I have always had this noticeable relationship with food. I remember in middle school, telling a classmate that yes, I am a vegetarian; I just eat lobster. I did not really understand what I was really proclaiming, but there is a foreshadowing of truth within these years of youth.
Years later, I considered myself a true pescatarian – no meat, only fish. I then evolved into a full vegetarian, still eating dairy and eggs. I was comfortable here, but my diet stayed ever fluent. When I went to Europe for the summer after my undergraduate graduation, I ate meat, as a ways to explore the various cultures and in support of their more humane practices involving animal consumption. When I went to Mexico, I chose to eat fish. If I ever had a true craving for something outside of my diet over the years, I allowed myself to eat it.
This evolving relationship with food mirrored my studies and developed into a passion for nutrition. I have both a Bachelor and Master of Science in Nutrition. From growing up in an Italian household filled with fresh Mediterranean and Italian American dishes to my studies and food-related passions, nutrition, food, and cooking are an integral part of my identity.
Turning vegan was not a preconceived notion nor was it planned. After years of a primarily vegetarian diet, I woke up on September 5 suddenly and randomly inspired to make a change. I declared myself emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically able and willing to turn vegan, and it has been overall smooth sailing since.
I have had three slip ups. I purchased a chocolate treat from Trader Joe’s, reading the ingredients and declaring it vegan friendly. When I got home and tried one, I was inspired to read the ingredients again and discovered I missed “butter oil.” Oops. Another time I ate an English muffin assuming it was vegan but read the ingredients after. It contains milk. Another oops. My only known slip was at Ommegang Brewery in Upstate New York. I wanted to try the beer which contained toffee (milk based food). I had one sip. But, I am human. And considering I have neither had cravings for any animal products (cheese included!) nor faced true temptation over the course of the past month, I consider my timing perfect for making this choice. I have gone in 100 percent and am not looking back.
Talking about the benefits of this change that I have experienced is interesting and inspiring. My life has seemingly ricocheted since one month ago today. Energetically speaking, I have opened up. I have learned more and more about what makes me happy, what keeps me healthy, what honors my body. I have been increasingly honest with myself, made impossible decisions, felt more inspired and creative, and generally felt better about myself and my life. Physically, I have lost weight and felt more agile and healthy. I have not experienced any bloating. I have also been practicing yoga everyday and developed a truer appreciation for my body and the desire to treat it well.
Simply said, my life has grown in so many ways, in various directions over the past month. New opportunities have presented themselves. I am finding myself living in more of a feeling state of being on the right track, in gratitude, and I feel wholly passionate about my new dietary lifestyle. It feels like keeping my vessel pure. I do not even entertain having any animal products; they are no longer a temptation to me because I know what eating entirely plant based feels like. I have always been healthy, but I feel healthier and proud for making a positive decision for myself, one that lead the way or opened the door to a month of goodness and growth. I am in the midst of transformation, a butterfly birthing from her cocoon, and committing to a vegan lifestyle paved the way for this evolution to occur. If you genuinely feel better about yourself, you will start treating yourself better, whatever that means for you personally, and experience various benefits in all areas of your life. Veganism has been an act of self-love, as well as an act of love for the planet, the animals, and humanity itself, because I pave the way for others to follow in my footsteps, if they feel aligned. Yoga is another act of self-love, as is writing, reading, showering, spending time in nature, bonding with my dog, Leo, serving others (beautiful karma and the Golden Rule), and having an overall healthy, stress-free lifestyle, filled with love, enriching experiences, and a general trust and zest for life.
I was unsure if I would ever call myself a vegan, and it happened out of the blue, which I say as a nod to Kala Ambrose, an author I enjoy, and to something I read recently in her book “The Awakened Aura.” She explains that when people declare they did something or realized something “out of the blue,” they are unknowingly but accurately describing the auric field color around them. Their mental energy field connects with their intuitive abilities to draw the energy down into the aura, bringing the information to them. I received the intuitive insight to go vegan when I was meant to hear it and incorporate it, which is why it has been a rather easy transition. The timing was right. I was ready.
Though I am so passionate about and a bit obsessed with my new lifestyle, I am merely here to share my experiences, not force ideals on you, on clients, or on anyone. As a self-claimed spiritual nutritionist, I recognize that there is no judgment regarding food and what one eats from a higher perspective. If you are looking for a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling lifestyle, I can help you get there, and the road may or may not include dietary revisions, depending upon what is right for you.
If you are reading this, feeling ready to make a positive change in your diet that will lead to increased happiness in all areas of your life, I invite you to start small. Assess your current diet. Focus upon what you can add to your diet, rather than what you can take away. You do not want to end up with a focal point on the food or foods you do not want to eat or are staying away from, as this can lead to increased resistance and, ultimately, eating the denied foods. Load up on more of the good; release focus on the foods or habits you wish to ween out. Eat more plants: fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, legumes, and whole grains. Drink more water to flush your system and all the physical, mental, and emotional toxins you are cleansing as you better yourself. Make easy and healthy switches or adjustments. For example, choose to cook with coconut oil instead of butter, margarine, or vegetable oil. Purchase raw nuts instead of roasted. Commit to never using table salt and to only using Himalayan or another sea salt. There are various ways to improve your health and wellbeing without feeling like you need to revamp your lifestyle. You will feel inspired, proud, and passionate as you incorporate these or other small changes into your lifestyle, which may motivate you to keep going and continue to make healthier choices for yourself.
The world can be big and bad, but it can also be bright and beautiful, if only we have the eyes to see. The beginning stages of committing to a healthier lifestyle can feel overwhelming, as we are constantly surrounded by food, fast food, processed foods, and in general just a lot of “junk” that is passed off as food. It may start to become obvious how backwards our food and health system is, as we essentially have to keep our blinders on around the majority of the food we come across. Just know, I am proud of you for having the courage to live a happier and healthier life. A vegan lifestyle has showed me that it is possible to dream bigger. It is possible to be happier, to be more self-loving, and to feel freer. It is possible to live the life of your dreams and to be happy. Whatever it is you desire for yourself, I desire for you too, and I encourage you to step into your power and have the courage to get there.