Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A different lifestyle

Many have asked why it is I choose a vegan lifestyle.  Often it isn't as nicely worded as that.  Most of the time I hear "wait.. you don't eat eggs or dairy?  Not even cheese?!  How could you live without cheese?!?!"  I smile.

I don't look down on a single person who eats meat, dairy or eggs.  In fact, I don't live a complete purist vegan life, as I eat honey occasionally.  However I do think that this is the right choice for me (as Unitarian-ist as that sounds..hippies are known for that, right?).  And I think it is important for people to understand that my choice is a lifestyle, rather than a diet.  So often it is seen as a simple weight loss regime, and can be used as such.  But.  Instead, I have chosen to use this dietary decision as a stepping stone into a completely different way of life.

I was first inspired to live a differently by my parents.  When I was a child my parents found it important to do things such as have a garden, keep chickens for eggs and a goat for milk (of course, we didn't get as far as using the goat for milk when a dog found her rear appetizing enough to attempt making a meal out of it).  I have fond memories of making buckets of soap with from a recipe found in the "Tightwad Gazette" and often using the "More with Less" cookbook.  We ordered from Azure Standard, a natural bulk foods company that sells bulk natural food and home products at a low price.  Lentils and granola were often seen in our home.  And the medicine cupboard was full of vitamins, herbs and tinctures.

I didn't realize how influenced I was by these things until I learned about vegan diets, why people chose to do this and what other things changed in their lives once they made the switch.  So often I saw that there was a connection between people wanting to live simpler lives and having some sort of vegetarian lifestyle.  As I learned, I began to change how I did things.

Meat, cheese and eggs are obtained through some pretty gruesome methods.  Animals packed into buildings, becoming sick and injured doesn't quite seem like an ethical way to be getting your food.  And while you may think that milk products aren't obtained poorly, these cows are injected with hormones and antibiotics to keep them producing milk and not getting sick.  Even chickens are packed into crates and their beaks are burned off so they don't peck each other to death.  So that ended my desire to eat anything connected with animals products.

The food I eat and the products I use are most often found locally to support local farmers and businesses.  This oftentimes gets you the best tasting food since there isn't need for many or any preservatives due to the lack of travel.  It also uses less gas.  I also choose to use the least amount of paper, plastic, etc considering that while global warming may or may not be worsened by humans, waste is a serious problem.  No one wants to end up in a "Wall-E" world covered in trash.  Using less hot water, less soap, less of everything helps in energy use and covering the planet in toxic chemicals.

Medicine can even cause serious problems if you take it in excess.  Antibiotics no longer have the effect they once did (it has been suggested that this is due to the antibiotics found in so much of our food).  Things such as tylenol are harsh on your body and often unnecessary.  Head aches usually have a reason such as dehydration, stress or lack of sleep and can be fixed without the use of pain killers.  Yet we pop pills for everything (I had an excedrin addiction for a while).  There is definitely a time and a place for them.  I had surgery in November and due to the bacteria found in an abscess that would have turned flesh-eating if it was left alone, those antibiotics probably saved my life.  But there are other options for minor problems.

I have a hard time when it comes to living with less sometimes.  I like clothes.  A lot.  It's difficult for me to remind myself that it isn't necessary to own 500 pairs of shoes, 20 jackets, etc.  In a society that tells you the more you have, the better you are, it's not an easy thing to know that living without is okay.  But I continue to learn, be inspired and influenced by what I learn.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Inspiration; From book to film

My favorite book of all time, "Eat, Pray, Love" is being taken from it's beautifully written memoir and adapted to film.

The story follows Elizabeth Gilbert, a woman in her early 30's who, after a dreadful divorce and following relationship decides to go on a journey of self-discovery.. literally.  She travels to Italy, India and Bali'i.

I was heavily influenced by this woman's story, as I felt I could really connect with how she was feeling and what was going on in her life.  How she is so impacted by finding spirituality and bringing it to her life and being able to figure out who she is, her alone, without the men she was with, is something I could relate to.  And needed to.

I am greatly looking forward to seeing this movie.  When the fear of it being ruined by filmmakers attempting to make it more "exciting" drew me to see what Elizabeth Gilbert herself had to say about it, my fears were put to rest.  She states that those involved with the movie-making process are dedicated to keeping the film true to the book as they have also been deeply impacted by what it has to offer.

"Eat, Pray, Love" Trailer


As you may have already noticed, I've revamped the blog.  It still said I was in Germany, so I figured while I was busy changing that, I would update everything else.  Including the background, which is an honorary summer theme.

Erik and I moved to Idaho Falls this summer for an incredible internship opportunity he was offered.  While it is so incredible, it reminds me of how much I don't enjoy change.

This may shock many, since it seems that at times I am the Queen of Change.  I change my hair color, my nails, my entire wardrobe, my diet, my opinions, my outlook on life.  However, while I do make these drastic changes, it doesn't always sit well with me. Moving is my least favorite thing to do and I've done that, what feels like, a dozen times.  But every time I feel uprooted, vulnerable, alone.

What I find the oddest thing is that I usually bring this on myself.  I make a move when it isn't entirely necessary.  It makes me wonder if change is something that is done to prove yourself, show that you're a tough person, not stuck in one way of life and possess the ability to be flexible and open-minded.

I've spent many years trying to play it tough.  The last year or so has had me realizing how not so tough I really am.  I am hurt by the actions of others, hurt by my own actions, hurt by too much.  I regret decisions I have made so I would look tough, as though I didn't care.  I regret changes I made that weren't necessary, that wounded not only myself but others.

But... in the spirit of change, I am choosing to move forward, move ahead.