The other day, I suddenly became a vegan.
It was a bad day.
It was a confusing day.
What could I eat?
Nothing, it seemed.
I felt hungry.
I felt angry.
I violated my newfound veganism almost instantly.
I felt bad about it afterwards.
How did this happen?
For a long time, I mocked vegans.
“Angry, preachy hippies,” I used to think, “who are they to denounce evolution?”
My opinion neutralized about a year ago following a conversation with a vegan friend of mine (if you’re reading, hey Nick).
However, I was no closer to becoming vegan than I was to, say, sprouting butterfly wings and fluttering away.
Despite believing in the morality of veganism and understanding its nutritional merits, I’ve traditionally been opposed for a simple reason: I like meat.
Meat is delicious.
I like cheese, too, and yogurt, and cream in my coffee.
Oh my god I love eggs.
Sigh, veganism is tough.
If I hadn’t received some terrible news recently, there’s no way I’d be a vegan right now.
If I hadn’t learned that one of my loved ones is at risk of perishing from an incurable, chronic illness (hint: it starts with “c” and you don’t want it), there’s no chance I’d commit to a diet consisting only of plants.
If I hadn’t discovered that this disease — among many others — is borne and spread with great aid from toxins found in animal products, I would never consider abandoning my hearty, satiating, meat-based diet.
(To be fair, animal products aren’t the only offender. This disease is also aided by beauty products, cleaning products, plastics, sugar, alcohol, the SUN, and basically everything f*cking else, too — but that’s a rant for another day.)
If the thousands of recorded cases of individuals beating this diagnosis didn’t display a near-unanimous switch to a plant-based diet, I would never deny myself the privilege of eating my favourite things — pepperoni pizza, chicken wings, eggs, bacon, and burgers, to name a few.
Regardless, here I am, a vegan.
Ironically, I’m quite angry and feeling compelled to preach.
I’m angry this is happening.
I’m angry there’s no obvious way to deal with this, so a radical dietary change many people will perceive as ludicrous is one of the only tangible options we have.
I’m angry that conventional medicine and natural, “alternative” medicine are so polarized their practitioners fail to offer us the holistic solutions our bodies need.
I’m angry to live in a society that normalizes a diet based on taste rather than function, in which for-profit organizations with massive marketing budgets actively encourage us to ingest toxins.
I’m angry that capitalist values of bigger, faster, more have led us to pollute our food supply with hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, and other conditions unfavourable to nutritional quality.
I’m angry that the emotional, habit-forming nature of humans causes us to willingly indulge in activities we know to be harmful, even when our life may depend on abstaining.
And I’m angry at myself for this manic response, encouraging (forcing) my family to make a radical dietary shift that’s causing as much stress as the diagnosis itself. Yes, “The evidence, blah blah blah,” but can I confidently claim this is worth doing?
To be fair, I’ve learned more about this than most people ever will. After I personally fought cancer at ages 19 and 21 — suffering an endocrine crash that depleted my energy — I committed to hundreds of hours of research, learning how to adjust my lifestyle to correct my health.
So when this recent bad news arrived, I revisited my research and began adding to it exhaustively. I turned to anti-cancer icons such as Kris Carr and Dr. Kelly Turner. I studied every survivor story I could find.
…and the best conclusion I could come up with was, “Let’s go vegan.”
Hopefully it helps.