It’s been about 2 months that I’ve been “attempting” to eat clean & go meat free. Disclaimer: This is not a “oh my goodness I’ve never felt better after going meat free after 10 days” type post. These are real, raw, VULNERABLE hardcore emotions with my relationship with the fuel of life – Food. It’s a long post so I’ll understand if you skipped it but I had to document my feelings.
I keep reading these “I’ve gone vegan” posts and I did not identify with any of them. I have been wanting to go meatless for a few years. My reason for this became stronger when I got my 1st child 3 years ago. My shih-tzu-poodle-maltese baby girl Bibi. Her spirit makes my heart melt. She is my literal child, my joy, my everything. She has never been alone a day in her life since I’ve had her from the age of 3 months. She is baby sat in the day while I’m at work & even when I’m out at night by grandma & grandpa :). She is so sensitive & emotional. If anyone asks if I have a child I say yes & show her picture & I either get the eye roll or “awww” reaction haha. I usually try not to expose her too much on social media but you have to see my bundle of preciousness. I’ve been so sensitive towards the lives of animals ever since. I never felt that way about animals before I got her.
I am no stranger to the world of veganism, vegtarianism (<— is that a word?). In my religion, Hinduism, many people are vegetarian. Indian cuisine is filled with vegetarian dishes & you would never miss the meat. My mom has been a vegetarian since I was a toddler & she is now vegan. I’ve seen her struggles with food. She is an AMAZING cook but she doesn’t enjoy her own cooking sometimes (which happens to a lot of people who cook). She struggles to find food in restaurants especially in the Western world be it Grenada or even North America unless we go to a specific ethnic food restaurant. Before I jump into it I’ll just define some terms to make it easier.
Vegetarian – there are different types of vegetarians but for the purpose of this post I will be general. A vegetarian basically eats no meat or fish but sometimes has eggs or dairy (which are animal products)
Vegan – a person that does not eat/use meat, fish, animal products (eggs, dairy) or animal by-products e.g. honey, leather, gelatin, certain enzymes derived from animals.
Pescatarian – a person that doesn’t eat meat but consumes fish & maybe dairy products.
A few years ago I couldn’t ever imagine not having meat. (just FYI when I mention eating meat I’m referring to chicken & fish strictly. I no longer consume pig, lamb, any other poultry or wild meats & my religion forbids eating cow) We would have days of worship throughout the year where we would have to refrain from consuming meat, fish & eggs. It would be HARD. I couldn’t wait til it would be over. Every Monday we go meatless as well. It is to honour the God Shiva – the destroyer of evil & transformer. It’s always been this way. We also go meatless on every new moon & full moon as well.
This journey of attempting going fully meatless started with Adele, my mentor. I’ve written about her in my last post. Adele is an internationally certified health and happiness coach and a full on raw vegan. Adele tells you to listen to your body & decide whether attempting lifestyle changes regarding food is right for you or not. She explained that it’s not for everyone & that no one should force you to make changes you didn’t want to make. It’s all about what is right for the individual. I knew I was ready to try. I had seen signs everywhere that this was the right time & asked my body if it was ready. It sure wasn’t but my heart said to go for it!
This. Was. So. HARD. My husband Shon & I decided to do it together. He woke up one morning, put on his superman cape, & went for it. My body was in shock from the changes. I did not feel good! I had headaches, I felt lethargic, depressed & just unhappy. I cried a LOT. I was angry that he was able to do it so effortlessly & with such discipline. He was feeling happy & healthy & watching him feel so good made me feel really bad. How selfish of me right! I threw tantrums & the depression settled in and really made its home in my body at the expense of me depriving myself of what I craved.
I never knew I had an unhealthy relationship with food. I learned that I used food as comfort & I was not feeling comfortable skipping meat, eggs & all the things I loved. I tried doing large salads but I would be so hungry & so angry. I loaded up on carbs to feel more full. I was sluggish. The headaches were intense. I already suffer from migraines & this just added to it. No one told me I was going to go through these feelings. I remember reading a post on Facebook by someone who started going vegan & was feeling “so wonderful” & I was like – Seriously! It was a constant reminder of what a failure I was at this.
Fast forward to the present moment – after all the emotional battles – I have found what works for ME & MY body & have refrained from reading posts that would tell me what I “should” be doing. The best part about this journey was that I have learned to listen to my body & it tells me what it needs. I am happy to say that I have adopted the pescatarian way of life. I have fish & eggs when my body calls for it & I have become quite happy not eating chicken anymore. On my recent UK trip I found myself choosing either vegetarian food or something with fish HAPPILY. Key words – choosing & happily.
It is so important to be true to yourself especially with your food. This is no cookie cutter lifestyle. It’s so personal & you can literally destroy every peace in your life if you listen to what people tell you should be doing. If you are attempting to go meat free please be CAREFUL. Take baby steps – don’t go cold turkey. Not only is it dangerous, it can ruin your overall well being if you don’t understand what you’re doing & the consequences.
I do recommend it even after all the trials. If you have trouble, refer to this post! I am happy to share my initial misery & inability to cope if it will help another person. Until another time…
Love & Light x