I’m going to write a book called Regular Guy Goes (Mostly) Vegetarian. It will be different than most books about being vegan or vegetarian because it will be written by a guy who’s been vegetarian for about, oh, 11 days. Also, this guy isn’t 100% vegetarian, which I think is called “flexitarian”, and the author doesn’t have any plans to be vegetarian forever. The author’s expertise will come from two documentaries, one audiobook, and a few websites on the subject. He won’t vet any of the sources or claims made in those documentaries, but he’ll summarize it like this.
This is not me on a soapbox. This is me trying it for 90-days (with a few days off). This is the result of hacking and coughing so bad between Thanksgiving and New Year’s that my kids actually had an intervention with me …like I’m a drug addict. My lung condition is very predictable. If I have 3,000 calories in a day, and those calories come from cookies, white bread, salty meat, cheese, and things with lots of sugar, my body makes phlegm and it settles in my lungs, and I cough. A lot. If I have 5 pieces of pizza and 6 breadsticks and a Coke. I cough. If I have 7 or 8 Oreos and a tall glass of milk, I cough. If I eat around 2,000 calories a day and avoid excess sweets and bread. I don’t cough.
Pretty simple, right? But the world is full of people who do things they shouldn’t, and who know better, yet continue doing things they know aren’t good for them.
When I have committed to the Whole 30 program (I’ve done it three times), at the end of those 30 days, I always feel as if I’ve cured my lung condition. I like how my clothes fit. I sleep better. I have more energy.
Then I relapse back to my old, gluttonous ways.
What worried me with all that coughing is the haunting memory of the cough my mother had and how I believe it contributed to her heart attack at 58. Oh, how she would cough. I would hear her cough to the point of wheezing and being completely out of breath. It haunts me thinking about it. What’s worse, is that I’m reminded of it because I am coughing like that, too. And I can feel it in my chest. Coughing that hard cannot be good for your heart.
“If your cough does not improve with treatment, you should be evaluated for heart failure.”
“In these patients, cough is usually accompanied by shortness of breath and may be accompanied by worse functional capacity and exercise intolerance. Sometimes, patients are unable to lie down without becoming short of breath.”
It was so bad, a couple nights I had to go sleep on the couch downstairs so I wouldn’t keep waking up my wife.
Who is to blame!?!?!?!
I am to blame.
So here I am. Day-11 of being vegetarian and while I know I need a longer test window, I’m here to tell you ..even in eleven days, I’m noticing. Am I getting my protein, you ask? Plenty! And I’m not even using any chemical supplements. Just eating Brazil nuts, whole almonds, and almond butter get me 15 grams. Then the leaf spinach, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, and slivered almonds blended in my smoothie give me more. Broccoli and peas add a little more. I’m just sayin’ …I’m getting enough.
I’m not lecturing and you will see a burger in my hands from time to time, but I made a promise to my kids and myself, and it’s not something I want to break anytime soon.
I should’ve heeded this advice from my childhood.