Hi, I’m Meredith. I’m a vegan cook, bhakti yogi, musician, student of naturopathy.. many things really. I write this blog a) as a tool to help me to cook better b) to share what I’ve learnt about wholefood vegan cooking and c) to record my journey- both in the kitchen and outside the kitchen.
For me, my spiritual journey and nutritional journey went hand in hand. I suppose this isn’t a surprise- after all, what we put into our mouths is a pretty large representation of who we believe we are.
I thought I’d describe how I got to be where I am today; a practitioner of bhakti yoga, who follows a gluten and sugar free vegan diet. (yes, there are many more facets to my being, but they all relate to bhakti- love and devotion.)
I always knew I wanted a different life, and I always knew that whatever I was going to do in life, it would not be the “normal” thing! Right from the word go, I had no attraction for being a grown up who owned a house, had a stable job and lived to earn money and spend it. My parents aren’t hippies, but I always thought I’d be a hippie- move to Nelson, live on a commune.. that sort of thing..
When I was in my mid teens, I developed a lot of food phobias. I wanted to control exactly what went into my body.. About this time, I started having pretty intense reactions to a lot of foods. One of my many responses to this was to become a vegetarian. I didn’t have animal rights motives, nothing of the sort.
But, through my decision to be a vegetarian, which I strictly adhered to (sometimes even out of pride!) came an awareness that the violence of killing another living entity to feed yourself was gross, and I didn’t want to do it any more. By not eating meat, my consciousness was raised enough to see that it was repulsive. And that was that!
Anyway, I was always interested in spirituality. I tried a bit of a lot of different things. I went to church for a while. It wasn’t for me however. I went to a few Buddhist lectures. I read some books on mystic yoga. I read books about drugs, about hallucinogenics, about the Beatles and George Harrison. I was insanely interested in these things but I couldn’t meet anyone else who was actually doing them! I sent an email to the Christchurch Hare Krishna temple- but received no reply.
I then met a girl who was a devout vegan. We dated for a few months, I was 17, it was pretty intense and somewhere in the process of that I became a vegan. Devout, even! During this period of time I gave up the whole spiritual search thing for a party lifestyle. You can imagine what that entailed, I’m sure.
Anyway, when we broke up I continued my vegan diet, which I still follow. Again, I didn’t have particularly awesome motivations for being a vegan, but they came in time, and the idea of drinking slaughterhouse milk or the eggs of a chicken is not all appealing to me now!
While in my first year of Uni, I met some Hare Krishnas in Wellington and boy oh boy were they amazing people. They taught me meditation, how to cook, how to live simply and how to be peaceful. They were really truly selfless people, such good people that I didn’t ever think I could be like that! I was a bit overwhelmed, and after a few months of daily meditation, gave it all up for a party lifestyle, again. Then a few months later, I decided that I’d better get my life back on track- because it was very clear to me that there was nothing so real and fulfilling as the practice of yoga. Living a lifestyle where a mood of service predominates, where everything is a meditation, where unlimited joy flows freely, that is what I wanted for my life.
In this period, I also quit eating sugar, gave up drinking alcohol, coffee and caffeine, and decided- if my body is a temple, then I better start treating it like one! In time I have come to understand that by choosing to not consume these substances I actually increase my freedom- ironic as it is- because they all have addictive qualities (nothing less freeing than addiction.) Also, putting stuff like alcohol and caffeine into the body is pretty terrible for the practice of yoga.
A year and a half later I am here now, still practising bhakti yoga or Krishna consciousness, following a lifestyle of simple living and higher thinking- and it feels great! My journey with food has definitely mirrored my spiritual journey so far- and that’s why I’m writing this blog, to record my continuing journey with food and life! Yoga is not a static thing. It’s not like- great, now I’m a bhakti yogi- box ticked. Its a constant evolution of consciousness- immeasurable but tangible. I’m on a journey of self discovery through the medium of the kitchen, and I’d love for you to join me!