Reducing or eliminating meat consumption is very fashionable, but let’s face it, mentioning its name bugs us, even if we are all very aware of the negative effects it has on ourselves and the planet. Those include: drinking antibiotics and other as a result of meat consumption, taking in other anabolic hormones of all kinds, over-fishing that weakens the ecosystem of our oceans. The reasons for stopping or reducing our consumption of meat are definitively not lacking. Getting into vegetarianism could be a scary change. Only if you knew what a beautiful discovery is waiting for you if you just stepped out of your shell…
I just had a meal in my favourite vegan restaurant (Wu-Food in Geneva for those interested). No I am not vegan but I have been a vegetarian for 2 years now. Who would have thought that this would happen! Given that when I was little I told my mother that I wanted to marry a butcher to make sure I never miss out on meat. If you are also thinking about it or you simply want to reduce your consumption, then you should take a read here. Here is how I apprehended this culinary change!
One beautiful morning in December 2016 I woke up and decided not to eat meat anymore. It came to me just like that, although I now know what caused this enlightenment – my daily meditation. Remember me mentioning previously how meditating changes your way of apprehending life subtly but surely? That is what happened here too. So, I did not want to eat meat anymore.
So very simple, I thought. I would simply stop buying meat and fish and I will get everything else – vegetables, cereals, fruits, cheeses, anything that is not coming from the insides of the animals. I did not know much more than that, I thought I’d just eliminate it from my plate.
That was a bad move, because a few months later during an ordinary blood test, I was shown the numbers – I lacked iron, zinc and vitamin B12. So here I was obliged to take capsules and go have me supplement with injections from the doctor every week for 2 months. I wanted to go natural, not really a what I had hoped for.
So, I had to learn a little more about being vegetarian and start reading articles online to figure out how to be a good one, as well as buy all vegetarian cookbooks. That is when I really started to appreciate being a part of this journey because I discovered yet another way to eat healthy. I still have to admit that in our culture the majority of dishes are essentially articulated around any given piece of meat and fish, apart from the fondue and the raclette specialties, and the rest of any meal is only toppings.
Nowadays, the highlights of my dishes are the legumes I add. Those are my main substitute for animal proteins, as well the vegetables that have diversified in my kitchen. Thanks to the discovery of the latter I was able to familiarize myself with all other kinds I had not heard of before. Not being vegan, I also cook with cheese, even if I limit it because I still try to keep my figure.
The biggest discovery in my dietary change, however, were the spices. In a nutshell, I had basically been seasoning my dishes with salt and pepper, as most of us do. Now, my spice drawer is a real Ali Baba cave, as it is full of cumin, coriander, turmeric, mustard seeds, Greek fennel, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, saffron, anise and so on.
In Ayurveda, spices play a central role, of course, because of their taste, but also because of their therapeutic virtues, which contribute to the maintenance of good health and the prevention of disease. The preparation of the spices follow a clear protocol, called vaghar, which enhances their flavor and their potentiality at the therapeutic level. In a future article I will share all these secrets with you.
In Ayurveda, spices play a central role, of course, because of their taste, but also because of their therapeutic virtues, which contribute to the maintenance of full health and the prevention of disease. The preparation of these is essential to increase their flavor and their potentiality at the therapeutic level. In a future article I will share all these secrets with you.
My dishes have reached a completely new dimension thanks to spices and the discovery of new vegetables and legumes. Their aromas are inviting, the taste is intoxicating, the colors are enchanting and the effects of them on my body and those of my children are comforting and soothing. Indeed, meat digestion is a real fight for our tract and not having meat any more allows my body to process the food much faster and use up much less energy, which in return allows me to store it and simply enjoy life better.
I’m not going to give you a manual on how to become a vegetarian, there is enough articles online that can tell you where to find good vegetable protein, how much you need it per day, etc. I simply wanted to write this in hopes of reassuring you that if you have the desire to eliminate or reduce your consumption of meat, it will be possible. It is a great adventure to rediscover food and flavors long lost and a delight to nurture one’s body.
If you are ready to embark on this beautiful adventure, I recommend you choose at least one Ayurvedic cookbook, which will be not only be just a simple how-to recipe holder, but a real health guide for your daily life. You will soon learn more about all of this in my Zen for Monday workshops.