I read a little book more than forty years ago that made a convincing case that the human body is not equipped to eat and digest animal products without some painful, even fatal, consequences. My mind was convinced, but it was too weird, too not-mainstream for me to put it into practice. I have been interested in health information for a long time, and over the years, I dutifully added fiber, calcium, B, C, D3, E, CoQ10, fish oil, turmeric, sweet potatoes, broccoli, lots of water, and whatever was at the top of the news. I limited saturated fats, cut back on red meat in favor of chicken and turkey. I incorporated whole-wheat grains, added wheat germ to baked products and used raw sugar, molasses, maple syrup, or raw honey for sweetening. I ate yogurt and fed it to my family.
I thought I was looking and feeling pretty good for my age (if you don’t count Tina Turner and Jane Fonda, who are even older than I am and look much better). I haven’t had a real illness in four years. I travel often and get around town and out to the beach. There was the annoying chronic cough, but it had been with me for more than twenty years and was much improved with shots, oral vaccines, antihistamines and inhalers. Acid reflux was annoying, but I was used to it. I avoided some of the known triggers, and there was always Alka-Seltzer. Back and joint pain? So many people are so much worse off, how can I complain? Once I was out of bed and warmed up, I could get around, do a little yoga, walk, and ride a stationary bicycle. Hypertension, diagnosed fourteen years ago, has been well controlled with Losartan. Not bad, right?
My son is a chiropractor who decided to try the meatless lifestyle to improve his health. He wisely led his stubborn Mamá by example during a recent visit, as I indulged in pulled pork sandwiches, a daily fried egg, and coffee with thick cream and heaping teaspoons of white sugar. I returned from that two-week visit and, after listening to some medical experts and testimonials on You Tube, I gave his lifestyle a try.
I want to preach and shout and cry out, “Why didn’t I do this years ago? How is it possible that EVERYONE isn’t doing this?” This is a common reaction of people who finally cross over from animal-based to plant-based. However, if you’re not ready for it, you would probably think I’m nuts if I did that. I would have thought so too. I thought vegans were mostly attention-seeking teenage girls looking for attention or fanatics in new-age cults. There may be a few of those, but there is a growing number of diverse, energetic, healthy people that reflect a different reality.
I wish I could tell you that there’s a non-variable regimen you can follow that will guarantee results, but I can only tell you what I did and share some of the ways it is affecting me. I don’t know for sure what will happen in your body and your mind. The only way to find out is to try it yourself because your body and its history, while sharing countless features with other bodies and other histories, is unique.
Salud in Spanish means “health.” It is also the proper thing to say to ward off illness when someone sneezes, and it is the equivalent of “Cheers” when clinking glasses together in a toast, so I think it is the proper way to end–a wish for health, freedom from illness, and all the good things that you wish for when you offer a toast.