‘Twas the night before Christmas…

…oh wait, it’s after midnight so technically it IS Christmas. Well, happy holiday everyone. Whatever you celebrate, I genuinely always thought of this as a time to try and tolerate family, loud children, wine cooler and bad jokes in Christmas crackers. I do miss the presents aspect of it though. As an adult I’m finding myself buying a lot of presents and receiving a few t-shirts. Having said that, I do receive the gift of an incredible amount of food so I’m actually pretty happy with that.

It wasn’t as great when I was vegan though. A Greek Christmas is not a salad-friendly Christmas. I mean, there is some potato salad here and there but most of it has bacon. The rest of the food consists of lamb and chicken. Or chicken stuffed with lamb. (Just kidding, Greeks are confused by the idea of Turducken.)

I remember when I first announced that I didn’t eat meat the conversation vanished to be replaced with confused incredulity. The next week I visited my mum and grandmother and my grandmother announced she had made vegetarian dolmades (rice wrapped in vine leaves). I took a bite out of one and discovered mince meat. “What?”, she said with a look of innocence, “that’s not meat. Just mince.”

You tell a Greek relative that you’ve given up meat and you might as well say “I’ve gone on a hunger strike.” All of a sudden you have half the extended members of your family telling you your cheeks look ‘sunken’ and asking how you can ever be full. My mum offered me sardines the first 5 times I visited her after my announcement. The worst part for them was that they couldn’t argue against any moral high ground on my part because I wasn’t operating from one. I made it very clear that I a) felt healthier when I didn’t eat meat and b) looked better when I didn’t eat meat. I went so far as to call myself a “vain-a-tarian”. It was great for me. For the first time in my life I could wear stretchy designer t-shirts (please don’t imagine Ed Hardy type monstrosities. My stuff was more artsy-emo orientated. Also threadless) and skinny jeans. I do realise it’s still possible as a ‘chunky’ person to wear skinny jeans but it’s never advisable. If only because of the ever-present butt crack syndrome.

I downgraded after a couple of years to vegetarian. A couple of years after that, due to regular dinners with family members of my girlfriend (now wife), I downgraded again to eating seafood and fish; what I dubbed a ‘pescetarian’ for convenience sake. Though it wasn’t actually that convenient as I constantly had to explain what it meant. A couple of years after that I downgraded yet again to “I will eat lamb at Christmas” as it just seemed the festive thing to do. Not for the lamb, obviously.

So where does this leave me? Chubbier than when I was a vegan, that’s for sure! I’ve been considering going back to it but aside from everything else, it’s actually quite expensive. Yes, this is even if I go to the Central Market and buy all my produce fresh. Unless I somehow carve out twelve hours a week to prepare all my food (and a few more hours beforehand to work out what I’d even want to eat for the week) then I’m left with a heap of stuff that I don’t end up eating. Aside from the crackers anyway.

At least I was never on the Paleo diet; a diet that seems engineered to kill people. Yes, let’s put maximum strain on the heart and fill ourselves with fat, as nature and cavemen intended. The world of actual scientific fact has returned a verdict on this only recently and proclaimed that it’s about as healthy as drinking nail varnish. Of course, to the paleo community this is only natural as the scientific community are in cahoots with the ‘everything but meat’ industry.

Changing the subject swiftly, I joined a gym around the corner from my house to motivate me to go more often. As I haven’t been to a gym for a full year and a half before I joined this one, it gives me a 400% success rate after going there four times. Possibly only 100% as that’s the highest you can go. Apart from certain grammatical exceptions. Am I the exception? All I know is I’m 200% more tired than I was a couple of hours ago so I should probably try and rest before the mayhem tomorrow. At least I have the beat-boxing car to look forward to when my nephew unwraps it; until the batteries run out anyway.

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