May 21, 2012

Dealing with derailments

Stuff happens. We have two choices; rage against the vagaries of fate, or adapt ourselves to changing circumstances and make the best of it. Only one of these choices results in success.

Over the past couple of months I've been dealing with pneumonia (which could be life-threatening) and a mean sinus infection (I'd rather have the life-threatening thing, thanks) which led to three rounds of antibiotics. They all had to be taken with food.

Add in my husband's chronic illness (he's great for bringing tea, but cannot get out to the grocery store) and the fact that I'd eaten my store of frozen meals during the first illness. Now we have a series of challenges that would only be topped by being teleported to Planet of the Vegans.

Fortunately, the only thing that would be wrong in these kinds of circumstances is giving up. Which I won't do.

Not every schedule gets kept.
The "every twelve hours" regimen of the antibiotics was a challenge because I generally skip breakfast.

When I discovered eating breakfast actually made me more hungry by lunch than if I skipped it; I started skipping it.

And I couldn't just have a snack with that pill, either. One of the rules which works for me is No Snacking.

It seems that when I eat a tiny meal, my pancreas doesn't release a tiny amount of insulin in response. It releases TANKER CAR of insulin. So I have to eat a meal. Every time. In this case, every twelve hours.

That is another beauty of eating low carb; a good, satisfying meal keeps me going for hours and hours!

Since I was too exhausted to cook, I relied on deli meat and block cheese and pre-sliced mushrooms and bell peppers which work well nibbled together in stacks. I grilled burgers four at a time and ate them wrapped in lettuce. I bought a lot of rotisserie chicken and bagged coleslaw and blue cheese dressing.

Even when the antibiotics upset my stomach, I just sighed and added more food; even foods like black beans or sweet potatoes that are normally too carby for me. They seemed to be soothing to my stomach, and they wouldn't do the harm that a bowl of chicken noodle soup would do.

When we eat low carb, there are very few options in the boxed and frozen sections of the supermarket. When we eat gluten-free, there aren't any. So I don't regret the extra effort, ever, that eating fresh and unprocessed requires.

It simply comes with the territory.

May 14, 2012

Planet of the Vegans

One of the complaints about low carb or Paleo-style eating is the emphasis on meat. Even after we get past the health objections, which turn out to be misplaced, we can be confronted with the ethical considerations.

How can we support eating meat when factory farms are filthy places which treat animals so badly?

This is not the answer.
This is, however, a false equivalence. The answer is not "stop eating animal products," which are, in any case, vital to keeping us alive.

The answer is to support sustainable farm practices, and humane animal handling. Far from being dangerous to the environment, animals can survive on lands that are unsuitable for farming, and even reclaim land that has been destroyed by large-scale agriculture.

How can we claim to revere life, and then ignore our own, and that of our friends and family, and that of the earth itself? We cannot.

This is why vegetarians, and vegans, despite wide-ranging mainstream support that includes medical and nutritional authorities, still feel embattled and isolated about their food choices. If they do not feel better once the honeymoon is over, if they re-commit and revamp and take more supplements and just rearrange everything, they will have that good feeling back again.

But that "good feeling" that so often results from switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet is not because meat is so bad for us; it often comes from getting rid of many junk foods, or taking up exercise at the same time, or completing other health goals as part of our transformation.

Because, despite the claims of those who embrace it, vegetarianism is not an universal answer to health. And veganism is downright dangerous. Long term lack of minerals and B 12, and has led to many prominent vegans declaring they had to be less strict for the sake of their health. Recently, they have started to promote more protein and fat than they used to, but these are often from soy and seed oils, which have their own health quandaries attached.

The question of living an ethical life is not something that can be solved by opting out of ethical questions by using avoidance.

Pretending there is no Cycle of Life is in itself life-denying.