Posted January 10th, 2011 in Featured, vegetarian by Hannah Yang

I know, I know, I suck at keeping a blog.  I started out strong, but then I fizzled in the end.  As my brother would say ‘’Strong execution, absolutely no finish’’.  And he’s right.

I apologize for the hiatus over the holidays.  I spent the past few weeks moaning and agonizing over the pros and cons of leaving my boutique-start-up-clinic (I like the way that sounds…) and being swallowed up by some large, corporate multinational behemoth of a spa (I have sold out – please see previous blog here). I have finally decided that stability, at this point in my life (and after the past 28 months of leading somewhat of a rock star existence) was exactly what the naturopath ordered.  With the New Year come new beginnings, and a bunch of resolutions that may or may not work out.  But hopefully, unlike this blog, there will be strong starts and an enduring loyalty to these personal commitments I have made. Here they are in no particular order…

a)    Vegetarianism.  Well, Mostly vegetarianism.  After two weeks in France with my in-laws over the Holiday season eating nothing but Fois Gras, Oysters, Lamb, Filet Mignon, Escargot, and more cheese than you could ever imagine with bottles of wine and champagne to wash all of that down (and believe me, I never thought it could possibly come to this given how much I LOVE all of those things) I swore to myself as I was straining futilely over the toilet for the 2nd day in a row and seeing nothing but pathetic pebbles that rabbits would have scoffed at, that I would eat nothing but salad and pulses for the Then, after arriving home and being confronted by two National Geographic magazines in a heap under our mail slot outlining the long lasting devastation of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill on our ocean’s wildlife (there goes canned tuna…aaaaand every other creature from the sea) and the ongoing destruction of all of our natural resources, I promptly lost my appetite for anything with eyes.  But I am going to be realistic, and nobody knows more than a naturopath about setting reasonable, obtainable goals.  I am not going to turn into one of those raw food vegans (egad – I still want to be invited to summer BBQ’s!) and there is no way that anyone can get in between me and a hamburger on Day 1 of my period, Period.  PLUS I am married to a French man (His response to my ‘’Cheri, I am turning vegetarian’’ was ‘’okay, that sounds great – I will join.  Shall we do lamb tonight?’’).  I am going to allow myself 1 day a month (you know which day!) that I can eat whatever I want from whatever species that roams this earth.  That still leaves 353 days of the year that I am going to make educated, sustainable choices about what I put into my mouth.  And if I make exceptions every now and again (Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving and my birthday) I am not going to beat myself up about it, because once you start placing guilt into your feeding regime, that’s when things go very, very wrong.  At least in my experience.

b)   Gardening.  Living in London is much like living inside a green house that keeps it’s internal sprinklers on 24-7.  It’s green and lush and for the most part, the weather is mild, but it’s very, very wet. Like…always.  When I was living in Toronto, rainy days were the perfect days to stay in your pajamas with a great book and a mug of tea, or a bag of maltesers and a movie, or a lie-in and naked time with your significant other.  If you choose rainy days to do those things here, you will be a fat slob, unemployed or pregnant.  Or all of the above.  In keeping with my ‘’save the Earth’’ rampage that I am on (see a) above) I have decided that tending my own garden will not only help reduce my carbon footprint, but will allow me to enjoy the rainy days as more than an excuse to stay indoors – but a reason to take advantage of the outdoors Without needing a garden hose and a sprinkler!  There are very few opportunities in large urban centres to be in close contact with nature – but as inhabitants of this planet, we cannot truly reach our full potential or thrive physically, mentally and emotionally without constant connection with the earth.  We city dwellers often forget that, and gardening is the perfect solution.  It reduces stress, it gets you outdoors and keeps you (somewhat) active, it is a sustainable activity and you literally do reap what you sow. In your own backyard!  I am no gardening expert (in fact, I am pretty good at killing all my house plants) but a dear friend of mine is an expert and has this lovely gardening blog that I find rather inspirational.  I have even started saving our compost so that we can make our own nutritious topsoil for the spring when I really start to get my hands dirty.  Check It:

And if my garden fails, I’ll just blame it on her.  Or get her to come over and help me turn my thumbs green!

c)    Be Kind.  To everyone, obviously, but more importantly, to myself.  When you are raised in a borderline insane Korean family, being easy on yourself and being kind (at least in the traditional, Western sense of the word) was something that only happened on birthdays and at funerals.  Or if you were lucky enough to win a Nobel prize or get a full scholarship to Harvard (Princeton and Yale are okay – Oxford and Cambridge are too far away).  Something that bought your parents bragging rights to the other members of the Korean community.  Not to say that my family was downright abusive.  It’s just that there were very high expectations – and if my brother and I did not perform to the highest standard (as in, being number 1 in our class, mastering the violin And the piano, bartering for world peace with our autistic mathematical skills – you know…) then we weren’t doing our best.  To them, there is no concept of ‘’damaging the child’s self-esteem’’ with the constant belittling when coming home with an A minus (A-Minus?  Are You Letahded??).  Belittling is what you deserved if you did not live up to the expectation of being the best – since it was tacitly understood that they would not expect so much if they honestly did not believe that we were the Best.  However, what that has ended up doing is to make me become extremely hard on myself when things do not go my way.  As a result, it makes me hard on those close to me – and that just does not help anyone or the situation.  And so I have decided to try to re-wire the harsh critic inside of me that has developed from years of criticism from my parents.  I am going to allow myself the mistakes of being human, because that is what I am.  I won’t insult or blame myself when I make the wrong choice, gain a few pounds, have a messy house or kill the occasional houseplant.  I will be gentle and be kind to the imperfect sides of myself, and in doing so, be more tolerant of everyone else’s.