For me, my first flirtation with veganism wasn’t a choice – it was a necessity. Even though I ate healthy, tracked my nutrients and calories, and worked out almost daily, I was suffering from the horrible nightmare that are ovarian cysts. Any woman that’s ever dealt with them will tell you – they totally suck.
I’ve been fighting these bad boys since I was eighteen, but regular doctors visits weren’t enough. I had to have major surgery a few years ago to remove not one, but five stupid cysts from my lady parts. And it was literally the most painful experience of my life, and one I wished to never repeat.
After my surgery, I vowed to take better care of myself – and I did. But I was shocked when, about a year ago, I found the familiar, stabbing, sharp pain in my lower right side. I knew immediately what it was; but, thanks to our shitty healthcare system, I still had to visit a slew of doctors before one finally took me seriously.
My doctors pretty much sent me home with vicodin and the instructions to “watch and wait.” I finally dragged my drugged-up, tired self to lunch with my friends. I ordered a healthy, grilled chicken sandwich, and promptly threw up my first few bites in the bathroom. I came back to the table pissed off, embarrassed, and in tears; why was this happening to me? What could I possibly be doing wrong?!
Luckily, one of my friends was studying to be a nutritionist. She told me what I was eating – carbs and meat – was absolute garbage and guaranteed to make my condition worse. She advised that I try out a vegan, gluten-free diet for a few weeks and see if it helped. After all, meat, dairy and gluten all encourage cell growth and are filled with unnatural hormones and mutations.
I had no other choice but to listen, so I did. Despite my skepticism, I felt significantly better within a few days. After a week, I felt 100% better and spent my doctor’s-note-approved-days bodyboarding at the beach. At my two-week follow up, my cyst had completely disappeared – so much so that my doctor grilled me on what I had done to heal myself so quickly.
I realized for the first time that I truly had to respect my body. I followed a vegan diet for a few months, and eventually became a vegetarian for almost a year. But, recently, I fell of the wagon and back into bad habits, like fast food, animal products, and processed junk.
I’ve been sick for a few weeks, and I finally went to the hospital expecting to hear that I’d picked up hepatitis C or something equally dire in Indonesia (yes, I really felt that horrible!) Instead, I underwent a zillion tests and a C-T Scan to show what I should’ve already known – I had another ovarian cyst. Except this time, it had ruptured, and had been poisoning me for two whole weeks. Even worse, there’s nothing they nor I can do to make it better, except literally wait for all of the excess fluid and blood to leave my body.
People say that nutrition and veganism are bullshit. But my experience is enough proof for me and all of those close to me. If I follow a vegan diet, my cysts go away. I start eating meat and dairy again, and they come back – with a vengeance. No matter how much I might love bacon or burgers, nothing tastes so good it’s worth feeling like this. I have to do what’s right, listen to my body, and do the best I can for my health and future. For me, it’s veganism 🙂
Veganism doesn’t just make me healthier, though – I feel better mentally, physically, and spiritually when I cut animal products out my diet and lifestyle. Plus, every vegan (and even vegan meal) does wonders for animal suffering and the environment. I actually feel blessed that my own body has pushed me towards veganism, because it makes my mind and spirit fulfilled in the process. And I have a valid argument for anyone that begs to differ with my choices. I truly believe that my body is a temple that deserves to be honored.
AND – who can possibly argue with the beautiful, talented Erykah Badu?! I’ll have what she’s having 🙂