Hello again everyone! Your health blogger, Chelsea Berg Creator of the eco-chic wetsuit company Swish Suits here. So how is the journey going? I started this personal journey to pure health inside and out 8 months ago but my journey has been strengthened lately by my yoga teacher-training course with Yoga By The Way here in Playa del Carmen, Mexico (www.yogabytheway.com). Thanks to yoga, I now really try to live my life with Ahimsa, which is an important tenet of Indian religions and a tenet we in yoga try to apply to our lives and our selves. The basic premise of Ahimsa is non-harming, non-violence, and kindness towards all things including non-human animals. For yogis, Ahimsa is the first and perhaps most well known of Patanjali’s yamas. Living within the guidelines of such a beautiful tenet has been amazing for me, I have never been so centered and kind to others and myself. Interestingly, I have never been healthier, more successful, or looked better! The area most impacted by my adherence to Ahimsa has been my diet, which is, gasp, what I will be writing this blog about today.
So, well I have been reluctant to start with such a tricky and loaded topic, but people the most important thing for your health, your mentality, your humanity, your spirit, your insides and out is to look at what you put in your mouth. PERIOD, we ARE what we eat.
Anyone stopped reading yet? Well, if you are here maybe you think, “I am healthy, I eat well, I exercise, I don’t really need any help here….right? Is this you Swish reader? WRONG! Do you eat meat? How about milk? Eggs? Enjoy your coffee? If you eat these things but know they are bad and you try to limit them, then you are well on your way little grasshopper….. But do you eat pretty much what you want and feel fine about it? Well, you shouldn’t! He he well, I am here to help. What I am writing in this blog is what I wish I had heard years ago. Take what resonates with you and remember that any little change is amazing and worth celebrating yourself for! It is amazing what a difference a diet change can make; it becomes a lifestyle and lifetime journey. Be excited, this is the number ONE most amazing thing you can do for yourself!
Okay, so my whole life I have considered myself a very healthy person. I have always been a jock and since the age of about 12-13 I began to be a regular jogger and gym rat. I played sports, ran cross country and track through university, competed as an international equestrian, ran triathlons, etc. You get the idea. All through this I maintained a healthy diet (we were never allowed any candy or fast food growing up, ever, thank you Mamita), I think I have literally eaten at McDonalds twice in my life, honestly. I even became a vegetarian for two years in high school (my sister and Swish Life Blogger, Victoria, likes to remind me here that I only did this for the attention, to be cool). I would say that the biggest vice I have always had has been alcohol. My mother gave us the incredible gift of family dinners every night of my life with beautiful wine and amazing food. But in my adult years, while other women were turning to ice cream, my sister and I more gravitated to wine to soothe the soul during stressful exam times or break ups. As an adult then, I never ever thought too much about having a glass of wine every night (or 2-3 or maybe share a bottle…..). My drinking along with still eating whatever I wanted as long as it was not junk food or white crap, I considered it healthy. In hindsight now I know my diet was actually not healthy at all. The transition I have been going through this past year has changed the way I view food and my body, and to really truly think about what I put in my body. It has been incredible, and I get better and better everyday. I honestly do not enjoy pretty much anything I used to eat; amazing things happen when you open yourself up to the challenge.
Okay, so what is the challenge how do you start this incredible journey of self-love? In the words of the Skinny Bitches (everyone PLEASE run out and read this: http://www.skinnybitch.net/products.html.
“This is not a diet. This is a way of life. A way to enjoy food. A way to feel healthy, clean, energized and pure. It is time to reclaim your mind and body.”
Ready friends? So the ideal diet PERIOD is veganism, no animal flesh (this includes fish), and no animal by-products so milk, cheese, etc……Now honestly please people before you go on the say your body needs meat for protein like you have been systematically brainwashed to think, keep reading. Sure evolution states we used to hunt and kill animals, so we need to eat the flesh of other animals, right? Wrong again, think about it. Cavemen maybe caught actual animals once and awhile and they only ate this flesh after actively hunting and running after it for weeks, maybe months. Did you run to McDonalds today dragging your neighbors cow on your back? I didn’t think so….
The Skinny Bitches shed some light on this evolutionary argument that man needs to eat meat:
“If you study animals in the wild, you will note that they do not rely on anything other than their natural hunting ability, speed, strength, claws, teeth, and jaws. Now look at yourself….Look at your flat, blunt teeth compared to a lion’s fangs. Compare your speed and agility to that of a tiger. Imagine yourself trying to run after an animal, catch it, and kill it using your bare hands, fingernails, teeth, and jaws. Not only would you look ridiculous, but you’d probably get your ass kicked too.”
So still think we are naturally made to be carnivores everyday? Our bodies are genetically and structurally designed to thrive primarily on plant foods. Wild carnivores have 10 times more hydrochloric acid in their stomachs than we do and sleep all day as the process of breaking down flesh is so taxing. So who of my readers gets paid to sleep all day?
Who thinks they love animals? Who would call themselves an animal lover? If you eat meat, you are not sorry. Of the ten billion animals slaughtered each year for human consumption the majority of them come from factory farms. In farms, the killing process for cows is getting a metal bolt shot and retracted through their head. But business is business and time is money so it is common for the stunners to miss the mark when trying to stun thousands of scared hogs and cows each day. But dead or alive the animals are strung up by a chain wrapped around their feet from the ceiling. In reality, most of these animals are still conscious, struggling, screaming while they wait in line to get their throats stabbed by workers. They then travel along a blood trail where they bleed to death. Again, it is difficult to get a god cut when the animals are kicking frantically so many are still alive at this point. Before the cows bleed to death, they are sent to the skinners where the skin is sliced from their heads while they are still conscious…..(Skinny Bitch).
Animals about to be slaughtered know it, they literally cry when their young are taken from them, they hear the screaming and killing and know they are about to die….If you eat animals period you are “eating fear, grief, and rage. You are eating suffering, horror, and murder. You are eating cruelty. You are what you eat….(Skinny Bitches again).” Really think about it people. You cannot have a beautiful healthy soul and mind if you are eating pain and rage, Ahimsa.
I personally never thought I could do it, give it all up the food that I thought I enjoyed. But honestly your body gets so happy with eating ideally none, or even just limiting your intake of animal products. Cheese was my big one, I never thought I could give it up, but now, I honestly do not think about it and I would never find the taste of a piece of cheese delicious these days. Now having said all this, I want you all to know that this is a journey. I have been working towards pure veganism and not drinking for 8 months now. Here is where I am:
I still eat fish and some seafood, I drink on the weekends or special occasions tequila and wine, and there are time when I slip and eat a piece of pizza or maybe cheesy pasta….it happens. What I do not eat ever is meat, poultry, milk or any diary (sometimes yogurt), eggs, sugar of any kind, white carbs. It has taken me 8 months to get to the point where I do not want these things and in fact quite ill when I eat them. I have even started to feel weird after eating fish now and a couple weeks ago I gave up coffee as it made me feel ill each morning. It is seriously a beautiful process! Your body literally starts to tell you what it does and does not want if you are willing to listen.
Now, here is my advice to you: start by limiting one item at a time. Keep limiting it until you body doesn’t want it, because it will happen trust me. Then pick another and limit that as well. My sister, Victoria, is the ultimate foody. Her all-time hero is the sarcastic bastard chef Anthony Bourdain: http://www.anthonybourdain.net/. Bourdain is famous for his love of gluttonous meat and has been quoted:
“Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans ... are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit.”
So guess how long Victoria has been a vegan now? 7 weeks going strong……Victoria’s trick is to eat only when she is hungry and to eat only what is beautiful. That is really beautiful advice, everyone must decide what is beautiful in their mind and when there is nothing around to eat that is defined as beautiful in your standards for your temple, your body, then hold off, don’t eat it. Waiting will not kill you.
Anyone can do this period, you just have to love your body and the world we live in enough to start opening yourself up to the idea to live beautifully, peacefully, and healthy. I hope that you will all continue to read as even adopting a little bit of a healthier diet will impact your life positively in more ways thank you could have thought possible. I apologize for attacking an aggressive topic so soon on our journey but I believe that we cannot be healthy or positive in any aspect of our lives if we are eating unhealthy. Open yourself up, challenge yourself, and I PROMISE you will feel your spirit soar!