On Compassionate Eating

Once upon a time, while I was at the grocery store I walked over to the fish section and noticed the small tank with the live lobsters in it for sale. Something in the tank caught my attention and I got just close enough to see that that they had rubber bands around their mouths and claws. I just stared at them for a little bit and thought about how It would feel if I was stuck in a small room and had my hands and feet bound together. I remember thinking about how I would have urges to use my hands for the everyday things in life like pushing the hair out of my face, scratching my back, or hugging someone, and then realizing that I couldn't, and how awful that must feel. At this time I was not vegetarian at all. I've always been a healthy eater, never a big meat eater, but I loved fish - especially shrimp and lobster. Something changed in me that day at the grocery store. I started to feel differently and couldn't look at animals and fish as food anymore. I actually gave up eating lobster from that day forward.

Forward to about three years later - I was at a point in my life where I wasn't feeling so healthy. I was tired a lot of the time, not eating a healthy or a varied diet, and probably drinking more alcohol than I should have. It was running me down and I needed to make a change. I knew that I needed to start eating healthier, and I knew that if I started going to the gym that it would make me want to eat healthy. I started getting in shape with spinning classes, yoga, and weight training. While eating healthier and exercising, I felt stronger, clearer, and refreshed. One of my main goals was to train myself to not feel like I needed meat in my daily diet. I starting looking into the vegetarian and vegan lifestyle. I bought some cookbooks and did some further research on the internet. I stuck to a few vegetarian days a week, and that worked out well. After awhile I decided to totally give up meat, but keep fish in my diet. As time went on I was just eating fish every night, but I still really wanted to detox my mind and body from feeling like I needed animal products in my diet on a daily basis. At this point I decided to go 30 days vegan, and after the 30 days I would see how I felt, and add back into my diet what I couldn't live without.

During the 30 days, I not only just cooked and ate vegan, but I also read some books that had an influence on my diet.. I grabbed some vegan cookbooks, read some interviews, watched some documentaries, and researched sites about fish and factory farming. I also watched horrendous secret footage taken at factory farms. Not only was I feeling healthier eating vegan, but my views and reasons for being vegan turned more ethical, and when the 30 days were over I just couldn't bring myself to add any animal products back into my diet.

When people talk to me about the vegetarian diet they say things like "I don't think that I could give up the texture of meat or fish" or, " I think I would really miss cheese." It's funny because I said that stuff too. I never thought I could give up eating fish, homemade chicken noodle soup, or ceviche. But, once I became vegan my desires for all of those foods went away. For example, veggie sushi is so much more satisfying to me now than a spicy tuna roll. I realized that certain traditions like having Turkey on Thanksgiving were cruel and I could start new ones. For me, eating compassionate isn’t about giving up anything. I eat more vegetables and whole foods than I ever have. I feel vibrant, healthy, strong, and nourished.  It truly is the best decision I’ve ever made.

Just recently, I decided to take the vegan label off of my identity. I added honey and ghee into my diet because of it's medicinal qualities, and in 2013 when I visited Nepal, I let go of a little more as I adapted to the community. I get my honey from Dansk farms, where I took a tour of the apiary to make sure and understand that the bees were treated ethically. I get my ghee from Ancient Organics where I did a lot of research to make sure the cows were treated happy and humane. My philosophy is that it's important to know where your food is coming from and that it's prepared and treated with love and compassion. I call this, Eating Compassionately. Not only should you practice ahimsa (non violence) with animals, but also with the earth. This means doing your best to eat unrefined, pesticide free, organic, and not genetically modified fruits and vegetables.

What you decide to eat and why is such a personal decision. This site wasn't created to judge you on your eating habits, but just to share with you the experiences I have had and what I have learned from eating compassionately. I want to share with you delicious recipes that will make you forget all about having a meat product on your plate while making you feel healthy and energized at the same time. These are simple, healthy, savory dishes. I also want to share with you what is going on in the farming industry and how we can make healthier choices not only for you, but for the environment, and for the animals. When you know exactly what you are putting into your body, it will lighten up your life and brighten up each day.

Have a question or a recipe you would like to see? Email me:monicadstone.123@gmail.com