I no longer consider myself "vegan". The fun thing about that is that I no longer have a label for the way I eat! Due to life-long sensitive digestive issues, eating simply became something I just needed to do. I tried so many different diets and often got caught up in the "rules" that go with them. Vegan, raw vegan, low-fat raw vegan, vegetarian, watching the food combining 'rules'...I've done them all. After over 17 years on a mixture of these diets, I wasn't feeling as though I was thriving or even close to that. I eliminated wheat, gluten, and sugar to see if that might do the trick. Not really. I was open to change.
I re-read the book about the blood-type diets. I was surprised when some of the foods it suggested I avoid, were foods that I ate a LOT of - bananas, mangoes, oranges and tomatoes especially. I resisted at first, but then, out of desperation and a desire to feel at least good consistently, I decided to give it a go. I did not eliminate those fruits entirely, but I did cut them way back. I rediscovered other fruits that I had not paid much attention to - pears, nectarines, plums, apples. I noticed a slight change for the better in how I felt. I looked at the foods on the "highly beneficial" list for my A blood type. I was not surprised to see that most meat was on my "avoid" list, with chicken and turkey okay occasionally. Some fish though, were listed as highly beneficial. I'd never been a huge fan of fish, so I just opened myself up to that possibility. One day, Cary was having some red salmon. I caught the smell and Oh.My....it was like lust...I HAD to have some! That night I slept well, and I woke up the next day feeling energetic! I couldn't remember the last time I had woken up like that!
I've had salmon and tuna a few more times since then, and I had some barbeque chicken another time. I've been enjoying poached eggs and even a little cheese. The trick I've found, is that if the food smells and looks good to me and has me wanting it, then there is probably something in it that I need. I no longer disallow any food because of a rigid dogma. My body needed a change, and I needed to be open to receiving the intuitive guidance that is within.
I found some of the other recommendations for my blood type interesting, such as a strong suggestions that I incorporate regular yoga or tai chi instead of pushing myself in other sports. I always feel much more balanced when I do yoga and I feel irritated when I push myself to work out aerobically or with weights every day. I still go for a walk on the beach most mornings and swim some laps most afternoons, but I do those things much more mindfully. It's no longer something I do so I can cross it off the list and forget about it for the day. It's a gift to myself. I walk barefoot on the beach, feeling each footstep on the sand, feeling all the way through each step from the heel until my toes lift off. I'm more in touch with the sights and sounds around me, the solo seagull walking next to me (Hi Dad!), the surf, the sun, the clouds, the smell of the salt water, the sounds of the waves rolling and crashing....I feel gratitude for the moment....it's meditation in motion. Sometimes the children join me on my walk and even as they chat, I am still aware of the underlying meditation within myself. When I swim laps, I become part of the water and again, it is very meditative.
Even though it may look as though I am doing the same exercises that I was doing a month ago, my internal focus has changed, and it feels very different to me. The other thing is that if I really don't want to exercise, I just don't...and I no longer make myself feel guilty for taking the day off!
I've been reading spiritual and self-help books most of my life. Intellectually I 'know' that I am supposed to live more mindfully, and to be more in touch with how I move and feed my body. I see now that I had limited myself by labelling myself. By insisting that I was vegetarian, I cut off other possibilities that may have helped me sooner. By insisting that I was following a fitness program, I was not always in tune with what my spirit needed as I pushed through a workout because I thought I had to in order to stay physically fit.
I really get it now. Ha! So many books and people telling us that we have to do or eat or move in a certain way in order to get certain results. Ha! What we really need are more people just encouraging each of us to get in touch with our own inner guidance. Then the biggest hurdle....giving ourselves Permission to do that! Allowing ourselves to break free of rules. If your body is saying that you need to rest instead of going to the gym, allowing that. If your body is saying that it wants (something you would usually have for dinner) for breakfast, then allowing that. It's about being gentle with yourself, respecting your inner voice and following through. The more you do that, the more in tune you will be.
I don't follow the blood-type diet. I took their suggestions under advisement and I now let my body lead the way to what it wants. That can be different things on different days, or it can be the same thing for three days straight.
I love being free of labels and rules! I love being more deeply in touch with my body. I'm still fine-tuning the process, but overall, my body is happier and so is my spirit!