NAME: Tanya Patton
WEBSITE: Yoni Sutra
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN CONSCIOUS EATER? AND WHAT INSPIRED YOUR JOURNEY?
I stopped eating beef and pork right after high school. A couple of years later, I was at a buddhist convention and this woman gave me a pamphlet that talked about the nature of animals — how they were conscious beings as well. I always felt this way in the back of my mind but seeing it in print really made me not want to be a part of a system that killed and then ate innocent animals. As I have a very vivid imagination, I could see in my mind’s eye a baby calf, watching in terror as its mother was cut open and electrocuted right before its very eyes — all for the pleasure and amusement of human beings. At this point, my diet was super crappy — McDonald’s french fries, sugar-laden cereal, nutella and peanut butter sandwiches. I didn’t know any better! At the time, I was still a broke college student and they had a center around campus where you could donate blood plasma for around $50. I was all out of money and thought that this would be a quick and easy way to re-up. Unfortunately, the center was unable to use my plasma. They said I had too much fat in my blood! I looked around the center. Clearly, the people there seemed to have diets that were worse than mine — there were fat people there, people who looked like crackheads — all singing out the door with their $50. This was definitely a wake up call that I just couldn’t eat in a way that spared the lives of animals. I had to find a way to eat that would spare my own life as well! This started my journey down the road of learning about ways to eat that would allow my body to thrive at its optimal best.
HAS CONSCIOUS EATING ENHANCED YOUR HEALTH? WHY OR WHY NOT?
The way that I eat has done more than just enhance my health. It has expanded my consciousness, my awareness of my body and my ability to tune into what my body needs on a variety of levels. After the stint at the plasma center, I became a vegan. Shortly after, I branched out into an all raw food diet. This was a life changing event. I was super young at the time, so I can’t say that I got more energy. I can say, my skin (which has always been nice anyway) got even better and started to have the glow of a baby. I was pretty in shape at the time but it was definitely due to my vigorous workout regimen. There were times in the past where I didn’t work out consistently and would put on a few pounds. With the raw food diet, I could go months without exercise and still maintain my high school weight, but with more muscle tone. The physical changes were nothing compared to other gifts that started to come forth in me such as psychic vision and a greater sense of love and compassion. The best part of the journey was that after my body got acclimated to that way of eating, my BODY would tell me exactly what it wanted to eat. I didn’t have to read any health books or listen to experts like Dr. Oz. My body would naturally crave foods that it wanted and have an aversion towards food that it didn’t want. This even included “healthy” foods. For example, there was a whole 5-6 year period where my body just did not want to eat brocolli and then recently, maybe within the last year, it has started to “ask” for brocolli again. The same thing with salmon. I never dreamed or craved any type of meat products since my conversion. My ex would be eating salmon in my face all the time and I wasn’t turned on in the least. Then I moved to LA last year and my body started wanting to eat salmon. Since it hasn’t steered me wrong in 13 + years, I knew I could trust it regardless of what raw food advocates might preach
IN RETROSPECT, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT MEAT? OR DO YOU HAVE ANY THOUGHTS ON AMERICA’S MEAT INDUSTRY?
I definitely feel that the meat industry is very barbaric and totally ignores the symbiotic relationship that occurs between all living organisms on the planet. However, there is no way that you can blame an industry or a corporation or a government for anything. All large scale entities are doing the work that the masses allow them to do. If people stopped buying meat, the meat industry would go bankrupt. I can’t blame an industry for the choices of individuals who blindly go along and accept anything that is given to them — even if it results in death, impaired functioning of the body and the retardations of higher mental functioning
WAS THERE A COMMUNITY OF BLACK WOMEN THAT HELPED YOU ALONG YOUR MEATLESS JOURNEY? AND IF NOT, WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO CHANGE THIS FOR OTHERS?
There was one black woman who inspired my journey. Her name is Karyn Calabrese and she owns a couple of raw and vegan restaurants throughout Chicago (where I used to live). At the time, she had a small raw restaurant that had an all you can eat buffet for like $14. After I decided to incorporate more raw food into my diet, her restaurant saved me. At this point, I am the bomb when it comes to making the most delicious raw meals that you’ve ever tasted. But when I was first starting out, I was doing a lot of trial and error, making a lot of mistakes and nasty dishes. So her restaurant kept me eating while I was learning the ropes!
DO YOU HAVE ANY ONE OR TWO TIPS ON TRANSITIONING INTO CONSCIOUS EATING?
The first and only — the most important step — is to develop an intense love affair with yourself and your body. This is the key really. Everyone’s journey is different. The one thing everyone’s journey has in common however is the fact that our dominant thoughts and intentions shape and determine our behaviors, actions and life experiences. When you set the intention to love self above all else what happens is that your thoughts and feelings towards how you are treating yourself begin to shift. The more you love yourself, the less you will want to do to harm to it and the more the universe will plant people, places and information on your path that allow you to create a lifestyle that matches and demonstrates the immense love within your heart. People say that they love themselves all day but if you look in the mirror and you weigh 400 pounds, your skin is looking dull or you can’t run up a flight of steps, reality is reflecting back to you a different story.
Are you a vegan, vegetarian, or pescatarian? Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to be featured in the Black Vegetarian Series. Check back every Tuesday and Friday for a new profile! Click to read past profiles here.