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Two years ago, I wrote about Lani Muelrath’s book, The Plant-Based Journey which is about supporting people through the transition to a vegan/plant-based lifestyle, with clever strategies, science, inspiring stories and great recipe ideas. Lani has followed it up with a new book called The Mindful Vegan. It’s not a cookbook, although there are a few recipes, but a book that will help you understand how you think about food and how to overcome obstacles that prevent you from living joyfully.
I really like this book because I am a long time meditator and it makes sense to me that meditation and mindfulness techniques can be applied to deal with eating issues. Lani is a certified mindfulness meditation facilitator, an award winning health educator, and longtime vegan advocate. She herself has been practicing mindfulness meditation for 25 years. In this book, she teaches how to practice mindfulness and shows how it can bring freedom and joy to eating and life.
Adopting a vegan lifestyle can be a challenge but with simple techniques and a plan it can be done. If you have been struggling, this book can help you. There are step-by- step instructions, a 30-day plan, personal stories, positivity, humor, and a handful of recipes at the end. If you find yourself in a bad way when it comes to eating, your weight, your health, your food choices or your peace of mind, then this book is for you.
I have a copy to give away! Read this interview I did with Lani and then write to me and tell me why you would benefit from this book. I will pick a winner by Friday and send it out.
LPV: I read your book and I am a long time meditator too. I love how you connect meditation and mindfulness to living a vegan lifestyle. Can you explain how you made the connection?
LM: Years ago I was looking for some way to navigate the unsettling challenges I had around food, eating, and my weight. Burned out on dieting, I figured there must be another way – a way that would create a better relationship with food, eating, and my body and establish more skillful ways of dealing with life’s ups and downs. Mindfulness meditation delivered that to me. It also moved me from being vegetarian – which I had been for a long time – to vegan. I became increasingly aware of the dissonance of eating any animal products (dairy was the last thing left) and a life of kindness, ease, equanimity, and compassion.
LPV: Can you describe your ‘aha’ moment when mindfulness changed your life and relationship to food?
LM: Day 4 of the 10 day mindfulness meditation silent retreat I was on 25 years ago. This is detailed in the chapter My Watershed Moment in The Mindful Vegan book. As I sat down to eat the midday meal, I became aware in an enlightening new way how much tension I had around the entire food and eating experience. It became very clear that a shift in this relationship was important for living the life that I envisioned, so from that moment on I gave up my old attitudes toward food and eating in favor of eating mindfully. And as I discovered, as you practice mindfulness and live more mindfully, you eat more mindfully.
LPV: Throughout the book you back up everything with science. Why has it taken so long to make the connection with food?
LM: I have been doing meditation for 45 years, but not mindfulness practice until 25 years ago. The previous practice I was using didn’t give me the tools for navigating life and living, or the tools of awareness for thoughts and emotions, like mindfulness practice does. As I describe in the book, though I had a book referring to mindfulness, and had a sense it was an answer for me, it took a few years to come across instruction and actually start a practice. From there it happened fast.
LPV: Can anyone follow this plan?
LM: Mindfulness practice and the 30 day plan as I set it up in The Mindful Vegan can be implemented by anyone. As it is non-sectarian, doesn’t require any beliefs, and is based on the scientific processes of mindfulness training, I invite everyone who might be interested in enjoying the outcomes, experience, and results of mindfulness training give it a try and see if it is for them.