One of the first things I noticed after engaging in a plant based way of eating was the shift in my mood. I'm sure my digestion and energy improved, but these things come and go and are influenced by more than just what we ingest. But my mood, I felt lighter, happier, more even, less mood swings, less pms, less cranky, more easy going, and I'd like to think I was nicer, because I was definitely less bitchy!! This was an interesting observation, because I was expecting things like more energy, weight loss, etc. Well, expectation leads to suffering, and usually what we expect is not at all what we get. So I went with these noticeable changes, as I really enjoyed what was shifting in my life because I was eating more plants and less animal products.
That was about 7 years ago, and since then I have become completely plant based/animal free, eating as many whole foods as possible, and staying away from processed grains, mock meats and other highly fabricated food items. Of course in the last few years I really noticed the difference in digestion, energy, sleep, as well as my ability to be motivated and just get through the day. And I can confidently say that the early changes I noticed in my mood have held strong, and are probably even stronger now. Yes the mind and body are powerful drivers to influence the current mood state as well, yet it's been amazing to see just the positive changes that eating clean, whole plant foods have brought to my mood, emotions and well being.
Not to say that my emotions are always even. They are most definitely not. I don't think I'd be human if they were smooth and steady! What I feel is more resilience, more softening, easier to come to compassion, less judgement, less harshness. Yes I can get stressed out and need to scream into a pillow. Yes I can get really down and sad and mopey. It's the resilience that I notice the most. I could throw down a ton of links to point you to studies and other articles that give evidence to a plant based diet helping with depression, anxiety, mood swings, and more. But you have access to google as easily as I go, so you can GTS any time. I'm more interested in sharing my experience, because I believe that to be more powerful than charts, graphs and statistics.
Our body is a complex machine that most of science and research still does not understand. Even my doctor, who has been a practicing OB for decades, admits that the more he learns about the human body, the less he feels he knows and the more mystified he is. I believe we are physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. I believe what happens in our body when we eat is a lot more spiritual than we realize, and exchanges take place that, at this time, cannot be seen or measured by science.
With that as my disclaimer, I do believe that something happens in our body when we eat meat or other animal products vs when we eat plants. I don't think it's outlandish to speculate that when our body takes on the DNA of another animal, changes can happen that are not so favorable. Not just the physiological occurrences of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol that have all been linked to eating a diet of animal products, but also mental, emotional and spiritual shifts can take place that can't be detected.
What do I mean? Quite frankly, that we take on the energy of the animal when we eat it. For example, eggs are a product of a hen's menstrual cycle. And when eggs are consumed, they carry the energetic vibration of reproduction and life, for a hen. And when a human consumes that, we take it on in our body. It can throw off our own system in countless ways through the endocrine and digestive system. What about cow milk, you know, meant for a baby cow, that is consumed by millions of people worldwide? What do the hormones and building blocks, for a baby cow, do to us mentally, emotionally and spiritually when it's consumed? And then the meat, cow meat, pig meat, poultry meat, how can that affect the body, mind and spirit? Animals taken to slaughter are in a state of fear, panic and distress. Their body holds on to that vibration and energy when they are killed. I firmly believe that's implanted into the meat, and we take that on ourselves when it's consumed. And please don't think that animals are not aware of what's happening to them when they are slaughtered. They are acutely aware and show all the signs of fear and panic.
In my early 20's I was in Moscow, Russia, volunteering with a program teaching English to Russian students. Our large group of very loud, unaccustomed to Russian culture, American girls were riding the escalator down to the metro. We were giggly, boisterous and probably incredibly annoying!! Standing in front of us was a man with a black leather jacket and a ponytail, probably in his 30's. He turned around and said to us loudly in English, "American girls sound like chickens!!" and then turned his back to us again. We all shut up, giggling silently through pressed lips, and didn't say another word. I don't think it's just because we were young, excitable girls that we were talking like that. You are what you eat. You eat chicken, you sound like chickens.
It's almost been a year since I gave birth to our twin sons at 20 weeks. They were born too early to survive so we said hello and goodbye to them in a manner of hours. It is still to this day the most heart-wrenching experience of my life. Not a moment goes by where I don't think of them. I still see myself holding them in the hospital, my husband leaning over me, as we said our final goodbyes. My heart is etched with these memories that can never be erased. It has almost been a year, and although I'm still sad and I miss them like crazy, I'm ok. We're ok. We really are. It's not that life goes on. Life is just different and I can think of them without being overcome with sadness and grief. I can think of them with feelings of joy and gratitude that because of them, I am a mother. I can marvel in the miracle of their short lives.
I believe I am able to do this because of my commitment to a plant based diet and holistic way of living. Sure meditation and yoga can be amazing tools of healing as well. But I'm not very disciplined about meditation and I don't do yoga every day either. What can, and absolutely does, make a difference, is what I chose to put on my plate, in my bowl, in my glass, every single day. You truly are what you eat. The food you eat becomes your cells, your blood, your organs, even your thoughts, your moods and your actions. Yes, you are what you eat. And by choosing compassion every day, by choosing to save animals lives and to not contribute to their suffering, I am choosing what aligns with my morals and values. And this not only feels good, it helps me live a better life. Helps me be my best self. I don't believe I'd be this far into my healing from grief, loss, and anxiety if it wasn't for my plant based diet. Our cells become what we eat.
How could I be a grieving mother, suffering and in pain, and contribute to another's suffering and pain, and expect to heal?
Animals suffer in pain and agony when they die. There is no humane way to kill a sentient being who wants to live. And by choosing to let the animals live, by choosing to eat only a whole foods, plant based diet, I have contributed to my healing. My mind, body and spirit are free because I allow animals to live. I don't take in the energy of their suffering and pain, and in turn, my body is able to heal in it's own way, without the disruptions of the cells and DNA of another living being.
I thank our sons every day for helping me to live a life that shows compassion to all beings. I try my best. I believe my plant based, vegan lifestyle is a huge step in this directions. By practicing the values I believe in, I have a stronger connection to myself, to animals, to the planet, to other human beings, and to the etheric realm as well.
lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu
“May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”