Of Meals and labels

Photo by Anto Meneghini on Unsplash

Have you ever felt a strong feeling that something was going to happen? It is a new feeling, but it feels as though you have had it all along. So, you decide to share the message with others? Because you trust the feeling, you expect them to believe you. This is even before you practice this thing. You have not gotten any proof that it works yet. You might have heard of it from another source too, who says that it works, but doubt has been cast over this issue. To make it worse, the one who supports this message is said to be delusional.

I had a knowing that plants were going to play a very huge part in health, not just mine alone but for other people as well. I was aware that diseases would reduce to just minimal cases. I felt that this was the best news ever! I shared this with close family and friends. I told them that humans and animals could all consume plants and still, there would be balance in nature. I told them to forget about the food web and the food chain and put the logic aside for a while. At the end of all this talk, they thought I was not realistic. My sanity was put to question.

I must have been naïve. I thought people would be open minded to believe just as I did, that this was the most wonderful thing to happen to humanity yet. Isn’t it true for most things though? People will always ask for physical proof before trying out new things. This thing that I believed in was about plant food, to be specific. Through my own research, I had read about an unconventional healer. He had said that he used plant medicine to treat all his patients. His message was that plants are naturally healing substances, and if we consume them more, then our health would improve. He also said that plants are self-balancing, well unless you overindulge in them. Even plant food consumed in excess becomes poisonous.

Each one of us or at least most people that I know, have been programmed to taking three meals a day. Come to think of it, I do not know how the number of meals reduce as one gets older. They eventually come to stop at three, for most people. These three meals we call, lunch, breakfast and supper or dinner. Most people have snacks in-between. There is even a belief that one should eat breakfast like a king. The phrase goes on to mention the other two main meals, but I have forgotten the exact words for it. The last meal though, as the statement goes, should be eaten in minimal amounts.

Meals and diets are such a sensitive topic that people tread carefully to avoid offending one another. This is based on the difference in choice of meals. Most people assimilate the diets of the place that they grow up in and only change a few things in their diet. Generally, people are associated with the meals taken in their places of origin. Naturally, it comes with the feeling of belonging and association. This is something that the humankind loves a lot.

There are seasons where extended families have a meal together and a lot of food is usually cooked then. People tend to overeat at these events, and later complain of food poisoning. Such statements as, ‘let us just eat because we do it occasionally,’ will be used as the main excuse for the overindulgence.

For a long time, I used to subscribe to this group of thinking. Whenever there were family reunions, I would serve almost all the foods available. A lot has changed regarding my beliefs on food. I have brought in new meals into my diet and dropped some. My preference just seems to favor plant food over the others.

I first hid under the vegan label for a while. Later I would come to accept that veganism is just a title and a belief system like any other. I dropped the title and just ate the things that resonated with me. As I did this, I slowly learned to respect other people’s choices too. Before this, I would always try to convince other people that vegan diets were better than other diets. Getting people to change was a fruitless endeavor. I might have forgotten that change was self-driven just like mine had been.

The biggest lesson for me was to first accept that labels such as vegetarian or vegan or any other label associated with diet preferences are all titles for the respective belief systems on food. Other people’s choices matter too, perhaps this was something that I had not considered at first. Especially when I tried to convince everyone I knew to do what felt right for me.

This does not mean that the feeling that I first mentioned in the first paragraph is gone. I feel it every day when I eat, every time I take a sip of water. I talk about it because I know that I am not the only one feeling it. You may not be feeling it now, but you may feel it later. When the time is right, I believe.

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