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Natural Awakenings New York City

In this Issue: March 2020

Mar 01, 2020 05:52PM

Body of Evidence

When I was in my 20s, my roommate was a vegetarian. At the time I could not imagine life without meat. I was raised on meat, potatoes and a side salad. Emphasis on the “side”—vegetables were not the star of the show.

My roommate put me up to the challenge: Give up red meat. It was more difficult than I anticipated, but once I conquered it, I kept going and gave up chicken and fish too. Now, however, I was starving. Without knowing how to nourish myself, I started filling up on pasta instead. After all, I thought, it’s not meat, so why not?

As you can imagine, the results of my new all-pasta diet weren’t too pretty, plus I was sapped of energy at the end of the day. So I got a vegetarian cookbook to help me understand how to eat correctly. I learned that protein-rich foods like lentils were a great substitute for meat. Better yet, they filled me up! I cooked a lot and enjoyed many of the recipes. But I was also a single girl in NYC, which meant I ate out a lot too. At the time there just weren’t any restaurants that focused on plant-based foods. That concept was still many years away.

So one day, on a whim, I went back to red meat—it was just one meal—and my body absolutely rejected it. And I mean no bueno, I got very sick. That experience made me think: Eating vegetables never made me ill!

To this day I don’t eat red meat, although I do enjoy chicken and fish on occasion. I still prefer a vegetarian diet overall, and it’s so much easier to eat that way now.

My next goal is to get our boys, who are athletic, to eat more plant-based foods. Studies show that animal-based products aren’t the best energy source for athletes—in fact, the reverse is true. Plant-based foods provide a better source of fuel.

I doubt I’ll change them overnight, but I’ll keep pushing the greens their way. I hope that someday they’ll figure it out, just like I did.

Cyrece


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