Your whole life can change in one moment- literally. That moment when you hold your baby in your arms for the first time and you are now a parent. You have a tiny human being that depends completely on you. You will never go back to living just for yourself.
The moment when the ring slips over your finger and you walk off holding your spouse’s hand. Now there is another person you will plan your life with; one with different traditions, goals, family, ideas, and creativity. Your future goals and plans will now always include someone else.
There is the single moment when you hug your child in their college dorm room, get in your car and drive home without them. Now there is one less in the house. One less place set at the dinner table. One less to organize for afterschool activities, one less to plan for, one less to stay awake and wait up for.
My whole life changed after a short phone call. Eleven years ago I was standing in line to board an airplane when I noticed I had a voicemail. I had just spent the weekend celebrating my uncle’s wedding. I was about to fly back across the country with my mother. I listened to the voicemail and heard my step mother’s voice telling me my father had had a heart attack and was scheduled to have quadruple bi-pass surgery the next morning. I sat in the window seat and cried the whole way home.
I also made a decision and I have not waivered on that for 11 years. I stopped eating meat right then and there. I will still have seafood for protein but I have not had steak, chicken, pork, bacon, ham, turkey- nothing. Not even one bite.
My father came through the surgery and is doing well now. The reason his heart attack had such a profound effect on me is because my father was in really good shape. He has always been an active, vibrant person. He was a tennis and squash pro when I was growing up. He windsurfs, kite sails, rides his bike. He came through the surgery and changed his diet to one of mostly vegetables, fruit, and grass fed meats, no dairy and no grains. He is once again vibrant; even kite sailing when he can at the age of 79.
We cannot control when life will hand us these life changing moments, but we can choose how we respond. Taking care of our health is not only about losing weight or looking good. Eating right and staying active is also about how we feel, give us energy, improves our happiness levels and helps us to recover faster if we do get sick.
When I am tempted to dig into a piece of cake or a chocolate bar after a hard day I try to think about how I will feel after eating it. How I will feel bloated and tired with a weird film over my mouth. My energy levels will actually dip in about an hour and all I’ll want to do is sit on the couch and watch TV.
Since switching to a whole foods plant based diet I have so much more energy. I am more positive and I feel great. Now after a hard day I want to take my dogs on a walk or do some yoga stretches. I am stronger and more resilient. I still dread the next life changing moment but I know I will be able to handle it. I may fall apart emotionally but with a healthy body I will recover faster.
You always have a choice on how you want to live your life. There is nothing wrong with eating meat or reaching for the candy when you are anxious. The option to be full of energy and joy is there waiting for you whenever you decide to make the decision to eat in a way that promotes your best self. It is not always easy to change but I am here to tell you it can be done in one single moment.
I wish health, happiness, and joy for you.