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Really Straight Forward Diet Advice Part 1: Meat or no meat?

When making choices about your diet you need to know what it is you want. Lose weight? Build muscle? Respect the Earth and the animals? Nurture your spiritual sense of being? By any of these choices also be clear that you want to be vibrant and healthy! In this series of articles I’m going to avoid talking about those often gimmicky diet theories that try to pigeon hole everyone and just appeal to common sense and how we feel about eating, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Question 1…Meat or no meat?

Metabolism

Let’s start with what is probably the largest issue for some people. Should humans eat meat? Well, in our theorized “known” time on planet earth, a large proportion of our ancestors depended on meat in their diet for survival. While we do have digestive tracts that resemble those of other herbivores the digestive systems of many people have seemed to evolved to be equally efficient at metabolizing nutrition and energy from meat. In one of my favorite books, The Tao of Health, Sex, and Longevity, Daniel P. Ried says about 50% of humans have a balanced digestive system that can adapt equally well to “vegetarian” or “carnivorous” diets. The other 50% is split between those who are better at one or the other.  You can check where you fall by eating a whole chicken or very large quantity of protein with a light salad and if you are energetic and mentally alert feeling afterwards, than most likely you metabolize meat/proteins well.  Carnivorous types burn sugar and carbohydrates rapidly, to the the point of agitation, overstimulation and sugar crashes, so should eat very little of these foods. Vegetarian types burn slowly and will be challenged to digest meat efficiently. The speed at which we move food through the body is also very important. Meat, compared to other foods, even for “carnivorous” types, does take longer to digest and thus has greater potential for decomposing before the body can absorb it’s nutrients. This makes it especially important to eat food in proper combinations that don’t hinder digestion. Protein foods combine best with vegetables and combine poorly with starchy carbohydrates. For some info on that you can check my previous post My Yoga Diet for Internal Hygiene and High Prana

The Earth and the Farm

Let’s just look at the obvious points. Virtually all foods, seem to be more nutritious and healthier for us when they are allowed to grow in a natural way. If it’s non-GMO and organic plants on the farm those veggies aren’t going to notice a big difference. In fact, if they could, they might consider how sweet of a spot they landed out in nature and with such a good and mysterious caretaker.(Actually, if you’ve ever read the Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan you would learn of his speculation that the plants evolved with the intention for us to eat them and thus protect and propagate them.)  Now when we look at the case for animals on the farm I think the worst thing right off the bat is the over crowded conditions in which many of them are raised. This makes them prone to illness, unless they are given antibiotics. Also many of them are fed a mono diet of the wrong food! Animals that live in the wild forage and eat all kinds of things and there meat is much more nutritious. Finally, there is the very large amount of resources used for a relatively small return of real food, especially with raising the larger animals like cow. Compared to producing vegetables and fruits the livestock industry is amazingly destructive and wasteful to Earth’s environments and ecosystems. Basically I would recommend that if your going to eat meat, find a wild source or quality farm you can trust doesn’t use unnatural practices.

Lightness of Being

Ayurveda divides all experiential forms into three qualities, trigunas. They are, in my own English interpretation, stagnation, stimulation, and equanimity. Basically everything exist in one of these three qualities or combination of, and the foods we eat can have one of these affects upon us. Meat is always considered in ayurveda to be tamasic, what causes stagnation. Dead, cooked. I wonder what they think about sashimi? In subtle energy terms you are adding the vibrational residue of whatever your food “experienced”. In terms of animals, man, a lot of them don’t have a good time, at all. The negative feelings experienced by the animals may be taken on into your subtle body. Many people claim meditation to be easier or more clear minded when they are not eating meat. Sattvic, the equinimity foods,  are fresh fruits and vegetables, organic milk, ghee to name the basics. If you want to eat meat combine it with sattvic foods, for more sattvic than tamasic networth. For example, eat a large salad or steamed veggies with a small portion of meat.

So, what if you are a born proteinivore but your ethics have you vegetarian? What if you’re a man and worried about soy and estrogen?

It’s not too much harder to still get lots of high protein meals as a vegetarian. Perhaps if you are travelling and don’t do your own cooking it could be a challenge here and there. Especially if you’re not a tofu eater. Here are some key foods.

Leafy Greens

Kale    Spinach    Brocolli    Watercress    Collard Greens   etc.

Legumes

Learn to make your own Dhal, a delicious indian food made from lentils, hummus from chick peas, vegetarian chili with kidney beans, or cook any kind of beans and blend with zucchini and spices to make dips for veggies.

Nuts

Almonds    Walnuts    Cashews    Pistachios    Pecans    Macadamias

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My Yoga Diet for Internal Hygiene and High Prana

Hello! The trip to Mui Ne was amazing! Thank you if you were part of my experience there. I really enjoyed being with each and everyone of you. Lee and Quyen will be organizing more retreats in Vietnam so I’ll keep you all posted up about it!

Well, I’m going to share with you my diet. For yoga practice it’s a big part of your development through body, mind, and soul. There’s also just so many problems you’ll never have with the right diet! When you keep your insides clean with fresh food, your energy and the immune system become a serious force to be reckoned with. You’ll rarely get sick and your friends will wonder why you’re practically inexhaustible. Sound good!?

Ok. Step 1 Fruit for Breakfast

Fruit is fast, clean energy that hydrates and gets you turned on with it’s sweetness. It’s also practically free energy. It doesn’t take long to reach the intestines and nourish, as long as nothing else is in the stomach already. This makes it perfect for breakfast. I eat only fruit until lunch time usually. Eat a variety of fruit for as long as you want. Even if it just starts as one piece  before your “normal” breakfast.  If you want to go back to fruit after those normal meals you should wait 2-3 hours or it will ferment on top. Especially if you’ve been eating starchy carbohydrates. Melons are also eaten as mono edible. Don’t occupy the stomach with melon and other types of fruit. Once you are empty go for next thing. This is one of the biggest secrets to healthy eating. The stomach likes it simple.

Step 2. Raw and Fresh

Make  much of the rest of your meals raw leafy greens with other vegetables and the heartier vegetable-like fruits such as peppers or tomatoes. Add in avocados, nuts, herbs, etc. Bring around snacks of carrots and celery and nuts for the day. A lot of people get an afternoon slump in energy and it’s usually because too much of their energy went to digesting a heavy lunch. Salad for lunch is perfect. I really enjoy a big bowl of spinach, celery, bok choy, with coriander, basil, and mint, topped with tomatos, avocado, walnuts, ground sesame and flax seeds with a few limes squeezed on top. Satisfying and you still feel light and energetic.

Step 3 Food Combinations

I’ve done periods of months eating 99% raw foods. I had a very tight schedule with little opportunity for temptations to sneak in. Now, living in bangkok I have loads of temptation but I still eat a mostly raw diet. Really as much as possible, unless I’m out to eat with friends somewhere without a good option or I have a craving for some incredible thai dish. Dinner is a good time to listen to your body and make your own decision. Diet changes have to happen slowly, especially for the strong dinner time habits. So, dinner, more raw food or a cooked meal. If you move to the cooked meal keep the above chart in mind. The “poor” combinations produce toxicity and slow the digestive process, wasting your energy. For myself the options I’d allow are rice or hearty bread with vegetables, or vegetables with seafood. Or just some stir fried veggies in coconut oil, Mm! Sometimes a nicely prepared piece of fish just seems like what my body needs. Listen to your body. If you have dinner early enough you can even treat yourself to a piece of fruit before bed. I’ve been loving 10pm mango! Keep experimenting with raw and see how far you can take it because the cleaner you eat, the better you feel, and the more the love can shine through.

The Review

Fruit for Breakfast                                Raw over Cooked                                No Meat & Starch

Salad for Lunch                                   Vegetarian over Non                    Eat a lot but don’t Stuff

Smart Dinner                                     Whole over Processed                           Drink lots of water

The Logic

Here’s the image I always think about when considering why this is so good for you. Just imagine what the food turns into as it’s traveling through your body and check it out on the other side. Eat the foods that are going to turn into a cleansing sponge of fiber and nutrient infused H20 wash for your intestines. You should be doing your #two 2-3 times a day and it should be a pleasant and easy experience. When your intestines are clean, you are clean. I started eating like this about six months after beginning my yoga practice and it made flexibility come easier and meditation more accessible.

This guy is awesome. The Life Regenerator on YouTube

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