Friday, January 29, 2010

You Are What You Eat

picture by Jennifer Tang (I love these!)

(obviously the picture is unrelated)

I'm what one might call a "complicated" eater.  I'm not picky--I love everything (except cilantro and scallops, generally)--and if I don't already love it I'm usually pretty game to try it.  However, not all food loves me.  Food and I have a what one might classify as "complicated" relationship.  

It wasn't always this way.  As a youngster, I was that weird child who ate green things willingly and loved fish and never said no to anything (except for a glass of milk, which, even now, thinking about makes me a little queasy). Fast forward a decade or so and I'm off to college with new found food allergies.  It began as a simple fruit allergy.  Tropical Fruits + Ashleigh = hive-y discomfort and general sadness.   Fine, I could handle that.  Tropical fruit isn't in everything so it was easy enough to cut out.  Stopped eating Tropical Fruit, stopped feeling like my skin was trying to crawl off my legs, problem solved.  

But wait, wait, not so fast....

...more recently, I have discovered an intolerance to foods of the nightshade family.  Now, you are probably thinking one of two things: either "Nightshade?  That's a food family group?" or "Isn't that a poisonous plant?"  Why, YES, dear reader.  Nightshade, or as it is more commonly known, deadly nightshade IS poisonous.  In fact, according to Wikipedia, it is one of the most toxic plants in the Western hemisphere.  Excellent.  Anyway, other than nightshades generally not being great for you (due to the whole they-have-small-amounts-of-toxic-stuff-in-them thing), the family of foods includes TOMATOES, POTATOES, EGGPLANTS, and BELL PEPPERS (especially the green ones).  Yes, all the delicious things.  All the things that are in everything.  Now, I discovered that my biggest problem is with the -atos, that being tomatoes and potatoes.  It is a very long, convoluted story of how I figured this out, but let's me just say that I have chronic leg pain, which virtually vanished when I cut specific things out of my diet, and acne, which stopped being horrifying 100% of the time when I stopped eating nightshades.  It was hard to do, especially in the beginning, and can make ordering at a restaurant seem a little daunting (especially an Italian restaurant....waah waah) even now, a full year later, but it remains one of the best things I've ever done for myself.

Now, the point of this whole post was to explain how I am slowly (very slowly) becoming a vegetarian.  It has a lot to do with my brother suddenly becoming Joe Shoots-Animals-and-Such, and then watching him attempt to dry a rabbit he shot a few weeks ago in our garage so he can make a hat (even as I type it, it sort of makes me queasy...ICK).  For some reason I didn't connect the meat products I was eating with the animal that it came from (ok, I did, but not really, in a way that would matter) and ESPECIALLY the fact that someone has to kill them for me to eat them.  Someone has to take another life--for those of you who argue that animals have no souls and therefore it should be just fine to chew on their delicious flesh, I recommend that you go to and listen to their "Animal Minds" show, because I have a feeling it will change your mind, at least in part.  So this being said (and a lot of things being overgeneralized and embellished) I have decided to attempt to cut meat out of my diet.  This has, so far on day 2.5, has been easier than I thought it would, because now every place has vegetarian options.  It has also added a bit of stress to the allergies conversation when in a restaurant, because it cuts back what I can actually consume by a lot, but I believe in it.  Seriously, for the first time in my life I actually feel better when I know that I'm eating cruelty free (and by cruelty free, I mean free of killing animals.  I love cheese and cream in my coffee and can't give them up yet).  It, for some reason, gives me this power (which could just be mostly internal) when I make the choice to not eat meat.

Now, I'm not saying "How DARE YOU eat meat, you cruel, cruel bastards."  I say, do what makes you happy, what fulfills you, and do it at every level.  And having attempted to GoVeg(.com), does this for me.  Rock.


  1. A few thoughts in response:

    -where do you get your calcium?
    -how can you not eat bacon =(
    -yay no acne
    -you are strong, I have the hardest time limiting my diet
    -I miss you

  2. I love reading your writing. Your voice is loud and clear, and it always makes me chuckle at all the right places.

    Miss you tremendously.

    ...Yes, I'm catching up on my Ashleigh stalking - wanna make something of it?