Not those yo-yo, fad, grapefruit things. I’ve never been one for restricting food for weight reasons. I’m fairly European as far as my opinions about food. Basically, you should eat smaller portions by enjoying each thing you eat. It’s not about the quantity, it’s about that experience in that moment (although I also have this MINE MINE MINE thing I’m working through that’s a carryover from not wanting to share cake with my younger brother).
Anyway. In high school, I made a bet with my best friend about who could go the longest being a vegetarian. I lost. To my credit, she lived in the “hippie” part of Arkansas (by the U of A) and I was in a regular old barbecue-eating, meat-loving, beer and steak sort of place, so I think that the six months I lasted were pretty good, all things considered. Also take into consideration that my father is one of those guys who feels empty if he hasn’t had something that had a well-developed vascular system and relatively well-developed nervous system before it was sent off to meet its creator. He likes his steaks well done. My grandfather (on my mother’s side) was a butcher for a long time. We ate a lot of weird meat when I was growing up. That’s all to say that the vegetarian thing was never something that I did out of a deep seated ethical or moral need. Mostly I did it to see how long I could do it.
Now, though? Things are different. I’m making the same decisions I made before about enjoying my food, only now I’m choosing which foods I enjoy a lot more discriminately. I’m not a vegetarian, although I only eat meat infrequently, and never red meat or pork. Beef was easy to cut out. Pork was harder. There were a lot of pork foods that I really liked. It was a little difficult at first, but my husband and I had stopped eating meat regularly anyhow, so it got easier. In addition to that, we have been doing a lot of research about where our food comes from. We eat fruits and vegetables that don’t travel very far to get to us (as awesome as strawberries from Chile might sound, that’s a lot of gas to burn to get them here). I’m actually getting to the point where I feel like this is a choice, and not just a challenge to myself.
Along with that comes an effort to be positive and open to differences. Ahimsa may mean no physical harm, but I think it’s also valid to make an effort not to cause emotional or psychological harm, both to people and situations, so I’m trying to see solutions where I only saw roadblocks, and to do my best to deal with people in a positive, constructive manner, even when it’s difficult (even when said person is a drunk guy pontificating in the drugstore parking lot at 10pm, and I’d rather be at home).
It’s totally refreshing (and gets easier every day).