Shhh! Make sure you whisper this and don’t tell anyone: I am not a vegan. Perhaps even more shockingly to admit, I’m not even a vegetarian. Aaaarrrggghhhh!!! That’s it! The yoga gods are going to destroy me! I’ll never teach yoga again!
Thankfully yogis are not quite so damning… not the real ones anyway.
There are a lot of us secret omnivores in the yoga world. Frankly I’m not ashamed to say it. I certainly don’t eat much meat as I have a history of cardiac issues in my family and I’m particularly trying to cut down on beef and cattle products for environmental reasons. But I do eat meat every now and then on the odd occasion if I crave it.
I’d love to claim I buy only organic, locally-sourced free range meat from my butcher for my children but that’s simply not true either. I usually buy my meat when I buy the rest of my groceries from the supermarket. Does this make me a bad person? No, it doesn’t. Shaming people over their diets has been part of our social fabric for decades now and it’s time to stop.
I was listening to Oprah’s amazing podcast Super Soul Sundays the other day – if you haven’t heard it, have a listen – and she was interviewing Suzi Amis, the wife of James Cameron the movie director. Suzi began waxing lyrical about being vegan and extolling all the virtues of a plant-based diet (which, by the way, I don’t refute, I just think people should be allowed to make their own informed choices on what they put into their mouths) and I was about to switch it off when she suggested something that I really liked.
She said we should all attempt to eat one plant-based meal a day. Just the one. It’s so simple and yet this very basic, easy change can have a powerful impact, not just on our health, but on the economy and the environment. Think about it: if every person in the world followed this plan what a huge impact it would have on our climate.
She’s written a book about it called The OMD Plan, available on Amazon, where she provides the science behind her research and some easy recipes to get you going. Presumably, the idea being that once you’ve swapped one meal to vegan, you might realise you could easily swap two and so on.
I haven’t bought the book, but I’d like to shout about this idea because I believe anyone can do it, no matter how much you love meat and dairy, what your thoughts are on the environment or even what socio-economic group you fall into. According to Suzi, “by switching one meat- or dairy-based meal to one plant-based meal a day, we can slash our personal water and carbon footprint by about 25 per cent.” With this one shift, we can help protect the soil, water, and air for all of us.
So if you’ve ever felt a little useless about your efforts to save the planet, or if you’ve dabbled with vegetarianism like I have but then failed because you missed bacon too much, here is the answer.
I usually make my breakfast vegan because it’s easier. I have porridge with oat/almond milk and the same in my coffee. Done! If I’m craving butter on toast then I simply ensure my lunch is plant-based. I urge you to give it a try. No shaming, no begging, no obligations.
I am not a vegan, but eating at least one vegan meal a day allows me to feel like a right smuggins about it because I’m doing my bit for the environment. Thought I’d share the word. Boom!