In her new book The Good Karma Diet: Eat Gently, Feel Amazing, Age in Slow Motion, my dear friend, the super talented, truly kind and beautiful, smart and sassy Victoria Moran goes beyond restrictive diet plans (eat blueberries on day one, chia seeds sprinkled on matzo on day two, etc. etc.) and obsessive calorie counting to explore how being mindful of the world around us is the best “diet plan” there is.
“You’ll be doing something revolutionary,” Victoria writes in her introduction, “making food choices based on kindness and love instead of preferences formed in childhood, or opinions about calories, carbs, and fat grams that developed later.”
With the warmth and humor that has made her one of the most trusted names in the vegan world, Victoria encourages non-vegans, vegetarians, and everyone in-between to start basking in the health, joy, and personal gratification of a “karmically good diet.”
Unlike most diet plans on the market, The Good Karma Diet is an invitation to live a more momentous life than most people allow themselves to believe is even possible. Victoria reveals that the secret to treating ourselves well (and, in turn, dropping those persistent last ten pounds!) is actually quite simple: treat our planet and all its inhabitants with love and kindness.
The Good Karma Diet
From “The Good Karma Diet” By Victoria Moran
Good Karma eating is as simple as can be: comprise your meals of plants instead of animals, and most of the time choose unprocessed plant foods, meaning that they got from the garden or orchard or field to your kitchen with minimal corporate interference.
this way of eating gives you good karma in two ways. The first is self-explanatory: by eating foods of high nutrient density and avoiding the animal products and processed foods your body can have trouble dealing with, you’ll reap the rewards of improved health. The second is a bit more mystical: you do good and you get good back.
As is true for life in general, it’s probably better to do this with unselfish motives, but even if your motivation is to become thinner, healthier, or more youthful, you’ll be doing something modestly heroic at the same time. This way of eating and living could lessen the suffering of billions of animals. I know it’s hard to think in terms of billions, but if you imagine counting the individual beings one at a time, you get some of the impact. In addition, ninety-eight percent of the animals raised for food suffer horrifically on factory farms before being slaughtered, often in adolescence. Every time you eat a vegan meal, you’re voting for something different.
This choice also lightens the burden on the planet. Raising animals for food in the numbers we do today calls for an exorbitant amount of water and fossil fuels. It leads to vast “lagoons” of animal waste, and the release into the atmosphere of tons of greenhouse gases, mostly in the form of methane.
What you have here is holistic dining at its finest – body and soul. Eating whole, plant foods is scientifically validated as being both nutritionally adequate and anti-pathological. In other words, it cures stuff. Not everything. But reversal of such scourges as coronary disease and type 2 diabetes among people on this kind of diet has been repeatedly reported in the scientific literature; and the preventive potential of this way of eating is supported by ample research.
If this sounds great but going all the way seems impossible right now, go partway. Americans’ consumption of animal foods has, as I write this, been decreasing annually since 2007, primarily because non-vegans are making vegan choices some – or much – of the time. They fix a veggie-burger or black beans and rice, or they order their latté with soy, or have a green smoothie for breakfast so they’ll look prettier and — what do you know? — the statistics get prettier, too.
Once you’re fully vegan, celebrate! The only thing you need to “do” nutritionally that you weren’t doing before is take a vitamin B12 supplement of about 100 micrograms a day as a tiny, tasty, melt-in-your mouth tablet. B12 is not reliably found in plant foods unless they’ve been fortified with it, and lack of B12 is dangerous. This single missing element in a plant-food diet pains many vegans. If this is the perfect diet, it ought to be, well, perfect. But this is life on earth: extraordinary, magnificent, and absolutely not perfect. Bacteria in our mouths and intestines do make some B12, and maybe at some point in evolutionary history we all made enough, just as our long-ago ancestors made their own vitamin C and now we don’t. I look at taking B12 as a tiny surcharge for the privilege of being vegan.
If you hear yourself saying “I could never give up ice cream” (or something else), realize that you may just be short on vegucation. There are lots of rich, luscious nondairy ice creams on the market, and you can make exquisite homemade ice cream with only a DIYgene and an ice cream maker.
If you have the information and you’re still saying “I could never give up. . .,” listen to yourself. You’re affirming weakness. You’re bigger than that. You can eat plants and save lives. You can give your life exponentially more meaning by living in a way that decreases suffering just because you got up and chose a kind breakfast.
Without this commitment, the Good Karma Diet would be, as much as I hate to say it, just a diet. To me, a diet is: “Eat this and don’t eat that, and feel guilty when you screw up, which of course you will because you’re only human, for heaven’s sake, and nobody can be on a diet forever.” That doesn’t really make you want to say, “I’ll have what she’s having.”
Understand and embrace the compassion piece, the conviction that you’re here to make life easier for others, regardless of species, and then everything else – whatever tweaks you might make because of an allergy, a digestive peculiarity, a personal preference — will come with little effort. This lifts that word “diet” from the deprivational depths and restores its original meaning from the Greek diaita, “a way of life.” And this particular way of life is one replete with meaning and fulfillment and joy.
Green Power Smoothie
- 1 large celery stalk, chopped
- 1 frozen banana, or 1/2 cup other frozen fruit (peaches, pineapple, berries, etc.)
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups water
- About 1 cup kale, spinach, or romaine lettuce, tightly packed
- For a greener smoothie:1 to 2 teaspoons spirulena or barley grass powder, and/or a handful of fresh cilantro or parsley
- For a sweeter smoothie: 1 teaspoon maple syrup or 3-4 drops stevia
- For a heftier smoothie: 1/2 small avocado, and/or 1 scoop vegan protein powder
- For a spicy smoothie: 1/2-inch knob of fresh ginger, or 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- For a super-duper smoothie: 1 to 2 teaspoons maca powder and/or ground flaxseeds
- In a blender, blend celery, banana (or other fruit), lemon juice, greens, water, and any optional ingredients, until liquefied.
- Add greens of your choice and blend until completely liquified. Taste and adjust if necessary. (Go easy on the greens at first. The time will come when you’ll fill the blender with them.)
- Serve immediately.
Makes 1 to 2 servings
Excerpted from THE GOOD KARMA DIET: Eat Gently, Feel Amazing, Age in Slow Motion by Victoria Moran, with the permission of Tarcher/Penguin, a division of Penguin Random House. Copyright © 2015.
Photo and recipe by Doris Fin, CCHP, AADP.
I have a copy of The Good Karma Diet for one lucky reader. Follow the instructions below to enter. U.S. and Canadian residents only, please. Contest ends at midnight on May 26, 2015. Good luck!