Do I have to be a Vegetarian?

A question I have often heard as a yoga instructor is:
Do I have to be a Vegetarian?
The answer is simple: no.
You absolutely do not have to be a vegetarian to take or teach yoga. It is in no way a requirement.
So why my “sudden” change of heart in regards to my own lifestyle? The decision to be vegetarian 5 out of 7 days of the week has been VERY gradual and it is an experiment at the moment on how my body reacts to this kind of lifestyle.
Many of my friends, peers and co-workers are vegetarians, vegans and raw. For a long time I did not understand this concept. Why eat brussel sprouts when a delicious, juicy steak could be an option? 
I grew up on canned and frozen vegetables (green beans, peas) and potatoes. I hadn’t even tried broccoli until I was a senior in college. My idea of a salad was romaine lettuce, shredded carrots (as few as possible), a heaping amount of cheese and sunflower seeds. Not necessarily the healthiest or most nutritious salad.
My former college roommate can be attributed to feeding me my first “real vegetable” : BROCCOLI. It is now one of my favorite veggies (aside from asparagus) and I eat it all the time! When we were seniors in college, she snuck a few pieces into my chicken and covered it with lots of cheese. A second time she made me chicken, broccoli ziti and demanded that I try a few bites. I liked it a lot and decided to be super brave and eat a piece raw: YUCK! The interesting thing that I’ve learned about trying new foods is that it is okay not to like it. And I do NOT like raw broccoli! I do, however, like many vegetables I never would have considered when I was younger and have been expanding my palate since Karen first fed me broccoli!
My most recent discovery is that I like cauliflower. I found out this weekend when I tried a bite of my uncles casserole and then proceeded to eat 3 servings and re-create the dish at home on Wednesday night! It was delicious. 
There are many reasons I now feel comfortable with this weekday vegetarian transition. One of the major reasons is timing. I like many more fruits and vegetables, I have friends who are able to support me, a husband who tries (and enjoys) veggie burgers and a new found love for cauliflower & brussel sprouts!
I am planning on reading the Crazy Sexy Diet Cookbook as well as The Kind Diet to guide me in the beginning. One of the blogs I read, is doing a series on transitioning to a vegan diet and I plan on paying close attention to Angela’s series as I love most of her recipes!
Being a vegetarian is in no way a requirement to being a yogi. I am simply listening to my own body’s needs and at the moment I need more vegetables in my life.
What are your challenges to living your best life? What can you do to eliminate or alter in your lifestyle that will stop weighing you down?
Whatever journey you’re on, I’m wishing you love & peace throughout your challenge.
Get out there, do yoga & make life sparkle!

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