This is a post we’ve been trying to write for months. It’s one that’s been put off, re-worded, scrapped all together, and then typed back up. And the reason is this:
It’s never just about food.
Food is history. It’s our family. It’s the traditions we grew up with. The way’s we celebrate with the people we loved. It keeps us alive. It gives us comfort. It’s the jobs we have. Or the trades and way of life that was passed down by our parents and their parents before them. It is literally our bones, blood and body. In a large part, food, and everything that comes with it, is who we are.
So when we talk about food – what we eat, what we don’t eat, and specifically the why, we are sharing our story – one of the pillars of ourselves. And with that, whether we mean to or not, there can be a hidden accusation. A line, a phrase, a way we say something or an omission which can make the person we are talking to defensive. Because we are also talking about who they are. And if our story makes them question their own, or makes them feel like we do not see the value in their history, how can they possibly listen? How can we connect if they feel they must close their heart?
We would like to share our story. But before there is some very important things to acknowledge.
Let us agree that we are all doing our best in this present moment.
Let us appreciate the complexities that form our decisions. The challenges we have and the choices we made that have brought us here, and let us acknowledge the truth that everyone is living as well as they can in the moment they find themselves in.
Because this is not an inquisition. This is not a call to arms or an attempt to shake you hard enough so that you will change. That is not our right, nor our desire.
We just wish to share a story.
We wish to ask a question.
Questions have always been the force that moved us forward. It’s what led us to new truths, and to a greater understanding of ourselves.
Why do we need all this stuff?
How can we live cleaner?
How can we make more time for our friends, and for our family?
Are we happy with the way we eat?
The last question in that list was our first. It happened along a great change: Our wedding. Together Beverley and I began to talk about if we wanted to eat meat anymore. We were lucky. We were lucky because we lived at a time and in a way where we could buy what we needed to live and eat well without eating the meat of another living thing. That’s honestly how we started. With talks, questions, plans. Seeking out people who had taken the path we were looking down for advice. Because change feels scary and we are a species that learns from each other.
It’s been a little under five years since Beverley and I stopped eating meat, and it now seems like the most normal thing. Since then I have also stopped eating milk, eggs, or anything taken from the body of another. I understand that this might seem foreign, especially to those who have made different choices. But what got me here was the same thing that started it all.
Questions. The desire to grow.
How can I feed my body in a healthy way?
How is the way I live and eat affecting the word?
What can I do to lower my impact on the environment?
Am I being as compassionate as I want to be?
Are the actions I take every day reflecting my morals?
Those were my guide posts. They led me here. They have led me to a place where I can live in line with my heart. Where the things I buy to feed myself contribute to the world in what I believe to be the most positive way possible. For myself, for the future. I eat in a way that is delicious, that fuels me, that, yes, does allow for sweets, or snacks, or the greasy desires of fast food that are rampant in our current way of life. Obviously they look a little different, but rest assured, they are there.
While writing this we’ve intentionally left out the statistics, facts, or arguments that you may have seen before. Not because they aren’t important. But we believe that if you want to, you can find them. If this is a path that you wish to travel you will seek out what you need as you always have in your journey to propel you towards the goal of a more complete you, however that might look.
And now for a question.
How do wish to grow?
How do you wish to change the word? To live fully, completely, and in line with belief? In a world where our dollars reach across the globe and into every farm field, factory, and continent, what impact do you wish to have?
These are big questions. Questions that our plates and fridges and cupboards only have a part to play in. But it’s a part, and more importantly it is a part of us. Our hearts, our bodies.
Now we said before that talking the way we have been, sharing our story, can make others feel like theirs is being challenged. And when we were on that ground, when we felt we were being held to that mirror the great fear was that by changing we were casting aside the sacred things that we had brought with us.
Tradition. Family. Culture.
But culture changes. Traditions meld, and shift and grow with every passing iteration of humanity. It’s what makes them beautiful: We find a way to get at the kernel of what is important and we wrap our lives around it. Changing it forever, giving a new version of something beautiful to our children so that they one day may do the same. Because the truth of the matter is that we create these moments together. We choose how they are important, what needs to be kept, and what will change to meet the needs of now.
Here we choose family. We choose time together. We choose laughter, love, and the sharing of life. Other parts, have changed just like they did in the past, and will continue to. We are always moving forward. We are always changing, so this is not something to fear, but rather a beautiful moment to celebrate.
So what will you choose?
If there are ever any questions you have, or anything you want to know, or talk about, we are here. We would love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading
– teacher vegan minimalist