A few years ago, I started my spiritual journey in a new, profound way.
Along with that, I slowly inhabited new ways of living. I started including a lot of spiritual practices into my everyday life: like meditation, yoga, attending different workshops, reading tons of books, and working with coaches.
I also stopped eating meat, not to belong, but because at that time, it felt right for me. It didn’t come overnight; it was a process of letting go and inviting a new diet into my body. I felt good; my body was healthy; I thrived. I felt I finally figured out a suitable lifestyle.
I devoted so much time to learn about food, what to eat to fulfill my protein needs, learned new recipes, followed vegan chefs on Instagram. Suddenly, I had discovered a variety of food, new ingredients, spices, and possibilities—it was a really exciting time for me.
Occasionally, I struggled to present my new way of living to my relatives, but it felt right, so I stuck to my way of doing things.
During this time, I started to connect the expressions empath and vegan: I started to believe that you couldn’t be an empathetic and good person if you ate animals. They didn’t go hand in hand. I think that was also the reason I didn’t pay attention to how my body was feeling with this diet arrangement over the years.
I had a lot of health issues: constant inflammations in my gastral system, I was tired, and always hungry. I thought I had an overeating issue, but as I dived deep and removed all the possible emotional reasons for eating, I figured out my body was in a state of lack.
I mastered the spiritual part of living, on some level, but totally forgot about being a human in a physical body. What is natural to being human, to existence? Are our bodies really made for processed food? The vegan food I found was mostly processed, wrapped in plastic, modified into something. It consisted too much of carbohydrates, basically like you’re eating fodder, which makes your body passive.
I started to question my choices. As usual, when you are questioning something, the universe sends you opportunities to find the answers. I met a lot of spiritual people, who I valued and admired, and they, at some point, also started to eat meat again. I wasn’t sure how to handle this information; it was so contradictory to what I believed at that time. I also found several website accounts of vegans, their health issues, and their transition back to a meat-included diet.
It took me quite a while to admit to myself: this is not working for me. I judged myself so much, felt guilty. I am not an empath if I eat meat, I am a bad person.
I found myself belonging to a spiritual circle of vegetarians, and now this wasn’t my truth anymore. It was another identity crisis. Am I betraying myself? If I stepped onto this self-discovering journey with the intention to be myself, to stop pleasing, adjusting, fitting in, ignoring my boundaries, and listening to others’ opinions, why was I going against myself now?
I’ve learned to listen to myself and my body, and I know what is it saying to me.
If I joined a spiritual community and adjusted to their “rules” of the game, I didn’t really learn anything. Spirituality is learning about yourself, establishing a connection to yourself, and learning to listen to your body and honor it, no matter what kind of choices it makes. Spirituality is accepting ourselves, even if we change direction based on new information and experiences.
So, here I am. I never imagined that I would ever consider eating meat again, but now I feel like I am doing it with a different awareness. I don’t agree with cruelty and intentional breeding of the animals under horrifying circumstances and meat production itself, but I do remember that people used to respect their food. They used it as a fuel, not a habit or to numb themselves. They had special ceremonies and rituals to express gratitude and humility toward animals and food in general. They hunted and gathered and put energy into it. They didn’t buy it in its final shape in the store.
I started to wonder as well, were animals ever meant to be pets? Are you really an animal lover if you keep the cat in your apartment, have the dog on a leash, and a bird in the cage? How is that different from the cow in the barn? Is this called “life” for the pet? Lack of freedom in the name of what? But, that is a whole ‘nother discussion.
I’m not saying one way or another is the right fit for all people. I tried both, and both suited me at some period in my life. No matter what, listen to your body, try different things, and find a fit for you. Some people can’t digest tomatoes, and others do; we are different.
Find whatever empowers your body.
We are still here to have a human experience, and the body is a part of it.