From Vicki Shaver —
Instead of a New Year’s resolution, a recent trend has been to identify a word of the year. So, stop making promises that will likely be broken and choose an uplifting word to define or guide your year! It’s a mere coincidence that I’m researching heathy ways of eating as the New Year approaches. As you know from my “What Am I Supposed to Eat” posts, I’ve been at this all year! But, here I am on the brink of 2019 and I think I’ve finally found my answer.
I’ve decided that Flexitarian is the way for me to go. That means eating a plant-based diet that emphasizes whole foods, low (or no) added sugar and is rich in fiber, but allows a moderate amount of meat and other animal products. I do like the term Flexitarian, so I’m happy to embrace the label and make “flexible” my word for 2019.
Webster defines flexible as an adjective meaning “capable of being flexed” or characterized by “a ready capability to adapt to new, different or changing requirements.” I like to think this describes me, too. I’ve always managed to adapt to my changing environment – most of the time happily. (Don’t get me started on Millennials!)
I’m not sure how I arrived here, though. I’ve had a passion for steak most of my life. It’s my go-to celebration food! In fact, when friends were going Vegetarian my typical reaction was, “Wow, I could never do that. I love steak too much!” At the same time, I admired those who took their love of all living creatures and made it a statement. The number of Vegetarians and Vegans (as well as those eating plant-based) is growing and it appears it’s making a difference, too. It’s difficult to find real stats, but one thing is certain – the meat industry is worried.
However, my journey was not prompted by my love of animals or the environment. (Of course I do love both!) It was my selfish desire to live a long, healthy life that set me on this path, but once I began to dig, it was hard to ignore how most food animals are treated. Not only does it weigh on my conscience, but it calls into question whether this food is fit for human consumption. My purpose here is not to persuade you to change the way you eat based on ethics. (Trust me, I won’t be joining PETA any time soon!) My goal was to become educated about what I eat, and I hope I might inspire others to do the same. I started by watching a food documentary based on Michael Pollan’s book “In Defense of Food” and went on from there.
My decision to use Flexitarianism as a guide for eating healthy boils down to education mixed with common sense. Sticking to a strict diet just isn’t manageable for many people and often brings on a heavy dose of guilt if you don’t (or can’t) stay on the plan. Having the flexibility to add and subtract things from your diet based on new information or how you feel is much more practical. I like the idea that you can’t really “fall off” the Flexitarian diet. You do your best by using it as a guide. That’s it.
So whether you believe your body is a temple or a wonderland, it’s important to understand how what you eat can impact your life and how long you’ll live it.
Although this is my final installment in the “What Am I Supposed to Eat” series it is definitely not the end of my journey. There’s always new research, updated food pyramids and the latest diet craze to be considered. You never know what 2019 might bring. Hey, I’m flexible!