Pass the tofurkey, please

April 6, 2011 — by Michael Lee
michael_use

Sophomore Michael Lee tries to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Everyday, I see long lines snaking into the cafeteria. Some days, I join the crowd and wait. Other days, however, I stroll over to the “Salads” aisle, pick up a tray, and two minutes and $3.50 later, I have my lunch.

Everyday, I see long lines snaking into the cafeteria. Some days, I join the crowd and wait. Other days, however, I stroll over to the “Salads” aisle, pick up a tray, and two minutes and $3.50 later, I have my lunch.

No, I’m not an aspiring anorexic. Nor am I a Hindu, Jain or Buddhist. I’m also not a vegetarian of any sort. I just try (and occasionally fail) to be healthy.

All of this jazz about “health foods” and “half-an-hour of exercise a day” started in elementary school. I was not exactly the thinnest kid at Argonaut, and my parents had me start swimming to stay in shape in fifth grade.

Sometime in middle school, it dawned on me that all those labels and calorie counts on food packets actually mattered. In school, we studied the food pyramid, and I learned about the (not so) wondrous world of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

Then, I had an epiphany: Junk food is not healthy! I realized that there might be more wholesome things to eat than burgers, soda and pizza. Throughout middle school, I made subtle changes to my diet.

During my freshman year, I wanted to try something new. One day, I came home from school and told my mom and step-dad that I wanted to try a vegetarian diet.

Their response was immediate: “No.”

After the initial shock wore off, we talked rationally and they acted like typical parents. “You’re a growing teenager,” they said. “You need meat.” And so, I settled with simply limiting meat and egg yolks instead of completely eliminating them from my diet.

Then, a few months ago, something strange happened. My mother read a book entitled “The China Study,” which described the benefits of avoiding animal products. In other words, she wanted to be a vegetarian.

Once I got past the irony of the situation, I rejoiced at finally succeeding in my year-long quest for semi-vegetarianism. Meals at my mother’s house now include tofu stir fry and meatless spaghetti, in addition to our usual, non-vegetarian dishes. She made me give away about 10 pounds of lactose-laced Muscle Milk and replace it with soy protein, but I think my well-being was worth it.

Unfortunately, this is probably as close to vegetarianism as I’ll ever be. I’m into health, but I’m not sure about fully removing meat from my diet. My guess is that I’d only last a couple of days as a full-on vegetarian, maximum.

What can I say? I really, really like sushi.