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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Giving up SAD

This year I celebrate 21 years as a vegetarian. My mother laughs now, because when I was a child, she remembers cooking delicious meals and casseroles only to watch me pick out all of the spinach, broccoli, celery, and anything else green.  I would have a pile of ‘green stuff’ on the side of my plate that I would refuse to eat for the first twenty years of my life. Now, my whole refrigerator is filled with everything green. 

What made me give up my Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) of predominantly red meat and potatoes? Several things – and am I glad that they did!

It was partly my mother’s influence, but it wasn’t her cooking that prompted my change. My mother and both of her parents developed colon cancer during a short period of time. In fact, my grandmother lived the last decade or so of her life with no colon at all. Talk about a reason to change my ways – I didn’t ever want to have to endure what she went through. A colostomy bag is not for me. My mother and grandfather were luckier as they only lost very small portions of their colons. When my mom beat colon cancer only to have cancer return in the form of lymphoma a couple of years later – and then beat that too, I knew I had some strong “fighting genes” in my gene pool, but I also realized I have some genetic predispositions to contend with as well. Thankfully, I discovered that although our genes load the metaphorical gun, it’s our lifestyle that pulls the trigger.

I was also influenced by a good friend of mine who was raised by vegan parents. He had never consumed meat or dairy his entire life. He was also a phenomenal athlete who was a star on his collegiate cross-country track team. He made running marathons look easy and he never seemed to lack energy, stamina or strength. I was so intrigued by his physical ability and absence of past medical problems that I quickly accepted his challenge to “go raw” for 21 days and only eat fruits and veggies. I was already in pretty good shape and had yet to suffer any health problems, but nonetheless my transformation was remarkable.  The increased energy alone was enough to make me never crave animal products again.

It’s undeniable that humans were designed to be vegetarians. The physiological proof starts with the alkaline saliva in our mouths. Also in regards to our mouths, the shape of our teeth (flat molars for grinding) and the movement of our jaw (up and down and side to side also for grinding) indicate that of a vegetarian. Compare our mouths to that of a carnivorous dog and you will find acidic saliva, sharp incisors and pointed molars designed for ripping and tearing flesh as well as a jaw that only moves up and down (no need to grind the meat side to side). The next clue is the dexterity of our magnificent hands - complete with thumbs for grasping and picking fruits and veggies – as opposed to a carnivore like a bear that has massive claws for holding live prey and tearing its flesh from the bones. Human digestive tracts are very long and curvaceous so they can extract all of the nutrients from the living fruits and veggies -while true carnivores (such as lions) have very short and relatively straight digestive tracts to expel the rotting flesh and it’s toxic digestion by-products from their bowels as quickly and easily as possible.

If that physiological evidence isn’t enough to convince you that vegetarianism should be the way of humanity, then try this test. Put a pile of berries and a rabbit in a playpen with a four year old child and observe what happens. Then try the same experiment with a four year old lion cub in a cage. My guess is that the child will eat the berries and pet the rabbit. And in the lion cub’s cage there will be a bloody mess and a pile of untouched berries. Instincts don’t lie. And by the way, anyone who thinks that humans are at the top of the food chain is dead wrong. I invite them to spend the night in the wilderness full of lions, bears, mosquitoes and snakes – or take a swim in shark infested waters. In reality, decomposers such as bacteria and fungi are the ones on top of the food chain.

If most people in modern society had to raise, kill, clean, prep and cook their own meat, there would be a whole lot more vegetarians. Thank God for our modern food production industry – right? Wrong! If slaughterhouses and meat packing plants had windows or an open-door policy, my guess is that everyone would be a vegetarian!

Animal cruelty is a travesty and is prevalent in almost every aspect of the carnivorous side of the food industry, but I’ve found that most people simply don’t care – they don’t want to think about it – they just want their meat neatly packaged or prepared and cooked for them. They don’t even want to know what went into the process. If they only knew or thought about what went into the “meat process” and how it goes straight into their bodies, then they would realize that “we are what we eat” – right?

Maybe the chronic diseases suffered by many people in today’s modern society are simply nature’s revenge for the cruelty that mankind’s carnivorous population is exacting on the rest of the animal kingdom. For scientific proof that animal consumption is linked to chronic disease, I would be happy to direct you to Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s book “The China Study”.

Recently I was having dinner with a colleague who seemed quite perplexed when they discovered I was a vegetarian. Their immediate reaction was “Oh, you don’t eat meat? What do you eat?” My simple response was “Plants and living foods”.

Simple and to the point – when you eat a plant based diet of fruits and veggies, you are eating living foods and thus ingesting life into your body. When you eat meat, it is dead and so you are ingesting death into your body. Plus, the higher up the food chain we eat, the farther we move away from the natural source energy of the sun, the mineral nutrients of the soil and water, and the purity and oxygen from the air.

Look, I’m here to tell you that if I can make the “cold-turkey” conversion from the typical male American meat-and-potatoes diet to vegetarianism, anyone can do it. Having made the transition and having lived on ‘both sides of the food chain’ – I can honestly say without a doubt or reservation that vegetarianism is an exponentially far superior lifestyle to that of an American carnivore.

Forget all the macho B.S. - you don’t need meat or dairy to get protein – I work out harder and longer than most of my meat eating friends and never lack energy, stamina or strength. In addition, I’ve never had a tooth cavity or a broken bone – and that means a lot considering my active lifestyle!

Don't take my word for it try being a vegetarian yourself and experience the awesome benefits. You’ll be happy you did.