Nothing is forever.
I do not call myself a vegetarian or caffeine-free. Heck; I still drink decaf coffee. But for the first time, I felt an inner, true, clear shift to stop eating meat and to cease drinking caffeinated coffee, over a month ago. I have not once thought about consuming any form of meat, nor have I craved chicken, turkey or red meat once, during this stretch. I pondered a caffeine fix a few times but kicked each idea out of my mind, fast.
Life is change. Meat could prove to be vital to my survival down the road. I am not foolish or stubborn enough to die because of one belief. But I genuinely feel like I will be meat-free – aka vegetarian – for the future because of a few dramatic circumstances. Caffeine? I can let that go with greater certainty. I need not caffeine to survive.
Intensity Preceded the Change
Back in July, my wife and I sold the house, gave up our cats and became full time, genuine, digital nomads. Big changes meant fun, freedom and ample tears fueled by the grief of loss. I attended a party the day we officially left the house. I was happy but sad, free, but in pain, because although I felt good leaving the cats with dear friends, they were my babies.
I consumed a far portion of meat that evening. Not too much. But a few hours after attending the party, I woke up and vomited all of my food. This is rare. Stomach illness is not a common thing with me. I chalked it up to overeating but felt a deeper nudge; meat did not agree with my body anymore.
Over the next few months, my stomach turned sour anytime I ate meat. But my final red flag occurred last month. I consumed 3/4 of a bacon cheese burger. I became violently ill again. The intensity of this sickness combined with illness of months prior woke me up; my body rejects meat, now.
My caffeine fix experiences seemed less subtle but equally insistent. After drinking coffee – caffeinated – daily for a good 3 months (longest stretch in a while), my teeth felt sore and even loose. Ouch. I did not put two and two together until realizing caffeine is a diuretic, leaching fluids and critical nutrients from your body.
I stopped drinking coffee. After 3 days, my teeth felt normal. I did buy decaf and drink one cup daily, but for the past month, my teeth feel normal, strong and firm.
- listen to your body; your body signals thoughts, feelings and actions that need to go for your overall wellness
- expand your awareness through some daily practice to be able to observe your thoughts, feelings, actions, habits, body and heck….your world
- will power does not generally overcome desire but fully realizing how something hurts you makes it easier to let go; I unsuccessfully tried to be a vegetarian and caffeine-free many times over the past decade but failed to overpower my deep desire…..fully experiencing and understanding how meat and caffeine hurt my body caused the inner shift and corresponding change-intent, in me
- different bodies have different needs; some people thrive by eating meat, as I did when I was more physically active and growing, so making blanket statements like “meat is bad for you” is quite insane
- flexibility wins; if I became deadly anemic, agonizingly weak and bed bound and intuitively knew scarfing down a burger and chicken sandwich each week would help me survive, I am eating meat, folks
I do sleep better, think more clearly and maintain greater dental integrity since giving up caffeine but my experience is not so much about the good-feeling benefits of caffeine-release, but the avoidance of suffering.
Listen to your body. When it feels bad, you are thinking, feeling and doing something in a specific way to create the bad feelings in your body.
Life gets easier as your self-awareness expands.