Tag Archives: veganism

Veganism is True Soul Food

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securedownloadI’ve spent pretty much my entire life feeling not good enough. Always believing there was something wrong with me and always finding “evidence” that my belief was true. I used food to feel better. But it betrayed me and caused me to gain weight which was the perfect button for my older brother to push. Fatso, Thunder Thighs, Fatty, etc. Nowadays we call this bullying but back then it didn’t have a name other than “sibling rivalry”. It’s just what brothers do to sisters I was told. So I snuck more food and ate to try to make myself feel better. Now I had the shame of being fat, the shame of sneaking food and then the eventual shame of having to lie about where such-and-such food went in the house.

It all turned upside down when I was told I had “better watch it” in regards to my weight. Now the jig was up. It was now confirmed that I wasn’t good enough. So I started to diet and weight I did lose. I started to feel good, I received praise. Finally I thought I might be enough.

I decided that by taking up less room on the planet, I somehow became worthy. At less than 90 pounds I felt vindicated. Even empowered. I finally shut my brother up but I was now in a self-imposed jail cell. I was terrified of food and gaining weight. I became a  vegetarian during my anorexic year(s). I don’t often offer that up when asked why I became a vegetarian but the truth is it was easier to eliminate entire food groups to satisfy my disease.

I’ve wrestled with this many times over the years. How can I claim recovery from an eating disorder if I still maintain some of it’s rules?

I never liked eating meat. I hated the texture and when I did give it up, it was truly effortless. I’ve done a tremendous amount of soul searching when it comes to regaining my life and not going back to eating meat has always just felt natural to me. It’s part of who I am. I believe I was born to be on a plant-based diet.

So when I embraced veganism earlier this year, it was the first time I chose to eat a certain way for reasons other than my body weight. I think it is why I feel so energized by eating this way, I’m finally eating for my soul and not my head!

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The Road to Veganism

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I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 30 years now, dating back to a trip to Europe I went on when I was in high school. I never liked the texture of meat and who could blame me since I grew up with offerings like cube steak, hot dogs and pot roast. I can remember hearing my Mom pounding the cube steak with a meat mallet. I dreaded those dinners. All the fried onions in the world couldn’t make up for the endless chewing I was forced to endure. So it was while in Germany when I couldn’t even recognize what the meat was (it was gray!), that I finally decided to give it up entirely.

Over those past three decades I didn’t really give much thought to my daily consumption of dairy and eggs. Karmically I figured I was exempt because no animal was dying so I could eat greek yogurt, cheese and eggs.

That all changed this summer when I started giving tours at a farm sanctuary in my area. When I found out that the meat and dairy industry are really one and the same, that was a game changer!  Cows give milk because they have given birth. Nowadays cows are all artificially inseminated and have a pregnancy of nine months (just like humans!). Once she gives birth, her calf is taken away and fed formula so we can drink her milk. If that calf is a female, it will most likely endure the same lifetime of being impregnated and milked over and over. If it’s a male, its bound for either a veal crate or slaughtered for pet food or cheaper meat. Either way, they take her baby and she is often traumatized by that. Some cows milk production severely suffers and farmers call it “expendable loss”.  Now I view milk as just what it is….baby cow juice. After all, it’s rich in fat and protein for a calf to grow up consuming, I’m not a baby cow nor growing so I’ll stick to nut milks!

I’ll write about eggs next time…