01.06.2008

Basically Vegetarian

If you are a vegetarian or have a child who's a vegetarian, this article is for you.

Ifyou are a vegetarian or have a child who's a vegetarian,this article is for you.

Being a vegetarian is a great goal, and there are manywonderful statistics given, but it's not the beginningand end of the world. Over many years, I've seen a lotof paradigms - vegetarian, vegan, low fat, high fat,high carb, no carb, zone, raw - really, it goes on andon. But I have to say, that the thing I see workingmore consistently than anything else is Ayurveda. Ayurvedais the Indian wisdom of health, handed down throughthe Vedas over centuries.

Simplistically speaking, it holds that there are threedifferent doshas or body types. These differing bodytypes each match and cope with differing food and lifestyles.Now, I'm not saying I'm an Ayurvedic groupie, just thatit is very, very cool and it's what I see working. WhatI am trying to underline before we start is that whatis right and proper for one, is not necessarily rightand proper for another.

But, if your chosen path is to be vegetarian, you needto do it properly. I see many, many people, especiallyteenagers, who think this means to simply remove meatfrom the diet and continue to rely on processed foods,generally carbohydrates. Before you choose any particularparadigm, you should consider the following:

The first step in defining a good diet, for bothyourself and the planet, is to know and understandhow that food is grown or raised. For me, this meansorganic or biodynamic as I believe this is our bestpathway for growing and raising food that is environmentallysustainable and body compatible. It is a profoundtruth and really, should be a no brainer that poisonsin the form of pesticides, fungicides and herbicidesare not supportive of the life process. It shouldalso be a given, that a rich, alive soil will supplynutrient rich food.The second step is to eat real food. Most food availabletoday is fake, with chemicals to give colour, flavour,substance and texture. The mainstream food marketis a Matrix world, one of illusion. Again, not lifesupportive or body compatible.The third step is to eat food as close to its naturalstate as possible. This means as little as possiblethat is edible is removed and nothing inedible isadded back.

Thus considered, you can go on to choose a meat freediet. It is pointless to choose a vegetarian diet, andcontinue to disregard the above. I hear the case oftenput that by eating less meat we are reducing the environmentalimpact of animals, in particular, methane gas from flatulence,and the amount of land and inputs to grow the grainto feed them.

My response is this: if you remove meat from the dietand still buy conventionally produced food, you havesaved nothing and made little environmental impact.I would also refer you right back to the first point- animals, in particular cows, that are raised organicallyand bio dynamically are allowed to express their naturalinstinct and this includes eating the food that theyare designed to eat. In the case of cows, this is grassand not grain. Eating grain causes a massive amountof trauma to the cow, not the least of which is a poordigestive system that cannot handle grain and increasesflatulence profoundly. Such are the problems causedby cows eating grain, that some scientists have suggested(I kid you not) they be fed steel wool to get thingsmoving in their digestive systems and help to cleanthings out a bit. Really, a cow's "all bran"so to speak. We continue to feed them grain, however,because it gives a cheaper end result.

Animals such as sheep, chickens and pigs naturallyeat some grain, but they also eat scraps and grass.Organically and biodynamically raised animals are farmedas part of an ecosystem rather than intensive, fractionalisedsystems, where they are only fed grains.

Having come this far, and decided that meat is notfor you, it's important to understand that being a vegetariandoes not simply mean removing meat. This is what youreally must consider:

The base of your diet should include a broad rangeof good, nutrient dense foodstuffs, preferably organicYou must consider protein. The more quality alternativeprotein sources you discard (eggs, preferably organicand grass fed, or fish), the more diligent you willneed to be. Your core should be whole grains (refinedbread and pasta are not whole grains) and legumesand again, a broad range of each. Both have imperfectamino acid availability, and traditionally they areserved with some grain, complementing each other'samino acid low point. Legumes, for example, providethe amino acid Lysine, which grains are low in. Differinggrains also have differing amino acid high and lowpoints - that's why it's important to use a broadrange. The one exception here is the soybean, whichis the closest legume to complete protein. Note theword closest, it does not mean it is. If you chooseto use soy, do so in an informed way, and give preferenceto the fermented products such as tempeh and miso,over raw soy in the form of tofu and soymilk. Fresh,pristine (not rancid) nuts will also provide someprotein.Include sea vegetables in the diet. They are a richsource of protein, as well as many minerals and vitaminsincluding iron. Again, because the iron in meat ismore absorbable, you will need to take care to includeways to uptake the iron found in vegetable foods.You can do this by including more sea vegetables,and eating foods rich in Vitamin C (tomato, capsicum,parsley, orange) with the meal.Include quality fats in the diet, especially butter,cream, yoghurt and cheese if they are appropriatefor you. Saturated animal fats and some oils enableminerals and vitamins to be used and uptaken. Alsoinclude olive oil, quality nut oils, sesame oil andcoconut oils/milks and creams. All should be unrefined.Flax oil will provide Omega 3 EFA (as will organic,grass fed eggs), and enjoy a variety of seeds andnuts, also fresh, and not rancid.

There you go, that's your basics. So very important,especially if you are younger and your body is stillgrowing. It's easier to be a bit slack from time totime when you are eating meat, animal fats and includingeggs and fish in your diet. But you don't have thatleeway when you remove the meat, so diligence is required.

Advertisement