Feeding Body & Soul

If you’d asked me a few years ago whether I’d be following a virtually wheat free, 90% vegetarian — hell, 90% vegan diet, I’d have said, “That’s nuts.” Now I’m likely to say, “That’s raw cashews to you, and by the way, do you know how many recipes you can make with them?” It’s safe to say that I’m not alone in making a big diet and lifestyle change, either. Based on the latest bestsellers, opinion pages in the New York Times , increase in vegetarian and vegan websites and buzz on the Internet, it seems we have reached some kind of “tipping point” toward a radical change in the way we eat and what we will accept from the food industry.

As with any other great societal shift, it seems that there are many different roads to the same destination. For some it starts with a health crisis and stern warning from one’s doctor to avoid certain foods. For others, it’s the inhumane conditions and disease ridden factories of commercially produced meat and dairy. For me, it started with pleasant memories of trips to India and the masterfully delicious vegetarian meals I had there. These and other Asian meals taught me that there is life beyond tofu and salads.

Over the years I attended a lecture from the Dalai Lama that I really took to heart in which he called for reduced meat consumption. Later I started one of the popular low-carb diets, but after reading about the animal abuse, disease, and horrors of the giant food conglomerates I ended up watching carbs AND watching my meat. Things really got serious when I turned 50, started getting a Wheat Belly and had to worry about things like high cholesterol and bone density.

It turns out that everything is converging to the same point: save the planet, save your body. The same diet that will not exhaust and deplete the earth will not exhaust and deplete me, either. I believe that others are coming to this realization as well, and that this will have long term repercussions for the food industry. We can’t turn the ship around on a dime but now, every time I hear of another friend or relative who has eliminated or greatly reduced their cheap carbs, sugar, or meat intake I think, “Mmhh, another person voting with their wallet.” And that’s a guaranteed recipe for change.

by Cheryl Shainmark
Cheryl Shainmark is a writer, editor, and certified hypnotherapist with a private practice in New York. A long time contributor of articles and book reviews, Cheryl is now a senior editor and a regular columnist at Merlian News. When she is not reading, reviewing, or dreaming about books she can be found playing with cats of all stripes at her quiet country retreat.