You know how the universe sends you signs constantly to help guide you and your job is supposed to be to recognise those signs, see them and then listen? AND if you don’t listen, the signals get stronger and stronger where a little poke in the shoulder turns into a slap in the face and then eventually a wallop right over the head with a baseball bat, so it hurts so much that if you don’t listen, it’ll kill you?
Well, the signs are everywhere to say that we shouldn’t be eating meat, not as much as we do anyway and no amount of “oh it’s only a little” can justify the fact that “only a little” has turned into a daily event.
Before our trip to Australia, we were actually very good with our minimal meat intake but while we were in Australia, it was a meat fest. Seemed like the more we said no to the meat, the more we were encouraged to eat it. We went from having a tiny bit of meat for 1 meal in an entire week (while we were in London) to eating meat for 3 meals in a day every day.
At the time I thought, “Oh it’s only temporary. All will be fixed when we get back to London and go back to our normal lives” but it didn’t. The habit continued (because it was cold and we craved for some fat). Then it was Christmas and you can’t have Christmas without a feast of goose and gammon! Every time we lessened the amount of meat we ate, we ended up relapsing. First it’s cheese then it’s ham then it’s pepperoni and pizza. Why? Because we got all these discount vouchers from an organic, high welfare food place and the discounts were on dairy and meat. OH OF COURSE THAT JUSTIFIES EATING IT!
I had this internal conflict where I was so happy with myself for getting so much high quality (ie high welfare, organic, free range)food within our budget and so angry and disappointed with myself for going against what I believed in. That is, that plant foods are going to give you more nutrients than anything else you could possibly consume.
Well, it all went spiralling out of control in the last week, with dinner out at our favourite restaurant, chicken liver pate, meat casserole, pizza and then beer-butt chicken (’cause we had to use up a can of beer that was sitting in the fridge from Christmas and neither Tones nor I drink alcohol at home and I couldn’t find a beer recipe that didn’t involve meat and of course… we don’t throw anything away). YES, OF COURSE THAT JUSTIFIES BUYING A WHOLE CHICKEN!
Each day that passed, the more meat we ate and the more I started to feel guilty. Guilty because I know better. Too many studies show how much meat intake forces the body to die from the inside. Which means that every day I cooked meat for us to eat, I was for all intents and purposes, killing us and I’m not even over exaggerating with this.
I was perpetuating a cycle that is so hard to break. You see, the more meat you eat, the more anxious, stressed, tired, erratic and unfocussed you get which then leads to laziness and turning to easy things like steak, pizzas, meat pies etc The more you eat those, the more tired you get and the cycle continues. You then start to crave things like sugar and somehow, when we do that, we turn to cake, pastries. Then we crave salt so we turn to chips, crisps, pot noodles. I’ve been here before, it’s not a good place. Nothing you eat sustains you, you just get more and more tired (and hungry) and you eventually feel like you’re getting fat and losing the will to live. This usually takes years but with yoga, we feel the changes very quickly because our stamina, endurance, focus and mobility are tested every time we enter the hot room.
So back to those signs. While we were travelling on this meat chips and junk food cycle, I’ve been getting a lot of “go plant strong” emails and seeing videos of why a plant strong diet is good for you being posted up and I’ve had restless nights where I haven’t been sleeping properly or waking up thirsty. How do you wake up thirsty when you’ve been drinking 5L of water a day and why am I restless when I have nothing to stress about?
Both Tony and I have been waking up extremely tired even after 8-9 hours of sleep. We’ve both been complaining to each other of achiness in muscles and our mantra has been “Why am I so tired?” Last week, one of our yoga teachers who is a vegan asked, “So Joy, are you still vegan?” When I answered “No!” (knowing just how much meat and dairy I’d been eating) she said, “Wrong answer!”
And well, last night was THE WORST Bikram Yoga class I have ever had in the last couple of years. It’s like I reverted back to when I first started. I had to sit out almost one set of every posture in the standing series. Every time I stood up, I was dizzy, blacking out and my legs were like jelly. I didn’t know if they would hold me up or just collapse under me so I’d have to sit down. Last night was the peak, the culmination of all the signs put together. I got the message loud and clear.
So you know what? I listened. Finally! For dinner we ate FRUIT. We had mango, blueberries, clementines, pineapple and a berry smoothie (made with frozen berries, bananas, camu camu, baobab, psyllium husk and acai). Topped that off with a corn on the cob with lots of salt and 2 bowls of hot congee (rice porridge). I had the best sleep I’ve had in a LONG time and this morning when I woke up, I wasn’t aching nor was I groggy and tired.
It’s really that simple. Meat addiction is like having an abusive relationship with your body. Neither of you are happy and you’re both sick and tired and feeling like sh*t. Eating fruit and veg is a much more loving and nurturing relationship where you give your body what it needs and in return it gives you health, mobility, energy and focus. So with that in mind we’re going plant strong. This doesn’t mean we’ll never eat meat again but we both know that we’re much happier on vegetables and fruit. We actually still have meat in the freezer (left over lamb casserole and beer-butt chicken) so, we’re a far cry from being vegan but just like any addiction, we’ll have better results if we wean ourselves off gradually.