Meaty Resolutions

I don’t like meat, so I don’t eat meat.

I don’t like coconut, so I don’t eat coconut.

However, if you choose to eat coconut crusted meat at any point in time, more power to you. I don’t view my decision and preference as anything better or worse than that of someone who likes the occasional steak.

caveman-comicWhat does sway my moral compass a bit is animal welfare, factory farming, GMOs/artificial hormones, etc., but there are plenty of sustainable and hormone-free options out there if I ever get the urge to return to carnivorous ground. At the end of the day, I have my reasons, the main one (selfishly) being that I don’t like the taste.

I’ll admit I’ve used it as an excuse at times to get out of having to eat questionable wedding meals, company potluck creations and anything else that isn’t Abby-approved. And, yes, there have been times I’ve questioned my meatless motivation, but I’m at a point where I know why I make the decisions that I do (at least when it comes to meat—everything else is still on the table.)

We’ll return to this in a minute.

I bring this up because it’s the time of year when most people make resolutions to change something about themselves in the upcoming year. In preparation for Jan. 1 they often feel the need to binge on maladaptive behaviors (smoking, eating fast food, etc.) in preparation for a complete restriction of these things.

I don’t do this.

Now I know I’m the oxymoronic restrictive queen of instant gratification (expect a post on this shortly), but even a rational person should fail to see the logic in doing something you know isn’t healthy until a certain point in time when you plan on stopping cold turkey. So while it is the thought that counts and intentions may be honorable come Jan. 1, in this case the thought is messed up. I’ll tell you why…

Self-imposed restrictions and “absolute” rules only open the door up for guilt. Guilt—much like jealousy and regret—is a useless emotion.

That doesn’t mean you don’t still experience it, but rather that holding onto it is about as helpful as giving a fish a bicycle. For those of you not grasping my point, it’s not helpful.

We live in a society that often deems things “good” or “bad,” failing to take into consideration the fact that individual people have individual needs. Everything isn’t pass/fail and the only reason things are viewed this way is because that’s how we choose to view them.

Let’s be honest, some people can go hard-core and keep that resolution with no problem, while another person might last a day before falling off whatever wagon it is they hopped on for the New Year.

new-year-resolutions

Because they see giving in and drinking pop, not exercising one day, etc. as a failure and a breaking of their rule, they feel guilt. The guilt brings on feelings of inadequacy and regret, which often turns into waving the white flag of surrender while using their other hand to bitterly flip off everyone else who was “stronger.”

Let’s get back to food—don’t I always?—because I’ve found that self-imposed restrictions and rules with food and exercise only open the door up for guilt.

We all need food, so it’s not like we have a choice in the matter. But we can choose what we want. Vegan, gluten-free, etc. is fine if you have legitimate health (or moral) issues, so that’s not my point. If you have allergies, intolerances, etc. to certain foods and certain things, it’s obviously necessary that you avoid those things and plan accordingly. I can’t tolerate soy or peanuts and half a cup of coffee will send me into intestinal hell for a week. I get it.

My point is it’s unhealthy when any behavior is taken up as a justification for restriction or overindulgence in anything. Given the choice between a vegan cupcake and a cupcake, many people (in the blog world) assume that “vegan” puts it on a pastry pedestal of sorts, simply because it’s lacking certain things—namely a side of guilt after eating a “normal” cupcake when a vegan option was available.

Decisions shouldn’t be made in an effort to ward off guilt, as that’s not an authentic intention. Decisions should be made because the motivation is there for change in any way, shape or form.

So as the New Year approaches, think about what you realistically want to do, even if it’s just not putting any restrictions or resolutions in place. I’m right with you—most often taking baby steps instead of giant leaps—but I can make the next healthy choice, no matter what the date is. I don’t have to wait for Jan. 1.

However, I do draw the line at coconut. It tastes like suntan lotion smells and I can’t get past that.

Talk amongst yourselves, or better yet, in the comments.

Disclaimer: Upcoming post topics will include underwear, the contract of marriage and whatever else is either suggested to me or pops into my head at the exact moment I don’t have a pen to write it down.

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7 responses to “Meaty Resolutions

  1. The first cartoon isincreibly. For me, being strict about food and exercise means I am thinking about it even more frequently than I usually think about it. And that would cause too much stress and a much shorter life! So just make changes in things that actually harm you. Like smoking. Or not eating veggies or fruits ever. I think little lifestyle changes are great as resolutions, or for me, making the promise to keep in touch with people more. I am usually terrible at this, but if I make it a quanifiable priority, I do a better job and that keeps myself and the people I am keeping in touch with very happy!

  2. Kath (Eating for Living)

    If you don’t like a certain food, then don’t eat it. It’s so easy. I also believe that food that you eat with disgust doesn’t serve you in such the (healthier) way it would if you liked it.

    I dislike coconut as well (gah gah gah), but I eat meat. Not all meat, though. I’m picky. But meat is almost the only kind of protein I can tolerate – dairy and soy don’t like me (and vice versa). So I’m glad I like chicken. And a little read meat. And there’s nothing better than steamed cod caught by my dad, freshly from the baltic sea, and served with vegetables and a little ghee or butter. (I’m looking forward to plenty of that when I’m home for Christmas!)

    I very much agree with what you wrote about abusing certain behoaviors to disguise unhealthy restrictions. And I’ve never trusted new year’s resolutions! If you want, you can make every day the 1st of January.

  3. For the record, I don’t like coconut either. It blows my mind how so many people go crazy over it… especially in the blog world.

    I really agree with this whole post, but that’s not to say that I don’t constantly make this mistake. When it comes to food, the majority of my choices are made to ward off guilt. I feel better, and more ‘in control’, if I pick something with some type of nutritional benefit.
    It’s obviously something that I am trying to change. I can choose to have a cupcake made with refined white sugar as opposed to honey or some other alternative… but I usually don’t. I’d love to say that my choosing the healthier option is solely based on my desire to have a healthy body and feel the best physically, but there’s so much more to it than that. Sometimes I wish I could just shut my brain off.

    … Great post Abs :)

  4. I think some people partake in NY resolutions because otherwise, they would never really get the chance to sit down and be…introspective. You hardly need that special day because you always are introspective, but not everyone is. I wish they will get more introspective than “I wanna lose 15 lbs this year” though.

  5. I definitely see your point of view. However, I am perfectly comfortable making a few personal resolutions (which I would not share with anyone else, save perhaps my husband) on New Year’s. I believe it is indeed a time to take stock of oneself, one’s motivations, and one’s hopes and dreams. I also see no real problem with a little partying or excess (within reason, mind you) leading up to the moment of calm and introspection. It’s part of the holiday spirit for many–eating a little too much, laughing a little too loudly. Many people see it as a last “hoorah” before switching gears for a new year. I am not saying I am exactly like this, but I “get” why people are. However, I would argue that if people, particularly in the US, were to be a bit less controlled, work and food-obsessed, and “high” on stress on a regular basis, perhaps we’d never need this type of last “hoorah” at all. We wouldn’t be causing our bodies and souls to suffer and be restricted on a daily basis. We might learn to listen to what we really need every day, rather than once a year.

    • I completely agree. I’m not saying I don’t make the occasional New Years resolution or get into the holiday spirit, but rather that absolutes never seem to work (although that seems to be an “absolute” statement in itself.) At any rate, I absolutely agree with your perspective :)

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