I was once a vegetarian.

It didn’t last too long. It was more a flirtation with it in College.

I went along to a few Hare Krishna meetings at the University and frankly I enjoyed the free lunch.

I was twenty and I enjoyed embracing my hippie side as well as food that cost nothing.

I remember trying to tell my elderly Welsh grandparents from a farming background that I was vegetarian. They completely understood.  What they understood about vegetarianism was that I should get extra portions of veggies with my roast chicken, pork and turkey that they had prepared.

Over the years I have grown what I can almost embarrassingly say, is accustomed to really great food.  Cape Town ticks all the boxes for food. From great markets to top class eateries. We really are quite spoiled. Someone new to Cape Town would be hard pressed to make a dent in trying to eat at all our restaurants. There are just too many, leaving you with the delight of being able to discover something new gastronomically almost constantly.

But herein lies the issue. It almost gets boring. Your palate soon adjusts to this constant bombardment of tastes and textures and we have grown to be rather bored of such a choice. I know. It sounds mad doesn’t it.

Another catch of the constant wining and dining in the Cape. (or indeed many other parts of the country) is that the cost of eating out, albeit tiny compared to overseas, it’s a lurking beast on the credit card.  I cannot think of a day when I do not start the morning with a flat white, followed by at least one to two more in a day. That alone is like a R60 coffee habit daily. I do not want to know what I have been spending at restaurants. 

I have a perfectly lovely apartment in the city with my awesome girlfriend. I suggested to her that we should consider eating a bit more at home. A bit more “prepared from scratch” whenever possible, and to consider what we eat and the impact of it a bit more. We have been able to watch on the smart TV a mix of documentaries from a variety of topics. Many of which food related.
I think its hard to see how we are impacting the planet, when all we see are full shelves at the supermarkets. Everything wrapped up cling film and polystyrene as we just imagine meat to be.

See here is my dilemma. I am not a vegetarian. I am not a vegan.  I eat meat.

So what is the bad parts of it then? To me it is the living and eventually dying conditions of the animals. I have no objection to people who live in rural environments who slaughter their own cattle and foul.  They have developed a relationship with that animal. They fed it, tended it, and eventually they consumed it. I have no issue with this. But what If I lined up all the chickens I ate in 2015 in a row. How much work and effort would I have to put in to raise that many animals. We only see what we consume in tiny daily portions. We never see it stacked up.

Ive been really unhealthy over the past few years. Im Forty. This is life.  Compounded on our great food situation and a life that led me straight to the watering hole, I really needed to make a change of lifestyle now. Not on the 1st of January after that last festive braai, or after Wednesday because of that friends birthday, or maybe Monday because its been a heatwave.  You know the excuses. I have them all. I tore my bicep and rotator cuff back at the end of last year. It didn’t’ heal well. It was improved to the point where I could use it again, then I shot a commercial for the Netherlands where I had to do a bunch of “pull-ups” in the park. The number of pull ups was stupid. Especially for a fat man with a bad shoulder.  Needless to say it buggered it up good and proper and I had to get it sorted. I figured that my shoulder had improved and my time for excuses about my personal fitness were at a level that needed immediate addressing.

I got a few recommendations from some industry friends about what to do and who to see. I was introduced to Bruce Benjamin. A fitness professional who trains up some of the well known musicians, actors and presenters here in Cape Town. He is regularly on the tell with his training stuff. He has me working out in a way to strengthen my shoulder and to work around my issues to get me fit. This includes learning to box. Something I have wanted to do for a while, Im also chuffed to say that my shoulder is now strong enough to throw a punch or two in a sparring session.  Im loving it.

With being active, came a total rethink of how I eat. Im going from never going to do any sort of physical training, to going to the gym 5-6 times a week and cycling every day in between.

I had to drop a few things. Namely alcohol, sugar and as many unnecessary carbs as possible. 
Protein shakes and lots of water.  Lets see where this takes me. Im already stronger and leaner and looking forward to being fit. Finally. For the first time in my life.  At 40.

I need to eat well at this time. I figured I would give #plantpower some thought.

I was approached by the folks at @Frysfamily to consider doing a promotion with them.  They asked if I would be interested in trying to make a seven meals of a mix of their vegan and vegetarian products, but with a twist.  So it would be jazzing up the burgers, doing something exotic with the “Prawn-less Teriyaki Stir Fry” to making Vegetarian Twister Wraps and salads with the “Meat Free Pops”.

Im going to try and see what I can adapt in my diet.  Over the next few days I will post up a few pics of the meals I have knocked together during the month of November. It’s #MeatFreeMovember. I will show a few of the recipes that I used to make something that has good quality ingredients, and is meat free.

Not just on Mondays.

If you have any tips or suggestions for how you have changed or are changing your eating habits. Let me know. There seems to be a million voices of opinion out there.  Next month, I am going to be doing a bunch of my greens by juicing. For now, I haven’t got just my palate to impress. The girlfriend needs to enjoy it all too!

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