I’ve been thinking about becoming a vegan for a while. When I say a while, I mean 4 years.
When I was in Ubud, Bali, I visited a restaurant called Soma. Its menu was full of raw food options, fruit smoothies, organic veg all served in an array of interesting colours, and stacks with sauces that made you feel like you had supped from the elixir of life.
It was the first time I’d been exposed to that kind of food, cooked in that kind of way, and presented so daintily. I felt lighter in body and soul just looking at it, never mind eating it. I went back every day for the week I was in Ubud, and it had stuck in the back of my mind as a unique and welcome experience.
A few months later, and sixteen days on the Everest Basecamp trek I became vegan temporarily because it would have been stupid to attempt anything different. Electricity became sparse the further up we went, so you could forget refrigeration. Porters could only deliver by foot over a course of a few days, and there were certainly no farms as such, just a few tea houses along the way. The choices were curried lentils and curried lentils. It was that simple. Readily available, and gave us oodles of energy for the hike.
Fast forward 4 years and I’m back in the big smoke. As I cultivate the level of mindfulness today that I lacked in 2011, I am aware of how poorly aligned it is to be consuming high fats, all kinds of meats and processed foods, but then working hard to cleanse my mind, and turn my belief system around 180 degrees.
A Course in Miracles explains that the body is a temple that houses your soul. It is the facilitator for expressing your unique and ever-present miracle-mindedness in the world. Perhaps its easy to ignore just how key the body is to realising true enlightenment as we’re busy straightening out our minds.
Yet mind-life is deeply connected with the physical brain and the corporeal organism of the body. The beliefs within the mind are busy organising the inner cells, atoms and molecules of the body into the reality that I am creating.
I couldn’t help but wonder how much I truly value my inner self if I’m busy filling the key facilitator of my reality (the body) with junk food. I sit on my yoga mat in deep meditation trying to ignore just how bloated and sluggish I feel! I have enough awareness now to recognize there is a misalignment. I am also aware I have been ignoring it for quite a long period of time, and feeling uncomfortable for dilly-dallying about taking action.
And so it’s 2016. I’ve started my journey with… a Tesco grocery shop (you’ve got to start somewhere!). I’m taking my other half Mike along for the ride. He’s started body building at the end of November 2015, and his goal for 2016 is to bulk up. He is curious to see how it is even possible to achieve the level of calories he will need to reach the shape and build he wants to be, but that will be all part of his journey.
I usually have the answers for him, but today as we discussed our new way of life, I didn’t have a clue. It was OK, and to be expected. For once, I’m not Miss Know-It-All, but I’m one step ahead of where I was yesterday, and to even start means that inner belief-niggle is starting to wane.
We’re both equally confused, a little worried, but in wonderment as to how this journey might change our bodies and souls. Either way, we both agreed, we are more likely to be in a better position than we are right now, and certainly in no worse position.
Here is a snapshot of our first grocery shop for 2016.
I sat on our sofa with about 16 tabs open all with recipes from Yummly, Deliciously Ella, and of course Peaceful Dumpling.
The grocery shop was, well, haphazard:
“There’s pumpkin in a lot of these recipes, bung it in the basket.”
“Chickpeas! That’s lentil stuff right, so that’s vegan? I’m sure we can make something out of that.”
“Vegan chili? What’s in that? Quorn, or something else? What is Quorn anyway? On no, it’s ok it’s with lentils, crisis averted. Tofu, ok cool, is that like cheese? Can I grate that onto the chili? Ok we’ll figure that out after. I’ve only ever had that in Chinese restaurants… do I need to make a stir fry then? No? I don’t know either… I also don’t know if it goes off quickly but I guess we’ll see at the end of next week if it turns green. Unless it’s green when you buy it, in which case we’ll know the next morning haha.”
Right now, I’m in the food types and recipe learning curve. I’m sure the layers of the culture of Veganism go very deep, but I’m at the point where I only know the basics, and not very well. It’s the exciting stage, the stage where the possibilities and trajectories of the journey are endless.
The next stage will be realising just how much there is to know (and realising that I don’t know it just yet), trying it (and probably failing a lot), and all in all getting a bit down about the whole experience. I don’t know how I will handle that just yet, but knowing that it’s very likely to happen will help me continue to make the right choices in this new lifestyle.
What will be the most valued outcome from the change: a more balanced mind? More energy? Alignment? A lighter footprint on the world? I’m not sure yet, but I want to find out! And articles such as this by Mary here at Peaceful Dumpling are really helping me gain a sense of focus.
So this post is about not knowing all the answers. It’s about roughly bumping forward in a direction that will lead to a bright, energy-fuelled, and wholesome 2016. It’s about doing something about that niggle in your heart and gut that tells you you’re not quite feeling how you want to feel, and honestly asking yourself – what steps will I finally take to change this?
If I told you from the minute you are born to the minute you die you will only ever have one car. Would you fill it with grubby oils, run it into the ground, never put water in the engine? No chance! You’d care, clean, buff, change, refresh every aspect and make sure it was in tip top condition so it ran smoothly and took you from where you are to where you want to be throughout life. Isn’t it time to treat your body the same way?
If you, like us, are a new vegan for 2016–we want to hear about it! Or if you’re a seasoned vegan, share some of your insights. Also, follow our vegan and mindful journey on Instagram over at @curiouslyjen and @mikeskipton.
Some new vegan resources: Beginner’s Guide to Tofu
6 Tricks to Being Vegan on a Budget
Vegan Cooking Tips for the Novice or Reluctant Chef
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Photo: Anthony Delanoix via Barn Images; Jen Francis