I’ve never been a big meat eater…well, except for growing up when that’s all that was in the house, and not to mention – what American teenager doesn’t half-live off of fast food? But when I got older and wiserer and healthier, I pretty much cut out all red meat. I can probably count on one had the number of times I’ve bought cow meat over the last decade. Not that I’m totally against it, but the garbage they sell in most groceries and restaurants is most likely not going to be pure, or even real meat. Now if you have access to naturific grass fed beef, then that’s supposed to be good for you. Most people don’t around here though…which is sad to say considering I live in the Capital of American Meat – Texas. But before I continue going off on this tangent, let me stop myself.
Back on track. I had always stuck to lean meats like grilled chicken breast for most of my adult life. But I’ve come to learn that that is not necessarily good for you either. I’ll stop myself before I get into the way that meat is raised, processed, treated, etc. now too. Just know that I was the indirect cause of death for many a fowl. But lately I’ve even pretty much given that up too.
Where I’m at right now is I want to stick to (not fried) fish, eggs and vegetables and fruits. Of course, I could go off on rant here too about the farm-raised fish, industrial-produced eggs, GMO veggies, etc. etc. But I’ll leave it at this one tip: when buying fish to eat, whatever you do, and I can’t stress this enough, please stick to Wild-Caught fish! And don’t be tricked when they tell you it’s market price or Atlantic Salmon for examples, because those most likely come from a fish farm too. Tricky bastards!!! I won’t get into the reasons why Wild Caught is better, but trust me, it’s a huuuuge difference!
I find that since I’ve been sticking to plants, I’m feeling lighter and healthier. And of course there’s all the environmental and moral factors that can make you feel better about eating vegetarian too. But that said, and like I said, I’m not totally against eating meat. I’m still going to occasionally eat chicken wings when I get a hankering, or a turkey burger here and there. I’m not going all or none. I’m just going to try and stick to veggies most of the time. Hopefully that will put me a head of the game when you consider that some doctors recommend you only eat meat every other day, and when you do, it’s only a few ounces of it.
All that said, I know the number one question people ask vegetarian athletes: Where do you get your protein? Not to worry, vegetables have PLENTY of protein. I can eat the crap out of some hummus, which is made with chickpeas, which have a crap ton of protein. That’s just one example. So if you’re considering going veg, then don’t worry about that.
I must confess though that several years ago I asked that very question to someone. I was back stage before a Def Leppard concert cause my friend was married to the guitarist – who was a vegetarian. We went to his dressing room where he was shirtless and ripped and dripping with sweat. Apparently he had just finished working out. Seeing how buff he was, and how much he works out, and knowing from his wife that he was a vegetarian, I asked him how he gets his protein. I wish I hadn’t asked now, knowing it’s kind of a silly question. No matter, it was a fun night!
And yes, I know that vegetables can be prepared in a way that they aren’t healthy anymore – like french frying a potato. So I’m not under any assumption that just being vegetarian automatically makes you healthy. But I’ll leave you with this story:
A few years back I was going for a run when I past two little boys playing in their yard. They must’ve been around 7 years old. They stopped playing when I ran by and watched me run. One of the boys then asked me a question that I never forgot. He must’ve thought that as a runner I must automatically be healthy (not necessarily true) and that being a vegetarian would be part of that healthy lifestyle. But he wanted confirmation so he asked, “Hey mister, are you a vegetarian?” “Sometimes.” I responded. “Cool.” He retorted.
Yes. It is cool. And now I’m even more cool.