As you may have gathered at this point, I LOVE ice cream, and I am not afraid to shout it to the world.
I was vegan for a year.... That was great and all. Really and truly. I felt great, I never got sick. It was a very rewarding way of life. I cut caffeine, sugar, chemicals, artificial sweeteners and eventually, even gluten! I had one vice. Only one. Cheese. Since my journey to becoming vegan had nothing to do with deprivation, I would give into my cravings if I could not appease them with something else. So, there was the occasional ďCheat DayĒ.
After one year of this, my experience with veganism had left me wanting. I had realized that veganism didnít come alone. It had a friend... Judgement. I was tired of judging food. I was tired of judging others and I was tired of judging myself. So, I set off on a different journey. To completely eliminate bias towards food.
Quantum physics tell us that what we think about our food influences our bodies reaction to the food, more than the food itself. This is why we have all witnessed the ďskinny"person who eats all the junk they want, and the ďfatĒ person who is always dieting, but never with much success.
I found myself wanting to transcend judgment. I wanted to free myself of all the ďshoulds", and the guilt. I just wanted to enjoy my food and my body. I did some research. Which included reading "When Food is Food and is Love is Love" by Geneen Roth, as well as listening to all the content by Abraham Hicks I could get on the suject, and delving into quantum physics, among other things. I wanted to be an intuitive eater, and I wanted to be able to keep my body beautiful and healthy at the same time.
It hadnít even occurred to me when I was vegan that I had barely eaten any ice cream in an entire year! Because, there was always rice-cream or coconut ice cream or some other substitute. Which, I found, is really a poor excuse for the real thing. I had nearly reached a state of shock as I spooned it in my mouth, that I had nearly forgotten the taste of Cold Stones deliciously delightful Cake Batter! Out of sight, out of mind, right?
Well, I found joy that day. The day ice cream came back into my life and filled it with precious, blissful moments. After I became ďnon-veganĒ I ate A LOT of ice cream. It seemed like an eternity that I was eating a pint of ice cream every two days! Sometimes, it had to be more. I was scooping it out morning, noon and night. I wanted it all the time and I was quickly shoveling it out with a spoon almost every time I passed the fridge.
For a long time, I gained no weight. Zero. To this day, I am still my same size and all of my clothes still fit me. But, still, I remember stuffing my belly with it and hoping I would get sick of it, because I knew I was surely eating too much.
Finally, after buying two large tubs of some horribly ďbad for youĒ custom concoction from Cold Stone, I was over it. A week went by and I wasnít eating ice cream every day. Two weeks went by and I hadnít bought any ice cream. (mind you, there were still at least 4 pints in the fridge)
Do I still eat ice cream? Yes! Iíve just come to a point where I can keep a spoon out of my mouth for long enough to write about it. Right now, as I sit here, I can tell you that I finished off a pint of Haagen Dazs Green Tea ice cream this morning, that I just purchased last night.
It has taken me some time to really understand how I want to eat. I have realized that I really like eating a vegan diet as a regular thing. I go crazy without produce! I experience the positive results in my mind and in my body, but I donít have to be ďVeganĒ. I donít have to label myself, hold myself up to some standard of perfection and then wonder why I struggle with wanting cheese. It just doesnít have to be that way.
The most important thing in life is following your joy. There should be no struggle, period. If you are struggling with something, that is an opportunity for you to transcend the issue and to find more harmony within yourself.
Post-vegan, my tastebuds are much more sensitive. I can taste everything! I can pinpoint that cheap, fake tasting ice cream and I now know exactly the reason why I pay for Haagen Dazs. Becoming a mindful and intuitive eater means that I am fully present to enjoy each precious bite in its entirety.
For me, being vegan didn't make me a mindful eater. It was more the opposite. I didnít have to think much about how to eat because all the things I was eating were healthy. Once I started being mindful is when I noticed that I was eating when I wasnít hungry. Who cares if you eat too much spinach? I didnít. But after learning about being a mindful eater, I realize now that eating is an act towards yourself.
Depending on how you eat, you are either being careless, abusive or loving towards yourself, every time you eat. I realize that itís not about what I choose to eat, but about choosing to do it lovingly. So, here is how I do it now. I eat whatever I want. Which can be a tricky thing. It takes a lot of self awareness to realize that you donít actually want ice cream all the time. I found that I actually prefer to eat vegan about 90-95% of the time. If I really want to eat something else, thatís what I do, and I can do it without struggle because I do not adhere to any label. I donít try to be a vegan. I donít label myself. I just like eating vegan most of the time.
But it works both ways. I eat what I want no matter if it is vegan or not. Iím not going to shovel down a cheese quesadilla out of convenience if thatís not actually what I want. Just because Iím not vegan, doesnít mean I should just forget how to follow my joy when it comes to eating. And thatís really what it comes down to. Just because ice cream is good, doesnít mean that itís going to be my joy to eat ice cream 7 days a week (anymore!).
Sometimes my joy is a superfood smoothie, a tomato or an avocado. I find joy in putting thought and care into what I eat. I also find joy in accepting all food as neutral ground. I donít judge what Iím eating anymore. I donít judge what anybody else is eating anymore. That change has greatly improved the quality of my thoughts and my life.
So, I think the idea here is acceptance, non-judement and joy. You just canít live your most joyful life if you are judging everything. Even if itís just food. At the end of the day, Itís just food. Let it be a source for joy, all labels aside.