Sadly, I finished Kathy Freston's "Veganist" today. I say sadly because, as any reader knows, a good book becomes a friend, and turning the last page means saying goodbye. This is why it's not uncommon for avid readers to read some of their favorites over and over again. Of Note: I've only read one book twice in my life and it was, "Rats Saw God" by Rob Thomas. I read it in High School and again in college. Not sure why I capitalized H and S in high school, but we'll leave it ;)
Anyway- this book opened me up and spoke directly to my soul. I fell like Kathy knew me, and wrote it for me. For the person on a spiritual journey. This isn't about Christianity singularly, it's about MY spirit and YOUR spirit, and all of the things we do, places we go, people we meet, and the things we eat that serve our spirit. The condition of our spirit defines the condition of our emotions, which defines how we life our lives with other people.
Eating is, has been, and always SHOULD be a spiritual experience. To eat mindfully is to realize what you're putting in your mouth will affect your hunger now, and your health later. To eat from...the...earth connects you with the beginning of time, the very plants (and animals if you go that route) that God provided FOR US back in Eden. Our spirits should always dwell in Eden, should always dwell before "The Fall."
I don't mean to get heady about it, but so many of the words in her book felt like a gut punch, in the best way a gut punch could feel. I suddenly looked at my kitchen-in my fridge, freezer, and pantry- and studied what they all said about me, my family, how we live our lives, how we choose to live our future.
Now, I don't know where my spiritual path with food will take me. I don't know if I will ever "become" a card-carrying Vegan. However, I know that I will forever make choices based on the world. In no other country than the U.S.A. does what we eat say so much about how we view ourselves, our place in the world, and the place of others in the world. My kitchen is now more a place of ingredients. A place to make food, not store food that others have made that can last an odd amount of time on a shelf. Grab and Go food around here is in the form of fruits, vegetables, and homemade bread.
On this road I can certainly say I will never again eat as much meat as I have been. That is for certain. I can envision myself not eating flesh ever again. Not so much because I think it's wrong to eat animals and everyone should be ashamed- it's just not currently sitting right with me for a host of reasons better saved for an entirely different post. I've gone YEARS without eating meat before, only to forget in a split second bite of a burger why I ever made that choice in the first place.
If my journey to "eating nirvana," if you will, DOES lead me to Veganism, I can also say with certainty that bacon and cheese will be the last things to go- and likely in that order. I don't drink cow's milk now as it is (I just dont- I drink almond milk mostly...again, that could be another post) so that part of dairy won't be difficult to part with. However bacon and cheese are spiritual experiences on their own. And, I've tried fake bacon..........once........it's just insulting ;) I can't say I've ever tried fake cheese. I've used vegan grated "parmesan cheese" before but it's more for salt than taste anyway, and I didn't notice much difference.
This post wasn't entirely spawned by "Veganist." I also, this week, watched "Food, Inc." Due to reading "Veganist" at the same time, and having spent several years as a vegetarian for a number of reasons, AND frequenting the PETA site, not a TON in that movie was shocking- but it was very cerebral. It tied in the slaughter house snuff that PETA shows with the food industry molestation, portrayed by "Fast Food Nation" or "Supersize Me." It ties it together in an eloquent package and doesn't get in your face Michael Moore style. It's educated, it's well thought out, and should be viewed by everyone, including the a-holes at Monsanto :)
Can you all vow to check out some of the resources I've mentioned to see how you can make your dinner table a symbol for how you choose to live your life, treat your planet, and provide for your descendants?