Feeling amazing one bite at a time

I love meat. I always have. 

But now I’m a vegetarian. Why?

It’s simple: I feel amazing.

For decades, I felt terrible. Chronic pain in my back, legs, and joints plagued me. 

But here’s the crazy thing, I accepted it as my fate, thinking that feeling that badly was my normal. Being tired, experiencing pain, and groaning as I got out of bed was just a part of my life. 

But I was wrong. 

I could feel better. I could be well. 

It, however, did not come through modern medicine, although I saw dozens of physicians for my pain through the years, which led to large bills or hearing that I was “fine,” but no help. 

Where medicine failed, food worked; it healed. Or to be more precise, eating the right kind did. 

I don’t know if being a vegetarian is right for everyone. But if you get anything from my story, know this. 

Food is powerful. What you eat can change your life. It did mine. 

When I went to a plant-based diet, my pain disappeared. The inflammation, the aches, the sharp stab I felt when I moved my knees or hips or back, subsided. And I have the energy like I did when I was in college. 

It’s hard to believe; I’m right there with you. 

But it’s true. 

Maybe you struggle as I did. Or perhaps you don’t have chronic pain, but you just don’t feel well. 

Have you considered trying to eat only plants or at least improving your diet to non-processed foods that resemble what a farmer would harvest from the earth or her farm? 

I think doing that will surprise you. 

Becoming a vegetarian wasn’t easy. It was really hard for me. 

Changing to a plant-only diet sucks when eating meat is one of life’s greatest joys, as it was for me. 

It was my favorite cuisine. I didn’t discriminate. Pork, beef, chicken, squid, etc. on a stick, on a plate, in a pita, with sauce or dry, dry-aged or fresh, I loved it all.  

So how did I become a full-on plant-only eater? 

Gradually. 

After I watched a documentary (I don’t remember which one) about how we should eat mostly vegetables, that idea grated against my sensibilities at first. But as I marinated on it, I couldn’t see why I shouldn’t try what the documentary recommended.

Going full vegetarian was out of the question, but I could go partial. It would be for one meal, daily. I was a vegetarian for dinner; meat became a much smaller portion of my diet. That went on for several months. And I felt better, good even. 

Then after a Father’s Day meal that consisted of a monstrously delicious pork chop, I got sick—the stick my head in the toilet kind. And I suspected that it was eating all of that pork. After that, it got me thinking about something I never considered before. It was this. 

Maybe meat isn’t right for me. 

That thought seemed so fantastical and unreal because I had loved meat all my life. It never occurred to me it could be bad for me, that meat didn’t love me back. I thought our affair was mutual. But I couldn’t ignore getting sick.  

I imagined the unimaginable: a breakup. I had to stop eating flesh. 

And a week later, I was a vegetarian. 

I must confess that I was scared. When I was in college, I tried eating only plants, but it went terribly. I felt weak and tired. And I thought I would never do that again. 

But as I considered my change, I heard about B12, a vitamin that’s naturally in meats. And often if you go to a plant-based diet, you can become fatigued since you lack it. So it’s important to take a B12 supplement when becoming a vegetarian. I did. This supplement is the one I take (affiliate link). 

The results of eating only plants were immediate. I started feeling better within days and great within a week or two. 

Now, I don’t eat any meat. Well, sometimes I cheat by eating a pepperoni pizza, but very rarely. 

I just feel too good to go back. 

When I started, it used to be hard seeing people eat meat while I sat and chewed on my brussels sprouts. It felt a little unfair, and I’d feel a bit sulky. 

But now it’s just life. I’ve found foods that I can indulge in: bagels, noodles, rice, pizzas. They haven’t replaced meat. But they make eating more enjoyable. 

Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy the veggies I eat. But it’s nice to change things up from time to time. 

A couple of weeks ago, I went to two barbecues and didn’t stray. If you had told me a year ago that I would be at two barbecues but not partake from the grill, I would have laughed at you. 

But there I was chewing on a leaf while my friends enjoyed juicy bites animal. 

But don’t feel bad for me. 

I feel great, better than I have in decades. 

Feeling like this is addicting. And if staying away from beef and chewing on leaves does it, sign me up. 

That feeling is what keeps me going and has made staying away from meat easier, better even. 

And now I’m not even tempted. 

Food plays a powerful role in our lives—sometimes more than we can imagine. 

If eating only plants doesn’t make you feel well, try something different—experiment. Find what works for you. And you can feel better than you do now. It doesn’t need to be normal to feel like crap. You can be well.

What you eat can be the difference between feeling terrible or amazing. 

What will you choose?

How I fight my cravings everyday

Saying that I love bagels, pizza, donuts, and ice cream just doesn’t do it justice. I think about them all of the time, every day. I’m obsessed. I’m thinking about them right now. And I crave them, want them, yearn for them. And they seem to love me too. I can hear them calling to me as I type. Right now, a toasted sesame bagel smothered with scallion cream cheese is shouting my name over and over and over, “John Pa! Get over here, now. You need me!” And the others are always in the background, clambered for my attention, too. And I want to yield. Oh, I do.   

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