In My Mind's Zen Garden
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Journey To Healthy Eating

Someone I know who is a promoter of a meateater’s diet would always comment on my vegan/vegetarian diet by saying that he once knew someone who was vegetarian but she still got cancer. Well, the only thing I can say to that is that there are vegetarians who abstain from eating all animal products but still eat junk food and avoid a well-balanced diet. Just as there are healthy-minded meateaters and un-healthy-minded meateaters.

If you’re a vegan (for instance) and all you eat are potato chips and coke (which technically would be a vegan diet) then one isn’t taking full advantage of being a health-conscious vegan who really eats a wide variety of foods (fruits & vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, etc). You could also say you’re a vegan even though all you eat is peanut butter and strawberry jam on white bread! But because it isn’t a balanced and varied diet, it isn’t healthy.

So it’s the same principle actually, that logically there would be healthy meateaters and unhealthy meateaters, diet-wise, just as there would be junk-food junkie vegans and health-nut vegans.

Well, this one meateater basically eats pizza, meatloaf, and spaghetti, shunning all fruits and vegetables and professes to be a meat and potatoes kind-of-guy. Okay, that’s cool and I respect other people’s beliefs and opinions in regards to food.

I actually also heard this from a doctor: That food and nutrition don’t play all that much of a role in whether one will get cancer or not.

But most dieticians stress a diet of moderation, YET, they will emphasize that we eat wholesome, nutritious foods and get plenty of exercise in order to maintain our health.

Okay, here’s an interesting PDF, which offers guidelines for healthy and nutritious eating, from the American Dietetic Association:

Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2005)

Here’s what they say about vegetarian diets (to dispel all the meateaters out there)….

Vegetarians of all types can achieve recommended nutrient intakes through careful selection of foods. These individuals should give special attention to their intakes of protein, iron, and vitamin B12, as well as calcium and vitamin D if avoiding milk products. In addition, vegetarians could select only nuts, seeds, and legumes from the meat and beans group, or they could include eggs if so desired.

At the 2,000 calorie level, they could choose about 1.5 ounces of nuts and 2/3 cup legumes instead of 5.5 ounces of meat, poultry, and/or fish. One egg, 1/2 ounce of nuts, or 1/4 cup of legumes is considered equivalent to 1 ounce of meat, poultry, or fish in the USDA Food Guide.

What is health?

To me, optimum health is the absence of sickness and disease (dis-ease) and a feeling of overall happiness, peace and emitting a glow of radiance that would make one look and feel healthy. And also having the ability to function (mentally, physically and spiritually) at an optimum level.

In other words, one has to look and feel healthy and vibrant.

And this is my own personal goal, as I forge ahead and work at being a healthy individual at my age. And I believe it IS work. One has to work at it… one has to work at anything in order to reap the rewards, no?

I recently read an online interview with Jack LaLanne. He’s the guy most fitness experts consider the Godfather of Fitness, and he shows it at age 93. This is an interesting read and lots of revelations in regards to his journey of healthy eating and fitness.

He was initially a strict vegetarian who got caught up in all the hype about meat being the main source of protein for athletes and switched to eating meat for awhile. This meateating trend for him was shortlived, and he says that he, for the most part, has eaten a vegetarian diet with the addition of fish and egg whites for protein. And he shuns all dairy products because of the cholesterol and saturated animal fats.

Ever since I did my Master Cleanse fast a few weeks ago, I have since followed a strict vegetarian diet consisting of fresh (mostly organic) fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains (sprouted). And there is no animal products whatsoever in my diet now.

As some of you readers know from recent entries, I had gone off the primarily raw vegan lifestyle, and went back to my usual meateating ways for much of 2007. And I’ve come to the conclusion that I should really stick to the mostly raw vegan diet. For one, the energy levels are obvious with the raw vegan diet, and the feeling of lightness is also readily apparent. My main problem with sticking to a raw vegan diet is mainly psychological because I’m constantly bombarded by friends and relatives who tell me that the raw vegan diet is wrong and that I should eat everything else they eat (the hamburgers, fries, pizzas, steaks, omelettes,etc) in order to be healthy.

But, having experienced difficulties in going back to a regular Standard American diet, suffering from chronic constipation, feeling lethargic most of the time, AND having gained a considerable amount of weight, I guess it took getting back to the old diet to realize that it really wasn’t the right way to eat.

So, here I am on my journey back to healthy eating.

I’m feeling excellent so far, I’m “regular” no doubt, and have more energy to exercise and do yoga again. Yes, along with yoga and meditation, I’m feeling pretty good. And being in optimum health, I believe, is incredibly hard work and takes some discipline, but the rewards are there once optimum health is achieved and maintained.

I’m beginning to realize that you can have everything in the world, but if you lose your health, you just can’t appreciate and experience those wonderful things in the world to its fullest.

Well, enough talk about healthy eating… here’s to everyone’s health! May everyone live healthy, long and prosperous lives.



About the author:
Has 3122 Articles

Carlos Rull is a musician living in the San Diego area. His interests include Yoga, Eastern Philosophy, Zen Buddhism, and Gardening. He plays drums, piano, and composes New Age & Ambient music, and his albums are available on iTunes and Amazon.com.

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