Summer SUP Yoga: why not give it a go?
I’ve written this article 10 Reasons To Try SUP Yoga for OM Yoga Magazine, so why not have a read? If you have any more questions on SUP Yoga, don’t hesitate to contact me.
Vegan? Plant-based? Vegetarian? I’m confused!
I’m often asked about diet, especially about vegan, vegetarian and plant-based eating. So, what’s the difference? And why do we feel we have to label ourselves, and each other?
Vegan: strict vegans will eliminate all animal products from their diets and from their entire lives, to include leather and wool clothing, for example. Many people will follow a vegan diet, but continue to wear leather shoes, especially if they have owned them for many years.
Plant based: Those on a plant-based diet will eat mainly plant foods, but may be less strict than vegans, possibly eating occasional animal foods, such as honey.
Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB): this also rejects processed food.
Vegetarian: Vegetarians eat no meat or fish, but do eat eggs and dairy. There are also different branches of vegetarianism, such as pescatarians, who eat fish, but not meat and ovo-vegetarians, who will eat eggs, but not meat or dairy. The standard term ‘vegetarian’ usually refers to lacto-ovo vegetarians, who eat no meat or fish, but do eat eggs and dairy.
Flexitarian: This is a relatively recent term, referring to those who eat mainly plant-based foods, but may occasionally indulge in… well, anything that’s not a plant, I assume!
Why the labels? I don’t think there’s any need to pigeonhole ourselves, or justify to others how you choose to eat really, is there? However, it can be easier when you go out to eat in restaurants or at friends’ houses.
So, what’s healthy? Being ‘vegan’ can include all sorts of processed foods, which are not necessarily very healthy. You only need to stroll along the aisles of any supermarket to see vegan versions of pretty much anything these days, including meat and dairy substitutes, as well as unhealthy snacks such as biscuits and crisps. And hey, chips are vegan, aren’t they? So, a vegan could eat as much rubbish as the next person! It’s all about the food choices you make as an individual. It’s best to include as many unprocessed plants in your diet as you can – you may have heard the terms like ‘eat a rainbow,’ or ‘plant diversity.’ This about including as many different coloured veggies and fruit in your diet as possible, as well as nuts, seeds and grains. We all know an apple is healthier than a bar of chocolate, vegan or otherwise. This is why I see myself as largely plant based… although I do afford myself the odd treat, of course.
My journey to plant-based living: As a small child of about four, I can remember going to the village butcher with my mother and being repulsed by the smell and the sight of hanging meat. I also remember watching my mother cutting up raw meat in the kitchen and telling her that I was not going to do that when I was a grown-up…. she told me not to be silly and what would I do? When I went vegetarian in 1989, my mother was fine about it; two of my three older brothers had already gone vegetarian (but since reverted to being omnivores!) Iv’e never been a great fan of meat, but was turned completely off it when faced with an especially unappealing sausage in a student canteen in Cardiff. To begin with, I simply gave up all processed and red meat, but continued to eat chicken and fish. This quickly changed to me becoming pescatarian, which I stuck to for many years. I actually gave up milk before fish, as cows’ milk has never agreed with me. The choice of plant milks now is wonderful, so I switched to almond, soya and oat varieties some six or seven years ago. My journey to being plant based was gradual, starting with me taking the Veganuary challenge when it first started in 2014. I have done it every year since, sticking with it permanently about two or three years ago. I can’t imagine eating another animal now!
In early 2020, I completed online courses, gaining a Vegan Nutritionist Diploma and later a Vegan Health Coach qualification and have given advice to friends and yoga students about how to start a vegan diet.
Cleaning Your Yoga Mat
How can you keep your yoga mat clean and hygienic? Yes, you do need to wash it…. but how? I put my low-cost mats in the washing machine with a mild detergent on a low heat, then hang them out to dry. However, you can’t machine wash all mats. I have three high-end Manduka mats that are for my own personal use. They are of varying thicknesses, but none can go in a machine. So, I wash them with a combo of water and essential oils. You can mix your own in a bowl with tap water and wash with a cloth. I’d recommend opting for at oils that are seen to have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, such as tea tree, lavender, lemongrass, or eucalyptus. You can combine oils too, but be careful with the quantities. You do not need too much! You can also spritz your mat with a handy yoga mat spray, like the ones I sell in my shop, but it will also need a really good clean every now and again. You can spray your mat thoroughly with your spray, then wipe it with a damp cloth and allow it to dry naturally, or dry with another cloth. Avoid using washing-up liquid to wash your mat…. you may struggle to get rid of the residue, and the surface may remain slippery.
Coming up in future blogs…
Why go plant based?
Does a plant-based diet contain enough protein?