User banner image
User avatar
  • Diane Randall, M.A., CHC AADP

It all began as an undercurrent, a feeling of unwellness that permeated my every day. I was the woman with a successful career, a loving family, raising kids, yet beneath that façade, wellness was a foreign concept. The standard American diet was my norm; it was simply fuel, with no apparent link to how I felt—until it all came to a head.

I was young, yet burdened with hypertension and a rising cholesterol level. Not overtly overweight, but sickness clung to me—a myriad of gut issues that no one could untangle. My diet was not under scrutiny until doctors, stumped by my condition, suggested an endoscopy and colonoscopy. “Possible Crohn’s disease,” they said after noticing a lesion. Crohn's—a word that struck fear into my heart, signaling a change needed to be made.

I embarked on a journey not knowing the destination. It was a friend, Pam, who handed me the first clue—a DVD titled “Eat” that connected the dots between our diet, diabetes, heart disease, and more. My family’s history with diabetes, laden with blindness and amputations, flashed before my eyes. I had been blind to the correlation, but not anymore.

I read, I learned, I attended workshops. My diet evolved, not overnight, but gradually. The label “vegan” wasn't part of my vocabulary yet; this was for my health. As my gut issues dissipated and I felt the joy of well-being, the weight of chronic illness lifted. I embraced a plant-based lifestyle without even realizing it.
Then came the biggest surprise—my sugar addiction vanished. I, a self-proclaimed sugar addict, had not craved sweets for months. It was a freedom I had never known.

Over 20 years have passed since that pivotal moment. Letting go of old habits was a process, but as I detached from my past diet, I connected more deeply with the world around me. I started seeing animals in a different light—not as food, but as beings with emotions, families, lives. This connection was transformative, and it was then I vowed never to consume another animal.

My perspective widened to include not only animal welfare but also environmental concerns. With droughts and ecological disruptions becoming more frequent, the question arose: What could I, as one individual, do to make a difference?

Now, when I look back at that time of sickness, I see it as a catalyst for a profound transformation. By adopting a plant-based lifestyle, I not only reclaimed my health but also found purpose in advocating for a kinder, more sustainable way of life.