My husband and I just got back from our first vegan cruise. Now, I must say the advertisement in VegNews said Vegetarian Cruise, so we thought eggs and dairy would be offered in our meals, but on day one we quickly figured out that this cruise originally started with a small group of macrobiotic eaters ten years ago and had a huge influence of the teachings of the Kushi Institute. And due to advertising and word of mouth, people started to label it a vegan cruise because it was a plant based food offering with no animal products in site. There were 1400 people part of this plant based group cruising on the MSC Poesia. 1400! We thought that was pretty cool. And since we did not have much time to really dive into what the cruise was about before we got on, we were open. So, this post is going to be one of a few to come as I recount what happened on our vegan adventure.
First let me break some things down for some of you who might not know what I am talking about when I say vegan, or macrobiotic or Kushi Institute, etc.
- What is a vegan diet/lifestyle? This is a lifestyle where no animal products of any kind are eaten or purchased. A lot of people become vegan because they do not believe animals were put on this earth for us to eat or source our food from. So this means, no meat, no dairy, no eggs, no honey, no leather goods, etc. The word vegan seems to have astigmatism around it as some for of extremist. Plant based is another word for vegan, but seems to be easier to digest in a non-alternative eating world.
- What is a macrobiotic diet/lifestyle? This is a plant-based diet. It is very similar to a vegan diet of no animal based foods, but it has a deeper definition of what you can and can not eat. It also has a Zen background and breaks down the Ying and Yang foods to eat together so you can find balance in your body from what you eat. There are a lot of studies out there that have show improvements in the health of cancer patients for following a macrobiotic diet. You can read more here. Personally this diet is way to restricting for me, but we tried some of the meals on the boat to see what it was like. More on that later…
- What is the Kushi Institute? The Kushi Institute is a place to learn how to apply the Kushi Macrobiotic study/plan to your life. It is a place of healing for people struggling with incurable diseases to learn how to cure themselves from the inside out by reducing inflammation in their bodies from the foods they eat, or people who want to ensure they live a long healthy life and avoid illness and disease. I am not a Kushi expert, so best you read up on it yourself and see if it is something that excites you to follow.
Now back to the cruise and our first impressions over the first few days…
So this Holistic Health Cruise is 7 days long, visiting 4 islands with the first and last days at sea. Each day has an itinerary of classes that stem from Yoga to Dr. T. Colin Campbell from the China Study giving talks from his latest studies and book called Whole. There were a lot of health professionals on the ship that were there to get CME credits, but also some new comers like us who just wanted a trip that had a vegetarian/vegan menu at every meal, and the ability to socialize with a lot of like minded people. We decided to do a mix of classes, excursions, and socializing.
As some of you know, I was a vegan when I met my husband and then slowly added eggs and cheese back into my diet when we started to live together. One of the first seminars we went to on the cruise was by Dr. Neal Barnard. I love this man! It was amazing to have a chance to meet him and hear him speak. During his lecture on Kick Start Your Health, I was reminded of the impact of consuming dairy to my diet can do. I also realized that since I introduced dairy back into my diet it was a lot harder to heal from colds or my achy body from workouts, because of the mucus build up and inflammation it causes me. The talk was so informative that my husband who is a cheese snob, and a half’n’half in his coffee drinker, decided he wanted to try giving up dairy in his diet. I was so freaking excited!! You wouldn’t think that there is much difference in your diet allowing dairy in or not, but there is, as vegetarians. And now that my husband wants to eliminate diary, this is a new adventure we can take together. So we decided to be ovo-vegetarians for the rest of the trip, which actually translated into vegan, because in the rest of the meals we had they were not cooking with eggs, so basically we ate vegan. My husband actually started having soy milk in his coffee instead of cream, eventually he just started drinking it black. I am so proud! (Now that we are home, I can get some non-dairy creamers like mimic-cream for him.)
We then went to a talk later that day by Jessica Porter on hypnosis. Love Jessica! I am so inspired by her work and her methods. She has a new book out called the MILF Diet. Her methods of hypnosis taught me how to relax in a deep way. I will share my 1:1 time with Jessica in another post. I am really glad I got to meet her on the cruise and learn about her practices. She is such a solid energy, it was so uplifting to spend time with her.
In the afternoon we went to Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s lecture, where he shared his study and views on taking supplements and if they are worthwhile to ingest. I have to tell you that at this time of the day with the boat rocking, I could not concentrate or listen to the full lecture so I excused myself and left my husband to get the info for me. It was an honor to hear him speak, the portion that I did. And I do think I need to get a couple copies of the China Study out to my family members so they can understand how meat, dairy and eggs can effect their health.
Aside from the lectures on day 1, we spent time on the deck getting some sun, and trying to avoid getting sea sick. The boat was super rocky, a lot of people looked a little green. I just kept taking naps to try to calm my body down. We were both overwhelmed with information, excitement and the joy of not having to go to work for the next 6 days. The first port was to be Cozumel, Mexico for an excursion that included beach time and a Mexican cooking class. Will share more about what we learned in my next post.
For now, I will tell you that cruises are not for the faint of heart that enjoy their feet on the ground and large hotel rooms. However, if you can get past the waves and the scheduled meal times, it is worth doing at least once. You will have a roller coaster of emotions around whether you like it or not, but in the end, you will say it was worth it and would consider it again. Especially if it has a theme, like holistic health, because you leave with great life time friends, adventure stories that might not have happened if you were not on a boat, and exposure to new ways of living that improve your health. In the posts to come, I will share more about the Mexican cooking class in Cozumel, zip line tour in Honduras, my 1:1 session with Jessica Porter, and how making friends that have similar life-style choices really warms the heart.
Ok, now back to doing laundry to get ready for my work week.
Oh, and if you are interested in the Holistic Health Cruise, go to http://www.atasteofhealth.org. Information about the next cruise will be posted there in a week or so. I heard they had to turn over 300 people away, so it is first come first serve FYI.