"To keep the body in good health is a duty... otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear." - Buddha
It's difficult to put a finger on exactly why I'm so interested in not just maintaining but optimizing my health. I can tell you that it's been a gradual process that has evolved over the past 17 years. I grew up on the Standard American Diet, but never liked eating meat. My parents demanded that I eat it while they were feeding me, but as soon as I left for college I became a vegetarian and never looked back. It was never a sacrifice; the muscle, skin and fat of dead animals has always been unappetizing to me. That said, I didn't start out as a health-food vegetarian. I remember one day in college, I was eating a PopTart as I waited for my German class to start and, in an effort to be polite, I asked a classmate if she wanted some. She said, "No, I'm a whole foods girl. I don't know what would happen if I ate that." Put off a bit by her uppity response, I replied, "Probably nothing," and she had to admit that that was probably true. However, over the years that have elapsed since then, I have adopted a similar stance. Although I will occasionally eat processed food or pastries that contain eggs or pizza with cheese, I've found that I feel best when I'm eating meals that I've prepared myself from whole food, vegan ingredients.
I might attribute my awareness of the impact of food on my well-being to my yoga practice, which I've been relatively consistent with for the last decade (this February will mark my ten-year yoga anniversary). Many yoga practitioners will tell you that it is common for one's practice to bring about a deeper awareness of the physical body and its state of health (among other, less tangible things). That may have been true for me, but since it was such a gradual, natural evolution, I didn't notice it when it began, so I can't say for sure that this is why. I am also willing to admit that there may be less lofty causes behind my passion, such as the desire to control one aspect of my life in a world where it's difficult to feel in control of something, or the idiosyncratic personality trait that drives me to pursue constant (illusory) self-improvement, or the simple vanity of having a slim, healthy, energetic body. But the purpose of this blog is not to psychoanalyze myself.
Through my own experience and based on the most plausible theories I've read thus far, I've become convinced that eating a mostly-vegan, whole food diet is essential for achieving good health and vitality and avoiding disease of any magnitude, from colds to cancer. As an aside, I will also add that some measure of easygoingness about this is also necessary. Stress for any reason is a detriment. In this blog I plan to share my efforts and findings with you, should you choose to continue reading.