The question comes up almost daily in my world...So, are you vegan?
Here's the current A to the Q:
In my time on this planet I have labelled myself, at various stages in my evolution; as being plant-based, vegan, raw, paleo, pescatarian, keto, organic only, nothing from cans, zero processed, sugar-free, low carb, high fat, rice-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, care-free eater.
Huh? Exactly. The labels and food rules by which I subscribed were enough to make anyone's head spin. And all this time I was very open about my recovery from an eating disorder and often outspoken and opinionated when it came to nutritional BS and health-washing. And YET, I still spewed "factoids" about the benefits of consuming this, and perhaps more importantly, the detrimental effects of chewing on X, Y and Z.
Fast forward to now and I will state, should you ask, that I am an INTUIT-arian.
This realization came to me in a dream earlier this year, as I night-mared about all the absolutely insane statements I have heard, read, written, and even myself uttered over the last decade during my journey into the holistic health food world. Even now as I worked to toss together my client-demanded cookbook Miracle Meals (mostly plant-based) for my gig here at Rythmia, I struggled with what to call the damn thing in order to remain inclusive and non-judgy.
While I realize this term "intuitarian" has been tossed about in the recent past, I don't believe it has gotten the attention it deserves. Frankly, given the state of our world and its views on diet, fitness and the "clean eating" craze, I think it would do a great service if more folk could hop on this intuitive eating train.
I am not by definition, an ethical vegan (although I am all about compassion towards all living creatures, I do love raw honey and still own leather), or a raw foodist (I loved steamed yams and roast shit all the time), or vegetarian (I ate one shrimp caught by my fisherman pal a while back and ate a grilled chicken sandwich from McDonalds last week in New Jersey where my skeevy hotel in a super rough 'hood had nothing else within walking distance), but I don't currently enjoy beef, pork or other meats. Perhaps I may tomorrow.
I do not care to subscribe to a title, try to fit into a box, or feel the need to apply a label to how I choose to NOURISH my soul. Nor shall I tell YOU how to feed yours.
It has come up time and time again with clients, the idea that one must have a culinary "team" they play for. If I call myself a raw & vegan chef, I must only eat raw and vegan foods, right?
Wrong. Yes, at one time in my life that way of eating worked for me. Going "raw" as they say, did help me heal my long damaged relationship with both my body, and food itself. But as my physical-self healed and evolved, so has my relationship to "food rules."
Recently, I have been exposed to, or perhaps I have just been more conscious of, all the nutrition talk casually tossed about by yoga teachers, life coaches, healers, lawyers, chefs, mothers, daughters, landlords, cousins, news reporters, construction workers...heck, anyone and everyone has an angle these days! For me, the last straw was overhearing a recent client discuss (over my well balanced and lovingly prepared locally wild caught fish and veggie dinner) the risks involved with eating cucumber skin. Cancer inducing, wouldn't you know? Sigh.
I have overcome 15 plus years of disordered eating, near death battles with bulimia, and was once the queen of deprivation. But I am sick and tired of it.
PLEASE can't we just honour food for what it is? Our energy giving (and, bonus) bliss providing primal need that deserves respect? No more fear mongering, no more believing that our neighbour's new diet is the key to our everlasting weight loss success (yuck), no more trying to convert our bodies, and no more trying to sell our friends, families, yoga students, or strangers on the "diet" that they should follow to be the best that THEY can be. Granted there are arguments for and against certain ways of eating for environmental and ethical reasons, what I am talking about here today is just the fact that the vast majority of us are overwhelmed, insecure, and utterly disconnected from our bodies.
We were all born with the ability to choose what our body needs, consume it, and move on with enjoying our day, our life, our miraculous bodies, until the next moment our tummy grumbled for another bite. We must get back to that. No one knows what is best for you except YOU.
Let's listen! Let's intuit more, and intellect less! You may not actually have that food intolerance your sister says you might, and you might not be better off going Paleo. You could thrive on a plant-based diet, but maybe your daughter requires/craves beef for her own bodily/spiritually necessity. Please, leave her to feel it. Let her experiment.
Eat what makes your body feel good (so long as you're not fighting a legit medical issue that does require a more acute nutrition plan) and you will inevitably choose high-vibe and vitality-rich goods more often. And we do not need to label the other stuff "bad"!
I for one am tired of the blah, blah, blah. Both from society, and from inside my own head. So I am choosing to shut that shit UP. For good. And I will eat how I feel, letting my newfound "intuitarian" lifestyle be my guide.