health

Plant-Based Nutrition

   Wolves eat meat. They are carnivores. They have teeth meant for tearing into meat. They have digestion tracks 1/3 the length that of humans, that way the meat they eat can digested and turned into waste within twenty four hours, getting all the nutrients it can within that time. It’s a perfect process, designed by nature. 

   When humans eat meat, however, the process isn’t as perfect. Humans, having a digestive track three times the length of a carnivore’s digestive track, can not process meat in a healthy manner. While meat does contain protein, it taxes the body with up to three days of digestion. In those three days, the body sends ample amounts of energy to digestion instead of to muscle recovery (this is why those who eat plant based foods recover from workouts faster), mental focus, and supporting the immune system. Plant based foods, on the other hand, never take more than twenty four hours to digest, allowing the body’s energy to spent on muscle recovery, mental focus, supporting the immune system, and whatever the person wants to focus her energy on! Twenty four hours is also the same amount of time it naturally takes for carnivores to digest their food; digestion shouldn’t naturally take up to three days. 

   Defending meat as a source of nutrition, one with “complete proteins,” foregoes the fact that meat has dietary cholesterol, which humans should not consume as the body produces the appropriate amount of cholesterol without an dietary input (and dietary cholesterol leads to higher blood cholesterol levels and can lead to coronary artery disease) and nutrients that are difficult for the body to absorb. For the human body, getting protein from plants is more beneficial as the body can absorb the protein and other nutrients easily, within one day, putting less stress on all parts of the body.

   With the myth of complete proteins, where foods that only contain all eight essential amino acids are believed to be vital for the body, many people choose meat as a go-to option as a source of protein. However, the human body can survive off of one plant food alone or a combination of plant foods, even if it doesn’t contain all eight amino acids, healthfully. When a variety of plant-based whole foods are the staple of one’s diet, the body will receive a sufficient amount of all amino acids, minerals, and nutrients, including protein. None the less, for those still concerned about receiving “complete” proteins, here is a list of plant based proteins with all eight amino acids: quinoa, buckwheat (not actually wheat; gluten-free), hempseed, chia seed, and soy (edamame, tempeh, tofu). 

   Although, not all nutrients from plant sources are alike. Most whole foods (whole fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc) in grocery stores are at least five days old - five days from their source of origin, at which point they have been depleted of up to 40% of their original nutrients. Then, once processing or home cooking is undergone, even more nutrients flee from the food (however, some nutrients are amplified when cooking occurs). 

   Soil also has a large role in the nutrients of plants. Three primary nutrients are found in commercial fertilizers, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Fertile soil, however, requires fifty two nutrients to healthfully support life. Because the soil used in most commercial farm lands is malnourished, the plants that are grown in that soil do not contain the nutrients they require to be healthy. Then, because the plants are malnourished, the plants are susceptible to weather and parasites, which influences farmers to use pesticides and GMOs for their crops to help the plants be more resistant. However, the poor condition of the plants isn’t healed, only covered up, as the bugs that attack the plants adapt to plants’ modifications. All of which could have been solved from at the source of the dilemma, the soil!

   The mixture of the lack of nutrients in the soil along with the amount of time food is separated from its source before consumers get to eat results in a wide-scale nutritional deficiency. However, consuming food as close to its source of origin as possible as a guideline for a diet will result in a healthy body, mind, spirit, and world.

 

“Being vegan is easy. Are there social pressures that encourage you to continue to eat, wear, and use animal products? Of course there are. But in a patriarchal, racist, homophobic, and ableist society, there are social pressures to participate and engage in sexism, racism, homophobia, and ableism. At some point, you have to decide who you are and what matters morally to you. And once you decide that you regard victimizing vulnerable nonhumans is not morally acceptable, it is easy to go and stay vegan” 

Gary L. Francione

 

Much love healers, keep spreading your love and knowledge!

 

Namaste,

Ryan <3

   

 

Sources:

Sattvic Eating

   Sattvic eating is eating with compassion to the body, animals, loved ones, and the Earth as a whole. The word sattvic derives from the Sanskrit word sattva, which is the quality of purity and goodness. For a food to be sattvic, it must abide by the law of free will, which is every beings’ right to manifest its own reality and destiny, to the highest degree it can. Essentially, food must not infringe upon a being’s life, deciding its living circumstances, relationships, and time of passing for the being without its consent.

   Eating in a Sattvic manner allows for a clear, calm, and compassionate mind while keeping the body lean, light, and agile. 

   Foods that possess purity support anushasanam, which is the force that maintains a quiet mind and gentle nature. Anushasanam is a combination of two Sanskrit words: anu, which is a prefix, and shasanam. Anu means within a practice or learning from prior teachings. Shasanam means the learning of virtue through discipline. Together, anushasanam is indirectly translated to: growing from discipline through one’s commitment to a particular practice. 

   Sattvic foods are foods that are:

  • Pleasant to the stomach (not deep fried and possess low amounts of gluten)
  • Fresh; close to the source of origin
  • Freshly prepared; assembled and cooked as close to consumption as possible
  • Prepared in a state of love and awareness with respect to the food, oneself, others eating, and the law of free will possessed by all living beings
  • Mildly cooling (not to be followed as closely by those in colder climates), refreshing, and/or subtly sweet.

With these qualities in mind, a diet comprised of sattvic foods would consist of fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts (in light amounts), and dairy in many traditions, while avoiding foods that are heavily sour, spiced, salted, and processed. The purpose of eating sattvic foods is not follow a specific diet, it is to develop compassion, maintain a peaceful state of mind, and make eating an act of selflessness as opposed to gluttony. 

   Practices that cultivate mindful eating include:

  • Cooking
  • Chewing throughly
  • Shopping close to the source (whole fruits, whole vegetables, whole grains, dried beans)
  • Buying ethnically produced ingredients such as those from farmers’ markets and suppliers with good intentions
  • Home growing food

Cooking allows love, passion, and art to be inputted into food, which is important because food carries energy, much of which is accumulated during the cooking process, all of which is then transferred into our bodies. Chewing throughly, is vital as chewing every bite of food at least twenty times allows enzymes in saliva to begin breaking down food, encourages mindful eating (focusing on what’s in the mouth as opposed to getting ready to shovel in the next bite), and gives the stomach time to realize when the body has had the right amount of food, therefore overeating doesn’t occur. Stomachs don’t send signals of “fullness” to the brain based on the quantity of food consumed, stomachs send the feeling of being “full” to the brain when it has digested an appropriate amount of energy (calories) and nutrition. For this reason, more calories of processed foods must be consumed to achieve “fullness” as they are lacking nutrients and are high in calories. The whole process of shopping for food has monumental impact on workers, animals, conditions of other countries, and the environment, which is why research and feeling the energy of the food and place of purchase must be conducted. Growing one’s own food allows a relationship constructed of love, respect, and compassion to form with plants, all of which good energy is then transferred into the body. 

   Food and water are the only things humans must actively consume; effort has to be exerted to eat and drink. While people actively consume things other than food and water such as social media, alcohol, television, clothes, and culture, food and water are required to live in the third dimensional space, as humans currently do (however, much of our race is making a transformation into the fourth dimension). Therefore, understanding food and holding the entire growing, purchasing, cooking, and eating process in the utmost important regard is vital for the prosperity of the human race and Earth, particularly with large populations eating unsustainable foods in excess. The way most “developed” countries currently eat places taxing burden upon the environment, developing countries, starving populations, and future generations. There is no more direct path to how humans shape the outside world than how humans eat. Albert Einstein described humans relationship with food and the impact it has on the world perfectly in this sentence: “nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances of survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”

 

Much love & namaste

Ryan <3

P.S. Many of the subjects I briefly covered in this post such as shopping, chewing, and the environmental impact of our food choices fully deserve their own posts, as there is a wealth of important knowledge behind each of these subjects. 

Limits

“If I start writing now, I fear I won’t stop - fear is only a limitation that exists when I allow it to.”


   The idea of limits has occupied my mental and spiritual space recently. Particularly how we (humans) believe in their existence; humans are likely the only lifeforms that allow fear into our experience. For example, a mountain goat will faithfully prance up to the edge of a 2,000 foot cliff, knowing that he is not suddenly going to fall over the edge. Therefore, he stands on the edge, embracing the profound dynamic of height. Then there’s seven year old me, entangling my limbs around a lone tree on top of Stone Mountain, crying as if life were being sucked from my soul, even though I was hundreds of feet away from all edges of the gently curved mountain. I had already envisioned myself tumbling over the edge before I had seen it, doubting my ability to stand, whether it be next to a tree or next to a cliff. The reason I wasn’t on the edge like the mountain goat embodying the beauty of the breeze, view, and headspace the moment had to offer is because I was giving fear more power than love.

   If permitted, fear will influence all endeavors of life, so we must dedicate every thought, breath, and word to belittling it. Love what is in front of you fearlessly, for it has manifested into this specific moment for you. Breath in fearlessly, for the breath we are inhaling is providing us the vitality needed to exist in our third dimensional space. Breath out fearlessly, for the breath we are exhaling is toxins leaving our body and pouring into the cells of another being of light as life. Speak fearlessly, reflecting your inner being through your words with whomever you interact with, whether it be your mother or someone you’ve never met. With powerful intention, “hello” is enough to convey your essence to another being. 

   To overcome limits, we must first be aware we have attached them to our heart/mind, or our “citta,” which is a Sanskrit word that means the essence of heart and mind in unison, forming the underlying essence of our soul. Once we are aware of our limitations, we can take proper disciplines to extinguish their influence over our actions. Embarking on purposeful detachment is a powerful way to rid ourselves of boundaries. A current adventure that embodies this I am embarking on is called “banana island,” which is another way of saying a banana fast. On banana island, I’m only eating bananas, coconut water (and the meat from young thaicoconuts which I often receive my water from), and spinach. But mostly bananas. While there is much to talk about in regards to banana island, it is a tool that is allowing me to separate myself from craving food like a drug. Even though I eat a healthy organic whole foods plant based diet, I still lust the thought, scent, and taste of food, so much so that I will think about it when I’m eating, not eating, and when I’m not even hungry; I’m addicted to food. Eating strictly bananas, coconut water (as well as coconut meat), and banana-spinach coconut water smoothies focuses my energy on being fulfilled by the support these three foods offer me. I’m noticing the limits I have around food start to diminish as I’m waking up around 7:00 A.M. with boundless energy throughout my day to run, do yoga, meditate, create, lift weights, and do things that are new to me such as spending time reading and pushing my body with breathing techniques and sensory input going from a sauna into cold water. Discipline is needed to move past our limits, however, discipline doesn’t have to be solely associated with patriarchal systems such as public schools, governments, and jobs that use negative discipline to overstep our sovereignties; true discipline is necessary in becoming the people we need to be.

   Today, know that we are limitless and take actions that defy fears. Create, share love, and do little harm in every step we take. Namaste.


Much love, 

Ryan Tempfer