Want to be vegan? Try this!

Super-charge your yoga practice with the foodie goodness and Earth-loving compassion of a vegan lifestyle. By Laura Weyman-Jones, PETA Australia

Going Vegan

According to Google Trends data for 2016, Australians have searched for the word vegan more than citizens of any other country. Why are so many of us ditching meat? For one, awareness is spreading that vegan eating is a natural partner to yoga.

Ahimsa extends to animals, the planet, and you

As a yogi, you strive to practice ahimsa, or non-violence, toward all sentient beings as well as the Earth. Eating vegan helps you embody this philosophy more fully, by avoiding contributing to the abuse and killing of animals who are used for food. A recent United Nations report concluded that animal agriculture is one of the most significant contributors to the world’s most serious environmental problems. Eating vegan is also a great way to be kind to yourself. Animal derived ingredients have been linked to an increased risk of suffering from cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

Speed recovery and reduce inflammation

Many of us initially turn to yoga to help us heal from an injury, and what we eat can either aid or delay our recovery. Plant-based foods have an alkalising effect on the body, and there’s a strong correlation between alkalinity and reduced inflammation – which speeds the healing process. By contrast, animal-derived foods are acid-forming and inflammatory. So whether you’re seeking to bounce back from an injury more quickly or avoid inflammation after an intense vinyasa class, plant foods are key.

Boost your mood and motivation

The importance of mental health has never been clearer, as it’s estimated that one in six Aussies experience depression during their lifetime. Researchers from the University of Queensland recently found that eating fruits and vegetables boosts our happiness far more quickly than it improves even our physical health. Meat-free meals can also make us feel more energised. Vegan foods contain all the nutrients that we need to be healthy – such as plant protein, fibre, and minerals – without all the cholesterol, saturated fat, hormones, and antibiotics in animal-derived foods that make us feel sick and sluggish.

How to go vegan

Here are some tips for making your prana plant-powered:

– Veganise your favourite meals.

There’s a good chance you’re already eating vegan food (hello, green smoothie), and veganising your favourite meals is about as easy and satisfying as a good savasana. Why not try making a tofu breakfast scramble or a lasagne packed with vegetables and veggie mince? Meanwhile, stock your fridge and freezer with some delicious vegan cheese, chocolate, and ice cream.

– Download a mobile app, such as HappyCow, to find vegan-friendly restaurants. Vegan options are popping up on just about every restaurant and café menu these days, so eating out is stress-free. If in doubt, download the HappyCow mobile app, and you’ll have a guide to friendly eateries wherever you go.

– Order or download a free vegetarian/vegan starter kit from PETA.org.au.

Full of useful information, tips, and recipes, PETA’s vegetarian/vegan starter kit is free and can be delivered to your door or downloaded onto your device. Sign up for a 30-day vegan challenge to kick things off … “yoga” to try it!