On Diet and Personal Choice

As part of my liberal (nearly socialist, if you ask my mother) indoctrination, I have grown to love NPR. When I got satellite radio with my new car about two years ago, listening to Michel Martin and “Tell Me More” became part of my morning routine much like coffee and email. On Friday, catching a rebroadcast of the Thursday program, I got to hear quite a discussion called “Put Down the Fork – Lay Off the Pork.” Michel had two guests: Natalie Moore, who recently wrote an article for The Root called “In Praise of Pork,” and filmmaker Byron Hurt (Soul Food Junkies).

As a recent convert to vegetarianism, I will say, bacon is one of the meats that I miss the absolute most. I can go without pork chops, would never touch chitterlings (or chitlins, depending upon your upbringing) and appreciate sausage. But there is something about that smell, the crunch, the combination of salty-sweet when you add it to pancakes…just joyful. I will say, my vegetarianism isn’t about religion or diet. It was a combination of my boyfriend’s eating habits (never had meat in his life) and me wanting to challenge myself. It’s the same reason I went natural: something I’ve never done before. Would it be difficult? The only thing I can say is that when I get hungry, bordering on hangry (hungry + angry) or tungry (tired + hungry), the only thing I can think of is a good fast-food cheeseburger. I’ve been tempted many a times to swerve into Whatburger after my Monday or Tuesday night class.

As I was listening to the very friendly debate on Tell Me More, one line that Natalie said struck a nerve. She mentions staying with a friend, who happened to be from the South. The family made breakfast, which included pork. Her explanation for going back on her no-pork stance (at that point in her life) was that she had “home training” and couldn’t say she didn’t eat it. I just can’t agree with that. I’m a Southerner, with home training, but if I don’t eat something, I’m not going to change my stance simply because a friend, or boyfriend’s, family cooked it. There is nothing impolite about simply saying “I’m afraid I don’t eat that, thank you.” Done, move along. This notion of Southern politeness, and to some extent, femininity defined by Southern edicts, really gets folks messed up in the game.

How long will I be a vegetarian? I’m not wholly sure. I will tell you this, I’m about to get it in on some turkey and stuffing come Thanksgiving. I call it a vacation of sorts, pretty excited about it.

On the school note, just wrapped (quite last minute :-/) my bibliography for theory class. Now I need to go into seclusion to start on the content analysis for research class and the literature review for theory. No…I’m serious. I need to go away from the Internet and text messaging, it’s the devil!

When Things Get Real, The Real Goes to New York

I will gladly admit: I took a mental vacation. I went to see my friends in New York, and I pretended like I was young again, without a care or career in the world. And I had a great time. The last few weeks have been…intense to say the least. Not really one to put it all out there, but my network of “talk you off the ledge” friends and family were tapped.

Increasingly, grad school is showing me who is in charge. I’ve selected my topics for research and theory class semester projects, both of which I’m extremely excited to explore, as are my professors (no pressure, right?). But this past weekend, that was all for me. I shopped, ate, strolled the city, got snowed in, watched scary movies and just thoroughly enjoyed myself. I had great hosts in my college friend Mychael, and his awesome roommate, Devere (happy birthday, boo!). After all that excitement and activity, it was quite nice to be home.

Now that I’m back, I’ll be focusing on these research projects. In the driest of tones, after realizing that no one had started their content analysis portion yet, Dr. Christie (research) told us “It might be a good time to begin.” I’ve never been one to believe that fat meat isn’t greasy, so I’m taking his advice.

I also owe you and myself a review of the Dallas Urban League Young Professionals Ready. Set. Grow. conference that I attended a couple of weeks ago. I have some notes and lingering thoughts on the event, which was excellent.