I changed my diet a while ago. It was a pretty drastic change too. I was the casual fast food drive-thru guy, going out to dinner at restaurants 2-4 times in an average week, eating chicken strips with gravy, double cheeseburgers, fried whatever. I “tried” to “eat healthy” – but I wasn’t. I knew it. And then I made a drastic change in one day. Cheese was out and Kale was in. It sounds very dramatic, because I’m making it sound dramatic. Seriously though, it was a dramatic change. It was a good and necessary change.
We live in a small town. Just a couple of thousand people. The kind of town where you know the names of all the kids who work at the grocery store, and where you go into the hardware story and pick up your conversation with Dave where you left off the last time you were in there. It’s a town that’s just big enough to warrant a DQ. And our DQ stays busy. I was a regular. I’d get a burger and fries a couple of times a week. Maybe a fish sandwich if I felt like being healthy that day. But always fries. Usually a Blizzard too. Hey, fat and salt and sugar taste really good, and it was convenient.
I don’t go to DQ now. Salads, smoothies and soup have become the new average for me, which makes me unusual in this town. I’m cool with it, but not everyone gets it. So I’ve been trying to think of a good analogy to help people understand the change in my diet. And being a grown man with the brain of a fifteen year old, my mind immediately zeroed in on sex, the one thing I like more than food. Stick with me, the analogy is solid.
So, imagine that all the food I used to eat was my girlfriend. We’d been together since I was a kid, and I was used to her. She was my first, and even though I dated other girls a few times, she was always there for me. It was a comfortable relationship. The abuse was subtle, but constant. It felt normal because all of my friends had abusive girlfriends too. Then I realized that she was trying to kill me. It wasn’t anything obvious like a knife, or a gun. It was poison. A long, slow painful death is what she was giving me even as she said nice words to me. But hey, she was pretty hot, and she was always there for me, ready and willing.
I think that people imagine changing to a plant based diet would be like giving up that girlfriend and living a sad, celibate life. But here’s what really happens. You meet a new girl. She looks a lot like your old girlfriend, but she’s prettier. Her hair smells nice. And also, she doesn’t want to kill you. In fact, she’s a sexy doctor who looks good in yoga pants and wants to help you be healthy too. She plays hard to get sometimes, but you realize pretty quickly that even though your old girl was always ready to go, she didn’t shower every day and you’re pretty sure she gave you genital warts. In fact, as your relationship with the new girl progresses, you can’t believe how many years you wasted settling for the old girl.
This analogy could get super crass, but I think my point is made. Changing from the Standard American Diet (SAD) to a Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB) diet isn’t like giving up sex. It’s like getting a prettier, nicer girlfriend with great hygiene.
It’s an upgrade.