Recently I was asked how I felt after two and a half years of being whole food, plant-based. I immediately began to answer about how healthier I am and how much weight I've lost. And I had plenty of numbers to back up what I had to say. I've lost 150 pounds, my total cholesterol is in the 90s, my LDL is under 60, my blood pressure averages 110/70 and so on. But that wasn't really the question.
The question was how do I feel. How has it affected my thinking, my being, my outlook on life, so to speak? After some thought, I realized that there are three ways that eating whole foods, plant-based has made dramatic changes in the person that I am. These changes go beyond health. They go beyond the numbers. They could to the very being of who I am and of who I've become.
One of the three ways is that I'm more sensitive now to how what I eat affects the world we live in. When I ate meat, I wasn't very sensitive to the plight of the animals. In fact, I thought little to nothing about it, and I thought of people who did as extremists. But since going whole foods, plant-based, I've become much more sensitized. That's because as a meat eater, I now know that I carried around too much guilt about that. I ignored it because I didn't want to recognize my part in that overall picture.
And it's not just to factory farming and how animals are treated that I have become more sensitized. It's also to the environment and recognizing the huge role that animal agriculture has on climate change, water usage and subsequent shortages and even not so obvious things such as bird's migratory patterns.
I've also become more sensitized to the politics of it and to recognizing how the government's role in creating dietary guidelines and in supporting animal agriculture and in funding research all plays a part in the whole picture. I've become sensitized to the problem of money in politics and how funding for research can prejudice politicians and research results. All of these things are things I had't seriously recognized before but now find myself much more sensitive.
The second way that I've become a different person is in my confidence. I feel stronger about what I believe now. I think that's because I intuitively know that what I'm doing and what I believe is right. I don't try to force my thoughts on others, but I do recognize that what we all choose to put in our mouths is affecting the world we live in. It's what causes our health insurance to cost what it costs. It's a big reason for why we have to worry about global warming or climate change. There's just problem after problem that occurs as a result of the way we as a nation eat.
So, I've become confident in speaking about that. I can write these blogs and make the points that hopefully might help others to do this. I feel confident in talking to people who want to listen. And I recognize that there's no point talking to people who don't want to listen because I'll never convince them otherwise. But if someone wants to hear the message, I'm there to talk to them about it.
And finally, I feel at one with the world around me. I see much clearer how we are all really interconnected. And that's not just with each other, but it's with nature itself. It's with our economic system. It's with our politics. We're all interconnected by what we eat. And what we eat affects others in the world, it affects the environment, it affects our budgets, it affects other species and so on. While people like to believe that what they eat is a personal decision, and in our society today that is the only acceptable way to view it, the fact of the matter is, what I eat and what you eat affects everything else and everyone else as well. It truly is the issue of our time.
As Americans, our probability of dying from a heart attack or from cancer is statistically more likely than are our chances of dying from ISIS or from terrorism. So why do so many Americans worry about terrorism and not worry about doing what they need to do to prevent heart attacks or prevent cancer? It doesn't make any sense, does it? That next cheeseburger could do more to hurt your lifestyle than any terrorist will ever do to you. Even if it only gives you heartburn.
So, let's worry about what's really important. And isn't our health and the health of our children and grandchildren what's most important? If it is, then we need to act like that is what is most important to us.