I am a big meat lover. My meals were unsatisfying unless they contained meat protein. I tried to become a vegetarian several times after seeing the inside of chicken and pig farms, but it didn’t stick. My desire to eat meat was so strong that soon I was grilling my burger and the image of those mistreated animals disappeared.
But in 2006, everything changed. At the age of 26, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. My jaw, knees, ankles, wrists, fingers, and elbows were all stiff and painful, and I walked with a terrible limp and tingling hands. It seemed like someone was holding a hammer every time. Sitting perfectly still was the only relief I felt.
I was a 20-something girl who predicted what her future 80-year-old body would look like, and spent most days feeling sorry for myself, hopeless, even hopeless. My boyfriend’s (now husband’s) slightest touch made me dry up in pain. To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement. I was a wreck.
Finally, I was able to pull myself together and make a decision to improve my health. My rheumatologist prescribed medication to suppress my immune system and relieve pain, but I was looking for a better fix. I’m not one to sit around and wait for something to happen. I have always been a runner and my health was no different. I went to recover my health.
After repeatedly being told by my rheumatologist that diet has nothing to do with improving arthritis, I decided to discard her pessimism and go vegan anyway. After all, what did I have to lose?
Deciding to go vegan was the easiest choice I’ve ever made. Not only was I exposed to caged and abused animals, but I learned that vegetarians are often healthier than meat eaters.