One of my biggest goals for my trip to Israel was to simplify. To let go of bullshit rules and games we all play with ourselves: i.e. “I can’t eat ____, I have to wait for him to text me first, I don’t want them to think I’m too ____, I can’t do ____ past a certain time., If I say how I feel or what I want it might upset someone…” I went full “vacation mode” and threw all of these things out the window. And…I have never been happier.
As humans, we crave structure and discipline. But what if some of that structure is just a failed attempt to implement more control? For the recovery of my eating disorder, it’s important for me to have as little rules and restrictions as possible. A huge part of my past disordered eating was an effort to control a life I felt I had little free will or say in. It is an exercise in trust to lessen my grip on as many things as possible, including my diet. I have to lean into trust. Trust that my intuition is strong enough at this point to guide me with discernment to make healthy choices. It’s not about meat or diet...it’s about my SANITY and ditching labels that don’t serve us but restrict us.
I have no dietary restrictions or intolerances, and my IBS is pretty much dependent on my mental state. For the past 8 years, I’ve been bouncing between strict veganism/lenient vegetarianism, and never consuming a bite of meat. Despite poor physical health, low energy, chronic injuries and sickness, and fatigue—I refused to touch meat. My abstinence from meat began with the surge of veganism trend, but I held onto it because it felt good to have something be “off limits.” After healing my eating disorder, it allowed me to hang on to an ounce of my old operating system under the guise of “saving the animals.” The reality is, there was a very old and irrational script in the back of my mind that told me if I ate meet I was unworthy, unlovable, a failure, and would gain a million pounds. The healthier and more intuitive I became with my eating, the less abstaining from meat felt aligned. However, it had been so long since I had consumed meat that the craving wasn’t actually there. Meat had almost not been a food to me at that point.
The real thing that inspired me to try meat (after years of friends and family begging me to do it), was how crappy my body felt. I frequently felt bloated yet unsatisfied and unsatiated after meals, and I was getting colds every other or even every month! I felt utterly depleted when my period came. I was literally dreaming of eating chicken salad sandwiches, which was such a clear queue from my body that I wasn’t listening to for the longest time. Another huge inconvenience to avoiding eating meat was that it often created divide and distance in social gatherings. I would often need to scan a menu before agreeing to go somewhere, my friends and family would bend over backwards and adjust plans to make sure I could be accommodated, not to mention—when I traveled, there were so many aspects of the culture that I couldn’t experience. When I went to Israel on this trip, I didn’t want to deal with any of that. I was with a big group, and I wanted to go with the flow. And let me tell you, it was sooo F R E E I N G. Someone would ask if I wanted to try a bite of their amazing dish and I would just do it. Someone would suggest an amazing restaurant and I would just go. I got to listen to my body’s intuition rather than rely on hard boundaries to guide me. At one point those boundaries may have served me, and I honor and thank them for that. But I release what is no longer necessary.
Am I a huge carnivore now? Heeeeellll no. Will I just consume any meat anywhere? Helllll no. The minute I told my brother I was eating meat again he was like, “We’re going to In-n-out wahoooo!” I promptly shut that down. As a new meat-eater, I want to be super diligent about only consuming responsibly.
I honestly probably eat the equivalent of 1-2 meat or fish servings per week (if that). It’s more about lifting this restriction I had set upon myself because it felt protective and served me for those 8 years. The rule applies here too, I’m not now a “meat eater,” I just don’t have a food restriction anymore. The reality is I will probably still eat a vegetarian diet more than 90% of the time.
Old me would have been so stressed + full of anxiety about eating differently, skipping workouts, letting go, and indulging for my soul while on vacay. These days, IDGAF. And guess what—i don’t gain a million pounds, and i am genuinely SO happy to be experiencing a culture through the food. I eat all the pastries, pita, and hummus—and then i put on a swimsuit and play by the sea. No guilt. No shame. Just experiencing, living life, and creating pure joy! There are more important things to worry about than workouts and eating perfectly all the time.
Letting go of our own fears and restrictions means leaning into TRUST in our bodies and hearts that when we experience LOVE & JOY, everything else will be released that we don’t need to hold onto. What we feel energetically towards what we consume is far more important than what we consume itself.