With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I thought this was an easy opening to discuss this somewhat sensitive subject. These days, we seem to be bombarded with messages that suggest eating animal products is "bad." Through hashtags and self-proclamations on social media, you could easily get the inkling that you are less virtuous if you don't ascribe to plant-based eating or veganism. And, of course there are tons of magazines and internet articles that come out each day promoting this type of lifestyle. Even grocery stores and restaurants are whispering influential messages with their marketing.
Especially in the dance world, it is often implied that we should feel guilty or less healthy for eating meat. Unfortunately, many dancers have enough eating issues as it is and experiencing guilt for not restricting animal products from your diet probably isn't helping.
Before you get the wrong impression, I want to assure you that I'm not trying to start a war here. And, I'm certainly not saying there is anything wrong with choosing a plant-based lifestyle. I'm not forcing you to pick a side or pointing out winners & losers. I simply want to even out the playing field and offer scientific evidence to support a diet that includes animal products, if that is your lifestyle choice.
I know that in my past I was very impressionable by food issues like this. And, the impressions made that determined my lifestyle were not always based on facts...but, on what was popular or what the "cool kids" were all doing at the time. I want to provide you with some more data so that you can make a decision for yourself about what is best for you, rather than feeling compelled to jump into something out of biased opinions and carefully curated information.
The topics of diet and health are ever-evolving fields of study. There is just so much we have yet to learn and understand. Nothing is definitive, black & white, right or wrong. There is no magic formula that we know of. So, all we can do is continue to learn and experiment...and then make decisions based on the juncture of those two processes: How do you feel as a dancer when you eat this way? Does that type of food fuel your performance? Does that leave your body craving more? Does that food make you bloated/sluggish/powerful?
In light of learning, I want to share this article about the importance of protein in your diet and how the sources where you get that protein from (animal vs. plant) are very significant to your health. This article comes from a trusted nutritionist, Erika Herman. Where my writing is sometimes lacking in this scientific talk, hers is right on...factually written without being too confusing.
I want to give you as many tools as possible to level up in life and your art. I hope you enjoy this article...and I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving...guilt free! Stay strong;)