GP Summer Intern Post: Grace
Thank you to our lovely summer intern, Grace, for this courageous, heartfelt, and articulate post. Come back and visit soon, Grace! We miss you already!
When I was 15, I decided to stop eating meat. At first, my parents were appalled - having grown up in a family and culture where eating meat was not only a given but also part of a fundamentally standard lifestyle, the fact that my father very earnestly asked if I’d joined a cult was not as outlandish as it may seem. But as a stubborn, independent woman, I stuck to my guns. Two years later, I was reassured that my choice to live this lifestyle was one of the best things I’d ever done for myself.
My decision to stop eating meat was at first completely founded on moral reasons. It just came to a point where I could no longer justify eating other complex forms of life since doing so wasn’t absolutely necessary for my survival. But after time and research, and finally being able to work as Grassroots Pantry, I realized I’d actually done my body a huge favour; a little earlier in the year during which I became vegetarian I had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. When I got myself together a bit and and put together a wholesome vegetarian diet, I was taken off anti-depressants completely and my dosage for other, less severe medications was cut in half in only six months.
At the time I didn’t put two and two together. It was during a seminar at Grassroots Pantry, given by holistic health coach Elisa Haggarty, that I learned that 90% of a body’s serotonin, one of two major contributing hormones that essentially make us happy, is created in the gut. Not only does that mean we, and our state of minds, are indeed what we eat, it also means that highly processed foods and meat fed on cheap grains that make up most of the modern-day meal just simply cannot compare to wholesome, plant based foods in terms of fuel for inherent happiness.
Some of you may be dubious when I say that “remedied” myself without knowing it just by eating differently. However it is often glossed over and ignored that mental disorders like depression or anxiety are derivative of our biological hormonal imbalances, and not of our rational minds as many may believe (so, don’t tell us to “suck it up and get on with it”, because we can’t - our bodies won’t let us!). Because such illnesses are so much more difficult to diagnose than a broken ankle, they seem more perplexing, when in reality we can actually attribute the way we feel to certain foods and nutrients (or lack thereof) , just as we can point to bacteria and viruses as the root causes of colds and flus.
It may have been the medication, and it may have been the psychologist, but most people afflicted with moderate to severe cases of manic depression who are taken off anti-depressants relapse in months or in a year, and I show no signs of relapsing. I maintain my belief that it was my choice to eat differently, along with a serendipitous happening of circumstances that pulled me out of my blues.
Two years later, my quest to fulfill my sense of morality and (albeit unwittingly) restore my life with a vegetarian diet has come full circle with my experience working here at Grassroots Pantry. I end my time working here with nothing but good thoughts and gratitude in my heart and my belly. I have learnt so much not only about making coffees and setting tables but also about how I want to live my own life - and I got to do all of that in great company and in a great restaurant. I wish all the best for the staff and I will be stopping by often for some good, wholesome nourishment.