Orange You Glad I Didn’t Say Banana?

Wanna hear something kinda weird, then something really weird? Of course you do. About 5 years ago I went strictly vegan for about a year. Well, Not exactly. Only when I was at home. When I go out I eat whatever I want. I don’t run around telling people meat is murder. Last Monday my daughter asked me where I want to go and I said, 5 Guys, I want a big, greasy double cheeseburger! I’m not super health conscious. The worst physical problem I’ve had is when Zyprexa almost gave me diabetes. I was pretty huge then. That’s why I did it. Since I’ve been on medications I’ve always been overweight. Nothing worked. Each medication had it’s own weight range and that was it. When I switched to mostly vegetables. I dropped right down to something reasonable so I kept at it. None of this really matters. It’s just for context.

I won’t eat beets, but pretty much anything else in the produce department I will chow down. So there is no reason for me to pick anything special. The most research I did was how much protein do I really need, fiber, vitamins, calories etc…

For the last month every time I walked past the bunches of fresh spinach I wanted to buy some. I don’t know why. I like it but what was so appetizing about a bunch of dirty looking leaves? I don’t have any meals to use it. Every week. Same thing. I want to buy it. I don’t. Last week I picked one up, put it down, picked it back up and put it in my cart. Still don’t know what to fucking do with it. All week, every time I opened the fridge, I wondered why the hell did I buy that? But I wanna eat it. What am I gonna do? Finally I said I know what I’m gonna do. I pulled it out, chopped off the stems and threw the whole thing into my makeshift steamer. Ten minutes later I finished off a huge plate off cooked spinach. That’s it. Little bit of salt. I fucking loved it!

Last night I was sitting around kinda bored, a little bit of anxiety. Not too bad. Eating a couple crackers. I don’t know why it popped into my head but I thought, why do they call it “comfort food?” Does it make you comfortable? Does it taste so good it just makes you feel better? On cooking shows they always talk about a big plate of mac n cheese is comfort food. Is it pasta? Cheese? Carbohydrates? I don’t know. I’m sitting at the computer, I’ll google it. If I type in comfort food I’ll probably get a bunch of pictures of mac n cheese. I typed in, “calming foods.” Guess what came up? I know, I ruined it. Spinach! Got anxiety? Eat spinach. It has a ton of magnesium in it. Really? I think the thought of eating spinach makes most people anxious. That’s kinda weird part. I knew some food are good for this, some good for that. I was getting interested.

I was going to search, “brain food” but I figured fish would come up. I know Omega 3 fats are good for the brain and I recently learned that people in countries where they eat a lot of fish have a much lower rate of bipolar disorder. That was a happy accident, I recently started taking fish oil capsules because it is hard to get Omega 3 fats from plants. I only found the bipolar thing when I was looking to see how many milligrams I was supposed to take. (Sidetracked) I typed in, “foods good for the brain.” Guess what came up? (This one’s not so easy.) Everything in my fucking grocery cart! Not everything, but 10 or 12 very specific foods and I eat more than half of them. In large quantities. It said these foods boost your dopamine, endorphin and serotonin levels. ??? That’s the really weird part. I didn’t start out eating all these foods. This is 5 years later.

Asparagus was at the top of the list. Okay, that has always been my favorite vegetable. I fucking love it. But do I 3 big bundles a week, every week for years fucking love it? Apparently so. Same thing. I steam the whole bundle and fork it down. A little bit of salt. I don’t think a family of four would eat that much.

Apples and Oranges were up there. I guess I like apples but I could do without them. (I thought) I started buying them last winter because I noticed they were 3 bucks for a big bag and they were local. Same with the oranges. Not local but 99 cents a pound. Like a limp dick. Can’t beat it. I guess I’m eating apples and oranges now. A few months ago I noticed I would wake up, make coffee, (of course) throw some lentils on the stove. (Wait a minute. Lentils? Anyone here like lentils? For breakfast, with a little bit of soy sauce and sriracha? I’ve been eating them almost every day for 5 years. Am I thinking, oh god, lentils again? Oh no. I’m wishing they didn’t take so damn long to cook. They’re on the list.) Oh yeah, what? Apples and Oranges. Drinking my first cup of coffee and I’m dying to get to them. I get so happy!

Chili peppers. Way up there. I’ve always like spicy foods. But who the fuck cooks a regular pasta dish with broccoli, garlic, basil, oregano, and says, You know what would make this a lot better? Jalapenos and Sriracha! I’ve never heard of it before, but it is soooo good! I look forward to cooking that every week. Add in the big pot of chili and I’m eating chili peppers almost every day. Chili with beans. I eat an assload of beans. (pun intended) Beans? On the list.

Dark chocolate. That’s a good one. I gave up candy for the most part years ago because I have bad teeth. The store I go to has their own brand of chocolate bars. I thought I was buying them because they are only 50 cents a piece. I like each kind so why do I only buy the dark chocolate? Every week?

Oh yeah. I was doing the same thing with cauliflower. I wanted it but I couldn’t remember how I used to eat it. I still wanted to buy it every week. But I remembered. I was making a lot of soups and got tired of it. Fuck it, buying it anyway. Yesterday, the fridge was almost empty. I spotted it on the bottom shelf and I was pumped. I forgot I bought it. Oh yeah, I didn’t have to think about that one. Chop, chop. In the steamer. Whole head of cauliflower. Gone. Cauliflower? You know it.

I didn’t do any of this on purpose. Well, I did. I don’t eat anything I don’t like. I’m not depriving myself. I’m not sitting here thinking, man, I wish I didn’t have to eat this crappy spinach. I was excited. I eat meat when I want. Last week I wanted steak so I went right down and bought the thickest Rib-Eye they had. Brought it home, cooked it up and scarfed it down. All of it. Big pieces of fat, gristle, nothing left on the plate. I don’t worry, oh no, I went off my diet.

It’s easy for me. I have always liked vegetables. I was the best fed kid in the house. The other kids gave theirs to me. Then I went to the pan to see if there were any more.

My mind is blown though. I wasn’t looking on some alternative lifestyle holistic website. I read it on Harvard Health. I don’t eat all the foods on the list. I don’t like fish. I would eat walnuts but they are too expensive and I eat them all in one sitting.

I probably lost everyone in the first paragraph when I wrote “vegan”.

To Vegan or not to Vegan?

Good question. Once a month I sear up a nice, fat, juicy rib-eye steak. It is the only meat I cook at home now. The rest of the time I eat mostly vegetables. When I am outside the house I eat whatever I want. I first got interested in vegan/vegetarian diets late in life because I have always struggled with my weight since I got on medications. Other diets never worked for me. Also because when I first started watching Netflix I watched one documentary and after that all they suggested for me were documentaries. Most of the films were about the benefits of eating more veggies or the horrors of factory farms. That also helped bring about this post.

A few years ago I was doing most of my grocery shopping online for delivery. It made me realize that I was eating a shit-ton of meat. Each month I would order 6lbs of ground beef, 10lbs of chicken breasts and about 4lbs of boneless pork chops. On top of that I would go out and have my fill of greasy cheeseburgers. That was all for me. One person.

(Disclaimer: This only works because I can eat almost anything.) At first I started out with an ovo-lacto vegetarian diet because I couldn’t think of giving up eggs and cheese in the morning. I didn’t include seafood because that is disgusting. In the first month I lost 10lbs but for the next 2 months I leveled off and didn’t lose any more weight. So I decided to go strictly vegan. I could do this because although I live most of my life in excess, I was in a very disciplined state of mind. I can be quite stubborn when I want to be.

Going cold turkey worked immediately. I lost 20lbs in a month and kept it off. I had quit sugar and corn syrup in my 20’s but along with going vegan I also cut out refined carbs such as are found in bread, white pasta and white rice. It was easy for me to make the switch because I’ve always had an affinity for vegetables. Now I eat as many of them as I want. I stay away from corn mostly because I don’t trust it because of the “cornspiracy” in America.

I tended to take the anecdotal evidence in the documentaries I watched with a grain of salt. A lot of the same “experts” would pop up in different movies. Many of them had no scientific credentials. They were just there to promote their own book full of pseudo-science. The most convincing study I heard about the benefits of eating mostly vegetables was “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell and his son, Thomas. You don’t have to read the book. I can give you a good idea in the next paragraph.

The China Study was the largest study of diet that found a direct correlation between the amount of animal products consumed and a person’s health. They chose 6500 people from all across China and followed their diet. They found that poor people who couldn’t afford to eat much meat had the lowest instance of “Western diseases.” (Heart disease, diabetes and cancer. etc…) and also had the longest life expectancy. I trust this study because it involved the largest cross section of people and got into extensive details on diet and disease.

What do I eat besides that delicious, perfectly seasoned, medium-rare Rib-eye? I’m lazy so I’ve settled on some easy recipes that I eat over and over and I also eat whatever I want when I go to a restaurant. My favorite dish I discovered by experiment is the easiest. I cook a box of whole wheat pasta and microwave a pound of frozen broccoli. I add oil, celery salt, garlic powder, dried oregano and dried basil. Then I dress it with soy sauce and a drizzle of Sriracha sauce (I put that shit on everything) and then I top it off with a healthy dose of Parmesan cheese. OMG! I end up scraping the bottom of my plate. This dish is great for my meager finances because it gives me 4 meals for less than 5 bucks per pot. (I finished writing this then cooked and ate 2 plates; It’s soooo fucking good!)

One common misconception is you need a huge amount of protein to make it through the day. That is a myth perpetuated by the huge meat industry in the U.S. I eat less than half the recommended daily intake of protein and I can walk or ride a bicycle all day if I have to, no problem. I’ve also seen many interviews with top professional athletes who suffered no loss of performance after switching to a plant based diet.

I’m not being preachy, I’m just bored and needed another topic to write about in my new blog. Although having people switch to a plant based diet could help save the planet. If you accept the science of climate change, you’ll be interested to know that despite all the fuss made of carbon dioxide, it is actually methane produced on livestock farms (yes, cow farts) that is a much more potent greenhouse gas.

Another dish I created to get my protein is pretty tasty too. I cook a pound of white beans, a pound of whole wheat spaghetti and a pound of Brussel sprouts or asparagus. I spice it up with salt and again with the celery salt and garlic powder. (My 2 favorites.) It is also very economical and lasts me a few days.

This diet only works for me because I can eat all the same foods over and over each month. If I get tired of it I go buy something with meat on it. But yeah, I’m weird. I can eat almost anything. A couple common snacks for me are steamed green beans or asparagus with just salt. A treat for me is a bag of tortilla chips with roasted red pepper hummus or spicy salsa. I can polish this off in a day. It may sound like deprivation but I actually enjoy it.

After my last few posts you might think I’m obsessed with my weight. I’m not, I just like to be able to tie my shoes without too much of a struggle. I had a doctor who was really into BMI. I personally think it is bullshit. He told me at 5’10” I should weigh 160lbs. I haven’t weighed that much since high school and I was a puny little punk back then. Besides he was my height and weight 160. He did not look healthy. I could clearly see all of his tendons and ligaments. It wasn’t normal.

Okay, I promise I will find something more interesting to talk about in my future posts besides my diet and weight. Disregarding the BMI I think my ideal weight was 175. I can’t get down there again but I hover between 180 and 190 which is fine with me and my dad bod. I’m comfortable and my clothes fit nicely and I have no problem getting around. These are important to me because my brain is all fucked up and I don’t want it to show on the outside.

Well, it’s a new month; almost time for a new Rib-eye. I’m not a very good vegetarian.