Written by John Immel,
Of course, there are guidelines for eating meat, especially as food practices become more complicated (GMO, pesticides, hormone use, etc.). Choose quality over quantity. A meatball size portion of meat (1/4c) eaten daily with vegetables and grains is an appropriate amount that your body can process fully. Choose organic, hormone-free meat whenever possible. In spending more money on less meat, you will find greater satiation because the food will have a richer nutritional profile. Think of meat as a flavoring, rather than the main dish, and you will do fine.
When to Eat MeatThe best time of day to eat meat is lunch. Agni, the digestive fire, is strongest between 11am and 2pm. Your body can handle the heavy nature of meat most efficiently at this time of day. A simple dinner of vegetables and grains, with occasional light protein such as fish or chicken, will help you have a comfortable night's sleep, and you will wake up ready to hop out of bed in the morning.
How to Eat MeatMeat is heavy, so spice it while cooking to aid your body in digestion. Marinate with different vinegars, cooking wine or citrus to help tenderize and 'pre-cook' meat. Sprinkle your meat with aromatic rosemary, parsley, sage, thyme, cinnamon before popping it on the grill or into the oven. Aromatic spices aid protein digestion. Digestive spices like cayenne and black peppers. That is why we like it when meat is tender and dislike a dried out steak or chicken breast.
Vegetarian DietsVegetarian foods often leave fewer residues than animal products after digestion and for some help increase vitality. A vegetarian lifestyle is more environmentally friendly. However, humans have consumed meat for millennia, and a small amount may be necessary for your health. Many vegetarians become anemic and protein deficient. Adopting a vegetarian lifestyle needs to be a good fit for the individual. In general, Vata types have the hardest time staying healthy with a vegetarian diet. However there are exceptions! Kapha people, on the other hand, often need less meat than they think.
Some recommendations for vegetarian based proteins sources include sunflower seeds, hemp seed, quinoa, mung beans, and tofu. Beans are an excellent source of protein in general but may provoke Vata. Cheese is a great protein source but is more difficult to digest and Kapha provoking.
Transitioning to a Vegetarian LifestyleSuddenly adopting a vegetarian diet can cause irrepairable damage to intestines. The transition to a vegetarian diet can take years, even generations. Start slow to keep your metabolism stable and cravings at a minimum. For example, trying cutting out red meat gradually (over a year). See how you feel. Try reducing the quantity and frequency of other meats slowly, instead of cutting them out 'cold turkey!' For example having a piece of chicken once a week and then once a month might be a more stable way to transition.
Vegan DietsVegans are vegetarians who don't eat dairy products or eggs. This diet is especially challenging to Vata individuals, and often healing for Kaphas.
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About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. His online course Balance Your Ayurvedic Diet in a Week provides tools for gracefully healing with Ayurveda to thousands. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.
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