Did I say I am also one fortunate son of a bitch?
“Honey, are you making dinner tonight?” I ask. You should know from the outset that I never take anything for granted.
“What do you think?” comes the deadpan reply, usually from the other room.
That would be a yes in wife-speak.
Thank God, I think. “Thank you!” I yell excitedly.
One specialty vegan meal, coming up …
Dad’s Heartfelt Words
I went vegan nearly nine years ago, following the death of my father. He was overweight up to his last few weeks, when he slowly started wasting away.
Richard Eisenberg was 70 years old. He did not drink, save for a glass of wine on the Jewish holidays, and he died of a liver disease.
“Don’t end up like me,” he would say. “I never took care of myself and you’re on your way to becoming as overweight as I am. Don’t do it, Junius.”
He always called me “Junius.” The meaning: his prized Jewish genius.
I was hardly the prize he boasted of, however. At 5'8" and nearly 215 pounds, my weightlifting days — and body — were long gone. That two-bucks-fifteen was emphatically no longer well distributed.
I was married at this point for 11 years. My blood pressure was high, as was my cholesterol. My dad was right. I was endangering not only my own health but the welfare of my wife.
I should point out, if this is not yet obvious, that my wife is a sensational cook. She’s a gourmet, as far as I’m concerned. On many evenings have I looked forward to sinking my teeth into her newest chicken and fish dishes (I was never big on beef), and ate double and sometimes triple portions. When eating out, sushi bars were a preference.
I ate. Well.
A Friend Preaches
Strike One. Please don’t ever preach to me.
“You should go vegan!” he’d say. “You’ll feel so much better.”
He’s said this before, and I had always ignored him. “How about not,” I’d say.
Things were different now, though. My dad just passed. I made him a promise two weeks prior, when he still had a vague ability to speak. I called my friend the next day.
“Okay,” I said in defeat. “Tell me exactly what you do.”
I gave myself a 30-day baseline. I stopped any meat and dairy products, and loaded on salads and tofu. I also made sure my portions were considerably smaller than before.
I lost 20 pounds that first month, with no exercise whatsoever. My blood pressure dropped below 120/80 for the first time in my adult life, and my cholesterol was similarly lowered.
I told my friend, who bragged a bit, and challenged me to continue for a second month. I agreed. I was going to do it anyway.
I lost another 10 pounds. Same terms. I didn’t miss meat at all. The next month I lost another five, and I have been maintaining ever since. I’ve slipped up on my portions now and then, but the weight is down presently to where I was at my healthiest.
The most personally interesting piece of all this? Though I had undertaken the vegan diet as a lifestyle change for health reasons, today the thought of eating meat physically disgusts me. Now I find myself more concerned with animal issues, climate control … if I’ve become a hippy, I own it.
I’m just balder than most.
The Woman Who Loves Me
So my wife now makes me amazing vegan dishes … while she eats salmon. Or a tuna salad. She loves lamb chops, but like me had never been a big beef fan.
She wants to keep me around. She’s patient with my meals, and I wish that to all of you reading this. If you are fortunate to partner with a significant other, and he or she eats meat while you prefer a seitan surprise, or Beyond Burger with almond, soy or cashew cheese … or a tofu veggie scramble, you are one fortunate sucker.
Why don’t I take her dinners for granted? Because the effort it takes to prepare two separate meals cannot possibly be easy on her. Makes me love her all the more, you know.
Regarding the vegan diet itself, I try not to each too much processed food. Not the best choice, I know, as raw options or none at all are arguably better, but I’m addicted to tofu and those aforementioned Beyond Burgers. Still, my carbon footprint, if I go by current statistics, has been reduced by as much as 73%.
I never thought I’d give a damn before. I more than do so now.
Thank you for reading.
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