If you’re so smart why aren’t you a Vegetarian?
Another item in the news this week: from the British Medical Journal reporting on the connection between a high I.Q. in childhood and later vegetarianism in adulthood. Strange, but true, they say.
OK, let’s set aside for now my opinion on I.Q. tests (what exactly do they measure, and for whom?) and consider that maybe what this report suggests is that it may take a little smarts to figure out that (1) diet does affect your health and (2) unless you’re an Inuit living in Alaska, a diet of mostly meat is just stupid.
One of the first questions I am often asked about my life in yoga is, “are you a vegetarian?” In fact, I am and have been since about age 13. (Come to think of it, it was also around that age that I was told I have a pretty high I.Q., hmmm.)
Practicing yoga is frequently associated with also being a vegetarian. Often it happens organically (good pun!), as you go deeper into your yoga practice, you realize how everything you eat, drink and inhale affects your life energy. Hence, my previous entry on “abstaining” explored this idea of eliminating certain stimulants (or depressants, such as alcohol).
Many yoga practitioners also mention a different reason for becoming a vegetarian: that of ahimsa, which is the practice of non-injury, that addresses the killing of animals for food. This however, was a later development in the history of yoga, attributed more to Buddhism and Jain influences as there is much evidence of animal sacrifice and consumption of meat in Vedic text.
When students ask me about eliminating meat, I usually say that although I feel better not eating it, everyone is different; some folks need what only meat can provide. As with making any changes, the best approach is to slowly start cutting back and see how you feel. I have also gone through periods in my life when I needed the protein and omega-3 fatty acids that fish provides and would include that in my diet occasionally.