We need to heal. All of us. From Harvey to Charlottesville. Dreamers and white supremacists. From the flooded onion fields of the Arkansas Valley to the corporate offices of the Silicon Valley.
I know I need to heal. I have been very mentally unwell for the past few years. My mom died. I was sexually assaulted. And Trump became president. Since then, our country has been torn apart by fighting that isn’t only un-American, it is unhealthy.
When I was living in NYC, until earlier this year, my friend Amber from Chicago would come to visit me. She’d be up at the crack of dawn. Four hours later, I’d crawl out of my room, after having read awful news and fighting with people on social media for hours. Amber would greet me with a smile on her face from her computer. Seeing her function really annoyed me. I’m not trying to be funny. She annoyed me because she was alive and well. And I was not.
I would slam a few Nespressos. Then make an egg white sandwich. I’d go to yoga almost daily. I chugged whey protein shakes when I was starving. I’d eat fish or chicken for dinner. And of course, I’d often enjoy a cocktail. I considered myself healthy. Every day, I took Adderall to focus, an antidepressant to mask the anxiety and a sleeping pill. Everything was prescribed to me by top psychiatrists. I wasn’t an addict by any stretch of the imagination.
For the five years I was in NYC, I can’t really remember what I did during the day. You know what I’m talking about: living in sludge.
What annoyed me most about Amber was that she didn’t eat what I ate. She started dating a guy named “D.” I didn’t know anything about him except he had cancer or beat cancer or something. I had too much going on to ask. The last time she stayed with me she explained she was a “plant-based” eater. I was having none of it. She left me a $100 gift card to Whole Foods and a fridge full of lettuce, a cucumber, a can of garbanzo beans, and a tomato. I can tell you with 100% certainty that I ate none of it. She also told me to throw away my 5-gallon tub of whey protein powder. She said it was made with casein, a carcinogen known to cause cancer. Blah, blah, blah.
A few months ago, I left NYC and returned to Chicago. I needed to heal. I missed my friends and support network. Amber and D (D Anthony Evans is his real name, FYI) started doing a daily drive-by, depositing lettuce, hemp seeds, garbanzo beans, and avocados. D called cheese “baby cow growth fluid,” and reminded me that every once-living animal or fish was decomposing in my body. They don’t proselytize though.
D has this super powerful soul. Maybe that’s because his body, from the inside out, is covered in tumors. When he looks you in the eyes, you are empowered. It was D who told me, “You got this,” the day before I told my employer the name of the man who sexually assaulted me. For hours, I cried on their living room floor, afraid I didn’t have the strength to reveal the predator’s name.
My mom was only 63 when she died of a rare cancer called sarcoma. She was thin and beautiful. But she ate poorly. She was on the Atkins diet before it became a thing. Carbs were the devil.
I don’t know how I did it. But I just made a decision to join my friends in this journey of healing. No meat. No dairy. No gluten. Straight-up plants. This is not a diet. In my ear, my mom was telling me, “Don’t eat that avocado. Don’t eat coconut. Don’t eat hemp seeds. All of that is fat!” But my mom is dead. And the man eating all of those things was standing in front of me, five years after his doctors gave him six months to live. If he could heal, so could I.
And here’s what has happened over the past month:
I have given up all of my pills. They are resting in peace, in a shoe bag. Hundreds of them for every emotional disorder you can imagine. I wake up naturally every morning at around 8 am. I am not tired throughout the day. In fact, I have incredible energy. The thin tire of fat around my torso is eating itself away. My eyes are becoming white again.
I have lost my desire to respond to negative comments about me on social media. I am unfollowing people who constantly bash Trump and attack those who support him. Don’t get it twisted, I can’t stand the man but I have no time to fill my mind with the barrage of negativity. In fact, because of my eating, my mind doesn’t even focus on others’ anger anymore. I see it. I process it quickly. I move on.
After years of suffering from depression, PTSD from being sexually assaulted, and a general sadness about life, I believe this plant-based diet is healing me. All of us know someone who has died of cancer. All of us feel robbed. And cancer rates are only rising.
All of us are hurting in one way or another. All of us deserve to heal, live, feel great, love ourselves, and love each other. There is no better time than now to use food as our medicine.
So if we’re going to read articles on Eat, Pray, Vote, we shouldn’t forget that eating is just as important as praying and voting. And yes…I still enjoy cocktails!