That is my -broken record- question!
I grew up vegetarian and have tried to be vegan on and off since my early 20’s. I’m now 45 years of age. So, this will be a short story about my long haul of never giving up and how today that hard-to-watch, messy version of commitment has resulted in a transformational experience!
Let’s start by saying, I don’t go to mainstream doctors much because I lean toward natural medicine and unconventional thinking. The few times I’ve gone I’ve been admonished and made to feel afraid of my attempts to be vegan. These episodes left me feeling unsupported and, even worse, as though I may truly be using bad judgment relative to my health.
However, this week I went to get a general physical (cuz I’m, um, well, 45) and I had a totally different experience! During this visit, my doctor specifically asked me if I am on a special diet. I reluctantly reported that I am vegetarian, with frequent attempts at being vegan, and then I braced myself to receive the usual backlash. Instead... this is what I received...
My doctor said, and I quote, “A plant based diet is the way to go.”
I was floored!
She followed with...
“Let’s make sure we keep your B12 up and I’ll give you some resources (book/app) to get you further ideas and support. I’ll put your blood work in and follow up with relevant results.”
Now I was stunned!
My previous failures to stay vegan have been quite emotional to say the least. I had even gone so far as to wonder if my “addiction” to trying again and again represented an eating disorder. During some of my attempts at veganism, if I began to waiver, my vegan friends would often try to help keep me on track by reassuring me that I was experiencing withdrawal from toxic and addictive foods and that I should try to stick it out with the help of supplementation. Unable to find the perfect supplement plan, paired with intimidation up against my perception of the medical industry’s negative judgement, and feeling disconcerted by my body’s mixed signals, I would crumble. I sometimes even promised myself, and other family members who were worried about my stress, that I would stop this vicious circle.
Is vicious too strong a word? Not really when you consider that, aside from achieving optimal health, a vital goal in becoming vegan, for me, is to stop participating in the vicious abuse of animals and the vicious abuse of the earth. So to say that this topic is emotional for me would be an understatement.
But here comes a pivotal shift! The results of my blood work came back and all results are normal except...
I have elevated cholesterol. Ready to hear what my doctor said? Here you go:
“I’m not recommending medication. I’m recommending a healthier lifestyle. Your plant-based diet should take care of this.”
Well, what a difference 20 years makes! I want to send a postcard to my younger self that says: “Aloha from a healthier minded time and place!”
My doctor may never know how deeply healing it has been for me to receive help in getting myself unstuck from this circle and on track with my authentic self. Maybe I should tell her as it is an example of her power to effect lives and change the world from her place of position. For instance, there is a ripple effect to this healing! I’m now taking a fresh look at other areas I feel stuck in. Example: should I be pursuing a healthier lifestyle in Hawaii? Notice where I sent that metaphorical postcard from? Am I caught up to my authentic self when it comes to where I want my home to be if my fantasy postcards have a return address that is in a different state than I’m currently living in? Lol! I may end up a very different person, leading a very different life which will effect my family and may effect many of my followers as well.
Stay tuned as this short story, that has turned out long, will not conclude with “the end” as this transformational doctor visit is just a starting point. I have so much yet to work out!
For instance, I stood on my sore (temporary plantar fasciitis) feet crying for 6 hours today trying to fit all my vegan food prep time into my schedule. The struggle is insane and very real!
The good news is, I’ve already had some incredible nutritional experiences that I can’t wait to share with you! This is very exciting to me because, even though I’m in flux with plenty of floundering, I long to set an example and provide guidance on this topic. Isn’t that hilarious? Well, it’s true, so I must make this weakness my strength! And, if I make it all the way to my goal of being goddess-level food wise, you will know that what I share with you will come from a place of deep understanding about the challenges and needs that go along with this formidable process! So keep an eye out for more!
For now I will conclude with this up to the minute challenge: our plumbing just broke! Probably from more frequent toilet use (joke about cleansing-lol)... so now I’m trying to figure out how to make-shift a camping toilet so I can keep up my Bellydance and Yoga classes on zoom tonight. The good news is, I’m an exhausted mama of special needs cats so I can borrow some of their cat litter! How am I going to keep all the glitter and glamor and self-care of a goddess lifestyle going in this modern melting pot of mayhem you ask? I have no idea! But today, of all days, I’m weirdly encouraged! Thanks doc and cheers!!
- Ansuya Rathor is a superstar of Bellydance, a certified Yoga instructor, and a burgeoning writer who loves to share the empowerment that comes from unleashing the goddess within with women around the world!