Like many people throughout time, I became a vegetarian because I wanted to be healthier, live longer, and not contribute to the suffering of animals bred for meat. At first, it seemed impossible to beat the urge to eat meat, especially when dining out, but I found that I was happier, calmer and healthier once I removed industrialized meats and dairy from my diet. I watched several family members who suffered premature balding find that their hair grew back and those with insufferable body odor smell sweet and fresh. I myself was struggling with lifelong allergies that disappeared as I continued eating only plant foods.
Vegetarianism Is Easier Then Ever
With more products on the market catering to an organic lifestyle, it is easier to find foods to compose a balanced diet, even with a busy workweek. I started by cutting meat products down to only several times a day instead of everyday. Then I wouldn’t bring it into my kitchen and only had it dining out or eating at someone else’s home. Eventually I found I lost the craving for animal products altogether. I replaced dairy with almond milk and ate a lot of freshly prepared soups, smoothies and vegetable dishes. Every seven to ten days, I cook a number of entrees and freeze them for when I am too busy to cook during my busy week. It helps to be organized and plan ahead, as well as developing a routine for mealtimes. I soak beans and grains, the night before to awaken their vitality, then wake up and start the oats, the beans or whatever I intend to eat that day.
Peasant Food is Best
Since I have a Texan and Mexican heritage, I grew up eating a lot of corn, beans and rice. It is easy for me to eat these foods to satisfy my protein needs, even as an athlete. Peasant food from around the world offers an immense variety of nourishing vegetarian foods, if you just look carefully. Quinoa, from the highlands of Peru is an amazing grain, offering essential amino acids your body requires to build protein. Beans and rice have fed generations of strong children and mothers. Look at millet, amaranth and other heirloom grains, which have been cherished by people for millennia as delicious food sources. Legumes like peas in dishes like ‘dal’ from India, Tibet and throughout Central Asia cover plates of rice everyday for thousands of people. These people are primarily vegetarians and live long productive lives.
The Sun That Feeds Us
When selecting food to prepare and eat, consider how long it has been since it has been alive and flourishing in the sunshine. The longer it has been, the decreased amount of vitality it has to impart upon us. Remember that the sun’s rays are ultimately what nourish us through the foods we eat. Look for foods that are as freshly harvested as possible. Join the local food movement and look for foods that are in season and grown within your own bio-region. Try planting a few of your favorite easy to grow vegetable or herbs to increase the nourishment your vegetarian diet has to offer. Large supermarkets are picking up the trend of sourcing at least some of their produce from local farmers, so vote with your dollars and help the next generation of farmers take root within your community.