My name is Ganesh and I am a non-vegetarian. Isn’t that the way to introduce oneself at Alcoholics Anonymous? Truth to tell I haven’t been to any AA meeting but I have seen the same scene plenty of times in films where recovering alcoholics go to AA meetings and use the above introduction. It’s called acknowledging your addiction in front of others, agreeing you have a problem before you ask for help from the group. It probably works too as AA has a burgeoning membership all over the world and so I decided to go the same way in my challenge to turn vegetarian.
So to begin from the beginning, it’s been a week since I turned vegetarian and I seriously need help to continue being one. Well let me make it clear that my turning a vegetarian at this late stage has nothing to with a moral or ethical conviction that vegetarianism is superior, as the PETA people say. My understanding of the food chain is simple- you can either eat the plants directly or you can eat the animals that eat the plants indirectly- it doesn’t matter for ultimately it’s all from the same food source – solar energy – the sun. As the sun undergoes a nuclear reaction inside itself – fusion between hydrogen and helium atoms takes place and it pours out the nuclear energy as radiant energy to the planet earth where the plants eat the energy as photosynthesis and grow, the animals eat those plants and grow and people like me eat those animals and grow too much while at the same time the germs inside me are eating me right now and the worms will eat me after my death to recycle my atoms again into the universe as pure matter- so all in all life is a neat cycle and nothing is wasted.
So ultimately all I eat is nuclear energy regardless of the intermediate source I get it from- plants or animals. But the reason I have switched over to vegetarianism recently is pound for pound non-vegetarian food is more calorie rich when compared to vegetarian food and hence I am getting more bang for my buck. Although in theory getting value for money is a good thing, in this case, when I am looking to lose weight and I want to create a calorie deficiency I am looking for something which is equally filling but at the same time less useful for my body – voila, plants. And hence my, so far painful, conversion to vegetarianism.
As to why I want to change over, well let me put it bluntly – it’s because I want to live to see my fortieth birthday which seems quite a remote possibility right now unless I really make some lifestyle changes immediately. My cholesterol levels are way over, I suspect I have hypertension and I am well on my way to having my first heart attack -it’s just a question of when and not if. In addition to this, I am moody, cranky and I am picking fights with everyone for no reason at all making me universally disliked. My weight has boomeranged till I look like an overblown balloon nowadays and I have long since forgotten how the inside of a gym would look like.
And I cant even blame work pressure or work overload for this neglect to exercise as in the past whenever I got busy at work and couldn’t hit the gym I used to make sure that when I came home at night, from the car park I would walk right back into the street and walk up and down and up and down the street in front of my house for an half an hour or forty five minutes before going back to ring the door bell of my house and then supper. Somehow I used to make time if I didn’t have the time during the day. But all that is in the past for now I come home, hog supper and flop myself in front of the computer to check face book notifications and type blogposts like this when I should be out walking and getting a little exercise.
If I were a psychiatrist and if I were a patient before me, I would probably say something like this “son, you have a deep seated psychological problem which is causing you to put on weight and de-motivating you from exercising by making you lethargic. Find the cause and fight it first”. But well I am not a psychiatrist and anyway I don’t believe in all that mumbo-jumbo. So I have decided to take the practical route with a series of small goalposts to help me along- forget the big aim at the end- it’s all small steps I can live with for now
1) Turn vegetarian- lose the meat – cut cholesterol
2) Reduce quantity- put myself on a semi-starvation diet by intermittent fasting
3) Get at least ten minutes of walking a day- more than that I cannot promise in the initial stage- but at least that. For if I do force myself to take off for an hour a day I am sure that won’t last more than two days. So for now- ten minutes is all I need and I think its doable.
These are the three small goals I have for this month on my HAP-LLG “Heart Attack Prevention and Long Life for Ganesh” plan. And I have already crossed the first hurdle of resisting temptation by sitting down at the dinner table today with a small plate of beans while everyone else around me were eating spicy fish curry with relish. I hope my resistance to temptation and my newly converted vegetarian zeal lasts the whole way. Wish me luck for if I fall off the wagon I am pretty sure I would be falling straight in to my grave. Let’s hope the plants I am eating now – those bland, tasteless, grassy stuff (yuck) – hold me back from that early grave. And good luck to all those animals who have escaped my attention- you are indeed lucky I changed my mind.