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Eating Green

I apologize for being away from the blog for a few days. It's good to be back!

I realize I have missed the past few days of my Countdown to Earth Day series. I'll use this post to take the place the past few days.

I have been really busy with work these past couple weeks, and especially now as I prepare for my products to be offered at next week's Earth Day Celebration in Victor. I'll be there, by the way, all evening Wednesday. Even though I have been busy, I have made time to read. I love reading--anything and everything--and I have found some fantastic books lately.

I just finished The Unlikely Lavender Queen by Jeannie Ralston. I cannot say enough about this wonderful book. I found myself relating to the author in so many ways, and the thoughts she had provoked some deep reflection of my own. I highly recommend this read! It also has prompted me to plant more than my one lonely lavender plant (which, in its prime, is the lavender equivalent of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree). I'm going to see if my lavender this spring and summer will grow as Jeannie's did, even though this is hardly the Hill Country of Texas, nor is it Provence.

Before that, I read another book about a woman trying to discover more about herself called Plain and Simple: A Woman's Journey to the Amish by Sue Bender. It's a quick read, but a great one.

Right now, I am almost finished with Mark Bittman's Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating. I have read some things in it with which I was already familiar, but have also learned a great deal. 

I've mentioned here before that in a period of about a year and a half, I have lost nearly 40 pounds. I have maintained the weight loss for the past few months. I didn't do anything crazy. In fact, I started eating more. I was not a good eater. I used to skip breakfast and hardly ever ate lunch. By the time dinner rolled around, I would eat two big helpings, dessert, and a big bedtime snack. My husband has a freakish metabolism. At 6'4", he hasn't gone over 200 pounds and is the same size as he was when he was 20 years old. He eats...and eats...and eats. He doesn't gain weight. The doctor says he is in perfect health. Ideal cholesterol. Normal everything.

Anyway, quite some time ago, I resolved to turn over a new leaf because I hadn't lost the weight I gained while pregnant, had issues with emotional eating, and I wanted to prevent all of the health issues that plagued other family members. I started eating breakfast and lunch daily. I ate all my meals on either a salad plate or one of the boys' plates. I didn't eliminate anything--I simply switched to whole wheat pasta, wheat flour, etc. I stopped eating at my desk or in front of the tv. The weight came off quickly.

When I got my cardiovascular disease diagnosis in February and ended up being put on medication, it prompted me to take a look once again to see if there was anything I could possibly do to stay healthier in addition to my necessary meds. I hardly ever consumed sodium to begin with (I also do not eat processed foods of any kind), but I cut fact, I cut too much and ended up back at the doctor with a lecture about needing some sodium to function.

I have been really wrapped up in this book. As you know, I try to live as green a lifestyle as possible. I became very intrigued reading more in depth on a subject I never really paid much attention to--the environmental impact of eating meat. I once read that a pound of beef alone causes more greenhouse gas emissions than driving a gaz guzzler for several hours while all of the lights are left on in your house. One pound.

This book talks a great deal about this notion, particularly the fact that as Americans consume so much meat compared to other countries, that the impact on the Earth will only be more serious.

I do not eat much meat. I like a good prime rib every now and then, or steak on the grill....a burger from a local favorite, Bill Gray's...

When it comes to beef, though, I eat it no more than once weekly. I do serve chicken and pork tenderloin regularly for dinner. That is changing.

I have thought for a long time about becoming a vegetarian for health reasons. After reading more about the environmental impact, however, I have decided to do it for both reasons.

I realize it is not for everyone. I realize that the thought of not having a Zweigles or Garbage Plate (my local readers know what these are) might seem awful. It's something I am going to do, though. I am starting by eliminating all meats other than fish. I do love tilapia and salmon and will continue to eat these. I am not forcing this on anyone in my home. Tom and the boys are free to eat meat if they so desire. The way I see it is that I am so conscientious about the ingredients I put on my skin or in my hair, that it is only natural for me to continue the green shift to my diet. I started taking steps long ago, when I started buying local, growth hormone-free milk and dairy products. My produce is purchased at farmer's markets and from local growers as often as possible. It's only natural to me that I would progress to this.

I have gone for a couple months eating meat free before (I just was going through a phase of not liking it) and I felt so wonderful. I'm also glad to be doing something that will lighten my own carbon footprint.

Look for recipes each week on Chic & Green as well, as I share some of my exisiting vegetarian reciped with you, as well as new ones will try.