“Healthy eating, conscious eating, eating with respect for yourself and the environment and the other people is a very powerful act.”
Carnivore. Vegetarian. Pescatarian. Vegan. Gluten-Free. We tend to latch onto to labels when identifying our personal approach to food and for many, this identification can be somewhat of a religion for them. It’s easy for us to slip into a place of judgment and comparison and feel inadequate that we’re not committed enough or vegan enough for other people’s standards.
Confession time…I decided to turn to a vegetarian eating plan when I was pregnant with my daughter in 2010 and I was very strict about it for the past 3 years. When I had my son, I began craving meat so I added just a bit of organic free-range chicken back into my diet every once in a while. But I felt so guilty about it, like I was a vegetarian poser, a phony. Why am I beating myself up about this? I was only eating meat once or twice a month and I still let myself feel like a fraud and all this built-up guilt and stress doesn’t do anyone’s health any good.
Here’s the thing…how we eat has a direct impact on our health and our environment and we really need to be conscious of our decisions for what we put into our bodies. Going meatless has such an incredible impact on our environment and there are so many awesome health benefits to eating a plant-based diet. Making responsible, conscious choices about our foods can make such a large difference in a world of factory farming, animal cruelty and abuse, huge amounts of waste, and environmental destruction.
But I truly believe it’s about balance and being healthy. Every person’s body has a different chemical makeup and how we eat is so personal to our bodies. Our eating habits should be focused on being healthy and making conscious decisions, and I believe that comes from a plant-based diet filled with delicious vegetables and fruits, nuts and grains…and stop eating processed foods, sugars, and filling our temples with garbage. We need to quit judging ourselves and others and develop a habit of self-love and respect for our bodies.
So while I most closely identify with being a vegetarian, I’m not going to beat myself up if I have one piece this month of responsibly-grown, grass-fed, free-range organic meat from a local farmer who believes in sustainable farming techniques and has a passion for protecting the environment.