One thing I love about getting older (and hopefully wiser) is learning new things about myself, accepting change and being open to evolving and letting go of beliefs that I once claimed as a definitive part of me.
I have never been one to yo-yo diet or follow any type of strict diet, although in the months leading up to my wedding I did follow the Paleo diet (heavy on meat consumption) with great success. I felt strong, lean and happy (albeit stressed at times!). While in school I remember choosing the 'Raw Vegan' diet for a research paper. I had come across several Youtube channels hosted by raw vegans and I was struck by how clear and bright their eyes and skin were, as well as the overall vitality and passion they had. They looked SO happy.
I understood through my studies that those who are able to follow this diet in an ideal & healthy way (prioritizing fruits and veggies over heavier items like like nuts, sprouted grains and desserts) are assimilating more minerals and bioactive nutrients than most people. I knew that if you could actually follow this diet in a healthy way, you would feel incredible. I also knew that living in Canada, this would be difficult to do outside of the summer months, so I put it in the back of my mind as something I would like to try for 2 weeks in the summer. However, after carefully following a Paleo diet, all I wanted to do, post-wedding, was eat anything and everything!
This year my husband and I moved to the country, and suddenly I had the space to reflect on so many things. I have been happily consuming meat all of my life. I definitely laughed at vegan jokes. However over the past couple of years I have had a quiet feeling of knowing that eating meat (and eating as much as I, and most people, ate) is problematic on so many levels. Our good friend Nathan Isberg had a magical restaurant called The Atlantic where he created ethical food with an emphasis on small animal protein that was low on the food chain (ex. quail, crickets). It was truly inspiring and revolutionary - and desperately needed these days, in our obscene culture of rockstar bro-chefs competing with each other to make the most gluttonous, meat-heavy "fuck you" plates. It's become glaringly obvious that meat consumption, especially with larger animals such as cattle, is unsustainable. I definitely talked the talk, but didn't walk the walk - I championed free-range, ethically raised organic meat (and still do), but I didn't always eat it and of course couldn't bring myself to watch or read anything about what really goes on in a slaughterhouse (still don't want to).
The Paleo-Vegan diet is actually the healthiest diet theory I have come across - basically the emphasis is on a mostly vegan diet, with the occasional meat protein...a very realistic version of what (many of) our ancestors ate. I think that if most people followed this diet, they would see drastic improvements in their health almost immediately.
I think it's really important to know that is a personal decision, without judgement of others. There is too much hatred and knee-jerk opposition in the world, too much shouting and moral outrage (hey Facebook!) which leaves no room for people to think, discuss, and reflect on important issues with each other because they are likely to have someone jump down their throat.
As always, I offer my services in a non-judgemental setting. I don't believe everyone should go vegan or even vegetarian. I don't believe in strict diets in general - I think you should listen to your body, revisit your beliefs and stay open to change, just as life does.
If you have thoughts on this I would love to hear them!