The Flexitarian Way
We are always eating. We eat with friends. We eat alone. We eat to feel good. We eat to feel worse. Fact: we have to eat to live and most social gatherings revolve around breaking bread with the ones we love. Everyone has their own personal conversation and relationship with food, some more positive than others.
Over the last 15 years my relationship with food has gone through several growing pains, but here we are stronger than ever on the other side of reflection. There’s a lot of information out there concerning what to eat and when in the fitness world and an equal amount of temptation on the gluttonous side of the foodie sphere. So what is a girl who likes to live a healthy, active life but not overthink or shame a good time chowing down over mountains of treats with friends and family to do? Answer: it’s a process.
For years I stress-fully followed everything I read in every magazine about clean eating, protein and perfectly timing meals around workouts, sleep and rest. Then, six years ago I decided to become a vegan in an attempt to practice more kindness towards myself and towards all living creatures while contributing my part in the larger conversation of global warming. Right away I loved it. I didn’t find it hard, and I loved being creative veganizing my old school favourites. Some days were trickier than others and sometimes I wasn’t as good at it as I wanted to be. Slowly I became a pescatarian, occasionally having fish but still no dairy, no meat. Then about two years ago the cravings started. First, it was eggs. I would dream about them, think about them, obsess about them and all there yolky glory until one day I couldn’t take it anymore. I decided my body was telling me something and it was my responsibility to my own personal health and well-being and listen to the cues I was being given. Then, last year, I got inexplicably tired for weeks and all I wanted was a burger. So after days of guilt and emotional malice, I called home and asked my mom to have a family BBQ and make her homemade burgers. She was ecstatic, I was heartbroken. Did I just fail? Am I a fraud? Am I a bad person? No, not at all, far from it actually. I decided there was going to be no shaming, no controlling and no overthinking from that day forward. I would listen everyday to what my body was telling me I needed. I would eat what I wanted when I wanted not because some diet rule book or alternative habits told me so. It would have been inauthentic not to answer the call and not surrender to how my body was craving to be nourished. Being vegan started as a vow of compassion and self love but when I began to ignore the prompts I was being fed by my container, in the end, it was just another way for me to control an obsession and feed a discomfort that was lingering under the surface about food and self worth.
Now, when people ask me if I’m still a vegan or wonder what I can eat if they are the ones prepping the menu, I just simply say “I’m a Flexitarian, I eat a mostly plant based diet and I can eat whatever I want when I want”. I still cook the majority of my meals vegetarian and I have my boundaries around dairy but this time, there are no rules and no guidelines. I follow what I feel and I continue to choose the majority of products sourced with compassion. Every day is a commitment to my health, to feeling good, doing the best I can with what I have and conscious living. Sometimes that looks like green juice for breakfast and sometimes it looks like chicken and chocolate for dinner (but not necessarily together or in that order). Being a Flexitarian is about being flexible with your soul and having gratitude for everything on your plate and the process it took to get there. It’s about nourishing your body and honoring the certainty that everyday will be different. THAT is a true act of kindness.
Want a little more insight on how to listen to your body? Watch the video here