I’ve been following Yoga Girl (Rachel Brathen) on Instagram for a few years now.
It wasn’t for her veganism or yoga per se, more because I was interested in her as a kind human, her real shares about life, and the wisdom she was gathering along the way.
Yesterday, I listened to her most recent podcast regarding dropping her vegan label and incorporating animal products into her life.
What I heard in her voice was the same things I had felt when I moved away from the label and lifestyle. She asked for kindness, as expectedly, there would be all manner of reaction, and possibly criticism, but also, hopefully, acceptance that her choice was right for her and her family.
Listening with my heart open, I heard that:
It’s okay to change our mind.
It’s important to listen to our bodies.
If we choose to incorporate animal products, it doesn’t mean we’re suddenly in favor of a crappy, processed diet or that we don’t care about animals.
It’s freeing to shed a label and keep what we still believe in from our previous practice without taking on the mantle of knowing best for everyone.
When a lifestyle box no longer serves our health or philosophy, we can explore what makes sense to our changing bodies.
My story is similar in that veganism, while cleansing and initially beneficial, later detracted from my health. Along the path to a sustainable, local diet, and living on a small homestead where we grew most of our own organic, bio-dynamic veg and herbs, we found that animals greatly added to the whole of our little eco-system. Was it easy to harvest an animal such as a chicken? Hell, no. But I also believe in the sentience of plants—that is another discussion.
The most reaction and unkind comments I’ve received have come from the articles I’ve written about leaving veganism, why I believed that a sustainable future for the planet includes farm animals, and why conversations with my vegan friends always end in my being shamed.
If you have a chance, do listen to Rachel’s podcast. I don’t mean because I want anyone to come over to the “dark side” of meat or dairy eating—it’s not about convincing anyone of anything—but more to ponder, to sift what is true for oneself, to be in conversation.
I don’t believe we should have to feel shamed or explain ourselves to a degree that will make others comfortable. I think we should join forces, vegans, non-vegans, vegetarians, what have you…to find health, foster sustainability, learn from each other, and care for all life forms, however that looks for us.
Thank you, Rachel, for your courage and honesty. I hope you are finding kindness in the continuing discussions.