On behalf of all radical Whole Food Plant Basers, I apologize. We are guilty of being preachy, self-righteous and overbearing in our quest to share our passion about our freaky fringe vegan diet. No oil?! That’s right, no oil! We are outliers, and we want you to know just how great we feel so that you can experience the same euphoria. It’s like when you just found the most amazing vegan ice cream (probably not WFPB) and you need everyone to know that it exists because it will make their lives so much better. Yup, I’ve done that!
To help you better understand where this radical, WFPB outlier comes from, meet my dad, Jake.
Jake was a smoker. His smoking addiction came and went, and when he hopped on the “No Smoking!” wagon for good, his new addiction led to obesity. He had his first heart scare in his early 50s, quadruple cardio bypass surgery at 56, and developed diabetes in his 70s. He listened to his doctor’s orders by following the American Heart Association diet, which included oil, dairy and meat. He went to his doctor when he was sick, flossed his teeth, and kept his regular checkups. And when Dad developed Alzheimer’s in his 70s, he volunteered to take part in studies and trials in hopes of helping to end the wretched, life-sucking sentence and save the lives of others. He ultimately left this earth at age 77.
This, you may think, might be enough reason for me to make the radical change to a WFPB diet. If I had known about it, that may be how the story ended. But at that time, being vegan wasn’t even on my radar.
My dad’s life and death did inspire me to lose 90 pounds by eating a low-fat, minimally processed diet that included lean meat, dairy and oils. I felt amazing, and I thought, healthy. Then my health took a turn and fell right into a rabbit hole of misery.
I was diagnosed with a life-threatening, rare autoimmune disease for which there is no cure, or even a viable treatment. Heck, they haven’t even figured out why people get this disease. It can send me from feeling fine one day to ending up in the emergency room with pneumonia and multiple respiratory infections 3 days later. I’ve been there more than a few times over the past 5 years.
Between the physical struggle and the side effects of the medications I was taking, I gained back most of the weight. Then, on May 1st, 2017, I made the decision to try eating vegan for two weeks and never turned back. My symptoms improved greatly, but I am still searching for the best vegan diet for myself in hopes that it will finally rid my body of its malfunctioning inflammatory blood cells and allow me to ditch all of my remaining meds.
I recently decided to plunge in and give the WFPB diet a try. In the first 12 weeks, I averaged a two-pound weight loss per week, which is unprecedented for me and that alone gives me enough hope to sing its praises.
So, take heart, my fellow vegans of every variety, your WFPB friends may not be touting their crazy, freaky no-oil diet out of vanity. We just may be hanging on by a thread to a moment of hope in successfully eradicating our pain and amazing all the doctors who gave us life sentences and too many medications.
I wish I could have helped my dad live a healthier and longer life. I wish I’d had more time with him, and I wish his doctors were better informed about the effect that diet has on the human body as it relates to disease.
After quitting smoking, Dad would sheepishly say, “Reformed smokers are the worst people to be around. They’re always trying to convert the other smokers!” We WFPB vegans may have the same affect and I’m proud to say that I just might take after Jake in annoying people this way.
Let’s all take a step to show as much compassion to our fellow vegans as we do to our beloved animals on this planet. As Oprah says, “When you know better, you do better.” Too preachy? I’m still working on this too. How about “I’ll do me. You do you”? Let’s focus on the bigger goal to save the planet, the animals and humanity. Be Joy. Be Love. Be Vegan.
Maureen Tierson is a Main Street Vegan Academy-certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach & Educator. Her passion is to make the world a better place by showing more people that being vegan is doable and joyful! She lives in Rochester, NY, with her beloved rescue pup, Zuzu, where she also creates and rents costumes nationwide through her business, The Costume Room for school theater productions. She also teaches English to children in China online. Follow her on Instagram @joylovevegan and Facebook, and visit her on the web at joylovevegan.com.