It has been four months since I last ate meat and I must say that I feel pretty good about this accomplishment. The road to vegetarianism was kick-started when I visited the Sivananda ashram in the Bahamas. I was there for a week and strict rules were in place that didn’t allow for meat, fish, eggs, caffeine, alcohol and drugs to be consumed. Talk about a shock to the system since I hadn’t undertaken such a dramatic change in diet before. I was pleasantly surprised, however, that it didn’t take long for my body to adjust to the new way of consumption, rightly so since what I was putting into my body was not only nutritious and healthy, but absolutely delicious.
The buffet-style meals typically consisted of leafy vegetable salads topped with grated carrots or beets, lentil soup or salad, oven baked sweet or white potatoes, a pasta or a rice dish, warm homemade nutty bread, oatmeal and grain cereals (in the morning), cheese and fruits such as oranges, grapes and melons. I hadn’t realized that vegetarian meals could be so flavourful and by the looks of it, could be simple to prepare. That experience changed my way of thinking about vegetarianism.
Before the ashram, I was already flirting with the idea of becoming a vegetarian, mainly for health, environmental and cosmetic (I had terrible acne!) reasons, but I bought into false myths such as lack of protein, boring meals, too difficult to make, ingredients not readily available, too expensive etc. But I think the number one culprit was change – I hate change, and the thought of radically altering my way of eating and cooking was incomprehensible at the time. From that point at the ashram, however, I committed to gradually easing myself into becoming a vegetarian. Although the ashram primed me for it, I wasn’t fully prepared to give up my fish and love of seafood.
Since the change in diet, I have noticed a few remarkable things. I have more physical energy, my mind is clearer, my body is more toned and my acne has diminished significantly. One other positive result is that I’ve become more conscious and conscientious about what I consume – I’ve shied away from foods that are fried and highly processed, I’m buying more local and organic foods, and quality is more important than quantity. I’ve come to respect my body and the environment more through this process. These noted changes are nice incentives to continue with this new way of eating and perhaps become a vegetarian finally…ok, maybe not just yet…I love my spicy salmon rolls too much!
If you’re thinking about becoming a vegetarian, there are lots of helpful articles on the web that could get you started:
In addition, plenty of vegetarian recipes can be found online such as VegCooking.com and VegWeb.com. There is also a myriad of well-written cookbooks available, one book in particular, The New Becoming a Vegetarian: The Essential Guide to a Healthy Veg…, had some great reviews. I just ordered this book from Amazon and I’ll write a book review of it in a future post.
One other resource to mention are the members on this site – I have a feeling that most of you are already vegetarians or vegans, since a healthy diet, particularly vegetarianism, is integral in most yoga disciplines. If you have any tips on this topic or if you would like to share your experience as a vegetarian, I would encourage you to blog about it as I’m sure it’ll be beneficial to those thinking of becoming one. 🙂