Carnism: It’s worse than it sounds

Tonight for dinner I ate a delicious, spicy bean burger and nothing was killed in order for me to have a healthy, high protein meal. Saturday night, my friends and I cooked Spinach Stuffed  Portabello Mushrooms. Yes, a few mushrooms had to come out of the dark, but they didn’t come kicking and screaming.

portabello

For almost twenty years I was a vegetarian, eating animal by-products, i.e. yogurt, cheese, eggs. Then I moved to Imperial Valley, “Where the Sun Spends the Winter.” That was in the year 2000. There was no health food store and it was uncommon to find organic anything in one of the few supermarkets. Where had I landed! I felt like a foreigner in a world of meat-eaters. Everywhere I looked: meat, meat everywhere. Tri-tip (which is a cut of beef specific to this area), steak and ribs. Eating out for me became a thing of the past.

And it wasn’t long before my vegetarian lifestyle became a vague memory. I began to eat fish. We all know how healthy salmon is. And somehow we convince ourselves that it is not cruel to kill and eat them. You know that those fish tossed on the deck of a ship are screaming in pain, don’t you? Don’t laugh; it’s true.

January of this year I couldn’t do it anymore. Fish feel pain. Fish have mothers. For the first time I heard the word carnism. It basically means that eating animals is a belief system that conditions us to eat certain animals. Carnism is invisible in that if we had to slaughter our own meat, we wouldn’t be so willing to eat it.

chicken-headI’m pretty much a city girl.  I still remember visiting my grandparents in rural Texas and being chased around the yard by my cousin swinging the head of a decapitated chicken. I was horrified. My aunt chopped the head off that chicken while it was still alive. I had gathered eggs from that very chicken in morning. Alive, she chopped the head off an alive chicken. I didn’t become a vegetarian then, but I pretty much blocked the image of the murder of that chicken from my mind and continued to eat fried chicken after church every Sunday.

baby-chick

Of course we eat only certain animals. We have some arbitrary system and belief system that drives our choices. Would you eat stew made from Labrador Retriever? OMG!! We can’t even imagine it. My sweet little chihuhuas, Taco and Daisy for dinner—no way in hell! I would fight to the death to save my dearest friends.photos-videos-from-phone-009

I promised myself I would keep my posts to around 400 words, and I haven’t said all the words I have on the subject of carnism, but I’m going to quit writing.  So stop and think when you cut your steak, chicken, pork or fish tonight. What if it were Daisy! Bon appetit!

 

 

 

 

 

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Thought for the day

In my small town situated on the Mexican border, Mexican food is to die for. However, there are not many healthy food options. Last week a juice bar opened next to my work—well, there are no words to express my excitement. I can’t afford to go everyday, but I am praying that they generate enough business to stay open.

 

Breakfast of champions

Oatmeal—gotta love it. Mom always said it was the “stick to your ribs” breakfast. I didn’t love it. In fact, you could say I hated it. Cornflakes, Raisin Bran, Frosted Flakes—that was my kind of breakfast.

cornflakes

Somewhere along the way, I stopped eating breakfast entirely. It definitely wasn’t the most important meal of the day for me. Occasionally I would stop at Winchells or Krispy Kreme for my morning sugar and caffeine fix which evoked memories of the sugar high from my childhood.donut

Then, like so many of us, I decided to get healthy. Here comes oatmeal—again. Didn’t like it any better this time. But did you know that you can turn a healthy bowl of oatmeal into a delightfully, sinful concoction? Add some butter, brown sugar and milk. This is way better than Frosted Flakes. Wow! I loved this healthy breakfast.

Eventually, I saw the delusion I had created with my so-called healthy oatmeal. Out it went. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t avoid the oatmeal hype.

Suddenly, like an epiphany, I saw that oatmeal really was the perfect start to my morning. It’s bursting with fiber and heart protective nutrients. And because of the hype, it was available in individual packets, microwavable and, sadly, loaded with sugar. I loved it! Then I read the label and realized that inadvertently I had once again created a sugary oatmeal monster.

steelcutoatscooked250

This had to stop. I was on a mission. Oatmeal for breakfast or bust! In comes steel cut oats. Why I was willing to spend 30 minutes cooking them, I don’t know, but I was. Maybe I was growing up. I added a small amount of brown sugar while cooking and found that the creamy texture and slight sweetness was eminently satisfying.

Finally, after many years, I am an oatmeal junkie. Part of my weekly meal prep is cooking a week or two’s supply of steel cut oats, dividing into muffin tins, freezing and packaging individually for my own version of instant, slightly sweetened breakfast of champions.

I don’t want to bore you with all the healthy, nutritious details but the final analysis of the steel cut oats and regular oats debate is that nutritionally they are the same with one minor difference. Steel cut oats have a slightly lower glycemic index which makes them a better choice by a smal lmargin. Make your own decision—just eat the oats.

 

 

 

Who are you, anyway?

My ideal reader–Who are you, anyway?

When I told some friends that I was writing a blog, their first response was, “are you making any money yet?”

“Money?” I thought. “Blogs are for making money?” But I didn’t say that because I figured they must know more about blogging than I did. Heck, almost anyone knows more about blogging than I do. That won’t be the case for long though. In case you haven’t noticed, this “Fundamentals of Blogging Course” is actually paying off. Go figure, huh?

Sadly, but not surprisingly, none of my friends asked to read my blog or even where they could find it. Good thing I’m not counting on them to buy anything!

One of my co-workers asked me if I was going to be published. “Published? Well, I’m publishing posts when I can remember how.” That was the end of that conversation.

JB Tonette Alisha Jaz_3
My workout gal pals: Jasmine, 25; Alisha, 37; me, 68; Tonette, 50. The Fab Four

 

I’m still no closer to finding my ideal reader, but I know you’re not a shopper or a publisher.

In real life, meaning physical not virtual, who are my friends? If you are my friend, there’s an almost 100% probability that you are fit and healthy or that you want to be. That’s what I do almost all day every day. I am a personal trainer. I work out, and I eat healthy most of the time.

If clubbing is one of your main weekend activities, chances are we’ve never met.

I also do yoga. This is probable is not surprising—fitness and all. But yoga ceased to be merely a physical activity for me several years ago. Yoga is part of my spiritual life now, and, yeah, I have spiritual friends.

Now we’re making progress—a physically healthy, spiritual person who doesn’t live a party lifestyle.

What else? Oh yeah, the age thing. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know age is just a number and old is a state of mind. But I’m 68. While that may not be interesting in and of itself, it is a big attraction for the event called “JB”—that is me. I never intended to be old, but hey, if I’m going to be old, I’m going to be the best old person out here. Old people like me; I inspire them. Young people like me because they think I’m proof that getting old may not suck. For whatever reason, many of my friends think their age or my age or anything about age is important.

Making big strides here: my ideal reader is a healthy, spiritual person who doesn’t party and is mindful of aging.

But enough about me! Who are you! Finding our who you are has got to be the most unexpected benefit of blogging. I had no idea you were there. I’m excited about getting to know you. And if you’ve even read this far—well, I’m not sure we can be friends. Most of my friends have shorter attention spans than I do, and I can read blogs of about 500 words before …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where have all the bloggers gone?

 

It’s just not working! First of all, this whole blogging thing is hard, time consuming and frustrating. I thought I would write about health and fitness. Then I realized I wanted to write about other things too. Somewhere along the way I got lost.

What tags to use on my posts? What did I want to write about? How to find other people’s posts? How to use the information in the area that provides tags and categories. Half the time I can’t remember how to get to that page on the blog customizer. This was so frustrating, I wanted to quit.

But, I’m not a quitter. In fact, I’m known for my discipline and perseverance, i.e. graduate degrees, marathons, etc.

At first I didn’t make the connection between my decision to write about something other than fitness with my disillusionment with blogging in general. My whole life is about fitness. Hey, I’m a personal trainer. Yes, there are other things I can write about, and that’s ok. Enter Fundamentals of Blogging.Screenshot (21).png

The course is working! The assignment for today is to find other blogs to follow. I had been wondering where you went. It’s not your fault. I know that now. I just took a detour and never found my way back.

Now, I get it. Click on one of the tags I’ve entered and all the posts with that tag appear on the right side of the page! How simple is that. I have to wonder how I got through grad school.

Voila! There you are! You’re back. Now I just have to remember how I got here. And guess what? I love you. You’re inspiring me. I already have a million, zillion ideas—well maybe not that many—for topics to write about on my blog.

Not only was I over-thinking almost everything, I was making it so black and white. Duh! I can write on anything I want and I don’t have to give up writing on health/fitness/nutrition. All or nothing thinking is a habit I definitely need to break. Best of all, I can find you—great writers, fitness enthusiasts, healthy eaters, and on and on. I am one happy blogger.

How will I tag this post? I’m thinking “blogging,” “fundamentalsofblogging,” “fitness.” “Lost in cyber space”—that’s probably not a tag.

I think I’m going to like blogging after all.

 

“The Three of Us”

We are three amazing women who like to be fit. We met and work out at Snap Fitness in El Centro, CA.  If you saw us, you probably wouldn’t match us up as workout buddies, but we make a great team. The Three of Us

Our ages are 33, 51, and 67 and we have differing levels of strength, flexibility, and endurance. One thing we have in common is our stubbornness. Things can get very interesting! Our goal is to keep each other motivated and committed to at least four workouts a week.

Each of us has one or two little body issues—hip replacement, arthritis, exercise-onset-migraines, bone spurs, sciatica—you get the idea. We modify the exercises to accommodate our bodies.

Last week we started a twelve-week workout program. Here’s our workout for the first three weeks. We do three sets of 12 reps for everything except abs, where we do 20 reps.

Week 1 workoutWe determine the order of our exercises based on the location of equipment in the gym and how crowded it is. We do super-sets rotating through three exercises, unless I can convince my partners to include an interval component—fat chance, but I keep trying.

I like circuit training and abs. Tonette hates circuit training and abs. I like body weight exercises. Both Tonette and Alisha like to lift heavy weights. We compromise.

Share the upcoming three months with us! We’re planning on having some fun. We’ll share our workout and nutrition tips and look forward to hearing about yours.