I had spent thirty-seven years in prison. Most of the time I didn’t even realize I was there. I had become comfortable with being uncomfortable. As the years went on, my health faded. I was sick, tired, and dreaming of the day that I would be free.
August 29, 2015 was the day I walked out of prison.
Of course this wasn’t a prison with real walls, guards, and barbed wire fences. This was much worse. This was a prison of food, and I was finally free.
My story is probably like most of yours to some degree. I grew up “healthy” and enjoyed the Standard America Diet for the majority of my life. I struggled with food for as long as I can remember. I was on my first diet at age ten. By thirteen, I was forty pounds overweight and had done the gamut of fad diets and weight loss clinics. I remember feeling ashamed. Not so much for myself but for my parents. I felt like I was a failure, and they had to be embarrassed by having a fat daughter.
As time went on, the prison walls grew bigger, and I no longer could see the outside world. As age fifteen approached, I began starving myself to get the results that I thought were needed in order for me to become a complete and successful human being. Pay no mind to the fact that I was kind, caring, charismatic, and funny. Nope. I needed to be thin, and so the prison grew darker.
The next fifteen years flew by in a haze of children, marriage, and business. Nothing changed the fact that I was still behind bars.
One day in July of 2015 I could see the light of day again. It was not at all like I thought it would be. It was a cornfield in Iowa.
I spent a month working next to the USDA on the Avian Flu Epidemic (bird flu for us normal people). I walked the yards of the bird barns that housed upwards of 80,000 birds in one barn! I learned that the reason the flu spread so fast was partially due to the poor hygiene of the farms themselves, some of them had not been cleaned in twenty years. The birds are all stacked six high, each in their own little cage. No sunlight, no happiness, no freedom. They existed on a diet of GMO corn and soybeans.
Speaking of GMO corn and soybeans, I was surrounded by it. Everywhere you looked was a cornfield or soybean field. All sprayed weekly with pesticides.
One day in particular was the worst. I was out in the front of farm and the crop dusters flew overhead spraying the fields across from me. All the chemicals were blown through the air straight to my face. My throat swelled up and I felt sick. It was in that very moment that I could taste my freedom. Through the haze of chemicals, poisons, and lies, I saw the door to the prison open.
August 29, 2015 I walked through those doors of despair straight into complete and total health and wellness.
The path to this freedom was clear. No wheat, no soy, no dairy, no GMOs, and no conventionally raised animal products.
As soon as I made up my mind, the real joy set in. As I began to nourish my body, for the first time in my life, my body began to do what it was created to do…. Heal.
Sometimes when people have spent so much time in a prison, they can’t function when they get out. They end up going right back in. But this hasn’t been the case for me. The outside world is too sweet to ever find myself on a path back to the past.
As a matter of fact, I can’t even see the prison anymore from where I am now.
For the last nine months, I have been on a quest for total healing. Cutting out the GMOs, wheat, soy, and dairy had profound effects on my health. Within the first four months, I had lost almost forty pounds. As time went on, the pounds kept coming off and all without sacrificing the types of foods I love.
Some people have excuses as to why they stay in their prison. I heard, “Well, it’s the holidays, and I can’t say no to the cookies and treats.” I also heard, “ I travel too much. There is no way I can eat like that.” So, for all those fine folks with those excuses, I say this: “I did it. “ I ate like a queen over the holidays. I made cupcakes, cookies, fudge, and more. I just made them a little different. Were they good? You bet! They passed the picky kids test every time. As far as traveling goes, well the funny thing about that is I have spent the last four months traveling the country in a 30-foot RV. My kitchen is probably four square feet. Honey, if I can do it, so can you!
Everyday I breathe in the fresh air, and I am grateful to be free. I have since cut out all animal products from my diet, and my energy has increased yet again.
People are always surprised when I tell them my story. I guess I am a little surprised, too, but I feel like I am finally where I need to be. Vegan and Free.
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Photos: Unsplash, Ange Alex