Having a yoga practice is much like the Matrix, only once you’re on the path can you truly experience how deep the rabbit hole really goes. However you find yoga, once you embrace the practice as a lifestyle is when your spiritual journey truly begins. Living your yoga, rather than doing yoga is a very different thing. One way I live my yoga is my diet. For the last 25 years I have been meat free, which I consider to be the optimal yoga diet.
What’s the difference?
There are so many people labeling their diet lately that it’s hard to follow who eats what. One person says they are vegan but consumes ghee (clarified butter), another calls themselves a vegetarian but eats fish. So take a quick look at the definition of five basic dietary choices as they relate to meat free eating:
Don’t be fooled. A vegan diet opens up a whole new world of flavors and foods that previously were perhaps overlooked. In my opinion, to live in the true path of Ahimsa (non-violence) an optimal yoga diet would be a Vegan one. Working towards a path of less suffering in the World. For me, that’s a vegan diet. However, the change did not happen overnight but over the course of many years.
My journey to a yoga diet
As a child, I never really enjoyed eating meat. I remember having the standard meal of “meat and two veg” begrudgingly. My first dabble into meat free diet was as a teenager when I heard the song “meat is murder”. My Morrissey inspired dabble into vegetarianism was cut short due to lack of supplies, information, inspiration and honestly cooking skills. It wasn’t until I was in my early 20’s that I cut meat from my diet. Unknowingly following a yoga diet before I was even truly conscious of the yoga path. Six years ago, after watching the documentary “Earthlings”, I became vegan overnight. It’s a documentary I highly recommend for anyone ignorant to the suffering in the food industry, especial. Six years vegan, 19 vegetarian and I’m a quarter century meat free!
Benefits of being meat free
When I went vegetarian fully it was primarily for moral reasons, could I call myself an animal lover AND eat them? As time went on I discovered health and environmental benefits to a plant based diet. Honestly I don’t understand how anyone in this current ecological climate can recycle but not reduce their meat consumption. Let’s dive into a few of the benefits of being meat free.
- Less taxing on the kidneys. This was the major health reason I found initially appealing. As someone with kidney disease this was a HUGE plus to making the switch.
- Reduces the risk of heart disease. Vegans have a 75% reduced rate of high blood pressure. Switching to a vegan diet can reduce your risk of dying from heart disease by 42%.
- Vegans have a 15% reduction in dying from cancer, specifically prostate, breast and colon cancer.
- 50-78% reduction in type 2 diabetes!
- Nutrient Rich. You’ll eat more fruits and vegetables so your diet will be denser in nutrients, like vitamin A, C, and E!
- Only animal products contain cholesterol!
- May help in reducing arthritis pain.
- Can assist in weight loss and a more optimal BMI
- No animals are killed for your food. Animals are friends not food.
- Reduced hormone consumption (hormones are given to animals to increase the rate of growth)
- Conserve water use, considering half the water in the USA supports the cattle industry. One pound of meat = showering for 6 months!
- Reduce deforestation! 30% of the Earths landmass is to raise food animals, and the number is growing at an alarming rate!
- A meat eater creates 7x the carbon emissions of a vegan.
- So many more…
Role modeling the yoga diet
As I said before, when I first tried to go meat free there was very little information available. No blogs, no YouTube, no Netflix. Heck, it was difficult to find books and magazines for meat free living. Now, a whole world of knowledge is available at your fingertips each day here on the internet! As part of the Meatless Monday movement I’m asking that everyone embrace a plant based diet one day a week. Preferably Monday so you cans start the week off on the right foot. To help, each Monday I will be posting recipes, food reviews, information, tips, tricks, restaurant reviews and easy switches. Showing you how easy it can be to live ahimsa.
- What questions do you have about a meat free diet?
- Have you already embraced Meatless Mondays?
- What do you think would be the hardest thing to give up
I don’t eat meat and have maintained a vegetarian home for decades. I’ve been a yogini and lived in an ashram for many years. That said, I still believe people should make their own choices about food. Everything in moderation is definitely one way.
Thanks for the comment Elizabeth. I guess my point is that a decision to eat a non-vegan diet isn’t a personal choice when another being gets harmed by that choice. Therefore it’s not yoga.
A lot of those pictures look like very tasty meals. Im not sure I could completely give up meat but I have a few vegan friends. I’ll be sure to direct them here for some ideas. THanks!
This is great information for anyone wanting to get serious about yoga. The food we eat is so important to our health.
It really is. Nourish your body, mind, soul!
I am meat free, but I don’t extend that to dairy products. I need my yoghurt and cheese, still.
For yogurt and cheese I suggest trying Daiya!
I have tried to go vegan and failed several times. I should give a try to the yoga diet.
ah, they are one and the same
I have tried to go vetegarian but I Had a hard time getting protein in! This is super helpful though!
We don’t need nearly as much protein as we think. I easily get 70g a day and that’s on the high side for my weight.
I’m always curious as to why eggs are considered plant-based. Interesting information. I think everyone’s yoga journey is different. I love Susanna Barkataki’s view.
It’s like many things, some people consider them plant based some don’t. I had one restaurant tell me the fish was the vegetarian version. Personally I don’t. I might switch the graphic out to reflect my personal views.
This is really interesting. I didn’t know plant-based was separate from vegetarian. I don’t eat meat often but I do still eat it as do my children.
Yep lots os small distinction between the groups. There is also a sub sect called Whole Foods plant-based that abstain from processed foods. I like my vegan ice cream too much for that 😉
Love, love love my veggies, but not sure i could go vegetarian… my daughter came home from college on a vegetarian diet so I am learning and we have tried some very yummy dishes. Not sure that i could do it 100% of the time but we certainly eat less meat now.
That’s so cool you’re supportive of your daughters choices 🙂
Kate Loves Travel
I have been vegetarian (or at times pescatarian!) for the last 30 years… I couldn’t imagine eating meat again! I need to get back into yoga though…
I made the transition slowly too. We do what we can in the present moment.
That infographic is so helpful! It makes it so easy. Right now, we are still an omnivore house, but I am slowly transitioning the family towards vegetarian, they just don’t know it! I’ve been planning more meatless meals lately, and everyone has been happy with it.
awesome so glad it helped. Great to hear you’re transitioning. If I can help let me know! I’ve been there!