Ahoy, me maties! I've been gone awhile, being nothing but lazy. Ugh, and gained back 7of the 16 pounds I'd lost over the last year. Blech. So, since the only thing is for me to get my patootie back in gear, I'm back, renewed! A slate of new vegan cookbooks from the library have me re-energized, so here I am, in all my goddess glory, ready to renew my commitment to health (wealth and happiness...!) Back to my cardio, onward to my yoga, upward to my strength training!
First, a tidbit on why being vegan is the best way to go: because a vegan diet reverses heart disease. On the American Heart Association (AHA) diet, which includes meat, patients' arteries continue to clog, while Dr. Dean Ornish's vegan diet unclogs arteries. In one study, AHA dieters experienced a 28% average worsening of clogged arteries, while dieters on Ornish's program experienced an 8% improvement in their arteries. (PETA - Reasons to Go Vegetarian)
Dr. Oz told a recent vegan convert that everything can be reversed. If that is the case, and I believe it is, then why would anyone who has, or is at risk for, certain life threatening conditions like heart disease, diabetes, cancer that can be avoided, stopped, even reversed by becoming vegan, wouldn't become vegan? It seems like such a no-brainer to me, yet most Americans continue to eat the standard diet, or worse, follow such unhealthy diets like the Atkins diet. I think much of it is peer pressure, often from family. Often, when families gather, it is centered around food, most notably holidays. Ham at Easter, turkey at Thanksgiving, ham, goose or duck at Christmas. Holiday cookouts, like July 4. Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, in her book, The Vegan Table, cautions we have a tendency to romanticize these traditions. While no one wants to be seen as contributing to animal cruelty, it seems safe enough to shroud our violence against animals in the sanctity of Tradition. Shirley Jackson's tale, The Lottery, points rather vividly to our tendency to cling blindly to meaningless rituals and participation in pointless violence. When one of the characters states how there has always been a lottery, in defense against another village that has ended the tradition of their own lottery, it reminds me of how often I have heard the reasoning given by meat eaters - "We ALWAYS have turkey at Thanksgiving!" or "How can you celebrate the 4th without hot dogs and hamburgers? It's un-American!" or, my favorite, "Man has always eaten meat!"
Albert Schweitzer said, "The thinking [person] must oppose all cruel customs, no matter how deeply rooted in tradition and surrounded by a halo." We must remember that just because something always has been, doesn't mean it always should be. Food can still be the centerpiece to our gatherings and celebrations, but we can make them gentler, kinder, healthier! The summer is nearing with the rising temperatures just around the corner. I look forward to the thirst quenching iced teas, the crunch of delectable salads, and the sensual juiciness of fruits as they run down my chin. I also look forward to the sights and smells of my husband grilling in the backyard, the feel of cool water as I jump into the neighborhood pool, and the bright colors as more plants reveal their blooms. These are what make summer memories for me. And it is all cruelty free!