Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Reluctant Vegan

So, I am now a Vegan.

Wait... what?

I wish I could say it was because I am an avid supporter of animal rights or because I just made the choice on my own to not eat meat or any animal products. But... it's not really MY choice.

It's been several days since I got The Lupus Recovery Diet in the mail. It took me a while to muster up the courage to open the book... days, maybe a week even. Finally, I knew I could not put it off any longer. So, I read some parts, skimmed others, but basically found that the best chance I have at living symptom free with lupus is a vegan diet.

It's been tough. It's not just a vegan diet, either--because that, I could handle. Nooo... this is whole foods, only. Basically, if it grows out of the earth, I can eat it. If it doesn't, good-bye! It has only been a few days, but I miss weird things. Yesterday, I was ready to punch somebody just for some MUSTARD! I just wanted mustard! I just wanted mayo!

However, as violent as I may seem, this is actually a good thing. This forces me to me healthy. As I said before, I wish this is a decision I could have made on my own, but I did not have the willpower. Today, I have to. If I eat that one sprinkled cookie, if I have a handful of popcorn, if I eat that burger, it's only driving me that much closer to death. It sounds drastic/dramatic, but it's quite possible that I have an autoimmune disease! If I keep going the way I have been going, I will drive my organs into failure. That is f---ing scary. So, that's how I keep going.

You know, I went to Whole Foods the other night. It should have been uplifting, rewarding, all that jazz. But instead, I was just frustrated and overwhelmed. Because I couldn't even eat a lot of the vegan stuff. That stuff has salt or soy or etc, etc. It was like, "Can I eat anything?" I almost felt like crying. I felt like walking out of the store. I wondered, "Is this what the rest of my life will be like?"

But that feeling passed eventually because I realized: it's better to have to eat fruits and vegetables for the rest of my life than to have to face the symptoms of a crippling disease. I am in a unique situation with this illness because I have this chance, my only chance to get better. Lupus has no known cure and no known cause. It takes a long time for it to be diagnosed and while I have not officially been diagnosed with it, my symptoms are pretty similar to pretty much every other story I have read, especially those in this particular book.

There are not a lot of studies out there about lupus. But there is growing evidence that diet is linked to the symptoms (and who knows, with the way I ate, it could have been the cause. I mean, I only cooked ONCE in the six months that I had been here and they were instant cinnamon buns. Oh and I made some instant-hash browns a couple of times. That's IT!)

But back to this vegan thing. Will I ever be rid of lupus? I don't know. But I do know that the biggest chance I have of having no symptoms and living a normal, healthy life is to eat like this.

So I am a vegan. I am a reluctant vegan. But I will embrace it.

Before you know it, I'll be wearing those shirts and sporting those buttons that say, "VEGANS RULE!" or whatever.