Wednesday, June 10, 2015

My Journey Towards a Healthy Life

As I’m sure most of you have noticed, I like to post pictures and recipes of delicious food. I’m also quite sure that you’ve noticed the food is vegan. Yes, I am vegan. Have I always been vegan? No, I haven’t, and, in fact, it’s only been recently that I went full vegan. Here’s why.

In early January of 2014, I drug myself into a local health clinic because I had a mystery ailment (of three months) that turned out to be a horrible case of hives. At the clinic they weighed me, took my blood pressure, and none of it was encouraging.

The fact of the matter was that I was on a road to certain death. I had just turned 42 years old, and I was in the worst shape of my life. I was grossly overweight; I drank heavily at least three times per week; I smoked like a chimney; I ate unhealthy food too much too often; I was sedentary; my knees hurt all the time and I felt like they were ready to break at any moment; my pallor was red; I coughed all the time and rattled as I slept (the tell-tale signs of chronic bronchitis); I had these horrible hives that made me want to itch my skin off; and, on top of all that, my blood pressure was sky high! 

I went home feeling completely dejected, but I set about making a change. So, on January 12, 2014, I smoked the last cigarette of my life. It was tough, but I was motivated. I also added supplements to my daily routine that were good for heart issues: turmeric, fish oil, and potassium. After a few months, I could breathe better, and the supplements kept my BP under control. Things were better, but I hadn’t changed anything else and I was still miserable.

When January of 2015 rolled around, I braved the scale and was promptly mortified. I was even heavier than I was when I went to the doctor the year before! Sure, I had quit smoking and kept my BP under control (as long as I took my supplements), but I was no picture of health.

Right then and there, I decided that I needed a lifestyle change. I didn’t need a diet, I didn’t need a pill, but rather an honest-to-goodness lifestyle change. Over the next few months, I struggled to make the necessary changes, but I reminded myself that if I could quit smoking, I could do anything! After a few months, I cut my alcohol consumption down to once a month, I started moving around more (even if it was just housework, I made myself get off my butt), I did more walking & hiking, and I went full vegan.

Recently, I braved the scale again and was elated to see that I had lost 25 lbs! My high BP (that I monitored often) was gone and I didn’t need supplements anymore. My knees quit hurting, I slept better, and my skin took on a normal pallor. My mind was clearer, which made me more productive, and I had more energy.

Seeing my own personal results has steeled my resolve to stay plant-strong and avoid crap as I continue on my journey. I have a lot of life to live yet and I’ll do whatever I need to, to live a long and healthy one. Besides, I feel better than I have in many years, both mentally and physically, and how can you beat that?


I write monthly health editorials for a magazine, and every time I read up on a health issue, doctors ALWAYS advise eating better foods, getting more exercise, quitting smoking, and limiting alcohol consumption...for EVERY HEALTH ISSUE! As we reach our mid 40s, all of the things we do, that are harmful for our bodies, catch up with us and cause health issues. 

Do you plan on dying young, or living a poor-health existence in a hospital bed somewhere? Or would you rather be able to get around easily and enjoy life until you pass from this world? I know what my choice is. Now, I’m not saying you should all go vegan, but it’s worth considering, especially if you have health concerns like I did. 

Whatever you feel or think about your own life, I wish you good health.

-H.A.
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