Sunday, February 5, 2012
FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE
The other day in the lunchroom a fellow co-worker viewed my “chicken” enchiladas and knowing I was vegan sat across from me staring at my food. Pretty soon that same someone asked me “What kind of things do you eat? That actually looks pretty good!” Well, I told them I eat a lot of beans, lentils, and tofu. The next thing out of their mouth surprised me a little because I expected them to laugh. Instead, they said “I think it’s great that you eat like that because it’s soooo good for your body. I just can’t do it --I just can’t do it!”
I might have continued talking with this person had we been in a private setting, not the lunchroom. I would have loved to find out WHY they think they can’t eat vegan. But then someone else piped in and the topic changed. I’ve had other people tell me they can’t eat vegan either and that their “body rejects it.” You name it I’ve heard it all. Not to mention those occasional people who scoff at you as if you are just following the latest fad or you’ve gone crazy.
Our short conversation that day got me thinking about WHY I eat vegan and my motivation to do so. As I’ve stated for me it’s not about animal rights, or about protecting the earth. It has everything to do about my health, period.
For others it might be about animal rights, or the environment and that’s fine. That’s their choice. But every vegan needs to decide their own source of motivation or they might as well continue to eat meat. So it’s at this point that I ask
What motivates YOU to eat a plant-based vegan diet?
I didn’t arrive at this decision magically overnight. It seems my motivation grew slowly and methodically. Looking back at it I can see how it became a systematic process of working through several stages. In the beginning, the change was to become a vegetarian. After talking with my doctor, doing more research, finding Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Colin Campbell, and Dr. Neil Barnard I realized that I needed to make more changes. Being a vegetarian might have been a step in the right direction, but considering my health history it wasn’t enough. Next, I gave up cheese and eliminated all added oils out of my diet. All these changes were for my health.
As difficult as these changes may have been I was able to do it and still love the food I prepared. At no point in time did I ever feel like my body was “rejecting” it. At no point in time did I ever feel that I couldn’t do it. And, it needs to be pointed out that all through this process I had to learn a new way of cooking.
So here I am today, in great health, happy about the choices I make on a daily basis, and looking forward to the future. I am confident that my eating helps me maintain my health and well being and that if I were to return to my previous way of life, my health would suffer as it did before.
It can be said that eating a plant-based vegan diet is not for the faint of heart since it requires commitment and inner strength. It is not a fad it is truly a way of life. I’ve also heard that Motivation is generated by investing time and thought into something. I believe that to be a true statement.
Much thought went into my decision to make these changes. There was a lot of self-reflection about the quality of the life I wanted to live. You see, I learned from my relatives, each with their own health issues, about what I did not want to become. I watched the people in my immediate family have strokes, terminal cancer, diabetes, elevated cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and heart disease. From them, I made a firm decision to reverse my own heart disease by controlling my diet and never fall prey to my “family genes.” No thank you! This is my motivation what’s yours?