Health Based Veg*ns Unite! - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 08-07-2014, 02:57 PM
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Health Based Veg*ns Unite!

Or let's share some supportive stories.

First I truly passionately believe that for me veg*nism is the healthiest possible diet. I transitioned to veg*nism very quietly over the course of a couple of years and to begin with I told no one what I was doing. It gave me the space to experiment and ask myself some difficult questions.

I had suffered from increasingly poor health since about 2001 and in 2009 medical science had exhausted its store of suitable treatments (I've got more than one condition on the go - so not everything is suitable). Some of those treatments had made me quite unwell in their own right. I'd been through a number of alternative treatments as well but that was the year I started to get really serious about researching diet and more specifically a veg*n diet. I had dallied with raw vegan detoxes in the past to good effect but had somehow dismissed them as unsustainable. I revisited that belief and challenged it - if something there was working it deserved a better chance than a two week blast.

About two years in I was fully vegetarian and had vastly improved my quality of life. I had educated myself about veg*nism and in the process reconnected with environmentalism. And this is where I need to make a side note :

Ill health saps your strength. Both physical and mental. Your horizons shrink. Your days are about what your limits are rather than what you want to do. My first year as a veg*n was still a pretty rough time - especially in comparison to today.

As I started to recover physically I had a mental breakdown - fun times. Lots more medication ensued but of a rather different nature. I continued to recover physically and continued to break apart in my mind - more medication ensued with some spectacular side effects. I did however realise something very important. My job or more specifically the place I worked did not support what I believed mattered in life. The psychological disconnect between what that company represented and what I valued was huge and I quit that job.

So now I was a psychological mess, jobless and newly vegetarian and ... I was so happy. So happy I decided to go cold turkey on the meds - not a good idea. I set back my mental recovery by about a year and I am still digging myself out of that hole (financially and emotionally).

However I remained veg*n. I stuck with it.

For me veg*nism marked the beginning of a journey.

I taught myself some things.
That I can. I can take charge of my health and I can walk away from treatments that aren't working and are making me sick. And I can find something that works. It might not always work the way I think it should but it will do something.
To treat myself with kindness. To love my body for the miracle it is - it carried on, limping, despite my best efforts to sabotage it.
I can ... I really can! It might not be easy. It might work that way but it might work another way.

So to all you health veg*ns out there - I salute you. Your choice of health may have been the no brainer but getting there has no doubt been a journey. When you were ill you grasped outwards and fought your way back to health.

I salute you because I know it's been hard sometimes and I know the unbridled joy of returning to health.
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#2 Old 08-07-2014, 03:42 PM
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I'm not a health vegan but wanted to say I liked your story. I especially like this part:

"For me veg*nism marked the beginning of a journey.

I taught myself some things.
That I can. I can take charge of my health and I can walk away from treatments that aren't working and are making me sick. And I can find something that works. It might not always work the way I think it should but it will do something."

I think most people who start a new diet/life/health choice can relate to what you've said.

~ Jennifer
 
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#3 Old 08-07-2014, 05:48 PM
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I love this post.... SO MUCH!

It is incredibly difficult to change our habits, no matter what those habits are and especially in the face of an entire society telling you it's "wrong" (and with illness draining you? Get out of here!). Or worse, a society that thinks it's more extreme to just eat plants, in comparison to medications with horrible side effects and drastic surgeries.

I'm not a health vegan (though improving my own chronic illnesses was definitely another reason when it came to cutting dairy). But I really do love hearing stories like this, I like that there are people in the world empowered by their own decisions. I love knowing that there's someone who can do what you've done because it means more people that I know, who have problems like yours, can do it too, it's just up to them to see it.

Thank you so much for sharing this, Shallot.
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#4 Old 08-07-2014, 08:12 PM
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I remember being 6 years old and exhausted, and by the time I graduated high school, I had severe IBS so bad I sometimes could hardly walk; the family doctor just gave me a Rx for a smooth muscle relaxer that sometimes sorta worked. It had a terrible impact on my life all through my undergraduate degree. Anyone who's had chronic pain knows what I am talking about. There was an element of hopelessness that just seemed to drain all the color out of my soul long before my soul even had color to it! (I later learned that it was a good thing I couldn't see a doctor - a friend of mine did get "help" for some similar trouble, she spent a week in the hospital getting a ton of painful, frightening and invasive exams, only to be old "you have IBS and there is nothing we can do for you.") As far as I knew, I would spend the rest of my life suffering intermittent, unpredictable attacks of pain that would leave me drained, while also sleeping sometimes 14 hours a day just because I had zero energy. By the time I finished undergrad, I really thought that whatever was wrong was going to kill me (in spite of the fact that IBS isn't deadly - but how could something so debilitating NOT kill you?). Even if I lived, it would be on welfare because who would ever hire someone who would literally fall asleep at the drop of a hat right in the middle of anything?

By sheer luck my mother picked up a book for me, it was called Gastrointestinal Health. Author didn't even suggest a vegetarian diet, rather he suggested a diet based on whole foods that happened to include a lot of plant-based foods. He eliminated junk food and processed foods. I began doing a few things he suggested, just a few, and then more. My health did a 180 within 6 months. For the first time ever, I actually had more or less a normal life, and I wasn't sleeping it all away. And then one day, something remarkable happened: I realized I had not eaten meat for 2 months, and that was just fine, didn't even miss it.

I began reading anything and everything I could get my hands on, which in Smalltown Alabama was not much (plus I had little money to buy books since I was in grad school). I learned that meat and dairy products are destructive to human health, as well as the planet, and this gave me the only motivation I needed to stay away from meat permanently. Dairy took longer to give up (it is addictive after all), but my allergies about that time took a turn for the worse and *that* was excellent motivation to give up dairy. It took me probably 18 months to do the whole transformation.

I still have some health problems, and I have learned that stress hits my body very, very hard. Changing my diet, and sticking to good quality whole foods as much as possible, basically fortifies my body to stay generally healthy - and then I just have to watch for stress issues and deal with them when they come up. I have not eaten a bite of meat since about 1999 (I truly don't recall the last time I did, so that is an approximate time).

I have voluntarily eaten dairy ONE time that I know of, in 2005 (??) at a Hindu festival when someone dumped a spoonful of farina on my plate before I could stop him - pretty sure it contained ghee. Throwing it out would have been the worst anathema, so I ate it - knowing I risked getting sick, then ran home and took an entire bottle of antioxidants, which stopped the allergic reaction before it could start. (That was an important lesson learned for the future.)

I don't think much anymore about being a strict veg, looking up restaurant menus and checking ingredients is something I do by rote now. But good health is something I will never again take for granted. I suffered way too much the first 24 years of my life.

Pain free. Able to do things. Having hope. Not feeling like a victim all the time, or a statistic in the making with only welfare to look forward to. These things are HUGE. They mean the world to me.
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#5 Old 08-08-2014, 03:56 PM
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A journey it is.
Life didn't make sense to me till I discovered that what we eat effects us to the nature of the substance. And we only limit ourselves to how much we choose to make of ourselves (spiritually).

Caring about our health is caring about our very state of being and future which is a very good thing to be seriously concerned about making the most of.

 

http://TRUEHEALTHHAPPENS.COM

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#6 Old 08-11-2014, 08:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocket View Post
I don't think much anymore about being a strict veg, looking up restaurant menus and checking ingredients is something I do by rote now. But good health is something I will never again take for granted. I suffered way too much the first 24 years of my life.

Pain free. Able to do things. Having hope. Not feeling like a victim all the time, or a statistic in the making with only welfare to look forward to. These things are HUGE. They mean the world to me.
I just wanted to say that the last few sentences there are so important. The ability to do the things that everyone else your age takes for granted (or at least they seem to) means that your horizons open up. Without chronic illness - would I be focused in the same way? Probably not - I think I'd still have found my way here (to veg*anism). But I don't think I'd be as committed to it. I think it would be something I played at and would eat meat when I felt like it.

I would not be a veggie bore waxing lyrical about the benefits. :-)
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#7 Old 08-13-2014, 07:38 AM
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When I became vegan, I lost a lot of weight and had a lot more energy than before. Why anyone wouldn't use veg*nism to improve their health is beyond me.

Unfortunately, I've seen a lot of junk food vegans who "do it for the animals" but are lazy about their own health. Which is a shame, because you CAN have it both ways.

Happiness is not the result of a mathematical equation comparing the good times and bad times someone has had. It is a state of mind.
-nomad888
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