Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Of Prime Importance

If it is true that we are what we eat, doesn't it stand to reason that we should eat what we are?

I have been craving meat over the past couple of weeks.

Now, this shouldn't be surprising, seeing as I was able to sustain a 15-month stint where I ate mostly meat and little else.  Carnivory is an essential part of how I choose to nourish myself and live my life.  But I realized that, in recent months, I had been letting my quota of deceased fauna fall below 50% of my overall intake.

There are varied reasons for this.  One of them is that, after such a long time of just meat and nothing else, I've been wanting to experience the taste, texture, and general aura of non-animal foods, especially such delicacies as baked goods, fresh pastas, or fine chocolate.  Seeing as I have limited capacity, these foods have been taking up a greater percentage of my daily fare and edging out the meat.  Another reason is that oftentimes meat takes a lot more work to prepare than other alternatives.  It's easy to grab a couple of slices of bread and slap some PB and jelly on them, but there are many times when I feel as if I have to overcome a huge hurdle of mental laziness in order to make myself cook a steak.  

But, if I do that for too many days in a row, I find myself feeling draggy, moody, sluggish, and overall unwell.  Even though I am not plagued by hunger and cravings like I used to be, I feel a general lowering of my energy levels and motivation.  I go around feeling like it's a rainy day when the sun is shining brightly.  In short, I feel like crap.

The physiological reasons for this are obvious: when I neglect to eat meat, I run on a protein deficit.  The word "protein" is derived from the Greek word "Protos" which means "of prime importance."  Second only to water, it is the most plentiful substance in our bodies.  It is the primary building block of our anatomy, and as such it really needs to be the mainstay of our nutritional profile.  A protein deficit means that you're living in a house made of straw or sticks,  instead of one made of brick.  Eat one of those three little piggies and you'll be good to go.

And the most efficient and effective way to get that protein in is by consuming meat.  Steak, sausage, bacon, pork chops, lamb, chicken, fish, shrimp.  If it once had a face, it's probably good for you.  Yes, yes, it is possible to construct a nutritionally complete meat-free diet, but it's too much work and I'm too damn lazy.  And, even though I sometimes find myself feeling too lazy too cook meat, I'm way more lazy about trying to do vegetarianism with any sort of nutritional thoroughness.  When I think of it this way, cooking meat feels like a walk in the park.

Getting enough meat into my diet doesn't mean at all that I have to exclude other foods.  Other foods aren't the enemy, if they're not undermining my meat quota.  But I have to remember to choose my meals based on meat first, sides second, treats last.  If I get full on the meat, oh, well, the other stuff will have to wait until I'm hungry again... if there's room left after the meat portion of the next meal.

Instead of a salad with pieces of chicken, it is preferable to have a substantial serving of chicken with a side salad.  Sausage and eggs instead of that very tempting chocolate croissant for breakfast.  A portion of meat with a small side of pasta, instead of a large bowl of pasta with tomato sauce and a sprinkling of ground beef.  Or, if the mood strikes, just one big steak with a glass of wine on the side.

Part of my new approach to eating is about pure, unadulterated, hedonistic enjoyment.  But, if I am feeling physically undermined because I'm not feeding my body an adequate proportion of the primary fuel, then nothing is as enjoyable as it could be.

That being said, there's steak for dinner.  


  1. Carolina-I finally found you! It's Marly from ZIOH days. I did the deed from April 2009 to April 2010 eschewing my beloved sriracha and chipotle mustard and cayenne pepper. From my birthday (May 2) until this week, I withdrew from meat (which had been a problem for me after 60 years as a vegetarian) but ate wild salmon and omega-3 eggs, butter, hot spices, and avocados.

    In the process, I found that I feel best on a fiber-free intake. That's the great lesson that I learned from my year of ZC.

    So, now I am eating brisket, beef tongue, sirloin patties (I detest ground meat but they're a great emergency food when I haven't prepared anything else) and once again loving my hot spices and condiments. I ordered organic coconut cream and I'm awaiting its arrival. It's like the smart woman's peanut butter.

    And, once again, I now work out daily. I desperately missed my workouts during my ZC year; I've been a lifelong gym rat. I don't exercise to lose weight; I do it to feel exhilarated.

    We are different in our food interests. Chocolate has never called out to me. Hummus has. Grapes do. So, when I desire those foods, I eat them. In moderation? Hell, no!

    I now love my wavy kinky hair. My Buddha belly is not a source of delight but I feel very shapely and strong and sexy.

    I will NEVER expose myself again to any group of people with lots of rules. I am the world expert on myself.