[STORIES] A Life Lesson I have Learned in Nine Years of Being Vegan

Contributing Author: Sibilla Iacopini
Translation: Mauro Clerici

Nine years ago I became vegetarian, and after that I went vegan, and then some more extreme. I made these choices for ethical and healthy reasons in mind, but ultimately I was also rewarded with a sense of control over myself.  Some of the things I've learned from that experience I still use them today, although in a more rewarding way than when it all began. 

I never felt that I was fitting the typical vegan model in which, I found,  I was supposed to act superior to anyone else's diets; however, I had to continuously defend myself against accusations and questioning of my principles: "so, don't you think that carrots too suffer when you eat them?".

My journey to veganism from a health point of view started with the basic vegetarian concept you can find anywhere online and that states that "meat is just bad for you"; it causes cancer, and mass production is cruel to the animal. Getting rid of meat, I must confess was the easiest of all steps.

Dairies came next, allegedly causing digestion issues and part of the controversial high-protein diet. Eggs were next; they are involved in the unhealthy and animal-cruel factory farms practices, and they are plenty of substitutes that can be used in their replacement: potato starch, agar powder, flax seeds. Eggs had to go!

 
 

Ehretism was the next step for me, in addition to my vegan diet, I also I removed all mucus-inducing food: cereals, cornmeal, pastas. That felt really good. Maybe, after all, there is such a thing as the perfect diet. 

Then I found raw foodism, who stick to uncooked and unprocessed food; how to blame them? If we survived thousand of years without cooking our food, why couldn't I? 

Among the raw foodism I discovered fruitarianism: these extreme purists believe that only certain fruit, vegetables and nuts should be part of an all-around tasteful food, preferred over unpleasent-tasting  vegetables such as cabbage, on top of junk food and animals. Among them, more extreme practicing followers would pick a single fruit like an apple, and praise its healthy structure and nutritious components; sure thing it could contains everything I need to survive. A perfect diet, I thought.

There were a few more diets left to try at this point, such as the the Prana light diet, where light is the only thing you need. That would have been reaching absolute perfection.

That's when I decided it was about to STOP hurting my body, and learned how to listen to it by focusing my mind. Until then, I just made choices based on how I felt at the moment, without questioning why I was doing it, and how my body felt. I was only listening to my mind telling me that was the right thing to do, and the relief coming from it was enough to keep me satisfied...for a short while.

The whole experience led me to the knowledge that the body seemed to be the middle piece of a huge matryoshka-like universe. Access Consciousness, one of the techniques I used, helped me  getting back in touch with my body's cravings, desires, talents and preferences. 

 
 

For instance, I suddenly realized that even after so many years of abstinence, my body was still craving meat. Taking my diet to the extreme I learned that the famous saying "as above, so below" has never been so true.

For the first time in years, I asked myself these questions: 

If I'm able to perceive and absorb other people's pain,  would that generate less pain?

What would it be to choose to have all the space, attention, nourishment, money, loving care that our body asked and deserve?

Is the vegan diet light or heavy on my mind and body?  Is my body trying to tell me something about it, and am I listening to it?

Could such a dieting restriction save exploited animals, and the planet, eventually? What if the planet is asking us to simply be more joyful and conscious of our surrounding?

 If I recognize myself as a problem solver, what would I need to create in my life to be part of the solution? How can we change and contribuite in changing the world, if we are not willing to give ourselves what we need? 

What does it feel like when we chose to eat what our body asks for, just because it tastes good?  Would we eat less? Would we eat better ? What if the body alone was allowed to choose for us?

Today I only eat what my body feels like, just as much as it wants. I don't know what dietician, vegetarians, vegans, macrobiotics, my mother (hello mom!) and other experts would say; to me, this is pure bliss, and I haven't stopped yet to gain awareness from this huge sense of freedom. I feel like I never felt before: healthy and loving myself more than I ever did.

 
 

The author of this article, Sibilla Iacopini, is a certified Access Consciousness facilitator, and a health counselor based in Milan, Italy, where she assists and inspire people to achieve their life goals. She currently resides in Hoboken,NJ for a short visit. You can leave comment on this page, or contact her directly here.

 

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