Last year was very busy and very stressful. I was transitioning from a role in journalism to communications and PR, which was a lot harder and emotionally draining than I thought it would be, as well as planning the wedding. While the wedding planning wasn't necessarily stressful, it still ate up a lot of free time and I am the first to admit that I didn't look after myself as well as I could over the last six months (weird right? Brides are normally crazy healthy to fit into dresses / look amazing etc).
It's not that I did anything particularly bad, but I definitely didn't eat as well as I could. Certainly not enough of the green veges, and coming home late from work certainly didn't inspire me to get into cooking a nutritious meal. Coffee was a staple part of my diet - often substituted for breakfast. I've never been a breakfast person; I'd rather sleep for an extra 10 minutes. And I'd rather sleep for an extra ten minutes because I haven't been fueling myself properly, and therefore getting tired easily.
I'm basically at the point now where I want to change. I want to have more energy, feel healthier, and eat breakfast sometimes.
Earlier last year, I was having some problems with my skin. It gets oily, and during a crazy work time, I got to the point where I was reliving my spotty teenage years. I was not impressed. So instead of going to the doctor to get a heap of creams and chemicals that may or may not work, I tried the Healthy Skin Diet. I got the book, and for two months I followed it religiously. And it worked. Within three days, my skin had completely cleared up and I felt so much better. I cut out red meat and anything that came from a pig, and ate veges, wholegrains and lots of fish. I cut out refined sugars and dairy (I really missed cheese) and my only regret is that I didn't carry on with it, because I felt so well and had so much energy.
So this year is going to be my Almost Vegetarian Year. I am cutting out meat except fish (we could call this my Pescetarian Year, but that would take too much explaining) and I am minimising my dairy and sugar intake for special occasions.
I just want to note here that many people get a bit funny about the vegetarian thing, which is why I'm going to call myself an almost-vegetarian. For me this is NOT an ethical decision. This is purely because I tried it for a bit last year, and I felt so much better. The impact on my health is the reason for this, and I know people might disagree with my choice of choosing to eat fish over other animals. If it helps at all, I have been fishing and caught fish myself, and I have no problem with people catching only what they need with sustainable fishing practices. I try my very best to only eat fish from sustainable sources - my canned tuna and salmon must have the MSC logo and I try to get a lot of my fish from farmers markets where I can find out more information from the producers. I have never killed a cow or a pig or a lamb myself, although I am well aware of New Zealand's farming processes. I also only buy organic eggs and free range meat (if it's available) but that shouldn't be a major issue for me this year.
Also, another big consideration for me is being a bit more creative with my vege and wholegrains. I'm seeing this as an opportunity to expand my cooking horizons.
This is not going to be an easy challenge for me. My idea of heaven is a giant Bacon Backfire from Burgerfuel (although they also do great vege burgers) and I will probably have a few slip ups. I'm also not expecting my friends to go out of their way to make exceptions for my choices. If friends cook my dinner that contains meat, I will eat it. Like I said, it's not an ethical call, and I don't want to inconvenience my friends or be a nightmare of a dinner guest.
I'm arming myself with resources - a tonne of cookbooks (some vegetarian, and some not but with good vege and fish recipes) and I'm going to plan my meals each week to make sure I'm prepared. I'm also going to keep a record of how I'm doing on here - maybe an update of what recipes I've tried - I find that if I'm accountable to something, I'll actually stick to it!
Here's my reading list to start off with:
The Vegetarian Option by Simon Hopkinson
Whole Larder Love by Rohan Anderson
Dr Libby's Real Food Chef by Dr Liby Weaver
Rowan Bishop's Vegetarian Kitchen by Rowan Bishop
Jamie's 30 Minute Meals by Jamie Oliver
The Revive Cafe Cookbook by Jeremy Dixon
If anyone can recommend some good vegetarian cooking blogs or books, I would love to hear about them! Since this is the beginning of my journey, I'm really looking forward to discovering more amazing foods and more variety that my current diet has!
Wishing you all a happy 2013!