All or Nothing Just Doesn’t Add Up

I’m vegetarian. Except when I’m not.

Pac NW '08 361

I know that doesn’t work for everyone, but frankly…I don’t worry about everyone. I worry about ME, and what works for ME.

I think of myself as plant-based rather than any kind of -arian, but saying “plant based” to people just seems pretentious or leads to more explanations. And I don’t really like talking about my diet. I like sharing ideas with people and never mind a healthy discussion or debate about food in general, but I just don’t really see why someone should care about what I put in my body.

So when I had the chance to eat some beautifully fresh oysters at an amazing restaurant the other day? I took it. And loved every slimy bite. When a chef friend sent our table a scotch egg wrapped in homemade boudin sausage, made specially for us? I took a bite and savored the spices. When my husband ordered an old fashioned with a bacon garnish, you’d better believe I sipped and without a moment’s hesitation.

The Huffington Post recently published an article called “Judging Thy Neighbor Isn’t Helping,” and when I read it, my neck hurt from nodding so vigorously.

I don’t like GMOs — who does??? — but it’s not my personal mission to get them off store shelves. I love and support that others have made that their cause but if I buy a box of cereal that may have a modified product, I don’t want to be vilified. I recycle at home and work, dragging those darn sticky boxes to the curb every week — but I also grab disposable plastic water bottles if I’ve left mine at home. I love and support that others live a completely plastic-free life, but that’s not me.

Healthy living sometimes gets the side-eye from people because they think it’s all kale and no cookies. That may be true for some, but I’ve come close enough to the edge of disordered eating (not an eating disorder, I want to stress) to know that balance, and moderation in all things including moderation, is the only way that I can be healthy AND happy.

I love real, healthy foods. I prefer to avoid meat in my diet because it doesn’t make me feel good. It doesn’t fuel me. But it’s not a rule, or something I’m ever afraid to “break.” I have treats and sugar and sodas in moderation, and that’s right for now.

It's the most wonderful time of the yeeeeeaaaar...

All or nothing just doesn’t add up. It’s an unbending, unforgiving way of life and the best thing I ever did for my health was to free myself of labels.

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  1. says

    Katy, I completely agree with you. It is so hard to pigeon hole yourself into one specific routine. At least for me I have tried different ways of eating and they are all too far one way for me. I have done no sugar in any fashion, I just couldn’t keep it up. Tried Paleo but that was not for me. I’ve had friends on the juice kick but I’m not 100 years old and prefer to chew my food for now. To each their own but moderation in all things is key and try to keep it healthy with the occasional indulgence. I’m eating ice cream with whipped cream as I type. It is too good for me to pass up.

  2. says

    Abso-freaking-lutely! I was eating plant based for a while and still dabble. I love to enjoy all food in moderation and I think that far worse beyond being an anything -arian is being a prisoner to food.

  3. says

    Agree 100%!
    I’ve been trying to live more by what I want and less by what is “expected” of me. There are days I’m better at it than others but if I want to eat a certain way who is to judge? I try to remember that when I am meeting people to – try to extend the compassion and understanding. You want to eat meat, go for it. You want GMO – go for it! I happily live my in the middle of the road life :)

  4. says

    I totally agree! You have to do what works for you, and not judge others for what they do/don’t do. Yesterday I ran 3 miles and did weight training. Today, I had fries, just cause. I try to be healthy, but there are no extremes with me. Some times I just need a chicken nugget and that doesn’t make me bad

  5. says

    Yes. This. I hate to label the way I eat from a ‘health’ perspective. I understand why people who are vegan or vegetarian would do this from an ethical standpoint, but when it comes to health there is no ‘right’ diet that works for all people everywhere. We are all individual and so the right ‘diet’ or ‘way to eat’ for us will be individual too! :)

  6. says

    This. SO much this. I get so turned off by people who state unequivocally that x is bad for you/wrong/will kill you/etc. Nothing more makes me want to go out and do the opposite more than someone telling me that I shouldn’t eat/drink/do it.

  7. says

    I’m totally on the same page! I am a fan of doing the best I can and maintaining my sanity :) I’ve just jumped into green cleaning and love it, but have no plans to do cloth diapering this time. I eat plant-based, whole foods, but have eaten at Chick-fil-A in the past few months. I just can’t get on board with all or nothing.

    For those that can, I think it’s great, to each their own! Great post :)

  8. says

    Thanks so much for this! Easy to say and do, but hard to explain to other people. I’ve been blogging about and living the “flexitarian” lifestyle since 2008, but trying to explain to people that I don’t eat meat…except when I do…has gotten me some pretty weird looks. In the words from a sequence in the documentary film Dirt, “I am doing the best I can”…with what I eat, what I buy and how I live. It’s never perfect and that’s okay.

  9. Marie says

    I totally agree about moderation and not being food ayatollahs, however I don’t think GMOs fit that “choice”. GMOs are bad for your health, farmers and the environment, they don’t make anything taste better and only benefit big agro companies. I don’t blame people who buy those products, I do blame the people who don’t want to label them properly or better, ban them like they have in Europe.

  10. says

    Thank you and preach it!!! I totally agree. Just let me do me and everyone else can worry about themselves. I do appreciate the idea of what they’re doing but don’t kill me when I decide to open a pack of Gushers and go to town on them. Great post and view point!

  11. Marcos otero says

    Great article … I am actually going to be getting my first pair of altra shoes for my birthday in March … I am excited to see how they differ from other running shoes and hopefully have the same success as you

  12. Ben says

    Altar shoes and zero drop/minimal shoes are great but ease into them. I read “Born to Run”, made some sandals and ran miles and miles right away – not good. It will take months to get your body used to the new form but once it clicks you will set up for years of pain free running (well, maybe not free but less likely to get nagging injuries!). Good luck everyone, get your run on!!!

  13. says

    What an amazing post! I am an all or nothing person, so reading your thoughts on it really opened my eyes. I always think that if I decide to be plant based, then I can never have meat bc if I do then I’m not “sticking to my diet.” But I don’t need to worry about that, I need to worry about what works for me.

    Seriously, thanks for writing this!

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