Thursday, June 07, 2007


see for more nifty pyramids
I've been toying with the idea of becoming vegetarian (or closer to it) for some time, and about 5 or 6 weeks ago decided to make some progress in that area. I've refrained from writing about it until now in order to see if it would stick, but so far it seems to be doing so, at least as a goal. (I haven't been perfect about implementation.)

This change is driven by both health and ethics. On the ethical front, I really don't like the unnecessary torture of animals, and, for me at least, eating meat is pretty unnecessary. The production of meat is also ecologically problematic. On the health front, while I think it's totally possible to eat a healthy diet that includes meat (even a lot of meat), animal products (dairy especially) appear in almost all of my unhealthy foods of choice.

I was toying with veganism, but it seems difficult to get enough protein. (I know a lot of people think the medical establishment is full of shit on this issue, but I'm not one of them. And I know many, many people can very easily get enough protein on a vegan diet, but given my weight and the number of calories I should ideally limit myself to, I'm not one of them either.) My sort of "common sense" argument (which is also kind of full of shit, I admit) is that the only veganism in human history until now has been when people are starving to death in some kind of catastrophic famine.

So I initially decided on "vegan + fish." In order to avoid offending vegans and vegetarians with that designation, I wanted a different name. I settled on "Coastal Villager" because of the idea that primitive people living along a coast might eat in a "vegan + fish" way. This is a bit tongue-in-cheek since real coastal villagers don't have access to seitan, tofu, or all the other lovely things I like to eat, but the name stuck; I often call it "CV" for short.

I have been trying not to go nuts with this. If a tuna fish sandwich is the closest thing I can get to CV, I'm not going to quibble over the fact that mayo has eggs in it. If an otherwise vegetarian dish (like at Panda Express) is possibly made with chicken stock, oh well - at least I'm increasing the demand for vegetarian-style dishes. And sometimes I slip up and eat meat or dairy (though rarely, so far, eggs).

I have some super free range eggs at home right now, and some organic parmesan, so obviously in some serious ways I'm not sticking to CV at all. But I'm really trying not to eat eggs out at all, and dairy very rarely.

So what am I nuts for lately? Vietnamese food. Yum!

1 comment:

Sally said...

This is a good example of taking steps to improve things at the margin and NOT making the perfect the enemy of the good. I'm glad to hear that it's working out for you so far.

I would find being a vegan/vegetarian hard because I am prone to blood sugar crashes and can only keep myself on an even keel by making a point of getting protein at every opportunity. (Vegetarians can say whatever they want about how their diet works for them or works for the typical person or whatever, but I know from repeated personal experience that eating vegetarian for a single day can totally screw me up. I cannot fathom how much and how frequently I would have to eat to not blood sugar crash on a vegan diet.)

And since basically every yummy, extraneous thing that I want to eat is carb-based, this kind of approach would make me eat worse than I do when I eat meat, eggs, and dairy. (E.g. I could eat an omelette with cheese and faux sausage... or a stack of blueberry pancakes with syrup! Yeah!)