April 2013 I found out my mother, who was only 49, had sarcoma cancer. By July, she was on her death bed in hospice. When we first got the news my father, mother, and I did what we thought was the right thing to do, with the knowledge we had at the time. This lead us to numerous amounts of chemotherapy sessions and radiation, all of which were highly recommended by all the doctors we saw. In fact, it was the only suggestion we were given when we asked what all our options were. Needless to say, my mother, who’s name was Iris was not getting any better. If anything, she was getting weaker and weaker. Her enthusiasm for life spiraling down by the minute.
Those 3 months were the most sorrow filled moments of my life. The person I had loved the most in my life was deteriorating away and being eaten alive by a terrible disease. I felt like I had no control over anything, it was my ground state. The most in deep depression I had ever experienced. However, my life was just beginning to unfold into a beautiful transformative place, weather I was conscious of it or not. When I came face-to-face with death I started to question the meaning of life and the unknown place we call Spirit, God, the Universe, Source, that which has many names all around the world. It was the first time in my entire life where I went deep into reflection and started to look for answers within. Before this, I was not connected to anything at all. Not myself, certainly not those around me, or God, because the relationship you have with yourself is the relationship you have with God. I will use the term God because it is the most recognized term today.
I realized 7 extremely important things. Number 1, I am the Creator of my life. It was the first time I took full responsibility for all things manifested in my reality, both good and bad. Number 2, love of self is the ultimate love there is. Without this, you are unable to ever fully and unconditionally love anyone else in your life including and most importantly God. Number 3, because I am an extension of source or God that means I am also God. The two are not separate, they are inseparable. Everything in this world is connected. This realization led me to number 4. If all things are connected, and all life is sacred, then that also meant I had to let go of my high meat/animal consuming diet. This also included milk, cheese, and eggs. That didn’t come till later down the road, but it came. Number 4 was also fueled by knowledge and information I had researched myself on the power of a plant-based diet. Which I will discuss in just a bit. Number 5 was a deep sense of gratitude. When you lose everything, you start to realize how grateful you should have been for what you had. Nothing in this world is permanent, everything is temporary. Be grateful for who you are, what you have, and where you are. Number 6, let go of that which you are attached to. Attachment to things and people lead to suffering. Love does not hold, it liberates. When you are unable to release the grasp, you hold so tightly on an emotional, mental, or physical level, you are not only hurting yourself but you are holding back and hurting that which you think you are loving. I’ll say it again, love does not hold, it liberates. Oftentimes we do this to ourselves because of fear. Finally, number 7, be in the Now as much as possible. When you are living in the past or in the future you are not tuned in and tapped into what’s going on right now. This often leads to depression, an ungrateful heart, and or fear. The life we have right now is a gift, a finite present given to us by God while we are here on planet earth.
After my mother passed I was very interested in health, for obvious reasons. What I discovered about Americas health system shocked me beyond belief. What I found was that America is the most medicated nation on earth, with some 70% of Americans taking prescription drugs. Yet, we have worse health outcomes than other industrialized countries. Part of the problem may be the drugs themselves. The American Medical Association even felt compelled to declare they were “committed to transparency” around drug company payments to doctors. There have even been exposures on the fraud in clinical drug trials. Every year pharmaceutical companies spend over $3 billion on direct-to-consumer ads. Our prescription drugs are the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer. Our drugs kill around 200,000 people in America every year, and half of the people die while they do what their doctors told them, so they die because of the side-effects.
Even though the most widely accepted, well-established chronic disease practice guidelines uniformly call for lifestyle change as the first line of therapy, physicians often do not follow these guidelines. Yet lifestyle interventions are often more effective in reducing heart disease, hypertension, heart failure, stroke, cancer, diabetes, depression, and deaths from all causes than almost any other medical intervention. Unfortunately, most doctors are nutritionally illiterate. And worse, they don’t know how to use the most powerful medicine available to them: food.
Eating meat and dairy foods increases blood pressure and cholesterol and can lead to heart disease. At least a third of cancers are caused by poor diet and are therefore preventable. Typical Western diets, rich in animal protein, saturated fat, and hormones increase the risk. Only 5-10% of breast cancers are caused by genes the rest are due to lifestyle factors including diet. Cow’s milk and dairy products are a major source of saturated fat and hormones, both linked to breast cancer. Meat and dairy products contain significant amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol. Also, the obesity epidemic is spreading around the globe as ethnic cuisine and traditional food habits are being replaced by Western-style fast foods, soft drinks and increased meat and dairy consumption. As diets high in sugar, fat, and animal products replace more traditional diets high in complex carbohydrates and fiber, levels of obesity, and all the associated health problems rise.
Discovering all of this, from digging within spiritually to learning the truth about food, was the beginning of my New Veganing. My only wish, is to inspire and teach people about this truth. Let us thrive together in health.
“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”