A young girl diagnosed with mild retardation obsessive-compulsive disorder takes to cutting and burning herself. Her horrified parents discover her stabbing her own legs with a fork shortly after she learns to eat with silverware. She later discovers banging her head against a wall at the age of four. By age nine, she's knocked herself out badly enough to cause a concussion at least a dozen times. By the time she is an adolescent, her parents relinquish her to a psychiatric institution. They make this decision after she sets fire to the kitchen because she is trying to burn the skin from her own legs. Her brother is in the house and barely escapes from her pyromaniac episode. Her entire body is littered with deep scars. At the psychiatric institution, she is often kept in solitary confinement because of the danger she poses to other people and herself. She has no hope of ever living a normal life.
There is a man with a regular job, a wife, and children who goes to a party at a bar where he drinks close to a dozen beers between the hours of ten p.m. and two a.m. He is no different than any of his friends who do the same. He drives home when the bar closes and so do all of his friends. By a mysterious act of providence, not one of them wraps his car around a tree (or another car full of joy-riding teenagers) that night even though many of them have past DUIs, some in the multiples. Predictably, the alcoholic does not feel well when he wakes up at about four p.m the next day. He's got a punishing sinus headache of the cockroach-trying-to-eat-its-way-out-of-brain variety. His tongue feels like it has been reupholstered in a pre-owned 1970's shag and he is short on sleep because he's been vomiting into a paint bucket all night just to stay ahead of drowning in his own puke. Mysteriously, one of his first actions upon getting up in the evening is to meet the same friend from the night before to grab another beer, which turns into a half a dozen. Despite the fact his body is screaming for water, he gives it alcohol. Physically, he feels like he has aged ten years in the matter of two evenings. His immune system is giving him all the symptoms of a bad flu. He doesn't yet identify as an alcoholic, though it is obvious that he depends on alcohol.
There is a woman dying of lupus who, after a long, hard, fifteen year battle, loses the ability to walk. Lupus is a horrible, misunderstood disease. Lupus began for her when she was only twenty-five. She woke up and all of her muscles ached as if she had run a seventeen-mile marathon the previous day. In reality, she ran no marathon -- she might have liked to but she was sitting at her desk at her job. Fatigue ruins her twenties and thirties. Running after her child, born shortly before her first attack, becomes an epic, staggering ordeal of pain and battle against chronic fatigue. Each month brings an array of pains that seemingly come out of nowhere. Some days she cannot even get out of bed. Nobody around her takes her seriously. Because she looks young and healthy, they assume she is. Her husband leaves her after having an affair. Inwardly, she blames herself because she has gained a few pounds and lupus has (understandably) left her without a desire to have sex. She has tried dieting, including low-carb diets like Weight Watchers, South Beach, and the Primal Diet. Nothing works, she has lost weight only to gain back twice what she shed, which exacerbates her lupus symptoms.
All of these people have one thing in common: addiction. Not a single one of these people can control the force destroying them no matter how bad or ashamed they feel. None of these people deserve scorn, disdain, or judgement. They are addicts.
For the obsessive-compulsive girl, self-mutilation releases feel-good hormones she is otherwise missing or unable to process through her neural pathways. Her body-mind is damaged in ways modern medicine has yet to understand for all its claims of being able to combat and eradicate disease. Without understanding, there can be no remedy for her and no way of normalizing her brain function so she is able to participate with other people in everyday situations.
For the alcoholic guy going on the extended bender, the only way to feel the warmth of social acceptance and the general "everything is all right" sense he has been missing for years is to go out and get tipsy to drunk again. Meanwhile, his liver, his body's precious filter, is rotting. His body is being set up for diseases of inflammation such as cancer along with the more obvious cirrhosis.
The woman with lupus hasn't ever considered her addiction to the Standard American Diet as the culprit for her illness, which puts her in a unique bind. The self-mutilator, even with her first grade intellect, knows that harming herself is considered "bad" by the people around her. The alcoholic has an at least nascent awareness that alcohol will kill him sooner or later. The woman with lupus, however, has been deliberately misled. Like most people around the world, she has been brainwashed to believe that her herbivorous, standing ape body requires meat for protein and that her vestigial canines are meant to tear into cowhide in the wild, even though the concept is ludicrous. Not every herbivorous animal who consumes an omnivorous animal's diet will contract a debilitating disease, however, she is one of the many unlucky ones among a large pool who may be suffering in other ways that include heart disease, strokes, cancers, senility, and other diseases of civilization. The woman with lupus has a far more insidious problem. Her addiction is not just socially acceptable, it is (for now) a social requirement. Her predicament is far deeper than a person in the 1940s who, while hacking through a particularly bad case of chronic bronchitis, begins to suspect cigarettes may not be as great for you as doctors claim they are. For the time being, the lupus sufferer's addictive disorder is mandated by the media at large, animal agriculture industries, USDA, and the pharmaceutical industry, to state a but a handful of the interests who wish to keep her sick and therefore dependent upon their existence and their products. Add that the ice cream, cheese, and chickens she eats for comfort chip away at what is left of her fragile health and the obsessive-compulsive and the alcoholic seem to have better prognoses for full and speedy recoveries. Sadly, it is probably too late for all three of the fictional people I have described, though the woman with lupus has by far the easiest disease to cure as long as it is caught early enough and treated with an entirely plant-based, whole foods diet with a special focus on fruit and fruit juices.
Auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and lupus have many similarities. They share the symptoms of worsening fatigue, aches and pains, and increasing loss of mobility until the victim is confined to a wheelchair. An auto-immune disorder is where the body attacks its own nerves, organs, and cells because it mistakes an item that is supposed to be there (like pancreatic cells in the case of diabetes) for a bad invader. One of the most sure fire ways of bringing on an auto-immune problem is to introduce a substance to the body that mimics an invader. Meat, dairy, and eggs fit the bill perfectly. Until very recently, the fact that cow's dairy protein acts as pancreatic invader, destroying a normally healthy infant's pancreas until he or she becomes a Type I diabetic, was unknown. Even after this information was made public by the China Study and various others, no grand announcements were made that Type I diabetes is very likely preventable. All that is needed to stop a disease that has decimated countless childhoods was to feed human breast milk to babies instead of milk from the breast of a cow. The cure for cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, childhood leukemia, and heart disease has been found: it is the plant-based, whole food, fruit-heavy diet we primates were meant to eat. Industry's response is not to go with the simple, easy, cheap way of enhancing health for all humans and the planet they live on. Instead, it is to react by making addictive substances more addictive. Thanks to industrialized methods of production, meat is now fattier than ever before, sugar has been turned into corn syrup, and the gluten in frankenwheat bears almost no resemblance to what used to grow out of the ground just a hundred years ago. Corporations are the ultimate sociopaths, far worse than Hitler, Pol Pot, or Stalin, as they have no interest, real or imagined, in improving human lives. Meanwhile, no dictator can exist without a populace of complacent slaves.
It is the infuriating belief that we should depend on the second hand protein of animal products for human sustenance that has resulted in the debilitation and death of billions of people and tens of billions of animals per year. When I think of my best friend as a teenager, a type one diabetic who spiraled down a fistula of alcohol addiction, eating disorders, and heroin dependence, I realize how aimless and total is the revenge of the animals. Hers is just another example of human health ruined by our capitalist herding culture's insistence that other beings must be commoditized, exploited, and killed for profit no matter what the human or spiritual cost.
We are beginning to realize just how badly we've been duped. Though I don't see a great deal of hope for the human race in general, I do see small uprisings everywhere I go. There are rebellions against the machine underway. Awareness is spreading that meat, dairy, and eggs are addictive as well as utterly destructive to human health. My hope is that one day meat and animal protein will be seen for the addictions they are and that animal protein addiction will be relegated to the bin occupied by smoking addiction as more and more people take charge of their own health. Yesterday, I read the story of yet another woman who stepped back from the precipice of death via a high carbohydrate, fruit-based diet. In her case, she was severely underweight, however I have read dozens of stories just like hers where obese people on medicine cabinets full of pills went vegan and lost the excess accumulation of animal cholesterol residing in their bodily padding and with it the health problems that caused them to take pills in the first place. Cancer was cured years ago by Max Gerson. John McDougall figured out how to wipe out rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Many former "incurable" disease sufferers who did not have the luxury of consulting one of the few good doctors in the world cured themselves by eating living foods of rainbow colors that grow straight from the ground. Meanwhile, the corporations played on, raising untold millions at charity balls to be squandered on ineffective vivisection so the intellectually-damaged could satisfy their displaced yearning to torture sweet little rabbits, mice, kittens, puppies and chimpanzees.
If nothing else, I have my own story of occasional junk-food plant based eating which even in all its imperfection enabled me to reverse several chronic conditions and to gain resplendent physical and mental health. Pessimist and nihilist as I may be, I am grateful for the opportunity to become vegan before it was too late. I have used veganism to take charge of my priceless health and my future and I hope you will too.