The art of living in balance and in harmony with ourselves and our environment.
What happened on my trip to India that changed our lifestyle.
I didn’t grow up in a vegetarian household, although meat was not a daily part of my family’s diet. My parents were both vegetarian, but it was never enforced on the rest of the family. I grew up eating the occasional typical North American foods like hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza and chicken. But home cooked meals were predominantly vegetarian until I started to develop a passion for cooking during my junior years of high school. Although I enjoyed learning to make a variety of different dishes, there was always a sense of discomfort with handling meat and empathy towards animals killed for food. I learned to live with it, but suspected that someday I would have to confront it.
It was in late 2011, while travelling in Punjab, India, that I came across a wire pen crowded with chickens on the side of the road as we drove by. A moment later I noticed that the pen, in fact, was sitting in front of a restaurant. It hit me like a ton of bricks that the chickens were waiting to be slaughtered! It shouldn’t have come as a shock to me. After all I was not a vegetarian, nor was I that naïve. It simply had to do with the fact that the inevitable slaughter was never that blatantly obvious to me before. I was never a big meat eater, but like most people, I shopped for meat along with my other groceries without letting it get to me. For some reason it really hit home this time and I vowed never to eat meat again.
When I returned home a few days later, I mentioned my epiphany to my partner, Andre as he picked me up from the airport. He literally thought about it for less than thirty seconds before declaring he would do the same. Now, that is what I call spousal support!
Aside from some challenges with dining out, it was not difficult to stop eating meat. I grew up eating far less meat than the normal North American diet, and being of Indian descent made it a lot easier to eat vegetarian. There is such a vast and delicious variety of plant based foods and preparation methods. It’s no wonder I made this lifestyle choice while in India!
Let us take you on a tasteful journey to a healthy way of Indian cooking.
It is our hope to be able to open the door for you as well, in terms of reducing or eliminating meat from your diet, and to help you to do it the right way. One of the best global cuisines for thriving on a vegetarian lifestyle is Indian. We want to introduce you to its abundant variety of plant-based foods, flavours and preparation methods. So let us take you on this tasteful journey of learning about the ingredients, their health benefits and turning them into delicious meals in your own kitchen!
India is a land of so much ancient wisdom in regards to food and lifestyle — from Ayurveda to yoga, to meditation — all of these disciplines are a part of healthy, holistic living. Ayurveda, meaning the “science of life”, teaches us to eat according to the balance and characteristics of our own bodies. It is fascinating to learn about our own unique constitution by applying the principles of Ayurveda and changing our eating habits according to our “doshas”. See Ayurvedic Diet
Our purpose, through this website, is multi-faceted. It has to do with sharing our passion for personal growth, and for promoting health and well being through food and a balanced lifestyle. It also has to do with presenting information for the purpose of helping others to make informed choices. Whether it be choosing to adopt a particular dietary lifestyle or learning about Indian cooking, we strive to present you with useful and unbiased information to help you make your decision. We don’t subscribe to the “one size fits all” attitude. It is important to identify the pros and cons of making a lifestyle decision and to raise awareness of any issues associated with that choice. We are all on this journey of learning and personal growth together.
Is the purpose of food really just to keep us alive?
If that were the case we wouldn’t find such pleasure in our sense of taste and smell. We would simply eat to overcome hunger. Unfortunately, these senses are also a double edged sword, because rather than enjoying food for the purpose of providing health and nourishment to our bodies, we have the tendency to eat more than we need of the things that appeal to our senses, but which aren’t necessarily good for our health. We have become a highly consuming society for fast, processed, packaged and convenience foods which please our taste buds and not our bodies. They aren’t “nourishing” us but rather “hurting” us. More often than not they are high in refined sugars and unhealthy fats with little or no food value except for calories.
Having said that, it is encouraging to see the emergence of a part of society seeking healthy foods and lifestyle. We hope to be able to raise awareness about healthy living and provide you with healthy food choices.
The plight of food production animals is very near and dear to our hearts.
The inhumane slaughter and living conditions of animals raised in food factories is very disturbing. Mass produced animals lack any decent quality of life and are killed in a very inhuman manner. Read Treatment of Animals under Holistic Living.
It is not for us to judge those who eat meat. Meat has been a key source of food for our ancestors and past civilizations for many millennia. The “Natives” or First Nations people relied on hunting for survival. But it was done with compassion and gratitude for nature and its balance. When it comes to food, there is a definite lack of compassion and gratitude in the way we live today. The producers keep looking to maximize profit by minimizing the quality of life of animals raised for food, and society doesn’t pause to think about where the abundant variety of packaged meat in their local grocery store comes from. Picking up a package of chicken breast or steak is no different than picking up a box of crackers. We sugar coat our answers when our children ask us, “Mommy was this chicken alive before?” I was one of those parents, and I sure wish I could go back and really be honest with them.
For us it was the uncomfortable feeling when thinking about animal treatment that led to becoming vegetarians. As I mentioned earlier, we made the decision to stop eating meat literally from one day to another, but we had been eating less and less meat and meat products already for about a year before that. And when we did eat meat, we always looked for products that were organic and from small local farms where the animals were raised ethically.
I must point out, however, that we are not entirely vegetarian in that we continue to eat wild fish and shellfish. We are pescetarian. And yes, we are open to discussion about how fish and crustaceans are treated after being caught. Also, the research on how fish experience pain is inconclusive. There are two sides (camps) and two main theories regarding this issue. Both theories are covered in this article Pain In Fish.
Healthy and creative recipes to incorporate into your chosen lifestyle.
We will be growing our website’s Recipes section rapidly. You will be able to find several new items every week. We will be covering all four sections — vegan; vegetarian, pescetarian and gluten-free — with a wide selection of new recipes, often influenced by Indian cuisine. Each one has been created in the Global Vegetarian kitchen. (All of the recipe photographs are original; photographed by us)
Instructional cooking videos and cooking classes
We feel that the best way to help you learn how to cook healthy vegetarian Indian meals is through the use of instructional cooking videos. They will be detailed and full of useful information. We will not only want to give you the “how-to,” but we will talk about the health benefits of the ingredients used, the history, as well as where they come from. We will also be discussing Ayurveda and how its ancient knowledge applies to our daily lives in regards to our diet.
Become a vegetarian (or a pescetarian) the right way
One of our goals is to help you to consider a new lifestyle. A new lifestyle that will not only make you healthier, but in the process will also help save animals that are being mistreated around the world. We have been on that road since January 1, 2012. Since then, we have learned a great deal from making this transition, and continue to learn and educate ourselves about living the healthiest life possible. We are also very much aware that this is a journey, not a destination. It is a lifestyle and not a diet.
At this stage of our lives we have become students of Holistic Living. The class is in session and you are invited (and encouraged) to join us on this journey.
Our Vegetarian Recipe ebook also contains a handy guide to Indian spices. Just fill-in the form below and click the Submit button to receive it in your inbox!