Our Kinder, Vegetarian Diet: Week 11

by Dagmar Bleasdale on March 27, 2010

After my first post about this, and many inquiries about how things are going, I wanted to finally give you an update on our kinder, more vegetarian diet. We started changing things in our kitchen mostly because Don got sick with some kind of inflammatory illness five months ago, and since he got no diagnosis or pain relief from conventional medicine, he needed to try something else.

After learning that meat contributes significantly to inflammation in our bodies, about how terrible animals get treated for our consumption, and the fact that the current way of farming in the United States is not sustainable, Don decided to become a vegetarian 11 weeks ago.

This is what has been happening since my last post:

In a quest for answers for what he can do to feel better, Don has watched the movie Food, Inc. and read many books by now. Here are most of them:

  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
  • In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
  • The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone
  • Food Matters — A Guide to Conscious Eating by Mark Bittman
  • Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
  • The End of Overeating — Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite by David A. Kessler, MD

Unfortunately, Don is not feeling dramatically different. He is still staying away from coffee, processed food, and meat, but there hasn’t been much of a change in the pain he experiences in his knees, shoulders and hands. He got to the point where he had to turn down work, something he never does.

Despite being in so much discomfort, he has been taking L on outings a lot lately so I can work more, and we have had a chance to spent more time together as a family, which has been nice. Financially, this is going to get interesting if Don isn’t able to work, since he is the main breadwinner in our house. Anyone need a proofreader, editor, or social media consultant? Please keep me in mind.

Don has seen an acupuncturist twice and a naturopath once so far, with mixed results. He is finishing up all the supplements his naturopath prescribed him and is going to start, on my urging, to give Vivix (a supplement with resveratrol that fights cellular aging), NutriFeron (four powerful plant extracts that boost the production of interferon to boost the immune system) and vitamins called Vitalizer (80 bio-optimized nutrients) a try.

This combination — and especially Vivix — has been found to help many people with all kinds of ailments, and we have nothing to lose by trying these supplements. I will report back to you if this is the cure we’ve been hoping for.

Nowadays, our dinners looks more often like this . . .

. . . and this . . .

. . . as opposed to this:


I used to take L to McDonalds or Burger King about once every 10 days as a treat, and we usually share one Happy Meal. After hearing the story in Food, Inc. of Barbara Kowalcyk who lost her little son after he ate hamburger meat, our visits in fast food restaurants have become a rarity, and we are all about Slow Food now.

We continue to enjoy going to the Gossett’s Farmer’s Market on Saturdays to get fresh produce and other goodies. It is so nice to meet other like-minded people there who are into organic, sustainable, locally grown farming and passionate about being vegetarian or vegan. And it’s wonderful to come home with delicious bread, yummy organic vegetables, and the occasional berry tart.

I’ve never liked meat that much, and I can’t stand preparing it, but I have to say that I am now at the point where I’m disgusted by meat. After learning more about the unsanitary practices and the atrocious ways we humans treat animals before they get slaughtered, it is so easy for me eat vegetarian.

I now notice so much more how meat always seems to be on the front page of every supermarket chain advertisement and how cheap meat really is, all because of the masses of meat Americans produce and consume.

This kind of meat consumption is not only terrible for people’s health — because cheap meat is pumped full of hormones for one thing — but raising that many animals puts such a terrible strain on the environment that it is impossible to sustain.

The major issues, as addressed in Food, Inc. we can no longer ignore are:

  • Diabetes and Obesity
  • Factory Farming
  • Pesticides
  • Environmental Impact
  • Cloning
  • Genetic Engineering
  • The Global Food Crisis
  • Farm Worker Protection

We have to change the way we eat in America. By not eating meat or only grass-fed, organic meat, we can make a difference, in our health and that of our environment. If you are interested in more information, one or two of the books I mentioned in the beginning are a good start.

Another thing: L and I love ketchup, but since it’s full of high-fructose corn syrup, we now only buy Trader Joe’s organic ketchup. I encourage you to do away with regular ketchup as well, especially for your children’s health, and if you want to be supermom, you can even make your own, healthy ketchup.

Max Barry, a local certified personal trainer and blogger who writes about nutrition and fitness at NU-FiT.NET, has a great recipe for homemade, organic ketchup.

I hope to have better news about Don’s health the next time I write about it.

Are you eating healthier? Why? How? I’d love to hear from you — we can all learn from each other.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

@uniqueblog April 3, 2010 at 3:30 AM

I was raised a vegetarian so some of this comes naturally. It can be tough switching when you’ve been an omnivore all your life. Your meals look great and it seems like you are putting a lot of effort into your diet. I applaud your efforts in informing yourself so much. Honestly, I don’t enjoy Pollan, its really great information that he delivers but there’s no detail on implementation of his ideas. I’m a policy wonk so its all about how to get from point A to point B. His views just tells readers what A is and what B is, the end result is: “spend lots of cash, everyone should go out and eat local, organic, and small scale regardless of cost, inequities in food distribution, or cultural politics.” That being said, don’t wear yourself down by aiming to be the perfect foodie, and even though you are not seeing the benefits now they will come latter. I look at my overall health from being a vegetarian (perhaps not the ideal one) in comparison to many of my peers and there is a big difference on the positive side.

Good Luck
.-= @uniqueblog´s last blog ..Growing up Gay =-.

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bkmama April 1, 2010 at 6:30 PM

Has he been tested for rheumatoid arthritis? not just Rheumatoid Factor (RF), but also anti-CCP. I tested RF negative so I didn’t think I had it. I suffered intense pain for over a year before a rheumatologist gave me the anti-CCP test. It’s a simple blood test, but not one a primary care physician would necessarily order.

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Raelee March 27, 2010 at 2:03 PM

Dagmar,
Whoohoo! Every time I hear your posts about Don and his pain, I think, gosh, I wish there were some way that I could let them know about Shaklee – Vivix, Nutriferon, etc. I’ve been taking Shaklee since I was in college and my parents have been on it for 16 years and they are prescription and pain free. I’m so excited for Don and please let us know if his health improves on these new supplements. It’s wonderful that you found someone who shared these products with you.

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Julie March 27, 2010 at 12:52 PM

Meat is an important part of a person’s nutritional health, but if you can get that nutrition from other things, go for it. We eat our own or locally grown animals and know exactly what is fed to them and how they are butchered, so I suppose that’s why we feel better about it all. There are always two sides to a coin about each health care aspect and I love reading what you have to say. You make some great points and also have lots of good words of wisdom.
Thank you for posting about the organic ketchup. I think we’ll just have to give that a go. I have a huge garden each year and process our own sauces, veggies and all, but when I do buy from the store I always am checking ingredients and all.
Good luck with Don and all his stuff. I know you’ll get it all figured out. Have you guys tried pumpkin seed for pain? I had a friend that used it and she had great results with that. Also, and I’m sure you’ve tested this, but has Don been tested for lymes disease? I haven’t read all your posts, lots but not all. It attacks each person so differently but his pain sounds a lot like Terri’s and she has lymes but is treating it naturally.
Just my words of thoughts and wisdom.
Take care and your little one is such a doll. God bless you all~

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Dagmar March 27, 2010 at 6:20 PM

Dear Julie, thank you for your comment. Yes, Don was tested for lyme twice and it was negative, and we still made the doctor give him a round of antibiotics just in case it wasn’t showing up in his blood work. He took it and didn’t feel any better, so we are pretty sure it’s not lyme. But thank you for the suggestion!
Dagmar

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Maximillian Barry March 27, 2010 at 6:35 AM

Hi Dagmar,

L looks cute in a crown, and I look forward to hearing Don’s health improvements!

Thanks for sharing my ketchup recipe with your devoted readers :)

Be Well,

Maximillian Barry, CPT
@NU_FiT on Twitter
.-= Maximillian Barry´s last blog ..HEALTH BENEFITS OF GRASS-FED BEEF =-.

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