Welp, I did it. For those who haven’t been following along with bated breath (which should be all of you), I gave up meat and alcohol for the month of April.
It’s not really much of an accomplishment in the grand scheme of things, since I know plenty of people that haven’t consumed one or both of these substances for longer periods of time, or, well, ever. But that’s okay, because I didn’t do this to receive any pats on the back. I didn’t do this to feel superior to anyone. I did this to try to feel healthier.
And I do feel healthier! I lost 7 or 8 pounds, was more productive, had better focus (maybe too much focus if you ask some of my co-workers), and felt good overall about my self control.
I don’t feel completely healthy
. My energy levels were all over the place, my gut still bothered me, my head still hurt pretty regularly, and my sleep was still awful.
My goal of feeling “less fuzzy” was not achieved. But I did learn a bunch of stuff, some of which has helped me figure out what steps to take next to sort things out (doctor appointments and other adulting stuff).
For prior learndings check out:
Now, what do I have to show for my teetotaling, green-eating ways?
I don’t miss things.
I was fine without meat. For most of the past 6 or 7 years prior to moving to Texas, my diet more closely represented
anyway. Burgers, fish, or eggs only occasionally broke up my plant-first eating habits. This past month has reset me to that level. I mean, brisket tacos are amazing here, but I don’t feel the need to consume them regularly.
Similarly, I never craved beer this past month. And I didn’t shut myself away from the world in order to “survive” sobriety either. My wife
and I have a well-stocked bar at home. I saw it every day. I didn’t skip a single social activity because I wasn’t drinking, either. I went to multiple parties and hung out at multiple bars and breweries with Jill and friends as I normally would. Yeah, some of the beer I wasn’t drinking smelled really good to me. But I didn’t feel worse off because I wasn’t tasting it.
I didn’t miss those things in my life.
I miss appreciating things with others.
I want to drink. I want to eat meat. Those are things I want to do. Not needs. And not wants because of the substances themselves, however. I want eat to and drink when the moment calls, because of what the communal act of eating and drinking with people means to me.
I actually understand a lot of what Anthony Bourdain rants about when he express distaste (sorry) for vegetarians and vegans because of they often cut themselves off from wondrous life experiences and demean others for not doing the same. I also understand the quotes out there that say things like “I don’t trust a man who doesn’t trust himself enough to drink.” I don’t subscribe to that viewpoint, but I get it.
In talking to Jill during my final day of my dumb little whatever this was, she pointed out how although I was still physically present when we were hanging out, I was never fully present. “You like the experiences, the participation,” she told me. And she’s right.
I enjoy food and beverages for the experiences that go into making them and consuming them - preferably with other people. I love the process of blending many isolated ingredients into a whole and I’m fascinated by the stories behind the final products. I’m also fascinated by the interactions we as people have around food and drinks specifically. But this is starting to veer into another post altogether, so get to some semblance of a point, Coate.
Crap. I dunno. Maybe I should stay a sober vegetarian to be my most productive self, but not if I want to be my best self.
Let’s get a beer and talk about that, or something.
Direct quote: "Yeah! Andrew's having a beer again because...his stupid thing is over!!!! Woooo!!!" Thanks, darling. Also, sweet bottle opener.