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January 5, 2009

Diet is getting back on track.  My butternut squash soup was incredible.  It healed.  It returned me to solids.  Well, solids were back until I gave in and had dairy (and fish) after the funeral the following day.  During this meal I found myself disgusted by the fish, and shortly after ingestion I incurred what I’m now terming the “diary-reaction.”  So it’s been 2.5 days of healthy vegan meals and more solids.  A book called Becoming Vegan, authored by 2 well researched vegan dietitians, purchased.  The journey continues…

Planning in place.  I have been nervous to drop fish because of the many health benefits obtained from eating sea creature flesh.  However, I’m confident more research will get me into habits that put my mind at ease knowing I’ve satisfied those benefits in plant based foods, and done a little better for wellness.  The consistent dairy relapse is just about being lazy and should stop.  Reading in my office during my lunch hours is a renewed practice.   Not only will it keep me educated, it will keep me motivated to bring healthful lunches, spend less, and stop eating at the uber gross restaurants out here in the burbs.  There’s really no good reason to go out to eat during my lunch break.

The first chapter has once again reinforced my horrors about factory farming, which (to self) includes fish farms.  It also taught me that dairy products not only lack iron but interfere with absorption of this mineral. There’s one more good reason for me to let it go.    I am surprised to learn (page 3) that the protein deficiency scare was born in the early 20th century in response the debilitating diets of the poor, which consisted mostly of white bread and tea, whose infants were being fed a “milk” of flour and water, resulting in deaths of 1 in 4 infants.  In response, prevention of malnutrition became a priority to the US government.  After studies revealed meal and dairy products were rich protein sources  authorities called for increased production and distribution of animal foods.  But all good things must come to an end, right?  With time, enter the rise of factory farms, BIG Business, processing, marketing, corruption, decrease of quality control practices and standards… ah, and with more time, heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, the list could go on and on… all the while, malnutrition did not go away, it mutated. 

I was also surprised to learn that malnutrition does not simply equate to hunger (page 16).  There are actually there were 3 kinds of malnutrition – Hunger, Overconsumption, and Micronutrient deficiency.  Overconsumption is the kind that leads to malnutrition often seen with Western-style diets.  Think obesity, think diets centered around animal foods, processed foods and fast foods, and diets low in fiber and high in fat, cholesterol, sugar, and salt.  Think sad, as Overconsumption dramatically increases the risk for numerous chronic diseases.  Overconsumption is the fastest growing form of malnutrition in the world!  

Interesting stuff.  My plight is not about criticizing anyone’s eating habits.  What brings me joy is empowering myself with an understanding and perspective of how to give myself a richer life, and sharing it with others.   I delight in hearing my family and friends enjoy the dishes I have prepared and remark at how they don’t even feel like they are missing the meat.  I don’t miss it either.  Admitting, it’s a difficult process to overcome the culture of foods I and virtually every person I’ve ever known was raised up in.  It’s hard and time consuming.  But I definitely consider it worthwhile for me.

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