So let me see...
I first went vegetarian back in my late teens, family thought I was a bit of a freak (though my Mother and Sister ended up going veggie about twenty years later). This was back in the early 80's, being vegetarian wasn't as mainstream as it is now. God, I remember I used to eat something called sausomix, a kind of sausagemeat substitute. I also vaguely remember buying or finding a copy of Iyengar's Light on Yoga around the same time, fooling around with some of the postures in my bedroom for a couple of months, bit of a hippie
...even remember wearing a poncho.
Poncho's are not ideal for travelling rough, one tends to find that in the middle of the night, the hole in your poncho tends to end up around your backside, freezing your proverbial butt off as it were.
At 20, faced with Thatcher's Britain I set off to see the world. This was a well planned operation, my friend Phil and I hitched to Dover with enough cash for two one way tickets to Calais (France) and plenty left over for a plate of chips and a pint of Guinness between us.
We arrived in Calais penniless but had a backpack full of instant soup and Smash (instant mashed potato). Here we are in Geneva looking quite healthy on it.
I remember we had a little green tent that we would put up out of the way every night, perhaps by the side of the road or roll ourselves in the flysheet behind a hedge. One morning I remember waking up to find we'd put the tent up on roundabout outside Lille where several motorways intersect. We boiled up some water threw in the soup and Smash and ate our breakfast watching the traffic go past.
When the Smash ran out we ate cherries and strawberries pinched from the fields. I would play the one tune I new on the harmonica (Brahms lullaby) which brought in enough for some cheese and we would ask the bakers for yesterdays bread....clearly I'm heading down memory lane here.
In Crete, living in a cave on Greek salad three times a day.
Same cave, same salad, fifteen years later
Eventually being vegetarian wasn't really an option we had to eat pretty much anything that came our way, salami, tins of corned beef or whatever we were offered by a ride that invited us home for the night. By the time I ended up hitching back and forth across Canada a few years later I was skinning bunnies and eating bear steaks the size of my face.
And then I became a chef for a while and cooked and ate anything put in frount of me.
I remember a lobster that when I reached over to take the flesh from the body it turned and looked at me, as if to say enjoy and have a nice day. Reminded me of this scene from the Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy.
Jump forward twenty years and a growing distaste for the food industry. I remember finding a chicken in a supermarket that had been reduced to 50 pence...
I once worked around the corner from a dogfood factory and another time, while in Japan, I had to walk to the supermarket past a place where truck after truck would turn up with mountains of bone and gristle for some kind of processing..... I didn't ask.
And then there was a documentary about the sheer number of chickens we consume....
At 44 I was overweight 94 kilo, unhealthy, felt constantly bloated and uncomfortable, ended up in hospital a couple of times for one thing or another. That wasn't just being a meat eater of course, just an unhealthy eater. I'd been a teacher trainer in Japan, overworked and having too many Double cheeseburgers brought back for me to wolf down over course plans.
I must have been one of the only people to live in Japan and end up with a lower life expectancy than I had in the UK.
Pretty trees though.
So I bumped into Ashtanga. The story of that is on here somewhere, burgled, angry, angry at being angry I took up meditation and then yoga to help with the sitting. The yoga book in the library was Ashtanga and I would practice on a bath towel in a pair of pants with Nietzche' (Chinchilla) watching impassively.
And I'm teaching myself at home, sweating buckets, nearly throwing up every morning, eating less and less in the evening so I feel less uncomfortable through practice.
Then one evening, think it was over an Easter holiday, M. and I decided to give up eating meat, just like that. She had her reasons, mine were partly the practice, I wanted to eat lighter but to be honest I just didn't want to have that much to do with the meat industry anymore.
When I went Veggie in my late teens I was prothletizing all over the place, fighting the good fight. This time... I don't think I've said much to anybody about it, it's just a personal decision. It doesn't seem to be considered weird, strange, or out of the ordinary these days. In fact, giving a meat eater a hard time is probably counterproductive as they just dig their heels in. Enough perhaps to just say no to the flesh, look fit and healthy and be eating something that looks tasty, let people work it out for themselves.... or not.
It wasn't hard, M. tended to cook more meat than I did anyway, we made a list of all the non meat meals we used to cook, there were a lot. So we stuck with those for a while added a few extra things, tried to make it a little more balanced and that was that, an easy transition.
Still dream about a veggie burger I had at Cafe M in Hollywood after being dragged to a macrobiotic restaurant, god it was good.
four and a half years later, I'm ...
slimmer (don't like the word slimmer, is trimmer better...less obese?)
Just healthier (hard trying to find a picture that suggests healthy, letting the Med do it's suggestive work for me here).
I'm rarely sick (OK. apart from the other week but that was food poisoning, doesn't count....does it?), practice Ashtanga for a couple of hours in the evening plus my VK practice in the morning, cycle, swim...
all on veggie fuel (except for the occasional fishes).
I should point out most of the weight loss came in that first year from Ashtanga and eating less, I went Veggie ( pescetarian) a year later, a couple of months (Easter) before starting this blog in July 08. Seem to remember I was around 83 Kilo when I went veggie, I've been 77 kilo for the last couple of years give or take a kilo either way.
What do I eat these days?
Can't say it's a scientific veggie diet and it's not vegan, happy to eat fishes, drink milk and eat eggs. Thought about going macrobiotic once but can't be doing with all the chewing and Kale? really?
Here's an average week.
Half a grapefruit, slice of toast, or muesli
I don't tend to eat lunch, perhaps a banana occasionally a sandwich, salmon bagel is a favourite but certainly nothing after 2pm as I practice at Ashtanga at 6pm
Minestrone soup for the last three nights ( see previous post),
perhaps some pasta or salad with anything and everything chucked in.
Weekends M. tends to make Japanese or Korean which is so good I tend to stuff my face, too much rice probably but practice is later on Sundays.
So not saying anyone else should give up meat, certainly not judging anybody but it's worked for me and my practice.