Once upon a time, I was not a mother. I was not as wise, as gentle, as focused, or as conscious. I was not vegan.
We are here on this planet to grow and change, adapt, evolve, move forward and backwards and spin around in circles. You are never limited to any one choice you have made along the way. Each choice is made based on what you know at that time, what you feel, and where your head and heart were at within that moment. You do the best with what you know, and then when you know more, you do better.
In the past 3 years I have gone through enormous growth - emotionally, spiritually and physically. All of this change and growth has enabled me to really pinpoint my truest values and understand how important it is for me to honor them. The birth of my son River was a huge catalyst for change in my life, much like any mother would likely admit. Becoming a parent and experiencing that type of intense love is absolutely altering on every level. At the young age of 2, he is without a doubt the best teacher I have ever known.
One thing that I realized in the early days of his life was that I owed it to him to give him the best fighting chance to be healthy, happy and full of kindness for all. I believe it is a biological compulsion to want that for your child. That urge can, very unfortunately and quite easily, be overshadowed or diminished by tradition, religion, income and fear. I am no different than any of you in that battle. Old habits die hard, and when it comes to food, habit is an exceptionally powerful thing.
I am fortunate enough to have come from a family where food always had value and meal time was something sacred. For many years my mother and father had our home in a constant state of renovation. In the midst of the drywall dust and power tools, we still sat down together for meal time. Occasionally, our dining set even consisted of turned over buckets or a skid of tiles. Not all meals were homemade during these years, and I often think back in horror at the amount of fast food that we consumed, but the reality is that no one really knew any better. When we weren’t renovating, my mother always labored over a hot stove, which gave me great insight into where our food was coming from, how it was prepared, how much work was involved, and just how much love was injected into every bite.
My three siblings and I have all carried on the very important tradition of sitting our loved ones down at the table, together, at meal time.
I first began playing around with the idea of veganism about 12 years ago. Initially, I knew nothing about why I was really giving up the things I was giving up. I had a couple of friends who introduced me to the lifestyle and it was instinctively appealing. The more I learned the more it made sense. During the years that followed, I see-sawed back and forth between vegan, vegetarian and omnivore. Life began shaping me in other ways, I focused on expanding different parts of myself and I lost my way on a few different occasions. Maybe I wasn’t yet strong enough in my beliefs, or I was too selfish, lacked discipline, or maybe I was just human. None of that matters. That was my journey. And that journey brought me here. You all have your stories as well. Whether you are vegan, or not. Whether you have any desire to fully submerge yourself in that lifestyle or if you are simply looking for some tasty recipes that also happen to be healthy; even that, is part of your story and will eventually contribute to the type of life to which you ultimately commit.
I never stop turning over rocks, looking way up and way down, exploring, questioning and keeping my eyes, mind and heart open always so that I can grow to be the best possible version of me. Although I’ve grown tremendously, I know a few things about myself that have never changed. I am stubborn, opinionated, hard working, resourceful and a BIT of a rebel. I am on a relentless journey to live a kind and compassionate life for myself, for my little boy and for everyone and everything on this planet.
What I want to offer here is a comfortable place to hang out. Where information is available, but never forced down your throat. Somewhere that assists in the growing process. A place that is full of warmth, a place you can feel safe and a place that will hopefully inspire you to change the way in which you live your lives.
That old adage is true. You are what you eat. So eat CLEAN, eat SMART and eat KIND.
Photo by Danielle Matar www.daniellematar.com