As I was lying in bed this morning at 4:30 thinking over all the crazy things that have happened the past few days (more on that later), this topic came to me. Decide. Yes, such a simple statement. I’m going to apply this your diet, but it can go anywhere. I remember talking to my dad a couple of years ago about an upcoming holiday. As usual, I was feeling guilty about where we would spend it, and having a hard time making a decision about what to do. I kept going back and forth. He said, “Just make a decision and stick to it. Quit torturing yourself.” That was some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten, and it sounds easy, but definitely easier said than done. But harboring stress from not making decisions isn’t healthy. It was probably my worst trait… being indecisive. It’s not fun, and it was frustrating for me, and people around me. “Is she going change her mind?”. I have really worked on this over the past couple of years, and I try to make commitments quickly if I can, think them over if I need to, and then decide. Of course, no one is perfect.
So back to your diet. Have you been trying to vegan or vegetarian for months, or even years, but can’t seem to make it stick? Do you beat yourself up often when you falter? Do you have problems making it stick because you don’t ethically believe it’s immoral or wrong to eat meat or dairy? Or, do you really want and believe in being vegan or vegetarian, but give in because of family or friends? There is no real right or wrong answer here. But, if you’re like me, calling yourself a 90% vegan and trying to make that other 10% stick, maybe it’s time to decide if you’re okay with that 10% or 25% and let the stress and pressure go, or take the next step. So, below I am going to create a list questions we can ask ourselves to help make that decision:
1.) Do you have religious or spiritual beliefs about food? Do you have spiritual views about animal products that affect your decision? Do you believe that it’s just wrong no matter what, or do you believe we were intended to eat meat? No judgment here, it is what it is. For example, If you are Christian (as I am), you may believe that God intended for people to eat meat when necessary. None of us can know for sure, but based on the Bible, I believe that to be true. However, I don’t believe that God intended us to treat animals cruelly on factory farms, shoot them up with steroids, or keep a cow pregnant for her entire life so that she produces milk. I also don’t believe that our bodies require it. There were times when people had to eat what they could get, so if it was meat, that’s what they did. Not really the case anymore. This is a moment when I have to decide which part of that belief is stronger. Do I occasionally buy organic meat and hope that things were done right, or just decide I’m not going to risk it?
2.) What makes sense to you? Have you studied our digestive system and realize that meat is hard to digest and it takes a lot of work? That being said, are you okay with it in moderation because you really feel like you need meat or dairy?
3.) Have your really tried it? Before making a decision, have your really, for more than a week or month at a time, followed a healthy vegan or vegetarian diet? I say healthy because there are all sorts of ways to botch it up with binging on “okay foods”, overdoing sugar…. even if it is all natural, etc. That is my vice. I’ve seen vegan and vegetarian people that frankly don’t look all that healthy. How can you really know how clean eating feels if you haven’t really been eating clean. At the same time, have you truly tried it, but just constantly felt like something was missing. Did your body seem “off”. Did you have constant cravings that never went away? Were there any other effects?
4.) Can you do “moderation”? For me, that’s a big deal. In the past, when I gave into cheese, one slice wouldn’t do it. It’s so addictive. Or if I started eating meat or daily on occasion, it would turn into often, because hey, I’d already fallen off the wagon. It’s all in your mind, but your mind is very powerful.
5.) Last, are you eating dairy and/or meat and experiencing serious medical problems? For that matter, explore your entire diet. Meat, dairy, wheat, sugar, etc… There are so many allergies and food issues, and life is too short to be miserable. Isn’t worth cutting out whatever isn’t working. But don’t start cutting out just because it’s the trendy thing to do, make smart choices. Eat to live, don’t live to eat.
There are lots of other questions you may want to ask yourself, but ask them, decide, and move on. And later on down the line, evaluate and make adjustments. You don’t have to decide forever, just decide for now.
All moodiness, Tawny