Monday, December 29, 2014

5 Questions for a Vegan- Elvis

"Let food be thy medicine"  This is what Elvis lives by.  His example and knowledge that he shares with not only his many social media followers, but a lifestyle that he shared with the most important woman to him; His mother.  His story of how he was able to transform her from a life filled with pills and medical issues to one that is vibrant, fun and full of life.  Please enjoy my five questions for Elvis.
1) How and when did you become vegan?
 Ooh! Long winded answer! LOL! It's been such a journey! Got a minute? I cannot speak on it without mentioning my relationship with vegetarianism. 

First intro to vegetarianism was from my lovely cousin who was about 15 years my senior, visiting for the summer when I was 10 in the summer of 1976! I was mesmerized by the way she seemed to dance in the kitchen, how she handled her food preparation, and her style as she cooked it. She would educate me with spiritual philosophy on how and what we were instructed by God to eat and why. Other than saying grace no one had ever shown me how to attach spiritual meaning to food before this and at age 10 it made sense! The feeling was natural and it felt the right thing to do! 

I took to it immediately and for a year was vegetarian. Managed through school too! I was already comfortable cooking in the kitchen. Her teaching was a great addition to what I knew! I  had a knack for spices thanks to following my greatest teacher of all time around in the kitchen, my mom! My cousin however, who followed Rasta Way at that time, enlightened me to spices and methods, and veggie ideas I had never known! My mom's background was southern influenced so there was no veggie paradise there! But kitchen ethics and seasonings, how to use appliances and hand held gadgets such as sifters, hand beaters, the electric mix master bowls, baking, frying, mom was my go to guru! Mad props to her today! My mom was as supportive as she could be and would buy me what I needed to fix but siblings lent no support at home and living in a house full of meat eaters, 3 older brothers, I didn't last. But the seed was planted forever! Fast forward.

There is no denying the power of plant healing! In fact, 1 year ago today (when I answered these interview questions on Dec 15th) I brought my mother from a facility to live with me and I did reinvent her! She has Alzheimer's Disease. Through detoxing her, placing her on a plant based diet, and unbeknownst to her pulling her away from anything lending to animal exploitation or harm to earth, she is transformed! All 8 meds she came home on a year ago are no more! In 11 days I weened her off everything! She's stable and the disease is not progressing! She's amazing! She's continually improving! From rehab in 2012 telling me, "She'll never walk again" and "Your mother is in the last stages of Alzheimer's" to her walking, dancing, and happy to be alive! One vegan meal at a time! Prior to her eating plant based, while in rehab I went in and defied her prognosis. I got her out of that wheelchair and made her walk! Once I brought her home I had full control of her diet and vegan she went!
Now, about me. In the mid latter 80's I was introduced to the concept of Vegan by a teen! Yes! You never know where your calling will be delivered from and by whom! He taught me about the Brazilian Rain forest destruction and why it was happening for the profit of cattle breeding and in one day I went vegan! Gave up all my animal clothes, products and as much as I knew them to be tainted, my hygiene products based on the information I had at that time. Looking back, my reasoning at that young age was out of anger. Although justified I think now in retrospect it may have been fueled by "I'll show you!" when it could have been "Let me show you?" I suppose there was a bit of both.  
I was exceptionally gifted in that I loved preparing my food which was a plus, and I was good at spices and herbs, understanding how to combine food to get complete proteins etc. There would be a whole world of knowledge I had yet to learn! 

Fast forward, I was in the microcosm of veganism. Couldn't quite see the forest for the trees. Back then there was little on factory farming as far as visuals inside these places, and global warming evidence, measures of ocean pollution, etc., the bigger macrocosm. Factory farming also wasn't nearly as gross and tragic as it has become. 

After 13 years of vegetarianism not including childhood, with 8+ of those years having been vegan, ironically I went backwards from vegan to lacto-ovo, vegetarian, then altogether dropped out. I digressed and spiraled into the abyss! 

I don't have the space here to go into the gray areas of details although I will say mental health issues, substance abuse issues, depression, and lack of self worth, and other deeper, personal woes not dealt with from childhood all wore hats in my dark directional curve. They caught up to me. When you cannot love or accept yourself as a result of having been abused as a child, never having worked any of that out and just blindly stumbling through life still hurting and pretending to be on top of the world, there is almost no way you can genuinely and on a healthy manner have compassion and love the world around you! I had a lot of work to do on myself and had no idea at the time how it was all interconnected and very relevant. 

So about the start of 1997 I began eating anything and everything and my weight, mental health, spiritual health all went bonkers! When vegans say they cannot understand how someone could go back to eating meat I can. I would like to hear from those who have gone back and forth to learn and to enlighten those who this happens to on a regular basis rather than ostracize and condemn them as I see so much of. Everybody's got a story and if we shut up and listen we might learn something from it to have for ourselves and share with others. This dark spell of trying to ignore what Was the truth would last almost 15 years! Smoking, drinking, harder substances, more depression, anxiety, and confusion. I must also add here that I allowed some of the hardcore extremist acquaintances and friends I had  get into my head enough with their self created dogmas. Add to that the pressures of how vegan was my veganism didn't help matters in my choice to remain true to veganism. Pure self destruction and a product of destruction of the outer self surrounding me. The planet.
This is why I am so empathetic to new vegans, vegetarians, and non vegs transitioning!. People become such passionate warriors that they forget to be compassionate. All I kept hearing from people I had met and allowed myself to be influenced or intimidated by even after all the years I had under my belt as vegan was things like, "You know those beans you're eating are dead food! You need to eat this way live this way and protesteth always!" Sort of a lot of the things I hear said today in pseudo hierarchy levels which there seems to be today instead of people accepting other people's processes without the puritan finger pointing, verbal thrashings, and prejudices from one category group in the human communal herbivore world to the next. So when I hear people with their own enforced ideology become angered at someone like myself without listening or caring to listen to the person's story when they say,  "I "was" vegan when.. and became vegan again" I sigh and accept that they are entitled to their opinion understanding it is just that, their opinion. I often read or see someone and it's usually the zealous vegan still in the 6 month to 3 year stretch so full of determination, vigor, and fire say, "You were never vegan if you went back to eating animals and wearing them!" There is a huge spectrum of gray within  individuals' situations. It isn't that black and white and a truly seasoned, mature, higher consciousness, less lower self, well balanced individual will not have the same view or conviction as that. And what really does it matter for anyway other than fanning egos of expectations?

Phew! Now, to answer your question, I am back with love, approaching 3 years vegan! With decades of knowledge and wisdom from my history.  Make no mistake. I did keep up with certain aspects of naturopathy in the plant world. And I did try like hell to climb back through that window in all that time. My hard won lesson let me know how much discipline I once had to have had because I just could not stay on the horse. I could get on but I'd fall off with all  the distractions in my world. 

Still discovering and getting rid of things that don't serve me well, one leather good at a time, one feather pillow at a time, sometimes two at a time. Ridding myself, my home free of  environment household products one  at a time as I learn better and when spirit moves me to take another beautiful step. It is a process! A journey, a way of evolving! It's a pace not a race and not a contest or competition for me to be the better vegan than the next person. That often can be the atmosphere and I am not interested in that. I am older, very much wiser, worked through many issues, triumphed over many demons, I have years clean and sober, worked out many things and I love myself today! I see the big picture now and I'm here to stay! No more hurting myself or merely existing in a selfish way with little or no regard for the life in the world around me! We are all in this sphere together!
All the wisdom I have collected on my tumultuous yet enlightening set of roads I've walked are serving me very well now which in fact, made my transition back to veganism an easy one once my spirit, heart and mind was finally in position to realign! I get the macrocosm now because I am it. We are it!
My intuition and healing gifts that were always with me, as a child are fully operable as a matured spirit! I have always been aware that I have something that may or may not be in everyone. So I pay it forward. Awakening people and inspiring and motivating them to seek out their higher self. I have never felt so free!  I have never felt so free! 

2) What is your favorite "go to" meal?
Ha! I can only pick one? Avocado with good curry seasoning, turmeric, onion powder, raw sunflower or pumpkin seeds, a diced tomato, and a splash of something salty be it Bragg's Aminos, Ume Vinegar, or pinch of a good salt, blended into brown rice, or in a wrap!

3) What product can you not live without? 

4) What was hard to give up to become vegan?
My ego. Non vegan foods weren't. 

5) What's your favorite vegan restaurant?
My kitchen or yours!

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