When one first goes straight vegan, there’s a ‘pink cloud’ stage. You’ve made a tremendous change in your life and, hopefully, in your heart. For me, this was an overnight, immediate, full-on conversion and the feeling of being in control of my wayward self was intense and hugely satisfying. I had accomplished something that only a year before had seemed like an impossible task. In one fell swoop, I had changed the trajectory of my health, which was in a steady and rapid decline, and I’d brought my actions into alignment with what I’d always truly felt was right in my heart.
I’m only 5’3″ and have been slender and just naturally toned all my life until about 2012 when I suddenly ballooned up 150 lbs. My blood pressure had risen to a constant 135/100. My cholesterol had climbed to almost 250. I had insomnia that plagued me and made me dread nighttime and the misery of trying to go to sleep and stay alseep. I had constant, nagging headaches and terrible constipation all my life. The list of small annoyances was almost endless and, of course, these types of little worries pile up and affect your mental state as well. It’s hard to be mentally and emotionally stable when it feels like your body is falling apart.
Within the first two months of going whole-food based, 100% vegan, I dropped almost 30 lbs. like it was a sack of trash I’d been carrying around and decided to put down. This was astonishing and remarkable to me! I am not an exerciser so it can’t be attributed to an increase in activity level.
My blood pressure dropped, within a couple of months, to a sound and perfect 100/65. I have not been back to a doctor to see what my cholesterol levels are now but my hub has and his dropped from 218 to 160. Whoa.
The health benefits and the benefits to mental clarity are numerous but don’t get me wrong. When people tell you that veganism will cure everything…well…that’s just not true. We are human beings with bodies that are born to die. Veganism can’t cure death. It’s as simple as that. But what veganism can do is make that life more fulfilling, happier and allow you to enjoy it without the ravages of early heart disease, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, etc.
But something that everyone needs to understand is that, unless you are surrounded by friends and family who are themselves vegan, you are going to eventually go through some periods of depression in this lifestyle. I live in Texas and this is a place where people would literally build their houses out of meat if they could figure out how to do that. I did not initially understand that what I perceived as one of my greatest personal accomplishments in this life had instantly turned me into a weirdo, a pariah. I was automatically open to the most sarcastic and hurtful comments from normally pleasant people. I was altogether and fundamentally different now from 99% of the population whose lives, apparently, revolve around the necessity of consuming butchered animal flesh. And just like veganism is now a MAJOR part of how I identify myself, so is eating the flesh of a once-living creature a MAJOR part of how almost 99% of the people I interact with in my life identify themselves. You wouldn’t think what someone chooses to eat or not eat would have any impact on relations between people.
It does, yo.
Telling anyone that you don’t eat meat or that you’re vegan or an herbivore or even that you’re on a plant-based diet…it automatically sets up an image in the other person’s mind. First of all, they feel immediately compelled to defend their own diet. Because you’re judging them. Secondly, they are so worried that you’re not healthy and not getting the nutrients you need to sustain your body. Thirdly, and this chaps my ass big time, they think you live on eating salad. Like the iceberg lettuce and tomato kind of salad that meat-eaters think is salad. 😑
Then, cheese and rice, I started dreading my hair…because it’s what I like and I think dreadlocks are beautiful and it suits who I am inside and out…and suddenly I’m from another planet altogether.
All I want to know is, who makes up these rules we all have to abide by to be accepted as a human being?
Fact is, I remember years ago when I was young, I was thoroughly into those rules and enforced them with a vengeance. That’s the great thing about getting old…and listen up young weirdos…getting old is AWESOME because I don’t have to give a damn. Nah nah. Lol. No, it seriously is a wonderful thing and I’ve said this so many times, it should rightly be my mantra. I would not trade being 51 for being 21 or 31 or 41 even, for anything in this world. I am getting more comfortable with who I really, naturally am and although I don’t love every aspect of my personality, I accept it if it cannot be changed.
And if you want to go vegan, you need to approach this frame of mind in your heart. That you know and understand that you will be challenged. That you know and understand that you are going to be in situations that make you feel like a pariah and completely alone. There will also be situations where you can’t find decent food to eat. We travel to see family a lot and we take nuts and fruit and berries with us just to hold us over until something edible is available. It’s a pain in the ass…but it’s really just a bump in the road that we’ve handled so far.
Enduring these hardships is worth it. You know, I don’t classify myself as a Christian nor do I identify with any religion. My church is in my heart. My relationship with my creator, and yeah…I believe whole-heartedly that I was created, is a direct one with no dogma involved. I’ve met so many people now who are so locked into this have to go to church every time the doors open and they throw out some Jesus every few minutes when you talk to them and they are literally the worst people ever born in their day to day lives. I’ve also met some truly good people who are regular church goers but even then, there’s something missing, something profound, in their understanding of what’s going on here, what’s important in life and what more might be required in their spiritual evolution than just robotically doing this one activity over and over and over again. It seems elementary to me but to many people, they just don’t get it. I’m digressing.
The point I wanted to make is that I have read the Bible along with most other ancient texts from many cultures. And I keep what appears to me as truth. Jesus says (paraphrasing here) to make the two into one and the outside like inside and the inside like the outside. In other words, be your authentic self. Know yourself. Be strong and kind in the face of criticism if you know that what you’re doing is the right thing for you. Be kind to people that don’t understand…because they can’t help not understanding. Be grateful that you are given this chance to understand how important this is because that understanding is a gift to you. Another thing good ole Jesus says is to be strong in the face of persecution for my sake, and since I understand Jesus to exemplify being the authentic self, I understand that to mean remain true and strong when people criticize you for being who you were made to be and living up to the knowledge and understanding that’s been granted to you. It’s a harder thing for young people to do. But do it. And you will be amazed at how life begins to conform itself to accommodate you in every way possible.
Be vegan, weirdos. ❤❤❤