How Can We Embrace Vegetarianism?
A few short years ago, I weighed 38 kilos more than I weigh now. I started researching a lot to try and work out how to lose that weight. First off, I started exercising more, drinking more water and analysing the quality of my sleep. I went into a lot of detail looking at my health, what I'm putting into my body and what I'm expecting to get out of my body. The things that I found were very interesting.
I found for myself that cutting back on the amount of meat and carbohydrates that I was consuming allowed for me to very, very quickly over a period of around 10 days cut down the amount of sleep that I needed. I was originally using an alarm to wake up every morning and that was what I've become used to doing.
Starting to Feel Better
When I started going to the gym, I felt well. According to all the experts, to have your muscles synthesise and grow at night, you need to make sure that you're getting a certain amount of sleep. What I found was that as I cut down on my meat intake, I required less and less sleep.
Originally I didn't actually try to find this. At the time I had eczema and I was looking at different things that might be reacting with this condition. When I cut down on meat, I was anticipating that maybe one of the preservatives found in meat may have increased my eczema. When I cut down on meat, I thought that I was going to have less of a problem with my eczema.
More interestingly, what I found is that I required less and less sleep.
Eating Less Meat Helped Me
Now, I'm not saying by any stretch of the imagination that we should all just be vegetarians. All sorts of people require different diets for different reasons. What I will say though is when I ate less meat, I found myself to be able to think significantly clearer and I was able to sleep less, which means I was getting more stuff done. I was feeling very alive, very awake. Meat in nature is very acidic. All animal products are very acidic actually, so you need to make sure you're cutting down on the number of acidic things that you're popping into your body. As I said, I'm not saying we should all eat no meat.
I adhere to what's called the macrobiotic diet. This is a very interesting diet that allows for you to have a small number of animal products and a small amount of alcohol, but it's very much based around the yin yang balanced diet where you are having more raw fruit and vegetables than anything else. One of the great things about eating a lot of vegetables is if you look at how many calories all the vegetables have (excluding high starch ones such as corn and potatoes) you can eat kilos upon kilos upon kilos every day and still be a deficit in your calories. This means you can be fully highly nutritious in what you're eating.
Embrace the Good Food!
You can be completely comfortable knowing that the calories that you're consuming are fantastic good calories that are high in fibre. I can honestly say you'll find yourself getting sick of eating because you'll be eating so much food.
Unlike other diets which try and restrict you, if you just change what you're eating as opposed to the quantities that you're eating and limiting yourself, you'll find food and fruit will start tasting better. You'll be able to really tell the difference between a good quality carrot and a bad quality carrot, and you'll be able to really appreciate that. Maybe ever so often you go out for a naughty meal and you eat something that you shouldn't have.
It will taste significantly different. You'll feel that if you like an oily chip from McDonald's or something like that, you'll feel your mouth get covered in oil nearly instantly as soon as you pop it in your mouth. So disgusting. But, we all have these naughty meals and the whole idea behind the macrobiotic diet is it's not a diet where you're a vegetarian. It's not a diet where you're a carnivorous meat eater. It's a balanced diet that works for everyone and it works for humanity.
If you think about what we would have been doing a few thousand years ago when we're looking into different foods that we're eating, we were harvesting things. Back then you would think, "Okay. I am going to hunt and get whatever I can for my family so that we can eat and survive." If you were able to take down some large animal and you bought that back to your village, you'd be eating that animal, but you didn't have any way to refrigerate it. You didn't have any way to keep that animal from spoiling, so you'd have to eat a whole bunch of it or spread it amongst a lot of people, which wasn't really a done thing. You'd be eating a whole bunch of it all at once, and you went to a lot of effort to capture that animal.
Now, the amount of effort you had to go through to eat a carrot, lettuce or some berries that are just sitting there growing in the ground is significantly less. It made sense from an energy perspective to have a diet that was higher in grown fruits and vegetables than it was in meat. That's again where it all comes down to, just having a balance in your life.
Try Meat Replacement Foods
When you think about meat, nearly always it has herbs and dressings and sauces that are derived from different fruits and vegetables and herbs. When you think you're dressing up the meat to make it taste like something else, maybe just try having something else in place of the meat. A good way to segue across would be a product called Quorn. This brand makes food that resembles meat type products that are derived from the mushroom family. That allows for you to still have substitute meat while you're in the transitional phase, or if you are a fan of mock meats.
Embrace the Veg Life
Any way you do it, think about reducing your meat intake, reducing your salt intake, and increasing your vegetables. You'll find you'll feel better than you've ever felt before. Believe me. I got an extra five hours a day where I was able to be productive. Embrace the veg!