Monday, January 11, 2010

Meatless Monday: "Mostly" Meatless and Other Musings

Less than two weeks into the new year, I'm still doing a lot of unofficial goal setting for the next 365 days. While I'm not really making a list of resolutions or goals, I am spending some time thinking about my intentions and the direction(s) I want to go. After stating last week that my weight has nosed its way into the unhealthy zone, not surprisingly, something I've been spending a lot of time contemplating is my eating habits. So I thought I'd share my thoughts about that with you this week in lieu of sharing a recipe.

In the grand scheme of life, a little weight gain is not a big deal, I know, but I haven't been able to get away from this sinking feeling of utter defeat. After all, hadn't I made a serious pact with myself to be healthier just a year and a half ago? Two years before that, hadn't I taken off almost 15 lbs. through Weight Watchers and vowed to keep it off? Don't I say every New Year's Day "This year is going to be different?" What exactly is my problem??

Just in time to coincide with my (and almost everyone else on the planet's) New Year's resolutions to be healthier in 2010, Michael Pollan (renowned author of The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, whom I've spoken about on here before), has come out with a new book that promises to give us all easy-to-understand-and-implement food guidelines to live by, 64 rules in all. The book is Food Rules: An Eater's Manual and, I have to say, I'm intrigued. In an interview with New York Times writer Tara Parker-Pope, Pollan seemed to nail my problem right on the head:
"[I]n the end, so much of the discussion about nutrition is a way to avoid talking about how much people are eating. People would rather talk about anything else than quantity."
Yes! That's exactly it. It would seem that what I have been willfully ignoring is the fact that I'm just eating too damn much. I've been putting too much on my plate (and finishing every bite) and eating when I'm not really hungry, like when I'm bored or procrastinating. (That last one is a big work hazard for freelancers who work from home. The stocked refrigerator and pantry shelves and a kitchen full of handy appliances are just far too conveniently located.)

In Pollan's NYT's interview, he also mentioned the flack he's gotten for an eating rule he included on the cover of his book In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto - "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
"The adverb 'mostly' has been the most controversial. It makes everybody unhappy. The meat people are really upset I'm taking a swipe at meat eating, and the vegetarians are saying, 'What's with the "mostly?" Why not go all the way?' You can't please everyone. In a way that little word is the most important. It's not all or nothing. Mostly. It's about degree. But in the whole food discussion, I've learned the most from that, that little 'ly' and people's reaction to it."
This really resonated with me because I feel like I get the same reactions to my Meatless Monday posts sometimes - meat eaters and vegetarians alike are offended. But I'm not trying to criticize anyone else's eating habits or philosophies; I'm just trying to find my own personal balance between that 'all' and 'nothing.'

Finding that balance is definitely a struggle. I've mentioned before that I sometimes wish I could go fully vegetarian, but it's years later and I'm still not any closer to making that commitment. Maybe I never will. My husband has been talking about it more lately though too. As I've mentioned before, partners can be allies and saboteurs when it comes to eating habits, so maybe his influence - or our combined influence on each other - will lead us more in the vegetarian direction. And if he doesn't sway me, maybe another book I recently added to my to-read list will --
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. A description of the book on says:
"Jonathan Safran Foer spent much of his teenage and college years oscillating between carnivore and vegetarian. As he became a husband and a father, he kept returning to two questions: Why do we eat animals? And would we eat them if we knew how they got on our dinner plates?"

Again, I'm intrigued - and I'll be sure to share my reviews of both these books with you once I've read them, . . . which, unfortunately, may not be for a couple of months because I'm up to my ears in work right now, I have a monthly Amnesty International book club obligation, and I've already got a list of other books I want to read that's about as long as my arm. Then again, Pollan's book is only 112 pages long, so I should be able to squeeze that in sooner than later. So, stay tuned!

Other Meatless Monday posts

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"In fact, if one person is unkind to an animal it is considered to be cruelty, but where a lot of people are

unkind to animals, especially in the name of commerce, the cruelty is condoned and, once large sums of money are

at stake, will be defended to the last by otherwise intelligent people."
— Ruth Harrison, "Animal Machines"

Check out this informative and inspiring video on why people choose vegan:

Also see Gary Yourofsky: