All through childhood and well into my early twenties, I got sick on a pretty regular schedule with all the common ailments. As I got older, I began to experience bouts of shortness of breath, skin problems, muscle aches, bone pain and hormonal imbalances. I was put on a rotating litany medications, and I took a lot of over-the-counter painkillers. Doctors never asked about my diet, and I didn’t know enough to realize food might be a problem.
I didn’t give up the few dairy foods I still loved until the summer of 2009 when the lactose intolerance that kicked in at age 10 became so severe that nothing could control it. That sparked my first serious foray into veganism. At first, I relied heavily on vegan “convenience foods.” Despite enjoying things like beans and rice, my diet included very few of the wholesome dishes characterizing today’s plant-based movement.
Earlier that year, I underwent minor surgery to correct a problem I now firmly believe was caused by excessive consumption of dairy products and caffeine. The surgery touched off another series of health problems, which sent me through the revolving door of of the medical system yet again. After a litany of tests, doctors diagnosed my condition as “chronic idiopathic adult constipation” and put me on a daily regimen of laxatives.
This was the single most dangerous thing they could have done. Nobody knew that my perception of my body had been going downhill since high school. By the time doctors put me on laxatives, I’d already tried them – along with “natural” ideas for “cleansing” — in a misguided attempt at weight loss. Once I had permission from doctors to take a laxative every day, all hell broke loose.
It didn’t look like that from the outside. I was running a coffee shop with my best friend and performing folk music on the local scene. At the same time, I was abusing laxatives and alternating between extreme dieting and binge eating. I lost a lot of weight, but not so much that anyone, even doctors, said anything about it.
Somewhere in the middle of all of this, I came across 1 Corinthians 3:17 while reading my Bible: If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. By God’s grace, the passage was the wake-up call I needed. Although I later learned the verse has a much different context, at the time it made me realize God didn’t want me to be hurting my body the way that I was, and I began a journey to reacquaint myself with food in a way that was healthy and nourishing. I’m still on this journey I’m today, and putting my faith and trust in the Lord is a big part of what keeps me grounded when things threaten to spiral out of control.
Going vegan during that time helped me re-learn how to enjoy food instead of fearing it by opening up a new world of cuisine to explore. I started a food blog dubbed “Quantum Vegan” as a reference to my love of all things relating to quantum physics. I wanted to use it as a platform to share my vegan experience with others as I got creative in the kitchen and gained more insight into the plant-based life.