The Yin and Yang of Surfing & Vegetarianism 

Living on a predominately plant-based diet is a kind of energy that cannot be described unless you experience it for yourself. The same concept exists when it comes to the feeling of riding a wave, only a surfer knows that magic feeling. This to me is one of the great wonders of life, using a limited English language in an attempt to describe something so remarkable, particularly of the energy kind-whether the feelings experienced when in love, the flow and glide of surfboard under feet on a big wave or the flow of clean energy in the body from consuming food direct from mother nature.

There are many reasons why I slowly weaned myself off a meat diet, both ethically through self-education but also predominately due to the vast improvement I found in my energy and overall health. The reasons I find a vegetarianism lifestyle and surfing lifestyle go hand in hand are:

Natural energy 

The fuel I put in my body before a surf makes a big difference in the type of energy that flows through my body with each paddle stroke, duck dive and riding of a wave. I recall one surf in particular. It was a rainy, misty day in a small coastal town and not many were brave enough to step out in the dull ocean conditions.

I had just passed by an old fruit stand on the side of the road and stocked up on strawberries, papaya, bananas and other tropical delights. Having the fruit sitting on my passenger seat meant I had naturally put a large dent in my supplies in the time it took me to leave that fruit stand and make it to the 13015574_10153947667200168_2186227259656749826_nwater’s edge.

I paddled out into the ocean alone and by the time I had made it out the back of the lineup, the shoreline and land had entirely disappeared in the thick layer of fog that encapsulated the coast.

It was an eerie feeling but at the same time I found it comforting and at one with the sea. The waves were inconsistent which left plenty of time for me to sit in my own thoughts and feel each rise underneath me as the swell passed by in small trains. Before even catching a wave that day I recall a deep matching of energy from the fruit I had consumed to the environment around me.

It was kind of an “uh huh” moment for me as I was still in the process of eliminating animal meat from my diet. In that moment it just all made sense. I felt totally connected with nature, like a piece of jigsaw puzzle that had previously been missing from the world around me.

I was a living entity as much as every other animal that walked the earth and it didn’t make sense to destroy their existence for my own survival. Once I truly felt that “bond” with nature and that exchanging of energy I haven’t found a need to consume animal meat since that lonely surf.

Bountiful energy 

The Australian Department of Health recommend you consume two servings of fruit and five servings of vegetables a day to maintain good health. While this doesn’t sound like much, there are many people not getting anywhere near the recommended servings. The amount of energy available in fruit and vegetables is pretty amazing.

When I lived in Byron Bay I met a man in his mid 60’s who absolutely owned the dance floors of local pubs every 307025_10150267079195168_8140935_nweekend. He had some serious style given his age, and he managed to pull more attractive young backpacker chicks than guys a third of his age.

The point of the story is not this but rather that I legitimately thought he was a bit loopy. Some of his moves were so erratic surely he had to be on some kind of drug, given Byron Bay’s colourful reputation in that regard. I decided to approach him and try spark up a conversation.

Turns out he had an organic farm in the hinterland with his wife and he loved his produce with a passion. He particularly loved his broccoli and swore to this particular vegetable to fuel his fire to dance all night.

Again, this one moment was a game changer in how I saw natural foods and their positive effect on the human body. Surfing of course is a pretty intense cardiovascular workout and you need all the energy you can get to sustain a lengthy session in the ocean.

Cardio & protein

The fats and proteins contained in animal meats are increasingly being linked to many diseases including cancer, the clogging of arteries, heart attacks and early death (see my article “The truth on cancer” here). The funny thing is many non-vegetarians are so quick to ask where vegetarians get their protein from yet many of the strongest and largest animals on earth are in fact vegan- take for example the elephant and baboon.

The world’sInfographic-the-dangers-of-eating-meat strongest man is vegan and many other vegan athletes and body builders have been enjoying the “vegan limelight” that has emerged of late.

Unfortunately most of the information society gather is what is viewed through television and therefore drilled into their minds and considered normal or right.

It takes enough love and care for your own body to go out of your way and research the true facts which lie in every place other than the TV screen.

The only thing that truly lacks in a vegetarian/vegan diet is iron & B12 which you have to be conscious of where you will obtain these important vitamins & minerals from. B12 is largely obtained from the structure of animal meats and not plants, therefore I take additional one a day B12 supplements.

Lighter periods (sorry male readers) 

A diet consisting of minimally processed raw foods largely of the plant variety have long been reported to reduce the intensity of a menstrual cycle. I recall finding an old hippy book from the 70’s that even described women eliminating their cycle entirely from a vegetarian diet.

I have also found Youtube clips claiming the same, however I find it a bit extreme for the body to completely eliminate a cycle that is so natural to the body! The one thing however that I have noticed since going vego is less cramps and intensity of periods which is another great match being a surfer as I can have plenty more wave time instead of being at home with a hot water bottle on my cramping stomach.

More restful sleep

I don’t know what it is but there is something about the sleep cycle that becomes affected when you have a high fruit/vegetable consumption. It’s like you notice more  of the natural sounds around you, the crickets, the owls, the wind as it rustles through the palm trees.

Again I can only put it down to the clean type of energy, free of preservatives and man-made ingredients that otherwise come with the majority of supermarket foods. I can recall one day my mother saying that she had a terrible night sleep full of bad nightmares for no apparent reason.

She then realised it must have been the marinated steak she had purchased from the meat market, as that was the only thing different to the usual foods she ate. It’s scary to think what was in that meat sauce. More restful sleep=more waves.

Other than the reasons above that I can relate directly to surfing, there are so many other benefits from being vegetarian that I’ve welcomed into my daily living such as:

  1. Deeper passion for all animals great and small.
  2. Conscious choices, guilt-free living, finding the truth about the way society operates, 10455561_10153097108683689_2906821006535925838_n.jpgrealising that most of our supermarkets are stocked with unhealthy food.
  3. Appreciating nature 10 fold.
  4. Rarely visit the dentist.
  5. Meeting like-minded vegetarians/vegans that also have a deep care for their health and for the welfare of animals.
  6. Less and less of my food comes in packages.
  7. Influencing others in a positive way that can improve their health too.
  8. Knowing each cell, tissue, bit of fat and muscle in my body have been built by predominately plants.
  9. Thriving compost for healthy gardens.
  10. No animal blood in the kitchen.

And the list could go on forever…

Resources: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/red-meat-clogs-arteries-bacteria/

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/new-study-links-l-carnitine-in-red-meat-to-heart-disease-201304176083

http://www.pcrm.org/health/cancer-resources/diet-cancer/facts/meat-consumption-and-cancer-risk

http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/vsk/vegetarian-starter-kit-protein

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