Just for the health of it

I may have commented in this column that this is my year of change. My girls are now all officially teenagers who have me thinking both about the past and the future. My running line is that I want to live to be 100. Mostly when I talk about that people’s first comment is “I wouldn’t want to do that unless I was healthy.”

About three months ago I started exercising, basic stuff really – abdominal work, light weights and most recently (to prove my surgeon wrong) basketball once a week. The abdominal work and the light weights brought on the realization that at 44 I have a wee bit of arthritis in basically all of my joints.

My knee will be as good as it’s going to get come the one year mark from surgery, which is December, right now it’s going OK playing lightly one day a week. The bigger concerns involved my diet of fast food and dark beer. All the exercise in the world, even the stress reducing fun of pushing and shoving of basketball, wasn’t going to make up for the richness of Widowmaker and grilled burritos. So I’ve cut out both and all of their friends.

More specifically I’ve decided to take my third and final stand on attempting to be a vegetarian with the exception, sorry my vegan friends, of fish. My two previous attempts at being a vegetarian failed due to my love of all things grilled and my lack of effort to discover non-meat items.

Again I’ve been asked, surely you can lose weight and be healthy and still enjoy a good steak now and again; the second part of this choice came from developing a sense of meat guilt; that animals have rights. I’m not stating this to get anyone upset, I know that some people’s lives and incomes depend on the meat industry; my choice is based on what if there were one species higher than us that ate us; wouldn’t we hope they ate veggies?

With that in mind and the fact that I’m not going to force my will on my children, I began the veggie fast food search. Subway, of course is an easy choice; options for the kiddos and salad or a big ole veggie sub for me. Taco Bell has the seven layer burrito and of course the bean and cheese burritos. Fries, I’m “loving it;” OK, maybe not the healthiest option but McDonalds’ french fries is an afternoon treat or for breakfast the oatmeal and fruit and yogurt parfait is also a delicious option. Pizza Hut’s veggie pizza on a thin crust is quite good; not as filling as a double cheese meat lover, but cuts that pizza craving that hits; also a cheese pizza works as well.

If you’re “fishing” it, all of the fast food burger joints have some variety of a fish sandwich. The Copper Mine in Tamarack, in my opinion, has the biggest and best fish one that I’ve found for a breaded variety and for grilled, the fish sandwich at Peterson’s Fish Market is great, as well.

I may work towards limited fish and due to consumer guilt buy non-alcoholic beer when out verses sucking down multiple refills on Diet Coke, but in the end, 56 years from now, if I reach my goal it will be all worth it.