It took me until I turned 50 to admit this, but I am a middle-aged man. Actually, it took me until I turned 50 to be a middle-aged man. But here I am—middle-aged. While some might consider me halfway to the grave, I have every plan to live to be 100, and my outlook on the second half of my life has improved dramatically since I went vegan approximately six years ago. I’m not sure I’d have the same optimism if I had continued along the decadent meat, dairy, and egg-eating path I once traversed, but today I can say I am healthier than I have been in decades: I’ve lost 30 pounds, I have perfect physicals, and I experience incredible energy. These reasons alone are why I encourage all middle-aged men to vegan, but here are a few more for those who need a bit more convincing.
My energy level increased dramatically after going vegan. I no longer feel weighed down, both by pounds and by guilt, and the “new” me lasts longer. Whether this is keeping up with our two toddlers (or doing things in bed), it’s incredible to no longer feel sluggish in all aspects of my life.
My doctors look twice at my charts and assume that a man “my age” should start taking some prescriptions. Something? Anything? Nothing. I am healthier now than ever, and my check-ups confirm that a vegan diet is best for me, the planet, my family, friends, and the animals.
Shortly after you’ve truly begun eating a vegan diet, you realize that vegan food is adventurous and delicious. Suddenly, you’ll make “the connection” that pigs are not bacon, cows are not steaks, and chickens are not … well, actually, they’ll still be chickens. The whole thing starts to make sense. You are living a healthy and compassionate second half of your life. You can look at every meal and know that it is nourishing your body and your soul. You’ll also know you’re helping the planet. Then, whether it’s carefully escorting a spider out of the apartment or helping a nestling find its nest, you’ll know that there is nothing quite like leading a balanced life with all of nature.
4. Exceptional taste
It took awhile for my taste buds to adjust to all the incredible flavors I now appreciate with a plant-based diet, but making the transition was well worth the wait. All of the flavors I used to love—that I thought were associated with meat—were actually vegan all along. Spices and marinades explode in my cooking, and now I make a vegan version of everything I once ate.
Sadly, some old friends were lost when going vegan but, happily, I gained many new friends from, literally, around the world. The vegan community has been incredibly supportive, open, and loving to me since I joined. Now, I’m always the first one to show up at a potluck. Invite me, and you’ll see.
I started a blog when I went vegan, and that blog lead me to open a vegan design and marketing firm that worked only with vegan businesses. A New York City publisher found my blog and offered me a book deal. That book deal has become another book deal that is being considered for a TV pilot. Meanwhile, I also work as Marketing and Program Director for Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM). All of these happened because I went vegan.
7. More opportunities
Every day I wake up and think of ways to spread the message of going plant-based. Whether it’s through my blog, book, or work, I am set on showing everyone (even “old guys” like me) the incredible benefits of going vegan. Like everyone says, the only regret vegans have is that they didn’t go vegan sooner. It’s never too late, and I’m living (50 more years) proof.
Eric C Lindstrom lives his middle-aged life in Ithaca, NY, with his vegan wife, two vegan toddlers, and vegan dog Kimchi.