Wednesday, May 15, 2013


A couple of weeks ago, I ran my worst half marathon ever... something I am still quite shaken by, but something I am trying hard to move past. The reality though, is that after such an awful situation like that, it is hard to move on. It is hard to motivate and lace up my shoes. It is hard to just want to keep going. The 5 year old in me is saying its time to pack up my toys and call it a day. The adult in me knows that this was just a temporary setback and I need to just keep chugging along with my training. Besides, I have some huge things in store over the next 8 months. Some things I've shared... some things I've been tight-lipped about. Regardless, now isn't the time for me to pack it in just yet.

I've since been to the doctor, and he suggested that there were numerous factors at play during my Terrible-Horrible-No-Good-Very-Bad-Half Marathon Experience including: the heat, severe allergies, dehydration, and not being fully adjusted to my change in diet yet.

And my recent change of diet has certainly required some adjustment.

It is hard to become a Vegetarian over night. There. I said it. And I put it out on the internet so that means I don't care who knows.

I've not wanted to say anything until now because I was afraid of what people would say to me... oh, Amy, you can't cut out entire food groups, or Amy, is it healthy to be running like you do and not be eating animal protein? or Are you sure this is safe? I didn't want condescension. I didn't want anyone questioning my ability to research things on my own and make an informed decision. I didn't want to have to defend myself and my decisions and feel like everyone else is the expert on me and my life... rather than me. And who knows, maybe after a week, I wouldn't be able to handle it... so why tell anyone about something that I didn't think would stick?

So now that I've been doing this for a little over 3 weeks, and now that I am adjusting to it fairly well, I feel confident in saying that this is going to stick... at least for awhile.

See, here's the thing... I know I mentioned it briefly before, but when I was in 8th grade, my science teacher was really big into PETA and I was exposed to a lot of their propaganda ... and I chose to become a vegetarian (I also spent a whole year during the vegetarian phase eating with only chopsticks, don't ask). During that time, I was in excellent shape. I was taking dance lessons 3 or 4 days a week, and during the winter, I was downhill skiing the other 3 or 4 days per week. I stopped being a vegetarian in high school after a 2 week period where I had an insatiable craving for a Big Mac, and I learned that a lot of the media propaganda that PETA was putting out included photos and situations that were taken out of context. At the time, PETA was also saying that it was OK to douse fur-wearers in red paint, and that it was morally abhorrent to not only spay and neuter, but also that it was deplorable to keep domestic dogs or cats in the home.

These are things that I definitely didn't believe in (and I still don't), but that contributed to my transitioning back to being an omnivore.

But eating animals has been weighing heavily on my heart recently. Partly because I've been thinking about my health, and partly because of my beliefs about animals, and partly because of my faith.

As someone who is Jewish (albeit a reform Jew so thus not-nearly as observant as othodoxy), I am supposed to keep kosher. I am also a serious bacon lover. I rarely eat other pork products, but bacon is a serious weakness. But my faith commands no bacon, and this has been weighing on my heart for a long time. On the other hand, keeping kosher can be tricky. You aren't supposed to mix meat and dairy, you aren't supposed to have grape products (wines or juices) that aren't manufactured by Jews, no cheese manufactured with rennet (an enzyme found in non-kosher animal products), you can only eat the forequarter of permissible animals, and don't even get me started on the issue with fish! No wonder only 21% of Jews report keeping kosher in the home (with portions of this 21% reporting that they don't keep kosher while dining out)!

I'm sure by now, some of you are also shaking your heads saying but wait, Amy, you want to keep kosher but you have tattoos!

Well yes, I have tattoos. I also have pierced ears, I also braid my hair, and I also wear mixed fabrics. But wait, doesn't having tattoos mean you can't be buried in a Jewish Cemetary? Perhaps. But perhaps not. Many scholars and religious leaders are still working out what tattoos mean for burial, but I don't have a lot of concern there. Besides, my faith also used to prohibit organ donation... something that I strongly believe in...

So now that I have gone off on a huge tangent, what does all of this mean?

I want to keep kosher, but it's too hard. I feel like I should be at least observing the basic rules of no pork, no mixing of meat and dairy, no shellfish... and aside from the bacon issue, I could probably do that... but that brings me back to bacon being pork.

Oh heck, why not just give up all meats again? Lets just follow the K.I.S.S. method and keep it simple, stupid.

Am I going to give you a hard time for choosing to eat meat, probably not. But I can't guarantee that I wont look at what is on your plate and grimace... after-all, I did go and watch some videos about how animals are slaughtered and what kinds of infections that the USDA overlooks when grading animal products as safe for human consumption.

But I will try my best to be understanding that what works for you might not work for me. As long as you are understanding about the same in return.

It might not stick. It might just be a phase. But right now, it is the best decision for me.


  1. No condescension here...I'm a vegetarian myself! :) I think the hardest part is why you were hesitant to share...sometimes people that eat me seem personally offended that I don't. I try not to let it bother me, the majority of people don't care just as I don't really care what they eat. My husband and sons eat meat, hell, I prepare it sometimes! My daughter and I choose not to. It doesn't matter if it sticks or it's a phase, it's what you are doing now and I hope it helps to alleviate some of the issues you have been having. Oh and I always read! :)

    1. MEAT...not eat me. ;)

    2. I had hoped that this was a typo!

    3. I just find that frequently when you (general you, not you Karen)say you want to lose weight or eat differently or exercise or anything like that... people always try to offer up advice or opinions... almost like what works for them is an end-all-be-all blanket solution for everyone.

      And all too many times I have heard people say that vegetarian isn't healthy because you don't get enough protein or you don't get enough b12 or you don't get enough iron. The reality though is that you can get enough iron or protein through vegetarian foods, and increasingly we are seeing meat-eaters with b12 deficiency. so maybe that has little to do with meat anymore?

      I don't know. sorry about the tangent.

    4. No problem, I totally know what you mean! Yes, people like to tell you what worked for them, I have found though that in all areas of life, there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach. Different things work for different people.

      I had a Dr. say I had taken away too much and SURELY my B, iron, and protein was low, so she took my blood and guess what? Nothing! She had to eat her words. There's all sorts of research on the health of vegetarians, so hopefully people won't give you too much trouble.

  2. I know several vegetarian distance runners, one of them is my cousin. So it may take some time to learn how it all works and what works best for you in your training. I don't know much on how its done, but there are lots of ways to get the proteins and dietary needs your body need to recover and train and race without meats:) I say go for it, if its what you want to do!

    On a side note, don't beat yourself up about having a bad race. It happens to everyone! Man I have had so many bad races. But I have found ways to turn even my bad races into great experiences. Like "Man I just pulled off that marathon, and I felt like crap, had the flu, exhausted, etc.. I rock, LOL" We get to learn from both the bad and the good. Besides, If we didn't have a few bad races, we wouldn't appreciate the good ones as much, right:) Well it sounds, good at least<LOL Good Luck Amy!

    1. Thank you so much for your support. I know its going to take some adjustment, but I also know it will be good for me in the end.

  3. As long as it's what works for you and makes you happy and content with your own beliefs, that's all that matters. And there's plenty of vegetarians who run all different distances with no problems-there's always alternatives out there to animal meat that will work to fuel your body.

    Me personally? Even with my love of animals, I don't think I could ever give up beef, chicken, etc. I am an unbelievably picky eater (ask Mike, he just shakes his head at me) and while I know those that tout the vegetarian lifestyle would say there's plenty to choose from for variety, for me I'd wind up eating the same things over and over again.

    My BFF's parents keep kosher so I know what's involved after 28 years of spending time with them. While I was raised Jewish, I no longer identify with the religion...and could never imagine trying to keep kosher with the foods I do like to eat. But that's my personal perspective; I do what works for me, you should do what works for you-no matter what anyone else may think. As long as you're staying healthy and happy, then you should do what you want.

    But I'm still going to eat my bun-burger-bacon-bbq sauce even if you're having dinner with me ;-)

    1. I wouldn't keep you from eating the way you see fit. this is a decision for myself, and only for myself. lol. Ray is still eating meat.

  4. I saw how pigs were slaughtered when I was 12/13, and I refused to eat anything pig for nearly 3 years because of it. I have since started eating it again, but I don't eat it very often. I've been considering leaving red meats and pork behind, sticking to fish, shrimp, and chicken. It is something I have considered for a rather long time.

    While pregnant, I loved salad. That was unusual for me seeing as I have always disliked it. No longer pregnant and I am back to refusing it. Only way now I can even take a couple bites is if I douse it in ranch dressing and croutons. I am a fairly picky person when it comes to foods, always have been. I am better than I once was though.

    Now, if you stick to being a vegetarian, that is your choice. Has nothing to do with me and my diet. Knowing you, you've made the decision based on information and personal choices. Best of luck in whatever choices towards your diet you make. :)

    1. In the end, we each have to do what works best for ourselves. I wont fault you for that...