Guest post submitted by my inspirational husband, Dr. Michael Bummer:
Where do you start when you have 1,000 different things you want to say?! Right here, I guess.
If you had told me 6 months ago that I would have sworn off animal products for good, I would have laughed hysterically. No joke, I would have told you that you’re crazy, and I ‘need’ all that good nutrition and protein. Oooh, how things change…
“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” – Lau Tzu
On June 21, 2011, I stopped eating animal products and I greatly reduced processed foods (oils, packaged foods, etc). Why? Because I saw enough convincing evidence that a whole foods, plant-based diet would significantly reduce my chances of heart disease and cancer. I had no idea I would also have more energy, be happier, and feel empowered like never before! Holy %!&$, now we’re talkin!
If you ask anyone close to me last year, they’d likely describe me as motivated, happy, and in-shape. I was… BUT, if you can believe it, in the past 4-5 months, I’ve taken these adjectives and blown them outta the barn. I used to have 3-4 cups of coffee per week, at times when I was awake early or feeling like things were “draggin” – I haven’t had coffee in 3 months. Not because I’m avoiding it though – in fact, a whole foods, plant-based idet would welcome coffee in moderation. It just doesn’t even cross my mind any more. I wouldn’t have thought it was possible, but from morning to night, my steps have more pep!
What I’m going to describe next is difficult to put into words… but I feel newly empowered and free from outside influences (read: media and government supported messages). I never would have thought that simply by not eating animal products that it would provide such a sense of self-realization! 99% of food commercials on TV revolve around meat, dairy, and cheese. I feel like Neo from the Matrix and I just took the blue pill. All of a sudden, I’m able to see the shackles and chains holding us down. And I don’t want to lose you there, only to be written off as a cynical rebel, but gosh when I started eating what I WANTED and HOW I wanted to eat it, it provided an amazing sense of liberation. I know it sounds silly, but it almost feels like turning 16 years old and being able to drive and finally go places on my own without following the rules I’d always been bound by without even asking why. Weird, I know, but it’s hard to describe until you feel it. (and hint hint, I’ve heard many others say this same thing).
Are you going to be healthy enough? Will you get enough protein? Will you get enough calcium? These are all questions I field on a regular basis. And the answers are yes, yes, and yes (in that order). If it’s good enough for Carl Lewis (who credits his 1991 gold medal performances to his vegan, whole foods plant-based change), then it’s good enough for me. And for some reason, in addition to all the reading and thought I’ve given to my change, I also take comfort in the fact that Bill Clinton has enough people around him who are steering him in the same direction too. Or what about this woman?
How can you argue that putting high-quality fuel in the machine doesn’t lead to better performance?! Ask your mechanic…
The other comment that often gets blurted out in conversation is, “Congratulations, it’s amazing that you can do that! I could never give up cheese and meat, I just love it too much.” If you’re easily offended or have stock in the factory farming industry, please look in the upper right hand corner of your window right now. Look for the red box with an X in it and drag your mouse over it and press the left button….
If you’re still reading, good! My reaction to the congratulations above? I usually just smile and try not to be offensive. I say things like, “Yeah, it’s tough at first, but it’s really worth it” or “Thanks it’s really been a wild ride and I feel so good. There’s no going back.” But what I WANT to say is, “Holy bazookas! If you only knew! This is amazing and I can’t imagine anyone would ever eat animal products again if they got to feel like this!” or “If you had ANY idea what goes into the meat and animal products on your plate, you’d NEVER like it again!” or “I used to love meat and cheese too, just as much as you I bet! But you know what I love even more? My arteries, my brain, having energy, tasting real food, being happier, living longer, guaranteeing some extra quality time with my wife, niece, and future nephew, weighing my ideal body weight, and about 100 other things!”
I’d like to see a survey handed out to people that said they must CHOOSE either the left column or the right column. In the left column would be “chicken, milk, steak, cheese, french fries, cookies, ice cream, increased odds of heart attack, cancer, obesity, diabetes, and depression.” In the right column would be “as much fruits, veggies, & whole grains as your appetite desires; never having to worry about weight, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes; increased energy and libido, sleeping better, a happier outlook, and a longer life to spend with friends and family.”
Are there people who would actually choose the left column after being well informed and educated? I honestly can’t fault anyone who makes an informed decision. In reality we not only all have this choice today and for the rest of our lives, we are already choosing. We are already in one column or the other. What’s different today is that I’m bringing this choice to the forefront. It doesn’t have to be an unconscious choice to follow the ‘norm.’ It’s up to those playing this game of life to decide if there’s any merit to my claims, and to decide for yourself which column you want to be in.
My purpose for guest-starring in Beans Not Bambi was not to offend anyone or make anyone feel bad. But, my purpose was to offer yet another story of hope and excitement. It’s never too late to change the course of the rest of your life!
It’s true that Christin and I are special people. We are all special, and we are no different nor stronger than anyone reading this. Whatever it is that you desire most, it is simply a matter of choice followed by very predictable reactions.
“Accepting responsibility for the world around you is the essential first step in becoming “truly empowered” to being consciously, intentionally, and consistently creating a kind and quality of life that harmonizes with your individually held hopes, dreams, and desires.” – Many happy people