Friday, January 2, 2015

To Meat or Not to Meat?


How is the second day of the new year treating you? Hope your year is starting on a health conscious note! And that brings me to the topic of today's post.

To meat or not to meat? That is definitely a big question these days.

In the last few years you probably noticed an increase of people that do not eat meat. Well, yours truly joined the party!

Yes, I am proud to say that it has been over a year since I have given up animal meat! And there is so much more......

So, I am sure you are wondering what brought me to this decision. There is not really a very definitive answer. But here are few reasons:

- Too heavy for digestion
- It is not the "real" meat any longer
- Carbon impact on the environment
- All those cute fuzzy creatures!

It has been an interesting year without meat. But this is not my first attempt! I have tried it twice before and unfortunately did not last very long. Considering that I grew up in the country that has a lot of respect for meat products this has not been an easy task. Here are just few samples of the meat menu from my Motherland:

- Pelmeni (yes, here in Canada you will recognise them as pirogies, well, sort of)
- Shashlyk (shish-kebab)
- Belyash' (plain dough stuffed with ground beef and fried, my grandmother made the best!!!!)
- Beef Stroganoff
- And of course don't forget many variations of cold cuts

Well, it is all behind me now! No cow, no pig, no sheep, no goat, no deer, especially no rabbit!!! Do I miss it? From time to time. Just like this New Year Eve, one of my favorite combinations for this
holiday is Jamon Serrano (Spanish ham) and fig or melon. Or another used to be favorite - fried Chorizzo (Spanish sausage). And maybe "In-n-Out" burger (this is the place where I had my last encounter with meat and this is me and my last burger).

Sure, sometimes I feel like I lost a friend, but was it really a friend, I actually think it was more of an acquaintance in the last few years. But what a difference it made for me: my health, my digestion and my overall state of body and mind. And just a sense of accomplishment itself! It is a fantastic feeling!

Many people ask: "So, are you a vegetarian?" The answer is: "I am not. I am a Pollo-pescetarian." Yes, I know it sounds like a religion or a country but there is such a thing. We are the people that eat birds and water creatures. And I enjoy both types tremendously! After all Russia also is well known for its fish products:

- Caviar
- Smoked Salmon (red fish)
- Smoked Beluga (it is actually not Beluga whale)
- Herring
- Shproty (canned sprats in oil)
- And of course Vobla (dried fish that you eat with Russian beer, fantastic combination!)

Back to "Are you a vegetarian?" part. Becoming one is a big step and I am not sure I am ready yet. And then there is "vegan", this goes even further. And honestly I am not sure I would like to go there.

There are many benefits to the lifestyle I chose but I do not push it on anyone. I am happy to share what I have learned and how I feel. But everyone is different and what works for me might not work for another person.

What I promote is a healthy life style and meat is not the greatest helper with that. Unfortunately, I still deal with cooking meat on occasion. My son eats meat and few of his favorite Russian foods are made with meat. One thing I can tell you, cooking meat now is no fun for me. So, my son will have to take the rein of Russian Chef very soon.

I will be sharing my experiences and menu items with you my readers. I would not consider myself an expert in this area just yet but will be happy to answer any questions. Just do not forget that I am not a trained physician or nutritionist. And if you do get an answer to your question from me, please consult with your doctor or nutritionist first. Remember, we are all different!

There are so many more things to share about my new lifestyle but I will leave it for other posts. In conclusion, I would like to thank everyone who supported and tried to understand and respect my decision. Yes, I am sorry that I am a pain in the restaurants now but I am not sorry about how I feel and look and of what I have been able to accomplish in the last year and a bit.

So my dear friends, the question "to meat or not to meat" does not have the same answer for everyone. I will not try to brainwash you with how wonderful it is not to eat meat, it is up to you. But one thing I encourage you to do is to do some research on the effects of eating meat (animal meat) and how it is produced and then decide for yourself. Good luck with your research and decision!

And do not forget

Be Active! Be Involved! Be a Current Woman!

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