Thursday 21 December 2017

Plant-Based... Ish?

Let’s get one thing out of the way right here and right now: I like meat, I really love the enjoyment of a well-cooked steak (rare to med-rare, anything over that is just cardboard) or lamb or a really well marinated chicken thigh. I like meat. I don’t think meat eaters are evil, nor do I think they should be vilified. I think hunted meat is the best option, as it is organic and locally sourced, but I’m not above meat eaters. I’m currently one of them.

Okay whew, got that out of the way.

This summer, most of my province was on fire. I know, wtf do these two things have to do with each other? Wait and see, I’ll join them up. The province was literally on fire, and I've never wished so hard for week's worth of rain in August. This came after the spring, when a significant portion of my region was flooded, like, beyond flooded. While my province was on fire, other places were dealing with “100 year” hurricanes, back to back. This November (November 1st, to be exact), we got over a foot of snow. And within 3 weeks, it was all melted. Since then, it had been warmer than usual for this time of year, only now getting to the -3 to -10 range, and snowing. Meanwhile, California is on fire. In December.  
November 1st.. 

November 25th. 

To be blunt, the weather is fucked. Seasons are more intense, the weather is more intense, everything is ramping up. Climate change is real, it’s happening, we can all see it happening and whether or not you want to agree that it’s happening, science isn’t interested in your opinion. It’s happening, numerous articles & published scientific findings have told us to basically suit up and get used to this “new normal”, and I can’t be the only person terrified. I spent a majority of my summer wondering what I would do if our brand new home burnt to the ground while I was at work and we lost every irreplaceable memory we had. Will I have to spend every summer with this new worry? When we bought our house I was in love with the walls of trees on every side; now I look at them as basically kindling and want to chop them down. What is the future going to look like in 10, 20, 30 years? What will my children’s reality look like; how much different will it be from now?

What does this climate based anxiety have to do with eating meat? Well, among the proven health benefits that come with adopting a plant based diet, from lowering cancer risks to helping curb or reverse heart disease & help with inflammatory illnesses, to name just a very small (but massive) percentage of the reasons, there is so much research to show the positive impact it would have on fighting climate change. That by slowly, meal by meal, adapting to more plant based diet – if not going fully plant based – we alone could do so much good for fighting what is happening to our world. Now, like I said, I love meat. I love a good steak. But what is there to lose by only having meat a few times, or once a week - like our past generations used to? I’ve said for a while (mostly warned Jake) that I’m going to adapt this, so what’s stopping me? Fear that it will be too hard, mostly. And mostly, that’s a selfish reasoning. It will be an adjustment, but not impossible. And if for the small price of going mostly meatless, I can ensure that I’m actively doing my part in helping this planet? Shit, sign me up. I’m already actively going as green as possible and limiting all of the plastic I use (with the hopes that next year we will be a 90% plastic free house), so it feels selfish that by my not wanting to go without the taste of meat, I'm looking at a viable, fairly easy option to help everyone and going “Meh, not my problem. Someone else will do it”.

A few weekends ago, I had the epiphany that I need to be that someone. As I walked around my neighborhood on a bright blue sky day and admired the trees on the mountain behind my house, I thought to myself "please don't catch on fire next year, please stay safe, please don't let some jackass throw a cigarette near you next year". I don't want to spend my life worried and anxious about what's to come, without doing my part to help curb it. And so, in saying this, I have decided I am going to actively work to becoming plant based... ish. Why the ish? Well, for one, I have to consider who I live with. I currently don't use dairy products, and can go days without eating meat. Jake.. cannot. I've joked about it, but I feel like if I sprung this on him and expected him to follow suit, he'd actually leave me. So it's a double edged selfish sword to think that A) I won't do anything to help the planet but B) I'm going to make a massive lifestyle change for someone else without their approval. Also, I don't want to force my family to cook vegan for me when family dinners happen, so flexibility is key. I've been reading a lot about the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet, and I have slowly been starting there. And you know what? It's been easy. Actively, quite easy. And tasty.

Now, if you've made it this far and are thinking oh god, she's going to become one of those people. Don't worry, I also think Vegans can go way too far with scare tactics, or to push people onto "their agenda". What the Health attempted to equate eating an egg to smoking 5 cigarettes, but scientists have largely come out to say that the documentary is straight up garbage. So, they mostly mean well, but their tactics can be a bit much. I've done enough critical research and thinking to know what are scare tactics, and what is legitimately evidence backed. I don't believe in a lifestyle that restricts or demonizes food, I believe in evidence. I also know that plant based lifestyles lack in main nutrients that only come from meat products (such as B12), and I already have a hard time keeping up protein levels, so I'm not going to be sacrificing my health for.. my health. And like I said before, I'm not going to be the asshole who expects everyone to cater to me due to a lifestyle choice and not an actual medical reason.

So, what I'm saying is read some of the articles I linked (from verified, mainly unbiased sources), and see for yourself if this is something you could also commit to doing, not just for your health but for the health and future of our next generation, and those to come. We can do it together, and make our own little Veganish crew, the 99.9 percenters, if you will. I'm always down for a good recipe swap.

If you're still reading this thinking I must be going a little crazy, I suggest you go to the naked cafe in Kelowna, and try their "Buffalo Cauliflower Sandwich", that alone may just be enough to convince you.