Saturday, June 4, 2011

Should Do Saturday: I should make a list of shoulds

Current mood: Contemplative
Current song: Adele - Rolling in the Deep

I've been thinking a lot lately about "shoulda"s. It started with reading a friend's recent blog post *coughJencough* about her experience with yoga. (Jen, if you're reading this.. you're a fountain of inspiration. I swear, you should give speeches. =] ) Yoga began as a "shoulda" for her, as it has been for me for a couple of years now. The difference is, she turned her shoulda into a dida!

I have a lot of "shoulds." Not a day goes by where I don't think to myself, or my mom, or a friend "Man, I really should _______" It's really easy to say a shoulda, but another thing entirely to actually act upon one, especially large goals. That's why new years resolutions are so popular. 

The best way to make your shoulda a dida, is to make a list out of it. If you have a large list, set a time frame in which to get them all done in. I don't know if I'm at a stage in my life to make a "100 goals in 365 days" kind of list just yet, though I really would like to one day. But I have a few main shoulds on mind that I would like to see myself accomplish, possibly this summer. Many of them involve my newly fixed knee, so they will take a while to build up to. But I also have a few that are achievable at any time... all I need to do is set my mind to them. And what's the best way to do that, again? Why yes, a list. You're listening.

So, inspired by my new Things I Love Thursday adventure, I got the idea to make a Should Do Saturday, where each saturday I list a few things that I would like to see myself try, both big and small. Small things I can attempt right away, whereas larger goals I can take time to plan and feel out. The point is, getting them down on virtual paper will give me a constant reminder of all the everyday shouldas I think about, but never stay for very long in my mind. 

For my first SDS, I'll focus on one particular should I've been thinking about lately. I've been considering that I should become a vegetarian. This is something I have never considered before, thanks to my insatiable enjoyment of every kind of meat (that is socially acceptable) there is. But like most of my ideas and schemes and new adventures, they stem from impulse and spontaneity. This idea started from a book. 

After finishing off the second book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series (fiiiinally), I decided to take a break and pick up where I left off in Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat, by Hal Herzog. If you enjoy anything dealing with culture, sociological issues, or animals... GO GET THIS BOOK. I haven't been able to put it down, it's so so interesting. (It even has a chapter involving gender roles with animals... hellooo, is that me or what?) Anyway, in the book, Herzog discusses various anthrozoologic issues, such as why we love some animals but hate others, why we keep animals as pets and how far back does that go, what causes fads in dog ownership, do children who abuse animals become violent adults, etc. 

The parts that I have been thinking a lot about lately go along with my consideration of vegetarianism. Herzog discusses a lot about the various cultural norms of animal consumption, like why is it okay to eat certain animals in some cultures, while in others it's taboo? In America, we find it repulsive to think of eating rats or snakes or even the family dog, but in other regions of the world, it's the norm. In the most recent chapter I read, he brings up the hypocritical way in how people outrage about the cruelty of cock fighting, but don't think twice about the hellish conditions the chickens we eat live in, not to mention the way in which they are slaughtered (trust me, it's brutal). 

I've felt bad sometimes in the past about the meat I consume, especially when visiting farms and interacting with cows and pigs and sheep up close. I can't stand the sight of an animal being slaughtered, even in the most humane way, nor could I ever do the task myself (I guess a career in farming is out). But as long as I don't picture the animals as I'm eating them, or I choose to naively think that this particular piece of cow I'm eating died peacefully in its sleep of natural causes, I'm able to get through my 15 ounce steak with a clean conscience. Herzog points out that most Americans, not just me, have to try to mask the fact that they are consuming animals, to get though each meal guilt free. That's why the English language has adopted words like beef, pork and poultry. It sounds a lot better than saying "I'd like a slice of cow, some pigs, and a cute little birdy, please."

While this book is fascinating and eye-opening, it is not the only reason I am considering becoming a vegetarian. I could easily just turn a blind eye and keep enjoying my meat, blissfully unaware of the actual process it took to get to my plate. However, the number two reason people become vegetarians (the number one involving bleeding heart animal activists who don't like to eat "anything with a face"), is to live a more healthy lifestyle. It is medical fact that meat is bad for you on a number of levels, unless you are the type of person who can eat small amounts of the healthiest part of chicken and some fish, cooked a certain way, without adding any salts, butters, or seasonings - basically, flavor - to it. But I am certainly not one of those people. My chicken better be fried, my bacon sizzling, my fish dripping with butter, and my steak rare enough that I can still hear the cow moo (talk about insensitivity toward animal rights).

Lately I have been actively trying to eat healthier, both for my figure and for my heart and bones. More fruits and veggies, drinking more milk, less junk food and chocolate consumption. The one thing I have not done, however, is decrease my meat intake... especially red meat. Like the average college student, I have slightly bad cholesterol levels. But I'm sure most of that is due to my extreme love for steak. This is another reason I thought about going veggie. I'm not the kind of person who can just cut back on something... I basically have to go cold turkey. So vegetarianism seems like a good course of action for me. I'll feel better about not participating in the cruel slaughter of animals, and I'll also be taking a good step towards my health, especially since it's statistically proven that vegetarians are also more active and fit and generally healthier than carnivores.

Becoming a vegetarian seems like it could be one of those immediately achievable shouldas, but there are a few factors against me right now. First, it's the beginning of summer. Summer means barbecues. Barbecues mean hot dogs, hamburgers, fried chicken, ribs, steak... all the food I love that I've missed over the long winter. I feel like I want to indulge in at least a little of my favorite summer meats, at least until the 4th of July holiday is through. The second, less shallow, reason I shouldn't cut out meat just yet, is that I'm still recovering from major surgery. My physical therapy begins soon, and I'll need the iron and protein of meat to help strengthen my knee back up. I don't think beans and peanuts will cut it right now. So I figure that the holiday actually serves as a good start date. By July 5th, I'll have recovered well enough, and probably be sick of bbq food by that point anyway.

So there's my first SDS. It's not too large of a goal, it will just take some time to truly get into the mindset of. But I'm excited. And I also can't wait to make my next Should Do Saturday post! I'm thinking of making a list of all the physical activities I'll be able to try now that I have 2 working knees again. I'm sure this is not the first time someone has had this idea (it's basically just a glorified to-do list), but I'm feeling good about it. Feel free to use this to think about and make your own SDS's!

1 comment:

  1. LiLi!!!! I'm so excited to read this post! I'm in week for of being vegetarian, and it's WAY easier than I thought it would be. At first I had trouble getting enough protein. I'd eat fruits and veggies all aftenoon and still be starving. I recently discovered that eggs and cotthe cheese are VERY high in protein. Also, veggie burgers taste much better than I expected.

    I'm actually going to do a post on this same topic next Friday (once I finish the 3 part series I started today.) Great minds think alike!