Amelia was a small person, barely reaching five feet when she straightened her back. She was thin, not quite emaciated in appearance, and her skin was exceptionally pale. She was the definition of what people talked about when they worried about sickly vegans.
Amelia was, herself, vegan, despite her doctor’s protestations.
There was nothing in the diet itself that made her so small. Indeed, she had been raised as a meat-eater, her grandparents having been farmers, and her parents, while having left the farm behind, retaining much of the lifestyle. But even growing up eating copious amounts of beef, potatoes, and large desserts, Amelia had been a paltry little waif, often accused of anorexia, even after her friends watched her eat meals twice the size of theirs.
When she had first decided to become a vegan, her friends and family were horrified. “You can’t!” they exclaimed. “You’re a little twig as it is! You won’t survive!” But survive she had, and in the past three years of meatlessness, she had actually flourished – indeed, her BMI had gone from 19 to 19.5.
She was quick to point this out every time her friends brought it up. “You should have a beef burger, Amelia! That veggie burger won’t do, have some beef, it’ll put a little more meat on your bones.” “No thanks. I’ve actually gained a bit of weight since I went vegan. I’m healthier now than I was.”
Amelia never suggested her friends join her in her eating habits. She kept her veganism quite quiet, in fact, until they started prodding her to eat an animal. She always responded with a “No thanks,” and when they prodded further, she would point out the weight gain again. Inevitably, she was met with a, “You vegans are always so pushy, geez.”
After some years of a steady creep upward – 19.5 to 19.8 – Amelia tried an experiment. She started eating beef again, only to fall back to 19.5. She stopped her experiment and reported the results to her doctor, who was flummoxed. Amelia shrugged and said, “I guess it’s working for me.”
“Okay, okay, no need to be so pushy about it,” her doctor replied.
And so she carried on with her diet, curious about the contrariness, fighting off the naysayers when necessary, but mostly trying to keep quiet. Even so, she became known among her friends as “The Pushy Vegan”.