I pondered for days about a potential blog post. It was only until today that this idea hit me as I sipped some Yerba Mate tea as I read Whole Living magazine. I had the ultimate “Aha” moment. If there is one thing I am passionate and adamant about aside from healthy, conscious eating, it is being true to yourself. Now what exactly do I mean? Being authentically you is essentially understanding who you are not only on a physical level but spiritually, emotionally, mentally. Knowing who you are is understanding what you need, what nourishes you, what helps build you up and empower you.
As per the usual I can essentially tie this into my current nutritional and dietary lifestyle. Though I am a lifelong vegetarian (23 years and counting), I recently took up veganism as a way to nourish my mind, body and soul. I must admit this transition has been incredibly challenging especially overcoming my mental attachment to dairy (yes, I say mental since I know I don’t physically NEED cheese). As a child, I was the odd ball. Being the only vegetarian in my elementary school at the time really singled me out as the nerdy Indian girl who eats weird non-meat things for lunch. “Where’s the turkey on your cheese sandwich?,” “How do you survive with no meat?” “Ew what kind of lunch is that?” I grew more and more uncomfortable with myself eating in the presence of others. I would often sit in silence and just eat ignoring the questions and weird stares. Ultimately I felt comfortable with being a vegetarian because when I got home, it wasn’t weird to anyone since my entire family was vegetarian.
After enduring question after question about my abnormal diet, it became second nature to explain that I was vegetarian for religious reasons (since I was raised as a Sikh) and later on, for personal reasons. It was only after I graduated college that I realized being a vegetarian was and is part of my true and authentic self. I greatly cherish my health and envision a well-nourished and long and healthy life. For me, vegetarianism completed and enhanced my being. I have had encounters with people who have found my lifestyle choice a burden or even a bother to them. Now that I have transitioned to veganism, the questions and the grunts, sighs and even rolling of the eyes began again. “What do you eat?!” “What am I supposed to feed you?” “You’re so skinny. We need to fatten you up!” (Side Note: I’m not SKINNY, I’m slim, healthy, toned and loving the skin I’m in…just an FYI)
I know of people who would have easily given in to satisfy the masses. Why compromise your authentic self to please someone else? Take for example, Friday night, you decide to go out to Happy Hour with some friends. You don’t normally drink but the thought of being left out or seeming as though you are a party pooper is unbearable. The drinks continue to flow, as though your reputation depended on every last drop. The next morning you feel awful, hung over and filled with a sense of regret. You didn’t want to go in the first place but decided to make a decision to save yourself from being deemed as unsocial. But why agree to something that YOU know is against what you believe in? Why drink when you don’t normally drink? Why eat what you don’t like?
I realized that my health is not a matter of pleasing others. It is an issue of taking care of myself for ME. Don’t sacrifice your health, well-being and self-nourishment. You know what you need. What are YOU going to do to attain that?