Ski Vacation

Tonight I am flying out of Boston to Geneva for about 12 days of skiing in the French Alps with my husband’s family. I loath these red-eye flights to Europe, as they turn me into a zombie with no fixed sense as to what my body is biologically craving. Sleep is not possible, so it seems to turn to food for energy. Before the next time I can sleep, I’ll probably eat 6 meals and some snacks. There will be bloating.

I woke up earlier than usual, my mind seizing on the impending journey at 5am and rousing me to my yoga room. I did 2 20-minute Shiva Rea vinyassa flows, savoring these last moments with a yoga DVD before my snowsports gluttony.

For breakfast, I pan-fried 1 pound of CSA ground beef that needs to be consumed before we leave. This will be my breakfast and lunch, with some salad at midday. I want to be well-fed before I board the plane so I won’t be tempted into eating whatever culinary concoction is served for dinner, although it is Air France so my chances of getting something edible aren’t bad.

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Cold Weather Mornings

This morning I woke up 10 minutes before my alarm went off, which is the ideal waking situation. It means I got a full night’s sleep — only 7 hours last night, due a busy evening in Boston capped by an excruciating subway delay and a 9:20pm dinner of leftover steak and mushrooms — but obviously just enough sleep, and any day that doesn’t begin with a blaring alarm is bound to be a good one.

Plus, that’s 10 more minutes of early morning yoga. Even on days when I do feel well-rested, my morning yoga sessions are never too long or intense. They are more like warm-ups, and while I would love to continue beyond the 20-25 minutes of gentle movement, the day begins to loom in front of me like an unfurled to-do list. Need to shower, make breakfast, pack lunch, wake up my husband, and make myself presentable to the world! Need to drive to work, and then actually work for 8 hours! When I practice yoga in the early morning, it is difficult to keep focused on my breath, and not on whether there is meat thawed for tonight’s dinner.

Yes, food is sometimes on my mind when I do yoga. Not that I’m hungry. Perhaps there is a biologically tie between physical activity and thinking about food. After all, in the caveman era, food was usually the goal of physical activity (food, and escaping tigers). So maybe it’s not so strange that, as I stretch my buttocks and hips to the sky in downward-dog, I’m dreaming about this:

Yes, that was breakfast… the last of the CSA sausage (which I didn’t finish — I mean, that’s a slab) and two eggs, poached in pork grease. Hey, it’s cold outside.

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Snowstorm Activities

We were confined to our cave yesterday by a 12-inch snowstorm. I woke up around 6am (my weekday waking time, which seems to be biologically hard-coded) and stole away to my little makeshift yoga studio to find some inner peace and backbending with Shiva Rea, my favorite DVD yoga queen. I just received her Daily Energy –Vinyassa Flow DVD, so I did 2 20-minute sequences while peeking out the window at the falling snow.

Later in the morning, Mr. Pinault and I sat down for our breakfast. I had 3 eggs and some of the amazing pork sausage from our meat CSA. Mmmm… look at all that grease! Mr. Pinault had the same, in smaller portion, with his customary toast.

Snowstorm Breakfast

After breakfast, we bided our time waiting for the snow to taper off so we could shovel out. Our downstairs neighbor suggested we shovel our property together and then convene for an apres-shovel, with some wine and cheese. We readied some vin chaud (beaujolias stewed with oranges, cinnamon, anise, and nutmeg) in preparation. But before the treats, there was a 12-inch blanket of fluffy white snow that needed to be cleared from our driveway, cars, and sidewalk.

Shoveling

Yoga is great training for snow shoveling. You need shoulder strength and flexibility to gracefully manuever a snow-filled shovel. Plus, mental endurance!  How tempting it is to slack off, especially when shoveling with other people.

But I endured the shoveling, and then partook of my Shavasana in the form of vin chaud and some relaxed socializing. In the evening, we returned home and I decided to do some upper-body stretching for about 30 minutes. Then, we had a photo shoot for the banner of this website, which involved me doing bridge pose over a slab of grass-fed beef. How many bridge poses did I do? Oh, at least 8. We moved the location several times, so by the time we got to this one, my arms were getting tired. But the presense of the steak was motivating, as I knew it would be our dinner.

Projects for cabin fever

This morning my back was sore from all the bending, and I greeted the day with 15 minutes of Kundalini-style stretching. Breakfast was boiled eggs (3) and a small handful of walnuts… today there will be not much time for meat or yoga, but I got my fill yesterday.

Boiling breakfast... with one floating rotten eggs

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An Introduction to Yoga and Meat

I like yoga. I’ve only been seriously practicing yoga for less than a year, but yoga has quickly become a positive force in my life — physically, mentally, and (at the risk of sounding dippy) spiritually. I do between 20 minutes and 90 minutes of yoga nearly every day. Before starting yoga, I was an avid cardio queen who regularly engaged in intense exercise sessions with the sole goal of burning as many calories as possible, under the belief that this was healthy. I ran, I did spinning, I plum wore myself out on elliptical machines, and guess what? It was wrecking havoc with my endocrine system, giving me constant musculoskeletal pain, and just generally making me an anxious, hungry bitch. I finally realized that, despite the current conventional thinking about regular vigorous exercise, I needed to slow down and not just mindlessly burn calories. I went to a yoga class at my gym and now I’m hooked.

I like meat. I’ve only been seriously eating meat for less than a year, but meat has quickly become a positive force in my life — physically, mentally, and (at the risk of sounding dippy) spiritually. Meat is a big part of my diet; I eat roughly 3/4 pound to 1 pound (or more) of meat, poultry, and/or fish every day. Before I ate meat, I was a vegetarian from the age of 14 until about 25, when I began adding fish into my diet for protein. Then, needing variety, I started eating poultry, and then, a few years ago, I start eating beef. Finally, last year at age 32, I took the pork plunge. But it was only this year that I really began to enjoy eating meat, to see it as an essential part of my humanness and not a dirty, unhealthy habit. For one thing, my health was failing under my grain-based diet. I was metabolically deranged and in danger of becoming diabetic. I decided to try a grain-free, low-carb diet and my health was transformed overnight.

I started this blog to more thoroughly explore my dualing interest in yoga and meat, both together and separately. What does it mean to be a mostly-carnivorous yogi who escews whole grains in favor of fatty pork chops? Why is this viewed as a paradoxical lifestyle? Are there others out there like me, who love to rip into a grass-fed hamburger patty after a 90-minute vinyassa flow practice? This blog will also chronicle my evolving day-to-day interests in a meat-based yogic existence.