I feel confused, challenged, embarrassed, relieved, sad and excited.
It’s about my identity.
It’s about food.
It all started a few weeks ago when comments on my Paleo Vegan Crunch Bar recipe decided I wasn’t vegan because I used honey in my recipe. Honestly, I’d just never thought of honey in my vegan diet. Still, it led to me thinking of how much of a label being vegan often was.
This week I’ve been craving eggs. Like I’m imagining the crispiness of the edges in the skillet and how the inside can be just a little gooey in my dreams. I want eggs from my mouth to my toes and I can’t make myself forget about them.
But I’m vegan. So I’ve resisted. Of course. But resisting something I want so badly didn’t make sense in my head so I stopped to think about it.
I realized that being vegan had become about “looking good.” Rather than indulging my evolving tastes and interests, I told myself no… because I’m “vegan.” It felt inauthentic. Saying no felt like I was pushing down a part of myself because I was afraid of what others would think or that I would look less “good.”
I’ve loved my vegan diet for the past four years because it eliminated sluggishness and stomach pains. It was a diet based on compassion and clean health. The political statement and ecological footprint were bonus. This diet worked for me. I ate at fantastic restaurants, I created dishes in my own kitchen and I ran more than ten marathons on this plant-based, animal-free diet.
I’m a different person now. I lift more weights and I’m more active in general. I avoid soy and beans because they leave me bloated and in pain; I avoid wheat-based meat alternatives as I strive to stick to whole foods and avoid gluten. Other than veggies that are higher in protein, I’m left with nuts and protein powder. It hasn’t been cutting it.
So I am taking a stand to be strong enough to not be perfect. To give myself compassion to live and explore and change and eat an egg if I want (or throw it up if it’s gross). I am letting go of the label and the comfort, identity and “looking good” piece that it brings.
So this is me recognizing that I’m not perfect. That who I am will change and change and I need to be strong enough to be okay with that. Strong enough to ditch my “identity” to try something new.