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The Flexitarian Files

Posts Tagged ‘will power’

  1. Small Challenges Are The Hardest

    May 5, 2013 by betaman

    It would be much easier to turn away from a large steaming piece of pink Prime Rib with au jus, surrounded by garlic mashed potatoes with horseradish and sour cream than the last bite of crispy burnt ends on the plate.

    Saying no to an obvious indulgence is a piece of cake. Reaching for that last tidbit of fajita meat at the taco bar party requires serious willpower, or a slap back with the other hand. Why is that?

    A rack of ribs calling my name is obviously against the rules I have made for myself as a self-proclaimed flexitarian. A small piece of bacon whispering “eat me” when nobody is watching is a different story.

    Ultimately, all it takes to resist temptation is to remind myself why I’m doing this.


  2. Oh no, not the Duck!

    April 8, 2013 by betaman

    As I’ve mentioned previously, eating out as a vegetarian can be a challenge. This is especially true when sharing meals family style. Chinese or Thai food offer plenty of vegetarian and seafood options, all quite tasty indeed. But what’s a flexitarian meat lover to do when his meat loving friend orders the delectable duck dish, and everyone is sharing?

    I couldn’t help myself, I had to taste the sauce and veggies cooked with the yummy looking, succulent smelling crispy duck pieces. It took all my will power not to scoop up a tiny bit of the duck, just for a taste. Based on the mushroom and onion I did taste, it must have been delicious. And I did enjoy my spicy mussels, veggies in peanut sauce and Pad Thai. But come, we’re talking duck here!

    Duck a l’Orange has always been a favorite dish of mine. Chinese Crispy Duck another. The Thai dish my dinner guests never realized I was drooling over would have been a first. It may very well have been my last chance too. My mouth still waters thinking about it. [wipes chin]

    Another temptation test passed, just not so easily this time. Next time I dine out with friends, nobody better order rabbit!

    Peking Duck in Chinatown, San Francisco

    Peking Duck in Chinatown, San Francisco


  3. 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.


  4. 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.


  5. 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


  6. A Little Help Helps

    February 11, 2013 by betaman

    As my wife told me, I couldn’t be in a more challenging place to try going vegetarian. But as Yoda once said…

    “There is do or not do, there is no try.”

    I have always liked visiting my wife’s family and enjoyed her mom’s cooking. But eating vegetarian is not easily done in this house, where every meal includes some sort of sweet smelling meat. The challenge, however, is not so much about the abundant choices at hand, but the serious lack of moral support.

    When I mentioned my plan to stop eating meat, the first reaction was one of utter confusion. “I guess you’ll have to cook for yourself then.” Then came the pork chops.

    Shortly before I had my vegetarian epiphany, I had taken a pork chop out of the freezer for dinner. After I decided to give up meat, I offered it up instead of throwing it out. Tonight it was prepared, along with four others – for two people since I was making a Caesar Salad for the wife and myself. “You’re missing out on these pork chops,” was the first discouraging comment. Followed by “So and so gave up on that eating vegetarian…” Sigh.

    Some people just don’t get it, and never will. Luckily, my wife gets it and is offering plenty of encouragement. I didn’t expect anything less, considering she’s been a vegetarian for 20+ years. Watch her now try to go vegan again. Sigh.


  7. 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.