Eating Your Values | iHanuman


Love, Service, Devotion, Yoga

Eating Your Values

You can tell alot about a person through the food they eat. The choices we make about food begins to show what a person thinks about herself, her environment, her body, even her beliefs. For instance, Yoga Teacher = Vegetarian. Right?  It turns out, not as often as you'd think. I for one,  did not become a vegetarian for "yogic" reasons, nor because of PETA ads, nor did I harbor a particularly large sentiment for the animals we eat (that all came later).
My long path to eating a plant based diet began during my first pregnancy.  I had been horribly ill and was eating whatever I could keep down, mostly bland foods like chicken and rice.  At one particularly bad restaurant I looked down and saw clearly, for the first time in my life, what I was eating. It was a bowl of muscle, flesh and connective tissues.  (It's at this point I have to point out that many people find that language revolting and objectionable. I use this language only to convey the magnitute of gross-out factor I was experiencing!) That  realization, coupled with my already over zealous gag reflex, led to me to give up chicken. Right then and there.
The process of becoming a full-fledged vegetarian took some years. For a long time I still ate beef and mostly anything that least  resembled meat, like hot dogs. But when I noticed that I was forcing it down and going  through the nightly ritual of subconsciously eating around my meat, I said to my husband, "I think I'm becoming a vegetarian." He looked at me for a minute and said simply, "I know."
And that was it. That was the permission I needed. Someone in my life had more clarity in that situation than I did and supported me through my transitions. My husband has always stood up for me and what I believe, even when he doesn't take those things on for himself. I love that and strive to be that grounding force in my kids' lives.
Over time I saw those PETA ads. I discovered ahimsa. I became a yoga teacher and deepened my spiritual practice.  But those things enhanced my food choices; made me feel like I was on the right path. I decided I didn't want something to suffer just so I could eat. It's simply not necessary.  Shouldn't we care about where our food comes from? When we get really honest about the food we eat (the fat content, the quality, pesticides, factory-farming, GMOs, pollution) it can be overwhelming. And scary. But I fully believe we hold a moral and ethical responsibility when it comes to diet. If, for no other reason, to ourselves, our bodies, our children.
If, in the end, you can't give up meat, then don't. Becoming a vegetarian is a deeply personal choice and people do it for many different reasons.  But you should be clear about your choices. Yoga is all about getting real clear about our habits, our lives and how we live in our bodies.  There are many options out there that are healthier for your body and our environment. Through opening up the conversation, in the last few years, really excellent options have arisen like: raising free-range and cage-free animals, the plethora of organic produce available, the shop-local movements. Don't feel like you have to take it all on all at once. Just make one small change today and go from there.

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