I’m scanning the menu trying to find something without bacon. I perk up when I find a kale salad only to read the description and notice “pork crackling” as the last ingredient. I have the idea that maybe I could ask for it sans animal, but I start to feel the potential embarrassment of being “that girl” who needs to alter the Chef’s design to suit her needs. Having been in the food industry for (too) many years, I’ve seen enough eye rolling from servers and chefs to know how far I can go. I sigh and keep reading. Amongst the St. Louis Ribs, Hanger Steak, and Asian BBQ Hog Head, I find the token vegetarian option and order the Grilled Buffalo Cauliflower at a whopping $14.95.
“Really? Is that all you’re getting?” “Why did you decide that?” “Wait, what? You don’t eat meat? “Does this mean you’re a vegan too”? “Plants are living too ya know”. These are just a handful of the questions I receive when people find out I’ve become a vegetarian. It’s officially been 180 days since I decided I would not eat meat. I never set a goal or a circled a date on the calendar when I would stop. To be honest, I didn’t know if this was a trial experiment or a fundamental life change. I just couldn’t deny the numerous synchronicities in my life that led me to the decision. When the universe speaks, I listen.
Around late August at one of my wedding gigs, a large hunk of bloody filet mignon found it’s way on my dinner plate. This was the only option for the band and as I began to eat it my stomach started to turn. My body was protesting and this time, I just had to listen. I began to look at this meal with new eyes and the feeling stuck with me for the rest of the week. Later that week I came across Teal Swan’s podcast on Veganism, where she discusses the spirituality of veganism. “Diets are a byproduct of the internal changes we make. The diet we eat is more of a symptom than it is the cause of an enlightened state…Some people say starting a vegan diet will automatically make you more spiritual, but the reality is, it’s a byproduct of coming into a greater phase of spiritual practice”… This completely resonated with me and I realized I was a match to this belief due to the increase in my own vibration. I noticed an excitement brewing inside of me at the idea of making that change for myself. I wondered if changing my diet could be the missing link to the next step in my spiritual progression.
During the next few weeks I went on a documentary binge, watching award winning films like “Food Inc”, “Forks Over Knives’, “Vegacated” and many more. These are the honest, no nonsense, revealing, and often very sad depictions of the corrupt food industry that runs our country and creates a majority of the food we consume. I am not interested in depicting the severity of this epidemic in this blog, because the information is readily available for those brave enough to face the facts. Ignorance can be bliss, but being armed with this truth is much more powerful for me. So, as I shielded my eyes from yet another horrific slaughter on the screen, I heard a voice in my head that said, “Never again”. The next day I made my decision.
This was a personal decision I made just for me, and I wasn’t excited at the prospect of having to tell people and be the “special menu” girl again. It was difficult enough going gluten free for six weeks and having to answer the onslaught of those questions. Because of my career, I’m often traveling for gigs and have to announce ahead of time that, no, I won’t be eating what everyone else is eating. So, as the scent of buttery garlic and cheese covered chicken parmesan is placed in front of my drummer next to me at dinner, I fight the urge to scream. I look down at my pile of white rice and veggies and feel a moment of extreme weakness. I marvel at the immense separation between that cute obese hormone-ridden chicken in the slaughterhouse to the steaming sauce-covered decadence in front of me. It would be so easy to cheat. To turn a blind eye to everything I’ve learned. To “just this once” remember the taste of my former favorite food.
I can’t lie and say it’s been an easy journey. I’ve struggled with being the minority and having to stick up for myself. I have no desire to change anyone else’s diet and no, for the hundredth time, I’m not offended if you eat meat in front of me. The hardest part is encountering the extremist who thinks my decision is unhealthy and ridiculous. The person who vehemently denies that vegetarians eat enough protein while grabbing my arm and saying “See? You’ve lost muscle! You’re not doing it right”. I have no intention on ridiculing your factory farm prime rib and your large glass of antibiotic-drenched Hood whole milk, so please leave my quinoa bowl alone.
The truth is, I’m stronger and lighter than I’ve ever felt. The first month felt like a huge energy surge and I didn’t have the usual midday crash at work. Yoga has become easier and I feel an overall lightness in my body. My digestion, skin, and sleep have improved and I unintentionally lost a few pounds. I can’t fully say yet how this affects my spiritual evolution. There are still behaviors and patterns of mine that need adjustment before I can truly see the spiritual side effects of my diet. I am patient with myself and am developing a stronger understanding of what my body and spirit really need. I’m learning to listen to my body for the first time in my life. I am amazed at my ability to stay committed and am truly humbled by the immense power of intention and the blessing of free will. If anything, I have proven to myself that I can do anything I choose to. You too can do anything you choose to do. Is there something in your diet that you feel is holding you back? Or are there any foods you do eat that fill you with light and energy? Let us know in the comments and stay tuned for some Mystic Babe cooking ideas in the future!