One frequent question I get from people who find out I do yoga is: “Are you vegetarian?”
Many of my yogi and yogini friends ARE vegetarian and I know a couple who are vegan. And I do wish I could say that I was too. There are a lot of yogic reasons why animals should not be slaughtered for food. Unfortunately, I’m not. And for now, I am not ready to make the shift – for several reasons:
1. My kids are still basically carnivores – To delete meat totally would cause a mutiny at home. To try to prepare two different menus for each meal will be staggering in terms of time, effort and money.
2. My bout with kidney stones several years ago had my doctor tell me to avoid soy products which are stone-forming for me. Vegetarians derive a lot of proteins from soy products to replace the elimination of meat. I can’t. So I still need some amount of meat to get my protein requirement.
3. There are still meat dishes I enjoy having so it could take some time for me to slowly let go.
The good news though is that for several years now, my taste for meat has been growing less and less. I can no longer take dishes that are plainly meat, like steak. In fact, when I smell the meat, I feel my stomach revolting. For my taste buds to be able to tolerate meat, they have to be served up in very small portions and mixed with vegetables. Lots of vegetables.
I know there are a lot of people like me still in that in-between stage. We practice yoga and try to live a healthy lifestyle. But we are not ready to totally turn our back to meat dishes. At the very least, we want the option to be able to eat a meat dish that our stomachs can tolerate. And I hope we are not lumped into that group of people who “are not real yogis because they are not vegetarian”.
When I shared on one social network site about wanting to eat healthy but not entirely giving meat up, a friend (who happens to be vegetarian) immediately replied: “Then you’re a flexitarian!”.
I immediately googled “flexitarian” and saw that the most acceptable definition on Wikipedia was “a vegetarian who occasionally eats meat”. Uhhhhmmm, that’s not quite me yet.
I think my species of flexitarian is “one who prefers fruits and vegetables in the diet with the flexibility to have meat choices once in a while”. There is this article I came across on the web “Are you a flexitarian?” and this is really where I am trying to be for now. When I attend buffet functions, I now pick and choose what to eat and usually avoid the purely meat ones.
The kids and I have also talked a bit about eating more healthy next year. We are slowly shifting to brown rice (or at least make it a larger ratio to white rice consumption) and they have agreed we will shift totally to wheat bread. For me, eating healthy means having to break down barriers of eating habits and it will need to be done by my entire household. It can’t be done in one fell swoop but slowly. What’s important is that the awareness of healthy vs unhealthy eating habits is clear. If, once in a while, the kids and I indulge in something obviously unhealthy, like having lots of french fries, at least we choose it knowingly.
There’s a lot that I need to know and read about being flexitarian. I’m just glad the word ‘flexi’ allows some room to be able to bend rules sometimes and not to be so rigid about diet. And maybe I should get this book from Amazon.
What about you? What kind of diet do you observe? I’d love to hear from you.