This month marks 10 years of me being vegan: my veganniversary. I stopped eating all animal products cold turkey (pun intended) and I’ve never looked back. I feel better, look better, and am healthier than I was 10 years ago.
When I switched to a plant-based diet, I was 47 and already had arthritis in several fingers and my clavicle. I weighed about 20 pounds more than I do now. I was quite active, training regularly in martial arts and with fitness kickboxing, and thought that my diet was health-promoting. I didn’t eliminate animal products for health reasons at first: I did so because I was involved with a spiritual practice whose founders recommended a plant-based diet. I later found out that these “teachers” were sociopathic thieves who stole from their students. The only things that endure from my association with them are some wonderful friends I made during that time and my passion for a plant-based diet.
Why? Within three months I’d lost 10 pounds without any effort. Within six months I’d lost 20 pounds and my arthritis was gone. While my weight has bounced up a couple times when I wasn’t following a whole-foods approach, the arthritis never returned.
Unlike the majority of people my age in the U.S., I take no medications and have no health problems. I watch others my age take pharmaceuticals for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. My husband, who will turn 65 soon and has been eating mostly plant-based during the past five years, also has no health problems and takes no medication. In my experience, the benefits of a whole-food, plant-based diet speak for themselves.
It took a while after eliminating animal products from my diet to completely embrace a vegan lifestyle. (If you don’t know the difference, here is my post on the subject.) I got rid of all leather and, regardless of the health benefits, I can’t imagine eating the flesh of a once-living creature.
I don’t push my choice on to others. I’m happy to share with those who want to know more. I teach vegan cooking workshops. I’m thrilled that there’s an upward trend in people following plant-based diets. And I understand that many will never make this choice in spite of the demonstrated health benefits.
During this week when the U.S. is celebrating our annual day of Thanksgiving, I happily plan for an animal-free feast and am grateful that I’ve made the choice to live as I do.