Evolution

I’ve been on an evolutionary path of sorts this year. It all started late last year, November 2009, when I started investigating the foods I was eating and the industry that produces that food in this country. In December, I “went organic.” I cut out most processed foods (and all non-organic foods). I added several meat-free days to my diet. I kicked the Diet Dr. Pepper habit – which wasn’t difficult when I realized it was just chemical water. Who wants to drink that?! I started exercising.

By the end of January 2010, I had met my New Year’s resolution of trying 10 new foods. Since I liked every one that I tried, I decided to stop counting and just keep trying new foods. (It wasn’t hard – I’ve been a freezer-to-microwave girl for all of my adult life, pretty much since I started making my own food choices). I try something new almost every week now. Maybe I’ll run out of things to try by the end of the year, but I doubt it. Something like 20 plants make up our standard diet, but there are more than 7,000 edible plants out there. I won’t be out scavenging in the woods to find new things to eat, but there are plenty of new-to-me foods at the grocery store and farmers’ markets.

By March 2010, I knew that the next step in my evolution had to be to adopt a vegetarian diet. It’s not that I don’t like eating meat; it’s that I don’t like supporting the animal cruelty and environmental damage that is a direct result of the way that meat is currently produced in this country. I’ve always had trouble eating most meats anyway; if it reminded me at all of the animal it came from, I couldn’t eat it. Chicken on bones? No way. Veal? OMG! It’s a baby calf! Absolutely not. Venison? BAMBI!!! So, ground beef was about all I could handle, and chicken breasts, as long as it was in a sandwich and I didn’t have to actually cut it up myself. So I always had “rules” about the meat I ate. In March, I freed myself of those rules and stopped eating meat altogether. I’m actually adhering to a vegan diet at home, though when I eat out (rarely), I’m not yet eliminating breads (that likely contain some egg or dairy) or cheese. I may get there, I may not. We will see.

That brings us to the present month: April 2010. What’s next on this evolutionary path for me? Running.

You see, I have always wanted to run. For the past few months, I’ve been walking my local trails, and even started jogging some intervals, casually. My body wants to run. I don’t know why, but it always has – even though I’ve only once in my adult life gotten myself in good enough physical shape to actually accomplish it. (That was back in 2003, when I was running a mile on the treadmill regularly, for a year or so). After spending the past 4 months exercising regularly, I felt like this was as good a time as any to try running again.

I’m using the “Couch to 5K” running plan – one that has been adopted by several podcasts as a training plan. I’m currently in Week 2 of my training, using podcasts by Robert Ullrey. There’s another training set I’ve downloaded but haven’t tried – Podrunner Intervals.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m walking in a couple weeks in the Walk MS 2010 event, in support of a family member (and several friends of the family) that have multiple sclerosis. (If you haven’t yet, please consider sponsoring me in this walk! Donations are appreciated, and any amount will help! Check out my Walk MS page to donate online or for information on how to donate via snail mail).

In May, I plan to run/walk a 5K at Brookfield Zoo. That will be during Week 5 of my Couch to 5K training. I hope to be on target with my training at that point and have a great run (with some walking!)

Beyond May, I hope to find a local 5K towards the end of summer to achieve this lofty goal of mine – to run a 5K this year, fueled by a plant-based diet.

It’s a beautiful day to want it, and I’m feeling more alive than ever! How are you evolving?

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