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During a photography project called Unfortunate Existence, I decided to write about how a plant-based lifestyle transformed my health and made me a happier person. Rest assured, this is not an attempt to try to convert you. It’s only my personal observation and experience following my conversion to a vegetarian diet.
Allow me to mourn first
The lingering despondency was no exception to the cold winter wind I felt in the misty air that morning at Cowhouse in South Africa. As I stood on the opposite side of the fence, I watched the bodies slowly awaken minutes before the sun made a slow appearance.
The closest cows stared at me in dismay.
Their curiosity caused a premature gathering where I stood with my camera in hand. While they waited to be taken on their daily browsing routine, the sound of loud coughs broke the eerie silence. As if to trigger the sun rays that greeted us on the horizon – the start of the golden hour.
In that fleeting moment, I stood motionless. As I gazed into the eyes of these sentient beings, I noticed the marks of abuse left on their bodies. And I mourned their unfortunate existence.
That’s when I decided to tell my story. To write about my personal observation following my conversion.
Here’s how a plant-based lifestyle improved my health and made me a happier person:
Health. Happiness. Compassion
Although the stigma around vegetarianism affected my social life, especially since South Africans are known to relish in their meat, I managed to stick to it. Especially when I noticed an improvement in my overall health and performance. Due to my awareness of my consumption habits in general – the increase of fresh vegetables, fruits, and nuts, and the decrease of artificial sugars, fast food, dairy, and alcohol – my health and happiness gradually improved.
Within a month my chronic migraines, fatigue, nausea, and unexplained body aches vanished. Even my quality of sleep improved. To that effect, my mental clarity and productivity also made positive strides.
Not only did I feel renewed after my body detoxified, but I also experienced increased sensitivity towards people and the environment. That’s when I knew I would never look back again.
After I realised the benefits far outweighed my cravings for crispy bacon, my journey toward wellness launched.
More reasons a plant-based lifestyle transformed my well-being:
- With the consumption of more fibre and antioxidant-rich produce, a plant-based diet is inherently healthful.
- A healthy dose of calcium from dry beans, soymilk, leafy greens such as broccoli, spinach, kale, collard, turnip, popped peas, parsley, brussels sprouts, and green beans build strong bones.
- A significant reduction in food-borne illnesses found in poultry, fish, seafood, and red meat.
- A balanced plant-based lifestyle is naturally free from cholesterol-laden, artery-clogging animal products that physically slowed me down. I discovered good nutrition, in general, generates more energy.
- Eating more vegetables means consuming more fibre, which pushes waste out of the body. And my stomach smiles all the way.
- The devastation the meat industry has on the environment is significant. So it makes me happy that I contribute to the reduction of pollution.
- No more exposure to steroids, hormones, or food-borne bacteria.
- Following the health benefits after the conversion, my concern for the well-being of animals increased. Especially when I learned that farmed animals are not protected against cruelty under the law. So I feel happier knowing that I don’t support animal cruelty.
- Lastly, I discovered a vegetarian diet costs significantly less. Bonus!
Contrary to popular belief, going plant-based was not a breeze for me. The struggle was real. My body craved medium-rare steak and juicy ribs for at least 2 years after the conversion. But all the above health benefits made it worth it for me.
Now, here I am four years later as Writerian of Wellness and the healthiest I’ve been all my life.
We are all unique
Of course, everyone’s physiology is different. But if you have unexplained health issues, a closer look at your food consumption might be the ticket out of your debilitating struggle. If anything, consider reducing artificial sugars, unhealthy fast food, and alcohol. I align with nutritional agnosticism, which supports the idea that there is no “right diet” out there. What works for one could be catastrophic for another. To that effect, I believe it’s crucial to listen to your body, take note of any changes, and continue to experiment until you find what works best for you.
I would love to read your journey toward wellness, so please feel free to share it with me. If you have any questions, ask away in the comment section below or get in touch with me.