Last week, I mentioned my eating habits — basically, the fact that I’m a dairy-free vegetarian who only eats local backyard hen eggs. I also noted that I was going to cut gluten from my diet because I had come to understand that it was upsetting my body – and it’s important to listen to your body.
My body has been pretty talkative lately, ever since she realized that I listen to her more. We’ve been chatting a lot.
My body wants to exercise more. I feel a real craving to do it. I have yet to muster the motivation to go to the gym more than once a week, but even once is better than people on the couch, as they say. I’m a work in progress, but I want to go. I feel amazing when I go work out.
My body wants more greens. Not liking salads, I bought a blender and I’ve been making green smoothies. I feel energetic and overall healthier because of the increased vegetable consumption. If you are afraid of green smoothies — I was too! The secret is to blend the greens with the liquid first, and then add the other ingredients. Get the spinach, kale, or whatever greens you’re using really pulverized with the liquid (juice, almond milk, whatever) and then add more stuff. My favorite so far is: Spinach, vanilla almond milk, frozen pineapple, and cucumber.
My body is open-minded about trying new foods. I made roasted beets. Delicious. I made roasted acorn squash. NOT DELICIOUS. You might like it. I don’t. I gave it a good try. I am going to try and turn it into a soup. But I am not optimistic. Something about the acorn squash does not agree with my body, and I like to listen to her now!
My body has recently told me to stop being a vegetarian.
Ever since reading about the amazing healing properties of some good old-fashioned bone broth, my body has continually whispered, “Hey, you should buy a chicken. We should try that out. Make some broth, yeah? Yeah.”
So last night, I bought a chicken. It’s a cage-free, humanely-raised, not-antibiotic-fed, not-given-hormones chicken. I asked a lot of questions, and the very nice lady at the Earth Fare meat counter answered them all, to the result that I felt really good about my decision to buy a chicken that had had a pretty decent life.
I am not totally opposed to meat. I realize that we have pointy teeth for a reason, that we evolved to eat an omnivore’s diet. I believe that animal proteins offer some nutrients that we cannot effectively get from plant sources without supplementing. I believe that some people thrive on a vegan diet while others feel very sick, and the same is true of a diet with meat. Everybody is different, and every body is different.
What I am opposed to is animal abuse. Chickens should not have their beaks cut off or be stuffed into tiny cages. Pigs should be able to move around. Animals should be able to live a decent life. I do not want to eat any animal that was treated poorly while it was alive. Animals are deserving of our respect and appreciation, whether or not we consume them for sustenance.
While my body was fine with this plant-based diet for the past year of being vegan-except-eggs, now my body needs something else, and I think occasional (ethical) meat and regular servings of bone broth are what it needs. I think the veganism was a reboot for my body, as I learned about healthier foods. Now I’m ready to begin re-introducing meat again.
Cutting gluten is a big change, and one that requires me to re-learn how to cook and eat. It used to be so simple to just have a sandwich or make some pasta or heat up a veggie burger or frozen dinner… but now, I have to be aware of everything, moreso than when I was vegetarian. When you have a gluten intolerance and resulting intestinal permeability, eating the tiniest amount of gluten can cause a flare up and hurt your whole body. Gluten sensitivity/intolerance is linked to autoimmune disorders, arthritis, and joint pain. I didn’t believe it until I ate a huge bowl of whole-wheat pasta and two slices of bread for dinner one night, followed by insane pain in my knees the next day. The inflammation was apparent, and that is the moment I knew going gluten-free was something I wanted to do for my health.
I realize that some friends and readers may be disappointed by this decision. Some may even think it a betrayal of sorts. To this end, I must point you to Alex Jamieson’s blog post, “I’m not vegan anymore,” which says all the things I want to say about compassion and health and being kind.
I also want to add that, regarding ANYTHING – any topic at all, whether it is about nutrition or medicine or politics or movies you like – when you talk to others who disagree with you, it is important to be kind and compassionate. When you attack people, they will not listen to you. We must approach everything from a place of openness and knowledge and help people find the truth they need.
Some people’s truth is that they only eat plants. Some people’s truth changes. My truth, right now, is to make some bone broth.
Special note: I say a brief word of thanks to the chickens who lay my eggs every time I eat the eggs, and I will continue this practice to thank the animals I consume for nourishment. It’s important for me to stay grounded in the circle of life. When I die, I’m going to be a tree!