In the final scene of the 1979-1980 season of Dallas, the character J.R. Ewing, played by Larry Hagman, was shot by an unknown assailant. Viewers had to wait all summer and, due to the Hollywood actors’ strike, most of autumn, to find out if J.R. survived and who did it.
This unforgettable cliffhanger has remained unrivaled until recently when Larry Hagman announced that he had been diagnosed with cancer. And that he is “whooping” the disease into submission by becoming a vegan. Once again, we are taunted to wait and see if he survives this latest bullet.
The hoopla has placed the efficacy of a vegan diet on display for public inspection. As a vegan, I am both apprehensive and elated about that. What surprised me was not that Mr. Hagman elected to take this route, but my reaction to it. To illustrate, let me replicate an email exchange between myself and two friends upon first hearing the news:
To: Janice & Paige
To: Teresa & Paige
Too bad he didn’t go vegan BEFORE he got cancer.
Depending on what kind of cancer he has, how far it has progressed and what his other treatments are (drugs, chemo or radiation), maybe he will beat it.
To: Teresa & Janice
That’s good news, but when he dies, they’ll blame veganism.
To: Janice & Page
Man, you girls are a little too "positive" for me.
Why were we so negative? We believe eating a plant based diet will keep us healthy and help us live longer than the Standard American Diet (SAD), yet we sounded as if it held little hope for Mr. Hagman. Here is why I think we reacted this way.
Fear. Fear is probably the basis for nearly every negative thought and action I’ve ever experienced. It creates questions in our minds to which we have no answers. We are afraid that Mr. Hagman will die while being a vegan, and his death will serve as ammunition for the meat eating world to shoot down our lifestyle. If he doesn’t survive, it will seem that veganism did not save him. That, indeed, it could very well be the reason he died. If it didn’t save him, it might not save us. That we could be wrong about everything we believe.
What’s the answer to fear? Usually, faith.
Let’s have more faith in our vegan lifestyle. After all, it’s worked for us, hasn’t it? What about Kris Carr, the author of Crazy Sexy Cancer and Crazy Sexy Diet? She’s used a plant based diet to thrive in spite of a fatal diagnosis of rare, terminal cancer.
Let’s have more faith in Larry Hagman. After years of alcohol abuse, he received a liver transplant and has already beaten more odds than most of us will beat in a lifetime. He’s a determined, positive man. Let’s give him some credit. How brave of him to decide to change his life after his diagnosis. Most people would have given in to the inevitable.
Let’s have more faith in the future. Veganism is receiving quite a lot of attention these days. The obesity epidemic in the United States, the failure of the medical system to cure disease, and the desire of many to live a cruelty free life, have all contributed to the advancement of this diet. Things are changing, even if it seems agonizingly slow.
One of the reasons I wrote my novel, Diary of a Dieting Madhouse, was to show a vegan diet in a new light. I created a character with whom anyone could identify, thus placing veganism into an everyday, human perspective. I added plenty of humor, because—let’s be honest—we sometimes take ourselves too seriously. Then, I threw in a love story with tons of sexual tension and a couple of stirring subplots to keep it interesting.
Once people are able to see that a plant based way of eating can be incorporated into their lives without as much trouble as they thought, they are ready to read Diary of a Dieting Madhouse - The Diet that can be downloaded, free of charge, as a PDF or an ebook. Go to my author website, http://www.paigesingleton.com. You will discover how to purchase the Diet or the novel on that website.
By the way, J.R.’s scheming sister-in-law and mistress shot him, and he did survive.