Over the past few weeks, I have had a coming of age, if you will. Things have changed in every aspect of my life. The first major choice was to become a pescatarian. For those of you who are not familiar with the term, it means that I will no longer eat any meat except fish. I tried being a pesky a couple of years ago and eventually gave up in the middle of a hiking trip when I was craving bologna. I know, bologna is barely meat at all but that was how intense the cravings were. Soon after, I started my yogi adventure and felt so conflicted with eating meat. The first yama of the Yoga Sutra is Ahimsa which in simple terms means to cause no harm.
Ahimsa encompasses so many things. As a human, it is very easy to cause harm, sometimes without even realizing it. We cause harm to the earth every time we choose a paper or plastic bag at the grocery store. We cause harm to ourselves every time we let our negative thoughts destroy our self esteem. And, from my perspective, we cause harm each time we choose to eat meat. I struggled with this so deeply, I eventually signed up for a private lesson with my yoga mentor, Laura. She told me that I may also be causing harm to my own body by not eating meat and I knew that I needed to make the not eating meat decision based on my body. Fast forward about a year which brings us to six or so weeks ago.
The dear husband and I went to Costco and bought loads of meat, every variety you can think of, we bought it. We came home and began packaging it up for the freezer. It was in those moments that the horrid thoughts began to pass through my mind. I felt such deep sympathy for the pig that made the pork chops and the cow that made the steaks. The thought crossed my mind that I didn’t want to eat animals anymore but we had just dropped a boat load of cash on this stuff. How could I tell the dear husband that I didn’t want to eat all of this stuff that we worked hard to buy. At the time, I couldn’t.
I continued to eat meat for a couple of weeks. Each time, the thoughts of the animals became worse. I felt disgust in myself like I had never felt before. I slowly started to do a little research about craving meat as a vegetarian and discovered that protein isn’t the only concern. Despite my best efforts the first time, maybe I wasn’t getting the nutrition I needed in order to sustain a meat free lifestyle. I learned through my research that iron and B12 are very important. I know that I have low blood iron and have often solved the symptoms of it with beef but B12 had never crossed my mind. I bought some supplements and a few days later, I ate my last piece of meat.
I went back and forth on whether or not to eat fish and eventually decided that I will eat it from time to time. I will do my best to avoid it but know that as I transition, there will be occasions that I will eat fish. I hope to one day become a full fledged vegetarian but I am trying to give myself a little leway while I learn the right way to live this lifestyle. I need to learn how to not cause harm to the animals as well as to myself.
Namaste, my friends.