I haven’t eaten any animal protein (meaning: chicken, fish, pork, red meat, etc.) since I left Australia last Christmas to travel in Asia. I began my meat-free life in India at the Ayurvedic detox center, as animal products (except for milk) were not an option. The wellness retreat in Thailand where I stayed for yoga teacher training served only vegetarian meals. In the Himalayas in Nepal, we learned that no animal is allowed to be slaughtered in the Everest region (the Sherpas who live there are Buddhists) and therefore meat for the trekkers comes to the region either by plane or by road. It is then transported up the mountain to the teahouses on the back of a yak or Sherpa, in a straw basket “protected” from the sun and flies by a tarp over the top. After walking past a few of these yak trains or over-loaded Sherpas, my vegetarianism while trekking was confirmed. From there, we headed to Ubud (Bali) which is like a healthy hippie vegetarian heaven. There are at least a dozen restaurants right in the main part of town serving up incredible and unique plant-based cuisine so I thought choosing the meat option seemed like a waste. By the time I got back to the U.S. in April, I figured I would want to tuck right in to a nice piece of wild-caught Alaskan salmon or a beautiful organic and pasture-raised chicken breast, but I didn’t. There was nothing in my body or mind telling me I wanted meat again. I didn’t feel malnourished, weak, or tired; in fact, I felt light, energetic and wayyy less bloated! The latter being the most exciting for me as I have struggled with my digestion for quite some time. While I’m not saying my digestion is 100% healed with perfect elimination and zero bloating, I am confident that it is much better than it was six months ago. No longer eating animal products may be a large factor or a small factor in that equation, but one thing is for certain - you need a strong digestive fire to digest animal protein and, at the moment, mine is still a little flicker.