Vegetarian Diet: Staying Healthy and Well
Chapter 3: Traditional Medicine
By Pip Atherstone-Reid
Traditional Medicines such as Classical Chinese Medicine or Ayurvedic Medicine believe that there is no one true diet choice for every person. Someone’s ideal diet depends on their individual constitution, lifestyle and age; what is right for one person may not be right for another. So what happens when we choose not to eat meat or animal products? This choice could be perfect and preferred for one body type but may cause others to struggle with overall health.
There are many reasons why people choose to become Vegetarian or Vegan and many of these reasons are compelling. So how do we make sure our choice works for us?
Classical Chinese Medicine believes that animal products are warming and nourishing for our body; they keep our blood warm and invigorated, strengthen our bones, skin and hair. This is especially important when we are growing and developing and again at reproductive age; when we need healthy vital cells to produce and feed another human being. Women bleed every month, so it is also incredibly important to warm and support blood at this time.
Humans have evolved eating all parts of animals and from a health perspective there are many great reasons for including animal products in our diet, such as proteins, fats, minerals, collagen and more. But there are also benefits to a Vegetarian or Vegan diet, such as Ahimsa (non-violence), it is better for the environment, as it doesn’t use so many resources, it is lighter, more Sattvic and easier to digest. And if eaten properly can provide everything we need for a healthy, happy life!
Traditional Medicines, over hundreds of years have developed classifications of body types, which help us understand what to eat and how to live to promote health. Each of the body types have strengths and weaknesses, by understanding these and eating to support and promote the strengths, we can get the best out of life. By knowing our body type we can begin our Vegetarian journey understanding what foods and lifestyle choices will suit us.
Chinese Herbs like Dang gui, Chinese dates (Da zao), Wolfberries/Goji berries (Gou qi zi) can be added to broths to warm and build blood. You can buy these at Chinese supermarkets or at your Chinese Herbalist.
Pip Atherstone-Reid is the co-founder and co-owner of Kundalini House and has been an Acupuncture and TCM practitioner for over 15 years. She is available for Acupuncture & TCM appointments on Tuesdays and Thursdays.