I EAT MEAT AND I DRINK WINE
I am neither for nor against the consumption of animal protein as a general rule. I believe everyone has their own formula to a thriving diet. I always get excited when someone just assumes I’m a vegetarian or a vegan because I’m a nutritionist and detox specialist. This summer at a BBQ someone said to me: “Salt? Really? Aren’t you supposed to be healthy?” While to me, Sea salt is healthy.
With the consumption of meat, I think there are many things to consider. In India, my teacher was relentlessly responding to our barrage of food questions with ‘every food is for every body’. One-size-fits-all nutrition has been debunked and the exploration of what works for you, as an individual, is where the fun begins. When it comes to eating meat, for me it’s all about ensuring strong digestion, highest available quality, less quantity and appropriate frequency for your Ayurvedic constitution. Of course it is entirely possible that your body functions at its best with no meat at all, and many do.
Vegan as a false positive
I live very close to a Vegan café/restaurant where the majority of their offerings are an absolute NO-NO to my sense of what is ‘good food’. Mock meat, soya galore, margarine up the wazoo and an overall lowly array of food choices. People line up to grab the Vegan cinnamon rolls every morning, which contain sugar, flour and margarine (a no, no and no in my book of healthy breakfast choices). Little mock eggs sit beside little mock sausages, creating a fully fake dining experience. I find it comical that this is marketed as health food. My point here is that labelling diet methodologies as good or bad just makes no sense to me, one needs to dig a little deeper.
Milk, Marrow and Butter
Traditional Ayurvedic formulas and medicinal foods utilize milks, butters, bone marrow, broths and other animal products for various applications. As a student of Ayurveda, it is impossible to ignore the medicinal qualities in these products that have been utilised for thousands of years. You don’t have to look far to read about the heaps of benefits of ghee on digestion, weight-loss and even mental health. When I feed myself bone broth, I can quite simply feel my body reverberating in gratitude for the deep nourishment. These are the signs I want to encourage in people I work with on the road to their perfect diet. How do you feel when you prepare it? Eat it? Do you feel the YES, or do you feel the NO? It’s the YES diet that is the only diet to discover. And it changes as you do throughout your lifetime so the fun and exploration of your personal thriving formula never stops.
local, sustainable and truly organic
Above all, when it comes to animal protein I emphatically support eating local, sustainable and truly organic meat. But these are just the surface boxes to tick. There are other more profound factors that must be considered when evaluating what is good for you: political views, personal ethics, availability, source, cultural heritage, and social norms all play an important role in how the body resonates with the chosen diet. And lets not ignore possibly the most influential of all: the belief system.
HONORABLE MENTION: THE BELIEF SYSTEM
The exciting world of Epigenetics has completely debunked the age-old belief that our fate was determined by our gene pool. Epigenetics was the catalyst in the great shift happening now across all allopathic and alternative healing modalities with it’s powerful message: the power is in you to switch on or not switch on any predetermined genetic expressions of disease. One of the worlds leading authorities on how our belief system and our emotional experience can regulate genetic expression is cellular biologist Bruce Lipton, PhD. In his book ‘The Biology of Belief’ he says: “ It is not gene-directed hormones and neurotransmitters that control our bodies and minds; our beliefs control our bodies, our minds and thus our lives.”
Demonising your food choices is bad for your health, period. If you are choosing to consume it (this goes for anything you ingest be it thoughts, images or experiences too) do it with joy and gratitude, which is good for your health. Demonising your food choices is bad for your health, Period. You better believe it!
PLANT-BASED is THE High Vibe path
We are running out of food as the population soars. There are projects in the works creating burger meat in a lab from stem cells to counter this issue. Commercial slaughterhouses are a literal horror show of which we mainly turn a blind eye. These, and other ethical atrocities would encourage anyone with a conscience to become a vegetarian. Experimenting with a 100% plant-based diet is an excellent idea for anyone looking into ways they can truly thrive. If you do thrive being a vegetarian (as many people do) this is a super high vibe path, but for me, it is not the only path.
My personal experience involved a 5-month period eating no animal protein whatsoever and although I mostly felt great, I was experiencing huge energy dips every few weeks. The experimental period ended with a trip to an organic market that was attached to an agricultural college in Lima, Peru that also hosts a huge outdoor restaurant with massive charcoal grills containing smoking and spitting slabs of their organically farmed meat. With the smell of the charred fat and meat I could feel my teeth energetically sharpen into little daggers like a predator looking at it’s kill, I could barely hold back the drool. It was time. These days I enjoy a mostly plant-based diet with meat when my body calls for it.
Let them drink wine
One does not need to become intoxicated to enjoy alcohol. Alcohol as a crutch is not healthy obviously: no need to elaborate. Alcohol though, does play a role in Ayurvedic healing; medicinal wines have been used for centuries. Alcohol, and other “poisons” bring heat to the body, which can be an effective healing tool when working holistically with the body. I personally find the occasional moderate consumption (sometimes just a few ounces) of good red wine (good meaning; no sulphites, organic, or biodynamic) to be an extremely complimentary accompaniment to certain dining experiences.
Sharing wine with a meal creates a ‘celebratory’ feeling around the meal ritual. The hormone transmitter Oxytocin is the happy hormone that gets boosted when connected to other people and when we feel close to our loved ones. Experiencing heightened oxytocin while eating encourages strong digestion by sending positive messages to the brain, encouraging strong digestion through positive association.
The high content of Resveratrol in red wine has a remarkable anti-oxidant effect on the body. Many believe this is a key component to the celebrated Mediterranean diet and why it is one of the most recognised longevity diets on earth.
In the “Blue Zone Study” a well known published report of all the places on earth where people are living the longest, it was noted that people who drink moderate amounts of alcohol outlive those who do not. My point really is that there is no right or wrong, just different approaches. Almost anything can be ‘healthy’ if one extrapolates and isolates the positive components.
Of course drinking alcohol regularly can be taxing on the liver and therefore requires regular liver-supportive practices. Two intensive detox programmes a year can work wonders on repairing and rebuilding the tissues of the liver. Plenty of liver fortifying herbs, supplements and practices can be incorporated to daily living to further support this key organ and should be embraced to counter any taxation of the liver caused by alcohol consumption.
THE YES DIET
To sum up: it’s about finding what works for you both psychologically and physiologically: monitoring it and celebrating it. The continual experimentation for my own personal THRIVING formula is the way forward for me and I encourage everyone to say YES to whatever it is that makes them happy, all you need to do is find the healthy way, and make it a conscious decision you can back up. Feel good about it all the way from the purchase to the preparation to the consumption. Eat and drink with reverence and your body will hear you. Your cells are speaking to you, so listen up.