruits and vegetables and homemade yogurt. But this year I've begun to become really conscious about where my food comes from, and most importantly, how it was treated. There are far too many undercover videos of animals being beaten and severly mistreated for me to just ignore the fact that eating out at any fast food restaurant or buying meat from my grocery store only supports this cruel industry. One simply cannot claim that they love animals and are for animal welfare and then eat out 5 times a week. You might as well be beating those animals yourself since you are basically paying some one else to do it for you. I simply cannot and will not continue to throw money at this industry any longer.
However, with that decision I would now be eliminating meat, sugar, complex carbohydrates, bread, grains etc. from my diet. I don't think I'm quite ready to go raw yet but at the same time I want to start eating in a way that helps our planet. Then I realized, thanks a lot to this video, that you don't have to be all or nothing. Even not eating meat just one day less that you do now is helping in a big way. If everyone did this just imagine the message it would send!
I started off just trying to eat less meat, maybe only a few days a week. Now I absolutely don't eat it during the weekdays. The only sticking point is that most people will be unable to convince their families and significant others to do the same thing. That's why, at least for me, I need to be able to allow myself meat on certain days. For example, on Sunday my family always goes out to lunch together after church. Usually they pick a fast food restaurant. Have you ever tried to find a meatless meal at a burger joint? It's pretty hard. This last Sunday we went to Wendy's and I really didn't want to eat meat because I'd had a steak the day before at our memorial day celebration. So I ended up getting a side salad, mandarin oranges, fries and a frosty. (yes, I'm still addicted to sugar but I've cut it down A LOT!) It felt great knowing that I was full and didn't have to eat meat to feel that way.
So now if I do need to eat meat during the week it's usually fish from my local farmer's market. They are farm raised and I know the people selling them and that they use sustainable methods for their fish farm. Not to mention the fish is absolutely DELICIOUS, and that's coming from some one who's never liked fish before! I also buy my eggs from them and have seen the pictures of their "Happy Hens" and it feels SO good knowing that I can still eat things like eggs and not support big industries which grind up any male chics that are born while they're still alive. At the farmer's market I go to they also sell grass fed, free range organic beef, bison and lamb, though I'm not sure I'll try any of those any time soon. I'm still not sure how you could possibly humanely kill an 800 pound animal without it suffering any pain or mental anguish.
So that's where I'm at for now and I'm truly enjoying this current phase in my quest to help save the planet through my eating choices. I invite anyone reading this to join me on my quest and to learn more about the foods you eat, where they come from, and possibly start supporting your local farmers by buying all your produce and other food items from your local farmer's markets!