{world vegan day} the metamorphosis

Friday, November 1, 2013

today i'm going to share a little story i've been hanging onto - in celebration of world vegan day {that's today!}. this is a story about a profound + remarkable metamorphosis. 

to this day, it still astounds me. 

my pre-veganite life: this life seems like one that belongs not to me, separate from who i am today; let's rewind to the days of yore when i was a sickly thing, arthritic, perpetually tired, with endometriosis, nonstop sinus-infections, headaches in the morning, headaches at night, allergies upon allergies, constant pain in my joints. oh, and my memory, if you want to call it that, was in a sad state indeed. did i mention the numbness in my extremities? a hot mess i was. 

then there was the operation last summer. a necessary procedure to remove benign tumors that had found their way onto several of my organs and set up camp on the nerves in my pelvis, impeding my ability to walk. i like to say these growths were as innocuous as a butter knife: harmless until someone picks one up and stabs you with it, right? well, these benign growths and their consequent symptoms were affecting every part of my life. i was in pain, listless, disheartened by my seemingly permanent lack of energy, and worried about my ability to function as a contributing citizen. every day i suffered physically. and when the operation was through, guess what? nothing changed. i was still feeble, still ailing, and the pain was always with me.

and then it happened. 

i'd had to fast for 24 hours prior to my operation, and on the day of the procedure i was not allowed to eat any solids. 48 hours with water as my only sustenance. as someone who's used to grazing every 2 hours, you better believe i was one grumpy gal. but essentially what was happening, unbeknownst to me at the time, was my body was cleansing itself of all that i'd been consuming, everything it found disagreeable that i'd been absorbing for so very long. 

although i was a vegetarian for 25 years, staples of my diet included eggs, bread, cheese, pasta, oh, and i was never one to shy away from sweets. i could not and would not say no to a cookie, cupcake or jumbo-sized slice of pie {how i remained thin is a mystery of the world}. another scoop of ice cream? yes, please.

on the way home from the hospital i begged my best friend to stop and get me a pizza. not just any pizza. a stuffed pizza. "pah-leeeease," i wailed in my drug-induced, altered state of mind.

but here's the thing: from the moment i stepped foot into my familiar, sun-filled apartment, i was already a different person without yet knowing it. each and every time i ate, my body reacted with an acuteness, communicating with accuracy what it deemed acceptable and what it found offensive: it spoke a language that i understood at once. if i ate dairy products, my body gave me a tongue-lashing: pain coursed through my body. if i ate veggies, by body quietly thanked me: no pain, no aches, no arthritis.

and so it continued, day after day; my kitchen became my classroom: i was learning how to use food to create + maintain my health and prevent disease. i learned how and why dairy, eggs and animal byproducts negatively impact our health. i am still learning of the disturbing + violent industry that is factory farming, how these industries degrade natural resources and desecrate our planet, and of the toll on the mental state of those working in slaughterhouses

today i continue to learn. 

little by little, i came to understand that my body would not tolerate any dairy, that with eggs came lethargy, with processed foods came aches and pains, and today i am a happy, healthy + active plant-powered girl.

this summer i was due in for another operation. perhaps, the doctors reasoned, it would take care of the pain once and for all. it would have been my third. but there's not a single reason for me to return to the hospital. today, i use food as my medicine: vegan food.

here's a wonderful list of helpful reading material from local, healthy-food blogger extraordinaire jacqueline fisch of barefoot essence. get your reading on, friends!

{image by f+d}

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