The Yogini from Manila

For Now, I’m Flexitarian!


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!”.

A whaaaat????

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.

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  1. It’s good to know that the whole family is supportive with the healthy lifestyle. I agree with your point that although you can’t give up meet totally and in one go, a person should still be aware of what’s healthy and unhealthy to eat. Do you have some sort of daily schedule on your meat dishes? I mean, do you plan if you should eat meet thrice a week or only on weekends, for instance?

  2. oooh yes you are šŸ™‚ I’ve been a flexitarian for 3 years now but now I have already depleted meat from the menu with occasional chicken when there really is NO other choice since my family are all carnivores themselves too! šŸ˜›

    @Kas – It’s really hard when you’re the only one. But so far, as I’m introducing mixed veggies with smaller meat bits, the kids seem to tolerate it. Baby steps…

  3. Hi, I’ve been a silent reader for a while now. In fact, it was through your blog that I discovered the Vinyasa Yoga Center back in 2009. šŸ™‚ I’ve been practicing yoga for a year and a half now and I’m going through the exact same experience. Like you, I’ve considerably lessened my consumption of certain food like meat or processed/canned food like Spam, but I’m not yet quite ready to give them up entirely.

    Yoga teacher Sadie Nardini has a very brave and interesting article on the HuffPost about this.

    Blessings and Happy New Year! šŸ™‚

    @forsakinghalfloves – Hi, how wonderful to know that you’re one of my readers (and, no longer silent)!!! šŸ™‚ This change in food preferences is really something, isn’t it? I asked Pio about that once and he did confirm that yoga does bring on that awareness to one’s body so much so that it is the body that looks for ways to be healthier. Welcome to the world of flexitarians! Thank you for the article link. I’ll read it. Wishing you love, life and light this New Year. Namaste.

  4. Soy is only one of many protein sources: Nuts, eggs, dairy products and a wide variety of legumes. In our familly (wife & I + 5 kids) we barely eat soy products and are all healthy vegetarians. To become vegetarian don’t try to drop meat, it’s the other way around; devellop such a taste for fruits and vegetables and all other healthy food and source of proteins, your body will naturally stop craving for meat, since protein & other dietary needs will be fully satisfied anyway.
    Look also at that still so deeply anchored false belief that meat is the ”REAL” source of protein & all other are merely poor substitutes. Sometimes real improvement in our lives starts by flushing out these erroneous ideas that are roaming at the core of our (unconscious) belief system. Beliefs passed down from generation to generation and still widely vehicled by granny, the media, schools, athletes, medical authorities or else.
    A well-advised transition is the surest way to succeed. You then avoid that pitfall of those dropping meat, their sole source of protein, without improving their overall diet. As soon as they get sick, they blame it on vegetarianism when the real source of their problem was that deficient-eating-habits-minus-meat-they-so-called-vegetarian-diet thus reinforcing their beliefs of the almighty meat diet. Always proceed with wisdom.

    I wish you the best

    @Stephen – Thank you so much for taking so much of your time to write me this very long and very helpful comment. I appreciate your words of encouragement, considering you have 5 kids!!! WOW! I hope I can follow your advice and get my own family on a healthier and animal-friendly diet. Your being led to my blog to contribute your thoughts on this issue was just awesome. Thank you once again from the bottom of my heart. Namaste.

Thanks for reading! I'd love to know what you think.

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