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Taking responsibility

Sorry there was no post yesterday. I’ve been kind of in a funk lately and I think this post will explain why…

If you’ve read my About Me page, you know that I just started my journey towards health early this year.  It really hasn’t been that long since I was never exercising and never thinking more about what to put in my mouth than wether or not it was delicious.

When I started working out and paying more attention to what I ate, I found that I was also really enjoying learning about different topics related to food and health. I read nearly every book written by Michael Pollan, I read Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, I watched Food Inc., and I saw the various documentaries extolling the health virtues of a plant-based diet.

I was looking for a message about health in all this media and was moved by what I saw. What I didn’t expect though, is that I would be equally moved by the issues of animal rights and animal cruelty.


If only a year and a half ago you had asked me my thoughts on alternative eating practices such as vegetarianism and veganism, I wouldn’t have had many nice things to say about them. I probably would have just made a joke about crazy hippies and praised the deliciousness of bacon. Now though, I am that person that I would have made fun of before.

I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but at some point earlier this year it hit me that I wasn’t comfortable eating meat anymore. The idea of being a vegetarian actually didn’t seem that difficult, I was sure that if I were to never eat meat again that I would get over it pretty quickly.  I started playing around with reducing my meat consumption a little bit here and a little bit there and found that the less I ate it the less I wanted it. There was just one problem: my husband and I differ in our wants, needs, and opinions about food.


It’s easy to say “Alayna, you have the right to make your own choices about what you put into your body and the differing wants or opinions of your husband are not good enough reasons to eat something if you feel ethically opposed to it.” I hear ya, I really do. I have said that to myself many times in my own head and couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t go through with it. I’ve been beating myself up inside for many months every time I ate a piece of meat to make my husband feel comfortable, and I realize now that I never even needed to do that.

I guess what it all boils down to is that I was afraid of being a burden on Jeff, who I love so much. I cook all of our dinners and many of our weekend breakfasts and lunches and I really enjoy preparing these meals.  I didn’t want my choices to become his choices simply because I was choosing what to cook. I also didn’t want to burden myself with trying to prepare two different dishes at every mealtime.  I realize now that these aren’t good enough reasons to compromise my food beliefs and I’m ready to work harder to figure out how to accomodate both of us at the dinner table.

Anyway, we had a long overdue discussion about all of this and I’m feeling much better about it now. Jeff is so sweet and understanding; I don’t know why I thought he couldn’t handle me trying vegetarianism. It all seems so silly when I think about it now. I’m finally ready to make a greater shift towards a vegetarian diet knowing that it’s not going to cause a division between us.

I don’t want anyone to think that I look down on you if you choose to eat meat or that I think you can’t be healthy and still eat meat. It’s a personal choice I’ve made based on my own feelings and I fully respect yours. This isn’t going to turn into a strictly vegetarian blog either, I’m still going to cook for my husband and I’ll probably be just as eager to show off my meat-filled meals as my meatless ones.

If anyone has any tips for how you deal with accommodating differences at the dinner table without losing your mind, please fill me in!


So, what am I?

Vegan?  Vegetarian?  Carnivore?  Flexitarian?  Raw-foodist?  Locavore?  Pescatarian?  Fruitarian?  Bee-gan?  Gluten-free?

At this moment, I’m not sure that any of those words could accurately describe my eating habits without someone writing me a rageful email about how I can’t really call myself “that” because I don’t follow it with religious integrity.

I enjoy vegetarian food, but I eat meat too.  I enjoy vegan food, but I eat cheese and honey.  I love raw food and I love cooked food.  I try to eat locally, but I sometimes buy out-of-season fruit from half-way across the globe.  I eat fish and tofu; kale chips and potato chips; green smoothies and milkshakes; veggie burgers and grass-fed beef burgers; cashew cheese and cheese from a cow and even things that might be better spelled “cheeze.”

It’s not correct to say that I eat everything and anything though.  My diet, more often than not, is in the pursuit of optimal health.  I will choose a snack of something like raw veggies and hummus 9 times out of ten above a cookie (or two.)  I’m eating way more fruits and vegetables than any other food groups, but I’m not subsisting on salad alone either.  I haven’t had any fast food in at least 3 years or even a glass of milk in 2 or 3, though I’m still using other dairy products infrequently.

I just try not to worry about it.  I make positive choices about what I put into my body most of the time and I dont’ dwell on it when I eat something “bad” or over-compensate with overly-obsessive eating afterwards.

My diet is still a work in progress though.  I’m still learning about all kinds of interesting new foods to try, and others to try to avoid.  How I eat today may differ completely from how I eat a year from now, and that’s ok.

So, I’m not really a vegetarian, not vegan, not shunning gluten or praising omega-3s.  I just try to eat healthy.  I don’t think there’s a word for that, but I guess I don’t need one.