I grew up in the Deep South where the chickens (yard birds) roamed (not where the deer and the antelope roam). Turkeys and geese always struck me as overgrown yard birds. My family never had turkeys or geese on the farm, and for that, I am thankful. They’re kinda creepy looking to me being the small dinosaurs that they are. When they tilt their heads to look at me, all I see is the freakin’ Jurassic Park Raptor tilting its head before it pounces on its prey.
When I was living in Orrington, Maine, there were, and still are, wild turkeys aplenty. It was common to be driving on the back road where I lived and have to stop while the turkey train proceeded across the road. One at a time. For all 20+ birds. One year they frequently blazed a path from the woods behind my house, across my side yard, and over my front yard, to cross the street to go to my neighbors’ home and feast on the droppings from their bird feeders. They were fun to watch after they finished grazing and re-formed their tiny dinosaur line to enter the woods behind the neighbors’ home.
So in the States today, many people will be doing the grazing on the giant yard bird. I will be hanging with some of my Maine family today, but I will skip the bird.
In January of this year, I spent a lot of time with friends that are frequent meat eaters. I was eating it with them, but after a while I noticed I felt like shit. I wasn’t sure if meat was the cause, but I figured an experiment wouldn’t hurt. I stopped eating all meat and within a week I felt some better. Maybe meat was the cause? Wasn’t sure so I kept it going. By two weeks I felt WAY better. Easy solution to continue forward – go vegetarian (mostly).
I can’t deny that I love salmon sushi. And I do mean LOVE. So I made a sushi clause that I would only eat it or other fish only once a month, if that often.
Now, I realize that claiming to be mostly vegetarian is silly. Kind of like being mostly pregnant. You either are or your aren’t, honey. I still declare myself as mostly vegetarian even if it’s a misnomer. And to be extra clear, no, I’m not pregnant and never will be. Just used that as an example.
A few months into me being 98% vegetarian with my sushi clause, I was showing signs of anemia by late Spring. My healthcare provider asked me about recent changes in my routines. Turns out the slashing of meat from the diet was having a bit of a negative impact on me. But I wasn’t ready to go back to a carnivorous lifestyle, so I made some other changes to beef up the iron intake without the beef. It helped.
I kept that routine for a while, and over the last two months have started trickling a little chicken back into the diet mostly to change up my protein sources. I really like tofu, but damn, even I need to take a wee break from it now and then. At the family reunion in October, for the first time since Jan, I had a few bites of beef from a slow-cooked pot roast my dad fixed for roast beef po boys. The taste was catastrophically good, but my gut had a giant WTF moment as a result. I have not had beef since, but I did create a family reunion clause to use once a year if needed, knowing there could be another gastrointestinal WTF event as a result. Pop’s roast beef po boys are worth the risk–they’re THAT good.
So today, if you eat yard bird, overgrown yard bird, pig, cow, or whatever you choose today or any day, knock yourself out. I culled meat from my routine as an experiment and noticed I felt better for it. I’d never try to convince someone to give up meat just because. But if you want to change things up, add or remove stuff from your diet. I mostly eat gluten free bread now. I tried it to see if it changed how I felt to go gf. It didn’t change a thing, but I still eat it because I got used to the texture and I don’t mind it as much anymore.
If you are carnivore, omnivore, or herbivore (or mostly herbivore like me), go for it. People can get crazy this time of year with shopping frenzies, family dynamics, and other weirdness. Don’t be a nut bar. Stay happy, healthy, and kind as the holiday season ramps up.