by Amber Helsel, Editorial Assistant
Sacrificing the Turkey
swore to myself that the first editor’s note I wrote wouldn’t be about food, but alas, here I am, writing for the Holiday Food issue. Food is one of the main subjects I like to talk about, and eating is what I like to do. It always has been. My dad says he knows when it’s noon because I start complaining about being hungry. And when I don’t eat, or don’t eat that much, I tend to get pretty “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry). You can get me to do just about anything for food. I volunteer for events I’m not particularly fond of because I want the fun little bites and desserts and free meals. I love wedding receptions simply because they usually have wonderful things to eat. My mom says that, to lose weight, I have to practice self-control when it comes to food. I figured out a while ago, though, that that’s never going to happen. It’s not that I don’t want to. I do, but I just can’t. I don’t keep chips at my house because I know I’ll eat the whole bag. I try to stay away from candy because I know I can’t stop eating it. I’m not saying that I will never be able to control myself around food. It’s just not as simple as saying no. To be able to practice control, I have to change my whole way of thinking about food. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I made the decision last week to be a vegetarian. You see, whenever I sit down and think about the best way to change my lifestyle, I always come back to the idea of being a vegetarian. I’ve tried multiple times, but my inability to just say no to turkey sandwiches or pepperoni pizza stopped me. For two weeks while I lived in the dorms at Ole Miss, I was a vegetarian who “sometimes ate meat,” which meant that I ate Chick-fil-A whenever I didn’t want anything else. Probably a year ago, I told myself that this was it: I would finally just say no. But my love
for boneless wings turned me right back around. I tried again probably three months ago. I called myself a “baconatarian.” Basically, I was a vegetarian who also ate bacon, which I guess could be called semivegetarian. It was my way of weaning myself from away from meat, but after a while, finding
If I’m ever going to win the battle for my health, I have to make a drastic change.
non-omnivore ways to get protein became hard, so I relented and started eating meat again. This time, I wanted to be a baconatarian again, but I’ve realized over the last few days that I really don’t want to eat meat at all. Being a vegetarian may seem like an extreme reaction to my unhealthy eating habits, but normal has never been my style. In everything I do, I either give it my all, or I don’t even try. I’ve gone back and forth on my health so much that it’s wearing me out. So what’s a hopeless girl to do if she doesn’t want to be 30 and still overweight?
I told myself that whatever I did, this had to be it. No more back and forth. No more feeling guilty. No more joking around with something as dangerous as too much weight. I could ruin my entire life over one more piece of chocolate or another turkey sandwich. I know the time for sane decisions is over. If I’m ever going to win the battle for my health, I have to make a drastic change. For me, that’s trading in my burgers and deli sandwiches for hummus, salads and all kinds of vegetables I don’t like. (I know, I know. It’s hard to be a vegetarian if you don’t like vegetables, but I guess it’s the same as someone with a few tattoos being terrified of hypodermic needles.) I’ve been pondering the idea for a while, always too hesitant to finally decide to do it, but my breaking point came in the form of a book, or, at least, the little bit I’ve read of it. “Crazy Sexy Diet” by Kris Carr (skirt!, 2011, $19.95) presents a diet based on Carr’s drastic lifestyle change. A few years ago, she was diagnosed with a rare, incurable, but slow-moving form of stage 4 cancer. But instead of letting herself wither away, she made the decision to fight back. A lot of her book deals with the alkaline v. acidic diet argument (basically, eating meat and animal by-products over vegetables produces a lot of acid in your body, and can cause some serious health issues. Hello, Heartburn City.). The book argues that an alkaline diet (whole foods, plantbased) is better. So far, I believe every word she says, and she uses inspiring language as opposed to the women who wrote “Skinny Bitch,” which is basically a vegan manifesto disguised in a harsh diet book. I’ve had vegetarians, vegans and former vegetarians recommend that book to me, but every time they even mention the name, I stop them in their tracks. There’s a difference between
constructive criticism and insulting someone profusely. Carr radically changed her lifestyle by changing her diet to an alkaline one. She is now a champion for wellness, and has published many other books. “Crazy Sexy Diet” is great and informative, but maybe a little too hard for someone like me. A drastic lifestyle change like Carr’s has to happen gradually. I’m not saying that I’ll never get to that point, but I have to move at my own pace. Since I’m only about 20 pages into “Crazy Sexy Diet,” I guess you could say the book is more of someone shedding light on what I already know, rather than changing my mind. Before I bought the book, I flipped it open to a random page, and I liked what I saw. Then, I got home and realized that what I held in my hand was a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle change book. At that point, I didn’t want to make the sacrifice, so after reading those few pages, I told myself I’d return it. But over the next couple of days, I decided to sacrifice my love of meat for a healthier, better me. And I decided to keep the book, to finish it with a new outlook. I’ve now spent seven days as a vegetarian, and though I haven’t strayed from fried foods, lots of bread, and grilled-cheese sandwiches, I feel better than I’ve felt in a long time. Along this journey, I know I could encounter problems such as lack of vitamin B12 and iron, and just my general need to be an omnivore. The next step is to kick it up a notch and focus on more than not eating meat, but that time will come. For life changes such as these, you have to take baby steps and make sure to put one foot in front of the other. It may not be the decision everyone else would make, but it’s the one that feels best for me. To win a long battle, sometimes you just have to change your perspective.
November 20 - 26, 2013
R.L. Nave, native Missourian and news editor, roots for St. Louis—and for Jackson. Send him news tips at rlnave@ jacksonfreepress.com or call him at 601-362-6121 ext. 12. He wrote for the talk section.
Rick Cleveland (rcleveland@ msfame.com) is the executive director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. He wrote the column about his friend Willie Morris..
Alexis Moody is a self-proclaimed nerd, music lover, Sabre fencer, Steam video game player and all around fan of all things awesome. She wrote for the cover package.
Copy Editor Dustin Cardon is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi. He enjoys reading fantasy novels and wants to write them himself one day. He wrote for the cover package, and he also edits and posts the JFP Daily.
Music Editor Briana Robinson is trying to become an expert on all things music. Her other passions include dance and photography. Send the music scoop at email@example.com. She wrote a music story.
Editorial Intern Mo Wilson is a Millsaps College student. He enjoys pizza, the Internet, dancing alone in his bedroom, social justice, politics and giggling. He wrote an art story.
Advertising Designer Andrea Thomas is a lover of all genres of music, fashion and good food. She spends her free time exploring everything Jackson has to offer. She designed many of the ads for the issue.
Kimberly Griffin is a fitness buff and foodie who loves chocolate and her mama. She’s also Michelle Obama’s super secret BFF which explains the Secret Service detail. She sold many ads for the issue.
City Crime: It's Complicated p 8 - 9 Hitched: All That Sparkles p 25 Cardinal Sons Win Big p 35