by Laura Beck, VLCE
posted Sep 22, 2020
I am deeply saddened that so many people are sick and dying during this pandemic. My story is not trying to minimize that. I have been able to use this time for positive changes in my life. This is my story.
Before the pandemic, I had created what I thought was a great life. I had a great job, doing what I loved. I had purchased a tiny house in a community. I had friends, vegan restaurants nearby and a kitty that I loved. I had been vegan for ethical, environmental and spiritual reasons for over 10 years. I LOVED my pastry, dining out, craft beer and vegan junk food! I knew the importance of eating a whole food, plant based, no oil (WFPBNO) diet, but I never was quite able to get there.
Then mid-March came. When I first realized that the novel coronavirus was serious, I lived in an area that really didn’t take it seriously. That scared me to death! I realized that my health was in my own hands. I knew I had to make some significant changes in my life to weather this storm.
Right away, I was furloughed from my job. I vowed to go food shopping only once a month, staying home the rest of the time, except for an occasional walk. I learned what I needed to do to create a healthy immune system: get enough sleep, reduce my stress level, eat a WFPBNO diet, eliminate alcohol, exercise, maintain connections with others, find something to do to stimulate my mind, cuddle with my kitty, and get sunshine and fresh air.
Did I mention that I am a perfectionist and an overachiever? The first thing I eliminated was alcohol. I stopped buying beer. No leaving the house meant no social drinking either.
Ditching oil was easy because I wasn’t going to restaurants. I had been cooking without oil, but it had been part of my diet in convenience and restaurant foods. Since I lost my income, I stopped buying convenience foods. Out of necessity, I bought beans, grains, potatoes, apples, and things I thought could last for a month and were affordable. I bought fresh and frozen greens, fruits and veggies.
I had done a yoga challenge in January at Yoga with Adriene; starting in April, I did another one, providing me with exercise and inner work. Definitely necessary as the outside world was becoming chaotic! Plus, going outside for exercise was not feasible, since I didn’t feel safe. No one was wearing masks, nor social distancing. I developed a strong, daily yoga practice.
I started meditating and listing five things I was grateful for as soon as I awoke and before I went to sleep. Silent meditation wasn’t working for me, so I downloaded guided meditations! Here is my favorite from BoHo Beautiful, a vegan couple, who offer meditation and yoga online: 15 Min Meditation for Uncertain Times.
I planted a garden (actually three, since I moved twice during the pandemic!). Tending to it brought me into nature and allowed me to soak up valuable sunshine for Vitamin D. I set a bedtime of 10:00 p.m. so that when my cat woke me up at 6:00 a.m., I had a fighting chance of getting eight hours of sleep! I learned Zoom and stayed connected with my friends and family.
Where did this all get me?
- This period of my life has been transformational! Without even trying, I lost 23 pounds! I weigh less than I did in high school!
- I am the calmest I have been in my entire life! I still have passion, but I have been able to dial down my worries, which is HUGE!
- I don’t have gas anymore—even while eating lots of beans!
- I have reconnected with family and made stronger bonds with my closest friends.
- I have recommitted to activism and taken workshops and courses to augment my knowledge.
- I have a regular meditation and yoga practices.
- My body is flexible and strong.
- I have figured out what matters most in life. And…I have been eating delicious, healthy food the whole time!
This pandemic has been a difficult time for the world. But, for me, it has been a rebirth. My hope is that what you take from my story is: You have the power! You control your frame of mind, your immune system, your body, your life!
Here’s to your good health!
Laura Beck is MSVA certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach & Educator, living in Framingham, MA. She has served on the board of the Asheville Vegan Society and on the steering committee of the Metrowest Vegan Network. She earned a certificate in plant-based nutrition from eCornell and has completed the Starch Solution online course. Currently, she is unemployed and laying low during the pandemic. She is patiently looking forward to returning to her job, educating people on the impact food choice has on human health, the environment, and animals. Laura may be contacted by email.