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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes, Turn And Face The Strange, Changes!

            My apologies to David Bowie because I am singing that out loud and horribly off-key.  But most importantly, my apologies to you all for the weeklong hiatus.  I’ve been a tad busy but I’m back!  I must admit that I’m impressed with even the modicum of traffic I’ve received so far.  Thanks for stopping by!
            I thought the subject title would fit well with this entry.  You see, many vegans become vegans in hopes that a change in diet would cure them of what ails them.  There are plenty of well-intentioned vegans who see friends or family suffering from one health issue or another and they tell them that becoming vegan is the end-all, be-all cure.  Now, don’t get me wrong, the benefits of dropping animals from your diet are vast and well known (it’s kind of why I went vegetarian in the first place).
Just look at vegans such as KrisCarr who was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in 2003.  She changed her diet and lifestyle and, thankfully, she’s still kicking ass and taking names (I’m sure I’ll talk more about her story in future entries, but please feel free to click on her link now!  She’s awesome and my entry can wait).  However, I know people try to use the miracle drug that is veganism as the sales pitch to ‘convert’ omnivores into becoming herbivores without applying conditions to those promises.  Many people make it seem like everyone’s health ailments will disappear from giant health issues down to the littlest of ailments.
            “If you stop eating meat, your glaucoma will be cured!”
            “If you stop eating meat, those bunions will disappear!”
            “If you stop eating meat, you’ll never sneeze AGAIN!”
            “If you stop eating meat, you will have thicker hair and grow muscles and be the envy of everyone who isn’t you!”
            Um.  Just to clarify, the first two aren’t problems I have to deal with.  Totally hypothetical, people!  I promise.  I have the pictures to prove it!  Anyway…

            Just like everything, however, whatever changes may or may not take place starts with you.  Are you a junk food vegan consuming crackers, chips, cookies, and an insane amount of hummus, guacamole, and frozen vegetables; meanwhile, making sure the only exercise you receive is the walk to the fridge?  Or are you a healthy vegan who eats “all the colors of the rainbow” (as is the popular phrase everyone should be living by) and exercises outside of the home 3-5 times a week?  If you think you’re going to drop a hundred pounds by being the former vegan rather than the latter vegan, you’re sadly mistaken.
            Even before I went vegetarian, as I’ve mentioned in my first entry, I was noticing the changes that my wife was going through by first transitioning to vegetarianism and then veganism.  It was impressive and started to happen in only a few months.  Not only that, she would tell me stories about others whose lives had changed thanks to a vegan diet (like Carr and many other bloggers, authors, and speakers).  She would tell me of health benefits of going vegan from people such as Dr. Michael Greger (a person who also deserves more focus in later entries) and Ginny Kisch Messina (a.k.a., the Vegan R.D.).  Each new medical revelation that veganism presented over conventional medicine made it hard not to think that I wouldn’t become some sort of Superman by going vegan.  This wasn’t the fault of my wife, who was just simply presenting information – I mean, I wasn’t suffering from anything so she had no real cause to persuade me and she had no intention of converting me in the first place.  As any normal human, I let my imagination run away with me and thought, “Man, veganism is amazing!  Why am I not getting in on this?”
            At the very least, I was hoping that my skin would clear up.  I mean, it kind of sucked being an adult with acne.  So, really, there wasn’t much work to be done to get to where I wanted to be.  I was fortunate in that respect.  However, as the months rolled into the years, I must report that I still have acne, but the good news is that it’s not as bad as it was when I was consuming animal products.  Again, am I a junk food vegan or a healthy vegan?  A bit of both it would seem.  I’m sure if I cut out all the crap I eat or drink I would notice a bigger change in my skin but…
            Even though I didn’t notice a huge change in my acne, I did notice a change in less superficial ways.  I felt better whenever I ate food.  I used to have a weak stomach that couldn’t handle anything.  It was terrible.  When I went vegan, and not including the times when I just overstuffed myself on food, I never once had an issue due to my stomach.  The foods that once caused me problems after eating them no longer did so.  Not only that, but it sure is nice to eat a Thanksgiving meal and not feel like death afterwards.  Not eating heavy foods that are just going to rot in your stomach does have its perks.
            I also noticed that I generally slept better and woke up easier in the mornings.  I’m not saying I suddenly became a morning person, but I wouldn’t be as groggy as I had been before going vegan.  My stamina is better, too.  I’m not as lethargic as I once was.  Am I still lazy?  If you ask my wife, she may tell you that I am.  She’s right, too, but at least it’s not as bad as it once was.  My disposition wasn’t as bad, in general, either.  Again, I’m not saying I suddenly became Mr. Happy-Go-Lucky but I wasn’t going to rip somebody’s head off at the slightest thing, either.  I’m not sure if veganism is the reason for that last anecdote but I wouldn’t doubt it.
            Just for lessening my acne and curing me of my irritable stomach, going vegan was totally worth it.  While I make no promises about what cures veganism may or may not hold for you if you still haven’t gone vegan, it’d be hard to imagine nothing changing at all.  At the least, you won’t be contributing to the abuse, torture, and murder of innocent animals, which should make your conscience feel a ton better.  That I can promise.  The rest just depends on what you want to put into the experience and get out of the experience.  Just remember to set reasonable expectations!  It'll avoid disappointment.
            I think I’ve rambled enough.  What about you?  Are you one of those vegans who went vegan for health issues you were suffering from?  Did going vegan help or are you still suffering from whatever it is you are dealing with?  What did you do or eat to help with your health issues when you went vegan/vegetarian?
            Any deeper questions on the changes I went through that I didn’t cover?  If it’s something I forgot, perhaps I’ll discuss it in another entry at some point.  So don’t hesitate to ask!  It might help generate discussion.
            Until next time, keep calm and vegan on!

You can follow Ginny Kisch Messina on Twitter at @TheVeganRD
You can follow Dr. Michael Greger on Twitter at @nutrition_facts
You can follow Kris Carr on Twitter at @Kris_Carr

NOTE:  The meme was found using Google.

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