The Invincible Superwoman.
“She’s like bamboo: She may sway in the wind but she never breaks.”
When I go to informal restaurants and find that I need to leave my name with the server, often I jokingly leave the name Superwoman. It is unusual, memorable, humorous, and it gives me some privacy since no one will be yelling out my real name. Unfortunately, I regret to inform you that I am not Superwoman. I know, it is disappointing.
One thing that I have discovered since changing my diet to a plant-based diet many years ago is that plant-based people go through many strange social phases through the years. At first, people try to dissuade you, telling you that your thoughts of changing your diet are radical and outright dangerous. Your newly-found passion makes you obsessed with trying to inform and help others. Immediately, others will attempt to discredit you by arguing that the information you have collected is from unreliable sources or that there is insufficient evidence. If that doesn’t work, you are simply out of your mind. Often they are defensive because they fear that your dietary decisions may one day affect theirs. After about six months on a plant-based diet, even though skin problems have disappeared, fifty pounds have melted off effortlessly, hypertension has gone away, and other health problems have vanished, others are quick to argue that your devotion is only temporary. A year or so later, they still don’t want to hear what you have to say, don’t want to be changed, and, honestly, your healthy alternatives have become quite an inconvenience, especially at restaurants where menu modifications may inconvenience the chef. A couple of years later, you just agree to disagree. You stop trying to help others and let them live their lives the way they wish. If you silently follow your diet long enough, you’ll soon find a great deal of pressure from others who would like to pull you back to the other side, back into meat-laden diets and health problems. They just cannot seem to leave you alone. Nevertheless, you persevere, never being happier or healthier within yourself. This takes a strong-willed person to plow forward in the face of this kind of pressure.
Before long, it’s been five years, eight years, ten years, and you are still going strong. The pressure seems to fade and others start to look at you as an authority. They see that you are happy and healthy and some wish to follow you while others sit silently with a skeptical eye. You love food and you love health — and both were topics about which you felt lukewarm prior to changing your diet. When shifting to a plant-based diet, and cutting out all of the unhealthy foods while broadening our horizons with global cuisines, we cannot help but develop a passion for food and the world around us. Like me, you may find yourself dedicating years of study to healthy nutrition and pursuing academic credibility for your efforts.
However, despite all of your efforts, the social pressure continues. If your health is not always perfect, you’ll find many people who will point to your crazy diet as the culprit. You have a cold? It must be your diet. You have a headache? Wonder if it’s your diet. Sinus infection? Sore throat? The flu? You are tired? Maybe you’re not getting enough of something. God forbid you come down with something no one can explain. You’re obviously not getting enough protein! (Of course, you consume nothing but healthy food but, still, there must be nothing healthy about healthy foods!)
The truth is, the average person doesn’t have a clue about nutrition and the same is true for most doctors. Even mainstream nutritionists and dieticians had to endure years of brainwashing in order to obtain their credentials from government funded facilities that frequently engage in conflicts of interest. Many of these people pay a lot of money and often spend a lot of time learning nothing at all.
Everything one requires from diet is found in abundance in plant-based foods. Animal-based foods come with unwanted elements like cholesterol, saturated fat, carcinogens, high amounts of protein and iron, etc., and consumption eventually results in serious consequences. Everything positive one can hope to obtain from animal foods was first found in plants, since most people do not consume naturally non-vegetarian animals. Avoid the unnecessary problems associated with animal-food consumption, as well as the heinous cruelty these poor animals endure, and sidestep these nasty products once and for all. Your health depends on it. We all depend on it! You may think that you are just one person, but one person consumes nearly 500 animals each year, and the resources needed to produce each animal are gargantuan and unsustainable.
At the end of the day, mortality is still 100 percent, but we can control the quality of our lives. We now know that we can reverse diseases like diabetes, and that we have control over gene expression, as genes merely make a suggestion. The main reason diseases tend to run in families is because lifestyle habits and food recipes also run in families. The nutrition we provide for ourselves determines which genes manifest in physical problems and which genes are disregarded completely.
Plant-based diets give us a rainbow of seemingly endless healthy and colorful foods. The range of colors indicate the different phytonutrients, antioxidants, and other incredible elements specific to that plant. All play important roles in optimal health. The more variety we eat, the healthier we become.
I am honored that some may consider me to be a super woman but no one is superhuman. Plant-based diets give us the best fighting chance but we still are not completely impervious to infections or viruses. We all get knocked down from time to time because we are human and this is nature. It is no reason to attempt to discredit the healthiest diet on the planet. Many non-vegetarians will monitor everything you experience and attempt to challenge your healthy decisions at every turn — even when you have information that can improve and save their own lives. Stay strong. The truth is always met with resistance and repugnance before it is widely accepted.
Then again, when contemplating our ability to stand strong against all of the resistance we encounter on a daily basis, even when trying to help the ones we love, perhaps we are superhuman after all!
With strength & courage,
Danica De La Mora