Finding what works

As an adolescent, I struggled with a very unhealthy body image, eating disorder, yo-yo dieting and very intense 2-3 hour workout sessions in the gym until… I finally found a diet that worked for me! But, it came with a lifestyle.

After three years of changing my diet to a vegetarian, I honestly have to say it has been one of the most interesting decisions I have made.I became more aware of my surroundings, more conscious of myself and what comes in my body. I am more sensitive to other people’s vibes and have found my “sensitive” side to animals. It has been quite interesting. However, as all of these benefits may be so wonderful, the biggest change of all I could perceive was the ease in my morning/afternoon meditations. I got very clear minded. 

 Of course, all of these came with a price you know?! It wasn’t all that easy when I started this whole process. I had a difficult time coping with a lot of stereotyping and some sort of taboo rejection. Which, I honestly, can understand. because I myself did not understand at first hand why people thought of vegetarianism as a phase or a trend rather than a lifestyle… and a choice at that! 
 

I struggled with what to eat at first, so my transition foods were: pizza, pasta, bread and an occasional salad. And obviously, no good results. 

 

After a year + of trying out my new diet and experiencing a lot of changes on an emotional, physical and spiritual level AND lack of energy, a deficiency in B12 vitamin and minerals, I had to visit a well trained dietitian who could help me understand what I was doing wrong. The thought of going back to my old dieting made me somewhat fearsome.

And it turns out that “a properly planned vegetarian diet has been found to satisfy the nutritional needs for all stages of life”. My nutritionist strongly recommended I include more fruits and vegetables so I could obtain the major benefits of high fiber and vitamins as well as the antioxidants with rich cancer fighting properties contained in them. This new rainbow-in-a-plate helped me get more creative in the supermaket. I also got an “aha moment”, as Oprah likes to call it, when I realized that I am very fortunate to be living in a country where most of its population already has a plant based diet and where some of the world’s fruits and vegetables are grown. So, this means that my carbon footprint (if you are into that sort of thing, you will understand) is much lower and I would have access to this on a daily basis.

 

One of my favorites… black bean burger!

So here it is: Vegetarianism is a plant based diet that excludes fish, poultry and meat. Its rich in vegetables, fruits, seeds, legumes, whole grains and nuts. And even though I chose this diet for me due to spiritual principles, aesthetics, health and morality became a pretty good enough reason to stick with it. It has given me an opportunity to try traditional foods from Guatemala that I would not have tried before like Fiambre (lots of veggies mixed together along with a huge family gathering), Tamales (Made with vegetable oil and sautéed mushrooms instead of pork), Tostadas, Enchiladas and even, my very favorite SHUCOS!!! This last one is not a traditional food per se but it’s a must and I now learned to incorporate whole wheat artisan bread, purple cabbage, guacamole and sometimes, I’ll add a soy protein link.

I have to be very clear on something though… this diet worked for me because of my lifestyle and a certain commitment to the spiritual cause. We all have the right to choose and we all have to find our own paths in life. Even if it means coming back to something a few years afterwards or not. It’s ok. For now, these diet is what works for me now. Until then… 

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