The stereotype of the vegan, sprouts-eating yogi is there for a reason.
The most well-known of the yamas, or moral codes, of yoga, is ahimsa, which can be translated as non-violence or non-harm. Someone who practices ahimsa tries to live in a way that causes the least amount of harm possible. The practice of factory farming poultry, pork, beef, dairy, seafood, lamb, and other animal-based food sources causes intense harm to the creatures involved, so an ahimsa-based lifestyle would include abstaining from these food sources (this also ties into the Ayurvedic principle of a sattvic diet, which is a topic for another post).
Even endurance athletes can go vegan. Scott Spitz, who’s now battling cancer, ran at volumes exceeding 100 miles per week. And he did it on a completely plant-based diet. He also makes a mean batch of Christmas cookies and is an all-around amazing dude. Read more about him here.
If you want to try an ahimsa-boosting diet, do it in stages. Some people start by giving up meat for one day each week. My husband did it by eliminating a single animal-based food source at a time. Just don’t go cold-turkey on turkey! If you’re a red-blooded, meat-and-potatoes eatin’ American and you suddenly remove meat, dairy, and processed foods from your diet, you’re going to feel deprived and cranky. If your system is used to that sort of fuel it needs time to recalibrate.
I transitioned from an omnivorous diet to a completely vegan lifestyle over the course of three years. It took a long time but it was easy because I never felt like I was making radical changes. I’ve been 100% vegan for four years now. The key was setting a realistic goal and starting slowly. Discovering my favorite vegan kitchenistas at Post Punk Kitchen also helped. Follow the link to find some fab recipes.
Each step you take towards an animal-free lifestyle is empowering because it makes a difference in yourself and the world around you.