For about a year, I worked at a vegan restaurant. Of course, as soon as I started working there, everyone assumed I was becoming a vegan (or at least a vegetarian). That wasn’t the case. The one time I tried to be a vegetarian, I only lasted a week. And at the end of that week, I ate two cheeseburgers. I would find myself opening up a “Slim Jim” and then realizing it was meat…seriously (you don‘t think about these things when eating meat is second nature). I love animals, but because of my body and health, being a vegetarian just wasn’t the best option for me.
I had some very interesting encounters while working at that restaurant. Vegan pick-up lines were very different from the ones I was used to. One day, a guy walked up to the register and gave me a “trying to be smooth” grin. He looked at me and said, “Your skin is so beautiful. It’s glowing. How long have you been eating raw food?”
For those of you who aren’t familiar with vegan lingo, “raw food people” are the vegans who don’t cook ANY of their food. They do this so that none of the good nutrients are eliminated in the cooking/heating process. Apparently it is really good for you, and great for your skin. However-I love cooking WAY too much to…not cook.
I didn’t know how to respond to that guy’s strange line. I just went with the honest route and told him, “Well-I actually don’t eat raw. And I’m not a vegan. But thank you so much for the compliment…”
I realized that being a vegan wasn’t just a life choice to some of these people. It was their religion. They would let this choice define them and control how they lived every aspect of their lives. Most of the customers were very passionate about their choice to be a vegan. Some of them were a little too passionate about it, in my opinion. People would lecture me about eating meat and why it was so “horrible.” I just let them dish out their crazy accusations. After all, it was my job.
I didn’t agree with a lot of things that the majority of the customers had to say. But one day, there was an older female customer who said something that really resonated with me. She wasn’t wasting her time trying to persuade me to become a vegan. She didn’t give me a list of ingredients that are in a hot dog. Instead, she just talked to me about why she decided to be a vegan. She told me, “What we feed our souls is important.” Now-this I agreed with.
As I walked home from work that day, I continued to think about what I was “feeding” my soul. Life is full of junk food that we stuff ourselves with: trashy TV shows, bad music, magazines that offer sex tips, what we search on the internet, etc. I realized how important it was for me to feed my soul what was actually good for it. When we want our bodies to look a certain way, we diet and eat healthy foods that will strengthen us. But what are we feeding our hearts and our minds?
Enough talk about vegans and vegetables. Let’s talk about burgers and fries. Yeah…you heard me. Vegans aren’t the only ones who believe in positively feeding your soul. Tyson Foods is the world’s largest chicken company. With a company that huge, they must have a lot of workers. This company employed a team of chaplains who minister to the employees and their families. Even more, Tyson recently launched the Tyson Center for Faith and Spirituality in the Workplace, found at the University of Arkansas. This is a company that cares about feeding the souls of their employees.
Chick-Fil-A is a delicious fast food chain that is closed on Sundays to demonstrate the founder’s Christian beliefs. In-N-Out Burger is another amazing fast food chain (the exact place that contributed to me quitting vegetarianism). On the bottom of their cups and wrappers, you will see “John 3:16.” This verse says: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
In-N-Out is insanely popular in LA. Every time I pass one, there is a line of cars down the street. Whether the person pulling through the drive through window is a Christian or not, they don’t just leave with a delicious burger and perfect, golden fries. They leave with the most beautiful message. Trust me-there aren’t many places in Los Angeles, other than church, where you can receive a positive and uplifting message. I love the way these companies are working hard to feed our souls.
What’s feeding your soul?