I said I would write about diet here so I'm going to do that today. When I discovered that many things I did not enjoy, joint pain, digestive problems including cramping and constant gas and others digestive problems that I won't go into detail about here to save on the ick quotient of this post vanished with the adoption of the Paleo diet I thought I had it all figured out. It was those evil Neolithic ancestors of ours foolishly settling down in villages and farming;
By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.
Even God said agriculture was wrong! :-) Sort of.
Well, there wasn't much about the paleo diet I didn't like, lots of meat, fresh veggies and fruits, eggs even some dairy could be squeezed in there, cheese and yogurt weren't all that bad really. But I did miss my pizza and pasta! And so I conducted several months of experiments on myself, cutting out and adding into my diet various categories of food. Very quickly it became obvious that I was gluten sensitive if not outright celiac (which I don't want to be tested for due to the intrusive nature of the tests.) So I cut out all the gluten, and continued eating milk and eggs and cheese and meat and lots of vegetables and fruits. I felt pretty good. I wanted some sort of confirmation of all of this so I found an outfit called Entero Lab www.enterolab.com that provides a relatively inexpensive and non-intrusive test for immune responses to different foods. As I had expected I have a pretty robust reaction to gluten. I was not happy to learn that I also reacted to eggs, dairy and soy! This was sucking pretty bad here as far as I was concerned.
Then I flashed back in time to my several month try at being vegan, and realized that the entire range of negative effects that diet had for me, including weakness, pain, bloating and just plain feeling rotten, were probably due to the fact that my diet was very high in two of the things I just found out I was allergic to, soy and gluten. I was eating lots of bread and wraps, drinking soy milk by the gallon and munching tofu inside my "healthy" whole wheat wraps. For some reason I got sicker than a dog. ;-)
So now, here I was finding out that the main ingredients of my vegan diet had been triggering a huge immune response in me, but that I also can't eat many of the things that the vegan diet had cut out for me. In fact the only "animal product" that doesn't make me sick within a day is meat! Of course.
So, meat was the thing that had pushed me into the vegan camp in the first place, the awful treatment of animals by today's factory farms was, and is, disgusting to me and made me want to be vegan. Today when I drive through the Central Valley on my way back to the Bay Area for work I pass by several dairy farms where the cows are crowded into barren corrals with no grass, standing in thick layers of their own waste they look miserable and smell worse. I don't know the real names of these farms but I call them "Vegan Maker Farms" because every time I see and smell them I want to return to being a vegan. I'm glad I don't go by a big CAFO like the Harris Feedlot you go by on I5 about halfway to LA. Nasty, foul, cruel and disgusting, and those are the mildest terms I could come up with to describe that one. Check this out: http://politicsoftheplate.com/?p=1112
Maybe then I should only eat pampered grass fed animals? Well, even well treated animals have those big sad brown eyes, I can't kill one, I have tried while "hunting" a couple of times in Montana and Idaho, Bambi is safe from me. I figure, if I am not willing to kill it I really don't have the right to eat it. Even if I could the reality is I can't afford the prices for grass fed beef anyway so it's all moot.
Which brings me back to what in the world am I going to eat now? I can't eat any animal products other than the meat, and honey if you are one of those extremist vegans who hates the idea of oppressing insects, which doesn't bother me, I'm eating honey and that's that. :-) But since I can't eat all the rest and the CAFOs are where almost all of the meat I'm likely to be able to get is coming from I guess I'm just going to have to get over myself and go back to being vegan, without the gluten and the soy. I found a blog with recipes Gluten Free Soy Free Vegan
and bought a cook book today, "The Gluten Free Vegan." Lots of it sounds pretty good.
Unlike previous times I've changed my diet I'm not going to be extreme about it this time around. When I'm buying my food and when I'm eating out I'll make sure I don't eat meat, that's pretty easy actually. But when I'm offered something with meat I think I'll just go ahead and eat it, at least at first. This is where I am then, gluten free, soy free, egg and dairy free and vegan-ish. :-)