Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Habits

Do you remember the first time you at breakfast at a friends house as a kid, and they used different milk in the cereal than you? We were a "Low fat" milk family, and our friends down the street were a "Fat free" milk family. Now, even though the nutritional value, and actual fat content differential is rather tiny, the taste is markedly different. Their milk tasted like chalky water! Another friend's whole milk tasted like cream. It is all in how you were raised and what you are used to.

For 6 months I did not eat meat, nor fish, nor cheese, nor drank milk, or alcohol, or anything really other than water. For 10-15 years prior to that I ate and drank nothing but! But after a period of time without, I am now used to a plant-based only diet (though I am reintroducing meat & fish now). You can change your behavior, your habits.

It has been 19 days since I have ended my vegan quest, and I still have not gone to a steak house! I really expected that to be my first port of call! Now, I have had red meat, both times in Ireland - Guinness stew, and a home cooked meal of roast beef. Oh, and there was ground beef in my lasagna last Sunday. But, I have not made the religious trek to a New York City steak house! Wait a minute, it just dawned on me, I have not even had a hamburger either?! As I write this I am shocked that almost 3 weeks after the biggest challenge in my life I did not run to the nearest Smith & Wollensky's for a giant porterhouse steak, nor run up to JG Melons for a hamburger! What is wrong with me?

Well, I don't find meat repulsive (sorry vegans, I know you were hoping I'd come to your side - but call me a compassionate carnivore), the meat I have had still tastes good, but I am not itching for a steak or burger! The urge ain't there!

Bottom line, I now have an internal governor inside my brain that either dampens my urges, or dissuades my urges.

A great example is eggs. I wrote this back in my first week, in November:

You knew I started each day with you! All of ya! Hard boiled, soft boiled, scrambled, poached, Florentine, Benedict, and over easy. But, it wasn't easy! I needed you! But now, now you are dead to me. I had to stare you down. I had to overcome my desire. You lost eggs! You lost! I walked right down Main Street passed you! No eggs today, pal, no eggs until the Spring of 2010. How does that make you feel? Huh? You are powerless over me! Well, at least for today. We will meet again, and when we do, I bet I go for the apple and banana again!

Yes, it was a silly, stupid post, but I really had no idea how difficult it would be in the beginning. That was all talk back then, but I really did lick the habit! I loved, loved eggs. But here is the thing! Eggs still taste good to me, but as I walked through our café this morning and saw those shiny white hardboiled eggs, and fluffy scrambled, yellow eggs I had none of that impulsive desire. Well, I did have a desire, for my oatmeal with peanut butter and raisins!

Addicted to diet coke? Drink 5 a day? Go without, that urge will go away. Anyone can change their habits after giving up your weakness for a bit. A whole milk drinker can become a fat free milk drinker. A soda addict can become a fan of water. And a carnivore can become a vegan for 6 months, and then bounce back to be a quasi-vegan.

5 comments:

Sheila said...

What a great post to those of us trying to change HABITS! Thank you!

My husband and I are flying to NYC next week and wanted to see if we could buy you dinner to say thank you for all the inspiration we get from your blogs. We've read them all and have recommended them to family and friends.

Wondering if you have my email in your blog info somehow to contact me?

Thanks for sharing your interesting journey!

Terrence said...

Sheila:

Very touched by your offer, I have a couple of work engagements at night next week, but would love to get together if I can.

You can contact me at:

Terrence225@gmail.com

Sheila said...

Will do! You'll be hearing from us.

Vegan Epicurean said...

I have not thought of Smith and Wollensky in ages. That used to be one of my lunch stops when I was in DC for business.

The milk "thing" must have happened to all of us as kids. I remember something similar when I was growing up. It is odd how such small things make a lasting impression.

Yesterday must have been the day to write about habits. It was a topic for me as well.

I hope all is going well with you,
Alicia

Terrence said...

Thanks Alicia