THE CHOICES I’VE MADE AND WHY I BECAME VEGAN – Paolo Esposito
Of the many activities I’ve attempted the one I love the most is kite surfing. To me it is the most natural. Soaring like a bird when I jump through the air gives me a thrill. But as they say what goes up must come down and when I don’t land a jump well, let’s say I’m not so graceful. I will admit to a few minor bumps, bruises and strains.
These day’s exercise is particularly important to me as I’ve almost reached that mid-century point
in my life. Body movement hasn’t always been a part of my regime, despite some martial arts when I was younger and hitting the gym between some intense partying in my twenty something years. I was a bartender and had access to a host of party cocktails – even the illicit kind! You could say that while I was aware of my mind and my body I don’t think I respected either as I do now.
Over these last few years I’ve dedicated myself to a dietary and lifestyle change. It didn’t happen
overnight and there have been a number of trials and errors along the way but here’s how I went vegan.
My father died at the age of 55 from health complications associated with diabetes and heart disease. I know he didn’t care for his health and continued to smoke until his death.
Observing his carless disregard for himself has shaped my views on life.
My mother lost her husband, me and my siblings lost our father and my nieces never met their grandfather. I was only 28. For a time, we all felt lost, and as a young man I probably cast
blame on him and his poor choices. Since then I’ve been running from my heredities. The males on my father’s side all have diabetes. The body clock was ticking away. It was only a matter of time but I was hoping to be the one who missed this gene. At the age of 45 the news was delivered by my doctor. It was a devastating blow. All I could see was my lifespan shortening. I would go the
way of my father. But I’m stubborn so I resisted. I vowed to do everything in my power not to be like him. I wanted to live but didn’t know how with this disease.
I did my research. I love technology. Bought the latest monitoring apps and did daily bloods. I went to a dietician who told me what I could eat, and it was extremely difficult.
I am Italian. Whilst we eat, what is a healthy Mediterranean diet (promoted as life-extending), it is
high in carbohydrates. Not great for a diabetic. There wasn’t much I could eat that I would enjoy. I have never eaten fast food and always enjoyed home cooked meals. I’m a restauranteur. I always know what’s in my food.
At the time I wasn’t really overweight at all. I started going to the gym three times a week and was
dependant on medication. I became confused. I was doing everything I could to beat this diagnosis. I continued to research and found intermittent fasting. I dropped weight quickly. It stayed off but I was unhappy. Not eating healthy regular meals was depressing.
I tried the paleo and keto diets. Eating no carbs was a killer and eating only protein was limiting. Next, I tried a vegetarian diet. My energy levels increased and blood sugar stabilised. I seemed to have found my body’s equilibrium.
Then one afternoon I stumbled across Joe Rogan’s podcast. He claimed that ‘it is possible to follow
a 100 percent vegan diet – and be healthy’. I was directed to the movie, The Game Changers which
is endorsed by some athletic greats like Arnold Schwarzenegger, and marathon runner, Scott Jurek. It also claims that the world’s most dangerous myth is that meat is necessary for protein. It was a pivotal moment in my life. I’ve never looked back.
In fact, I have now embraced a vegan lifestyle which matches my animal rights ethos. I am a dog
breeder and trainer. I have care for all sentient beings and embracing a lifestyle which respects their rights makes sense to me.
Today, I am happier and healthier than I have ever been in my life.