Yesterday Kim and I ran for 5 hours. We tackled a section of the foothills trail with lots of climbing and some really fun downhills. We woke up early and got Katie to school and then headed out. We are so fortunate to have the foothills and their wonderful trail system so close to our home. However, we yearn to be closer at the inconvenience of increasing our daily commute and further dependence on fossil fuels. Alas we will stay put for now. We drank some espresso and hit the trails. No food stores except the falafel dinner from the night before. The climbs are getting easier and the down hills faster. We are still not setting any records but this isn’t the point for me and I don’t think it is the point for Kim. We recently purchased a life straw, which allows us to carry limited water on our backs and drink from rivers or streams as we come across them. I particularly enjoy this for its relative primitiveness. I would love to be able to traverse vast distances off of what I could forage along the way.
Recently I have noticed a shift. I am no longer sore or achy in odd places after a long run. My overall mood is much better than it once was, which has been a lifelong struggle. I was very much a moody and angry man for most of my life. Suffering from almost debilitating depression and cynicism. I am coming to the conclusion, rather rapidly, that my aforementioned malaise was a result of the food I was eating and the lifestyle I partook in. I at one time ate hamburgers and pizza, drank beers, the typical western diet, sans the fast food. I haven’t really ever been into fast food. As a matter of fact when I hear of folks going to Taco Bell or Hardees for lunch I vomit in my mouth. It’s not food, people! I am starting to conclude rather rapidly and with no scientific evidence that the reason I am feeling better while running and after a run is because of my recent adoption of a vegan diet. I went full vegetarian in june of 2015 and vegan in december 2015. It was not until just recently that I think my gut bacteria and overall metabolism has said thank you for that decision. I have no sinus issues to speak of. No seasonal allergies. No chronic indigestion or reflux of which I suffered from for years. Overall I just feel happy and content. So what’s changed? Quite simply I am eating nothing but plants. I don’t consume any animal fats. No cheese, no butter, no whey or dairy. Absolutely no meat. I love a hamburger, especially one from Bacon Brothers. They have amazing burgers, but I don’t miss it and have no cravings at all, which I thought for sure would be an issue. It’s not. As a matter of fact if anything I crave the meals I have been eating. There is a dish I crave of beans, spinach, onions and garlic and lots of guacamole. It satiates me and I feel almost high as if I have taken some narcotics when I eat these wonderful, clean foods.
Another thing has happened. I am more mindful of the cargo on the road heading to the abattoir. As Kim and I were headed to the trails we were behind a truck that was loaded up with chickens. They were stacked upon each other ten high ten wide and drenched in their own feces and urine. Some were alive. Some were dead. Some were looking at us. I at one time contributed to the need for such a system. I don’t any longer and now when I see them suffering it makes me hurt inside. I don’t want to become that nazi vegan that tries to wake folks up. No one wants to hang out with that guy or girl. People are not going to change because someone yells at them or bathes them in the blood of a slaughterhouse. It is a decision that they have to come to on their own terms much like Kim and I came into it. I was a smoker years ago, and I heard everyone saying that it causes cancer. I knew it. I didn’t want to quit. One morning I woke up with lots of pain in my back and decided maybe it was time to change. That was on March 11, 1991. We all grow at the pace we need to. We follow the direction our life is wanting to take us. Some of us fight it, which causes discontent, depression, difficulty in finding love, alcohol or drug problems. We run the gamut until we find our path. I have found my path. Being a vegan, and an ultra marathoner is my path. I feel content. I feel happy. I rarely feel ill or sore. I shudder to think of one day not being able to run because of my increasing age; however, I know that I will never go back to eating animals. I respect life. All life and have never had the urge to kill an animal but I have by proxy simply by purchasing their unfortunate remains at the grocery store. If you are suffering from health issues, especially autoimmune or allergies I encourage you to go on a plant only diet for a few months. What do you have to lose other than some of that extra weight? I am convinced it will be worth your time.
Go vegan. It’s easier than you will believe. It’s healthier than eating animals both physiologically and mentally.
Be mindful of all life.