The bee is a symbol of rebirth and transformation. Transformations usually follow the pattern of starting off at a low point in one’s self or life, and morphs into a higher, happier, and healthier state. My transformation was truly a whole being shift. To highlight a critical aspect of this change is in regard to my eating habits.
Growing up, I ate a typical American diet of french fries, hamburgers, potato chips, etc. Despite my mother pushing healthier food on my plate, I would ignore these choices and binge on Doritos and Sprite when I had the means to. Going out to eat, my go-to meal was a cheeseburger with the works. Fries and soda included. Needless to say, I was a very unhealthy eater. I felt lethargic and suffered from depression and low self-esteem. This way of eating continued all throughout high school until college, where some part of me snapped and I developed an eating disorder and became anorexic. My blog, Tortuga de Lune, talks a lot about this mental disease and all the hardship that it entailed. From an eating standpoint though, well, I didn’t eat anything. I starved myself of nutrients. My meals consisted of an apple or Coke Zero. I was an unhealthy eater but on the opposite side of the spectrum. After fighting the toughest battle of my life, I eventually found the balance. That balance is veganism.
Being a Vegan may sound unhealthy. Where do I get my protein? It can also sound like I am purposely torturing myself. What? I don’t eat cheese?! I still enjoy “Common” foods such as pizza and burgers, but they use healthy, plant-based ingredients such as sweet potatoes and lentils. There isn’t anything unhealthy or unsatisfying about my choice of becoming a vegan. Finding veganism has benefited me in so many ways. Not only am I in balance with my food, but this way of life connects to what I dub my “Eco-Spiritualism”, which is my care for the environment and bliss of spirituality. It is the life of the bee! Here is how I have discovered being Vegan ties into these beliefs.
Instead of eating foods that have been processed, chemically altered, and striped of their nutrients, I am connecting to the earth by choosing foods that are vitamin and mineral dense and straight from the source of Gaia herself. Natural, vegan eating is the healthiest way to go. I am honoring myself putting good for me food into my body. Like a bee, plant-based eating allows me to be self-sufficient, providing me with a sense of empowerment knowing that I am putting food into my body that is making me healthier, and riding me of diseases. I also have an abundance of energy. And I have noticed physical improvements in my body such as my complexion, nails, digestion, and respiratory. Plants hold so many amazing health benefits, and I love creating recipes (as you will see) and finding out all the pros of the plant ingredients I use. And don’t even get me started on the protein misconception. The average range of daily recommended protein intake is between 40 – 60 grams. Plants provide an amazing amount of natural protein. In comparison to 100 calories of steak, which have 13.2 grams of protein, Romaine lettuce has 7.26 grams per 100 calories, not to mention 12.4 grams of fiber, along side vitamins A and C, Copper, and Manganese, all of which steak has none of. And let’s not forget those powerhouse protein sources such as setain and tofu, one serving having 20 grams of your recommended intake.
Living a bee lifestyle, and having a deep love and respect for the planet goes hand-in-hand with being environmentally conscious. Veganism is not only good for our bodies from a health standpoint, but it is good for the environment. The common misconception is that transportation exhaust is the number one cause of green house gases, but it only contributes about 13%, as opposed to animal agriculture, which contributes 18%. Livestock and their byproducts, put 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. Cows alone produce 150 billion tons of methane each day. Methane is 25-100 times more destructive to our planet that carbon dioxide. Aside from green house gases, animal agriculture is a waste on our water and land resources. 2,500 gallons of water are used to produce 1 lb of beef, and nearly half (45%) of earth’s land is used for animal agriculture. When you look at all the facts, it is baffling to me all the environmental damage is caused based on our demand for our chicken wings and quarter-pounders. For more staggering statistics, check out Cowspiracy’s Website, and watch their documentary on Netflix about the environmental damages of animal agriculture.
A Spiritual Vegan
Eating plant based foods links me to my spirituality as well. We are all made up of physical bodies, but energetic ones. Known as the chakras in Indian culture, these energy fields correspond to our physical, emotional, and spiritual states of being. These energies are meant to flow freely throughout our bodies, but sometimes there is a blockage, thus disrupting the energetic currant and leaving us with a physical, emotional, or spiritual ailment. There are many ways to regain balance to your chakras, depending on which is out of balance. One method is through eating plants that correspond to that chakra. Root vegetables are excellent to strengthen the root chakra, while leafy greens are beneficial to the heart chakra. See the connections? Another way eating plant-based helps attune oneself to their spiritual side is due to the density of plant-based meals. When we eat heavy foods, such as meats, dairy, and processed grains, we not only feel lethargic, but our energetic bodies are becoming denser, and we lose that connection to our light bodies. When we eat light sourced meals (ie, meals that are plant-based), we strengthen that connection.
Being a bee, there is a strong sense of connectivity to not only oneself, but to the community. This connection is to the animals. Living a compassionate lifestyle, the idea of some soul getting tortured and killed just for the purpose of becoming a pitiful drive-through burger doesn’t sit well with my consciousness. Just because they are a different species doesn’t make it right to murder them for the sake of a meal when there are so many healthier, cruel free options out there today. Today’s society has desensitized ourselves to the idea that our chicken patty or our bacon was once a living being. Instead of going to a restaurant and ordering cow and pig, we use terms like beef and pork to shun ourselves away from this connection. Many of us have pets, cats and dogs, and we get repulsed and shocked at the idea that in some other countries, these animals aren’t pets but menu items. This same idea is spread across the world, like in India where cows are considered a sacred and holy animal. Instead of picking and choosing which animals aren’t acceptable to eat, why not all of them? Who is to say which life is more important that another? Not me.
Being vegan is a conscious choice I am making to better myself and the planet. Like every lifestyle change, the initial switch is the hardest. But knowing that I am not encouraging the harm to animals, that I am fueling my body with healthy food, and that I am reducing the environmental damage done to the planet, I know that being vegan is the right choice for me. If this life sounds appealing to you, I encourage you to make a conscious effort and switch to clean, vegan eating, and feel the Eco-Spiritual rewards of plant-based power.