Each month I set out to do a 30-day challenge, some of which have lead to radical long term changes. Physically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually.
In the next few blog posts, and in no particular order, I'll highlight my top favorite / most disruptive challenges from the past couple of years, talk about my current one, then will attempt to post and keep up with each month moving forward.
To kick it off, I'm going to elaborate on a recent one I shared a bit about --
AKA stop eating them; also includes no pigs or chickens.
Sometimes just one chance encounter can change your life. Change how you think and feel. Can change your health and actions.
One such encounter changed all those things for me.
As I drove through Mancos, between Durango, CO and Page, AZ, I came across Will, who was taking Crash (cow) and Charlie (dog) for their daily walk. It was quite a sight, so of course I had to pull around, drive up, and learn their story.
Will was born in New Mexico and grew up in Durango on the farm. Charlie and Crash have grown up together, the best of friends. They sleep together, play together, walk together. Charlie also rides horses, yes, still talking about the dog.
Will teased about getting a Purina sponsorship (using Crash's cow meat), letting an awkward pause of silence linger, waiting for the joke to sink in. Not to me... but to Crash. He turned to his cow, hugged him and said he was kidding, and Crash started bucking and licking Will as if he understood.
Will shared with great conviction about how intelligent, emotional, and communal cows are.
Will, Crash, and Charlie have never left me.
As I've continued on my nomadic journey, I've stopped on the side of many roads to greet cows. To talk with them, whistle songs and beatbox for them, feed them, and take photos with them. Their curiosity and gentleness moooves me. Moved me to the point, that a few months ago I stopped putting their meat and flesh into my body.
How I quit and why it was easier than I expected
I was the type that thought giving up meat was impossible "because BACON!..and ribs...and and", so I broke it down into 2 steps.
- I first started with if there was anything on a menu that was an option that wasn't meat, I'd order that instead. That was really easy.
- Then it was simply no beef, pork, or chicken for the month.
Of course I just so happened to start this challenge as my travels took me to the midwest, and everything is predominantly meat meat meat.
The hardest part was actually the social pressure. It felt like what I imagine coming out feels like, to tell someone from the Midwest who was offering me a home cooked, deliciously smelling pile of BBQ that I'm not eating meat. Trying to make it sound interesting. "I'm doing this 30 day challenge... boy I sure picked the wrong month. Haha."
After that month ended, I felt great physically, I feel like I'm honoring my compassion for these living creatures, oh, and not to mention each plate of meat I forego is making a growing dent in the carbon footprint.
Through this, I've also come to learning some alarming facts:
- 1 cow's methane is the equivalent to 1 car's CO2 output driving 7,800 miles per year
- 1.5 billion cows and bulls emit 2 billion metric tons of CO2 yearly, AKA 1.5 billion cars driving 1.17e+13, or 117,00,00,00,00,000 miles. Yearly.
- Clearing out tropical and rain forests for more grazing adds another 2.8 billion metric tons of CO2 emissions yearly
- Agriculture makes up for 18% total greenhouse gasses globally
It's been 4 months, and other than the time where the waiter didn't remove the bacon bits from those baked brussel sprouts and neglected to let me know, I've been meat-free and don't even think about it anymore. However I have noticed my appetite has skyrocketed, very difficult to feel full, and I've managed to gain 10lbs. (A huge feat for me!)
My next hurdle will be to eliminate fish and eggs. If you have advice for how to get the nutrients I need, while also being able to make *easy* and delicious food from a van... I'd love to hear it below!
"Nothing will benefit human health
and increase chances for survival of life on Earth
as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."
- some dude named Einstein
30 Day Challenges I'll be sharing next:
- Polyphasic Sleeping
- Expressing Pareidolia
- Eating Color
- No Social Media
- No Liking
- No Plastic
- Wim Hof Method (Cold Showers & Breathing Technique)
- Get pissed off about 1 thing (and ignore all the others)