When I was a kid – the most persistent common thing I remember being told is to get good marks (grades) so that I could get a good university. So, all through my school, it was about getting admitted to a good college. Then it was getting good marks in college to get a good job. After the job, it was marriage and then after marriage; it was kids. It was somewhere after I got the job that I started questioning this race to something which I was not even sure I wanted or cared about.
Let’s talk about my food habits. I gave up chicken because I did not like its taste and did not want to eat it. Next on the list was fish, then eggs and then dairy and now more trending towards raw. (I am vegan, but I admit I have occasional bone broth and eggs – not because I crave them but because of the health and nutrition purposes). I remember having a conversation with Adam and what next for me on my food journey. Raw vegan seemed to be it – the end of the marathon.
This morning, as I was running – my mind wandered to being a woman and my need for a routine. As a woman, we have our monthly cycles that whether we like it or not dictate how we feel and our mood. And as somebody who thrives on routine sometimes the routine comes into conflict with my body rhythms and natural cycle. The next step on this journey is being aware of my body needs and acting in accordance with that and not to my self-imposed habits. This is scary for me because it means I cannot plan, but this is the next step. Vipassana, the meditation practice I have is also about constant awareness of the change and sensations. And I believe this is where my food journey is also taking me – all roads lead to Rome.
Plans are useless; planning is everything. This is what I am realizing. It’s the planning that helps me prepare for what happens not the actual plan. On that day who know what happens but if I am not worried about sticking to the plan but be present to what arises from all the planning I am prepared.
Life is similar in that way, all your life you are planning not for the plan to come true but being prepared for what life throws your way. The human conditioning deems it a failure if you do not achieve your project – you are rewarded for the outcome not for the journey. The journey is what matters the most, and it is what makes us who we are. Winning the award or the first prize does not make you who you are – it is what went into winning the award. The discipline, the hard work, patience, managing self-talk is what makes the person, the character.
This blog seems all over the place but at the same time very apt – does it matter if I have a point?
This year I become a Vegan. It has honestly been a journey. I gave up chicken because I stopped enjoying it, next year I gave up fish, last year I gave up milk and this year eggs. Before I go any further let me say that I believe in the Chinese proverb -“80% is perfect for me”. You will catch me eating the occasional cheese or drinking chai with regular milk, but it is not the norm.
A few people ask me why I became vegan. I have no clear answer except it was time – a part of it was for weight control, but I believe that most of it is because of the meditation practice (Vipassana) and my tuning with my body needs. I practice Vipassana and know that it is my path in my life. And as a part of Vipassana, you are encouraged to maintain the five precepts in your daily life if you are a serious meditator.
And one of the precepts is to refrain from killing any living beings – and that includes refraining from acts that encourage killing living beings as well. And I believe that if you take these precepts, they have to have an impact and maybe that is why I am on this journey or simply put I am more in tune with my body needs now than before as a part of my spiritual practice.
Now, why would my body needs shift towards Vegan? I follow what my body needed, but I recently saw a video by Sadhguru (A guru from Isha Yoga Center – one of the few yogis who meets people where they are) on eating meat. He explained that herbivore animals have molars for chewing, grinding and they also have a long alimentary canal to aid in digestion whereas carnivores have canines for tearing the meet and a short alimentary canal as they do not digest food for long. Now, which of these systems do you think we humans have? We have molars and a long alimentary canal – and the climate in our body is tropical – so can you imagine what happens to meat left outside (or inside our body) for long periods of time? [Especially when it takes meat 24-28 hours to process through our bodies]
He also has another reason for those of us who are spiritually inclined- that if we eat other beings who have emotional feelings, then it is a) like killing them b) we are just collecting their imprints which are not suitable for preparing our body for spiritual practice.
And he also says that if you live in areas with harsh climates like deserts where you have to eat meat – in that case eat meat which has the lowest emotional content like fish. This makes sense because fish was the last animal meat I gave up.
These are facts or beliefs depending on what you searched for in Google, but your body does not lie. Unfortunately, most of us have lost the ability to listen to our body.
What’s next for me? Eating Less and Eating Simple – Mindfully. I am on a journey and grateful to be on it. Will you be my fellow traveler?
Before we begin:
Vegetarian: No meat including chicken, fish (eggs – Maybe)
Vegan: Vegetarian and no dairy products (including eggs)
Whole Food Plant-Based Diet (WFPB): Vegan plus no refined or processed foods or sugar and limited oil
I turned WFPB (Vegan) this year. I still have eggs once in a while but overall Vegan diet.
Vegan Chai Smoothies + No Oil Bread Pakoras
WHY? That is the question that most people ask – Why am I Vegan? When my mother-in-law asked me this question, I realized I did not have an answer. I am realizing now that I am very intuitive and this was one of those things – I am ready to be vegan so here I go. But, it did get my thinking cells started, and I have tried to list some of the reasoning below
Healthy Lifestyle: As I grow old I have to do something about this ever-growing weight. I usually eat well and seem to be on some diet all the time, but my weight grew a pound or two every year. And this kind of a rate is not sustainable. And when I am eating healthy my body feels great whereas if I stuff myself with fries it does not. I wanted to treat my body well. (If I don’t take care of my body where will I live.)
Vipassana Meditation: One of the precepts for Vipassana includes not killing or harming other living beings. And as students, we take the precepts during the ten-day course and are encouraged to maintain our precepts in daily life too. A decade of practicing Vipassana has to have some effect. And now I cannot bear the thought of eating an animal. I might start crying if I see a fish being killed (and for those of you who know me crying is a compelling statement from me)
Other Centered Universe: This is a by-product and not an intentional result. As a result of going vegan, I am doing the planet a lot more good. The global warming effect is primarily due to the CO2 that the cattle release and the amount of grain that goes in feeding the cattle can feed the entire human population many times over.
HOW? I am bragging a bit when I say that I have no trouble saying no to ice cream/chocolates. But, keep in mind this was not an overnight decision – I have been on a healthy lifestyle journey since 2008. I switched to Soy initially and then did the Master Cleanse for the first time and did it every year since then. I switched to brown sugar from white one year and then to honey the next and now no honey either (I use date paste/maple syrup only if necessary). So as you can see this has been a long journey with incremental steps. Last year we did the FOK course, and that brought me closer to being vegan. So, this year becoming vegan was practically the next step in my journey.
WHAT? What next? I have been vegan for three months now and loving it. I continue to have delicious dishes likes Chocolate chia pudding/Pita pizzas, and I am eating a lot more vegetables. And some of the vegetables I had never even heard of like Palm of hearts. I eat till I am satiated and guilt free.
(No Cheese pita pizza)
The main reason I went vegan is that it was the easiest way to eat healthy everywhere (at office/ restaurants). They did a study once where they left an apple and Mcdonald burger out for a week. The apple had decayed and was rotting whereas the burger was the same – Can you imagine putting something in your body that even the bacteria could not break down. With vegan diet you only eat stuff that your body can digest :).
My Friday drink – Fruit Beer Float [Cheers to a healthy lifestyle]