food display at Brunswick Heads Health Food. The raw vegan mousse was amaaaaazing!

When I first became vegetarian cold turkey (pardon the pun), people asked me two questions: 1. How’d you do it and 2. Why??

Let me make some disclaimers first before going on with this post: I never truly went “fully” vegetarian as I still had eggs and dairy. While there are arguements about being ovo-lacto vegetarian and all, that’s what I chose to be for a long time. Secondly, after about 2 years of being vegetarian, I had some medical concerns (which, again, can be arued against) and so I decided to add in some fish and seafood to my diet.
Going back to the point of this article, when I first transitioned many asked how I did it, and how I managed to do it so suddenly.  I did not really have much of an answer then, except that it just felt right for my body. I used to actually describe myself as an Accidental Vegetarian! I had just come from a weekend at The Farm at San Benito with my friend and the raw vegan food they served was just so amazing. From there, things just fell into place. I went home and had pork barbeque served for dinner and I couldn’t eat it. The next day was the same and so I took that as my body’s wisdom informing me meat was no longer something it wanted.

Eventually some issues came up, given my PCOS and some concerns with neuropathy, and so my friend suggested I try adding more protein in my diet. And she suggested that maybe plant based protein wasn’t cutting it and that the tofu and beans I was eating were not good for my hormonal imbalance and all, and so I slowly would have seafood from time to time. I did feel better, and my symptoms such as the severe menstrual cramps that returned from being absent during my early yoga days and the tingling in my fingers and toes, dissipated. Again, my body knew what it needed.

In my recent trip to Australia, my first two weeks was mostly white rice free, gluten free and super healthy. Save for the occasional iced coffees I had, I was pretty clean. The first two days were tough, and the coffee withdrawals gave me a severe migraine but from day 4 onward, I felt amazing.

During teacher training at the Byron Yoga Centre, we were served delicious vegetarian food as well. A little carby, but the Filipino in me enjoyed having rice again. I did feel the difference of the first two weeks of my trip to those next 12 days.

Eventually I found myself beginning to have too much sugar again and now that I’m back in Manila, my food habits have declined notoriously. I have still, however, been eating breakfast!

Yesterday I went to a buffet at the Hyatt Hotel at the City of Dreams and on a whim, I decided to see what it would be like to eat some meat again. I had had a small lamb rib in Tasmania and while it was delicious, it didn’t give me the same pleasure I had when I was still eating meat. So I tried it again yesterday.

BIG MISTAKE.

It was delicious, admittedly. But about an hour later, up to know which has been over 24 hours, I feel heavy and queasy. I can still feel the slab of meat undigested in my belly (I suppose that’s metaphorically, but I won’t be surprised if its kinda true). 

The body really does know what it needs. And after yesterday, I know for sure that roast beef is not one of them. 

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“May all beings everywhere be happy and free and may the thoughts, words and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all”

One of the first mantras I heard when I was new to the practice of yoga was Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu. One of my teachers would sing it during savasana, and after one of those classes, I went to look up what it meant. Eventually I discovered Jivamukti Yoga and I liked very much the translation they had for that Sanskrit chant (written above).

Since then, I tried to work on being a positive force in contributing to the happiness and freedom for all. This may not have been my main motivation for having transitioned into vegetarianism, but now that I am 10 months into the lifestyle, I realize that there was some stirring in there that was motivated by this mantra. I must admit I still have my flaws. I still have milk and dairy, for one. On occasion, I still react mindlessly and swat that mosquito buzzing around. But yea, as much as I can, I try to be mindful. When I buy bags and accessories now, I check what the material is made of. I make it a point to double check if the fur coats for sale on some website is really faux fur rather than animal hide and yes, much as I dream of having one of those gorgeous designer bags, I probably won’t get it.

It’s a process, I must admit. But everyday, when I get up, I remind myself to do all that I can and be as mindful as possible so as not to cause harm to others, human or non-human.

 

 

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At long last, I finally did it….I clicked on the “order” button at the Superfood Grocer website :) Teehee. I have been making green smoothies since I became a vegetarian last February, but I never really stopped to consider what I have been putting into my drinks. More often than not, my green smoothies are made with a banana, an apple, coconut water (or pinapple juice if I don’t have coconut water), pechay, spinach, and malunggay. That’s about it. And oh yeah, I just throw this in to a regular blender.

I figured you can’t go wrong with fruits and vegetables with coconut water, right? But anyway, I realized that because I had shifted to a plant based diet and eliminated the old sources of protein and nutrients that my body was used to, I had to find replacements that will fill those needs.

Enter the magical algae spirulina :)

That began my deeper exploration of what else a plant based diet can provide for me. From there, I started reading more on what other things I can try to add and supplement for my diet, especially since I have found myself slowly craving more carbs and sweets because my body seems to be overcompensating because of the very sudden shift (I did go vegetarian cold turkey, so to speak. Pardon the non-veg association hehe). I also noticed my energy level was more blaaaah and even my yoga practice was lacking its usual focus and intensity. When I started incorporating spirulina in my diet, removing some rice and replacing it with quinoa, and replacing table sugar with coconut sugar or green stevia, I felt much better.

Since the holidays are here, it’s so much harder to keep myself on track. When I go to parties, it is exceptionally hard. Not just because it’s hard to resist temptation, but 90% of the time, I am with my friends who are non-vegetarian. While they really try hard to make accommodations for me, sometimes I have to compromise and have something that is not really completely vegetarian. I may not eat the meat, but it is cooked with it, so kinda not so perfect, right? Or I end up just having a pasta dish (thank God for easy veggie pastas!) and dessert. Also, as the holidays approach, there are times when I find myself with an old favorite…the strawberry margarita.

So..going back to the point of this post…in preparation for the next two weeks (and the rest of my life I hope!) I finally ordered my Smoothie Starter pack. The pack contains Spirulina, Maca Root, Malunggay Leaves, Coco Cacao Nibs and Coconut Sugar. I am also committing to having at least one smoothie a day when I wake up to keep the blah away :) Let’s see how this goes.

Oh wait..I gotta wait till my package arrives. Let’s see how this goes.

P.S. One of the best things I like about the Superfood Grocer is the fact that they take Paypal! Yey! No need to line up in the bank to pay for my order!!! :)

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