Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Food I Eat

For the last year or so, little by little, I have been learning about the importance of supporting local businesses and buying and eating local foods. The benefits of both are far too many to list here. Anyway, that's not really the purpose of this blog post. Last night Aaron and I saw Food, Inc. It was a fantastic (albeit really hard to watch at times) film, and I would recommend it to anyone. I could go into a lot of detail here about the film and WHY I think EVERYONE should see it, but I won't because getting up on my soapbox is also not my reason for writing today.
What I want to share here is something I have been contemplating (not very seriously, I'll admit) for a while, but am now strongly considering making a part of my lifestyle, and a few reasons WHY I am thinking so strongly about making the change.

The change:
Drastically cut back the amount of beef, chicken and pork (although, I really don't eat much of this) I eat. Also, when I do choose to eat meat, I will eat free-range chicken and pork and grass-fed beef.

Now, the reason that I'm not jumping feet-first into this commitment is simply this: it's NOT going to be easy! I don't eat five steaks a week or anything, but either beef or chicken usually accompany lunch and/or dinner, and when I go out for breakfast, I love me some good bacon! It's going to be difficult to make those changes and make sure I am still getting enough protein in my diet!
Also, I am a 27 year-old graduate student who a) doesn't have a lot of money and b) sadly, has to rely on a quick meal here or there sometimes more than once a week. Making a commitment like this would tug a bit at the ol' purse strings, and would also mean that the foods that I once found very easy, quick and convenient will no longer do.

Ok, ok. The REASONS for my change:

1. Ethical treatment of animals. After watching the movie, I simply cannot imagine myself wanting to buy or eat meat from an animal that has "lived" (I use that term quite loosely) the way that most cows, chickens, and pigs are living in our country (and others, I'm sure) today. I can't use my money to support such horrific treatment of those poor things. ...I'm stepping down off of the small soapbox...

2. The health of my body (and our planet). Along with the ethical issues I have with what I saw, I was also grossed out by it. It is unappetizing to me to think about putting pesticides and antibiotics, animals that have eaten them, or animals that have been genetically and chemically modified into my mouth and into my body. "No garbage in, no garbage out." (I think that saying applies nicely to several aspects of life...)
Also, there are tons of environmental benefits to lowered meat consumption. Let's just say that mine is a nearly entirely selfish endeavor, and that these benefits are just another plus.

3. Because I believe that I can make a difference. That was absolutely one of the best and most uplifting messages of Food, Inc.

**Now, I have to be totally honest with you here. I'm not saying I'm NEVER going to go through a drive through (something I don't do all that often anyway) or eat a Samurai Sam's chicken bowl again. I believe that it is ok to eat animals!!! *GASP!* : ) I also believe, however, that those animals should be treated well during their lives (free to roam outside and eat grass and grains) and killed ethically (aka not smashed to death with a machine because that's the most efficient way to kill them).

This is not an "I'M NOW A VEGETARIAN" post. I'm just thinking that this could be an important lifestyle shift for me and one that I'm going to explore quite seriously.

So... Your thoughts please...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Blog about what?

Maybe this should have been my first post... Oh well. So, over the last few weeks, I had been seriously considering starting this blog, but I couldn't really figure out why. So, the more I thought about it, I realized it was due mostly to these influences:
First of all, I have been enjoying reading others' blogs lately. Meghan (a running and travel friend) turned me on to her friend's blog while we were galavanting around the Northwest Coast, and I've been reading it ever since. It's a fun, inspirational, thought-provoking highlight to my weekdays. I have since found a few others that I look forward to sitting down with as well (for those, just take a quick glance to the right of your screen). I also have to give a quick shout-out to my lovely aunt's blog, which is well-written, usually chalk full of sarcasm and hilarity, and occasionally contains an embarrassing video or two of my cousins (which never fail to brighten my day!).
Secondly, the corniest reason of all, I have been reading "Julie and Julia" and just saw the movie. Two words: LOVED IT!
Third, Aaron's video blog. While most of his videos are just freaking hilarious, they are all extremely creative and each manages to give a little bit of insight into his life. I suppose it is a way for him to have some fun expressing his creativity and a way to share that creativity with others. Although I don't possess video editing skills (or any other artistic skill, for that matter), I do enjoy writing. This blog is a way for me to share parts of my life (and maybe a creative skill of mine) with all of you.
So, now we have the "why"...
When I told Aaron I was thinking about starting a blog, he said, "What's it going to be about?" Crap. "I haven't made it that far yet."
There are several things I could write about... I could write about running, I could write about school, I could write about my personal life (I talk about that FAR too much to write about it), or traveling, or cooking (which I hardly ever do as much as I'd like -- I usually get exhausted by the creative possibilities that come along with making a new meal), or my internal struggle and debates about finding some type of spirituality in my life... I could even write about my obsessive list making and my blog could just be a series of lists! Then it occurred to me that each of those things are important parts of me, and what I really want to write about are my consistent attempts to balance them all, in order to hold onto my sanity (or whatever I have left of it, anyway). I want to share what is going on in my life and find out what you all think about different issues that I'm struggling with or have found particularly amusing. So, I guess I can't clearly define what sort of stuff is going to be in this blog -- it's just going to be a hodge-podge of things from my day-to-day life -- although, I can ALMOST promise that there will be no "list" blogs...
So. There. Now that I've defined this thing a little better, I'm going to eat some dinner! Talk to you all soon!


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Celebrating Change

Yesterday, I was on my 7 mile run (which I was doing all by myself, due to scheduling issues over the weekend that kept me from running with my regular group, my "Peeps") when I realized that exactly one year ago I was on my way home to the US after a year spent in Taiwan ( This little nugget gave me plenty to think about for the remaining 5 miles...
First, it occurred to me that at this point last year, I had never run 7 miles before, a distance I have now surpassed many times. This was quite an accomplishment, which I reveled in for several minutes until the next thought came to mind: nearly everything about my life has changed since August 18th, 2008. I'm not always the biggest fan of change, so I thought this (the fact that I survived it all) was definitely cause for celebration. I ran the rest of my 4 and a half (or so) miles in celebration, and mentally went down the remainder of my list of accomplishments to add a little icing to the cake (oh, and I also celebrated with some cake...). Here's what I came up with:
  • I made it through my first year of graduate school...
  • ...with a 4.0! (it was touch and go for a while. phew.)
  • I ran my first half marathon (and have another planned for October 18th).
  • I opened myself up (which is NOT easy for me to do) and made some incredible, lifelong friends (running peeps, school peeps: I mean you!).
  • I took a trip to the Northwest Coast (a wish for the past several years).
  • I let go of something that needed letting go of.
  • I held onto the things that mattered the most (my family and close friends).
  • I found what I've always been looking for... ; )
Most of this last year certainly wasn't easy, but when is it ever? I have a sneaking suspicion that these coming 365 days have plenty up their sleeves... Probably lots of reading and school work, PhD applications, running, Aaron, celebratory cake (at least for the next few days...), and who knows what else??? Stick around to find out...