I suffer from a chronic illness. People love to challenge me about this. I get the usual “you're a vegan, and you still get sick, so see – it's NOT better”. I generally don't respond to a lot of the things non-vegans say to me – particularly when it's done in a challenging argumentative way. I don't much see the point, so I generally nod and smile and walk away or change the subject. Veganism, is for me, mostly a private thing; I don't shout it from the rooftops, I don't participate in a lot of activism (although maybe I should) and I don't feel a need to constantly be explaining myself.
So I have an illness, and sometimes, despite my best efforts, I have a relapse like I am right now. I spent most of yesterday in the emergency room. I have just had my eighth lumbar puncture. I feel terrible. My head is aching, my body hurts and all I've managed to eat is coffee and a Clif bar. I am currently NOT the picture of health. There are those who would blame this on my apparent protein-less, mainly plant based diet.
I'll tell them all this: I've been vegan for a little less than a year. In that time, my relapses have been far less than they were before. My energy level has increased substantially. My day to day health is hugely improved. Generally I feel a gazillion times better than I did even as a vegetarian. It's a combination of things. I stopped drinking; that was becoming a little too much of a habit for me. I increased my meditating; I waffle back and forth on how much I manage to do this – particularly with a full time job. I make sure I exercise even though that's mostly just hiking with my dog. Hiking is something I do pretty much every day at least once. I was doing all that before, and I was feeling OK. Once I went to veganism that feeling OK changed to feeling really good – mentally and physically.
So occasionally I still get sick. Once in awhile this illness still gets the best of. It's funny though: if I ate a meat filled, high fat, high processed foods diet like so many do; I don't think I'd be getting nearly as much flak when I felt poorly as I do for following a plant based diet. On a plant based diet, I'm going to die of protein deficiency and malnutrition and I'm starving my body. I am currently taking some nutrition courses and I'm amazed at how much we (myself included) are misinformed and misguided about what is and what is not good for our bodies. I'm appalled by how much of the info we get is from studies funded by pharmaceutical companies, junk food companies etc.
So I'm just going to lay here with my computer, and my Clif bar and probably later some nice bean stew made in my new Instant Pot and waste away. In a few days I'll be back to my old self, and feeling great. I'll be back to eating three or more meat free meals a day and people will tell me I look great – until the next time I'm unwell, at which point I will, of course, be dying from a protein deficiency. :)