Food is one of the most primordial ways of connection. It connected us to our moms when we were in her womb. It connected us to our caregivers when we were little babies. And throughout the rest of our lives, eating and sharing food is a simple and direct way to experience connection, community, belonging and acceptance.
No wonder it is hard to change your food pattern to a diet that seems to exclude you, set you apart, and provoke misunderstanding, criticism, and judgment.
That’s why I encourage you to be gentle on yourself when you transition to a vegan diet.
Some people shift to a vegan diet cold turkey (haha, forgive me the pun).
I first stopped eating meat and birds, and continued eating everything else. I even made my vegetarian hamburger in the same pan in which my ex-husband made his steak. I continued eating fish, dairy, and eggs.
This was relatively easy to do. Most people knew how to make a vegetarian dish (or at least, leave the animals out) and it was simple to order something in a restaurant without raising eye brows. This phase also helped me to wean off meat and birds, and get used to my new food choices.
It’s not perfect compassionate eating, and then again, we’re not striving for perfection. We’re striving for growth, one step on the path of expanding compassion and empathy at a time.
Then another, then another. It’s okay to take a break once in a while. It’s even okay to fall back once in a while. We want to develop a habit that is enjoyable to continue, not a punishment and discipline we will finally give up on, because we’re failing our own standards of perfection.
You don’t want to decrease compassion by judging yourself that you’re not good enough. You want to increase compassion by embracing all your needs, feelings, and thoughts.
My path towards a vegan diet has cycled me through the fear of the thought that I am seen as crazy and abnormal, the loss of never using my grand mom’s cook book again or eating herring with my mother, the challenge of not eating all the stuff I ate most of my life. I stayed with all these feelings and worked on figuring out ways to nurture the underlying needs. What other strategies could I think of to support those same needs?
Vegan cook books help. Vegan communities help. Dialogue and expressing my experience help. Accepting and celebrating my choices help. What can you do to support all your needs?
You want help to make choices that include the needs of all living beings? Contact me 512-589-0482 to schedule a complimentary discovery session.