“Lentil soup is mental fruit and ginger root is good for the yout [sic] . . . life brings life, its valuable, so I eat what comes from the ground, its natural let food be your medicine, no Excedrin. -Dead Prez
By now you keenly aware that a meat free diet is all the rage. Beyonce is “going vegan” in preparation for Coachella, The “What The Health” Netflix documentary is shifting the paradigm of traditional meat eaters, and animal rights and environmental concerns are still at the forefront despite changes in legislation. Overall, a meat free diet or plant-based eating has increased by 600%.
But the question remains, is giving up meat for you? With all the noise how do you know if this is a journey you would like to take? There are three things to consider when deciding whether a meat free lifestyle is for you.
- What is your why? Why do you want to embark on a meat free lifestyle? Frankly for me it wasn’t because I had an extraordinary love for animals or the planet. Nor was it that didn’t like the taste the bacon. In fact, I loved bacon! For me it was out of necessity. I was 38 with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and symptoms of angina. I was given two choices treating the symptoms with medication or reversing the problem; I chose the latter. Whether your why is your health, your love of animals or the environment just make sure you figure it out. This will be your reminder and motivation of why you embarked on meat free lifestyle during those challenging times.
- Be open to trying new foods. The truth is that living a meat free lifestyle doesn’t have to mean just eating salad and tree bark. There so many delicious recipes available at your fingertips that will take your taste buds to another level but it requires an open mind. From jackfruit, to green juice, to lentils and callaloo you must be willing to try foods that you may not have ever tasted before. Be creative. Think P. Diddy—just about anything can be remixed into a meat free dish. For example, meat free ox tails.
- Finally, if you’ve seen the documentaries and read the books, you now have plenty of information from A to Z regarding health, the planet, and animals. So let me say this, you only have one life. You don’t need any more information, studies, or data to move you to move. Dive in! Your only concern should be that you are getting enough calories daily and enough B12 via a supplement and Vitamin D (which you get from the sun). Then I want you to track how you feel for 21 days. After 21 days you should have more energy, less brain fog, and more regularity (wink wink). But the number 21 is also magical because the number of habit creation. It takes time to change something you have done your entire life. Take the time, exercise discipline, but most importantly be gentle with yourself while transitioning.
So is giving up meat for you? Yes, if you understand your “why,” are willing to be open to the various possibilities of food, and apply what you have learned by way of information—then you are ready. Remember this is a huge change for your mind, body, and even your spirit. Be gentle with yourself. The animals and planet will benefit from your decision, but most importantly your health will thank you for it.
by Maisha Stroud