Mind Over Matter
Posted on September 09 2018
Written by: Jennifer Edmondson
When I first started this journey, I had no idea the impact my new lifestyle would have on my spirit. Several months ago, I made the best decision of my life- to stop eating meat and any other animal product. The change stemmed from a fear for my physical heath. I had no idea just how much the food I was consuming affected my mental health as well. Like most women I started noticing changes in my appearance and the way I was feeling. I was often tired by midday, I was getting unexplainable headaches, my asthma seemed to be getting worse and I thought that I out grew that. My knees even started to hurt. I was only in my mid-thirties and I knew that if I didn’t make some changes things would continue to change for the worse.
I never really paid too much attention to my mental health. I knew I suffered from anxiety but that was so normal these days, right? And besides, I knew how to control it. My grounded, breathing techniques I learned were really helping. I was also when of those mom’s that was easily angered and had little patience. But that was every mom I thought? I was also gaining weight and my body was changing. For me, that took a mental toll too. I would instantly be in a bad mood if my jeans were tighter than last year or if I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and didn’t recognize the reflection.
Almost immediately I started noticing changes in my mood, my appearance, and the way that I felt. My knees weren’t hurting anymore, I wasn’t reaching for my inhaler twice a week, I had energy and my headaches were gone. This was huge! I started to want to do other things. Like working out again, paddle boarding, starting a blog, and creating amazing vegan recipes. I felt like a new person and my anxiety that snuck up on me periodically was in the past.
I started to wonder about all the negative health effects we suffer from while consuming animals and everything that comes with the Standard American Diet. All of that pain that animals go through-we are ingesting. What really happens when we consume their suffering? Where does that go? It would seem silly to think that has anything to do with our mental and physical health, but I see a direct correlation. It has become more clear and evident to me, as ironic as it may seem, that the pain we put animals through is in turn harming us.
There have been studies done that confirm my suspicions. Those who eat diets high in animal products such as processed meat and high calorie dairy products are not only overweight, but depressed and are riddled with anxiety. Depression and diet go hand in hand. In those studies, it was noted that those who ate diets high in vegetables, fruits and whole grains were less likely to be depressed. I believe it because I was noticing huge improvements in my mental health as well as my physical health. I am happier, more connected with nature and just felt lighter all around. This new lifestyle is a game changer for me. I am so thankful I was able to recognize, that through compassionate living, I could enjoy my life again.