I'm well known for starting something, dedicating to it, then seeing how it works for me, and if it doesn't work, then, with no regrets, leaving the commitment with many lessons learned. This has been known to annoy many people, but, it's not something I feel I need to change in my life. Call it my Irish heritage, my Gemini nature, or me being a bit flaky, but, this is how I am able to learn my lessons in life.
On that note, I want to talk about my successfully failed commitment to not eating meat, dairy, and living strictly plant based.
At the beginning of the year, myself with my family supporting me and making the commitment with me decided to go strictly plant based. It has been something that has haunted me to do for many years. It was always a joke between me and my husband, "I want to not eat meat, but, can't choke down cold or raw veges, including salads." They smell wonderful, and make my mouth water, but, I just can't seem to get them down for nothing. So, over the years, I tried, and failed not successfully failed, just flat out fell off the wagon.
I decided to make the commitment after watching the movie Forks Over Knives, which discusses the effects of meat in the body in great detail. (I highly recommend this movie to everyone to better understand, not just the effects of meat, but, the effects of GMOs and the benefits of living plant based). After that, I got Roger to watch it, the kids watched it, and after much discussion, I made the commitment, as did Roger, and the kids, well, I'm the Tattooed Pagan Mom ;) There were other reasons I made the commitment as well, my mother's death, my weight gain, my health was declining, my body was hurting from carrying the weight, and I was not happy with myself or how I was feeding my family. I needed the change, I wanted the change, and in my true form of my many commitments, go big or go home.
We took the steps to change, got rid of the meat we had, bought many more herbs and spices, and learned a lot about plant based living through books like Forks Over Knives, Engine2 Diet, and Happy Herbivore. Yes, my cookbook collection grew by 4 books. Over time, I felt so good, weight was coming off, I was learning so much about different plants, veggies, fruits. I learned about aminos, brewer's yest, TVP, many different grains, and even learned that Kighla has a glutton allergy. However, I started and so did Kathleen, to feel tired more and more. Kathleen and myself are anemic, and all though we took supplements, it wasn't enough. So, we added organic dairy and eggs back into our diet. That small change really helped myself and Kathleen, along with supplements, to feel much better.
That, however, was the gateway drug...
At times of the month, when mine or Kathleen's iron was the lowest, we would get some seafood, and there was one time my iron was WAY low, Roger did buy a steak, small portion, but, he was determined to get that iron and B12 in me, no matter what. We still continued to by organic, plant based, and I was still learning. I discovered seasonal shopping, farmer's markets, and re discovered my love for cooking, making bread, and began to teach myself canning. I continued to learn, to experiment, to feel good about my shopping choices, reading labels, and learned to incorporate veggies we thought we would never touch into our meals. My kids were doing the same thing, eating raw fruits and veggies like they were going out of style, becoming more active, happier, and their skin cleared up, hair shinier, and they became more aware to things. Roger was even showing health improvements as well as myself. I was still, in my mind, determined to be plant based.
I came back to reality when we went to the Marietta Square Farmer's Market and saw a farmer selling organic, grain fed meat which he raised himself. My mind began turning from there, (Roger's look of desperate cave man hunger didn't help matters either). I began to look into organic, grain fed meats, we were already buying free range eggs, and sometimes organic milk, and we were tossing that meat in there when the moon fell right on myself and Kathleen, so, I allowed myself to research and then to buy some organic, grain fed, hormone free meats. Talk about the silly shocked faces on my family when they saw that lol.
So, why is this a successfully failed commitment?
Well, I discovered in the past 7 months, I'm not a vegan, I'm not a vegetarian, I am an organic, free spirited, plant based, tree hugging healer. It's not that I needed to cut out meat, I needed to change my lifestyle. The guilt I would have eating meat, has been replaced with the knowledge that I not only buy organic and seasonal, but, I support local farmers and small business owners. I have plenty of vegan meals along with meals with small portions of organic, free range meats & dairy. My children and husband are healthy, I am healthy, and we live a healthy (ish...still smoke, so don't go there) lifestyle where food is our medicine and medicine is our food.
If you need to change your lifestyle, start with your eating habits. Start slow, see how it works for you. I learned SO much in the past 7 months. I don't spend anymore in groceries then I did when we were buying the bad stuff. I still clip coupons, I still make grocery lists, but now, I shop more often, instead of once a week. I cook more, with plenty of help from my cookbooks. I enjoy feeding my family, and watching them grow. I have no guilt this time of falling off the wagon. We don't have meat at every meal, or every other meal. We have meat in small portions, with plenty of veges, and it's all natural, healthy, and I'm proud to be an omnivore again.
(JUST FYI...we tried free range chicken burgers last night and discovered, we enjoy veggie burgers MUCH MUCH more)