This is how I accidentally became a vegan: One month ago today, I caught the flu. My body felt like it was in one of the layers of hell. I had all your typical flu symptoms: chills, general malaise, full-body aches, a fever, my throat was on fire, and the mucous. ALL that mucous! TMI, I know, but this is a necessary detail. Due to all the throat soreness and mucous, I didn’t want any dairy or meat. I craved cherry plums and cotton candy grapes. I also became obsessed with freshly sliced apples. My husband ordered pizza and I was not interested in the least. However, when he made me fresh veggie noodle soup, I found my preferred fuel. I never thought that catching the flu would completely change my life for the better.
I’ve been a conflicted omnivore for decades. I wanted to go vegan during high school, but I decided it was easier to eat the way the rest of my family ate, especially because it was all so tasty! I hadn’t tasted plant-powered meals to use as a frame of reference. I believe my mom made me an oat loaf once to satiate my curiosity, and I never wanted an oat loaf again.
One full week had passed before I realized that I hadn’t eaten a bite of dairy nor any meat. In addition to feeling better from the flu, the general fogginess that usually plagued my mind was…gone. My skin finally cleared up after spending thousands on skincare and treatments. I also hadn’t needed my inhalers much. I have a maintenance inhaler and a rescue inhaler due to asthma. I was using both at least daily throughout my illness.
All these years, I’ve dealt with condition after condition, some of which have made me feel like I’m losing my mind. My many doctors have prescribed me pill after pill but none of my prescriptions mitigated my symptoms; they only masked them while making the rest of me feel worse.
I also noticed that during my week of eating accidentally vegan, not only did my mental fog subside and my asthma symptoms decrease, my aches and pains disappeared. I’d been going to the doctor for recurring pains that I was told was due to chronic inflammation. In less than two months, I experienced pain in my shoulder, heel, and wrist without any injuries.
What the Health?
My doctor told me that I’d most likely live with chronic inflammation for the rest of my life, but she didn’t give me any guidance regarding reducing inflammation other than prescribing meds. As luck would have it, on the last day I felt sick, I came across What the Health on Netflix, which connects a plant-powered diet to the reversal of certain diseases and the reduction of inflammation.
This documentary was an absolute eye-opener! It helped me connect the dots regarding my diet and my inflammation-based auto-immune disorders. I knew that there was a link, but it was never explained to me – especially not by a healthcare provider.
For years, I’ve made great efforts to clean up my makeup, skincare, and cleaning products, by only using brands that commit to being cruelty-free (NO animal testing), vegan, and also using mostly plant-based ingredients. Of course, I hadn’t been a purist about this, so a few of my current favorites are not vegan. I ditched leather a couple of years ago. The mindfulness that I’ve been applying to my daily skincare, self-care, and cleaning regimen I now apply to my meals and snacks.
For the first time in a very long time, I can think clearly, I can go weeks without using my inhalers, I don’t have mood swings, and my ethics align with my eating habits. Oh, and I lost 20 lbs. without much effort in less than a month. If I’d known earlier that being vegan felt this good, I’d have made the leap years ago.