Monday, July 26, 2010

I don't eat meat

I needed a snack. Something salty. Something crunchy. I was standing in the basement of my office building and that's when it happened.... I, a pescatarian, purchased BEEF FLAVORED POTATO CHIPS. Specifically "Baby Back Rib" flavor ruffles. Now, that's just gross. I don't love potatoes, I don't even eat meat (just fish, and I know what you are thinking, no, its not meat, we will get to that). Curiosity got the best of me. I had to know what the hell the chips were about. They tasted like bbq flavor, with liquid smoke flavor and maybe a hint of meat? I don't know for certain. It has been more than five years since I have had a rib. I knew the chip contained no meat, but it tasted like what I remember ribs to taste like. I ate the whole bag and didn't regret it.

People oft ask why I don't eat meat. It started as me cutting out red meat to reduce my fat intake. That worked. Then I decided all mammals must go. And now, nothing but fish. Why? Because the thought of digesting flesh of another animal is disgusting to me. I mean, it walks around, like you and me and then it dies and I eat that? It's like eating human, but just one degree less creepy. Grab your arm. Flex. Now think of a cow walking around. Ick. Killing is not the issue. I have no moral objections to killing an animal for my gain. I have a shoe and purse collection that would make you weep of joy. So, why don't I eat meat? It isn't just one thing. Its a lot of reasons. Detailed below are the various leading reasons why.

It's better for the environment.
I've been saying this for years… and now other people are too: cows emit far worse gases then cars do and more. Seriously. According the the WorldWatch Institute: livestock contributes 18% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, even higher than the GHG emissions from transportation. As part of this figure they produce 37% of methane, which has more than 20 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. And if that weren't enough to be concerned about, their manure emits nitrous oxide, 65% of world totals. "A University of Chicago study examined the average American diet and found that all the various energy inputs and livestock emissions involved in its production pump an extra 1.5 tons of CO2 into the air over the course of a year, which would be avoided by a vegetarian diet. Thus, the researchers found, cutting out meat would do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than trading in a gas guzzler for a hybrid car."

Women who eat red meat are twice as likely to develop breast cancer
The risk increased with the amount of red meat consumed, with those who ate more than 1 1/2 servings a day of beef, lamb or pork having nearly double the risk of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer compared with those who ate three or fewer servings per week. A serving is roughly equivalent to a single hamburger or hot dog. Now before you say "EVERYTHING CAUSES CANCER"... let me just say, most things change your cancer chances by a percent or two. This is 35% higher risk. That is HUGE.

Health Reasons
I am no picture of health. I make tons of bad choices (rib flavored ruffles anyone?), but this choice is easy for me. So why not make the good choice here?

Spiritual Beliefs
My religion teaches of "Flesh of beasts and of the fowls of the air... are to be used sparingly. And it is pleasing unto me [God] that they should not be used..." I am in now way close to the whole ideal. I strive for it, I fail continually. I have had a hard time with this one. But, one thing I can do, one thing I don't mind doing is following the meat thing. I am sure it would also be pleasing unto Him if I stopped eating so many Doritos and Snickers, but why not do what I can?

What it all boils down to
I can do whatever I want. Oh, and peanut butter is my favorite food.

*a note on fish: they don't use the muscle the same way as we do. they move their vertebrae, and thus, they move. their "meat" is really just an extension of the fish- like milk is to a cow. like a snake - i guess i would be ok eating a snake, but they don't even taste good. (and yes, i know, i tried them before).

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

How to celebrate your freedoms the right way.


I am spoiled. Sometimes I am also a brat. During a bout of being a spoiled brat I was lamenting on the phone with Momma Jo, telling her that my life was basically over because there was no way I could have a Fourth of July better than the recent previous. Last year, it was Boston and Neil Diamond sang Coming to America- twice! The year before that I was somehow able to get on a boat to watch the show in DC from the Potomac River alongside the memorials... there was no way I could top these things. No matter what I did, it would pale in comparison. My life was over: Spoiled. Brat.

Well, read on readers. And for those fearing that this is just going to be a brag-blog, don't worry, there are descriptions of the most interesting characters. So there's that too.

The Build Up

First of all, watching Top Gun under the stars is always a good idea. Always.

Now, what is even better, is waking up and floating on a tube down a river. Highlights from the River include:
-Not being able to manage a re-mount of the tube. What?
-LB peeing from laughter, and it finally being ok because we were in a river.
-Going to a National Park and asking a man in costume (a civil war solider) if he was a ghost. He wasn't.
-Laughing so hard that one ab hurt the next day
-Pulling over to the side of the road, for no other reason then to really be able to focus on singing "Country Roads" with all my might when John Denver came on the radio.

After you get home from floating a river, going to the capitol building to watch the dress rehearsal for the Capitol Fourth Concert is also a great way to celebrate our freedoms. So we went. David Archuleta sang the National Anthem, Lang Lang tickled the ivories and Reba gave me goosebumps with "Fancy". (Note: I was also able to tweet Archie and invite him to church, from 4slyce's account- don't worry I am still anti-twitter. Anyway, he didn't show but he did read the tweet.)

The Big Day
Zipping into the District was a relative breeze. We were able to roll the windows down and roll alongside a biker who loved us and clearly loved America.

Furthermore, we were fortunate enough to view the fireworks this year from a rooftop terrace that was right next door to the white house. I don't know, magical things just fall into my lap. (Shout out and thank you, Sweet Ash.) Whilst a half-million of my fellow Americans were crowding the mall, I was able to avoid such crowds and watch with an un-obstructed view from the exactly one block due north of where Obamas watched. I will never be the same.

Right after the pyrotechnic show, we sat and enjoyed the view, watched the people, watched the other area firework shows, and chatted. We met a man from Colorado. A client of the firm. He really wanted me to have a drink with him. And, I'm not going to lie, I really wanted to oblige, however Ashley stopped me. Saving my night yet again. (The even better news is that he was like 45 years old, skewing my average age to something a little more respectable.) I digress...

Another advantage to being on a rooftop is that after the whole she-bang was over, we could see the local street traffic pattern as well as the speed of travel on the bridges out of the district. After a spell, we determined it safe to depart. Clear for take off.

Walking into the parking garage I let out one of my finest "bwwoooops" and it was returned! By a chap wearing bright turquoise plaid pants. His girl in a matching sundress. They were holding hands and skipping. I don't know how they managed to find each other in this world we live in, but I am so glad they did. They were a perfect match.

We returned to our home in Arlington, lit some sparklers, whipped up a batch of chocolate chip cookies and thanked the lucky stars for the day.

The Slow Down
How do make the best weekend even bester (wasn't a word until now)... you go to the beach.