The USS Quad Damage

On Vegetarianism

I've been writing stuff with some regularity, which is good, I guess. I've been thinking of writing stuff for today, but it's all been so hazy, in and out, that I can't even remember now, so I'm going to talk about my diet. The reason is my Hapkido teacher asked me if I had any carbs in my diet (after a piss-poor performance). I started thinking about what I eat.

You see, I'm a vegetarian. I'd better define that, because there's supposedly a lot of different types. I'll drink milk and eat butter and cheese, but I won't eat seafood. The rule is: if it moves of it's own accord, don't eat it. A lot of people advise one way or the other about how this is good or bad for the diet. I'm not all too sure. I do know that my iron levels are normal, my blood pressure's OK (from donating blood last week), that while I'm no tank, I'm not all that weak, and that while I'm pretty fat, I'm not obese(I think).

A lot of people say "where do you get protein from"? Being Punjabi, we eat a lot of north indian foods. I never really thought about it, but a lot of these are lentils, beans, and chickpeas with rice and / or indian bread. These kind of add up to give "complete proteins", or something. We also use a lot of milk products (we like and respect cows for a reason). Milk, cheese, butter, ghee (It's oil made from butter, and it supposedly works out better than other oils. It certainly tastes better) amongst other milk products. I'm sure we go through a lot more milk than other people, and that doesn't count the fact that we tend to have yoghurt and thickened cream around on top of that.

Meat has a lot of protein, certainly a lot more than the equivalent weight of lentils+rice, but I imagine you carnivores don't eat all that much meat; maybe a little for lunch, the main contributor being dinner. We tend to eat a fair bit of lentils+rice for both lunch and dinner, and with a heavy milk-based breakfast, we end up OK for protein.

The other thing would be Vitamin B12. The view is that vegetarians don't get much of the stuff. I can understand vegans would have to watch themselves, because they don't take milk products, but we're rather heavy on the stuff. Our mushroom usage isn't particularly high, so I guess it's just as well. This is also the reason I don't like people discouraging other people from drinking milk. I really like milk, and a big part of that is the fact that it balances out our diet. I'd hate for someone to go full vegan without knowing that you have to really work to substitute for milk. There's even a saying in India about milk...

I forget what it is though... If you're really weak, they'll say something about not drinking enough milk. Actually, when I think about it, I really miss a lot of the milk products we get in india. Families tend to make their own homemade butter and cheese, and Ghee, whilst available here, is harder to find.

So in the end you can see that people can end up with a roughly balanced diet without killing too much stuff. I kind of worry about my diet sometimes, but I think overall it isn't all that bad.

On a semi-separate note, something I've noticed is the amount of implicit thought in different diets across cultures. The meat thing at dinner is an example. I'd think that the end of the day is when you'd need the most protein to buid muscle, and that's when people eat the most protein. Coincidence? I think not! Same kind of thing with dessert. It makes sense to have something cool to relax your mouth and stomach.

The fact that vinegar and salt are preservatives. I don't think that's a coincidence, or the fact that jam keeps a lot longer than whatever it's made of. The same kind of thing's true of Indian food. There's a lot of thought put into it, but most people don't really see it. And the funny thing is, these diets are from a long time ago, before people came up with food pyramids and things. It's strange that in today's society (or at least with me), that we (I) don't know about these "common sense" things. The way in which we eat, as well as what we eat, has implicit meaning that are keeping us healthy. I'm interested to know what these principles are.

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