My friends and I use the term “Baby’s First (fill in the blank)” to describe when someone does something for the first time. Baby’s First Hike, Baby’s First Bruins Game, Baby’s First etc etc. So today for me was Baby’s First Barbeque. I was going to get ambitious and make a dish but I opted for veggie burgers from Shaws instead. First however, here’s the outline of my day.
Sarah and I spent the morning cruising around Boston and we came across a CrossFit promo in Copley Square. Apparently they are putting in a new gym in Back Bay and they were giving out Paleo-Muffins. CrossFit is all about the paleo-diet. It’s basically a hunter-gatherer diet where you eat only the things you would have been able to scavenge for, mostly nuts and berries with a huge de-emphasis on carbs and an over-emphasis on protein. From the reading I’ve done, the paleo-diet has been discounted by nutritionists as a viable way to increase your level of athletic performance. In order to perform at a high level, you need carbs (even in power lifting), the paleo-diet has a grudge against carbs and an emphasis on protein which people tend to abuse. Carbs do not make you fat, it’s actually very difficult for your body to turn carbs into fat because evolutionarily your body wants to ingest carbs and then immediately use them for energy in your muscles. It’s excess calories that make you fat, not carbs (sorry Atkins diet). OK, enough pontificating, the moral of the story is that CrossFit as a workout is awesome, but these paleo-muffins tasted like sawdust, no thanks.
We then went to Boloco for lunch. My go-to choice would have been an original classic with chicken but this time I went for the original classic with grilled vegetables. I liked it well-enough but I prefer fresh and crunchy vegetables, not sautéed or boiled, give em’ to me right out of the ground. Then Sarah brought up the fact that we’re “that couple”, the well-educated, city couple who are both vegetarians and who should probably move to Cambridge in order to fit in (no offense to the vegetarians in Cambridge, but you’re definitely a “type”).
That night my broomball team from Social Boston Sports was having a BBQ out in Somerville. On the way there we picked up some Morning Star Veggie Burgers. As usual I looked at them with disdain and skepticism, really doing it just because I have to. I also picked up beer from Peak Organic out of Portland, ME. My buddies busted my chops a little bit about bringing veggie burgers and organic beer. I defended myself on the beer-front by explaining that Peak Organic is awesome beer regardless of how it was made, after they had a few they shut up about it.
The veggie burgers were actually awesome. I could hardly tell that they weren’t real burgers, I had to double and triple check to make sure my buddies weren’t pulling a fast one on me. They definitely weren’t as tasty as real burgers but they were passable. We noticed that most of the ingredients actually came from corn. I’m learning that this is not uncommon when it comes to industrialized food. We’re consuming more corn in our diets than ever before. I can’t imagine that it’s corn itself that is the problem, but when it’s present in almost everything we eat then it certainly changes our diet as a culture in a drastic way. I’m not sure what the impact of that is but it’s definitely a change from how we ate 30-40 years ago.
By the end of the night I reached an epiphany about being vegetarian. For me, vegetarianism has always been associated with eating healthy. The two are perhaps correlated but not synonymous. You can eat as much junk food as you want, you just can’t eat meat. You can be vegetarian and still be super unhealthy, this is something that I hadn’t considered before tonight. So I had a bunch of peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies as well as beer (both organic and non-organic, I don’t discriminate) and Knob Creek bourbon whiskey. I think I’ll probably be the only person who actually ends up gaining weight as a result of becoming vegetarian.