Have you ever been in a situation where rules just don't apply? Or where the rules you've set for yourself just don't seem to give the better option? Where instead of feeling proud of yourself for following these set "rules", you simply just feel lost and longing. You question these rules... Have you ever felt that way?
I sure am. It isn't easy - but I've been trying something new: I have not been following these set rules. I'm beginning to try living a lifestyle without a general label pasted over it. Some people do wonderful with this method - this method of using a label to explain what they can or can't eat, or what the do or don't like. But I'm starting to realize that I just don't seem to work well with the label method.
The next few months are going to be interesting - experimental, for sure. These days have already been verrry interesting. And honestly, quite wonderful. I've made some mistakes, but I might also have made some groundbreaking discoveries for myself.
Diet-wise, I've been asking myself a lot lately, "What matters most?" Is it following the perfectly set, cookie-cutter rules no matter what? Or does following reason, logic, and simply listening to my own body matter more? I've tried the former, and I'm currently testing the latter. So far, the latter is winning.
Ok, so here's the issue with the former, label-style way of eating. Maybe someone can relate. When I label my diet, I tend to overstress. I overstress because I'm always concerned about if I'm representing the label properly. I overstress because when I'm traveling, touring, or just performing for a day (which happens a lot as a student musician), I have to make a choice: 1) Eat the vegan thing, whether it's healthy or not, or 2) eat anything else, then feel immense guilt because I didn't follow my lifestyle. And this also happens a lot: When I force myself to stay vegan while traveling, I end up eating far worse, sometimes because of the limited resources available (some people and places just don't understand the word vegan), and mostly because I get so desperate to try something else that I eat the bad stuff. Or how about this? I simply crave other food.
My way of thinking is not the diet's fault - everyone knows the wondrous benefits of a plant-based lifestyle - no, it's simply my own mind, and the way I work. Which is why I need to try a new method, to see if I can find something that works better.
I only share this in hope that someone - anyone - who is going through a similar thing can relax and realize that someone else feels that way too. I'm tired of trying to be the perfect, wannabe nutrition-lover who bottles up her own problems and pretends everything is perfect. I'm also tired of trying to follow everyone else's dogma.
Honestly, it's getting more and more difficult to know what's truly healthy and what's not. Everyone says conflicting things. Eat the carbs, don't eat the carbs, eat the meat, don't touch the meat, Saturated fat is your friend, fat is the devil, fruit is good in unlimited quantities, fruit is bad in excess.
I became vegan for mostly ethical reasons. Those values have barely changed. But instead of labeling myself as vegan, I'm going to explore other food too, and I'm going to try and think of the big picture in a different way. I want to eat local. I want to eat mindfully, whatever that may mean for me.
So what matters most? Health. Happiness.
Who do I trust with my health? Whomever I personally choose to trust.
What am I? A human being, a child of God, a healthy eater, free of labels but full of purpose and value.
Let's see if this works out...
P.S. Plants are still delicious ;)