Welcome to “Veggie Tales: Why We’re Vegan”. This post-series is the cultivation of a a conversation about veganism; a display of the diverse journeys, intentions, and identities of plant-based people. There will be 9 stories total, including two special-feature stories. There’s no such thing as the “average vegan”. Meet Dianna.
Dianna Brunson, 59 years old, vegan for 6 months
What inspired you to go vegan? (Animal rights, health, environment, etc.)
I can say inspiration as much as desperation. My doctors told me my heart was dying and there was nothing they could do for me, so my son in law and daughter asked me to take the two week vegan challenge and see how I felt, so I guess my children were my inspiration.
What physical, emotional, or otherwise related changes have you experienced since your transition to veganism?
Wow wow wow, I got off 12 different heart meds, 2 different diabetes meds and 2 stomach meds. I lost 25 pounds in the first month and still losing. Chest pain went from a 12 to about a 1-to-2. My blood pressure was running 165/102, even on the meds, and now 112/65. I’m not perfect, I still have chest pains, but it does not control me anymore.
What’s your favorite go-to vegan food, recipe, or snack?
Falafel and peanut butter.
What was the most difficult aspect of your transition to veganism?
CHEESE. I miss it, I was a cheeseaholic, but I am finding alternatives.
Were any parts of your transition surprisingly easy?
Not really, as I was a vegetarian for many years when I was younger.
What myths or rumors about veganism have you debunked through your own experience?
That all vegans are skinny. Not true, everyone is different.
A lot of people don’t understand why anyone would switch to a plant-based diet. Many of these people make jokes- or are downright mean- about veganism. Have you experienced this opposition before? If so, what do you say/do in those situations?
All the time, I just say it’s not up for debate. Everyone has their own opinion. I don’t let it get to me.
Where would you direct friends and family who are looking for more information about veganism?
Netflix has a lot of great segments on health and diet, face book has a large following and many groups to join, listen to testimonials from people like me, the fact that I’m not dead, regardless of what the doctors say.
Do you see yourself going back to a diet including meat and/or dairy in the future? Why or why not?
Never going back, I don’t ever want to be that sick again.
What shocked you most about a plant-based diet, that you think the public should be aware of?
What shocked me most is how good I felt, in just a few short weeks, how much my senses have been heightened, and how much animal proteins were poison to me.
Have other areas of your life improved or been enhanced by your veganism? If so, what areas, and how?
You wouldn’t think something as simple as going to the store would take so much effort, I no longer have to ride in the golf cart, I no longer fall asleep in the car on a 10 minute ride, I can walk up and down stairs without passing out.
I am alive, I am not dying.
Anything else you’d like to add?
How ignorant doctors are, and that I don’t need to be force feed pills to stay alive, and how they want to argue with me about stopping all my pills. I have been red flagged by the doctors here because I refuse to take their advice at stay on the pills they prescribe.
I hope this helps and if anyone would like to talk, I’m here anytime. I’m not going to tell you it will be easy, it’s not, but is it worth it, yes yes and yes. Vegan life is not for everyone, but I suggest taking the two week challenge and if you don’t feel different at the end of it, then make your choice. I know I was amazed. And I will never go back. I will be 60 years old in February. Four months ago, I felt like I was 80 years old, now I feel like myself again. I don’t feel like I’m going to be 60 that’s for sure.