I have always been a health and wellness-minded person. I believe it’s because I overcame leukemia at age three, ever since then I’ve recognized how important my health is and I’ve done everything in my direct control to be proactive in my mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health.
Growing up I educated myself on healthy diets, and even in the third grade, I got many cookbooks at the local library for healthy kids (written for the parent) which focused on low sugar, organic, whole foods, and the elimination of certain ingredients like dairy.
I felt so much better with these changes and I liked knowing I was being healthy. I felt in control and when I was eating this way, I felt good about myself. If I didn’t sustain it though, I wouldn’t feel good about myself as a person: so I avoided that as much as possible.
More recently, I stopped drinking alcohol in 2016 as I realized it was impacting my health while taking certain medications that interacted with it. Prior to taking the medication though, I was dependent on alcohol and I didn’t see that as impacting my health.
You could say I was less health-conscious during this time period, throughout high school and college where binge drinking was the norm continuing a few years after graduating.
Once I stopped drinking, I replaced my unhealthy habits with healthier options. I took up meditation, started holistic treatments such as reiki, hypnosis, shamanic healing, and essential oils.
I started a wellness education business I run now and took an integrative wellness life coach training. In this training, I learned so much about how to manage all areas of mind-body-spirit wellness.
What I learned from this training was that there were health benefits from a plant-based diet, especially from the recommended documentaries, Forks Over Knives, and What the Health.
I learned about the decrease in inflammation and lowered cholesterol and the benefits for mood. I also found out how much better this diet was for the environment. This was coinciding with my own spiritual awakening, born out of the death of my dad in 2016. Since then I’ve gone through massive growth in a short amount of time.
Once I started eating plant-based, I started seeing animals as sentient beings and could feel a new connection with them, that was something I had never experienced before. Abstaining from eating animals made me feel connected and I loved that feeling.
What I learned was that an obsession with eating healthy can also be an addiction, with an extreme focus on diet. I had just moved my addiction around to something else. I’d been eating a vegan diet for almost two years and had no issue sticking to it.
It was really easy to restrict myself (almost too easy…) and I didn’t see that that could be unhealthy when all I was trying to do was the opposite! It made me proud that I could choose what was healthy, so I started eliminating other things that were giving me digestive issues such as gluten, refined sugar, and sugar from fruits.
I suspected I had parasites from digestive issues I’ve had (without any actual evidence of parasites) and restricted myself in an attempt to remove them.
Then one week, I was feeling really hungry. No matter what delicious plant-based food I ate, I was still ravenous. Nothing I ate satiated this feeling. And that was because I was ignoring my body’s wants. It didn’t want to be restricted, it wanted to feel free to eat what it wanted. When it didn’t get that, it still sent messages of hunger.
It was serendipitous that I found out about a wellness blogger I follow, called The Balanced Blonde’s, experience with orthorexia and trying to be healthy. I knew it was a sign that I needed to find balance again. I believed in veganism with my whole heart, but I realized it was okay to listen to what my body wanted for once.
It wanted to eat fish so I had salmon, which I bought and prepared it baked with vegan butter and panko breadcrumbs. I also wanted strawberries so I got those, and whole grains like farro.
While I did experience digestive issues, I was surprised to also experience anxiety around eating these foods again. Even though they were healthy things, I had deemed them as ‘bad.’ Therefore eating them, made me feel bad. Like I was a bad person! I knew something was very wrong about this perception of myself.
I decided my next step would be to accept myself as I am and listen to my body’s needs, from an intuitive place.
I chose to be on a (mostly) plant-based diet, but I’m rewriting the rules with the opportunity for more wiggle room. I’m learning about codependency, from the book “You’re not Crazy, You’re Codependent” and how this can also be tied to restrictive behavior in food consumption.
Apparently there is a program based on the book “The Psychology of Food” that makes the connection between food, money, and power, and I’m looking more into this because it truly is all connected!
Our upbringing can also affect our views on food, and what foods are ‘good’ and ‘bad.’ In my home, it was almost always healthy eating with little processed foods and not much sugar (which is a good thing) however it gave me the sense that being healthy all the time is the ‘rule’ and that there are no exceptions.
Being healthy is a virtue, but that doesn’t mean at the expense of losing joy in life. I spent a lot of my time thinking about planning what to eat, cooking it, and I didn’t want to have to worry about that all the time anywhere. Life is about so much more than eating.
I know it’s possible to be healthy 80–90% of the time and have room for fun and let go of worry. Recently I had some ice cream and I let myself enjoy it. Life is too short and I’ve learned that giving myself grace is healthier than going for perfectly healthy all the time (not sustainable or enjoyable!).
Emotions can be the root cause of our eating habits, and so I’m learning to eat intuitively now. My business Guide to Wholeness Healing has been focused on educating about veganism, and now I’m sharing how to make more plant-based meal choices in a balanced way.
So much of my healing has been about choosing the Middle Path in the Buddhist way and doing away with black and white thinking. This is is just another iteration of that, finding balance is always the focus in all areas of life.
Check out my course on how to transition to a balanced healthy plant-based lifestyle which I created following this revelation: https://www.guidetowholenesshealing.com/govegan
You can also receive my free guide on Ayurvedic lifestyle shifts and essential oil blends to balance your dosha by joining my newsletter here: https://www.guidetowholenesshealing.com/