My Meat-Free Experience, and Unpacking Food Issues

Happy Memorial Day to all!! I hope you’re enjoying an extended weekend.

Life is starting to look a little more pre-pandemic and I hope with all my heart you are finally able to experience peace and freedom.

It’s 6 AM as I return to the physical plane and I have thoughts to share before the sun rises. They won’t get to you until noon, but that’s fine by me.

As always, this entry is a little deeper than the title would suggest. I’ve been in some lame-as-fuck, on-again-off-again relationships with a few things for literally decades, and that is a serious issue I’m going to be investigating this year and dealing with. I think deep down in my psyche, I believe there is a power in showing your vices who’s boss because there is power in it, but when does “quitting” become just another vice in and of itself?? When do we finally quit all the stop-and-start?? It’s just a way of not really looking at the deeper issues.

Man, I love a good breakthrough moment. That metaphorical slap in the head that brings us to our senses. No one slaps my face, not even Mama Universe, but I’ve taken it to the dome from her a few times when needed.

I’m getting real about it, so it’s time to clear the air and be accountable. I find that once I write about something I’m over it and ready to take real action to change.

Change is necessary. Change is ascension.

The drugs, the food, the booze, the smoking, social media and people. The list of things I go back and forth with is ridiculous, and I’m sick of my own bullshit. I have been for some time but this year is different. I’m not just taking action, I’m continuing the action, and that makes a huge difference in the process and the outcome.

We sometimes bloom late because our true selves were buried under bad situations and we halted our development by using drugs to escape them. I talked about this a couple of years ago when I was on the wagon, and we went over how once we get some sober time and the head becomes clear, we begin to quickly ascend into who we really are. It gets super confusing because there is so much information out there to explore, and we often try to figure ourselves out by any means but the one that actually works. Looking within!!

While the on-again-off-again in my life might look out of control to some, I want to clarify that I do learn from every trial. Because I am a writer who records experiences, it’s very easy to recognize patterns when I’m hyper-focused on healing, and I am.

Nutrition and finding what is best for my body has been one of the biggest challenges because I have a lot of old material around food, as I know many of us do. So let’s talk about it in a real and candid manner.

I grew up in a house that was in constant chaos, so grocery shopping was not on any non-existing to-do list. In fact, I just told John yesterday how I once swore I’d never eat a “Little Debbie” snack again in my life. As we were eating two apiece because they were there. Ugh!!

I’ll get to that discussion later but I have to clarify this, too: I didn’t buy the shit food and I don’t even want it in the house because I have a hard enough time controlling myself when it’s not available. We acquired it by other means, and it helped someone else for us to take it away, but like a stray pet; we can’t keep it.

Anyway….when I was a little girl my dad was always on the go. He worked a construction job by day and he hustled by night. On the weekends we were traveling and visiting friends. His job was to keep me alive and safe. Well-fed just wasn’t a priority for lots of parents. Many of us were ingesting things like ramen noodles and bologna sandwiches. My dad’s weekly “stop by the store” was when he got cheap lunch meat, bread, Miracle Whip, snack cakes and that fruit punch mix that came in the gallon. You know the shit I’m talking about. The sugar water with fruit flavoring and whatever color additives it takes to make it resemble juice.

Dad always kept ground beef in the freezer in case he wanted to make that weird goulash recipe of his, and I often cooked him or his buddies a burger (for a fee) when they were at our place instead of at the bar or biker clubhouse.

It seems as though I’ve always offered food in an attempt to express love. I started my service career young and I’ve had some odd and amazing classrooms to learn in along the way.

The unpacked material around food has come up in therapy and as I transition from eating meat as a staple, I find myself opening that old baggage and sorting through it. I’m going to share with you because I’m betting someone out there is also working through something similar or knows another who is.

In addition to not being a great shopper, when dad’s heroin addiction got real bad, there just wasn’t any food in the house. I can recall times when he’d been gone for what seems like a week or so, and the neighbors would bring me food or invite me over to dinner. I was always super shy about eating at people’s homes too, so I never would go. Even then, I wouldn’t be a victim or accept help. Stupid pride starts early.

I’ve eaten macaroni and cheese with no butter or milk, using oil to make it work. I remember the old commodities dry foods I would attempt to create a meal from, such as canned chicken and noodles, or canned pork and biscuits. It got pretty grimy at the peak of his addiction and then when I started getting in trouble he would withhold food as a punishment.

All our parents did that “you’ll go to bed with no dinner” shit, but my dad took it to the extreme. First of all; dinner?? WTF was that, even?? Egg noodles and butter?? A ham and cheese sandwich from the bar he’d been at?? Bologna and Miracle Whip?? Gross!!

He was clean of drugs by the time he had to pick me up from an Indiana jail when I was 13 and ate White Castle in front of me on the way home. I hadn’t eaten the two days I was there because they served bologna sandwiches, for fuck’s sake.

I probably sound like an entitled brat to some, because I was. I recognize today that many would be so very grateful for those foods I snubbed. But he wasn’t always clean, and there wasn’t always bologna or egg noodles. I also wasn’t always an entitled brat.

I can remember stealing food from the store, and it wasn’t for a thrill. I was desperate to eat at times. I had stolen a can of Manhattan clam chowder once and was pissed off because I was like ten years old and didn’t know it was different than New England style, or that it was simmered in a tomato base. I was all ready for some creamy soup and I opened that can to find nasty ass tomato, which I hated back then. I cried out of frustration and hunger, then threw it away because I mean I really fucking hated tomatoes.

I also remember that in second grade I was skinny because I wasn’t getting proper nutrition, and by third grade I was overweight because I’d learned to steal and stash food.

Third grade was also the year my dad came into some money and we drove across the country to bring my older sister home. She is a phenomenal cook and I plumped up quickly. There was never a food shortage while Char was there, but she moved out and by that time I was a delinquent little demon and knew how to get what I needed to survive.

It didn’t matter that my dad was loaded out of his mind most of the time now and didn’t know his own name, let alone if I was eating right. I always managed to not starve, and he wouldn’t have let me, but the roots of my food issues had definitely taken hold.

This is just a little part of my story. Please don’t judge my dad. He had his own traumas and pain. He did the best he could with the knowledge and skills he had. That’s all there is to that. I love him dearly. He had his shit but he is also a warrior who was able to overcome a lot. He left this earth having healed himself from many afflictions and he always had my back, no matter his parenting mistakes. I respect him and I forgive him. I’m only talking about it because it pertains to this entry and my work today.

Delinquency landed me in the “juvie” where some semblance of order was taught and I had a taste of real nutrition as outlined by the USDA. I mean they had to feed kids healthy in the youth center, right?? Wrong!! I was huge when I left there from Mrs. Early’s soul food. She spoiled us with big spreads three times a day and I bet I would do the same in her position. Meal time was was a regular event for the first time in many of our lives. She understood that and showed us compassion through her cooking.

By high school I had developed a plethora of insecurities surrounding body image, plus I’d long since found pot so I was giving in to the munchies. I’d left the juvenile program at age and size 14 and now I wanted to be thin.

Enter the eating disorder.

I’m telling the whole truth when I tell you I left the detention center and within a week I had all new running gear and was going to take on the world. Wrong again. I ran my ass right over to my old middle-school and juvie friends, and to be quite honest; everything went to shit from there.

High-school, more trauma, a child, a parental suicide, a drug addiction, a couple near deaths, lots of incarceration, relapse, recovery; and still I can’t figure out WTF to eat.

From whatever I could find, to having an abundance of food. From containers to keto. From fasting to binging. It’s all just been too much.

When food was scarce in our childhood we tend to hold insecurities around it, and store it out of fear. Will we have enough?? I don’t want to go hungry again.

When we have loads of trauma and grief we don’t want or know how to deal with, we hold it down by stuffing food on top of it. Of course we are unaware of the pattern at the time.

When our heart hurts we feed our tummy. That’s on our grandma’s generation. They created the “comfort food” concept, I’m sure. When others hearts hurt we feed their tummies, too, so the tradition carries forward.

When we are out of control with our weight we put on the old indignant act to justify our poor choices. Well, I’m going to enjoy my life, so…

When we are trying to lose weight and failing we put up a good fight and put on a good show. Then we binge eat shit food when no one can see us and complain that we aren’t becoming fit no matter what we do.

Maybe we lose a large amount of weight and we think we’ve done enough, yet we secretly loathe getting dressed because the lumps and soft spots still make it difficult to really love our bodies.

I’ve been through all of the above stages!!

I even, as much as I hate to admit this; joined Beachbody once and got in damn good shape, but the business model made me want to eat a large pizza and tell them all to fuck themselves. By the time I got done with that mental beat down I was in black sweats and in a state of deep depression. Everyone hated me because I’d become arrogant and felt the need to push my shit on them by posting my WOD on social constantly. Gaaawd.

So what did I do?? I found ketones, Pruvit and another “business” to make me feel shitty about myself. You know, those programs only work if you get into the marketing and sales end in a big way. You’ll be so busy posting selfies of your “ahhh-mazing” fake success or DMing strangers that you won’t have time to eat. Ask me how I know!!

It hasn’t always just been my problem to resolve either. Like it wasn’t just hurting me. I’ve always given food as an expression of love because, more often than not, I was too afraid to just tell people. Fear of rejection cause and effect. If I feed them they can’t really not love me. Well, that’s sweet and all, but it’s inaccurate and ridiculously toxic.

Yes. I still love to feed people occasionally, but I can also just say, “I fucking love you” without fear of rejection. See, love is what I am. Not what I do or what I give. If people don’t love me back it’s their loss, for real. Or maybe none of us loses and it just is. It doesn’t matter.

I truly believe that today, and guess what?? It’s because I love myself. And with that comes proper nutrition and the respect our spirit vessel deserves.

Last month I began a journey toward mostly meatless meals. I’m doing this to balance my Dosha, or Ayurvedic body type. The first two weeks were pretty bad because I hadn’t properly planned a menu. It’s hard to do when you and your partner are not on the same page with nutrition, and we are not. He’s meat and taters. I’m attempting to live moderate carb and mostly meatless.

To be honest, I feel better, not only in my body, but in my spirit knowing a furry faced being wasn’t treated cruelly or killed to feed me. The meat-free part is no problem as I just replace meat with eggs or mushrooms, but to get protein you need beans or quinoa, which are both pretty carby.

Always a challenge, right?? Well, life would be pretty mundane and boring without them. As we journey down the road, or roll toward recovery and good health we will face tons of challenges. Hell, yesterday I was invited to enjoy Wagyu brisket with friends, and my future in-laws decided it was cool to send all the junk food (those Little Debbies) from their pantry to our house because it’s bad for them.

I could be mad, and I have been because it’s just wrong to try and sabotage other people’s progress. You either don’t want them to succeed or you just don’t respect their life choices. Maybe you just don’t know. I suppose that’s possible and forgivable. Either way, if you know someone is trying to improve and you keep contributing to their demise; maybe consider not.

This doesn’t mean your very generous friend who invites you to dinner is trying to sabotage your meat-free Sadhana!! They don’t always know what you’re into, especially if, like me, your ass is all over the place. No one can keep up.

Now your partner, well that’s a different story altogether and we will discuss it when we get to the talk about “those who would rather see you fail,” or the “misery loves company” chat. Neither applies to him, but sometimes in life we are in contact with them and we have to be cautious about where we put our energy.

As I move through weeks of early morning practice to enlighten, I find I myself no longer attracted to anything that weighs me down or holds me back. That, too is for another chat and another day.

I think I’ve made the challenges pretty clear, and even gave some extras to ponder.

Maybe some of you are asking what I eat when I’m not eating meat?? Good question indeed!!

Can’t have a blog without pics, so I’ve been taking some!!

Breakfast most days is this spicy, coconut, decaf coffee. It is totally organic, has just enough MCT oil to get my brain going without caffeine and it keeps me full. That RAW, well we get along all day when I’m not working outside the home.
I traded my beloved biscuits and gravy for a fruity, protein pancake with sugar-free syrup alongside a little veggie omelette with very light cheese.
Avocado toast with an egg is good for breakfast or lunch.
A low carb wrap filled with fresh veggies and hummus is a quick lunch, especially if you prep veggies for the week ahead of time. I grab a yogurt if I need a little more protein.
Color is everything!! I feel the beautiful energy of that food when I prepare and eat it.
The man picked me up this “Hippie” wrap and tomato bisque for lunch. He said he almost got the Reuben I love, but remembered. Thanks, Sugar. Those little things are everything.
A huge veggie salad is always an option. Boiled eggs for protein and I’m all set. Adding cheese and dressing can rack up tons of calories so we want to watch that.
Chickpeas have become my friend in meat-free fooding. This coconut curry stew is full of them and it is soooo good.
You know I’m a pizza slut, and I’ve managed to cut back a lot, but I had to try a calzone filled with…are you ready?? Ok. Mushroom, olive, banana pepper, PINEAPPLE and feta. It was seriously off the hinges!! Like a screen door in a hurricane!!

I kept the stuff I made simple because I’ve been super busy working on the house and doing school as per the usual. It’s never going to end, y’all. Simplicity in the kitchen is allowing me to be more productive than I’ve ever been in life. Things are getting started and completed.

I haven’t been perfect. There were shrimp, and two different burger nights. One with hot pepper cheese and one without as a test. Both made me feel like shit so beef is going bye-bye. If I decide to try a taste of something that’s my business and I don’t have to explain myself anymore!! Same with whatever else I change my mind about. Fuck. Can we all just live??

Yes, we can. As soon as we give ourselves permission to, and stop caring what anyone else thinks. And so long as we keep it real.

Other than the meat-free meals I shared, I have been getting down with lots of smoothies, salads, rice cakes with peanut butter, yogurt, cottage cheese, oatmeal, potatoes, veggies, hummus and TONS of green tea and moon water. Oh also, tostadas are like my fave now and I never took a single pic.

I shared the recipe for a my latest meat-free creation over here. Check it out.

What are the benefits??

Well, I feel my energy becoming lighter and I feel more free to do the things I desire to do. I get good sleep and need less of it.

I don’t know about my weight because this food choice had zero to do with it. Food has been “just fuel” and I love it. Holy shit!!

I’ve had some digestive issues to overcome, but I’m not ready to be that transparent.

Food prep and clean-up are easy for the first time in my life because it’s not some huge production every meal.

Mostly what I’ve noticed is that I am getting things done that I’ve been working on for a long, long time. Things like this website and the podcast. This site was a shit show, by the way and I’m sorry. I made changes in December and they never saved so it just looked like I wanted a book sale and you could kick rocks.

Today I’m feeling like the woman I’m meant to be. I’m relaxed and not so rigid, but not wasting time. I’m listening to my body and watching the patterns of the moon and stars, figuring out how I can use them to be the highest version of myself. In the words of the Almost Famous main character Mizz Penny Lane; it’s all happening.

Is it the meat-free choice or the Sadhana practice??

Not sure, but rather than fuck around and find out, maybe I should just keep both.

I’ll see you next week, Beautiful Humans. Until then eat well, live well and love lots.

Chelle

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