Not that I feel it necessary to have to defend myself, but to feel peace of mind about some things said on my blog regarding our changed way of eating and of some comments made about me sending mixed messages to my children, I had to write to find out what I truly feel.
I feel like diet is a very personal choice and I feel like nowadays, it is becoming this thing that many people feel compelled to conform others to. I was even talking to my cousin last night who is going paleo with her family after being vegetarian and vegan and everything in between. People seem to be constantly changing their diet and trying to find what makes them the healthiest possible or to fit different trends. We are all lost. We have all been fed WAY too much information about food and I have come to a place these days where I just want to be free.
I remember being a child and never having to think about food all the time. As children, we don’t think about calories, protein, fats, carbohydrates, high vibrational foods, low vibrational foods, how long something is going to sustain us for, vitamins and minerals, GMO’s. We are just free. We follow our intuition. We eat what our bodies need, which may be more fruit or veggies sometimes, more cheese some days, or meat, or grains at other times. We are in touch with our intuition and know what to eat, when to eat and when to stop.
I watch my children (especially Serafina) and learn so much from them in all ways, but especially in this respect. Children naturally eat when they are hungry. They stop when they are full. They know what they want and if they have not been too spoiled or had their taste buds corrupted by eating too many fast foods or fats or sugar, they can tell what their body needs and when. All three of our girls are extremely healthy and confident girls. We are very conscious of never imposing our will on them, but keeping them as free as possible. That is why we homeschool and that is what we ultimately believe in: freedom.
In regards to a vegan diet vs. any other diet, I have felt the desire for so long now to just be free. In regards to what messages I am sending my children, I am not condemned by the comment posed to me that I am sending them mixed messages because the number one message that I want to send them through my life’s example is that we are free. We do not need to fear anything because God is greater than all things and we have been set free. We do not need to worry or fear or feel isolated or different than others. We are not what we label ourselves to be, be that “vegan,” “vegetarian,” “meat-eaters,” or whatever else, we are just human beings. The food that you eat really doesn’t make you a different person, for better or for worse, unless you let it. If you stop following your intuition and only overeat or eat in fear or for other unhealthy psychological reasons.
I am very conscious of the example I am setting for my girls and the messages they receive from me and from the world. These days, I had become very aware that my diet had been very restrictive and that I/we have been too isolated for too many years. Our diet does make us feel isolated. It had been years since we had any real fellowship with others or were able to stay and be comfortable at a family gathering or to share a meal with friends or family. My inspiration to add some animal foods back into my life and some occasional meat into some of our meals was for the purpose of being able to share and connect with family and friends and also because on a vegan diet, I know that I am constantly having to think about food, shop for food, prepare food, and eat food all day long.
Having recently discovered that one of my daughters has autism and being a busy stay-at-home, homeschooling mom, the amount of time I spend thinking about, shopping for and preparing food was the one thing I realized had to become more relaxed. I was inspired to add animal products back into my diet to make life easier on myself and I will not feel condemned for doing so. If any one had to walk a day in my shoes and feel the stress of having all of these responsibilities, they might better understand. It is so easy to judge others from the outside, but the picture that we paint of others can often fall short of the reality. Life as a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom is not easy! Life as a mother to a child who has autism and cannot speak, is even harder! I have felt these days as though I need to spend a lot more time with my girls one-on-one (especially Serafina), and to really have supports in my life (family and friends) to talk to and visit with more regularly, because more than ever, we all need each other these days. If that means having to partake of eating some animal foods, so be it. My family, my girls and my friends come first. Love and compassion for people come first before animals.
As for my girls and my husband, they have been having animal foods fairly regularly throughout the years and for over a year now, there has been eggs, milk and cheese in our house all the time, only I wouldn’t eat it because I was set on sticking to my vegan diet. What kind of example and what kind of message does that send? To me it looks as though mommy has her special diet, different from the world. To me, it shows that mommy needs to be different than others. Perhaps mommy is afraid to eat animal foods. Maybe they feel confused because mommy never has friends over or can’t partake in family events because she is sticking to a vegan diet for the animals and to be healthy. Maybe mommy seems a little bit strict and fearful. Maybe mommy is not free. Maybe because mommy doesn’t eat these things, I am bad for eating them and enjoying them.
I want to be able to not have food be an issue. I want to be like a child again and have Christ reprogram my brain that has been stuffed with so many fears and so much information that I forgot that childlike trust in God and all things in life. To be free and to follow my intuition again, not my fear-filled, perfectionistic, human mind that can spew off reason after reason why I should do a certain thing or follow a certain diet or religion or set of beliefs. To not have to over-think and over-analyze everything according to natural science or even convincing arguments or evidence based on brain and sense-based thinking, but to be in touch with my spirit and to follow its prompts every time, even if that means eating meat or dairy again.
I think as a vegan, you can feel so “bad,” or “guilty” for having not stuck 100% to a certain way of eating and that is not healthy. There is just so much information out there that condemns us and strikes fear in us. It turns us into beings who are not free, but feel compelled to stick to a certain diet, or set of beliefs and does eventually alienate and isolate us. The thoughts that run through our minds speak louder to us than our intuition and instead of hearing that still, small voice, we begin to only live by our conditioned and programmed minds. Fear becomes the underlying motive for what we do, even though at first we may have originally made our decision out of love.
We should never have to fear, especially something like eating. I, personally, want to view the food that I am blessed to receive, as nourishment and a blessing to my body (the home of the divine), and to eat all of my meals mindfully and gratefully, no matter what they are. We are so blessed to even be able to have food and if someone wants to invite us over for a meal and they have animal foods in their meal, the act of sharing a meal together in peace and in love means more to me than the fact that I am eating animals.
We are not under any laws any more, since the coming of Christ but one: we are to love God and to love one another. That is it! All of the other stuff, is just what we create. All of the duality, fear, rules, guilt, perfectionism, condemnation, all of that is what we are creating in our own minds and all of that will only continue to keep us in bondage, dwelling only in our thoughts and fears and feeling separated from others because of the labels, rules and restrictions we place on ourselves.
We have been enjoying having meals with family. On Saturday night we had a birthday party for my niece to go to and they ordered pizzas. We all had some vegetarian pizza and it was very good! The girls also had some cupcakes and even shared a grape pop. We had a great visit and it was the first time in so many years that we went to a family event because normally our diet does prevent us from social gatherings, or if we do go, we don’t participate in the meal. Last Sunday we went to church and shared breakfast (something they always do before service). I brought my whole wheat banana bread and we had a great meal together. Later that afternoon my parents came over for dinner, and they eat meat, so I made a ham and potatoes and veggies (although it was so different to me preparing meat for them since it has been so many years) and we shared a meal around my kitchen table in peace and with grateful hearts. The girls are feeling so much more happy these days making friends, being able to get out more, and seeing family more regularly and so am I. It is something I realize that we have been really missing for a long time now. Yesterday, we went to church again and I brought carrot muffins for breakfast to share, we came home and baked even more muffins to take to church breakfast next Sunday too, raisin bran and more carrot (all recipes from my book). I am grateful for the tool belt of knowledge that I have in regards to food and eating and am now eager to use my experiences in different ways of eating to find a healthy balance.
This is life. Life is happening now. Freedom lies outside of our fear-based, sense-based, scientific and intellectual, brain-based thinking. Freedom lies in following your intuition, your inner voice, no matter what it is telling you at the time. If you pay real close attention, spirit is always leading you on and spirit can often be contradictory.
I find that in my life, things are constantly changing spiritually for me. I feel like my vegan experience taught me a lot, but mostly taught me to let go of all of those fear-based, condemning thoughts and perfectionistic tendencies. I also feel as though veganism does have a way of tempting others into believing that because of the way they eat, they are better, more superior, more compassionate and conscious than other people who do not eat like them. The term “ahimsa” is often used (and I myself have used it often as well), but I have to ask though, are we being non-harming to others when we are judging them simply by what they are eating or not eating? Are we conscious of the ahimsa principle as it regards our feelings. thoughts and our actions towards our fellow men? Are we aware that all of our food choices bring about harm in some way to our earth, our animals, our fellow men and ourselves and that there is no such thing as being perfect?
I think that veganism (or any other dietary label) can also turn into a perfectionism trap for so many people. They have their dietary rules and they have to stick to them. These rules (no matter what they are in regards to) will be crippling and isolating. Being under any law is to be unfree. I, myself, want to experience the freedom that Christ has paid for me to have. I want to be under no law, save that of love.
Sometimes the right thing to do can seem confusing to other people. Often the right thing to do, changes at different time of life too. I had wrestled with this one for a long time now, not wanting to give up my veganism and my yoga because I thought that those things I was doing, that law and dogma that I created in my head, was the thing to do and I believe that it was for that time. Now, spirit is leading me on, teaching me more about love and compassion beyond my diet and dietary choices, beyond that of being foremost for animals, but for myself and my fellow humans as well. Spirit is beckoning me to drop those fear-based, perfectionsitc, thoughts and perfectionisic tendencies to be among people again and to set love as my only goal and purpose.
Love is the law and although we can never love perfectly, if we remain in touch with our intuition and follow the inspiring prompts of spirit, we will grow ever more free and loving, which is why we are ultimately here now in this incarnation and on this earth. If I have to partake of animal foods to fulfil this task, then so be it. If I am condemned by others as “wrong,” or “bad,” for any of my choices in life, (especially something as trivial as what I eat), then so be it. All I can do is faithfully obey spirit and follow its lead, even if I am judged by others. I know that whenever we do follow spirit is when we experience condemnation and judgement from others : that is something I discovered years ago.
I also know that the prompts of spirit can have you really questioning yourself as they can often be contradictory. When I felt inspired a few weeks ago to add animal foods back into my diet (and to even buy meat again), I had mixed feelings about it all and it was an inner struggle of my human ego vs. spirit. Ultimately, I knew that this was what I needed to do and without even talking to Craig about some of the inspirations I had been having, he had been feeling the same things. On a vegan diet, you simply have to be ever-conscious of your food and it takes up so much thought and energy. I find (and so did Craig when he ate solely vegan) that when I do eat only vegan foods, I need to eat all the time; if I don’t, I lose too much weight — as I did recently, being down to my lowest weight ever of 105 lbs and 13% body fat, without having had a period for four months and only having had one period all year, which was when I consumed animal products in the spring for about a month before feeling bad about it and going back to a solely vegan diet.
Reflecting back and being able to see the difference, I understand that my body is obviously trying to tell me something. I need to be a certain weight (around 130 lbs) to have a regular cycle and I need to eat enough/get enough of what my body needs, to become and maintain that certain weight. That is a whole lot easier for me to maintain when I allow myself some dairy and meat. I have had to eat a lot of vegan foods to feel the same satisfaction that I can feel if only I ate a little dairy or meat with my meal. Having my daughters have a healthy mother who is able to spend less time thinking about, shopping for and eating food and have more time sitting, being, reading, listening, teaching, is more important to me now than trying to be a vegan 100% so that I can live up to the rules that I have placed on myself (I think I have enough of those already). Having a mother who models an attitude of freedom and love and gratitude for all that we receive in life and for every situation and person we are blessed to encounter, is something that I feel is important for my girls too. We love our times in the kitchen and food is such an important component to our lives. I want my girls to feel the same reverence and gratitude that I feel for all that we have by modelling that in my actions and my thoughts: to have thoughts of love and gratitude replace those of fear and perfectionism. The love and compassion I am extending to myself these days by not forcing myself to follow any specific diet, religion or set of beliefs, and the love and compassion I am able to extend to my family and friends by having more time for them and the freedom to partake in their meals is the ahimsa principle I wish to live out in my life at this time.
Again, I do not feel condemned by the statements made and judgements passed on me in regards to my thoughts on veganism in my recent post. I feel this writing and reflecting to be first and foremost for my personal growth, and if people want to read what I write, they are of course free to do so and also free to make their own judgements on it and comments about it. I find my blogging and reflecting very personal to my journey and I of course, can’t and don’t share everything. I find this time to be prompted to write healing for me and helpful to me to see what it is I need to do, what it is I need to learn and really evaluate how I feel about some of these life changes. I believe that everything happens for a reason and that there are lessons to be learned in all situations and circumstances and through all people placed in our path. I am grateful to each and every soul I encounter in my life, who teaches me more about myself and my consciousness and who reflects a part of myself back to me and helps me to grow ever more free, so that I can help others to find freedom in life as well.