My New, Kind Way of Life

I’m planning to stick with it this time.

I’ve made the transition back to a plant-based, vegetarian diet a few weeks ago. And that wasn’t for the first time. Since years I’ve been transitioning back and forth, from several months without eating meat or animal products back to some dairy or “good, humane” meat here and there, to oh whatever, just give it to me. Yes, I did make myself feel better by telling myself eating organic, local, grass fed meat makes really all the difference. No, I never really believed in that.

Growing up on a little farm raising pigs, rabbits, and the occasional steer just to kill them and eat them later on never made sense to me as a child. I just didn’t understand how my dad could raise this little piggy, look into it’s eyes, feed it, and watch it grow, put in all this work and compassion, just to get it slaughtered once it’s reached a “good weight”. But then again, my dad is from a different generation, this is the most natural thing for him.

Milk and Eggs we would get from other local farmers in town, so I wasn’t worried about that. We would go to the farm, see the cows and chickens on pastures and in their barns. Yes, it was like the happy, family farm picture the big factory farms try to sell us in supermarkets today. Looking back, I had a great childhood growing up in this small town where everyone knew everyone, and farm to table was the norm! If I should ever have children of my own, I really would like them to experience something like this as well.

However, during my teenage years and up until recently I figured eating meat my dad produced would be fine since I knew where it’s from, I knew it was slaughtered in a human way (or as humane as killing other creatures for personal pleasure gets), I knew it had a good life. Again, I didn’t really believe in this, but it’s what I’ve told myself to feel better, to not feel guilty.

I began to notice that whenever I would buy, or eat meat (or any other animal products for that matter) I would think of excuses which would make it okay. Excuses to not feel guilty because I was supporting this horrifying, cruel some industry. No, this never really worked for me either.

So finally, I’ve been saying no again. I’ve made the switch again. The difference this time? I’m planning on sticking with it!

I’ve been feeling better, more healthy, more energetic. I’ve had a slip up, and it literally made me sick! I ate a meaty spaghetti sauce my brother-in-law made for dinner. I didn’t want to be difficult by asking for something meat-free. Yes, it was delicious in the moment, but I was up most of the night with painful stomach cramps and the feeling I would have to purge at any moment. This night it was clear to me:  Meat makes me sick. And I’m done with it. Once and for all.

By the way, I’ve been grossed out by cow’s milk since I can remember. I didn’t like the taste since I was a child, which is why my parents would make me drink chocolate milk. I even added Nesquik to my cereal cause I couldn’t stand the taste of plain milk. I’ve been replacing cow’s milk with Soy or Almond Milk since years now. A few weeks ago, I stopped eating eggs as well. I don’t buy them or cook them, but I do consume foods that contain eggs.

I’m having a hard time calling myself a vegetarian. I find it difficult enough to get support by family or friends, without putting a label on it. I agree with Alicia Silverstone in calling it “The Kind Diet”. A kind life, kind to animals, kind to the planet, kind to myself.

I’ve been reading a lot abut Vegetarianism/Veganism  and am on the constant search of yummy, healthy recipes so if you have some great tips/resources/recipes for me to look at please share them :)

As I’ve been trying a bunch of new recipes, stay tuned for them to appear here. Next post will be my absolutely delicious, slow cooked meatless spaghetti sauce!

Advertisements

we all need to start somewhere

So there I was, on September 22nd, 2008 arriving at JFK International Airport to start my year abroad. I was a participant in the “Au Pair in America” Program and sure I would be boarding a plane back home to Germany 13 months later. Nearly four years later and I’m still living here. I extended my Au Pair time, became a student, got married.

When I first told family and friends about my plans on going to the US for a year they weren’t quite sure how serious they should take me. I wasn’t even sure how serious I should take me but to be honest, I hardly ever am. It was never my dream to come here, nor have I ever thought about being an Au Pair before. It was an add that caught my eye.

I was in my last year of a apprenticeship to become an Educator. Childcare Provider. Kindergarten Teacher. It was the year of recognition and I worked at this fabulous day care center in this fabulous city (I still miss both dearly), so during a short break at work (or was it a really slow afternoon?) I leafed through a magazine on education and came across this add by “Au Pair in America”, a program which, well, provides “intercultural live-in child care in the U.S” and they had a specific program for Educators. I looked it up online when I got home that night and out of curiosity filled in a form to get more information. What I didn’t realize was that this was already the first step to signing up. However, I went with it and became an “Au Pair Extraordinaire” in Upstate New York. Rhinebeck, NY to be exact.

Growing up in Germany on a farm growing our own vegetables, fruits, even grain and some livestock  eating wholesome and healthy was natural We were always cooking and baking, made mostly everything from scratch and family meal time was a ritual. I learned how to cook from a young age, and became responsible for family dinners on weeknight once I was a teenager (which honestly sucked at the time but comes in handy now). I discovered more and more processed foods, and McDonald’s, during my teenage years although it didn’t really make me gain weight. I never went to the gym but was active in other ways. I did ballet and danced in a dance group. Also, we walk a lot more. I was skinny-fat. There wasn’t much muscle, I wasn’t lean.

Anyway, during my first year here in the US I gained some weight. Not really much, but you could see it in pictures. I was lucky that my Host family ate semi-healthy, or tried to at least with lots of fruit and vegetables, but it’s the stuff like Bread, Lunch Meat and other things you would think of as processed foods that is much more processed than what we would eat in Germany. After my first year in the US also I became a vegetarian and became more aware of what I eat.

On June 3rd, 2011 I got married in Connecticut. My husband is in the Navy and pretty fit. He works out all. the. time! And he got me into it. Working out, that is. We always ate pretty healthy in general, but still had a bunch of processed stuff in the pantry and on our plates. We ate a lot of carbs! Yes, it was mostly whole wheat Pasta, but too much of it none-the-less. I saw results from the hard work in the gym but hit a plateau around Christmas. And that is when I started to think more about Nutrition and what we eat. I started to cut out more and more processed foods, cook healthier and find healthier substitutes in cooking and baking. I started running, something I always really really disliked. I wouldn’t say I like running but it keeps me sane, it makes me feel good. I ran 5ks and the one big goal I would like to accomplish in the next 365 days is to run a half (or full) Marathon.

I took on a challenge to keep improving my diet, stick with clean eating and exercise or the next 365 Days. I want a place to keep me accountable, post recipes I tried and love, and also to find inspiration and encouragement.

This blog will be about me, my life, my way of healthy living and maybe you can pick something up and make it your own.

We will see how it goes :)