Each year, I try to give myself a very hard challenge that I don’t fully believe I can fulfill. It’s not really a New Years resolution because I typically start the challenges between February and March. Plus, I feel like New Years resolutions are often people giving up or doing things to improve themselves versus just doing it for the hell of it.
This year, I chose to give up all red meat and poultry. Big deal? Yes, huge. I’ve been eating meat since… forever. I fucking love a good hamburger. Making chicken parmesan is part of my heritage. Bacon is one key to my heart (apart from Chocolate). Up to this point, this has probably been the more painful challenge I’ve given myself. On average, I’d eat meat in some form or fashion 6.5/7 days of the week. I tried to have meat with every meal as a good source of protein to balance my diet out.
So why choose meat? Truth be told, my girlfriend told me a very sad story about two Canadian Geese trying to cross a road in our home town Fort Collins, Colorado. Typically, people in our town slow down or stop altogether to let the geese cross because we’re a fairly humane species. Except on this day, as the mated couple of geese tried to cross the road, a car went out of its way and swerved to hit one of the geese. It struck one of the geese and killed it immediately. The other geese was its mate. My girlfriend got out of her car and pulled the dead geese off to the side of the road while its mate followed, crying out for it. As my girlfriend sat there, she saw how much pain the geese was in. It kept nudging its dead partner to try and move and wake up. It almost yelled at the cars in anger and sadness. I guess we’re not all humane.
I was very sad and moved after hearing the story. For those of you that don’t know, Canadian Geese mate for life. This means that if their partner is injured, it will stay by its side. I know what it’s like to lose someone that close to you and it sucks. I can sympathize. After hearing this story, it took me down a brief path of wondering not only how often this sort of stuff happens on a daily basis but how we treat our animal friends – domestic or not. At the end of the day, we’re all on this planet together sharing the same resources. Might as well be friendly to each other, right? It was then that I got the idea of trying to give up red meat and poultry for the year as my challenge. As a quirky tribute, at least I could give it a shot.
One year later and I’ve succeeded!
It’s been an interesting journey to say the least. I’ve lost about 10 pounds all together (multiple factors though). I had to learn a lot about different styles of cooking, how to not cook with meat, where to get protein, etc. Many thanks to my girlfriend for helping me with recipes! To be honest, I haven’t really notice a difference in terms of health so nothing big to report there. I feel like I have more energy but there could be 100’s of factors contributing to that. What I do know is that I do eat much healthier now due to me having to really focus on how to get protein from different sources, other than meat. This means things like fish (lean), beans (smelly), avocados (2.9g), or even protein shakes. This different way of thinking has led towards a more lean, healthy, and “clean” diet (whatever that means) that I think has helped.
But! That’s not why I did this in the first place. You’ll notice though that I still eat fish which makes me a pescetarian. I chose to continue to eat fish as it was a good source of protein and I just wasn’t ready to commit to giving up all meat at once. This was a big change to begin with already! That said, when I did eat fish, I always tried to get it wild caught so that at least I gave myself the impression I was doing good. Someday I’ll give that up too.
At this point, I’ll be continuing to exclude red meat and poultry from my diet. Now that the challenge is over, I may dabble back and forth but I haven’t decided yet. As for my next yearly challenge… I was able to decide on one late January and god was it a tough decision…
I’m not going to drink beer for an entire year.
Yep. For those of you that don’t know me, I fucking love beer. I grew up in Fort Collins, the craft brewery capital of the USA. For this year, there’s actually no real good reason why I’m giving it up. No sob story or religious reason. Towards the end of January I started to think about what would be another really hard thing to give up. I floated the idea of no beer, said “Hah, yeah right. That’s dumb, never giving that up”. Then I said fuck it and haven’t had a beer since then. Cider doesn’t count. Why do it? Why not?