Okay, so what sorts of associations do you have with the above labels? We all have some. Hippie, trendy, tree-hugger, sissy(!), healthy, unbalanced, not enough protein, conscious, limiting…
These sorts of labels and associations are exactly why I avoid putting them on myself and others, since it tends to put people in groups that they’d rather not be in. It seems to imply that you’re doing something differently from me, and therefore we’re different kinds of people, don’t agree on things, and something’s wrong with me/you.
Kind of sad and not necessary, if you ask me. You eat what you want, and I will eat what I want.
There is something to be said for both carnivorous and herbivorous diets – pros and cons of each, anyone could argue.
However, it’s important to recognize the quality of what we’re choosing to eat and how it’s grown/raised/produced. This is often the reason that so many self-proclaimed “vegetarians” or “vegans” choose to eliminate commercially-raised animal products from their diets, because it’s been proven to contribute to destroying our planet more than just about anything, while compromising the well-being of animals. Eating only or mostly plants is a much “lighter” and often more ethical way to go, and this will matter depending on how you feel about animals and living on a green Earth.
There are other camps who choose to simply base their diets around plants primarily, since this has been proven to contribute to ideal health, absence of disease, and longevity.
I found myself, as a poor university student, eating next to no meat simply out of a desire to spend my limited money on other things. By default, I ate more vegetables. Around the same time, I took a course about different world religions and the environment, being presented with just about every logical, spiritual, and ethical reason to continue not eating meat, in a more conscious way this time.
I also read a book called The China Study. If you have an interest in optimal health, this is a book to definitely check out!
After choosing to eat this way as a lifestyle, I felt great and became more interested in the power of food to transform our bodies, and our lives. So I soon went on to study Culinary Nutrition, further reinforcing the ways we can eliminate disease and health concerns with optimally-nutritious, delicious, whole food choices.
Along the way, I almost entirely eliminated animal products of all kinds from my diet, and learned over time that this wasn’t the right thing for me. We all have our own bodily needs, and mine requires some fish, eggs, and dairy once in a while!
I also lived on an organic farm for a season, where eating the animals we had raised ethically here challenged me to re-assess my relationship with other beings, the circle of life, sustenance, and our individual choices when it comes to food.
I’ve also grappled with the very real issue of not wasting food, and eating what’s served to me vs. eating what I prefer to eat.
I’ve since found a balanced place where I feel best eating vegetables and plants most of the time, with a sprinkling of farm-fresh eggs, dairy, and sustainably caught fish or pastured meat once in a blue moon. I feel free, deeply nourished, and as though my values are showing up on my plate – the majority of the time.
No one is perfect, and this is always a work in progress, PLUS the body and life are ever-changing – my needs and desires will undoubtedly shift as I do, and the world itself does. For now, I’m doing my best to eat and support what I believe to be the most beautiful things about the world and life. Abundance, compassion, consciousness, love – these can all, always show up on our plates and therefore, within us too. And so can their opposites, if we let them.
I hope that you’ll also do your best, and your part, to eat in a way that aligns with your values. If you haven’t considered this relationship before, I encourage you to begin exploring it gently, inwardly, each time you eat.
With love and deep gratitude,
***If you’d like to incorporate more wholesome, locally-grown vegetables into your diet on a regular basis, we can help to make this easy and enjoyable! Grandma’s Garden CSA farm shares are available for the 2015 summer season, with weekly delivery options to the Stratford, London, and Hamilton areas. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.***
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