About seven years ago I was living a pretty sedentary lifestyle. I would walk to the train, get off at my stop and grab a giant Dunkin Donut coffee with sugar and cream and a breakfast muffin. I would then sit at my desk all day, work, and eat. Needless to say this lifestyle was not kind on my body or my mind, and one day my body decided to let me know. It became apparent that I would have to change what I was putting in my body and how I was living my life. That’s when I decided to try yoga, which led to me choosing a vegetarian diet.
My Body Says “Stop Ignoring Me!”
It was on a typical day that I was sitting at my desk eating, when I felt an impending sense of doom. I’m not being dramatic when I say that my heart began to race, my palms began to sweat, and I felt numb tingling all over my body. This terrible feeling lasted for several minutes, and I was almost convinced that I’d had a heart attack. My doctor let me know that it was a panic attack, and although he was able to prescribe medication, I knew that I had to change my lifestyle.
Find an Activity that Gets You in Touch with Your Body
I walked in late to my first yoga class. I was tired, I was stressed, and couldn’t wait to get out of there. When the instructor came in he seemed calm and relaxed, and as he lead us through breathing exercises I realized my shoulders were practically up to my ears with tension. I realized that I had no connection to what my body had been trying to tell me, namely: Hey, take care of me! After attending several classes I came to rely on it for my everyday coping. The yoga teacher began talking about an idea behind yoga of doing no harm. I noticed that on the days that I did not eat any meat my body felt lighter, and I felt less sluggish. So I decided to cut meat out of my diet not only because I felt physically better, but because it felt right ethically as well.
Experiment with Multiple Meat Substitutes
In the beginning I simply cut meat out of my meal and piled on extra veggies. This, I soon came to realize, was not the best approach because I would be hungry soon after. I needed to add more protein to my diet, but there was one problem: I couldn’t stand the texture of tofu! I would have to expand my horizons. I took a trip to my local grocery store and went to the meat-substitutes section and was surprised to find an impressive array. I grabbed a sampling of the ones that seemed most promising and found a few that I actually liked. I also experimented with some recipes for beans and lentils.
Read Up on Treatment of Animals
If the lighter and healthier feeling of going meat-free wasn’t enough to convince me that I was doing a good thing, reading up on the current practices by big corporations in creating meat products was certainly enough to convince me. Knowing that I am not harming another living creature makes the broccoli a little sweeter with my meal.