Yikes. I cringe at that title. Alas, I am a vegetarian, and I drink bone broth.
I have gone back and forth with my vegetarianism (and at times veganism) for over a decade. It began for health reasons, then environmental, and mixed throughout was animal rights concern.
After doing so much research and experimentation with my own body, I do feel that animal products have a (limited) place in the diet for many people, and choosing humanely raised, sustainable meat is a huge improvement vs. the environment-destroying factory farming of today.
What I have been left with is my love for animals. All of them. Especially baby ones, and sea otters, cows, possibly anything with a heart beat. I love them. I used to ignore where the filet sitting on my plate came from, and one day I had a moment of clarity.
I was driving in Colorado, and we approached a herd of cows in the street. It was common for the cows to be moved from one ranch to another, and that created a pretty fun spectacle to see dozens of them walking down Main Street. On this certain day, we rolled down the windows, and I found myself overjoyed and baby talking to the cows that walked right by my window. Later, we went to our favorite burger joint that serves local, organic meat, and it really hit me. Of course I had thought about this all before, duh, but having that exaggerated comparison between the cow-gazing to eating my local burger hit me deeply. I stopped eating meat the next day.
I noticed that the relief I felt emotionally was much stronger than missing the taste. I felt at ease finally. No inner battle. Just security in my decision and peace in my heart. I could embarrassingly baby talk to whatever animals I chose with no guilt that I may eat them later.
Fast-forward a year later. I started having some minor health issues and all signs were pointing
to the need for inclusion of some animal products.
I was faced with the decision of acting in the best interest of my body or the best interest of my heart. Who wins?
I have thought about eating meat about a million times in the last few months. Each time, a very sad, pouty frown comes to my face, and my heart sinks. I would then just bolt from the thought and avoid the situation entirely.
Eventually, after enough research smacking me in the face, I thought of a sort-of-solution to my problem. A compromise. Bone broth.
If I could benefit from the nutrients of the animals without chewing them (sorry), maybe I could make that work! I bought myself some bones at Whole Foods, and they sat in my freezer for a month as I conveniently became too busy to make the broth. I was listening to what felt like my 100th webinar on healing the digestive tract, and the number one healing food the doctor mentioned was bone broth. I took a deep breath, walked over to my freezer, took out the bones, and forced myself to get it over with. Into the slow cooker they went.
I added a ton of vegetables to feel better about the situation and to cover up the bones... Then I found an extension cord and ran it out to my slow cooker on the balcony so I wouldn't have to smell it cook for 24 hours. Yuck.
On my first morning, I heated a cup of broth and poured it into a mug. It didn’t taste repulsive, so I kept at it. Each morning for the past few weeks, I have included a mug of bone broth, and I actually do feel better. When I drink it, I take a breath, and give thanks for the nutrients that are traveling down to soothe and repair my gut. (Food is so cool.)
Bone broth was my compromise. Between taking care of my body, and taking care of my heart. Ignoring one to choose
the other is pointless. Pushing aside the needs of any part of you, physically, emotionally, or spiritually, even if it is to take care of another part, is to create tension and dis-ease there. Sometimes we have to work a bit harder to find a compromise when needs are a bit polarized, but that is our work. To constantly be listening to ourselves, body and spirit, and doing our best to nourish according.
I have no idea what is next. Maybe I’ll find a way to feel good about eating meat in a few months, maybe I’ll cut animal products out completely and feel amazing. All I know, is that I will continue to ebb and flow with the changing needs of my body and heart, always listening and always nurturing.