On paper, I have a pretty open schedule with lots of free time.
In reality? Not so much.
I’m doing a good job of being as productive as possible: I cook all of my meals (or most of them) for the week on any given day when I have enough time to have four burner and the oven going.
Since I decided to give up meat, I have been getting far more creative with my meals. At first, I felt like I was always hungry and was equating it to not getting enough protein. Now that half-marathon training is in full-swing, I really AM hungry all of the time but it’s definitely not because I’m not getting enough protein. And to be honest, I don’t even miss meat!
Despite some of the not-so-enthused responses that I have received about me no longer eating meat, I had a refreshing response earlier this week. As I opened my post-workout meal in class, the girl next to me who I’m casual friends with, looked into my container. I cringed inside, waiting for what I was positive was going to the typical reaction to whatever I’m eating (even before I gave up meat). I had a mixture of Bulgur, Tofu, red cabbage, mushrooms, and broccoli, tossed with some soy sauce (DELICIOUS!). And she said: “is that Tofu?! I LOVE TOFU!”
I turned to her and said: “I haven’t eaten meat in over a month, ever since I watched Food Inc.”
Turns out, she’s been a vegetarian for over 12 years! That means she made the decision to give up meat when she was about 10 years old. She didn’t make it sound like her parents had a hand in it, so I think it’s wonderful that she’s chosen to eat meat-free. I told her about Forks Over Knives, which she hadn’t seen. She ended up watching it and loving it. We’re both non-vegas, but wishing we were, much like I Wish I Were Vegan.
She mentioned something about never having felt better after not eating meat.
I’ve never been a huge meat eater. I often would go days without incorporating meat into my own meals that I was cooking for myself, but wouldn’t turn down a trip to Hooters or my mom’s pot roast. I’m not going to lie, I don’t feel hundreds of times better after giving up meat. I mean, I feel better about myself as a human being for not contributing to the terrible treatment of the animals and the brain-washing ways that are food is distributed and manipulated, but I don’t feel any different physically- at least not enough to write home about it.
What I didn’t know until this week though, is that most meats contain dairy! How freakin’ weird is that? A lot of meats (non-organic) are processed with fillers, most of which are dairy based like casein proteins- which is also found in cottage cheese and other dairy products, but if I’m trying to eat a chunk of chicken, I just want to eat the stinkin’ chicken. If I wanted to have some dairy, I’d drink a cup of milk. The only thing that I have noticed is that my congestion has been greatly reduced- and I am attributing this to the decreased amount of dairy in my diet.
These past three weeks being at school since winter break (which means I do my own grocery shopping and cooking) I haven’t bought any dairy products. No yogurt, no cottage cheese, no cheese. Every time I get to the cheese aisle, I have all of the intention in the world to buy some. Then I sit there, reading the packages, trying to figure out how they treat their damn cows. None of it has even pretended to try and give their customers an inkling that their cows aren’t treated like absolute shit. So I just haven’t bought any. (For the record, I absolutely love cows…I’ll leave it at that.)
I simply cannot afford any of the organic Greek Yogurt (over a dollar for a little cup? are you nuts!?) and even though it’s organic, I’m not all too sure how the cows are actually treated, so I’ve been bowing out on buying yogurt too. Same goes for cottage cheese and so on.
My meals are largely vegetable based- moreso than usual because of the extra space on my plate! But how neat is that? There’s literally more room on my plate, because of the lack of meat, so I’m like- OK! Let’s fill it up with veggies! You’d be surprised how quickly I get full.. but then a few hours later, I’m STARVING again. I think I became more lenient with how much I’ve been eating, which makes me nervous- so I need to start tracking just how much food I’m eating. Things like Quinoa and Bulgur are calorie dense, so it’s definitely something I need to keep under control.
Running has been going great! Can’t complain. I had to take an extra day off after my loooong run on Saturday because my knees were bothering me. Then, I had planned to run 5 miles yesterday. Being the idiot that I am, I also decided to lift lower body before my run. Note to self: DO NOT DO THAT. About 1 mile into the run, my legs were done. I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk to stretch because I thought my legs were going to fall off. I compromised with myself: fine, if you’re not going to run 5 miles, then you need to haul ass home. And so I did.
My handy-dandy Garmin ended up clocking me in at an 8:30 pace. Like, for the rest of the way home. Like, I ran a sub-9-minute mile for more than one mile. AND I LIVED TO TELL THE STORY!!! To be honest, I knew I was running WAY faster than usual, but it was exhilarating and it felt great to be moving so fast. God knows if I’ll ever be able to convince my body to do that again- but I’m sure going to try. I have no hopes of being able to do that 13-times in a row at the half marathon, but I have plenty of time to try and get faster and better at running fast.
I need to take my own advice sometimes: that your body will do what you ask it to do. If I start training my body to run faster, it will run faster- hopefully. I need to break away from my comfort-zone of a 10-minute mile and just push it and do it.
I really wish I could make a living off of running and lifting all of the time and motivating other people to do. Perhaps once I’m a WORKING personal trainer instead of just a certified one on paper that I will be a little closer to actually turning that into a reality. =)