Easy on the Leberwurst

In order to derail my thoughts from the latest disturbing Black Mirror episodes, I decided to watch What the Health. Expecting a short documentary, it was supposed to provide information I already had and thus give me the impression that I was doing alright: Easy on the sugar, cut down on salt, more veggies, lean meats, and grilled, not fried; everything in moderation is fine, and don’t forget to exercise.

Yeah, no. Not what happened. What hit me was the speed at which I was confronted with information that I didn’t know to place. Slick move! What the Health quickly lists all the things you are not “supposed” to consume, so that the viewer (i.e. me) can’t help themselves but ask “Soooo… what the health am I allowed to eat?”. In short, what we are to avoid: meat, including cold cuts, poultry in general, even fish (due to mercury, fish farms, etc.). The researchers’ and filmmakers’ reasons being that meat especially is a primary cause of illness, without emphasizing ways of animal captivity as a primary reason (but one of the reasons) for not consuming their meats.

Spoiler alert: The greatly overweight people portrayed in this documentary lost a tremendous amount of weight within a short time and were allegedly able to get rid of ALL their medications (for depression, high blood pressure, whatever) by going vegan.

Now, I grew up in a small town with lots of farms. Our neighbors had chickens and brought us eggs on a regular basis, and I’m very used to eating meat. I love meat. I can’t imagine living without it. But today I opted for a veggie sandwich, and made a tomato cucumber salad instead of having fries on the side. Bad fries! That made me feel better, but not completely because now I’m fresh out of ideas of what I’m supposed to be eating.

This documentary comes along and says we don’t need fat. Animal fat! I’ve always learned that we should increase our intake of protein and good fats, easy on the carbs. According to the docu, carbs and protein are fine, as long as they’re not derived from animals. So, the first issue I have: Where do I get my protein from?

Saint Google was able to provide sources other than dairy, eggs and artificial powders that deliver protein, f.ex. : Spinach, kale (ugghhh!!), non-dairy milk (almond, soy, coconut… is coconut dairy? No… wait… ), tofu, nut butter, quinoa, lentils, beans. This doesn’t look too bad. It actually looks entirely doable.

My second issue: How the hell do I cook this? I just barely learned how to make chicken parm or beef stew or a good Bolognese. I don’t know how to cook quinoa… Do you even cook it? What IS quinoa? I know what it looks like and I’ve had it, I’ve just never prepared it.

So, overall, the only deficit in your typical vegan seems to be vitamin B12, and you can take a supplement for that… Hmm.

I’ll be doing more research. At this point I’m just very confused… New nutritional information is “discovered” and brought to light every day and everything new contradicts the old, not even mentioning the moral issues. Which is the point, I suppose.  I’m very much considering at least going vegetarian for a while… “For a while” in case I’m on the verge of starving because I’m unable to prepare vegetables. And tofu. Oh God, tofu. Just thinking about it makes me want to go to the German Deli and get a Braunschweiger. Creature of habit.

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