The New Kind of Plant-Based
Hi guys! Writing to you on my LAST NIGHT IN BALI (how on the planet of earth did that go by so quickly?) and while I try to wrap my head around coming to a close of three solid weeks of solitude, healing treatments, BLISSFUL day long writing adventures with myself, waterfall hikes, new soul friends including my incredible and kind driver here and so many stray dogs and kitties that I feed every night outside of my hotel… I will share with you what I have wanted to share for a while in regards to food.
Then, inevitably on the 28-hour trek home tomorrow or in the days to follow, I will share more about all that I have learned on this solo journey with myself. I also have a nearly TWO HOUR solo podcast episode going up next Wednesday that I recorded here about my trip and I am very excited to share it. And if you’ve heard me say that I am going to be gone for *two months* and you’re thinking “wait, only three weeks have passed…” you are correct, and I am heading off to a healing center in Northern California after a few days home in LA with my loves in between. The healing journey continues!
Anyway, this topic today is very near and dear to my heart. And in some ways I have found it even harder to put into words than I did my original “Why I’m Transitioning Away from Veganism” blog post nearly four years ago. I have purposely not put it into words yet because I wanted and needed to experience this first and foremost for me… feel it out for ME, and also see and feel the lasting effects after eating this way for a while before I shared.
The topic is the NEW KIND OF PLANT-BASED 🌱 and I will explain what that means at the bottom of this post. 🙂
Let’s just start at the beginning — and I will try to make this as short & sweet as possible because the truth is, I could (and want to…) write a book about this particular subject and my relationship to it! ONE DAY. One thing at a time…!
The Story //
So, last summer. I started seeing my dear friend Lo Roxburgh for alignment and body work. In our sessions we immediately went VERY DEEP into soul-guided conversation, and the synergy between us is to this day absolutely insane. Lo picked up very quickly on the inflammation I was experiencing in my body, and I just kept telling her: “I don’t feel like myself. My body is so inflamed. I feel it every day in my gut, my skin, my ENERGY FIELD, even my organs.”
A few months into working together she asked me when the last time I felt truly myself in my body was, without the inflammation and the pain and the insomnia and the gut issues and all the rest. And I said, “Well, I guess when I was vegan. Before the eating disorder of course and just when I was eating a balanced vegan diet.” And she said, “Well… what would you think about going vegan again?”
Her words planted the seed, and as much as I wanted to try it I was SCARED. Not only scared of what labeling my diet would mean for me after the healing journey I’ve gone through, but also scared of the Internet trolls who get off on abusing people’s dietary choices (very much including my own). I have worked long and hard to transition from veganism to non-veganism in the public eye, and switching back just gave me that feeling of, “oh god, people are going to think I am such a damn hypocrite.”
Of course those fears were wedged way deep inside of me and they only came up later on as I’ve done the inner work to figure out my resistance to this way of life. Fast forward to months later, when my reiki master and also very dear friend Kelsey Patel said to me in a similar heart-to-heart conversation, “Oh wow! I am getting the intuitive hit that you need to try going vegan again. How does that feel for you?”
Between Lo and Kelsey and their open and soul-guided and non-judgmental and non-biased words, I could have cried. I actually did cry. Just having the PERMISSION from two close friends of mine who also happen to be healers who also happen to be deeply immersed in the wellness world who ALSO happen to have about 10 years of life wisdom on me really, really, really hit home for me. I have always maintained and I still do that it’s never about what someone else thinks, or what someone else tells you. But from my particular position at that place in time I really NEEDED some “permission,” if you will, to be me. To REALLY listen to my own body and go with it.
So back in November, I did it. I started eating plant-based. I felt into it intuitively and it felt incredibly right. Physically, things were REALLY not feeling okay so trust me when I say it took a lot of immensely deep work to even get in touch with my intuition on a physical level.
When Jonathan and I came to Bali in December, I dabbled in eating other things for the sake of “FOOD FREEDOM” (I put it in quotes because someone with as many gut and health issues as I have had, mental food freedom can sometimes equate making yourself very physically ill) and felt like abbbbbsolute and complete shit. So then I really dedicated myself to the plant-based lifestyle, and I haven’t turned back since.
Plant-Based in Bali //
Many of you know that in the first few days of 2018, I got hit with a sudden and MASSIVE attack of full-body hives. Up until about a week ago I was still covered in a terrible eczema rash that was diagnosed from afar as everything from a cutaneous drug rash to Lyme disease. I am still sorting out what the exact “diagnosis” is, but I am not sure I even need one because I know now that it was nearly 100% stress-related and gut-related.
So I came on this solo trip to Bali to heal. The proximity of raw vegan cafes, healing centers, yoga studios, and wellness retreats to my hotel here in Ubud is absolutely nuts. Even Los Angeles has nowhere near this amount of easy, readily available, abundant, made-with-love, and CHEAP organic plant-based cuisine… and here it’s literally on every corner.
So for the last three weeks I have dedicated myself to eating 100% plant-based, and about 80% raw. For the first week or so I was completely raw but found myself craving cooked veggies and warming meals for dinner after a period of time and I am all about listening to my body above all else.
On top of the food I’ve been eating, I have been doing a lot of yoga, walking at LEAST 10,000 steps a day (usually closer to 20,000!), resting and sleeping a ton, doing colonics, drinking juices, eating an ABUNDANCE of fruits and fermented foods, and all of those things combined have lowered my stress levels immeasurably AND cleaned up my gut a considerable amount.
Letting go of my “fruit fear” that I developed from YEARS (yet again) of listening to other people’s ideologies and opinions about bodies that are not my own, has been the most freeing thing mentally and physically I have probably done in my entire adult life when it comes to food. I mean, my body was CRYING out for the nutrients and digestion-friendly properties of fresh, organic fruits. I didn’t eat fruit for THREE YEARS. (Or let’s say barely. Maybe a handful every so often.)
I have started mostly every day here with a smoothie bowl, FULL of fresh local fruits and topped with more fruit, superfoods, and raw granolas. I am telling you, and you know this if you’ve followed me over the years, I would not have touched a bowl full of so much natural sugar with a ten foot pole even just a year ago. But suddenly, eating intuitively and treating myself to what truly sounds and feels the best for me each day…. that is what I am gravitating toward. Just like I was five years ago when I was vegan PRE-eating disorder when I ate what I wanted in abundance and with love!
I have also been eating raw DESSERTS here in great abundance. I think it’s safe to say that with the exception of a few days here and there where I just wasn’t in the mood, I have had dessert every day here & at least once a day. I am all about the chocolate, as you know. So tons of raw cacao goodness! (If you come to Ubud, you have GOT to try Ubud Raw Chocolate. It’s actually insanity how good it is and full of sooooo many antioxidants and healthy fats.)
And honestly I am just telling you this because I love healthy desserts and listening to my body on that front has been so healing. If you’re not a dessert person, keep doing you. You don’t HAVE to eat dessert to feel free and intuitive with food… in fact many people may find themselves doing the opposite when they’re being truly intuitive. That is what is beautiful, we are all so freakishly different in our ways and that is what I love. THAT is what makes us healthy.
Tonight was my final dinner in Ubud (SAD in some ways even though I am ready to get home to my J & my Hud – like you have no idea, there are not even words) & I had a “Nourish Bowl” at one of my fave cafes here Sayuri Healing Food which is full of brown rice, adzuki beans, steamed veggies, spirulina crunchies, tahini dressing and a few other things… plus a side of raw bread, raw aged nut cheeses (TO DIE FOR), and a double chocolate raw pie for dessert.
I mean, can you say YUM? And abundant? And delicious? And decadent in the best ways and not at all restrictive or limited the way I once was in my previously restrictive vegan days?
So here’s what I’m trying to say //
I still believe in no labels. I believe in eating intuitively, and doing YOU and not listening to what anyone else has to say about what will make you feel the best or this or that. I still believe that we evolve and change over time, and I would be surprised if I didn’t change my eating habits again down the line as my life and journey continues to evolve.
For my own personal body right now, eating in this anti-inflammatory high fruit and high veggie way with lots of raw foods, juices, and also cooked veggies and gluten-free grains / legumes on the occasion has me feeling better than I’ve felt in four and a half years. Maybe five.
My medium MaryAnn (the most psychic person on this planet, no joke) did a healing on me last night over the phone and she said my gut is HEALING for the first time in years. She said it is going to continue to be a process, and the healing journey I am on is extremely slow and steady and that is my work at this time to trust in going slow and the true healing that is taking place… but the words “YOUR GUT IS HEALING & YOUR BODY IS SO HAPPY ABOUT IT” basically brought me to my knees.
After the parasites, the eczema, the hives, the autoimmune, the cystic acne, the eating disorder recovery, the food allergies, the chronic fatigue, depression and anxiety all stemming from my gut… those words held more sweet music to my ears than I think I could ever express to you in this lifetime.
I feel very, very, very good right now on this plant-based and highly raw diet. I am very aware that many people reading have seen me through my eating disorder and recovery days and I also know that many of you have been through your own recovery journeys. I very much hope that seeing me go through this process and find this complete & utter joy in this lifestyle again can inspire you from afar to do the same for YOUR life. It could look entirely different to you. It could be the opposite of plant-based or vegan. All I hope for you is that it makes you feel good, and passionate, and healthy, and awake, and alive.
(Quick side note: Even though I was eating vegan in LA for three months before I came back to Bali, I was still eating a lot of inflammatory foods. Nightshades, fried cauliflower at Erewhon (such an addiction), sauces that didn’t agree with me, more grains and legumes than I have been here… so this is the first time I have felt TRULY amazing with a longterm dedication to cutting out everything I knew intuitively was not working for me.)
What now? //
I am headed to a healing center in Nor Cal when I get back to the U.S. I made a commitment to myself this year that I would deal with my health issues once and for all, and take myself on a self-loving journey to heal and feel my absolute most radiant best again. I will share more details about it as time goes on — I will be doing something rather extreme and I wouldn’t recommend it to people who aren’t in my boat of *extreme* health issues and imbalances, so I will hold off on telling you more about it until THIS post has sunken in at least, haha.
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting me and being here for this journey through the years. I hope and know in my heart of hearts that anyone who is MEANT to be here reading this will be, and I feel that my words at this point in time will attract people who are at the stage of their journey where they can take in what I am saying and feel confident about their own life choices as well whether they’re different from mine or similar.
One thing I want to share is that while going through this entire journey publicly on social media and in the news and all the rest was the best and the worst thing for my overall wellbeing. The best because I got more support than any girl could ever dream of or imagine, and I feel deeply lucky to be able to run into SO MANY girls and guys on the streets of Ubud of all places (and of course when I am back home — but here has been pretty remarkable so far from home) who know much of my life story and have been so incredibly kind. The worst because it is definitely very hard to have your choices and your opinions ripped to shreds on a daily basis, especially from very passionate people about one thing or another.
The truth is, once you reach the place of true FREEDOM and unconditional love for yourself and your body, you will understand what its like to make choices from a place of pure heart-centered intuition. And when you’re there, my choices and everyone’s choices won’t affect you negatively. I can promise you that.
I dreamt of that place for a long time, and now that I’m there… it feels amazing. So whether you agree with or me disagree, it’s not my place to say or to even care. Because we are all dealing with something and being on the Internet has taught me I will often be the target for someone else’s insecurities. And I continue to put myself and my truth out there because A) that is what makes me happy and makes me feel fulfilled and B) I care about you guys with all my heart and it never feels right to NOT tell you things! C) I want to help people as best I can, and I know no other way to do that than to be radically open and honest.
Also, I will probably write a whole post on this but I will briefly say: opening up spiritually, psychically, and intuitively has had a LOT to do with this shift. I finally understand what people have been saying all years about how eating pure, mostly raw, foods from the earth in many ways can open up your third eye and make you feel more one with the universe. That has definitely been my experience… cleaning it all up, inside and out.
So… I am saving the point of this post for the very last paragraph. I want to represent a NEW kind of plant-based lifestyle. One where you can be VEGAN and not judge other people who are not vegan. You are allowed to be vegan and still be open to changing your diet to include non-vegan foods in the future. You are allowed to be vegan without labeling yourself and without being militant about your own choices or others’ choices. THERE IS NO ONE WAY TO BE, even when it comes to being plant-based or vegan.
So right now I am trying that on. I am feelin’ like the NEW kind of plant-based is the way I want to be. I will keep you very updated on how it makes me feel, and I would be honored if you decided to join me in whichever way you’d like to! EVEN if that is by eating a totally different way. Join me in doing you, and being intuitive, and of course… incorporating plants because they’re so very good for you.
Thoughts?! Would absolutely love to hear them. And tomorrow I will be headed back stateside and I am very, very, very excited. And very ready. <3