Two meatless burgers as part of the vegetarian experiment

Day 2 Of The Vegetarian Experiment: Why Do It?

Why the vegetarian experiment? Why would a 50 year old definitely meat eating country boy decide to try meat free? As is often the case with me, there’s more than one reason for trying it.

BTW, this is the kind of boring entry, ’cause it’s day 2 and nothing particularly interesting has happened. So this one ends up being about the motivation.

Meat is an ecological mess a time where we need to improve things. You have to grow things to feed things to end up with meat. The process is inefficient, and often requires extra steps – you grow things, harvest things, ship things, then feed things, ship things, cut things up, then ship things again. From there it may sit in a warehouse for a bit, then ship to the grocery store (or, it may skip the warehouse and go straight to shelves.) It’s less than optimal. We could talk about carbon footprints, etc. but the truth is even the stats your given aren’t correct.

But, let’s be honest for a moment; disaster or not, one person choosing to not eat meat doesn’t change much. And, even with that, am *I* optimal in my driving, etc? Not really.

There’s also the methane from animals. 1/3rd of methane that humans contribute is from animal sources as part of agriculture.. But, again, that “one person” issue.

Then there’s the moral mess. I eat meat because it’s required from a health standpoint. Folks who don’t eat meat have a higher level of health complications, B12 deficiency, along with a host of issues, including general un-manliness. Wait – what? Yes, meat eating, particularly beef, has been an indicator of mainly behaviors for a long time. “Beef, it’s what’s for dinner” was said in a deep, manly manner. Yeah, there’s some weird marketing involved in meat eating, and I *HATE* falling for someone’s marketing.

For a good portion of folk, there’s a large layer of abstraction between our food and it’s source. I mentioned the meat production mess above, but growing up I was a country boy. We didn’t own a huge herd of cattle, but there was a pasture behind our house, and we for a long time had a cow in there with the farmer’s herd. I knew what my beef looked like when it was alive, and it had a name. Gave them pets and scratches from time to time. But, that’s just the way it is.

Even went hunting and fishing – though, with my attention span, it was often more about taking a walk with a shotgun, or playing beside a pond. But I can definitely tell you I’ve shot or caught my food. I have had that sort of connection with it.

I like a good prime rib. Shit, I MAKE an amazing prime rib. And it’s not lost on me one bit where it came from. I’ve been watching things like lab grown meat with great interest: I just don’t think things should have to die because I want to eat meat. It’s just that simple. When new meat substitutes have shown up over the years, I’ve given them a shot. Most of them are… eh. Though, the breaking point was with Impossible and Beyond meats. They actually taste much more like meat. Now we’re talkin’. (Beyond’s chicken product, well, tastes like it was created by someone who’s seen a chicken, but never eaten one.)

Cell grown product has a LONG way to go before it’s viable. Plant based, that I can work with now.

So, my food doesn’t have to have a name. Honestly, I like that, except all those pesky issues that humans have to be meat eaters. Sure, we’ve all met one strung-out hippy sort who looks underweight and goofy with an ill fitting bike helmet spouting counter culture weirdness. OK, we haven’t, probably – but that’s what popular media used to portray them as. (It’s moved on to Vegans and Hipsters, though the latter is also starting to fall out of the pop culture torture spotlight.)

Which is where The Game Changers comes in. I grew up with society saying the Must Eat Meat thing, and when I’ve looked into it superficially, usually it’s re-enforced. But that show goes after the opposite, with a lot of award winning people. One of the bits I really liked in there was :

“Someone asked me, ‘How could you get as strong as an ox without eating any meat?’ and my answer was, ‘Have you ever seen an ox eating meat?’”

— Patrik Baboumian, World-Record Holding Strongman

Humans and oxen don’t have the same digestive system, like, at all, but… well, there may be a point there.

Of course, there’s also some health benefits at the same time. Vegetarians end up with lower blood pressure, improved blood sugar function, lower risk of heart issues, etc. Or, at least that’s what they say – fortunately, with the show they do provide links to the actual meta analyses and studies (I’m a big fan of being able to drill down onto meta analyses and studies that I can find the actual origin money for.) And there’s gout.

Those are all important to me: I suffer from gout. Now, I consider myself it have “mild gout” – on a scale of 1 – 10, gout for a majority of sufferers land at about a 9 or 10. My worst landed at about a 6 (in all fairness, they’re also starting to realize the pain scale is a shortcut to a larger discussion, and requires refinement), most of the time it was around a 4, maaaaybe a 5. I also had high blood pressure (I got a pill for that) and Type 2 Diabetes (I did a diet for that, and have almost dropped completely out of the range.) So, that whole cardiac thing is relevant.

For me, the win here is if after a week, I feel like there’s been no change in my health, it’s worth sticking with a vegetarian diet. If I feel weaker, sluggish, or just about any other negative, well, then it may not be for me. Sometimes, things are the way they are for a reason, and while The Game Changers is an interesting show, it also is yet another voice trying to get people to follow a specific path (which, well, I tend to not be particularly good at.)


Morning weigh-in: 226 (that’s more like it)

Food: celery and peanut-butter for breakfast, veggie snacks with dates in between meals, two meat substitute burgers for lunch (not Impossible burgers, some other brand) some cottage cheese for protein and supper (I’m sure I’ve missed a meal in here somewhere)

Workout: 45 minutes on the elliptical, then leg day

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