That’s right, it’s time to open up about my recent journey moving away from 100% plant based and becoming a Flexitarian.
How can someone go from having such a strong ethical standpoint only to drop it?
How can someone write a book on the topic and then change?
How can someone who has been so dogged and determined about their point of view only to change it?
How can someone live and breathe a certain way of living only to change?
I’m still coming to terms with all the above and posing the above questions to myself on a daily basis but the one thing has helped me come to terms with this drastic change in my beliefs and actions is Love.
More to the point how Love can change from something so perfect to something that is not, this has happened in my life now on more than one occasion and by observing this it has helped me realise that nothing is forever, and to expect ourselves, and others to stay the same forever is setting ourselves up for disappointment.
We don’t know what’s around the corner and to make wild assumptions about the future is potentially setting yourself up for a big fall at some point, I say potentially because of course we never know, sometimes forever does last and sometimes it doesn’t, we never know at the outset when we first make our choices and commitments.
When I first went vegan in November 2014 the pain and suffering of animals that I was finally becoming conscious to, had such a deep and profound effect on me that I couldn’t see myself living any other way, ever!
Over the last 7 years I’ve been a part of the London and Ibiza vegan communities, giving talks and spreading my message and beliefs but I have always been very careful to take a non-judgemental approach to others, because of where I had come from. Promoting a reductionist approach over a perfectionist one because I understand human nature, maybe because I understood my own nature better than I thought.
I even branded myself The Plant Powered PT rather than The Vegan PT, because the latter name felt very restrictive to myself and to others wanting to make a change, even though at the time I was fully committed to the cause.
I’ve watched people come and go from the vegan world, especially in the last couple of years with a long list of people putting out ‘Why I’m no longer Vegan’ videos on YouTube, to which I observed and held slight contempt for.
At the same time, I had to also take some time out and consider that what if that happens to me one day? What if my beliefs change? A scary thought when you’ve built a whole identity, brand, book, career, instagram profile and image around a belief system that may change at some point in the future.
When my book Plant Powered came out at the start of 2021, I felt proud of what I’d achieved but at the same time empty. It was like the perfect ending to a 7-year cycle of work leading upto that big moment, which led to me asking myself what’s next? What is my passion now?
Suddenly this vegan personal trainer suit that I’d been wearing didn’t feel like it fitted me anymore, I wanted to get out of it but couldn’t figure for the life of me how I was going to make the change and where I would go next.
This fed into life uncertainty which played a big part into the 6-month uncoupling of my romantic relationship at the time, it’s only now looking back that I realise that 2021 for me was the start of me letting go of many things in my life and going into freefall literally.
The breakup was so painful for me that at the beginning of December I thought I was having a breakdown, it was all too much in Ibiza and I had to escape, so I took myself on a month-long road trip of southern Spain the following day.
What I began to realise on that trip was that the relationship breakup, although very painful, was the catalyst for a much bigger death going on in my life, the death of my old self.
Whilst I was away, I had dreams of eating meat again, I began to feel curious about how it would taste and feel in my body again, but I’d made no decisions to go ahead with it, it was just contemplation, but the ball had started rolling, in fact the ball had started rolling just after my book came out the previous January I now realise.
I had also been in a relationship with someone who ate fish and meat occasionally and I’d had trouble letting go of that fact, it triggered me, but I learnt to accept it. I feel there was part of me that wanted that freedom but felt imprisoned by my beliefs, which brought out my inner frustrations, change was coming in a big way.
Then mid-December Instagram threw me out of my account again for the second time in 2 months and so I took this as a sign to let go again of an old identity, 16 thousand followers and 8 years of identity creation.
In the letting go of my old Instagram account I was also starting to let go of an old version of myself, it suddenly created a space for me to explore a new version of myself without the prying eyes of social media and the need to constantly post everything I was eating and doing in my life.
I decided in January 2022 to then take a month off posting on social media, I’d started another instagram account but I didn’t know why I was posting or really what to post anymore on my new account, I needed time to figure out my life, purpose, and direction again.
It was in this first week of space in January that I felt now was the time to experiment with meat again, I couldn’t logically make sense of it but my body was craving something that my ethics could no longer hold back, the dam was breaking.
I decided that I would try some fish, chicken and a steak over the course of a couple of weeks and observe how it made my body feel, that decision in itself felt liberating, I was no longer going to make choices from a place of guilt or shame but from what my inner voice was asking of me.
If I chose to stay 100% plant based then it would be because that’s what I was choosing, rather than maintaining a mask through the pressure of the social profile I had created.
On Friday 7 thI set the setting at my dinner table, took my time to eat slowly and quietly, said thanks to the fish for giving it’s life for meat and ate an oven baked Atlantic salmon steak. It tasted good, the textures, and the fats, experiences I’d forgotten about but I also thought to myself ‘beans don’t have bones! It’s a bit of a hassle navigating all these bones.’ But I finished it and thoroughly enjoyed it, I felt good from it, not mind blowingly good but the gate was now open to explore other things.
On the following Monday I was due to train a client at midday and beforehand I started to crave chicken, I literally said to myself that if he cancelled I would go and buy myself a chicken to roast for dinner that night. I looked at my phone and he had cancelled the session, so I took that as a nudge from the universe and off I went and bought an organic free range chicken for 30 euros, wow the price shocked me but I was happy to pay the price for something that wouldn’t have been factory farmed.
I felt excited to roast the chicken and even more excited when I sat down to eat it. I said my thanks and prayers for the life I was about to consume. My whole body started vibrating as I ate that chicken with all the trimmings and gravy, I couldn’t get enough of it, I’ve never felt anything like it. There was a wild side of me that had felt repressed as I tucked into that meal and then the bones.
About 2 weeks later I went for a late lunch with a couple of friends, neither of them had been big meat eaters for a while either and we all decided to have a steak, it felt like the right time and what arrived was a beautiful piece of locally sourced fillet steak. Again I said my prayers and thanks for the animals life and then I ate slowly, taking my time with each mouthful, it really was delicious and again my body was thanking me for this new food choice after 7 years.
What has surprised me over this whole experiment is that my digestion hasn’t suffered, it didn’t have trouble digesting the meat. I haven’t been eating it daily of course and don’t intend to so there’s not the continuous pressure on my digestive system.
The energy and inner satisfaction my body has taken from these experiences is undeniable and has made me reflect on the natural instincts of being in an omnivorous human body that can consume both plants and animal-based foods.
The plant-based diet is no doubt one of the most nutrient dense diets on the planet but there is also something energising that we can only get from eating meat. It brings me back to the yin and the yang energies we find all around us on the planet.
Plants give us the more calming yin energy and meat can give us a more yang energy, more fire.
Some people will thrive on a raw vegan diet, some people will thrive on a carnivore diet, there’s nothing on this planet that works 100% of the time for 100% of the people, my experience has now taught me this firsthand.
Where am I now?
I’m still very much eating the same foods and meals I have for the past 7 years, eating a plant-based diet but with occasional eggs from good sources on the island and allowing myself to eat well sourced fish and meat as and when I feel like my body needs it. Which is not going to be every day and maybe just once or twice a week.
So I guess if you want to label me it’s a more Flexitarian approach, I’m learning to listen to my body and what it needs whilst also not allowing my desires to overrun and become dysfunctional towards meat eating as they were many years ago.
It’s about consciously choosing what I need and not taking any more than that. I think this is where we need more of humanity to be moving towards. This is a new part of my journey that is currently unfolding. I don’t have all the answers and I’m figuring it out as a I go.
As you can imagine this has been quite an unsettling time in my life but I felt that writing this blog was important for me to remain authentic and honest to my past, current and future clients.
I still stand by everything I wrote in my book; it was a genuine account of my journey and beliefs at the time, truthful, heartfelt, and honest. I also still support the vegan community for what it is doing to improve the environment and animal welfare.
I’ve just changed slightly and I am currently observing, allowing my life to unfold in real time and still making sense of it all.
I know this blog and news will now alienate me from a community I’ve been part of for several years, but I hope it will encourage others to shift more towards a plant based diet with a flexible approach to eating animal products as and when they feel their body needs it, consciously choosing rather than unconsciously consuming.
To be continued…
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