For health reasons, on October 26, 2012, I decided to become a vegan. I went cold turkey and made the decision in a matter of hours, and haven’t looked back since.
What does it mean to become a vegan? Wikipedia defines veganism in part as:
Veganism (/ˈviːgənɪzəm/) is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, as well as following an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of sentient animals.
While there are many forms of veganism, I consider myself to be a dietary vegan which means:
…refrain from consuming animal products, not only meat but, in contrast to ovo-lacto vegetarians, also eggs, dairy products and other animal-derived substances
When I made this decision I really didn’t have a choice. It was either suffer severely 24×7 or not suffer at all. It was quite simple really. Suffice to say that by the time October 26, 2012 rolled around, it was a very easy decision to make.
Prior to this I was a life long carnivore and had no problems eating any kind of meat or seafood, although in recent years I was already choosing to eat less meat and dairy anyway. To this day I have no problems with animals being killed for food. If the animals were raised by humans, I would only eat the meat if the animals were treated very well, raised without drugs, and killed humanely. While some might argue whether anything can be killed ‘humanely’, I believe that there is such a thing. I always went out of my way to ensure the meat I ate was raised well (usually locally), were given the nearly the same diet as the animal would have eaten if they were in the wild, and killed without suffering needlessly.
That said, almost a year later I’m still a vegan, mostly. I have to admit that I have cheated from time to time but I am working very hard on making the switch to being a full-time, non-cheating vegan. Obviously I’m still struggling but I’m making progress.
The results were amazing almost right away. If someone had told me how different I’d feel and how many things would change for the better I’d have laughed at them and shook my head in disbelief. But after having gone through this, here’s what I noticed:
- I lost over 50 pounds just by changing my diet, without exercising
- All of my compulsive behaviors centering around or involving food stopped
- I have an incredible amount of energy
- My depression seemed to just go away
- I slept better
- I felt better
- The health reasons that drove me to becoming a vegan have nearly disappeared
- My whole system of bodily functions works better than ever
- I ‘feel’ healthy. This is difficult to quantify and I can only say I feel so much better than before.
- Vegetables are what I crave now more than starches
- I don’t ever need to take a nap after a meal
- When I want sugar my first thoughts are to grab some fruit (though I don’t always do this)
- It’s very easy to resist the foods I used to eat, even when others around me are indulging
- Those few times when I ate non-vegan food, I really didn’t feel too well afterwards
- Those few times when I ate non-vegan food, I noticed my compulsions and cravings resumed almost immediately
At the same time I became a vegan, I also decided to eat organic foods as often as possible. Since purchasing organic food is more expensive than buying time on the first civilian joy ride to the moon, I started growing and preparing most of my own food. Additionally, since I sometimes question whether produce or products are truly organic or just labeled as such, it’s much easier to grow my own food from heirloom or hybrid seeds or reputable plant sellers.
To further my health and well-being I decided that I would no longer take any pharmaceuticals. While I have not taken any kind pharmaceuticals for a number of years, I realized that for every person I know (including myself) who had or were currently taking meds, the pharmaceuticals proved only to be a band-aid, and a very poor one at that. No one I knew had ever been cured or fixed by taking medications, with the exception perhaps of aspirin or ibuprofen from time to time. Pharmaceuticals certainly didn’t help me for the years I suffered terribly, so I just swore them off. In fact, I truly believe they may have hurt me more than the illnesses they were supposed to help. And just like having become a vegan, I haven’t looked back.
I will say that there may come a time when I will choose to take them again, but I am no longer a believer that anything good can come from being medicated every single day. I have come to learn through many years of researching and via my own personal experience, that there is a good chance is there is hardly any ailment that cannot be fixed by taking care of one’s self properly and consistently, which includes eating well, exercise and a positive and productive mindset. I’m not talking about a broken bone or a cut that requires stitches as these clearly require medical attention and pharmaceuticals. I’m talking about other kinds of ailments.
For the three major changes above (vegan, organic, no pharmaceuticals) I did seek the advice of a local nutritionist whom I have the utmost respect for. Should anyone decide to consider making these kinds of decisions I highly recommend they seek out professionals who are trained in nutrition and holistic medicines.
Now that I have experienced good health for the first time in almost 10 years, I can say with certainty I will never, ever consider “traditional” medicine or conventional food ever again. I have witnessed in myself and others too much improvement for me to believe otherwise.
So, a vegan I am and a vegan I will remain.