Do you want more peace, happiness and joy in your life? Then I’ve got just the book for you. And if you’re lucky, you may even win a free copy!
[If you don’t want to read the whole book review, click here to go straight to the giveaway].
A Vegan’s Guide to Mindful Eating and Living
Lani Muelrath is one of my favorite vegan authors. Back in April 2016, I published a review of her book The Plant-Based Journey, which is still my go-to resource for people interested in transitioning to a vegan or plant-based lifestyle.
Lani now has a brand-new book out, and it’s one that really speaks to my heart.
This one is all about mindful living and mindful eating. The Mindful Vegan walks you through a 30-day plan, at the end of which you’ll have built a solid daily habit of mindfulness meditation that will fill your life with peace, kindness and compassion.
And of all the books that have been written about mindfulness, this is one of the first to address the topic from a vegan perspective.
What Mindfulness Can Do for You
I’ve tried lots of daily habits in my never-ending quest for self-improvement, but mindfulness meditation is the one that I keep coming back to again and again.
Why? Because it’s the only thing that stops the incessant chatter in my head.
I suffer from what Buddhists often refer to as a “monkey mind”. And I bet you’ve experienced this too.
Like a rambunctious monkey swinging from branch to branch through the trees, your brain constantly jumps from one thought to another.
These thoughts usually involve reliving the past or worrying about the future, and they keep you from living in the present moment.
Before you know it, the monkey has carried you away through the treetops!
If you’d like to get control of your unruly mind and stop its never-ending chatter, there’s no better way than through mindfulness meditation.
And you don’t need to burn incense or candles, buy a special meditation cushion or sit in the lotus position to meditate. It’s best to find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed, but in a pinch, you can do it anywhere.
During my travels across southern Africa these past few months, I often meditated on buses. Of course, you have to expect the odd interruption now and then.
You never know when your fellow bus passengers might start clapping in unison and singing gospel songs!
My point is, meditation doesn’t have to be complicated. Absolutely anyone can do it.
I’m not saying it’s easy. My brain still tries its damnedest to distract me when I’m meditating, and it often succeeds.
But with steady practice and a forgiving and nonjudgmental attitude towards myself, I’m able to stay in the here and now just a little bit longer.
To live in the present moment rather than constantly worrying about the future or rehashing the past.
30 Days to Mindful Living and Mindful Eating
Like all good self-improvement books, to get the most out of The Mindful Vegan you can’t just read it. You have to put what you read into practice.
In her book, Lani gives you a 30-day plan that eases you into a daily meditation practice, starting with just one minute of meditation on your first day.
Because no matter how busy you are, you can always find one spare minute.
You then add an extra minute each day, so that by the time you reach the end of the 30 days you are meditating for half an hour.
And if meditating on your own seems too daunting, you can download free audio files of guided meditations narrated by Lani herself. There’s an audio guide for each of the 30 days in the plan.
Before reading The Mindful Vegan, my habit was to meditate for 10 minutes every morning. I don’t think I’d ever meditated for 30 minutes before.
While I enjoyed the 30-minute sessions, I found that they were a bit too long for me to fit into my day on a regular basis, so I’ve now found a happy medium and have settled at 20 minutes per day.
If I hadn’t read The Mindful Vegan, I would still be doing just 10 minutes, so I’m thankful to Lani for pushing me out of that 10-minute comfort zone.
It also gave me a new perspective on mindfulness that had been missing from all the other books I’d read on the subject: a vegan perspective.
Mindful Living and Mindful Eating as a Vegan
I love how Lani brings mindfulness to the specific struggles that she faces as a vegan. I can relate to almost all of the experiences she shares in the book, as I’m sure most vegans can.
Here are some of the most valuables lessons I took from The Mindful Vegan:
It’s easy to let anger and frustration take over when speaking about veganism with people who just don’t get it. Lani devotes a whole chapter of the book to dealing with these conversations mindfully and being understanding of pre-vegans who haven’t made the connection yet.
Being kind and compassionate towards YOURSELF
We talk a lot about compassion in the vegan community, but we don’t always extend that compassion to ourselves. If you find that you beat yourself up for not doing as much as you “should” for the animals, mindfulness can help.
Savoring each bite through mindful eating
How often do you catch yourself thinking about something else while you’re eating? You’re engrossed in an imaginary conversation in your head, and before you know it the meal is over. By actually paying attention to the food you’re eating, you’ll enjoy it much more.
Developing a healthy relationship with food
Lani, like myself and so many other people, has struggled in the past with yo-yo dieting, uncontrollable food cravings, and disordered eating. While this is not such a big problem for me anymore, I definitely relate to the experiences she shares in the book.
If you want to enjoy a healthier relationship with food, and you’re already vegan, then I highly recommend The Mindful Vegan. There are several chapters devoted to dieting, binge eating, and finding your naturally healthy body and weight.
In fact, because so much of the book deals with disordered eating, I have to say that I probably would not recommend it to someone who isn’t vegan yet.
Not because I don’t think they’d benefit from it, but because I’d be afraid that they would then associate veganism with disordered eating, or would think that vegans are constantly battling cravings for the animal products that they aren’t “allowed” to have.
This isn’t true, of course, but when so much of a book with the word “vegan” in the title is about disordered eating, I’d be afraid that someone looking in from the outside would start to associate the two, and would perhaps even think that veganism is a type of eating disorder.
So, if you’re not vegan yet, then I recommend reading Lani’s other book first, The Plant-Based Journey. You can also check out my resources page, which has links to lots of books, films, podcasts and YouTube channels to help you make the transition to a vegan lifestyle.
But if you’re already vegan and could use a little more peace and calm in your life, then I highly recommend The Mindful Vegan, whether you struggle with food cravings or not.
Lani Muelrath and her publisher BenBella Books are giving away a copy of The Mindful Vegan to one lucky Nomadic Vegan reader.
Enter below for your chance to win, and be sure to watch your inbox for the lucky link that you can share to triple your chances of winning. Good luck!
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