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The Flexitarian Files

‘Food’ Category

  1. The Bacon Test

    February 19, 2013 by betaman

    I haven’t had any major meat cravings, and I’m happy for not indulging myself in the choices available to me in the house where I’m currently staying.

    I am particularly proud of myself for not grabbing for the pile of bacon sitting before me as the wife prepared a cake for the dog party we had scheduled. Nor did I even snag a pinch of the bacon bits when cleaning off the plate once the dogs had finished off the cake.

    Yes, it would have been crisp and salty. And yes, the dogs eat more meat than I do. But, bacon? I mean seriously! It did feel pretty good knowing I had the will power to pass on that.

  2. Respect Thy Food

    February 17, 2013 by betaman

    It’s been quite a few years now since I first realized the importance of quality over quantity when it comes to liquor. The times of consuming mass quantities just for the drunk are long gone. I know now that life is way too short for cheap gin.

    The same is true when it comes to eating meat, though it’s only been a couple years since I first started focusing quality over quantity. I haven’t eaten meat just for meat’s sake in a long time. Movies like Food, Inc. and Baraka helped me become mindful about my meat consumption, but I still enjoyed an organic lamb chop or the occasional local grass fed beef from a farmers market.

    I understand why the wife made me eat the whole shank of lamb I was given one day while working at the ranch last summer. It took me a few days, but to not finish it would be disrespectful to the animal. I respected every last savory bite, believe me.

    Having been vegetarian now for only a week, I’m already developing a new found respect for my food and where it comes from. After watching Dive!: Living off America’s Waste, I am also growing more dumbfounded at how much food Americans throw out every day. Meanwhile those pork chops still lie buried in the fridge, though they are no longer calling my name.


  3. Want Not. Waste Not.

    February 16, 2013 by betaman

    I know, the proverbial saying – Waste not, want not. – goes the other way around. But I believe we should put more thought into what and how much we’re going to eat before wasting what we don’t want.

    It just pains me to see good food go to waste, and just as I expected there are now three leftover pork chops calling my name. Prior to my flexitarian diet decision, I could see myself gobbling them up a number of different ways the very next day… in tacos or a burrito with beans and lots of cheese, sliced thin and sautéd in barbecue sauce on a bun, or cold by the mouthful while squatting in front of the fridge drawer where they are currently buried and probably already forgotten.

    Oddly enough, I don’t have craving to go chomp on the lost chops, as much as I have a sadness that they are going to waste.

  4. Portion Control Is Key

    February 15, 2013 by betaman

    We seldom repent of having eaten too little.
    — Thomas Jefferson

    I’ve always been one to enjoy a great big meal. The feeling following a major food fest always seemed worthwhile for enjoying mass quantities of flavorful food.

    Not so much anymore.

    Hara Hachi Bunme

    Or, “Hara hachi bu” (腹八分). The literal translation of this healthy Japanese saying means to eat until you’re 80 percent full, a common practice of the Okinawan diet. On the Japanese island of Okinawa, natives have practiced this for hundreds of years, and they are among healthiest, longest living people on the planet.

    Another healthy lifestyle proverb throughout Japan and Korea recommends we “eat like a crane” which eats slowly and delicately, picking at its food deliberately so as not to damage its pointed bill. Perhaps this is where the ancient cultures learned the benefits of using chopsticks.

    When we eat slowly and stop before we are full, we give our bodies a chance to digest our food completely and properly, signalling fullness before we have overeaten. As a Westerner who commonly eats too much too fast, this is proving to be a challenging task to master.

    A lack of meat should not be compensated with huge helpings of whatever is for dinner. I have discovered it is still easy to overeat when going back for seconds of fried rice or tuna caserole. So it is without regret I say goodbye to my megameals of yore.

    Florida's Southern Fried Food Platter

    I now look forward to greater satisfaction from the food I eat based on a few simple rules.

    1. Eat until you are 80% full.
    2. Eat more healthy foods, primarily veggies (especially greens) and whole grains.
    3. Get necessary protein from tofu, fish and other legumes.
    4. Drink plenty of water.
    5. Stay active to burn extra calories.


    Recommended Reading:

    Simple Living in Japan: National Geographic Profile

    The Okinawa Diet Plan: Get Leaner, Live Longer, and Never Feel Hungry

    The Okinawa Program : How the World’s Longest-Lived People Achieve Everlasting Health–And How You Can Too

    50 Secrets of the World’s Longest Living People

  5. Day One

    February 10, 2013 by betaman

    Left on my own in a home full of meat and dairy products, while my wife and her parents were away for the weekend, I figured it might be tough starting down my path to vegetarianism. Not so much.

    Soyrizo Vegan SausageI scored by finding some Soyrizo and leftover potatoes. Since eggs are not on my list of forbidden foods I enjoyed another yummy meal on my first day as a vegetarian. And since I’m used to eating salads for dinner a few days a week anyway, today was no different than any other…

    Except for the fact that when I grabbed a Summer Sausage while rooting through the fridge for some cheese, I put it back with a grin instead of cutting off a big hunk to eat with my salad.

    Score one for the vegetarian.

  6. The Last Supper

    February 9, 2013 by betaman

    Bok Choy Ink on Paper by Wu ChangshuoIf you are vegetarian, do you recall your last meat meal? Was it memorable, or a mistake?

    I didn’t want my last meat to a mess of nachos I made with some leftover short ribs, refried beans and mounds of cheese that didn’t quite agree with me. I also didn’t want the premium popcorn chicken from Schwans that I had in the freezer to go to waste.

    Knowing it would be the last meat I choose to eat for at least the next 24 weeks, I made myself a scrumptious sweet and sour sauce chicken dish and a huge plate of baby bok choy lightly braised with a dash of soy sauce, sesame oil and loads of garlic.

    Satisfied, and feeling good, I enjoyed my last supper knowing that there are plenty of yummy meals yet to be enjoyed, without the meat.