Each of us has our own vegan “story.”’
It’s profound. It’s personal. And it’s likely one you’re proud of – so proud, in fact, that you’re happy to share it, even when asked by non-vegans.
Our vegan “stories” are so personally powerful because they transcend mere dietary choices. These stories are our personal tales of how we choose to live – of the values we’re embracing.
By choosing not to eat animals – in fact, by avoiding all products made from animals – we’re saving lives. And if we can persuade someone else to make the same choices, and travel the same path, our vegan “story” becomes even more meaningful … even more powerful.
Truth be told, I like hearing other folks’ vegan stories. They’re cool.
In her recent book, Enlightened Eating, Dr. Cassandra Ohlsen shares her vegan story.Ohlsen, a practicing physician in Monterey, California, tells us how she struggled with obesity for many years. How she tried numerous diets, lost weight, then gained it back. That’s a bad situation for anyone, but imagine what it’s like for someone who’s helping others recapture their own health. When you “talk the talk,” folks expect you to “walk the walk.”
And when you don’t, it’s not a great look.
Look, I don’t want to give away the story by recounting Dr. Ohlsen’s pathway back to health – and a plant-based lifestyle. She shares that with us in her book. She teaches us a bit about Buddhist psychology, and provides her interpretation of the “Four Noble Truths” and the “Eightfold Noble Path.” In all honesty, there was enough there to peak my interest – but probably not enough to let me properly explain these concepts to others.
What I did get from this book is some good information on self-inquiry. And these days, everyone can benefit from a bit of introspection and a candid acknowledgement of whatever issues we may be facing.
Perhaps the best way to summarize Enlightened Eating is to give you a quick-hit summary of what the book is – and what it’s not.
Enlightened Eating is not:
- A cookbook (but there are a few recipes).
- A clear, how-to guide on becoming vegan. With Dr. Ohlsen’s story, and the tales of a few others, we get glimpses of the path and the process – but for someone new to this way of eating (and this way of thinking), that may not be enough.
- A medical book. Yes, it’s written by a doctor, and there are clearly references to the medical benefits of a vegan diet (especially in the appendices), but that’s not the focus of Dr. Ohlsen’s work here.
Enlightened Eating is:
- Easy to read and understand. Vegan or not, this is a quick and nicely effortless stroll – but with enough insight to spark some of that healthy reflection.
- A pretty decent general guide to the vegan-diet transition. There are suggested meal plans, resources, and good “stories.”
- Part of my “story” is the fact that I’ve not tasted meat in decades, meaning I may not be the best authority. But I do think the examples and stories in this book will help anyone see that “eating vegan” does not have to be hard. There are already plenty of vegan options – you just need to find what works for you.
If you find yourself struggling with your approach to food, if you are curious about plant-based eating, or if you just need a brush-up, pick up a copy of Enlightened Eating, read it, and pass it along. We simply can’t have too many vegan “stories.”