Before starting this journey, I suspected that the hardest thing to present itself to me would be removing, avoiding and missing all the things I previously ate. And, yes, I have been surprised by how many foods contain milk when they really don’t need to – which causes constant disappointment – but I have never felt like I am missing out. In fact, I spend most of my days feeling quite stuffed, satiated and satisfied.
On the whole, everything about my previous life has been improved upon. My skin looks better, I have more energy, my hair is thicker, I have less aches and pains, my brain seems happier, I sleep better, I feel better. I have been pleasantly surprised at how great the improvements have been. So, if everything is awesome, what is the hardest thing?
Watching those that you love and care for suffer unnecessarily knowing how much better they would be if they just made the change.
My mum, for example, has knee and hip issues. She is still relatively young and regularly goes on walks, visits beaches and has multiple holidays a year with my dad who is six years her junior. I don’t see them that often since moving – just a few times a year – so any deterioration in their health or fitness levels is stark. My mum is now struggling to walk and it is certainly never painless. Sometimes she uses a stick. Her enjoyment of walks is diminishing and she can no longer do some of the trips that the pair of them had planned.
It doesn’t help that she carries avoidable weight. Naturally, this excess weight is deleterious, causing extra pressure on arthritic joints. Losing weight would make a massive difference to how she feels, the pain she is in and her overall mobility. It would also slow further degredation of the joints. The most annoying thing is she knows this but comes up with a variety of excuses as to why she cannot eat this or that, denies how much bad stuff she does eat and thinks that a bit of green amongst a plate of crap should do the trick.
Clearly, she doesn’t want to change. Currently, the food that she enjoys outweighs the pain and discomfort. Actually, I think it’s more than that: she doesn’t believe that a diet overhaul will make a dramatic change so she’s simply not willing to try it. Is she in denial? I’m not sure; her diet has pretty much stayed the same since she was a child so her understanding of how food can make you feel is limited. Food is the best medicine, but only if it is the right food.
There are several ailments she has – and has had for decades – that I believe a plant-based diet would lessen, if not cure entirely. Her colitis would radically change, she would lose weight, her arthritic joints will greatly improve, along with her quality of life.
I love my mum. I want her to be around for a long-time yet. Moreover, I want that time to be full of activity and free of discomfort. I believe this is achieveable, if not entirely, certainly massive, life altering improvements.
All she’d have to do is ditch the animal products.