I decided to try yoga because my body was way too run down to start jogging. I had always been pretty flexible; so, it seemed like it might be a good fit. Also, yoga seemed to be a series of slower movements. So, I didn’t have to worry about being a spaz… the way I always felt in dance and aerobics classes. Turns out, I LOVED it! At first, I did it on my own with tapes and DVDs; then when I was brave enough, I began taking classes. I highly recommend going to an experienced yoga instructor. It’s always a good to have someone checking your form and giving you tips to grow your practice.
As I began learning about yoga, I found a lot of information on being a vegetarian. Not all people who practice yoga are veg, but there seemed to be a lot of vegetarian info. in yoga magazines and books (Teaser: more on why this is this next week!). And from what I was reading, many people found relief from the digestive orders like I had, by eliminating meat and dairy from their diet. So, I began to experiment.
First, the red meat went. Instantly, I started to feel better. The bouts of diarrhea stopped. I also stopped drinking milk. I never liked milk. When I was a little girl, I struggled to finish my glass of milk with dinner. Often, I would be the last one at the dinner with Mom wiping the table down around me because it was so hard to get down. Milk and ice cream would leave my belly so distended but I never made the connection because I thought milk was so good for you. Eventually, I stopped eating all animals, seafood, eggs and most dairy. I felt better and better with each elimination. (No pun intended but FYI that improved too!)
As I was getting rid of these items, I had to learn to new ways of eating. Given what some friends have referred to as my Virgo nature, I had to find out how to be a healthy vegetarian, as well as, the answers to any questions detractors might throw at me. (Virgos don’t like to argue but, apparently, we like losing arguments even less.) So, I officially became a nutrtion nerd, devouring books, magazines and websites on vegetarian nutrition.
Protein was something I had always heard was lacking in vegetarian diets. Indeed, to this day, “how do you get your protein?” is the top question I am asked. I quickly learned that protein deficiency is rarely an issue. (And if you think about it, many of the animals, omnivores eat for protein, are actually vegetarian.) I’ve also learned that too much animal protein is a likely contributor to chronic diseases. I could write a whole post just on this topic alone but a few sources of veggie protein include nuts, seeds, legumes, tofu, fermented soy products and certain grains like buckwheat.
The next biggest question I get is: What do you eat?/Don’t you feel deprived? The great irony is that I eat MORE and more varied food now that I am veg than I did when I was an omnivore. I also still eat a lot of the same food I ate before like pasta, pizza, burritos, burgers, fries, salads etc. but of course now they are made without animal products. I became a better cook and got more adventurous in trying new things like kale, different types of mushrooms and dandelion greens. I finally learned how to cook beans. I found that the more colorful my diet became, the better I felt. A lot of my food before had been beige: chicken breast, potato, pasta, bread and margarine. In fact, my doctors had told me to eat plain foods to keep my digestive issues at bay. After I went veg, my meals became a dazzling display of healthy lush greens with red, yellow, purple and orange veggies. The more colorful my diet got, the better my digestion was.
My health bounced back rather rapidly after I started a yoga practice and adopted a vegetarian diet. I lost 15 of the 20 pounds I had gained. My energy increased significantly. I also experienced a greater sense of emotional well-being and I felt more like myself but more on that in next week’s post… Going all the way Veg.
Love and many blessings,
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