Guest Blog - Plant Based Diet & Sustainable Living Yoga Retreat
Ella Young is a certified yoga instructor, having studied & taught all over the world; Australia, Croatia, Copenhagen & Morocco to name a few!! She is passionate about healthy, delicious food, sustainable living and connecting the natural rhythms of life.
This year, she's hosting a Sustainable Living Yoga Retreat here at Top of the Woods (find out more)! It will include dynamic, restorative guided yoga & meditation in our wildflower meadows, woodlands and barns.
Ella will also be providing vibrant, wholesome, plant based meals, a sustainable cooking workshop & a wild foraging course.
So, we wanted to find out more about Plant Based diets...
Here is what Ella had to say;
What does ‘plant-based’ mean?
I prefer to use this term over ‘vegan’ due to the fact that ‘vegan’ explains more of what a person omits from their diet (meat, dairy, all foods and perhaps certain clothes, cosmetics, etc from their lifestyle), whereas ‘plant-based’ denotes what a person ﬁlls their diets with: plants.
I ﬁnd this linguistic choice both more explanatory and more positive. I choose to eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, herbs, spices, oils, nuts and seeds; food that grows here on this beautiful planet of ours.
Haven’t we been eating animals for years?
Sometimes people query that we humans have been eating ﬂesh throughout our whole history so why wouldn’t we now? The thing is that the meat-eating our ancestors did is not comparable to the modern day meat industry. Wild animals used to be hunted to feast on after a period of famine, alongside wild foraged fruits and vegetables.
These days it is a story of over-consumption and lives being created simply to feed humans more and more meat, often every single day, something that would have been totally foreign to our ancient ancestors and would have lead to serious weight gain, ill-health and an inability to be able to continue to catch their own feed. Of course now, all we have to do is go to the shop/market/butchers and exchange money for our food.
How is a plant-based diet benficial for the environment?
Eating a plant-based/vegan diet is in fact the most dramatic positive impact we can have on the environment. We all have the potential to make huge changes in society but what could be more
powerful than creating sustainable eating habits? Most people eat everyday, multiple times; this is like having the opportunity to vote daily.
Producing 1kg of animal protein requires about 100 times more water than producing 1kg of grain protein. Grazing land and crop land used to feed animals (that are intended to become food for humans) takes up almost 80% of all agricultural land. This is clearly an ineﬃcient and non-sustainable way for us to live.
You choose what industries you support by investing your money in them and supporting them ﬁnancially. We can choose whether to support the ever-growing meat industry or the organic farming of plants which nourishes the soil as well as human bodies, without harm to other species.
Can anyone make the change?
You deﬁnitely don’t need to go from eating meat daily to removing it completely. We humans become accustomed to habit but it’s time we question our habits when they have such a detrimental eﬀect on the planet.
You can begin slowly if that feels more manageable, perhaps swapping out a couple of meat days in the week with 2 plant-based days, eating a diet rich in colour and variety. By taking out the meat, it’s highly likely that you’ll be able to incorporate a much wider variety of vitamins and minerals in your diet. A very easy way to measure this is with the number of colours on your plate; the more vibrant, natural colours you munch on, the more variety you’re getting.
On retreat we will be plant-powered, delving into a variety of delicious dishes. As well as enjoying the flavours that nature so kindly serves us with, you will have the chance to learn more about the preparation of this food.
I’ll be sharing easy, speedy cooking techniques, utilising fresh herbs and ground spices that we can prepare using simple camping equipment and therefore can deﬁnitely be easily replicated back at home and of course, tweaked to your unique taste.
Being hands-on, I think, is the best way to learn. I favour intuition over recipes and more formal methods of training. We are human beings who have lasted through the millennia, dodging the poisons and delving into the fuel. We can use our senses of smell, touch and taste to create dishes that serve our bodies in many ways.
Find Out More about Ella's Sustainable Living Yoga Retreat at Top of the Woods