Pause: A Year as a Plant Eater (part 1)
At times it's good to push the pause button on life and assess
where you've been and where you are going.
Yes, this post is a pause. I'm taking time to reflect, time to revise, and time to look forward. If you're in need of a pause, join me today and pause in whatever way is most appropriate for you. My pause is in the form of listing a few reflections here (part 1) and drawing some conclusions in the next post (part 2).
This time last year
This time last year, I was a novice plant eater. I turned to plants on September 29th, 2017, in search of relief from chronic reflux. I was surprised that giving up meat made a great difference -- a huge difference. So, the giving-up-meat part of my lifestyle change is permanent. I have reaped the benefits of it in the form of a settled digestive system, and I have no desire to return to the digestive uncertainty and uneasiness I experienced before.
Once I realized the difference giving up meat made in how I felt, I began reading lots of books, research articles, and posts online about veganism and vegetarianism and was fascinated by the amount of information I found. I read and read and my head began to swim with facts and new rules to follow. And in my enthusiasm, I began trying to implement what I read all at once (and of course, I began to try to implement it all perfectly)..
Eventually, The Helpful Blogger grew out of a need to make sense of it all.
Now, I'm to the point of trying to sort the piles of facts, rules, feelings, and reactions into some semblance of a realistic lifestyle. To do this, I have concentrated on several areas of my life and tried to evaluate how it's all working for me in each specific environment.
This section is how plant eating works for me in different environments. (Next time, we’ll talk about how, in all environments, I am often confounded by a barrage of opposing thoughts, facts, and rules.)
Home is the easiest eating environment. As long as I have plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits on hand, I'm good to go. The only time I have difficulty at home is when I'm stressed or when my emotions are frayed. In those cases, I want to reach for chips, candy....you know -- the usuals. Those reactions have nothing to do with being a plant eater. I would react by reaching for those things no matter what. (We’ll discuss some of those reactions in Part 2.)
I'm a artist and writer and work out of my condo, so the answers are the same as for Home.
Parties and dinner at a friend's home
Dinner at someone's house is not always easy. It depends how well you know them, I suppose. It's probably best to notify them that you are a plant eater and assure them that you'll bring a dish to share. That should do it. But going to someone's house for dinner is awkward if you don’t know them very well and haven’t told them you don't eat meat. The host or hostess will feel bad if you don't eat anything but the salad or just pick at your food.
Parties are a little easier. Taking a dish is always welcomed. If I take something I can eat and something I truly enjoy, I find I'm in a better mood throughout the event. If it’s a big party, you can camouflage your eating or lack thereof. But if it’s a small gathering, it’s best to tell the hostess of the party and plan ahead.
Eating out is still a huge problem for me. I thought I had that handled, but I had an experience on Thursday that reminded me that I have not found a good solution to eating out.
On Thursday, I went out to eat with a friend. The two restaurants I usually frequent were too busy for us to wait. So, we tried one I hadn't been to in a while. Usually, I can eat from the list of sides on the menu, but they only offered fries and homemade chips this time. And all of their salads came with chicken or fish.
That day, the vegetable of the day was green beans; so being a good sport, I ordered a double portion of green beans and a dinner salad (which ended up being a small plate of lettuce). I ate with gusto and was still hungry (which, of course, wouldn't kill me) when we left after I paid $12, including tax, for my measly meal. The kicker was, there must have been garlic on the green beans because I felt the unease of reflux on the way home.
I think it was the resurgence of reflux that brought on the need for this pause. I realized that I need to settle into a way to manage my eating in all situations...a go-to modus operandi so to speak
I haven’t traveled much since becoming a plant eater, but I imagine that the issues in the eating out section above would apply.
Summary of part 1
I think pausing is a good activity. Today, I looked at situations, but that doesn't get at the problems. In the next post, I'll look at the pesky individual rules and issues that are causing me problems and what revisions I intend to employ in moving forward.
Note: If this has prompted you to pause as well, feel free to share your thoughts on problem areas.