14 years ago, when I decided to become a vegetarian, the only thing I knew was that I no longer wanted to eat meat, however I didn’t know for sure what else to turn to.
Without thinking too much, I started eating all types of fresh, canned, frozen food, including trying to slim down with weight loss bars (which contain no natural ingredients), fatty cheeses, I even ate fried soy schnitzels, not to mention large amounts of French fries.
I was mentally at ease with my choice of looking at animals with respect, but physically speaking, my weight kept fluctuating, and I don’t remember ever feeling energized after French fries and fried eggs.
Years passed and slowly, slowly my decision of not eating meat turned into the decision of a child outraged by the idea of slaughtering animals, in some sot of sense awakening process. I’ve started acknowledging my choice more, allowing it to become a part of me more and more each day, until it represented who I really was and turned into a creed and into a lifestyle.
Living in harmony with beings and things that don’t exist because of us and over which we have no life or death right, enjoying the miracle of life and of doing everything with positive energy – those are my biggest wishes and goals. All that is related to what you eat.
Being a vegetarian doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re healthy, or that you’re acquiring positive energy. Being a vegetarian should mean being responsible and not accepting all the mass production junk food, that you’re encouraging local production and fair trade and that you refuse to have an innocent animal raised without daylight and be cold bloodedly killed only for the sake of keeping your taste buds satisfied, that you choose to surround and feed yourself only with positive energy.
Somebody used to say that “we are what we eat” and he was right, because each food item carries energy inside, which may not always be positive.Being inventive, constantly looking to learn and discover are healthy rules not only for the brain, but also for the entire body.
The way you long for knowledge, travels and new experiences that will broaden your horizon, the same way your body needs variation, inventivity, healthy vegetarian recipes in order to receive nutrients and to develop harmoniously.
Here are a few “directions” to a healthy vegetarian diet and a serene lifestyle:
Eat more fresh plants
Choose salads and fresh aromatic herbs or frozen shortly after been picked. Don’t get stuck on eating only lettuce or spinach, instead, as I always say, be inventive and curious, make experiments and try new things – eat salads with a lot of parsley, try the famous Kale or raw cauliflower, arugula, valerian or germs. Spring is coming, so take advantage of nature’s energy upon its rebirth and enjoy nettles, figwort, watercress, sorrel, asparagus, mint and fresh basil.
Do not avoid carbohydrates
Vegetarians are considered to be “eating potatoes and beans”, yet this is not the way things stand. Refuse to immerse yourself into a routine and try all sort of sources of carbohydrates – wild rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, rye bread, coarse-ground grist bread.
Reduce the amount of animal fats
According to Ayurveda, fats increase vital energy, therefore nothing will happen if from time to time you eat small quantities of animal fat. This doesn’t mean that eating light products is a healthy choice, since mass production replaces the missing fats with sugar. If you crave for something unctuous, go for a ripe avocado that’s full of healthy fats, minerals and antioxidants.
Don’t ignore your traditions
I remember with pleasure all the Saturday and Sunday lunches, the taste of the food that my mother used to cook, the mashed potatoes with tomato sauce and the sour soup. Although I’d like to travel during Christmas, I would never miss spending Christmas at home with my family. I like boeuf salad and I also like sarmale (traditional Romanian dish). If you were raised in a certain way, try to adapt your vegetarian lifestyle and don’t deny your traditions. Use seasoned rice, seeds, nuts and grape leaves for making sarmale, and prepare the boeuf salad using a few potatoes and vegetable mayonnaise, or a little homemade mayonnaise.
Even though it’s hard to believe, you can get your daily necessary amount of proteins in a healthy vegetarian diet, due to inventiveness and diversification. Lentils, all types of beans, chickpeas, whole grains and green leaf plants – those are the requirements for a balanced protein intake. Discover the products that can replace meat, as well as the plants that are rich in protein.
Choose seasonal ingredients, and as much as possible choose organic ingredients
Intensive farming dries the soil from its nutrients and changes the nutritive potential of cereals, fruits and vegetables. However, in order for these products to reach the consumer’s plate, they are forced to grow with all types of chemicals and hormones, to the extent that we’ll end up eating chemical bombs rather than fresh food. Organic farming is performed with respect for the soil, environment and consumer, who will buy products that might be not so good looking as the supermarket ones, but at least they maintain their nutritional values, and don’t contain any chemicals or hormones.
Eat fermented food
Vitamin B12 is hard to get in a vegetarian diet, but that’s not an impossible thing to get. Learn to prepare homemade borsch, which is one of the main sources of vitamin B12.
Acknowledge your decision of becoming a vegetarian
Always remember why you’ve become a vegetarian, enjoy the fact that you’ve had the power to contribute to the balance of the universe, and try to tolerate the changes of others. Each one’s path in life is different, and everyone has to make his own mistakes and learn his own lesson, therefore we need to respect the choices of others.
Being a vegetarian doesn’t only mean eating differently, but also thinking differently about everything that’s around you. Being a vegetarian is a wish that should come from within, and the diet should be intuitive and not turn into a scientific experiment. Enjoy the variety, the colors, look with love at every fresh fruit, vegetable or plant displayed on the free market, learn to develop your taste, experiment and enjoy life and your decisions!