Over the past year, I have been on a journey to change the way I eat. There has been a confluence of factors including health, desire to live more bioregionally, environmental concerns, and a deep dislike of the grocery store. These factors added up to a big decision: I am no longer a vegetarian.
I had been a vegetarian for over 20 years. My husband and our kids were vegetarian. It was part of who we were. It gave me a clear moral compass in a world that is all too often shades of grey. Leaving that behind was challenging, but there is also something beautiful about embracing complexity.
When my youngest, Bliss, was born, I was exhausted. The exhaustion continued for months. I felt like I was dragging myself through life. I met with a nutritionist and dug into the book Nourishing Traditions. I started with bone broths as a way to ease myself into this new world.
I bought beef bones from my friend Courtney at Mace Chasm Farm, and fell in love with her weekly her weekly newsletter. Courtney is a great writer, and so passionate about the animals she raises. She is also doing something I have not seen before: not just raising animals, but creating gourmet food in her on-farm butcher shop: smoked ham, thinly sliced for sandwiches and myriad sausages. It sounded appealing, so we tried more of her products and they were delicious.
Once I started eating meat from Mace Chasm and other local farms, I was able to eat more bioregionally sourced meals: roast chicken with root vegetables, sausages with big salads, stir fry with beef and veggies (well, the rice still wasn’t local). By purchasing locally sourced grassfed meats, I am supporting a vibrant local economy that is fighting climate change.
I feel so much better, too. The composition of my meals has shifted from grain and bean centered (with way too much processed soy products), to vegetables as the majority of the dish, with a little bit of meat and a little bit of grains or beans. As an omnivore, I eat way more vegetables than I did as a vegetarian. Grassfed meat is a nutrient dense, high protein food that nicely compliments loads of veggies.
I still believe the vegetarianism (and veganism) are great ways to eat. Right now, though, omnivorism is the best fit for me environmentally, in my community, and for my health. But, the world is too vast and complex for there to be any one “right” way to eat. We are all on a journey as eaters, as community members, as moral creatures, and as bioregional citizens. Being on a journey means being open to change.
What has your food journey looked like? What are you eating now as opposed to have you have eaten in the past?