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well being by Katharine Mieszkowski

diet for a healthy

To he eco-friendly and heart healthy, try eating vegetarian.

Kat Saks grew up in Montana, where meat was always on the table. In fact, she had never considered not eating meat. But when she began yoga teacher training at Laughing Lotus Yoga Center in Manhattan and her instructor mentioned that vegetarianism was one way to practice ahimsa, the yogic principle of nonharming, she decided to try it for the duration of the program."I wasn't confident I would make it through the four months," she admits.

Saks's journey to vegetarianism was not without setbacks. In the first few weeks, she struggled with cravings, even "slipping" once and eatinga piece of chicken. But as the months went by, she felt transformed. "I noticed a significant shift in my mood and emotions, and a general lightness of being on my mat— I felt more fluidity of movement, and everything was just a little bit easier," she says.

Almost two years later, Saks, 27, is fully committed to a vegetarian lifestyle, in which spinach, beans, and grains like quinoa have become the new staples in her diet. "I fell in love with it after a while," Saks says. "I was skeptical at first, but practice is believing."

Many students find that yoga and vegetarianism go well together; ahimsa, a central tenet of classical yoga, is often used as an argument against eating meat—and, some argue, against the consumption of any animal products. And it's not just yogis who are giving up meat. About 3 percent of Americans don't cat meat or fish (including the less than 1 percent who are vegan, eschewing eggs, dairy, and honey planet as well), according to a 2009 poll conducted by Harris Interactive for the nonprofit Vegetarian Resource Group. Many more arc striving to eat less meat. Another poll, conducted in 2008, found that a full 10 percent of Americans have considered going vegetarian.

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