Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I'm gettin' there

I've made some big changes recently. The most profound change has been the decision to become a vegetarian. My motivations are two-fold. The first is strictly nutritional. Meat proteins are not easily digestible. Therefore they are not properly broken down. This can lead to intestinal problems such as constipation or irregularity, or even colon cancer. The undigested meat can interfere with the absorption of vitamins, minerals and other nutritional necessities. Your digestive system works harder and achieves less. Also, the by-products of meat are acidic in the body. This can contribute to acidosis. This is when the pH of the body is below 7 (neutral) into the acid range. Our bodies work best in a slighly alkaline range. (above 7 pH) Acidosis creates the conditions for disease to manifest itself. Some studies claim that a properly maintained bodily pH can eliminate sickness of any kind. So there is that side of it. Basically, meat is not good for you.

The other side is ethical. All life is precious. Whether it's mine, yours, a cow, a fish, a bug or a slug. In Buddhist teachings, all living beings (animals, insects, people) have a soul (so to speak). And all those souls are equal. The soul of a house fly is equal to that of the Dalai Lama. Over countless previous and future lives every living being was or will be our mother. Do you want to cause harm or death to your mother? The intention is that we never cause another soul suffering. (You don't think that cow is scared shitless before the bolt-gun hits it?) While it's not expected that we never cause harm or death under any circumstance, the aim is that we don't intentionally cause harm or death to another living being for our benefit. In the case of food, while I may not actually kill the chicken and make it into a meal, it suffered and died because I wanted to eat chicken. If there is no demand, there will be no supply. If no one wanted to eat chicken, no chickens would have to die. The argument could be made that if we only ate meat that came from animals that had died of natural causes, we would be in the clear morally. However, this brings us back to Argument #1. Nutrition.

For the record, I make no condemnations for those who choose a different lifestyle than my own. I merely ask the same in return.

The other big change in my life is exercise! For the past few years I've been fairly sedentary. Sure, I'd play the odd round of golf, baseball in the summer, yard/housework as necessary but I haven't made the effort to be active everyday. As a result, my energy level has gone down and my weight has gone up. My muscles are tense and my joints hurt. In other words, I feel like an old man. So, I decided that enough was enough and it was time to do something about it. I've started small by actually using the EA Active for the Wii that we bought MONTHS ago.We worked out once, sweated like pigs and ached for days. And there it sat. Around 2 weeks ago I started using it again. After the first day, I took 4 off til the pain subsided but I've done it almost every day since and I've had no lingering pain. It's low impact right now. Resistance band, my own body weight kinda a stuff. I'll get into cardio and weight training eventually. For now, I am happy to increase tone and get those joints moving again. (Bowflex donations greatly accepted.)

I am starting to feel better physically (I haven't lost any weight yet) and I feel better mentally than I have in years. I don't know if it's an actual biochemical change or simply a placebo effect. Frankly, I don't care. As long as it works. So please don't try and psych me out of it.

I'm still a long way from where I want to be but I'm getting there.

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