Finding My Way

There is a reason why I titled my blog Live. Learn. Love. Eat. I believe that life is constantly teaching us lessons that help us to learn and to grow spiritually and these days I have been going thorough some big ones. I have never felt so confused before, so much in need of needing to get to know who I am and forget all else that I have been taught and ways that I have been living. The lesson continually presented to me (and I believe is presented to us all in different forms) is to let go of all that is not authentically me and to really find myself and walk in that freedom.

I have been focusing so much on diet and questioning my diet so much because of how exhausted I have been feeling for while now, but the truth is that it is not everyday that I have been feeling so badly. I find it ironic too that after writing this post the other day, a message that I could plainly see was the cause of so many people’s “problems” and inability to just be at peace, I fell into this exact trap! I found myself questioning myself and my motives, clinging to fear and searching the web yet again for answers to my perceived “problems”, accepting other people’s thoughts both consciously and unconsciously, and in doing so began, losing my own.

I realized last night that I had been looking so hard for something to blame about how I feel, when really I am in good health. I am a perfectly healthy person, no sore joints, no migranes, no aches or pains, no illness or disease, and yet somehow that isn’t good enough for me. I fell into the trap and was grasping for more and more health, reading information that tells of different deficiencies and problems with the vegan diet. There had to be something wrong with me because I am not a superhuman yet. I still feel tired and stressed and … human!

I called the doctor yesterday and got into an appointment. I wanted to know the results of my blood work and finally know if there was something actually wrong with me because of how I have been eating. At first when I came into the doctor’s I was emotional and explained to him my fears about the fact that I have been tired a lot of the time and was worried it was because of my diet. I told him that I had been vegan for the past 4 years now, something he never knew before because we rarely go to the doctor unless there is something really wrong and so Craig and I have only been two times each, the girls have never had to go. Right away he told me that I can’t be vegan. That there is no way I can live my life on a vegan diet. He explained to me about the food groups and how we need each of the food groups in order to survive and be healthy. I had tears streaming down my face at this point, because I knew that he would of course tell me that and on one hand I was almost feeling as though I should believe him. He looked at me in silence, with a slight smirk on his fact and asked me, “Is it the animals that you care about?” I told him “Yes” and he said with a condescending tone in his voice, “Why do you feel that way? No one else cares about those animals. Those animals are bred for us to eat.” He went on and explained how they breed them and kill them for food so that we can have meat (something I of course all ready know all about and find extremely inhumane and heartbreaking).

I felt so badly at that moment. Here I was being made to feel bad for having compassion and as though I am the only one who cares and who feels this way? I thought of you guys and my blog and all of the people I have crossed paths with who care. There are so many of us who care and want to make better choices and have all beings live in freedom. I knew right then that there was no point to this appointment. He had already diagnosed me the moment I said “vegan” without even asking me anything else about why I could be having these feelings. Nothing about any other aspects of my life, like sleep or stress. He told me that the animals that are bred for food are there for us to eat and that it is sad that they have to die, but it is done in the nicest way possible. I couldn’t believe how textbook he was being and how close-minded he was. There was no basis for saying anything that he was saying and I wanted to get out of there as soon as possible.

He then had to ask me about my kids and if they were vegan too. I told him that we all are, my husband and all my kids live off a vegan diet, but have occasionally had some dairy products. He told me that I have to stop feeding my kids that way and to give them meat. They can’t be vegetarian or vegan and be healthy; or to quote him exactly “Bottom line. No question.” I was made to feel so guilty, as though I am harming my children by feeding them the healthiest foods possible. After his big lecture, he then checked my blood test results and they were 100% fine. Blood tests that were done while I was living solely off of a vegan diet for years (before I had just had cheese a handful of times). 100% fine! No B12 deficiencies or iron deficiencies, nothing. How can someone be sitting there telling me that there is no way I can live healthily on a vegan diet when sitting in front of him is a completely physically healthy woman with the blood work to prove it!

I left the doctor’s office still very upset and confused and wondering if I should believe him. Am I harming myself? Am I really harming my children? Am I that terrible of a mother? What have I done? The girls and I walked home together and I told my husband about my appointment a little later on. I told him about my blood test results and all of what the doctor said to me. When I told him the part about how the doctor told me that no one else cares about the animals and how he made me feel so foolish and alien for having compassion, I started crying all over again. But then I noticed something. I stepped back from all of my emotions and I saw my kids there totally vibrant and happy and in good health. My husband was there too, comforting me and explaining to me how none of them have been sick. I haven’t even really been “sick” just tired and maybe that was just a normal part of being human. I do a lot! I am with my kids all the time and I also exercise regularly and try to keep up with homeschooling the girls, making meals and keeping our home nice and clean. I worry all the time and am a huge over-analyzer of things (in case you couldn’t tell) and am probably just way over tired and over stressed. The feelings and fears that I have are probably completely normal human/mothering feelings.

I had been looking so hard for something to cure me or fix me and reading what the causes could be. I even typed in the computer, looking for how a vegan diet could be unhealthy and scared myself really badly the past few days reading other people’s horrific vegan diet failure stories and how they needed to give up their vegan diet. My mind had been swirling with fear that it could be the veganism because it is so much apart of who I am and what I believe. Having to give up my veganism, would be having to live a life that is not in line with my values and my beliefs. It is just something that I do not want to have to let go of, especially if it is not causing me any real health problems.

After a lot of soul-searching and prayer for guidance, what I have realized is this; veganism to me was never about diet. It was never about health or food. Veganism to me is about ethics and compassion. It was a decision that I made to live my life in a way that I can do the least harm. I thought back to that reason and remembered why I took this leap along with my husband four years ago. Somehow over the years and with having this blog, my focus had shifted from that. While I have never totally forgotten my true reasons for choosing to eschew animal products, I had met so many other vegans, read so many other vegan blogs and websites, seen so many videos and focused so much on the food and diet aspect that it has shifted from a spiritual decision to forget about my selfish desires and an otherwise “normal” and easy existence, to a big ego-centered healthy diet.

Through all of these struggles and ups and downs these days, I have found out more about who I am and what I believe. It is what I had been praying about these days, as I have been feeling so lost to the world around me. The truth is that I don’t feel as though I fit in at all. I do feel so alien and so afraid to find myself because other people seem so content to live as they are and never strive for higher consciousness. I wanted something to blame for feeling this way and my dietary choices, my veganism, seemed like an obvious target.

Looking back at my childhood, I never have felt as though I fit in. I could never just accept simple truths and be “normal” I have always been a deep thinker and needed to question everything about my world. I have a very sensitive, spiritual nature and I have always wanted to do good. I love people and I love animals and eating them never has sit right with me. I know that even if I went back to eating animal foods and could be more free to engage in the world and socialize, I still wouldn’t feel a sense of true belonging.

So I am going to stick with my vegan diet, but forget the label. I want to stop identifying myself as a vegan and as though I fit in with some sort or clique or am superior to non-vegans or others just because we have different diets, spiritual beliefs or religious practices, thoughts, approaches to life or choices. I am choosing to live and to eat and in a way that aligns with my beliefs and make love and compassion for all beings my focus. My husband is right there with me too and I am so very thankful for this spiritual, loving man whom I have to be my soul mate and support in life. Even in these moments of confusion and inner struggle, he is always there to help me get my head on right, find my center and get back in touch with my heart.

Aside from all of this diet focus, I have also learned that I have to go back to my initial reasons for making those dietary changes and focus more on my spirituality than my food and my ego, although I know that there will always be lessons for me to learn through it. I have started praying more, doing my ashtanga yoga and breathing and know that I could greatly benefit from meditation. With the approach of fall and winter, comes that pull toward going inside ourselves, slowing down and making time for self-reflection and spiritual growth. I want to shift my focus more to those things and write more about these inner experiences on my blog too because that to me would be living more authentically. I am still afraid to bare much of my spirit and to find out just what is going on inside of myself, but keeping this blog and finding the time to write has been so transformative to me. I also want to really start being more grateful for our food as nourishment for our spirit as well as for our bodies and make sure to teach the girls how to be grateful for all that we have in life and to pray also.

tiffany6

26 thoughts on “Finding My Way

  1. I could have written those words about your childhood…that was me too! I totally get where you are coming from and the struggle you have had. In the end you are doing what is right for you, your children and your family and that is all that matters.

    Looking forward to reading about your inward journey this season. It is the perfect time to move inward, soul search, find out who we really are. I think that is what I enjoy about this season. Last winter I had some deep revelations, that all came to a head early this year and am so happy about the changes I made in my life at that time. A little self discovery and growth is always a good thing.

    Enjoy the journey.

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  2. ((((((Big hug)))))) I feel like giving that doctor a kick in the pants! That is great that your blood tests came in in perfect shape! Always good to know. Thank goodness not all doctors are like that. Our doctors knows that we are vegetarian and don’t really eat dairy either and they have never said anything except ‘okay, that’s fine’. And they are just mainstream doctors. Perhaps they encounter more vegetarians here since it’s pretty normal for Hindus and even Buddhists to be vegetarian and there are many here. Hopefully you can relax and get into a groove to combat some of the tiredness. We’re you very tired on your camping trip as well? I definitely have many tired days, like yesterday I did pretty much NOTHING around the house, just got some desk work done and even snuck a nap in 😛 But I know most of my tiredness is because of my horrible sleep (I mean Talisa’s horrible sleep!). Hoping it’ll get better sometime in the coming year 😛
    Him, it seems like I sit around and comment as soon as you write a blog post LOL happens that while I sit here and wait for Talisa to go to sleep your posts come in. Funny!

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    • It’s funny because I was on a coffee kick for a about a month during the summer (the first time I ever really drank coffee in my life), so on the camping trip I was buzzing on caffeine and so I didn’t know how tired I was from all of it. I stopped the coffee when we got back and had a headache for a few days. So yea, I was really tired after that and starting to actually feel what life was like without the caffeine high. I think my body is still coming back into balance. And of course there are the three kiddos to care for too, which takes a great deal of energy. I also think non-stop and do so many other little things too, which all add up. I have to learn to be OK with taking a day off and letting house/homeschool things go once in a while to recharge my battery. I love your comments and connecting with you! I hope your sleep gets better too! 🙂 Enjoy the moments with your girls, they are precious!

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  3. You have no idea how happy I am to see this post! I mean…I am soooooooo proud of you. I don’t even know you but I wanna laugh and hug you and cry and laugh again. 🙂 I was talking to my hubby about you, and how I was so sad to read that “the lady I am buying the recipe book from” seems to be straying away from being a vegan. I told him how you thought you weren’t getting what you needed and it seemed you were losing sight of why you had begun this in the first place – the compassion. People always ask, isn’t it hard not to drink or eat certain things?..and intel them no way! When you believe in something it’s very easy. Well, I fought myself so hard not to comment on some of your recent posts, because I wanted to respect the fact you only wanted positive comments. Deep down I KNEW you wanted to be vegan, and had all the strength in the world, you were just sad and alone. It sounds like you are in an area that lacks fellow vegans which left you without friends or support (especially for your kids) – isolating all of you. But as much as I wanted to slap you around and tell you to snap out of it, like a mother to her children – we step back and let them learn their way. Which you have totally done! In an amazingly short period of time! 🙂 as a stranger in another country …I am so very proud of you for staying true to you and it warms my heart to see how compassionate your heart truly is. I feel that this vegan way of life is the foundation of what we believe in. You. Are. Not. Superhuman. Allow yourself the freedom to make mistakes and enjoy being human. I feel that I will do my best as a vegan (as it’s easy to control my actions). All I can do is be an example to my family and let them learn that way, and allow them to make choices along their journey. Don’t stress perfection. You are perfectly imperfect XOXO. Thank you for sharing your life.

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    • So glad to hear it Alisa! I wish you would’ve spoken out, but I understand your desire to keep your mouth shut and let me process my own feelings. I guess I did need to figure this out for myself and I am so glad I did. I could never bring myself to eat meat again, so I am glad that I have proof that it is absolutely OK to be vegan/vegetarian. I always have believed that it is the healthiest way to live and to eat. I don’t think I ever could forget that. Even though veganism can make you feel isolated from others, it still means more to me than a temporary awkward feeling at a family gathering or social event. I really appreciate your supportive comment. It is nice to cross paths with someone who shares these similar feelings. I really hope you enjoy your book. Comment or email any time.:)

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  4. HI Tiffany
    I am so happy that you have made this discovery. I have been reading your blogs all week and have not commented as I believe in a plant based diet and did not want to judge what anyone else was thinking or feelings. In my head I wanted to say that you are probably tired becuase you are a busy Mom and that it has nothing to do with your diet but I did not feel that was my place.
    I wish you all the best and hope that you continue to find the time to make great recipes as my whole family and my friends love your recipes! Take care.

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    • Thank you Janice! 🙂 Although it was tough, I am glad that I went through the doubt and confusion because now I have even more strength and confidence in who I am and to live life in line with my values. I feel like I have let go of the fears and insecurities I had that weren’t really even my own, but other people’s judgements of me. It is always hard to take the road less travelled and live life differently from the norm. I am eager to get back into recipes again. It has been quite a while since I was in the kitchen too much now because I wanted a break from all that I had done for the cookbook. I do love cooking and baking and sharing recipes. I also think of it as a loving act for my family too. Glad that you enjoy the recipes and my blog. 🙂

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  5. *standing ovation* Good for you!
    I’m shocked at your doctor’s reaction. Our doctors are all for us being vegan…I’m so happy you “found yourself!”

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    • I never imagined that appointment to be as awful as it was. I cried so much and was made to feel so badly. I am glad though because seeing the way he acted and hearing the way he spoke to me just made me realize all the more how much I truly do care about the animals and do not want to live my life in a way that causes them any harm or suffering if I can help it. I also do not believe that we need meat, eggs or dairy in our diet to be healthy. I have seen that in my family and myself and so many other vegans.

      Everything happens for a reason.

      Thanks Wendy!

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  6. I’m so sorry you’ve been struggling. We are all just human. Be gentle with yourself and don’t let others define who you are. You are an amazingly strong and beautiful woman, inside and out! I want to thank you for sharing your life with all of us. Sending lots of love and hugs your way! ❤

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  7. Thank you again for sharing your heart. It’s tough stuff. Don’t be too sure that others are content to be “as they are”. You would likely be surprised at how many people are going through their own deep inner struggles and looking deep within themselves and up to God for help. There are so many ways to frame our struggles and for many, it may look like apathy. Some people are so private and great at pretending. Just know that you are NOT ALONE. My Mom used to say, “Normal is what you are.” When we had our first child, we thought, “Now we know how children are…we know what to do.” Then we had our second and we realized, “There are two different kinds!! Well, now we know what to do with both.” Then, our third little one came and again, we realized there were at least three different kinds of children… Now with four, we realize that there are so many different kinds of normal…as many as there are people on the Earth! Nobody is ever exactly the same. We all have different bodies, circumstances, personalities, relationships, and feelings. You will never be replicated, it’s true. But, you ARE normal. God made you and set your life up the way He did for a PURPOSE. Never give up on being YOU. But, don’t feel like you have to “arrive”. Here on Earth, we’re just on a continual journey. My Mom also has often commented that she thinks I must be annoyed that she hasn’t gotten past her issues in life…that by NOW, after 59 years of life, surely she should have everything figured out already. And, I think, I’m glad she’s still learning. She’s open to growing and learning as she gets older…different circumstances come her way, and she has to figure out what she’ll do about them. I think it’d be great to not struggle and everything, but truly, that’s how we grow the most. The journey doesn’t end until our lives here on Earth come to an end! And, I think that’s all part of the plan.

    Sorry for the super-long comment. I’ll be praying for you. It was nice to see you yesterday…twice! 🙂 Love to you.

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  8. YAH!! SO wonderful to hear that you are on the up and up today and have listened to your heart 🙂
    I went through a similar situation when I was nursing Joaquin (the second) I was vegetarian and it seemed every time I sat down to nurse him I felt super dizzy and extremely tired (not the normal sleepy that people get whilst nursing) So I went to see the Doc and he simply said “stop nursing” I responded with utter frustration “Thats NOT an option, take some blood! Turned out my Iron was SUPER low! so I supplemented and was fine.
    It saddens me that there are people out there, who are still oblivious to alternative lifestyles. Especially ones with their doctorates 😛 I had seen on dr. oz that doctors are not educated in foods! Seems bizarre to me.
    Anyways I am glad to hear that you are doing better and that you got “some” answers yesterday.
    Keep blogging, I think its a good source of therapy for you eh? The way you write is very inspirational to me 🙂 I was reading some of your last entry to my husband last night and I was like ” Isn’t she a brilliant writer?!” He agreed 🙂

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    • I was worried that it was some kind of deficiency, but all is well. I just need to assess how I can make my life easier and make time to relax and not be so hard on myself. I have learned a lot! Glad that you enjoy my ramblings. Thank you for your kind words. 🙂

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  9. Hi Tiffany, well let me first say that that doctor deserves a spanking! perhaps you can find one that practices real medicine rather than using his position to postulate HIS opinions. Jesh i’m sorry you had to deal with that. Remember i wrote to you about my situation in perhaps making a mistake with the partner i chose to have children with and now we’re in Maryland with his mom and step-dad? Well I kind of get the same treatment from them looking down on me for my choices as a mother like not vaccinating them, not letting them eat as much junk food as they want that they will feed them… I need to learn to stand up to people like that for who I am, I want to learn how to summon from the universe people who would support and celebrate me. Anyway you should not feel bad for who you are, for what you want in your life, for how you want to raise your children. There are soo many vegans and vegan parents out there, look at Alicia Silverstone and there’s a blog I want you to know about if you don’t already: Bonzai Aphrodite. And she has a post (you will have to search her blog/website for it) about how she had been feeling “sick” from her vegan diet but determined to stay a vegan for her personal ethical reasons she searched out a naturopathic doctor to help her and she did it and began to feel better with a few tweaks like incorporating pea protein into her diet as one thing she did. I think it will make you feel better to read about her struggle. Also perhaps you can find a vegan group in your area, check out the colleges if there are any or host your own vegan potlucks with like minded people. That helped me but again this was before I had kids but i so loved the community and am missing it now. Well I love your posts and yes give yourself a big hug for me. You are beautiful and have three beautiful girls. Jenn 🙂

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    • Thanks so much Jenn! I am definitely not seeing that doctor again. I never did like him and I only saw him a few times, only when I really felt that I needed to. We aren’t really for the mainstream medical doctors because they are really pushy for medicine and trained in medicine and so I always feel like there is no real point in going because I know that they are just going to want to prescribe a quick-fix to any illness or complaint, without really investigating anything or getting to know you. I feel like patient/doctor relationships are so impersonal and that saddens me.

      I know how you feel about feeling looked down upon for your choices. It is tough when you are trying to live a life in line with your values and beliefs and in doing so, going against the norm and being judged as weird or crazy. I hate that feeling, but even worse, I hate the feeling of not living true to what I believe. That to me is so restricting, suffocating and dishonest. I would never feel right living like that and so I am always trying to break free, find myself and not be afraid of it. Still, there is always a bit of fear in the back of my mind that tries to keep me from letting go completely. I think a part of us is always going to have to face those fears and learn and grow through them.

      I am so grateful for your comment. Thank you! 🙂

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  10. I am super happy that you are healthy and discovered your core beliefs! Interesting, even though it was an awful experience, that doctor helped you confront the reasons you came to become vegan in the first place! Even though we disagree with everything he said, and your good health actually proves him wrong (how ironic, he gives you a clean bill of health, and says nobody can live on a vegan diet). In my opinion, you should be proud to use the word “vegan” and help disspell the stereotypes that were created by the minority. You are a person who practices a vegan lifestyle, like me 🙂

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  11. Oh my goodness. I am sorry I didn’t read this post sooner. Mainstream medicine is by no means the bible of health and nutrition. Doctors are there to diagnose serious illness, prescribe drugs, perform surgery, etc. They typically don’t believe in herbal, homeopathic, holistic, or any other treatments or philosophies that are outside the limits of drugs or the ancient Canada Food Guide (remember the 4 food groups?? Hahahah)
    They do serve a purpose, but that purpose is not to condone outside-the-box lifestyle alternatives.
    But that is awesome that your results came back perfect and you don’t have to worry that you were doing anything wrong 🙂
    Also I think everyone gets that tired feeling at times, regardless of your diet. Especially when you are chasing three precious little girls around all day!!! Who wouldn’t be tired?!?!

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  12. Hi there!
    This was my first time reading your blog, and I rarely comment on things, but I have to say that I lated to every word you wrote…on many levels. I’ve been on a journey of self discovery myself and have good days and bad. Choosing a vegan life for myself and my family is certainly a challenge, but one that just feels right in my soul. When we are within the four walls of our home, it’s pretty easy. It’s in telling other people that the difficulty arises. People automatically seem to assume that we are snobby, weird, or that we look down on them. They seem instantly uncomfortable. I struggle to find a way to explain our choices without sounding “preachy”. I’m not looking for their acceptance, I just want them to realize that and know that I accept them.
    Like you, I too have always felt like I don’t fit in, and have a high spiritual sensitivity and hunger. In the past year, I have begun to meditate regularly. I cannot put into words how much it has made a difference in my life. I have a peace that I was missing before, and I know have great confidence in my choices.
    Keep following your heart, and you can’t go wrong. Thank you for sharing your journey.
    Namaste:-)

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    • Thank you for your comment! I really appreciate it and am glad that you can relate. The most important thing that we can do is follow our heart and be ourselves, even though it may seem so hard sometimes when it takes us down a different path. Comment any time! 🙂

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