Oh the world of what we eat and how we live, it can be a tricky one. My children and I have been through some pretty trying times when it comes to food, we have to avoid gluten, dairy, eggs and grains. We have been through many elimination diets and have removed a lot from our life. We are no stranger to taking something else out for the good of our body and our soul. Being a yogini, Ahimsa stood out to me very strong. This is practicing non-violence and kindness, I felt it was time for me to make this step for this when it came to my food. I do my best to live this way in every other area, so I decided that I wanted to be vegan, and I prepared just like every other time that I went to remove something. I spent 2 weeks preparing and dove in, here is my journey.
As I felt a pull to go Vegan, I researched, found recipes, had my cookbooks, all my new ingredients and off I went! I spoke with my Naturopath to be sure to cover the basics and make sure that I had all the nutritional aspects figured out as well as supplements. I felt good, I felt like my body would process grains better after removing meat (even though we ate humanely raised and clean meat), I figured since my stomach wasn’t having to break it down, I’d be able to work grains back in. Boy, was I wrong! I ended up with the worst stomach pains, but I kept going because I thought it was the proper thing to do, and the right way to practice Ahimsa. I added in hemp protein, whether it be hemp hearts or in powdered form in Sun Warrior protein, that was one of the fastest ways I learned I was completely intolerant to hemp. I’ll spare the details here, but let’s just say that my stomach was really, really angry with me and it came with a side of anxiety (my body reacts this way to foods it can’t process). But I kept going, again, as a yogini, I must allow all things and beings to live in peace right? 2 weeks in to my 2nd round of going vegan, my body was bloated and every time after I ate, I was nauseas. I felt defeated, and finally gave in and ate grass fed beef. As tears rolled down my face, for the first time in many days, my body felt good.
My body just doesn’t process plant based protein well and even eating a lot of nuts was making me feel bad. I’ve never been able to process protein powders of any kind, whether it be dairy or grain/plant derived. And for the love of all things yoga, I am completely intolerant to soy based anything (although I can handle gluten free soy sauce in small and rare servings) so trying to replace anything with it was completely out of the question. Plus, I have read way too many studies linking soy to cancer and to it’s estrogen mimicking ability to want to put it in my body, and this was on the heels of my ND's advice too. Trying to be vegetarian was out of the question too since I am allergic to eggs and do not tolerate dairy. What was a girl to do?
I had to make this really hard, but very conscious decision to go back to eating meat because it was the best, and kindest thing I could do for my body. This is Ahimsa, practicing non-violence to ourselves, offering our body things that nurture it most. I struggled with feeling like I was a mean yogini for eating meat, like I had turned my back on the vegan/vegetarianism that runs through the yoga world, but there is also this same strong core of people who eat like I do. I like to think of the way I eat as being conscious. I am conscious of ethically sourced food, fair trade, clean ingredients, high vibe food mixed in with ethically raised meat. I realized I was judging myself for not fully embracing myself and comparing myself to how others lived. I embrace who I am and in my truth and in this life, I will continue to eat meat because it’s what is best for my body. If I don’t support my body the way it should be, it’s going to get angry with me. I adore my vegan friends, I adore my vegetarian friends, I adore my friends who don’t eat consciously, I adore all those around me who love me for who I am regardless of how they live theirs. I accept others, why was I struggling with accepting myself?
Another thing I have noticed is that I don’t particularly care for labels. I feel as though they can divisive, they can shy people away from us, us from ourselves, and don’t really sit well with me. Since Vegan, Paleo, Gluten Free and so on are all labels, I shy away from calling myself any of them, but I do incorporate all of their styles into my life. And because I am one who believes in not being divisive, I choose to lead a life that can incorporate everyone! I have been there, I have done that, and it didn’t work for me, but you know what? I’ll still offer recipes that do that for others, that include the clean and conscious food that fits their lifestyle. Come one, come all, I will practice Ahimsa and hold harmless thoughts for the way we all choose to live our life that fits us and our body best.
Will you join me?
From my heart and hO’Me to yours,
Mary O'Meara -