Eating Less Meat: Making the Switch

Making the choice to eat less meat is one that will save your body and the planet from detriment and early death. It is this simple. To quote Einstein, "Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet." That man was smart, to say the least. I'm listening.
The amount of fossil fuel it takes to convert crop to feed for commercial livestock is outrageous. Entire rain forests are slashed and burned to make room for more crops to feed the cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys and people. These crops (corn, wheat, soy, palm, canola, etc) are used for filler ingredients in almost everything. The transport of the meat and all of the processing, preserving and packaging ends up costing an even more outrageous amount. Plus, the way those animals are treated in these commercial feeding operations and slaughter houses is vile, immoral, and totally heartless. Some never see a speck of sunlight. They never move their legs. It is important to know these things. You don't have to contribute!
As consumers, we have a choice as to where our money goes. I, personally, am not completely vegetarian, but I do not buy commercial meats. I will eat a small portion of locally raised/hunted meat; and some sushi on occasion. I do my best to put my money towards small farms, local restaurants, and better ingredients in general. So, I do still eat fish frequently, but even this I am revising due to the over fishing, as well as the moral issues of fish farming. This is something I am working towards. Sustainable seafood consumption is my current action in doing my part for the planet, and my body.
The point of this blog is to relay the message that eating less meat, even eating no meat, is possible in this society, and is a healthier option. It takes a lot of education on protein sources and knowing what your body needs and wants. Fueling your body to operate optimally is key!
So, the question posed: How do we go from being daily meat eaters to mostly, or completely, vegetarian?
As an athlete and Type O, my body responds well to a relatively high protein intake. When I say it responds well, I mean that I feel satiated after eating proteins. I have sustained energy. I do not crave sugars or unnecessary snacks. If I am a hungry, I eat of course. The more complete protein I take in, the less hungry I am between meals. Eating less meat was a challenge for me, as I was unaware of all of the protein sources that are plant based. I decided to go vegetarian in 2007 just to see if I could do it. A few Catholic friends I had were giving up things like chocolate or soda for Lent. I am not Catholic, but I like a 'healthy challenge' so I decided to give up meat (as giving up chocolate is suicide of sanity.) I remember thinking 'If I give up meat then I can't eat fast food anymore'. I was addicted to fast food, eating it up to three times a day. After three months being 'vegetarian', eating no meat other than fish, no soda, and a salad once a day for lunch I was 35 pounds lighter. I was also bruising easily and having a lot of headaches. My massage teacher told me I needed to balance my diet out through supplementing. Bobby and Kerrie (tuberose.com) also recommended supplements while I was learning how to receive the proper nutrition through food combining. This is what worked best. At this time I was also choosing to go off of a 'mood-stabilizing' prescription I was on called Topamax. I needed to supplement with mood-enhancing oils and B vitamins to keep my mind from playing tricks. Being 'Pescatarian' (fish eater) and supplementing with adequate B Complexes, fish/borage/flax/hemp/coconut oils was the best thing I have done for my body ever in my life. Within a year I had no more asthma, as I was able to quit smoking, lost a lot of weight, was prescription free, had a healthier colon and my menstrual cycle was virtually pain free and predictable to the day. It was a breakthrough in my life, and the beginning of a personal revolution that I feel called to share with others.
Today, I am lean, fit, strong, energetic and full of life. I eat to sustain this. After being strictly 'pescatarian' for two years, I found my body asking for more protein, or a different type of protein. I decided instead of completely restricting myself I would try some meat and see what felt good and what didn't. Beef did not sit well. No cows for me. The only pork I have eaten was a locally raised pig at a wedding in West Virginia, and a couple of burrito's from Chipotle. The wedding pork was amazing and I felt fine, but the burrito pork left me lethargic and heavy. No more of that for me. I have eaten some organic free range turkey and chicken. I don't feel much different after eating those so I just skip it now. Plus, I have read that the label 'free range' may mean that the animal has only received fifteen minutes of sun, as opposed to none. Labeling is paid for by lobbyists, so do your research. Know your farmer, if you want to keep it simple. My body loves eggs and fish. It also likes duck, deer and other wild game. It is so rare that this is actually available to me that I hardly ever eat it, but if it is available and deliciously prepared I consume it with love, gratitude and honor.
As for meat substitutes, I eat those about as frequently as I eat meat, which is not very often. Soy is a tricky ingredient and is present in most meat substitutes. Just like you have to be mindful of antibiotics/hormones added to meats and the treatment of the animals, you must be just as mindful of where the soy/corn comes from. Is it a slash-and-burn rain forest crop? Is is genetically modified? Meat substitutes are still processed, are not actually food, and may have origin just as detrimental to the planet. Plus, soy is not for everyone, as it is high in plant based (phyto-) estrogen. There are many studies that validate both sides of the soy controversy. For MY body, I eat very little soy, as it effects my Moon Cycle (gives me cramps!) My idea of a meat substitute is a portobella mushroom cap baked and stuffed with garlic-y quinoa and a side of steamed veggies, drizzled with coconut oil and sprinkled with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Yummmm...I'm salivating. Our nutrition should come from our food. Food that is as close to being actual food as possible, not a food like substance with a lengthy ingredients list. Try making your own veggie burgers from mushrooms, chickpeas, spinach and creative spices.
If you are eating meat daily, and would like to switch to being vegetarian, I suggest eliminating beef and pork first. See how you feel. Make sure you are eating fruits and veggies high in vitamin C so that you are absorbing the non heme (iron from plants). Consider supplementing with some high grade 'buffered vitamin C,' while transitioning. Iron in meat is more bio-available, therefore readily absorbed and converted to hemoglobin. However, the difference in absorption rate of heme (animal iron) and non heme (plant iron) is small, and virtually unnoticeable if Vitamin C is present to help the body easily absorb the non-heme. I would then eliminate poultry. You may find yourself hungry as you are no longer considering meat an option. Eat! Don't deny yourself food. It is important, also, to note that hunger can be confused with dehydration. So, drink a glass of water when you're feeling hungry shortly before or after a meal. I eat frequently. I eat about every 3 or 4 hours. This works for me! It may not work for everyone. It is important to note that when making this transition, one may find themselves craving a lot of carbohydrates which can lead to weight gain and an equally unhealthy lifestyle as the previous. Subbing pasta, fries, potatoes, and breads for meat will simply not do. These do not provide the nutrition needed and should be consumed in moderation. Meals should include some sort of plant based protein. Snacks for me consist of raw carrots and hummus, an avocado half with salsa, an apple, a small serving of granola with almond milk, a tablespoon of almond butter, an orange or some other piece of fresh fruit. (Side note: fruit should be eaten alone, on an empty stomach.)
Food combining is tricky and is still something I am a humble student of. I am learning through experience and study what works for my body, most bodies, and of course, what doesn't. Complete proteins are important to create when becoming vegetarian. This is the 'hard' part, but with practice, becomes fun and easy. Studies have shown that you do not need to create complete proteins at every meal. The body will hold on to important amino acids derived from the food in one meal, and use them when the sister amino acid comes along from another meal. They'll join up, and get synthesized in your body. So, in the transition to vegetarian lifestyle it is important to get in a variety of vegetables, grains, fruits and legumes throughout the day. Again, if you eat enough of the right foods your body will know what to do with it all. Quinoa is a food worth mentioning here, as it is a complete protein in itself. When I am cooking regularly, I pretty much alternate between quinoa, brown rice, or polenta. These are staples in my diet. I cook one of these with a different veggie combo every night and dinner never gets boring. It's all about the spices and the ingredients! I also use quite a bit of coconut milk. Pure deliciousness, every time.
Gabrielle Cousens is a vegan, is over 60, can fast for months and still do 600 push ups or something crazy like that. He wrote a wonderful book everyone should read called 'Conscious Eating'. Gabrielle says to 'eat the rainbow'. Eat as many colors as you can throughout the day. Food is beautiful, and we are more beautiful if we see the beauty, purpose and life in the food we are eating. This is the rule I live by. Eat the colors, as many as you can!
To summarize: To eat less meat, eat more veggies. Be careful with meat substitutes; know if the ingredients are right for you and don't turn a blind eye to the commercial farming aspect of it, if that is what was putting you off of meat in the first place. Supplementing is good in the beginning, but should be transitioned out of, should not be depended upon, and used only as needed for immune system maintenance. The idea is to receive the nutrition from the FOOD itself. There are a few supplements that may help in transition. (Side note: All supplements should be very good quality. Otherwise you will loose them through urine or lack of absorption. You get what you pay for. Check wwww.tuberose.com for good supplements!) Supplements I took during my transition: Cod Liver Oil, B 12, B Complex, Vit C, and occasionally zinc. I also took some high grade supplements and tinctures for my adrenal glands and cortisol regulation. I was in adrenal fatigue, and that was causing a lot of my 'symptoms' of manic/depression (bi-polarity). It is important to educate yourself on what nutrients and minerals work together and which ones negate each other. Make sure you are taking them at the right time of day for them to synthesize properly, and that you are combining them correctly so that you don't end up with a deficiency or imbalance. Beware of consuming too many carbs, and eat your largest meals earlier in the day. The body would rather be dreaming soundly while you sleep, not digesting some heavy meal. The old adage goes like this: Breakfast like a king. Lunch like a prince. Dinner like a pauper. If you get in most of your protein at breakfast and lunch then you will feel full throughout the day and crave less sugar/carbs/caffeine. Eating a sugary, starchy, or no breakfast at all can cause blood sugar dips, craves and binges throughout the day. Breakfast really is the most important meal! Check out my previous blog, Daily Food Intake for my personal preferences. I eat tons of eggs, so when/if I go vegan for a bit, this will be my biggest challenge. I eat a lot of Hemp Protein, so that is a good substitute for the eggs. I can always up the Hemp Protein intake and feel just fine. I just love making omelets, is all :)
I hope this information is helpful for you. I must disclaim that this is my own personal experience and I am encouraging you to try new things, but listen to your OWN body. Take some of my advice, leave some of my advice...ya dig? :) This is a unique experience for every individual on the planet. Listen to your body and your heart. I am what could be called a 'flexitarian'. I do not give myself a bunch of rules. I prefer the word 'preference'. Feel it out moment by moment, but stay true to yourself through the process. Remember why you are making these changes whenever you are feeling 'challenged'. Ask for support! You have a wonderful Creator and Community to support you in whatever choices and changes you are making for yourself. Below are some resources to aid you, educate you, inform you and to awaken you. I honor each one of you on your journey and soul ride. Blessings!

Feel free to contact me to contribute to this topic, give a testimonial, or for whatever reason you may have. Email: ihearthoopdance@gmail.com


The Omnivore's Dilemma, Michael Pollen
In Defense of Food, Michael Pollen
The Botany Of Desire, Michael Pollen
In Defense of Food, Michael Pollen
Women Food and God, Geneen Roth
Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran
Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser
FOOD, INC., Karl Weber
Animal Liberation, Peter Singer


Fast Food Nation
The Future of Food
SuperSize Me
Meat Your Meat
The Meatrix
King Corn


www.tuberose.com (Natural Healing Site, Supplements, Read up on how your body WORKS!)
http://www.thevegetarianblog.com/ (This site has a list of dozens of other sites for everything from animal rights to recipes.)

Again, anything to add, message to contribute or post it on The Healthy Hooper facebook! www.facebook.com/thehealthyhooper


The Healing Waters

Thursday July 22, 2010 at 1:11pm

I open this with deep and sincere gratitude to Bobby, Kerrie and Noah, whose influence and example was the beginning of the most amazing journey: a healthy relationship with my body.
I went to Brooksville, FL with Noah to meet his parents for the first time. His parents house and property sounded like an idyllic paradise. "The Homestead", he described it. He spoke to me of 'ponds and turkeys, herb gardens and tinctures created by Kerrie, a healing chalet that him and his father built together, a pottery studio and raw food delights'. Really? These people exist? You bet. His father, Bobby and step mother, Kerrie are a super-incredible-powerful healing team. They use innate intelligence and advanced Applied Kinesiology to communicate with the body. I was nervous and excited to meet them, as I was in the process of quitting smoking, quitting fast food, and ceasing all occasional recreational drug use. I was in my last term of massage school (where Noah and I met four years ago) so I was coming into a healthier state of being. I was ready for more. Noah educated me and informed daily of so much knowledge on the body and human health. This was the quality that drew me towards his light. I was thirsty for knowledge, and Noah held the golden goblet of the hydrating healing waters. I gulped it down; the healing waters AND my nervous throat lump as I prayed they didn't think I was totally f****d up!) We arrived, and my believing eyes affirmed the beauty and utopia in the stories. These people were amazing, the real deal. Walking the walk. They had their own catfish pond, ate eggs from their own turkeys, grew most of their own food, had a healing treatment room and so so so much more. There were glass gallon jugs holding water, and on the outside of the jugs positive affirmations were written. I felt chills when I saw that. It impacted me. Everything in their home has a purpose, and that purpose is based on health and healing. After some brief introductions, hugs, and enough small talk for me to feel pseudo-comfortable, I received what will always be referred to in my world as 'The Rundown'. They asked me a whooooole lot of questions about my body and it felt good to answer them honestly. It felt cleansing in itself to admit what I had been doing to myself. Abuse, really. I was eating dead food, drinking sugary poisons and inhaling chemicals that are fatal through smoking. They were very objective and clear on explaining to me what was really going on with my body. They explained to me SIMPLE things like digestion, hydration, food choice, toxicity, an alkaline versus an acidic body, effects of prescriptions on my body and the power of my emotions on my body. I use the word simple because as they told me these things I felt like I was remembering the Truth that I knew deep down but had never practiced. Once hearing it broken down like this, it sounded so simple. My body knew it was true, but my mind never made the connection. They facilitated my ability to stay connected to my body, and provided with the information sources and tools to do it on my own. "Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime." To not leave my body to mindlessly eat, smoke, or drink poisons because I am uneducated or bored, became my passion. Ignorance and boredom are for lazy sloths. I was through with being consumed by this darkness. Bobby and Kerrie put me on a table and put all kinds of substances in my mouth to test me for food allergies. Wheat, yeast and dairy all weakened my immune system. They muscle tested me and discovered which muscles were weak, explained to me what nutritional deficiencies cause this, where I was missing this nutrition in in my diet, gave me some of the missing nutrient, and rubbed certain points on my body. They retested the weak muscles after running this protocol, and the weak muscles tested strong. I think I cried at some point because I had so many problems and questions before meeting them, and they just swept right in and showed me the light of truly living. I finally knew the Truth. To make a long story short (the long version will certainly be in my memoir), my life was changed that day for the better forever. I am operating at optimal health today because I follow the example that these people set for me. They ran dozens of muscle tests on my body that day, but the one that sticks with me the most is the test for dehydration. That is the first thing they test for, as most health problems stem from this and this alone! Most people are always dehydrated. This is so underestimated. I saw how important water was to them, and listened intently as they explained its vital role in bodily functions. Bobby and Kerrie had a reverse osmosis filter that filtered the whole house. The tap water was filtered through the main tank and then filtered again through the tap. Then they bottled it and treated it with Mega H. Mega H perfectly balances the water as close as possible to pristine, clean, fresh from-the-untainted-water. They gave me some water with Celtic sea salt mixed in to rehydrate me. The headache I had been fighting for three days was gone within five minutes of chugging the only-slightly-salty mixture. They explained to me proper sodium balance in the body, proper ratios of salt to water, and the importance of trace mineral balance. They explained to me what was really in tap water: aluminum, fluoride and other metals, traces of birth control, feces, pesticides and prescription drug residue because so many people ingest and pass them through the urine. They stored the water in glass as opposed to plastic because water leeches toxins from plastic (especially when heated.) Some of the glass gallons had magnets on each side, creating even more balanced and healing the water. They had words of love and encouragement placed all over the jugs. They showed me books on the healing powers of water and how water is affected by the words we say, written by the enlightened Doctor Emoto. I was entranced. I heeded the words they spoke and read the information they shared. This was four years ago, and here I am today still sharing and writing about it, following the example.
I bathed that day in healing waters. Metaphorically and literally. As an observant citizen of society I caution my fellow human citizens to be choosy and careful of the water in which you nourish your thirsts. Again, a metaphorical and literal piece of advice. I have consumed sweet healing water and also ingested toxic, poisonous, and scalding water in my day. Metaphorically, we are all thirsty for truth, spiritual knowledge, information and answers. There are many clever cats, and rats, who will offer your their goblets to quench your thirst. If you keep finding you are still thirsty or even sick, still going back to the same goblet, perhaps you should learn to fetch your own water. I have learned to drink only from the Source of the water itself, and avoid the middle man and any added ingredients that may have been tossed in along the way. Sip and sample the water of another, be inspired, drink your fill, but ultimately, it is your search. Tap into your own well. Be responsible and use discernment before taking too big of a swallow, or leaping into churning sea. What are you diving for? What are you thirsty for? Be clear on these inner intentions and you will become well hydrated with the waters of Truth and Love. Remain unclear on your intention, dive in blindly, and you may find the water is rancid, tainted, or too rough.
Physically one should know what they are putting into one's body. Our body is four-fifths water. That is almost our entire make up. We are water and dust. One must take in the right amount of water to stay healthy and hydrated. "Too little ain't good. Too much ain't either." Balance. If one is retaining water, it means they are not taking in enough. This may seem counter intuitive, but if the body becomes afraid it will not receive enough of something it holds on to it for dear life. Literally.
Hydrating our bodies with healthy water makes the difference between life and death. One of the most important functions of water is to flush toxins from the body. If we deny our bodies ease of this vital function, we are dead. I choose to show myself love through proper hydration. I spend the time to refill my three-gallon jugs with filtered water from the health food store. I'll buy the bottle of water (in glass when it's available) and refill it when it's empty with good water. I have been drinking pure water (Reverse Osmosis or Distilled works for me) for four years now, so when I taste tap water I can taste the heavy metals and impurities so strongly. I can smell them in the water without even having to taste it. When I first moved to Florida I drank a glass of tap water and ended up with horrible stomach pains and diarrhea. That was enough of an experience to show me! I rarely make exceptions to this commitment to myself. I love my body and show it by drinking the right amount of pure, blessed water.
Did you know that (when viewed under a microscope) a water molecule that has been blessed (ie. Holy Water) looks like a perfect snowflake? Symmetrical and flawless. Water that has been told it was 'ugly' and 'hated' looked like a yellow, disgusting blob. If our bodies are four-fifths water then what we say to our bodies REALLY matters! I look at myself everyday in the mirror and tell myself 'I love you!' I smile and I mean it. When I drink water I do it with love and rub my tummy. I know it may sound weird, but I am more vital and healthy at 25 then I was when I was 8 years old. I am the healthiest I have ever been. Hence, The Healthy Hooper creation. I am stoked to share this journey! If I can do it, anyone can. It began with something as simple as choosing good water over water that makes you sick. It begins with this. It began with someone having the courage to do it, someone else being inspired, and someone else reading about it and getting inspired and then inspiring someone else. Hell yeah! :) We are in this together.
The Healing Water is that which we drink in and accept it as good, true, pure and on purpose. I think dolphins are the most intelligent, highly evolved species on this planet, and they live in water. I dream of being a mermaid. I WAS a mermaid between the ages of 6-11. I still am, secretly. I love the water. I am pretty sure that a HUGE part of my deepest healing work has taken place under the full moon's light while immersed in the sea water of the Gulf. I have felt more comfort shedding my salty tears into her salty solution which holds me buoyant, with no effort, than in the arms of any human. Only ease. I have been healed by a good, hot shower. I have been healed looking over the glassy surface of a lake, watching the water ripple with tiny waves. I have been healed by consuming only water and no other liquids. I have healed my body with water, my mind with water, and my soul with The Waters. We need water to live. Water lives in us. There are so many metaphors one could derive from this concept.
Being introduced to the importance of this element changed me forever. I began this blog with an offering of gratitude to the ones who held my hand with my first step. I will conclude this blog with an offering of gratitude to the ones reading these words and will take it one step further. Thank you to each of you who step outside of the sandbox, and into the waves of uncertainty as you view the distant yet healing horizon. Thank you for being the one who doodles words of love and light onto your water bottles, or the one who christens your baby. Thank you for remember the parts of you (four-fifths!) that are water and watery in metaphorical nature. Thank you. Blessings as we dive deep into the infinite sea of you and me!