dietary lifestyles – vegetarian/vegan

Hi everyone 🙂

I’ve come up with a plan to do a string of posts about different dietary lifestyles (i.e. vegetarian, blood type diet, paleo, raw, gluten-free, juice cleansing, dairy-free, etc.).  I’ll go over each dietary lifestyle one at a time, based on what I’ve tried and what I know about it. The goal is to:
a) explain briefly what each one entails,
b) identify specific nutrition information, and
c) share my anecdotes from actually trying different dietary lifestyles.

In the name of nutrition research and personal motivation, I’ve tried a few different eating patterns. I’d like to try more actually, just to see how it goes. I’ve never grown up with any dietary restrictions, but whenever I learn more about benefits of different eating practices, I try them for fun to see which ones fit with me. First anecdote: vegetarianism!

My experience:
When I first moved to Toronto I went vegetarian for 2 months. I had watched lots of vegetarian-suggestive movies in the past and it all made sense. Then when I came to Toronto, I saw all these heartbreaking “go vegan” posters in all the subways, of these cute baby chickens and piglets and cows, and my heart just went to them. I actually once started crying in the subway after reading a particularly beautiful and depressing story about chickens….

“A mother hen begins bonding with her chicks before they even hatch by gently clucking to her unborn, who chirp back to her from inside their shells”

OK…..I’m dying just reading this again. If that isn’t true love and compassion I have no idea what is!

Anyway, I really liked being vegetarian and found it very easy and happy. I was happily cruising along until one day I was at work, and a feeling came over me that I absolutely needed to eat a piece of fish. I can’t explain it, and won’t try to…it was just my body speaking to me and fortunately I was able to listen. So yeah, that ended my vegetarianism after 2 months.

But overall it was a great experience. I’d like to try it again in the future.

Some information:
There are tons of ways to be vegetarian, and tons of reasons why one becomes vegetarian. Your diet is as unique as you are! Unfortunately the health industry has chosen to give names to your options for some reason…..as if the names somehow determine how serious you are?! Ugh…..anyway, some people are vegan (see below), vegetarian (no meat products), pescetarian (only eat fish), lacto-vegetarian (eat dairy), lacto-ovo vegetarian (eat milk and eggs), fruitarian (only eat fruit)…. etc. etc.

Whatever your choice, eliminating foods in one’s diet means being mindful of any nutrients your body may not be getting. I fully believe that nature has provided humans with 100% of the nutrients we need, so don’t fear – you can probably find what you’re missing somewhere!

– protein – nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, sea vegetables, chlorella, goji berries, soy, tempeh….
– iron – can come from curry leaves, beets, dark leafy greens, kidney beans….Try and have a source of vitamin C (citrus, red peppers, fruits, etc) with your iron to increase absorption.
– B12 – fermented things, nutritional yeast….you can take a supplemental form of B12 to dissolve under your tongue for good absorption. Make sure it says “methylcobalamin” (normal and usable B12) not “cyanocobalamin” (cheap and synthetic B12 – not useful!)

ottawa
delicious fruity breakfast

 

Vegan:
I have a lot of bad-ass vegan buddies who are all amazing and devoted to what they believe. Which is very admirable. Taking time to research the background of whatever you are into is recommended. Technically going vegan means neither consuming nor using any animal products, period. Depending on the person, this could mean no:

leather, beeswax, honey, vitamin D3 drops (from sheep’s wool), certain clothes, floss, dairy, meat, fish, eggs, gelatin, hyaluronic acid (used in joint care supplements), natural bristle toothbrushes……etc. etc. the list is endless depending on what the person wants to include/not include.

I hope everyone can be gracious in accepting peoples’ dietary diversity – just because someone is vegan doesn’t mean they do the exact same things as another vegan. I haven’t tried being vegan yet, honestly I’m not sure I have that much discipline in me, but maybe one day!

Regardless of diet, compassion for all is a motto everyone can adopt 🙂

-Emily

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