I was recently listening to a ted talk (ted.com) and the speaker said something that really stuck with me… that we often think that we have to change our mind before we change our behavior, but the truth is that we first must change our behavior and our mind will follow.
If I were to give one piece of advice about going vegan it is to change your behavior first, and the rest will start to fall into place. As you begin to change your eating habits, something happens and you start to change your mind and any previous fears, myths, regarding being vegan. You will start to find more and more people who are doing the same thing, you will start to read more and more articles, books, watch DVD’s all about it, and soon you will have a hard time imagining ever thinking that animal products was a good thing.
When I started this journey, I was not expecting to change my mind, I was not expecting to understand what being vegan meant, or all of the reasons behind it. I started out changing my behaviors. I started out by making better food choices, by eliminating all animal products from my diet. It was simple, on that fronts. As I started to feel better, as I quickly went off insulin, started dropping weight, and started having a lot more health benefits is when I actually started to change my mind. I wanted to find out why this was all working, I mean sure, I had a good start, I read a good book that explained why it helped diabetics to go vegan. But honestly? I was reading it like any other health book… I remember thinking “Fine, it makes sense, it’s my last resort, and it probably won’t work”. Despite the HUGE amount of information that was out there on going vegan, it was still easy to ignore all of it, and just pass it off, because I wasn’t at a place that I wanted my mind changed. In fact, I’d say that I was pretty terrified of having my mind changed. If my mind changed what would that mean? I would have to forever give up foods that I loved , I could never eat out again, I might even lose friends and some of my family might even be offended. I would just do the behavior thing, and just keep it at that, and nothing else.
The more my behaviors changed, the more I felt so much better, the more I read to understand why I was feeling better, the more I educated myself, the more my mind started to change. The physical effects of going vegan were so overwhelmingly positive that I could not deny them. Aside from going off insulin, which if you haven’t been on insulin, it’s not something you ever want to do, injections, and side effects , it sucks! But aside from that I started dropping weight, being less bloated, my edema (which is severe water retention to the point where it hurts) went away, my skin got much more silky (my husband loves that I’m vegan), my hair became less dry and started growing faster, along with my nails, which before would be more brittle, now are strong and never break. Because I am diabetic I had some nerve problems in my lower legs and feet, I went vegan and that also started going away. In fact, my lower legs used to be so bad that I constantly had to monitor them for infections, because doctors were afraid that with an infection would come removing part of my lower leg. My hormone problems started to go away (and are now completely okay), my depression got about 100 times better, and my energy levels… All because I switched my behaviors, and you know what? When you start feeling THAT good, believe me, you will feel like a crazy person to want to to go back to eating the icky stuff you were eating before.
And as your behaviors change, which will in effect cause the way you feel (physically and emotionally) , your mind will change. You will start to feel the same way about eating vegan as other things you feel strongly about. There is something incredibly hopeful about all of it. There is something that is life changing, in the way that you look at your body and the food that you put into it. Eating animal products does not do any good for us, at all, and so by eliminating it, and by eating in healthy ways, your body starts to thank you.
So do something about it, today. Don’t wait, don’t have your last burger, or your last milkshake. Don’t eat your last cheese drenched pizza. Start changing your behaviors TODAY. And I promise, in a few weeks as you start to feel like a different person you will start to change your mind, and start to fully understand the many reasons for going vegan, and how they all by a landslide outweigh the reasons for being a meat eater.