Devil’s Advocate · 22 June 2013

It is nice to have true friends.

True friends are the ones who stick up for you when you are not there. They are the ones who pick on you whether you are there or not. And they are the ones who can be both your guardian angels and devil’s advocates. Mike is one of those friends. And he was playing the devil’s advocate yesterday.

When Mike and I were chatting yesterday, he said he thought of a question he was going to ask about one of my latest posts. Then, he said he was not going to ask. We then had an abbreviated version of the following frustrating conversation that most of us have had with friends who have a burning question:

“I was going to ask you, but then I thought better of it.”
“Nah. It’s a stupid question.”
“Just ask.”
“Okay.” Pauses while framing the question. “No. I just can’t ask. It’s silly.”
More insistent. “What!?”
“Do you really want to know?”
Exasperated. “Yes!”
Shyly, “No. I can’t ask.”
“Just ask already!”
“Are you sure?”
“Okay.” Pauses while framing the question.

At this point, the person either asks the question or the conversation goes on in a loop until one or the other finally gives up. I am sure everybody has been in one of those conversations before. And the thought is always the same. Why did the other person bring up the question if he was not going to ask it?

Like I said, Mike and I had an abbreviated version of the silly conversation above before he played the devil’s advocate and asked me his question.

“What if the numbers are not better when you go to your checkup?”

I was baffled at first. Taken aback really. Then, I realized that this one question is really a myriad of questions. What if my weight is the only thing that has changed? What if my cholesterol and triglycerides and lipid numbers are not better than they used to be? What if eating mostly plant-based, whole foods for a year did nothing for my health?

My first thought was that it was an impossibility. That there was no way things had not changed for the better. But then, I had to admit it was an interesting possibility. After all, I had tried fad diets to lose weight before and gave them up when the only results I got were temporary weight loss and hunger.

Mike’s question boiled down to a simple yes or no question. If the numbers do not show that I am healthier, will I give up on being almost vegan?

We chatted about the question and possible answers. I stated that I truly believe I will have better numbers than I have ever had. Still, the question was intriguing. It made me think.

After thinking through the question and possible implications on my own, I have come to a conclusion. I will not go back to being an omnivore unless the numbers show that I am unhealthier than I used to be. Even if I have just kept the status quo, I will keep eating plant-based, whole foods.

I have come to this conclusion not because I simply cannot believe the numbers will be worse. I have come to this conclusion because of my feelings. I feel lighter (because I am). I feel better. And I feel healthier than I have in a long time. So unless the numbers show that I am less healthy than I used to be, I am sticking with my way of eating. I will continue to base my diet around plant-based, whole foods.

I am glad Mike asked the question. And I am glad we did not need to go through the silly conversation before I finally dragged it out of him. But mostly I am glad that I have true friends who can be both my guardian angels and devil’s advocates.

© 2013 Michael T. Miyoshi

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