If you haven’t been able to tell yet, my relationship with food has drastically changed over the years. Once upon a time, I was afraid of food and what it would do to my body. I ate foods that in my head wouldn’t make my 95 pound body “fat,” such as dry cereal. Lots and lots of dry cereal and other empty calories.
I’m surrounded with gratitude knowing that I my relationship with food has greatly shifted. Whereas I was once fearful of the food entering my body, I am now aware of the powerful ways food serves me…mentally, physically and spiritually.
For me, leading a balanced lifestyle means having a balanced body and a balanced mind. Nutrition plays a key role in this. I can’t have a balanced body if I don’t fuel my body properly. I can’t have a balanced mind if my relationship with food is skewed.
My nutrition truly started to balance out when I started to track my macros. As an athlete, it was vital for me to figure out what served my body well. I was over being exhausted all the time. While I thought this was from being too busy (which part of it was), it was mainly do to the fact that the “healthy” food I was eating wasn’t serving my body.
Often, when I bring up my newly, rejuvenating eating habits, many people respond with “Oh I don’t care about calories.” This was my problem, though. I was unaware of how I was underserving my body by not consuming enough calories. As soon as I increased my calories and properly proportioning the amount that came from carbohydrates, protein and fat…I noticed life changing shifts in my energy levels. Food is powerful.
Now, I’m taking my relationship with food to the next level.
My best friend and soul sister, Erin Frye, texted me one day with something along the lines “So, I decided I’m going to be vegan.” Being supportive (and slightly ignorant), I told her that was amazing and to make sure she was consuming enough protein. She passionately shared her journey into this lifestyle with me, so much so that I became intrigued.
The idea of a plant based diet was not exactly new to me. Being a Health and Wellness major at UNCA, I was exposed to documentaries such as Forks Over Knives, and provided an overwhelming amount of information on the value of receiving nutrients from nature.
So, I decided to educate myself. Erin recommended The Good Karma Diet.
Let me start by saying, with just about every chapter I read came a thorough google search on the counter view points. My purpose in reading this book was to become aware, and think about what would mentally, physically and spiritually best serve my body. I knew that awareness of my macronutrients had served my body well and I wanted to continue that path. Would I be able to do so? I quickly learned my answer was yes.
So here’s a mini break down of the book and why I believe its a must read, whether you want to adopt this life style or not.
1. You can make this lifestyle fit you. Victoria Moran does a phenomenal job on making it obvious that there are no rules and regulations you have to follow in order to begin your vegan journey. Perhaps you want to improve your health. Maybe you became aware of the treatment of animals and simply couldn’t stand behind the factory farm industry. Whatever your motivation, life happens, and any choice you make can have a powerful impact.
For me, I had contemplated giving up certain things and not others, mainly to ensure my grams of protein could be maintained. Perhaps I’d continue eating eggs. But then I learned…
2. Just because it’s good for you, doesn’t mean its good for the animal. Over the past few years, I had always eaten “well.” Organic foods, local meat, cage free eggs etc; etc; Although the way food is handled may serve me, it does not necessarily serve the animal.
Organic means the animal is not stuffed with hormones or other chemicals. This term has nothing to do with how crammed the animal is in it’s cage, being treated like furniture in a storage unit.
Cage free means the animal is allotted x number of hours outside of their cages. It has nothing to do with the food their given, where they live, and whether or not their body parts are chopped off.
Local is great for supporting your community, but again, does not necessarily mean the animals are treated top notch.
Some people may say, but their just animals. And that’s okay! That is your opinion, your view of the matter. For me, though, I couldn’t see it like that. I had baby Pood laying with me and couldn’t fathom that the cows, chicken, lamb etc; were much different than my sweet pup.
This was also very eye opening for me. I always assumed that because the food was good for me, it was good for the animal. You walk into places like Whole Foods and the Fresh Market, where they seem so food friendly, but in reality, their corporations trying to get ahead.
3. Nourishing yourself with nature. As I mentioned previously, my biggest concern when I began educating myself was being able to keep up my calories and macronutrient percentages. I quickly learned that I was highly misinformed about the ability to get carbohydrates, protein and fats from nature. The book has a plethora of chapters that discusses topics people often argue: protein intake, vitamin B12, amino acids etc; I quickly found that I’m easily able to keep my calorie intake up while serving my body with delicious foods. In fact, plant based proteins are proven to serve your body better compared to animal based proteins, which are linked to cancer cell growth and heart disease.
4. It’s not just about the food. Animal products come in many forms. The book provides a dose of information on other animal products and the companies that support the well-being of animals. From beauty and health products to clothes and household items, animal products are all around. The author does a phenomenal job of offering information and available alternatives.
As I mentioned earlier, I began this book simply to educate myself. And, I did just that. I became aware of how the choices I made with my food were impacting my body, my community and the environment.
Even if you don’t want to adopt the lifestyle, or you made multiple counter arguments to the points I made in this post, educate yourself. Like I said, with each chapter, came a thorough search on the other point of view. I weighed both the opinions and the facts and found that my heart and mind connected with the Good Karma Diet. Becoming aware of differing life styles is a part of being a member of our diverse world. There’s no shame in building an understanding of how and why other people live their lives the way they do.
So cheers, to being physically, mentally and spiritually served by food!