I’ve been meaning to write a blog about how to eat a healthy vegetarian diet for a while.
When people hear I am a Holistic Nutritionist they often assume I’m a vegetarian or vegan. While the practice of Holistic Nutrition doesn’t necessarily promote a vegetarian diet, it does promote eating whole foods as close to nature as possible and preferably organic. We suggest our clients eat less meat, preferably no red meat or pork, from farms where animals are humanely treated and fed their natural diet and organic if possible.
So having said all that, I am actually a Holistic Nutritionist who is a vegetarian bordering on vegan. But, I was a vegetarian LONG before I became a Holistic Nutritionist. Often the next question I will be asked is “why are you a vegetarian?”. Now, this can be a touchy subject, because I truly started being a vegetarian because I love animals. Not just cats and dogs, but all animals. In the late 1980’s I read Diet for a New America by John Robins. Mr. Robins’ book shocked and saddened me to my core. The book highlighted the often horrific conditions ‘food’ animals are kept in and the untold abuse and misery they live in. I don’t know why I didn’t know about factory farming before, or maybe I had chosen not to acknowledge it, but after reading this book I could no longer ignore the animal’s plight. I couldn’t ignore what I now knew and as an animal lover the decision was actually quite easy. Red meat and pork were history for me. Chicken and fish soon followed.
Unfortunately, I learned to be a vegetarian the hard way. I simply cut out meat. I added cheese, pasta and processed soy mock meats. I didn’t even think of adding beans and a greater variety of vegetables. To make matters worse throughout the late 80’s and most of the 90’s I was travelling extensively for business and I was eating in hotels and restaurants – most days of most weeks for years. I ate bagels for breakfast and Caesar Salad and French Fries for most of my dinners. I know meat eaters who eat the same diet, just with bacon bits, so even though I was a vegetarian, I was unhealthy.
Nearing the late 90’s when my mother became ill, I started reading and researching about anything and everything nutrition. I was looking after her and I wanted to help her feel better and hopefully get better. Sadly, I didn’t learn enough in time to help my mother, but I did start to learn how important our food and lifestyle choices are. Still it was difficult to know what to eat because there is so much conflicting and confusing information. I did start to eat somewhat better, but true clarity didn’t come until I went back to school and became a Holistic Nutritionist.
Next week, in my blog, I’ll share with you the benefits of being a vegetarian and my key learning’s for living a healthy vegetarian lifestyle.
But before I sign off I want to share with you the second question I often get asked when people find out the reason I’m a vegetarian. I have been asked this so many times I can’t count. Are you ready? I will say, “I’m a vegetarian for ethical reasons, I love animals” and then I’ll be asked “well, what about children? Don’t you care about them?” To which I respond, “But, I’m not eating children”. Seriously, this is true. I guess the assumption is that if one cares about the welfare of animals, it is mutually exclusive, and therefore one cannot care about other causes like child welfare. I don’t understand this rationale, but it couldn’t be further from the truth.
My philosophy – Compassion for all beings. Period.
Note: John Robbins, Diet for A New America has a new addition December 2012
Join me next week for TIPS FOR THE HEATLHY VEGETARIAN.
At holihealth we specialize in holistic wellness. We offer interactive and informative presentations and workshops, as well as, group or individual nutrition and lifestyle consulting. Please visit www.holihealth.ca to learn more or contact us at email@example.com