A Mindful bratitarian is born
For the majority of my 39 years, I have been a vegetarian. A dairy-eating pescatarian to be exact. Meat disgusted me, especially after reading about factory farms at the age of 10. It was honestly easy to let go of dead animals as a form of food, and I felt fabulous. All throughout my teens and 20s my identify as a vegetarian reflected my strong inner voice as a promoter of peace and goodwill towards all creatures on earth.
And then, one September day, my husband Nick and I went to a mountain side farmers market. The sun was warm and beautiful, and the fall air had just moved in. As I strolled from booth to booth, I noticed a sign for homemade free-range brats. In a rare lapse (or freedom) from my identity as a vegetarian, I walked towards the booth. In the amount of time it took to pop that sample right into my mouth, my culinary world as I knew it changed. I still recall the savory Jalapeno Cheddar Elk Brat settling onto my taste buds. I felt my world as a vegetarian come to an end.
Just. Like. That.
“Is this what I have been missing all those years? This is DELICIOUS!”
My husband was a little dumfounded as I purchased two packages of elk brats and non-chalantly told him they were good (he agreed). I later explained to friends and family that I didn’t eat meat, only brats. And the label Bratitarian was born.
Since then, I have explored sampling a variety of meats. Most of the time it doesn’t call me, but once in awhile, this Wisconsin girl needs a brat! I still love animals, just as much if not more than I did as a child. I still care about the environment. I still care about my health. And, I am listening to my intuition about what feels right to eat.
My conversion to Bratatarianism has paved the way for me to rethink other areas in my life; areas where my identity gets in the way of my own inherent evolution. You see, as humans, we are meant to constantly grow and evolve, yet we often get bogged down with clutter.
We collect stories about who we are like we collect knick-knacks. These stories become our armor, and we pretend we cannot change.
This clutter comes in different forms: thoughts, relationships, material items, and labels. We suffer through relationships that are toxic, because we forget we can change them. Our closets get full of stuff we think we need to be happy. We forget what we own, so we buy more. We say, since I don’t have a college degree, I can’t find the job I want, or, because my body doesn’t look like it did when I was 18, I can’t wear a swimsuit. We say, I don’t travel too far because it’s not safe. We say, I can’t afford that trip to Paris. We say, I can’t do that. We say all of this until we wake up and remember that we can pick and choose what labels and experiences we want in our lives. We. Get. To. Choose.
The first half of our lives we collect stories; the second half of life we try to let go of them.
Who would you be now, If you let go of who you were in the past? What would you be doing, now, if you let go of your past actions? Where can you let go of old, worn-out ways of thinking, categorizing or labelling, and instead just be exactly who you are right now?