Every once in a while someone will tell me that they have a friend who knows someone who went vegan and got really sick, or a child on a vegan diet almost died. Those stories may actually be true. Yet for me going vegan has been great for my health. My cholesterol is down from the mid 200’s to under 100, my triglycerides are excellent, I’m 50 pounds lighter, my nails are stronger, I surprisingly get lots of complements on my complexion that I never got before, I sleep better, I just feel overall healthier and more alive. This isn’t the case for everyone.
But let’s be honest. What does going vegan really do? By not eating animal products I have eliminated all dietary cholesterol. Great for my heart! I have removed from my diet the hormones, antibiotics, and other nasty drugs farmed animals are given. The biggest benefit in my opinion is that I no longer have casein (dairy fat) in my diet which is a known, horrible carcinogenic. These are all great things, actually amazing life-saving changes. But if that was all I did I wouldn’t be feeling healthy and strong. It has been the change to my diet, increased exercise, and more attention to what I eat that has sustained the benefits of going vegan.
When I went vegan I read everything I could find and I still buy any new book that comes out about vegan health. I read that one of the main reasons a person does not stay vegan is that they don’t feel healthy. Someone who gives up on veganism because they aren’t healthy can become a true anti-vegan evangelist. Not good. Not good for the animals.
For me going vegan meant I needed to take some time to make sure I could get what I need to be healthy. That isn’t to say I don’t still eat chips or pizza. I just don’t eat as much. Tonight I had fried vegan fishless fish sticks (that will be my next recipe post, so incredible!). But half of my plate was sautéed kale. This week I went to see my doctor and she actually told me that she was excited to see me so she could give me my test results. Last visit she admitted that my cholesterol problem was not genetic as she had always told me. Love a doctor who can admit a new perspective on a diagnosis.
Yes it took a couple of months to research what I needed to stay healthy and to build a routine but today I don’t even think about it anymore. And really, is a little investigation into what is healthy too much to do for one’s self or the people you love? I’m not forcing myself to eat food I don’t like, and I’m actually expanding what I eat. I eat better and more tasty food than I ever ate as a meat eater. I know you meat eaters don’t believe that, but try it for a month and then tell me I’m wrong. Also, the better I feel the more I seem to want to do to feel even better, hence the exercise.
If I had only eliminated animals from my diet and did not enrich it with other healthy things I would feel sick and weak. But if I gave up all veggies without planning I would also feel just as unhealthy. So the point is that yes, if someone just gives up animal products and doesn’t change anything else they probably won’t feel healthy or strong. But that doesn’t mean that a vegan diet isn’t healthy or sustainable. It just means that it is time to love yourself enough to take care of you. So glad I found that out. And now I’m going to the kitchen for a vegan ice cream sandwich. Yum!