By Robert Grillo, Free
So a lot of people have been writing in lately expressing their struggle with food cravings and asking me how to get off of cheese or chicken or some other animal product. Is it better to eat fish instead?, I’m often asked. I strive to answer each message with care. And I truly admire and respect their efforts to make these positive changes and appreciate the struggles they are having. I have not forgotten that I was once there myself!
There is an expanding offering of solid, plant-based solutions to our animal-based cravings that anyone can explore online or at the market. But I truly believe that if you want to win the battle over your cravings, you have to actually forget about them for a while and instead focus that precious energy on deepening your awareness about the reality behind these products.
As your awareness deepens, your palate will follow.
With a heightened sense of awareness, the horrific injustice to farmed animals will shake you to your moral foundation. You’ll once and for all take off the rose-colored glasses and see things for what they truly are. You’ll find yourself finally letting go of your false hope in the so-called humane labels, realizing that you cannot label your way to a clear conscience. You’ll be seeing the world with an open mind and heart, seeing yourself in the place of these animal victims. And most importantly, you may find yourself walking away from this experience a new and liberated person, fully connected to your values of compassion, equal consideration and reciprocity and freed from the nagging guilt and doubt that once plagued your food choices.
Then one day you’ll look back on this milestone and find that your cravings have vanished and the things you once craved now even repulse you. And you’re just as satisfied or more at your new choices and healthier for it. What I’m describing to you is the path that I unintentionally found myself taking over the course of the last couple of years. I call it the path of the Accidental Vegan.
Like Keanu Reeves in the Matrix, I was handed the red pill. Jenny Brown points out in her new book, The Lucky Ones, that “we’ve ALL been handed the red pill. Will we swallow it?,” she asks.
Brown eloquently connects the Matrix red pill (representing truth) with a famous passage from author, Jonathan Safran Foer from his book, Eating Animals:
We can’t plead ignorance, only indifference. Those alive today are the generations that came to know better. We have the burden and opportunity of living in the moment when the critique of factory farming broke into the popular consciousness. We are the ones for whom it will be fairly asked, What did you do when you learned the truth about eating animals.
Three years ago I made a conscious choice to swallow that red pill. And ever since, I’ve sought to deepen my awareness of the truth about animal farming. There’s no turning back now. And I’m so grateful for that. At 47, I’ve never felt better physically, emotionally or spiritually in my life.