A reader asked me why on earth I would become vegan, when in my past, being a vegetarian has gone hand-in-hand with having higher pain levels and less energy. Here’s why: Our bodies change. Our priorities change.
Right now, my top priority in my life is shriveling up this mo-fo nodule on my thyroid. I am hell-bent on eliminating everything in my body that might be allowing the nodule’s growth, never mind contributing to it. I don’t care if I end up so weak that I have to lie in bed half the time.
But here’s the other thing: It was about six years ago that my nutritionist discovered that adding meat to my diet lowered my pain. My body is a very different body today. Since that time, I discovered dance as a means of natural pain relief, and I danced away my pain.
Yesterday, on Day 2 of being a vegan, I was dancing with an incredible amount of energy. I felt lithe. I was leaping, twirling, bouncing around on the heads of my poor downstairs neighbors. And when I was done dancing, I felt two inches taller. Throughout the first two days of my vegan life, in fact, I felt amazing. I was singing, smiling, bursting with vibrancy.
Today, on Day 3, I woke up with a horrific headache and zero energy. I spent the day feeling as if I were going to faint. Is my body simply in shock from the multiple and radical changes I’ve made overnight? Is the vegan lifestyle altogether inappropriate for my body? Who knows. The jury is still out. But I will continue on this path and discover the answer over time. This diet is what I need for now — in this body, in this moment, with this primary goal in mind.
And that’s a core principle of Dancing with Pain: Be present. Stay attuned. Go with the flow of your body. Respond to what works and what doesn’t work. Nothing in life is stagnant. Everything, including the body, flows like a river – moving and shape-shifting throughout time.