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Switch to Forum Live View Bill Clinton a Vegan
7 years ago  ::  Aug 25, 2011 - 12:01PM #81
Posts: 13,685

Aug 23, 2011 -- 5:44PM, solfeggio wrote:

I wouldn't be surprised if Bill Clinton ate the occasional burger now and then.  Old habits die hard.  But, at least he's making the effort to live a healthier life, and that's what counts.

The fact is that there are some people who are just not able to completely give up this or that food, not necessarily meat by any means, although they are sincere in their desire to move on.  We do the best we can under the circumstances.

Even if a self-described vegetarian does eat meat now and then, at least the person is trying to replace it with other foods most of the time.  And that's something, too.

I will say that, based on my own experience, it is easier to start by easing gently into the vegetarian lifestyle.  In our family, we started by giving up just the beef.   When we'd feel like we wanted a roast or a burger, we'd remind ourselves of what we'd read about saturated fat and heart attacks, and how the calves are treated, etc., and that really helped us move on.  Once we'd got the craving for beef out of our systems, we moved on to poultry, and finally fish.

Fish was hard, because it is a natural food for humans and is also a healthy food.  So we were losing the fish strictly on ethical grounds.  But, sometimes we'd see something on TV showing the fishing boats coming in with the poor fish still gasping and flopping around in the nets, or we'd read something about how some fish species was overfished, and that, as well as reading about the mercury in some fish, helped us in our resolve.

And the same sort of thinking helped us to lose the poultry.  There's been a lot of discussion here in NZ over the years about banning the battery hen farms, and we didn't like to think that we were contributing to all those poor hens living such short, miserable lives just because we wanted to eat them.

If you look at it that way, you can overcome the cravings more easily.

Nice post, Solf!

"No matter how dark the moment, love and hope are always possible." George Chakiris

“For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible.” Stuart Chase
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7 years ago  ::  Aug 25, 2011 - 12:07PM #82
Posts: 13,685

Aug 25, 2011 -- 3:18AM, DotNotInOz wrote:

Solf, you're welcome to the use of my variation on that old saying, "Open mouth, insert leg, gnaw on kneecap," when I'm at my most egregious in that sense. :-(

Okay, as Solf may recall since she and I had a few go-rounds once about her insistence that I wasn't a serious vegetarian, I got into it for health reasons with minor concern about animal welfare. Wanted to lose weight primarily.

I stuck with it pretty strictly for about four years but for occasionally "transforming a Quarter Pounder" as I mentioned previously and not being a pain when I'd go to someone's home. This was back in the mid-80's when vegetarianism in my part of the country, the southwest corner of Kansas, was regarded as most peculiar. Rather than end up feeling pressed to explain myself, I chose the path of least resistance, eating a bit of meat when dining out. Actually, I often ended up doing that in restaurants, there were so few that offered anything remotely vegetarian. Farmer food country--gotta have them meat 'n' taters.

The one thing I truly enjoyed was baking my own whole wheat bread as needed. Thus, I had a crusty loaf of delicious bread to eat rather than the pretty nasty semblances of whole wheat then commercially available. Even the sole health food store closest to where I lived didn't carry much for decent bread, and you had to watch expiration dates carefully--they didn't sell a lot and had virtually nothing for organic produce. It would be nearly another 20 years before large supermarkets in that area had anything much that was organic.

I have to laugh now at how proud I was of that homemade whole wheat bread. Sure was tasty, and I thought I was doing the best for my health eating that. Little did I know then that I've apparently had gluten intolerance my entire life. Despite pretty careful control over how much I ate as well as exercise, I not only didn't lose weight as a vegetarian, I gained! I now know that that's a common indicator of intestinal inflammation caused by ingesting gluten. Your intestines can't properly absorb nutrients, and so you eat more in an attempt to get them which packs on the pounds. Within two weeks after I went on a gluten-free diet, I was so hungry I ate like a pig, and still lost weight consistently for about a month. Finally, it stabilized, and now I must be cautious, or I'll gain. < sigh > Wish I didn't enjoy baking so much...

How I discovered that I was gluten and dairy intolerant was my personal bit of insanity with the raw foods vegan diet. I started out at 50% raw. I'd been diagnosed with IBS a few years before that, and my doctor warned me to be careful with this as too much fiber can trigger IBS. If you've never had IBS, let's just say that it means you will stay very close indeed to a toilet. This isn't just diarrhea, it can be nuclear diarrhea.

The one good thing that my going raw did for me was to clue me in that gluten and dairy were my problems. Within a few weeks of going off both, my sinuses were clearer than they'd ever before been, and I had almost no digestive problems. (But then, I was still eating some meat at dinner with hubby, too. I now think that accidentally discovering the balance I maintain now is largely what stabilized my digestion.)

I nuttily half-believed the "rawie" propaganda that cooked food is toxic and being entirely raw cures all sorts of serious diseases--diabetes, heart disease, cancer even. And that's when I got truly obsessive with it and decided to go 100% raw. That lasted a little over a week of practically living in the bathroom, my digestion was so berserk.

One of the women on the raw foods message boards where I hung out most often found out about then that she was seriously malnourished from having been entirely raw for half a decade. When I observed how people ripped her to bits when she said she was going to a macrobiotic diet, I began to wonder about the wisdom of it and started researching raw veganism.

The results were pretty scary at times, especially when I started reading the research monographs of Dr. Gabriel Cousens, one of the gurus of raw foodists. He was very persuasive that vegan raw foodism can be life threatening for people with certain digestive and some other health problems and still insists that it's far safest for all rawies and vegans to get regular blood tests to be certain they're properly nourished. The way you find out you're malnourished can be to drop dead suddenly. Admittedly, that's fairly rare, but there are some scary documented cases of such.

That and dealing with near-constant IBS again persuaded me that raw foodism was a very bad idea for me. I backed off bigtime on it but tried to keep up a vegan diet that balanced raw and cooked fiber to re-regulate my digestion.

Just could NOT find a balance of fiber that calmed my digestion. But once I added meat and seafood to my diet again, my digestion stabilized.

So, I'm in a similar camp to Wgal's--would love to be able to eat vegetarian, but with my inability to tolerate gluten, dairy and lots of fiber, it just doesn't work for me.

And, having come from a family with super-controller parents, I tend toward obsessive behavior. The raw foods fiasco demonstrated that in spades. I went really quite nutty for several months with that. Trying to mix ethics and diet would be a chancy business even if my digestion would allow me to be a full-fledged vegan.

So, while I now feel that veganism is the ideal, I simply can't do it. Consequently, I endeavor to buy organic, free-range meats as much as possible. Ya do what ya can has become my philosophy, since I must depend upon those with Solfeggio's strong convictions to take up my slack. 

That's pretty much where I'm at. Due to a bladder condition, I can't have soy and many vegetables and fruits (anything citrusy or with acid is a no-no for me). I was a vegetarian for 7 years (ha, I even made my parents by a tofuturkey one year for Thanksgiving--a horrid, horrid thing) and my body couldn't handle the diet and the soy increased my pain levels to a point that I started missing work. So, now I eat meat and I try not to be obsessive about it, but I focus primarily on buying organic and free-range when I can (some paychecks that's just not doable as I do work for a not-for-profit).

"No matter how dark the moment, love and hope are always possible." George Chakiris

“For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible.” Stuart Chase
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7 years ago  ::  Sep 01, 2011 - 10:25PM #83
Posts: 626

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