Wild Over Generalizations

I came across this blog post.

 

Though there are many points there I could address, I will choose just one.  Namely that “..vegans are sickly. Their bodies lack definition. Their demeanors lack vitality. Their skin is dull.”

 

This is both grossly ignorant and over generalized.  And though I DO NOT agree with the above, I can see part of her perspective through the lens of personal experience.

 

Overall, based on her observation, this is why I stress “long term”, and “do your research”, and “chew your juice”, and “Yoga”, and .. well, for those who read this blog, you know that I emphasize LIFESTYLE over diet.

 

As a reminder: I started as a lacto-vegetarian at 11, by my late teens / early twenties I was in the middle of the Vegetarian Movement of the ‘70s.

 

Wow .. those were heady, exciting, political, activist days!  So much change in the air, so many issues to support, to protest, to voice an opinion on; so many petitions to sign, lectures to attend, topics to discuss, retreats to learn from, philosophy’s to explore.  There was an amazing amount of fresh information about health and lifestyle in those days, coming from mostly doctors and dietitians.  Couple all that with the “cutting edge” sciences of Yoga and Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture; then the many other avenues of exploration and discovery, like faith healing and communes, the Macrobiotic diet and the Rastafari diet, Breatharianism and Fruitarianism , Dr. Budwig and other cures for cancer, the Graham Diet and Zen diet, and so m any more.  A ll of it life affirming, upbeat, and promising.  It seemed like there was more information then, but perhaps because it was all so new.

 

A great deal has changed.  Nothing has changed.

 

The biggest change .. from my wide angle 40+ year perspective: Where are the old schoolers?

 

Every day I see more and more ‘kids’ .. yea, all you 20 and 30 somethings are ‘kids’ to this 52 year young Live Vegan Yogini because I’ve been Vegetarian longer than you’ve been alive.

 

Over the years I’ve seen my Vegetarian and Vegan friends drop away.  They no longer follow the lifestyle .. for far too many reasons than I can list or even remember.  But most of those reasons are related to health.

 

Over the years I’ve been told I’m “lucky” because I’ve “managed to dodge the bullet” and that “eventually” my “health will give out”.  I’ve been told that I “will get sick”, that my “body will deteriorate”, and that I “won’t be able to live like” this “forever”.  I’ve been told I have an “eating disorder”, and now new medical research calls this a mental disorder (orthorexia nervosa).  I have heard this from doctors, health specialists and friends since I was in my 20s.  I heard it all through my 30s and 40s.  Now, in my early 50s, I don’t hear it as much; which makes since because when confronted with the walking talking evidence of this lifestyle, it’s hard to speak against it.

 

When reading the blog entry I understand the sort of patient this woman is seeing.  I understand because I’ve seen them myself.  People who become Vegetarian for ethical or moral or spiritual reasons; people who stop eating meat and think they can live off lettuce and carrots.  People who load up on packaged Vegetarian fare like soy, and ready meals loaded with corn and wheat fillers; people who eat Vegetarian processed foods, and the so called ‘vegan advocates’ who endorse such unhealthy choices.

 

A few years ago I met an old friend.  I vaguely recognized her because she fit the description given in the blog entry: ‘sickly, body lacks definition, demeanor lacks vitality, skin is dull’.  She had become a meateater, and has been for the last 20 years.  We met at a farmer’s market where she was “trying to get back in shape after a heart attack.”

 

After the first greeting – a fond and sincere welcome – she became angry, borderline hostile towards me.  At first it was subtle, but as the conversation continued, she became more open about it.  I knew she was not mad at me but at herself.  She admitted to being “embarrassed” and “guilty” and “ashamed”, of who she had become, of the condition she was in, of having “suffered a heart attack”.  She said many things in her defense, which, sadly, overtook the conversation.  I kept trying to steer her back to catching up – to her life’s journey, if she was married, had kids, grandkids, and the like – but she wasn’t interested.  She kept directing the flow to the “old lifestyle”.

 

Of all her “excuses” (her word, not mine), the one thing she said to me that has remained with me was, “I did my time, I paid my dues. I was young and foolish, enthusiastic and stupidly idealistic.  Today, I don’t have time for all that nonsense, let alone be an activist for the old lifestyle.   Let someone else carry that banner.”

 

Yet, there she was, my age, having had her first heart attack, at the farmer’s market trying to “eat healthy”.

 

::Sigh::

 

So many things I wanted to say in that moment .. but didn’t.  So many hugs I wanted to give her, to let her know she didn’t have to admonish herself .. but I couldn’t; because the longer we were together, the more agitated she became.

 

So we said our goodbyes.  And for me .. that “goodbye” was to all my old school Vegetarian friends – my peers – who I no longer share this path with, who no longer live as I live and thrive as I thrive.  And in that moment I felt “old” and “tired” and “sad”.

 

But that was from sharing words with her.  Her energy was depleting my own.

 

Once I stepped away I took a deep breath in front of the vibrantly green and red and yellow vegetables.  Standing there I could feel their Prana – their divine lifegiving energy – and I bathed in it.  I smiled and breathed deep again, letting the dross of the encounter fall away.  As I finished shopping, with my usual light and buoyant step – smiling at strangers, at flowers, at kids, at sunshine and the smell of sawdust on the earth beneath the farmer market stalls – I felt alive and happy.  Truly unburdened .. alive and vibrant.

 

I know the truth of my lifestyle .. and that’s all that matters.

 

I carry no banner .. I’ve become the poster child!

 

Namaste and Peace Out!

Yoginiji

 

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. bookerjack@bellsouth.net
    Feb 21, 2011 @ 10:31:08

    Well, I have nothing against Vegans or Vegetarians, I admire them! I just can’t follow such a high path I suppose. I have found that they sometimes look down on meat eaters, in fact I had some friends that were vegetarians for several years, they always invited me to eat delicious vegetarian meals at their home, but I think because I never became a full time vegetarian they cut me out of their friends list or something.

    I like to eat vegetarian at vegetarian restaurants.. I just eat meat too, so if that’s ok with me u can eat whatever u want.

    Reply

    • Raw Yogini
      Feb 21, 2011 @ 11:37:48

      Thank you for reading my blog Jack!

      I have not problem with meat eaters. I grew up in a meat eating family, and most of my friends are meat eaters. Was hiking in the words yesterday with my friends .. we all brought food to share. Of the six, there is one Vegetarian, one Vegan, and me (Live Vegan). There was plenty of food for everyone.

      Ive never looked down on those who eat meat. Rather silly that. Because this is a choice .. which means personal .. which means its none of my business what anyone else chooses to eat. And if I want freedom to enjoy my lifestyle, then I must give others the same freedom.

      Good for you for choosing vegetarian choices! Every little bit helps. I will say your friends werent true friends at all .. so your better off without them.

      Peace Out!

      Reply

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