Saturday, September 19, 2020

Health & Plant-Based Diet: Story


I sat in a hospital room when I was 16 years old, holding my Granny’s hand, we were waiting for her to die in that room. She was young still, but years of type 2 diabetes had taken a toll on her. She suffered for so many years with this horrible disease, only to be laying in this hospital room, knowing that she would never see me wear a wedding dress, knowing she would never see another violin recital, she held my hand knowing it was the last time I would ever touch her hands.

When I was at the worst of my health, my husband would lay next to me in our bed, he’d wipe away tears, he’d hold my hand, not knowing what was going to happen to me. He was strong for the both of us, but I saw the pain he went through day in and day out watching me suffer, watching as we thought there would be a tragic end to my story.

Health never just has an impact on one person. We like to think it does. We like to think our junk food eating ways is our choice, and will only impact us alone. We like to think the excessive drinking or the smoking or the bacon wrapped foods are something we have earned a right to do. And it’s true, we can choose whatever path we want when it comes to food, however, do not fool yourself into thinking that your food choices only cause you harm and potential suffering.

We never want to think that our actions will hurt someone else. For the most part, most of us do not want to cause the emotional suffering of another person. Yet, the choices we make every day will determine so much of the future of those you love. You might not want to think that the food choices you make today might contribute to years of suffering from type 2 diabetes or heart disease or dementia or any other horrible disease. And while the lure of unhealthy habits is strong, I am not sure if the temporary satisfaction of food or a lifestyle habit is ever worth the future suffering of someone you love.

It might seem harmless, the junk food, the foods that are now known to hurt our bodies. It might seem like it is a matter of choice, a matter of having the right to eat whatever you want.

But, the story doesn’t end there. The story ends with a 16 year old girl not knowing how to live life with out her Granny. The story ends with a husband sneaking off to cry as he fears the worst for his new wife. The story ends with a Mom not being able to dance at her daughters wedding because the lung disease finally caught up with her. The story ends with a father not remembering who is son is when he walks into the room. The story ends in a place in which we never want to think about. It’s not simply a matter of eating what we want, or living the lifestyle we want, and digging in our heals because it is our right. Our choices will impact the people we love, no matter how much we tell ourselves that they only impact us.

I don’t think any of us do this intentionally. I certainly never meant to cause my husband pain, nor do I think my Granny meant to cause anyone pain through her disease. I don’t think it is ever a conscience decision any of us makes. A lot of us live in the moment, we can’t see the hospital room in the future, we can’t see the tears streaming down the face of the person that means everything to us.

There is an emotional side to health, a side that we rarely talk about, a side that no one really wants to talk about. It’s a scary side, a side that hurts and causes pain.

And for those of us left on this planet, for however long we have left – I think we can do what we can to not cause any hurt and pain of the people we love. Death will happen to all of us, suffering for years on end from a preventable disease does not have to happen to all of us.

When you are stuck and wondering if you should give this healthy plant-strong living a try, think about the entire story. Stop thinking about the now, the hassle of grocery shopping, the stupid remarks by co-workers, stop thinking about the small nuisances of getting healthy, and start thinking about how this story ends. The temporary satisfaction of food is not worth a story that ends with unnecessary suffering and pain for you or for the people who love you.


  1. Debbie

    What a beautiful post. I’m still in tears remembering my sister who died of cancer after years of heavy drinking and smoking, her husband who was 50 pounds overweight and an alcoholic, who died of a heart attack shortly after my sister’s death. Both in their early 40s. My dad, at 60, after years of rich eating, died of a heart attack. He also suffered through years of type 2 diabetes. I’m sure if you asked them, they’d have said they were only hurting themselves. Not so. Ask my niece, who was just 20 when her parents died. Or my mom, who was widowed way too early. Or me, who loved them all but couldn’t save them from themselves.

    Thank you.

  2. Georgina

    Randomness brought me here. I really like the word “hope”. I can’t believe this is exactly what I need/wanted/hoped to read. It’s just exactly what I didn’t know I was looking for. Mostly the last paragraphs. It’s amazing. Thank you very much. You’ve given me hope.

  3. Stephanie

    @Jess – I am sorry you have had so much sadness in your life already. But I applaud you and your efforts to have your life lived differently. Keep it up and get the support you need to stand strong!

    Natala – Thanks for this perspective. As a critical care nurse who has seen the very worst, I just cringe when people say things like, ‘what does it matter? we all have to die some day.’ Most people don’t have the luxury of just dropping dead one day happily. Most people suffer and decline over years – and their families suffer with them. It’s all so avoidable and we just have to keep spreading the word.

  4. Jess

    This is why I went vegan. I’m 25 years old. My father died when I was 6 of heart failure. He was 58. My mother died in December of heart failure. She was 66. I cannot do that to my family. It’s hard to bring salad to the Sunday pot roast dinner. They don’t understand. They think maybe I’m being a tad extreme, but they know I want to be healthy so they’re supportive. But the relief and the feeling of being in control, to an extent, is worth the hassle.

    Every time I think, one bite of cheese can’t hurt, I think of my parents and remember that, yes, actually, it does.

    Today marks one week vegan and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the decision. 🙂

  5. Helen

    I just found your blog not long ago. Tonight, I just read this entry for the first time. It is so much what I needed at this moment. I have been struggling with my eating disorder for so long. I have lost hope in the thought that I can conquer this. I have lost 140 pounds several years ago, kept it off, but struggle so much to get the last 100 pounds. I strive to live my life as a Vegan, as well. However, in recent months, because of stress at work and life, my eating disorder has raised it’s evil head. It is truly a beast. And I fear going backwards now. It’s really got a hold on me…always has…to different degrees. I may be Vegan, but I struggle with the junk food, etc. What makes me sad most is not even how I feel about myself….it’s what you were talking about…..My hubby has supported me through every hard time. He married me at my heaviest which was almost 400 pounds. He is my heart and my life. He ends up doing many things that he enjoys in life alone. He rides bikes and kayaks. These are his favorite things. I cannot do these things at a level that he does. He would help me all I can to do them, however, I don’t want to slow him down or take the fun and freedom out of those things for him. I know that isn’t all there is or even the most important of things, but it is an example. I want him not to worry about if I will die soon…or before him…..or die suffering in a state of disability. These are things that could happen to any of us, but with the way I am caring for my body, they are inevitable for me. I must stop this madness. And I can do it for him until I am able to do it for myself. I will do it for the animals until I able to love myself enough to do it for ME. And you have just inspired me and gave me HOPE!!!!! You knew what you were doing when you names your blog, didn’t ya?! 🙂

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart. xoxo

  6. Amy

    This is a beautiful, heart-wrenching, and honest piece of writing. Thank you for sharing it with us. It is so true that our food choices affect more than just us. Everyone of us has a story to tell of how someone close to us consciously or unconsciously made a decision to destroy their health and it hurt everyone around them.

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