Fessing up

Recently an old friend checked out my website and asked, "Hey, how is the meat-eating going?" Those of you who come in for treatment have asked the same since I began my meat-eating experiment in the winter of last year, but now it is time to fess up to the rest of you.

I tried. I really did.  For several months I ate animal protein regularly despite the protestations of my steadfastly vegetarian daughters.  While some aspects of meat preparation got easier, others never did.  Making two separate meals to accommodate the dietary and ethical convictions of my kids certainly increased the culinary challenges of daily life, and I never really felt like the new diet "fit" me.

I did start to feel stronger and more resilient, but I attribute that to my commitment to a regular exercise, qi gong and stretching program, to changes in my herbal regimen, and more than anything, to the inner work I've been doing on an ongoing basis.  As my meditation practice deepens my health improves, further emphasizing the body-mind connection and its powerful effect on our daily well-being.  

Oh, and SLEEP.  I got strict about sleep, hitting the hay around 10 pm, even when I had loads of things left undone, and rising at 6 am to meditate and do some qigong to start my day in the right frame of mind.  As the nights grow longer and winter's cold is upon us, we need to embrace the yin and rejoice in Mother Nature's permission to rest more.  Being well-rested makes a profound difference in your day, and I feel comfortable saying that I don't think sustainably good health is possible without it.  

What does this all mean? It doesn't mean that I think meat is bad; in fact, I regularly recommend increasing meat intake to patients if I think it might help.  I think humanely-raised clean meat can be a valuable addition to one's plant-based diet. But it also confirmed to me that no one diet can be right for everyone.  Paleo, vegan, gluten-free, GAPs, blood-type diets - with so many choices, each of which has improved many people's lives, how can we think there's one correct answer?  My dietary advice comes in two parts.  The first is Michael Pollan's beautifully simple advice, which should be the foundation of every person's dietary approach: Eat REAL food. Mostly plants. Not too much.  The second part is this: If you seek to improve your health by changing your diet, allow yourself 20 minutes online to scan a few dietary options.  See what resonates with you most strongly, then commit to trying it for three months and see how you feel.  Rinse and repeat if necessary.  Your answer lies within.  

PS - I'd like to give a huge shout-out to the local producers and purveyors of humanely-raised, grass-fed, free-range meat and dairy products, like Apple Ridge Farm, Josie Porter Farm, and other producers at the Monroe Farmers Market, which just kicked off its Winter Farmers Market yesterday at the Sherman Theater. Along with nourishing organic fruits and veggies, these hard-working folks make eating clean, local and humane so much more do-able. They also gave me a lot of moral support during my Great Meat Experiment, and I'm grateful.  

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