Ten years ago I went to yet another doctor expecting them to say the same thing that all the other doctors had said: “we don’t think that anything is wrong with you” Then I went to another doctor, a therapist, so that she could remind me that despite the gaslighting my symptoms were real and really interfering with my daily life. That I deserved to be believed and my medical care taken seriously. Instead my therapist said some version of “I did some research. I found some studies. I think that we might be able to decrease the severity of your symptoms and increase the quality of your life...if you stop eating meat and meat products.”
Context is key here. At the time I was living in Connecticut. I was in my first ever romantic relationship. My partner was a vegetarian. I had been actively campaigning in hopes of converting him, bringing him back into the meat eating fold. My strategy was simple. Everyday I made dinner. For his dinner I made salad. Not a good salad. The blandest, most basic of salads. The kind that are all water, and slightly wilted even so that you are denied even the satisfaction of a good crunch. For my dinner: red wine braised lamb shanks; smothered pork chops; stuffed honey glazed, whole roasted chicken. All from scratch with local, seasonal ingredients. I went IN. It was THEE MOST passive aggressive, petty, boundary breaking ( not in a good way), disrespectful campaign that I have ever waged.
In the midst of my campaign, here some one saying: if YOU stop eating meat you might not have to spend five days each month writhing with pain on the bathroom floor as you fade in and out of consciousness while having fevers and cold sweats and muscle spasms, and vomiting and diarrhea.( These are words on a page that theoretically describe that experience. No words could do that experience justice. It was bad, really, really indescribably bad.)
This person was saying that maybe my life didn’t have to be that way anymore. If I was willing to give up this crucial part of my identity--food is culture.
All I could hear was the universe screaming : KARMA IS A B****. You tried it. TRIED.IT.
What I went through each month was bad enough that I would try anything to make it stop. To have a higher quality of life. I agreed to try. I had my reservations. I secretly hoped that it wouldn’t work because the sacrifice seemed too great.
It was November, nearly Thanksgiving. I had my last supper. When the cold turkey was gone, I quit meat and meat products. It was intense, too much. My grief process began with the bargaining phase. I could give up meat, but butter? Biscuits? Poundcake? Shortcake? PASTRIES?!?
I convinced myself that I could not live without them. So I didn’t. I allowed myself to keep the small pleasure of pastries ( and the small pain that comes with it). Ultimately the partner, who was not my partner for much longer after that, did return to meat. The diet change drastically improved my quality of life. I still miss meat. I might never be over that.
But I’ve got pastries to comfort me through it! Thank God for butter.
I am inviting you to support my joy by sending me pastries, baked goods, desserts. You can back them yourself, send them through a food delivery service, or order them directly from a spot that sends deliciousness by mail. DM me for details.
I am allergic to shellfish. I eat everything in pastry form ( eggs, milk, butter, cream cheese etc). I do not eat things that are almost completely made from meat products (cheesecake, custard, etc). I have a deep dislike for pastries that have fillings (canolis, creme filled anything, custard filled anything).
*For my birthday this year I’m asking you to celebrate with me by supporting my joy, my work and my communities. Each day I’ll be sharing one simple thing that you can do to support me in each of these areas. Visit my blog at the link in my bio to read past posts.