Perhaps being raised a strict Irish-Catholic cured me of the need to strictly adhere to a particular system of beliefs. I tend to be quite free-spirited in my approach to life and all its facets, including diet. I don't believe in a "one diet fits all" approach; as I move through life, meet new people and explore new environments, I'm constantly growing, evolving and allowing myself the liberty of changing my mind.

I remember the first time, after almost 20 years on a vegan/macrobiotic diet, I was advised to start eating some meat by a renowned acupuncturist who felt I needed it to build my blood and raise my energy levels. At the time, I was quite appalled by the suggestion and was just not ready to make that shift. About five years later, when I was in a very busy and often stressful job in London and having regular acupuncture to keep my energy levels up, it was recommended to me again to integrate some meat into my diet. I agreed to try it, if my acupuncturist would cook it, and I would cook the vegetables to accompany it.

She cooked up some lamb chops and I made some roasted sweet potatoes and a big green salad. In a very ritualistic way, we thanked the lamb for sacrificing its life for our nourishment and partook. I have to say the meat was a bit like medicine—it seemed to infuse me with a different kind of energy that I hadn't felt in a long time. I had to agree with my healer that my body could benefit from it occasionally...though it didn't help that I was living across from a field of leisurely grazing sheep and felt rather guilty looking at them, knowing that one of their brethren ended up on my plate!

As with all things in life, there are pros and cons, and the vegan diet is no exception. People choose to become vegetarian or vegan for various reasons—health, spiritual, moral or religious. Whatever your reason, if you are choosing a vegetarian or vegan path, it's vital that you understand how to do so in a way that keeps you healthy and balanced.

Learn the right (and wrong) ways to adopt a vegan diet.


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