“I already feel healthier and a little bit better. I know [going vegan] will be tough but I am going to do it.”
A 67-year-old dad, who used to smoke 80 cigarettes a day, has set himself a 21-day vegan challenge after a health scare during lockdown pushed him to get fit.
Padraig Howley, from Clare, Ireland, started his vegan journey on 22nd February and is documenting it on Instagram.
‘Changes had to be made”
A self-employed welder for over 40 years, Howley works for 14 hours a day and always lived a fairly healthy lifestyle.
However, last year, he suddenly felt unwell and started getting terrible pains. After suffering for the whole of summer, he was diagnosed with a nervous system disorder.
Howley reached out to a holistic practitioner who confirmed his diagnosis and said that he needed to change his lifestyle.
“One thing she said was I am an irregular eater, which is very true,” Howley told The Irish Sun.
“I work long hours, I could be up at 6 am and not have breakfast until 10 am, and then work till 8 pm and not have dinner until 9 pm and it’d be a big dinner.
He added: “Being unfit doesn’t suit me, I’ve been fit all my life, I played a lot of sports throughout my life so I knew changes had to be made.
“And then she said I could change my lifestyle if I gave up a bit of dairy.”
Although sceptical, Howley decided to take the vegan plunge after one of his three daughters convinced him to try the lifestyle.
The dad told the tabloid: “I didn’t even know what that meant, and now I am vegan!”
In his first post on Instagram, he wrote: “I’m on a journey to get fit. I am attempting to go vegan for 21 days starting tomorrow February 22nd.
“With advice from doctors and health professionals, I need to make a few changes.
“So here I am… and maybe I can help to motivate someone else.”
‘Already feel healthier’
Howley, who is also an accomplished Irish singer, has already started seeing benefits with his new diet regimen.
He said: “I know it has only been a few days but I already feel healthier and a little bit better. I know it will be tough but I am going to do it.”
The Kilfenora man has also committed to walking more than 10,000 steps a day and staying positive.
Howley’s pictures and videos of plant-based meals on the platform have also started going viral making him quite an Insta-sensation.
Barely a week into his vegan journey, and Howley has racked up over 62000 followers cheering him on.
The Happy Pear twins – Dave and Stephen Flynn – are also supporting Howley while Fitzpatrick’s SuperValu– a family-run supermarket – sent him a vegan hamper to help him complete the 21-day challenge.
‘Love to help someone’
Howley hopes to pass on the love and support he has received and motivate more people like him to adopt a healthy plant-based lifestyle.
He told the Irish Sun: “I’m almost 68 and people will say, ‘Are you mad in the head doing this?’
“I don’t want to get sick. I’ve been healthy all my life and have changed to stay that way, and this is just another life-changing thing. If I was in hospital sick, it’d be far worse.
“So I’ll have a go at this and it might be hard but I want to get healthy and even help one other person like me.
“I’ll crave the bad food but I am now cooking for the first time in ages and people are so kind, reaching out and helping me with recipes and ideas. I’d love to be the person to help someone.”
Share this story to motivate others to go vegan for their health.
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