I relearned tonight why I am (mostly) a vegetarian. I say “mostly” because, as my wife will tell you, I’m not a hard-core vegetarian like she is. I’m probably about 85% vegetarian. I don’t eat a lot of meat, but on occasion I will have chicken or salmon, especially when we’re traveling or at a friend’s house.
Tonight our neighbors, who are from the middle east and love to cook with lots of fatty meats, dropped off a large tray of spiced rice and beef. I think it’s great that they are kind enough to share their cooking with us, and I really didn’t want it to go to waste. So, given that my wife wouldn’t eat it due to her strict vegetarianism, the burden (or pleasure) fell on me.
I haven’t had fatty beef or pork for a long time so I scarfed it down for dinner and it tasted pretty good. Later in the evening, I had my usual 4.5 mile training run. For the first half, I was feeling strong. Then at about the halfway point, I began to get extremely nauseous and my energy levels dropped rapidly.
To put this in perspective, I’ve been running consistently for months now and haven’t felt nauseous since I ran a mile in junior high gym class. I made it through the run, but at a much slower pace than usual. It just reinforces to me why I became a vegetarian in the first place. My original reasons were:
- Health: The book that I trust most for healthy eating advice recommends that we get most of our protein from places other than animal products like: beans, soy, peanuts, etc. Because protein in animal products tends to come with other unhealthy by-products like high saturated fat.
- Cost: Meat is often the most expensive grocery item. By cutting out meat, you will dramatically reduce your grocery bill and I’m all about keeping costs low.
- Efficiency: Raising animals for food is an extremely inefficient way to feed people. The U.S. livestock population consumes enough grain and soybeans to feed more than five times the entire U.S. population. Cornell scientists have advised that the U.S. could feed 800 million people with grain that livestock eat.
Now if I can just cut out the sugar, I’ll really be doing great. That’s one part of my diet that I haven’t fully conquered yet…
To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.”