A difficult but ultimately satisfying swim, beautiful blossoms, and some good news regarding veggie burgers

by Rob Tiller

It seems that the greater the struggle to swim some laps, the better I feel afterwards. At 6:00 a.m. this morning, I got to the pool with a plan to swim 40 lengths of freestyle (more than half a mile), and felt my heart racing uncomfortably after the first 4. But I struggled along, finished the 40, and then did 8 kickboard laps, 8 backstroke, and 8 breaststroke, and then 15 minutes of yoga. The endorphins were excellent! Driving home, I just couldn’t get over how beautiful everything looked! Blossoming dogwoods and cherry trees, blooming azaleas, and thousands of dewy green buds.

For breakfast I made myself a green smoothy in the blender with rainbow chard, apple, and banana, with some orange juice and soy milk. It tasted earthy — not delicious, exactly, but satisfying as a kindness to the body. And, reading the NY Times, along with frightening and disturbing news (nuclear plant catastrophe in Japan, mayhem in Libya), I found a cheery story: veggie burgers are getting better and more popular. http://tiny.cc/p97hm Admittedly, veggie burgers have a checkered history, but the ones in the Times story sounded delicious. According to the story, there was a 26 percent increase in menu items labeled vegetarian or vegan between the late 2008 and late 2010. That’s a remarkable increase.

I’ve been a committed plant food eater for about 15 years now, and my personal experiment has been highly successful in this respect: I feel happier and healthier than I did 15 (or even 30) years ago. But as a social matter, the veggie life has been a challenge. My non-veggie friends don’t get the point, and there’s way too much friction in figuring out ways to eat out together. It’s cheering to think that help may be on the way, in terms of increasing numbers of veggie menu items. Cheering also to think more people are eating plant-based diets that will help them be healthier.