I'm a 49 yr. old vegan (mostly whole foods/plant-based with much attention being given to mucus forming foods) who was a hardcore Standard American Diet eater weighing in at over 300 lbs. in my past life. I made the switch overnight on April 5, 2015, and haven't looked back, thanks to a gall bladder scare and a visit to the ER. I'm the only one in my family and pretty much my whole community who chooses to eat this way. There's only one other person I know, so far, locally, who also practices a somewhat similar lifestyle.
Prior to that, I had already switched to all local grass fed "humanely" raised meats, dairy, eggs, and had tried endless diets like paleo, Mediterranean, weight watchers, jenny craig, etc., etc. but still suffered from morbid obesity, severe pains from inflammation (osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia were just a couple of my diagnoses), multiple ongoing digestive issues (Irritable Bowel Syndrome, nervous stomach, several stomach viruses throughout each season), respiratory issues (frequent colds, bronchitis a couple times a year, ongoing seasonal allergies), and continually swam in a sea of much brain fog, chronic tiredness, insomnia, depression, anxiety, and had become pretty much bed ridden for a while. Sleep was the closest I could get to death without the commitment.
I finally requested the advice of a friend who had offered me advice before, but I would purposely ignore it, who had been practicing a fruitarian lifestyle for many years, and who I previously thought was pretty "out there" in her choices and had even expressed concern to her that she may starve to death by eating that way. But she ended up being the person who helped me flip the script on my health, and understand how my body/digestive system/lymph system/elimination system/respiratory system, etc. works, what it healthily recognizes and thrives on, and I'll be forever grateful.
I'm now 110lbs. lighter and feeling healthier than I can recall. I still have pain issues and bad days, but after nearly a half century of unintended, yet hardcore, neglect and abuse done to self, there's bound to be residual effects to deal with, but the other issues have greatly lessened, if not completely disappeared, for the most part. It's much easier to find the root of an issue now that my system is free of the overwhelming amount of toxicity it used to be continually marinating in. I'm now much more able to dig up those specific roots and deal with them instead of simply dumping more, albeit different at times, s*** on them to keep fertilizing them, allowing them to grow and choke out even more of my life force.
It's been the most challenging change I've faced in my life, so far. I've learned that many people simply don't want to hear of the plight of the animals as it makes them feel awkward, perhaps guilty deep inside, and it often presents a mirror image that they may not be prepared to see. They respond much better to actually tasting good vegan food and hearing of and seeing direct experience with health improvements.
There will most likely always be a naysayer or someone wishing to debate, even in the perceived safer spaces, just remember they likely haven't had their life changing moment yet, and may not ever, but no need to ever take anything they say personally. That was/is really hard for me because I take the abuse and neglect of other living things quite personally, especially in being a repeated victim of several forms of abuse in my past.
I tend to openly share what I know from living it and wish them the best in whatever they choose. If they insist and won't leave things alone, then I remove myself from the scene. I'm surrounded by folks who still choose to ingest animal flesh and products, seem to have no cncern over the energies that supports,are heavily into the academic scene, and LOVE to debate, but are not willing to experiment for themselves simply because of what they quite selectively choose to read, so it's quite challenging, to say the least.
I give myself permission to no longer feel obligated to put myself in spaces that won't be healthy for any part of my being. Therefore, I actively choose to not attend many, if any, familial gatherings. I engage them in other ways outside of food and formal happenings. I'm also super sensitive to artificial fragrances, so that limits things even more in my world. It took a while to get a point of not beating myself up over not attending, but I'm glad I finally arrived. Some of the folks I know are slowly coming around to ask questions and show interest as their health continues to deteriorate. It just saddens me that it takes them that long to want to nurture themselves healthily, as I know how miserable it feels.
It also angers and saddens me when folks so easily dismiss how other living beings are being exploited so casually and how toxic they are voluntarily making the environment that we all rely on. Seeing so many loved ones suffering from so many symptoms that I've found significant relief from via the end of my fork breaks my heart daily. Taste bud addiction is a very real thing that gets casually tossed aside by many. I still struggle with balance in some areas. Sorry for my rambling. Thank you for your awareness and efforts. Best wishes for a smooth and tasty experience.