Yesterday morning, as I took my brisk and beautiful 7am walk (for which the moon was still up and glowing, in all her glorious fullness), I tuned into a podcast. Podcasts are my new obsession. I feel like a real grown-up.
I had been looking forward to tuning into “The Period Party,” a trio of women discussing natural fertility, who I consider highly admired fellow wellness professionals. While the wisdom is aplenty, and much of it is music to my ears, I was a little disheartened to reach the point in one of the talks where one of the hosts stated, essentially, that “if [you’re] having hormonal imbalance and not eating meat, you need to eat meat.”
***Disclaimer: I STILL highly admire these three women and will continue to tune into their podcast, this is by no means a poor review or “bashing” of any sort, it is simply my reaction the opinions of natural fertility professionals I’ve grown to admire.***
But, I will admit, I was fairly aghast at this conclusion that had just been drawn.
Now, who knows where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing in ten, five or even one year. We are ever-changing creatures, this is certain. I will change in ways I cannot predict, which is where the beauty and terror of life both lie.
At this time in my life, and for the foreseeable future, I am ethically bound to a vegetarian lifestyle. Morally and ethically immersed, you could say. I fully entertain all nooks and crannies of the nutrition spectrum and am learning said nooks and crannies in nutrition school right now. My college promotes a healthy eating model aptly titled “Eating for Health.” It’s plant-based, and does not determine for an individual whether they consume protein from a plant source or animal source. Plenty of room for individualization, which is key in any “diet.”
I’ve grown to be anti-label, with what I consider to be good cause, but I’m technically vegan. Some aspects of labeling oneself are great (building community for example), while others can prove a sincere hinderance (boxing oneself in).
In nutrition school we’ve learned about most of the “fad” diets that have existed in the last few decades, as well as some other well-known diets like the Blood Type Diet, Ornish Diet and Macrobiotic Diet. I will be perfectly honest, the blood type diet freaked me the eff out. According to my blood type, it appears I should be rather highly carnivorous. A concept I find disturbing. While there may be some merit to this theory, I simply cannot bring myself to eat animal flesh again. Even though there are pasture raised, grass fed, humanely treated options for meat readily available, my spirit begs me not to seek this food out. I don’t see meat as “food” anymore, but rather as little sentient beings.
I by no means judge or abhor any carnivores! I was one, for many years, and – honest truth – I loved meat. My decisions to abstain from meat came from a moral place, which many of you understand, and my body has acclimated joyously to the shift. I live for intuitive eating and existence (though I’m not always successful, it is my intention).
That being said, could my intuition ever lead me astray? My answer is no, of course, as I believe the intuition to be deeply divine and graced by a hand not our own. But we definitely all have different constitutions. We have different blood types and have evolved from different ancestry. And you want to know the truth? I’m slightly terrified that my constitution, blood type or ancestral evolution really does implore me to eat animal protein. I am a chronic hypochondriac in the sense that I almost always listen to a slew of symptoms and think, Oh my God I have that… Do I usually “have that?” No. Do I obsess and worry in the meantime that I do have it until I forget about it? Yes. Normally.
This is a great point that the women touched on during the podcast in question, actually. That some women, like Jess Ainscough and Kris Carr, thrive on a vegan diet. Their bodies are in balance and they’re brimming with health. There are also some whose bodies simply will not tolerate plant-based protein alone. Enter fear. I know, I know, I preach all about not allowing fear into one’s life, but I will admit, since starting nutrition school, I’ve been fearful that my body may be one that requires animal protein. Save for hormonal imbalance (hence having found my way to the work of these gorgeous period party gals) leftover from the [hideous, in my opinion] birth control pill, I am the picture of health. I’ve had blood tests done and am in healthy ranges for all of the tests. I feel constantly bombarded with articles about the healing wonders of bone broth, the endocrine loving nutrients in organ meats, the nourishing protein in grass fed meat, the “perfect protein” that is an egg. Naturally, these are all organic and local animal products (which is sadly and distinctly different than the animal products consumed in the Standard American Diet). That being said, I can’t help but wonder about every little thing I’m doing in my life. When I hear these professionals speaking about “the average person” needing animal protein to thrive, have a healthy endocrine system and essentially be a properly functioning human being, it really makes me quake in my little ballet flats.
Why does it frighten me? Because so often I tell myself, Oh look at so-and-so, she thrives on a vegan diet, and now that seems to be shot out of the water. Truth is, I have known this all along. I know we are all divinely unique and it is what I tell my clients! It’s the work that I myself do! Individualizing plans for beautiful beings to be at their most healthy and vibrant. But what about my own life views?
That’s where it gets tricky. My choice to abstain from animal products is ethically driven, not health driven. While it’s exponentially skyrocketed my health as a byproduct, I did not go down this route with that as my driving force, which is why I cannot go down the grass-fed, free-range, humanely treated “trial run” route of reintegrating animal products to test its effect on my hormonal system. I just can’t. I won’t. My spirit won’t agree. At least in terms of meat. I am still wrapping my brain around the concept of “happy eggs.” Said eggs come from hens roaming the grounds of a local farm that one visits oneself and knows the owner of. These hens are fed organic produce, treated like family and left to roam free in the sunshine. They die of old age and are never, ever killed for meat. Many vegans will still say that this is entirely unethical, and I’m not here to get into that discussion (exhibit A as to why I resist labeling myself!). Because I’ve not made up my own mind! I don’t eat them, but for some reason I find this idea of these beautiful hens, living as kind and free lives as we ourselves do, gifting us with the fruits of their loins in the form of a happy egg to be rather sweet. That’s not to say I will go one way or the other on the topic, in terms of consumption, but again just expressing an idea.
There are so many alternative healing modalities out there. I deeply believe in a plant-based diet as the root of most healing. Again, that doesn’t specify omnivore or herbivore. A plant-based diet is merely one whose basis and vast majority is comprised of plants.
Just as I listen to opposing viewpoints, I also podcast with likeminded rockstars like Kris Carr, Rich Roll and Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, all of whom are vegan activists. I admire Jess Ainscough deeply (a gal who, mind you, is vegan but seemingly not about to pin the label to her blazer for the world to see – proof that privacy can still be a virtue). I am educated (and honestly comforted) by the equally professional and intelligent viewpoints of these incredible health professionals. Wellness warriors, as Jess calls us all.
The real bottom line is that most people are going to cling steadfast to their “way.” Whether it’s veganism, paleolithic eating, being a Democrat, driving a Prius…whatever! People want to convince other people of the “right” way to do things, to live life, to eat, to believe, I could go on and on… I am not here to do that. I’m still a total sponge, soaking it all up. I’m fully embracing the fact that my lifestyle and beliefs are subject to change. It scares me a little bit to admit that, because change scares me, but it’s just the truth. Maybe huge changes won’t occur, maybe they will. I think it’s dishonest and ignorant to think otherwise.
What I will say for certain, is that I have a mantra. An affirmation, if you will.
I AM healing my body and my precious hormones with a plant-passionate diet and a mindset of fierce kindness.
What I find most interesting about this entire experience is how, typically, I’d grow defensive and angsty over hearing ladies I admire voice opposing views. The old me would have reacted that way, I believe. Not this time, though. Not anymore.
I have reached a place of steady trust in myself, of divine faith. I have reached a place inside where, while my mind still races around entertaining the different ideas flitting about and worrying over all of the little nonsensical details, I know exactly what I need. I believe thoroughly in my capable, ingenious body’s capacity for healing and wellness. I also bathe it in gratitude for all of the ways it functions optimally rather than honing in on the one tiny imbalance it has. The “average” person is burdened with a slew of imbalances, be it a result of genetics or lifestyle, and I am blessed to not be. So I didn’t feel bullied or picked on, listening to that podcast. I relished in the wisdom and the perspective, and I took a deep breath, still confident in my own choices. I didn’t think, Oh my God my way is wrong or I’m causing my own problems by way of my lifestyle. The thoughts naturally wanted into my mind and, while I acknowledged their existence, I didn’t let them pervade.
Instead I found myself thinking, When I’m on the other side of this, I’LL be on a podcast discussing how I healed my body MY way… and I’ll tell you what. THAT is an empowering thought 🙂