Thursday, May 21, 2009

In The Beginning...

November 4, 2008. The day I decided to change my life for the better and forever. Although it has only been 6 months, I can’t really remember what I was thinking or feeling on that day. I just know it was an absolute decision and one that I would never turn back on.

Actually, I was reading through a new (new to me) Anthony Robbins book at the time and I think that might have had a big part in the decision. However, I’d toyed with the idea of, if not Veganism, vegetarianism for a long time. I’d eliminated red meat for long periods of time. I’d limited meat intake to one meal per day. My Achilles heel, though, was cheese and eggs.

At 40 (my birthday was in October), I knew I had to make some fairly drastic changes if I wanted to continue to be physically active. I found that the food I was eating wasn’t in any hurry to leave my stomach. I would go for a run and I would have heart palpitations. I was experiencing acid reflux. For the last few months I contended with a dull headache that just never seemed to go away.

The changes were instant. I lost 10 pounds in 2 weeks. I was able to eat to my heart’s content. My headaches completely disappeared. I felt awesome. The only problem I had was how to tell those around me and how to get them to support me in what I was doing. I decided to stay silent and provide for them the illusion that I was still a raving omnivore. At least, for the first two weeks.

For that short period of time, I would rush to the kitchen to be the first to commit to cooking dinner. With everyone safely out of the kitchen, I was free to let the Vegan inside me run free. I was challenged once at my fiancé’s parent’s house where I scraped off as much hamburger as possible off her mother’s lasagna and then complained about the stomach pain I’d endured most of the day (wink, wink).

Then came the major turning point in my veganism. My fiancé, my two sons, my sister and her husband and I travelled to Cuba for a week’s worth of all-inclusive vacation. It was perfect. Buffet’s every meal. I could stuff my plate so full of veggies and just say the meat was underneath if anyone asked. But, I was soon to come out of the closet (or crisper?). On the first night, we met up with and did some heavy drinking with a pair of travelling companions from Toronto. I found out that they both did not partake in the eating of the flesh. They shared with me some of their wisdom and gave me the self-confidence boost I was looking for.

I didn’t come right out and announce it, but at dinner on the second evening, my youngest son asked me point blank at the dinner table whether I was vegetarian or not. I didn’t go into the specifics of being Vegan vs. being vegetarian but I did tell my little world that I was indeed off the meat forever.

Since then, it has gone very well. I still get teased in a friendly way by my fiancé, but her and her family are very understanding. Since that time, I now say with pride that I am Vegan and simple shrug off any negative comments anyone has for me. People almost always ask me if I’m tempted to eat meat. The answer is simple. No. It was a choice I made. I studied the facts and debunked the myths. I made the right decision and I know absolutely that my life will be so much better (and longer) because of it.

Thank you Dwight and Carolyn for your support in Cuba.

Thank you Angie, Joshua and Justin for your support at home.

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