Before starting teacher training we got an email recommending that we all get rid of our coffee addictions and take up vegetarianism. The idea behind getting off caffeine was that a lot of poses and meditation we do will require that we be of a calm state of mind so having a stimulant in our system would hinder our ability to gain the full benefits of certain aspects of Yoga. That was fine because I don’t drink coffee (thanks momma). The purpose for asking us to give up meat was in respect for all things living. We are what we eat and if we are consuming the energy of another living being it can convolute our own.
Whether I believe that or not is to be determined. Out of respect for the teachers I am trying to cut meat out of my diet. Those of you that have known me for a long time remember that vegetarianism is not unfamiliar to me, but it was only for 40 days a year. I always knew the commitment would end. But since then I’ve also developed really healthy habits, so I didn’t doubt that this would be easy.
How wrong I was. Lol. Even though I’d been vegetarian before I was not working out as much as I do now, so the diet change has been tough. After going two or 3 days without meat I get this weird headache and feel awkward or off kilter. Eating some sort of meat (chicken, fish, pork) cures it within 5 hours and I feel myself again. I’m aware of the typical B12 deficiency but I tried to anticipate that with a daily egg. Seems that one egg is not enough. According to the NIH I should be eating 4 eggs a day to get the adequate amount of B12. This is my problem with vegetarianism. You have to up your intake of food/protein by almost 4 times to compensate because meat is such a dense source of nutrients. If you work out, you are eating often and a lot. So this is quite the experience with trying to find balance in the food I eat and finding time to go to the grocery store in between yoga classes. I have failed or cheated more than once (maybe >8 times >_< ) in the past 3 weeks.
I’m trying not to submit to the supplementary pill popping, but that just might happen. I don’t like multivitamins because I don’t need all those extra things. This is America, and I have a job. I am not malnourished so I don’t need to take a pill that is 120% of all the vitamins and minerals I need. And I don’t believe that I should need to take a pill when I can find some sort of delicious food to eat that has those nutrients.
The first new food I’ve tried is quinoa (pronounced “keenwa”). It’s pretty good actually. It’s supposedly a new “Super Food” that carries antioxidants and nutrients. It absorbs flavor really well too. [Picture is quinoa with onions, tomatoes, basil and vegetable broth.]
Is this vegetarianism thing gonna pan out? Probably not. I don’t feel like killing animals is a bad thing and would be fine if I owned a farm and had to kill a chicken a day. But I’m trying to face this as a challenge and hopefully learn a lot more about nutrition and food along the way.