The most controversial word I have ever encountered is VEGAN. Holy cow, if you want to see people get whipped up into a frenzy, just utter the word vegan in a mixed crowd and see what happens. Militant meat-eaters will throw out phrases like “grazers” or make assumptions like, “you only eat rabbit food” or get ethical and say “vegans act like they are better than everyone else because they don’t eat animals.” Militant vegans have thrown paint on people for wearing fur coats; accuse people of being murderers just for eating the way they have their whole life. In short, it can get really ugly.
You and me, we’re not militant, right? So, let’s avoid all that today, shall we? I am going to tell you my story and what I have learned over the last 10 and a half years of being a vegetarian and living a mostly plant-based lifestyle.
I remember very distinctly the first time I considered becoming a vegetarian at seven years-old. We were at my grandparents’ house for a barbecue and I suddenly became aware that the cheeseburger I was enjoying used to be a living, breathing animal. I told my family that I didn’t want to eat animals anymore. Mom informed me that I would be a vegetarian then. “Yes, I will be a vegetarian!” I decided.
Grandpa said, “Why draw the line there? You have to kill plants to be a vegetarian. Why is it okay to murder plants?” I said, “Grandpa! Plants don’t get hurt the way animals do!” He insisted that they did. He went onto say that whenever he mowed the lawn that he could hear the grass screaming. Everyone (except me) had a big laugh over this and it was clear that my vegetarian goal was not going to be supported. So, I released the idea into the summer night and didn’t think about it again for over 20 years.
All through my life, I was plagued by digestive issues ranging from gas, severe bloating, bad bouts of diarrhea, nausea and cramping. It always seemed like something was going on but no doctor could get to the bottom of it. Almost always I was told to use antacids or given a script for whatever new drug was out that year and sent on my way. Complicating my digestive discomfort, I have suffered with bouts of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) on and off since I had a severe case of mononucleosis my freshmen year of college. I also struggled with nasal allergies and chronic sinus infections. It seemed like something was always wrong with me and it sucked because none of the traditional treatments ever seemed to work.
When I was 29, I went through the worst bout of CFS I had ever had, and was sick and tired of being sick and tired, all the time. And for the first time in my life, I had gained a lot of weight from the lethargy induced by my illness. Nothing I had been given by western medical practitioners had worked. I knew that if I wanted a different result I would have to find a new way of doing things. The two areas I had yet to delve into were diet and exercise.
To be continued…
Please check back next week for Part Two of My Plant-based Story…
Love and many blessings,
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