A question I am continually asked when people hear that I am a vegetarian is "Why?" "What made you choose to become a vegetarian?"
For me the answer is very simple, and my only reason for doing so is...the animals. Now discovering more about myself in this last year I have come to realize there is a reason for it all that was beyond my initial understanding.
I grew up in an Italian home eating a variety of meats, cheeses, lunch meats, veal, fish, and so on. I always ate it because it was all I knew, no one in my family was a vegetarian. My aunt was the closest thing to a vegetarian that I was familiar with, she didn't eat red meat or pork products. She was the only one though. Around the time of High School was when I became more aware of things, more aware of what I was eating and what others were eating. I guess working at a grocery store actually would do so. I remember the exact moment in High School that I found out what veal was made from and I dropped my fork and said I am never eating that again! I felt ashamed of what I was eating and my heart broke for the animals. I was never able to watch an animal on TV get hurt, real or fake I always turned away. However no matter what emotions I was feeling or how hurt I felt I still ate the steak, chicken, or lobster, again because it was all I knew. Lobster was another one I was never able to witness getting prepared, I would always leave the kitchen.
After I got married at 27 I had made the uneducated decision to become a vegetarian. I had absolutely no idea what to do or how to cook a vegetarian meal. All I knew was pasta, potatoes, salads, that was it. So naturally after two weeks of not have enough nutrition or protein, feeling exhausted and a pounding headache that would never go away, I quit. I was on my way to work one night and stopped at Subway and got a meatball sub and my headache vanished. The guilt was still there though, oh the guilt. I met a few new people while working that were vegetarians and I was so jealous of them! How did they do it? I found it so unbelievably hard to do but I tried it again a year later. Thinking I knew more about meal preparation so I went for it. Only again to discover the same challenges. Tired, hungry, pounding headaches, two weeks later quit again. I felt defeated, how do people do this! It wasn't until I was June of 2015, I had just finished working and stopped to get a sandwich on my way home. There were two girls in front that had to of been maybe 12 years old. The placed their order and man behind the counter asked if they wanted any meat. Both girls responded with the same answer, "no I am a vegetarian". Right then and there I said to myself if these two young girls can do it so can I! That was the defying moment and I never looked back.
At the time my journey began, I had two beautiful children within 18 months of each other and both by c-section. My youngest was two and a half years old. I struggle with PCOS which made it extremely challenging to loose any of the weight that I had gained with each pregnancy. I was typically a healthy person which made the lack of weight loss even more frustrating. I had come to accept that my hair was just going to continue to fall out and I am forever going to weigh 166 lbs for my 5 ft 4 in self. I was depressed and feeling incredibly just crummy about myself all together. The weight didn't really begin to disappear all that quickly, I think I really needed to figure out my meal plan at first and what was cooked in animal fat and what wasn't and so on. Once I really began to just CUT ALL fried foods, sugars, snaking, and truly focus on a plant based lifestyle the weight just began to shed. It almost became a game with the scale. I now fluctuate between 134-136 lbs. Now I'm not going to lie, I do eat a french fry as long as it's not cooked in animal products once in a blue moon, I love chocolate and I snack occasionally, I would be lying if I said I didn't however I have really cut out about 98% of it all together.
Some may know that I am a spiritual person, I am an Empath, and I can sense when spirits are around and connect with them. I see things vividly in dreams and just recently had my first Past Life Regression. I was able to meet my grandfather who I had never met before, we hung out and ran through the garden together. I also found out that my husband is my true soul mate and he was there in both of my past lives visited. In one life visited I was a jazz singer and he was a producer and we lived in LA in the 1960's. It was such a fun experience and left me want to know more! It wasn't until I was pregnant with my second child that I started noticing things happening around me and to me. I could smell perfumes randomly out of no where that would remind me of loved ones that have passed away, feel a burning sensation and pressure on my back. With this magical gift I have learned a lot about myself and about others. I can sense and feel when they are being dishonest, energies absolutely suffocate me, sickness or illness is too much to handle for me, I have a hard time being around people that are fake and are untruthful, mean spirited, or even go to places with many lost souls, a.k.a. hospitals, cemeteries, or churches. What I have also learned over the years that many people that live a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle are also empaths like me. With this gift you often times feel alone because no one understands your hightened emotions, unexplained anxieties and panic attacks, and over whelming feelings towards, people, and places even parking spots. There are many parking spots that I absolutely can not go near and instantly get an uncomfortable feeling and ask my husband to move the car. He's used to my weird behavior by now (multiple lives together) and he just moves the car, lol. Honestly I know for a fact that I do sound crazy half of time, I know I do. However the reason that empaths tend to be vegan or vegetarian is because we can feel the souls of the animal. I know this sounds bizarre but it is true. I have the hardest time walking through any meat department at the grocery store, especially Stew Leonards because I can hear in my head ALL of the animals screaming and crying and I get flashes of the slaughter house in my head. Now imagine that! Each and every time too! It's overwhelming. A phrase my family most recently keeps hearing me say is "it's too much for me" I can't go places or be in situations because it is just frankly TOO MUCH for me to handle. They hear this more now than ever before only because I am more aware of my feelings. I feel everything and sense everything and my body physically reacts to it. Headaches like no other are constant. I have this unbelievable connection with my son again sometimes overwhelming. He is my first born. I feel his energy to the core and every emotion of excitement or sadness that he feels in my presence I feel it times 10. I also believe in my soul that he is an emapth as well. We feed off each others emotions which can be stressfull, and he is only 7 and doesn't understand it. He also has said that he doesn't want to eat animals because it makes his belly feel sad. I believe him too. So there is so much more to being a vegetarian and the understandings as to why each person chooses this lifestyle, but it is important to understand that everyone has a choice, and this is my choice. :)