It's funny the kinds of reactions I've gotten when people find out that I'm a vegan.
It ranges from an eye-roll, to a snarky remark, 'how trendy' I am, to an outright, 'how stupid!' Oh, and did I mention all these reactions have been from my friends?! I know they didn't intend to hurt me but it got me thinking about the actual reasons for this lifestyle adjustment.
When you hear that I'm a vegan, here's what I wish you knew:
I lost my mom and grandmother within a matter of months less than two years ago. Both struggled with longtime health issues, chronic pain, frequent doctor's visits etc.
I watch my grandmother live for decades in discomfort. I stood by helplessly while her arthritis crippled her, disfiguring her hands, feet and back.
I also watched cancer destroy my mother's body, before eventually taking her life. It takes a while to adjust to a life that involves living without them.
But as the dust has settled, I wanted to get serious about my health, now while I'm still able to affect change.
Nothing is guaranteed, I know that. You can live exactly by the rules, try to do everything right and things can still go wrong.
But I also know, losing the women you love, watching them slowly leave you, well, it changes you.
And for me, after talking with my doctor, living a plant based life is what's best for me.
Those are my personal reasons, but they don't come up in casual conversation though. And I don't expect others to know or assume them either. Which means I should probably get used to the reactions.
But it's a good reminder for me, and maybe you too. That when someone makes a life change, maybe instead of meeting that change with sarcasm or dismissal, try a different approach. Maybe genuine curiosity or a kind of word of encouragement or support.