{ Wednesday, March 12, 2008 }
This topic of diet is something I've been thinking about alot over the past several months. When my ex and I parted ways almost 2 years ago, I lost weight. I'm being intentionally flippant because it wasn't something I planned to do, or worked at. It just sort of happened. I know there are so many people who struggle with their weight and expend huge amounts of energy and money trying to control it--I was one of them for some time, so I can empathize. Its just that, for me, the weight loss was an occurence that I didn't feel like I had much to do with. I have several theories about it (decreased stress, for example), but I don't have one specific answer to the question of how I lost the weight. Because of this, the topic of diet as defined as a temporary method of eating for the purpose of weight loss isn't particularly interesting to me. What I'm more interested in is diet as defined as the way a person typically eats.

After the breakup, I stopped preparing meat at home immediately. I didn't really have a good reason for doing this, its just that my ex really liked eating it and I prepared it mostly for her. I don't really miss it much when I don't have it, so I figured, "why bother?" While I wasn't purchasing and preparing it, I would still occasionally have it if I was eating at someone else's house, so as to not offend or put anyone out. This went on for several months until I realized that, since I was probably 95% vegetarian, meat made me ill when I did have it. I decided to stop eating it altogether and really didn't find it very difficult either in terms of missing it from my diet or as an inconvenience when I ate away from home. Along with becoming vegetarian, I started becoming much more interested in my health and diet as a means of preventing and curing disease. As a result of some of my research, I started cutting back on my consumption of all animal products to the point where I, again, didn't prepare them at home, but would eat them when I was out. I started calling myself a "most of the time" vegan, but I didn't worry too much about whether there were hidden animal products in the food I ate.

The funny thing is, when you become vegetarian or vegan for health reasons and you google for vegetarian restaurants or read vegan cookbooks, its impossible to avoid all of the animal rights information that's out there. Thanks to my unwitting reading of excerpts from the book Slaughterhouse and listening to this podcast, I started to become more and more aware of the treatment of animals raised for consumption. This information made my stomach turn and sometimes reduced me to tears. I realized that I had to make the change to being a strict vegan (to the extent that I am able) immediately. Suddenly, my diet became about more than my own health.

My focus with my diet is still to eat food that is as healthful as possible. I want to use my diet to maintain my health and prevent illness and, to that end, I eat as many fresh vegetables and fruits as I can. Of course, it is absolutely possible to be an unhealthy vegan. There are plenty of vegan snacks and desserts that have no nutritional value and, don't get me wrong, I eat those foods occasionally too. But, for me, I feel better when I'm focusing on nutritious plant-based foods. I have done much more research on nutrition since making this change than I ever did before when I was eating animal products, and I'm sure that is a huge reason for the increased health benefits. I know this isn't right for everyone, but it works for me!

Reduce, Reuse

{ }
I've finished all the knitting and weaving of ends on Mr. Greenjeans (aka Mr. Shortypants) and I have to tell you--it was a little hairy there at the end. I used absolutely every spare inch of yarn that I could and its still short-sleeved and very cropped. Oh yeah, and I'm going to have to block it like crazy to get the button bands to meet. In addition to unraveling my gauge swatch, I also cut off all of the longer ends that were hanging from joining the new ball or picking up stitches and knit with those as well. I actually had to unknit a row on the second sleeve because I didn't have enough yarn left for the bind off. Talk about cutting it close!

But anyway, its all done and ready to be blocked and have the button sewn on, which leads me to the story I really wanted to tell. I stopped by Michael's today to look for buttons. I could have sworn that Michael's used to sell both fabric and buttons, but I couldn't find either at my local store. What I did find were these super cute knitting bags. I was originally drawn to the fabric colors thinking they were regular tote bags and probably would have gotten one anyway, but the fact that they're designed to be knitting bags and have so many pockets just sealed the deal. I got the carry-all traveler and one of the yarn travelers. I usually keep my knitting projects in individual ziplok bags (which I end up replacing periodically once my needles start poking holes in them), so I'm glad to try out these reusable containers. Since I was already buying stuff, I also picked up some wool-ease. I'm dying to make Juliet and I didn't have any chunky weight yarn on hand and how can you beat the price of wool-ease?

After all that, I still didn't have a button for Shortypants and you know what? I came home and looked in my button stash and found the perfect one.

But you know, I might have missed out on those cute bags if I'd just started in the stash.