A number of years ago, a few weeks before Christmas, my Mum phoned me with some shocking news: "Viv" she said, "this year for Christmas dinner we decided we'd just cook chicken instead of turkey."
There was a deafening silence on my side of the phone as I tried to take in what my Mum had said. No turkey at Christmas? NO!!! That could never be!
I didn't stop for one minute to think that my Mum's getting older, that cooking a big turkey for just her, my Dad and me (my sister was already married) simply didn't make sense and was simply too much effort for her now. All I could think of was that our traditional Christmas meal would be no more. And I was in complete and utter shock.
After a few minutes of speechless silence, I managed to stutter a rather pathetic "okay", by which stage my Mum had picked up on my disappointment and was frantically trying to determine the sanity of her brave decision. As she turned silent on the phone trying to work out what to do for the best for all of us, my brain began to kick into gear, reality and sense started to sink in, and I started to appreciate that my Mum was getting older and cooking a turkey for just three people really was kinda pointless and a lot of effort.
So, trying desperately to hide my disappointment and putting my own feelings aside, I quietly said, as convincingly as I could muster, "I'm okay with chicken. That's fine."
That was quite a number of years ago and when I look at how I used to think about our traditional Christmas dinner and how Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without turkey, and compare it with how I feel about turkey at Christmas nowadays, it staggers me to see how much my views and values have changed.
You see this year for Christmas dinner with my husband, there won't be turkey. There won't even be chicken. Because this year our Christmas dinner will be a vegetarian celebration and feast.
You see a few years ago, both my husband and I (conveniently at similar times, though for different reasons) decided to eat more vegetarian food. For me, I no longer felt comfortable eating sentient animals and didn't want to take on the energy of an animal that had been killed. And I also felt like a hypocrite as, at that time, I was creating and selling cruelty-free skincare products and yet still eating meat. It didn't gel well with me. It simply didn't make sense.
So I got out a vegetarian cookbook that had been gathering dust on our shelves for many years and I started cooking meals from it. And I have to admit, some of the meals were pretty downright dire! I'd never cooked vegetarian before and, for someone who had been brought up on meat and two veg all her life, it felt really foreign.
However, I stuck at it and, not before too long, I was able to convert some of our favourite meals into tasty vegetarian versions.
Gradually, I introduced more and more vegetarian dishes into our diet until I had removed meat entirely from our home-cooked meals.
However the challenge was still there when I would return to my birth country to visit my meat-eating family. I didn't want to rock the boat and didn't want to put extra work on my Mum who cooked all the meals. So I decided, to keep everyone happy and blend in, that while I was visiting I would gratefully eat whatever meal was placed before me.
Slowly, bit by bit, however, the word "hypocrite" would crawl back into my consciousness. Slowly but surely, I started to feel out of alignment. In order to please those near and dear to me I was putting my own feelings last. And this is coming from someone who advocates self-love: that if you can't love yourself first and fill up your own cup, you simply won't have the energy or ability to fully and truly love those around you. I knew I had to be open and honest with myself and open and honest with those I loved dearly.
And that's exactly what I did.
Before my most recent visit I told my family that I now choose, and prefer, to eat vegetarian meals. And you know what? It wasn't the drama that I had expected it to be. My family were fine with my choices and, when I was visiting, I simply made my own meals. As a result I left feeling happier, healthier and aligned with the person I now feel I have grown to be.
Why share this with you as you?
The last few years have brought a lot of (positive) changes into my life. Whilst I no longer create and sell cruelty-free skincare, I've been drawn towards working with energy, spirit and the angels. To live a life that is true and honest, and one that is seeped in love and respect, not just for myself but for the sentient non-human creatures we share this beautiful planet with and for the planet itself, it no longer feels right to me to eat sentient animals and cause damage to this amazing planet we call home, at the same time. To live a high vibrational life so I can be as closely attuned to my spirit guides and angels as possible, creating a strong and meaningful connection and relationship with them, it no longer feels right to lower my vibration by taking on the energy and vibration of an animal that has been killed for its meat.
I'm sharing this with you because it's something I've felt drawn to share with you for quite a while now. At the same time, I didn't know how to talk about it without sounding like I was standing on a soapbox, like a preacher, telling you that you shouldn't eat meat. Because whilst my husband and I have made a conscious move to a meat-reduced/free diet, I appreciate that not everyone will feel the same. It's a personal choice and a personal decision and that's how it should be. But, in some way, I wanted to get you to think about what you're eating and to, hopefully, inspire you a little: if I can do it, anyone can.
So the reason I am sharing this with you is, incase you have ever considered the idea of reducing the amount of meat you eat and increasing your vibration by eating the foods that are lovingly provided directly by Mother Earth, herself, that with a little effort you can do it. I first started cooking vegetarian meals for my husband and I about 4 years ago, now. And, boy, did I make a mess of it at the start! Some of our meals were so bland and stodgy that it was more painful to eat than, as newbie vegetarian cook, to cook at the time. But because it was something we felt passionate about, I stuck with it and, now, I can proudly say that I'm a pretty darn good cook of vegetarian meals.
I spent 40 years eating and cooking meat. And now I don't.
I didn't think about what I was putting in my mouth. And now I do.
I didn't think of the pain and fear that sentient animals experience just before they are killed, just so I could enjoy meat from a supermarket without having to waken up to the process of killing and death. And now I do.
I didn't think about how the vibration from an animal that had been killed for food would adversely affect my own vibration. And now I do.
I didn't think about the trees and forests that were being cut down so I could satisfy my love for meat each week. And now I do.
I took meat for granted and viewed it as a commodity that satisfied my hunger. And now I don't.