I’ve had to make some big changes in my life over the past year–changes that needed to be made in order for me to function at my highest and best. I’ve been a vegetarian for over 25 years, but even with that kind of healthy diet, there were things that were creating difficulty with my health. I discovered that salt was a big problem, creating edema, headaches and other aches and pains. I know this now because when I have taken just the salt out of my diet, many of those symptoms fade or go away. There are other things in my diet I’ve had to say “bye, bye” to lately, as well.
Being a vegetarian all of these years has not been hard for me at all, but taking the salt out was my personal kryptonite. It has not been easy, mainly because I was addicted to it. I always preferred salty over sweet, and so sugar was not something that I craved or wanted. I CRAVED salt and didn’t know how much until I took it away. And it is in almost every prepared vegetarian whole food that I’ve found–except things like canned beans or tomatoes (no salt added). While I’ve always loved fresh veggies, fruits and grains, that’s my diet now. Pretty much, I have no prepared sauces or foods (when I say prepared foods, I mean prepared whole foods), salad dressings, or eating out. I loved eating Asian, Indian, Italian and Middle Eastern food out, and that’s gone now. I order a salad when I find myself out or at a meeting and put lemon juice and olive oil on it. I was a vegetarian foodie (gourmet vegetarian cook and loved eating out), and I’ve gone through the stages of letting go, discomfort, even some grief, and a bit of whining. But I’ve come to the simple understanding that it is what it is.
Why am I writing about something as mundane as this? Because the human being of me is letting go of the things she loves–letting go of things that brought much pleasure–not really wanting those choices but having to make them. Newer and clearer awareness of my body being a temple and making choices that are best for me out of that awareness is an important part of it. It’s true, I’m healthier. I feel better. I’ve lost weight (almost 45 lbs. to date). My mind is clearer. A very big gift is the empowerment within me of the awareness that I’m bigger than this is, or the very wise words that are thousands of years old, greater is that which is within me than that which is without.
This is all about communication. Lots of communication with myself and some communication with others. What I’ve found drives all of this is love. I didn’t make these choices because I didn’t like what I looked like or because I wanted to fix myself–which seems to be the biggest motivating factor for many in our culture for making changes like this. The deepest and most sustaining force in this change for me was love for my life and to be functioning at my highest, best, healthiest and strongest.
The world changes by us changing ourselves, and what I’ve found in my life to be the most lasting change for the highest is always and ever the change made because of and with love.
© Mary Claire O’Neal