Thursday, January 08, 2009

New year, new me

Before I dig into the issues of the day, a quick update on the vegetarian experience. Almost a month into this and, with the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas day, I have stayed with it. This whole vegetarian thing has been way easier than expected. First I was finally able to gain balance in my water retention, which was the first trigger for this change. I had been swelling in my hands and feet to the point where for the first time in my marriage I could not wear wedding band and my feet looked like water balloons. I haven't added salt to my food in ages but I finally cut out the hidden salt in foods by primarily cooking on my own. During this month my weight initially ballooned to the heaviest I have ever been, 307 lbs. I increased my water and fiber intake exponentially and that cleared that out. I have lost about 10 pounds from that peak and my ring and shoes fit again. It seems 300 lbs is my tipping point for the worst symptoms.

Now that my water balance is regulated weight loss will be slower but steady as long as I keep calories down, which is easy when you eat primarily vegetables. I use very limited tofu and soy products because of the negative effects soy can have on male hormones in high doses. Most of my protein comes from nuts, beans, milk, and cheese. I feel considerably more energy and for at least the foreseeable future can't see going back to my old carnivorous ways. I may add meat back once I reach my target weight but the portions will never again reach the size they once were.

On other subjects, I have been following the trouble in Israel and it scares me. While a short term cease fire may soon happen I cannot see any permanent peace in the foreseeable future. I wish it were as black and white as some paint it but it really isn't. The Palestinians were wronged when their land was taken from them to create the state of Israel. The current people of Israel didn't do that though, that was a wrong of a previous generation. What this boils down to is an ancient fight for who gets to inherit the land that both Jewish and Islamic tradition count as holy. There is no clear cut "right" answer to that question. The current fight is being pushed by radicals on both sides.

In all of this mess there is one undeniable fact, the use of civilians as human shields by Hezbollah is deplorable. By placing their rockets on the rooftops of schools and firing on Israel from urban areas they goad the Israeli forces into returning fire and creating horrible collateral damage. Further, these terrorists fire rockets indiscriminately into Israel, killing the innocent but then protest when, in returning fire defensively, Israel harms civilians. I can only see one solution. Mainstream followers of Islam, you must rise up and stop Hezbollah. Only by standing against these who corrupt your religion and give all Muslims a bad name can we come to a peace agreement and possibly a free Palestine. It is the responsibility of all decent Muslims, which I know far outnumber the wingnuts, to force these radicals out of your society. Do it in the name of your children and the possibility of a free and peaceful Palestine.

I weep with you as you bury your children. No parent should ever have to bury their child. Put a stop to this violence before more children die. It is my hope that once cooler heads have prevailed, voices of reason can see past dogma and the wounds of the past to forge peace and that peace spreads across the entire world. I look forward to a day when no parent buries a child as a result of violence.

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