Health & Vegans

Written by Viki Ackland.

I have been a vegetarian for thirty years, with small periods the first ten years of convincing myself it was alright to just eat seafood and the occasional piece of chicken. I was doing it more for health reasons when I was younger as apposed to moral reasons. To be honest we all have our own path to follow, either one of fitness and awareness or one of ignorance in ones body and health, and unfortunately that is the way of the world.

healthy vegetables

Vegetarianism and or Veganism are not for everyone, as it requires setting aside all you have been taught by your peers, your teachers, your parents and even the government, and embrace something natural because it is the right thing for you and your body. About seven years ago I became a vegan, and have never looked back.

Often people say silly things to me, for instance, are you still doing that vegan thing or don't you miss meat. Asking me if I miss meat is like me asking you if you miss the measles. I don't deny myself the privilege of eating murdered animals; I simply have no desire to do so. Having said that I believe we are all different and do what we must. I want to talk about the benefits of certain choices we make.

First of all, if I could just get my friends to stop consuming dairy I would be happy. The milk industry still maintains that cow milk is the only and best source of calcium, and that as adults we need 1000 mg a day. I would point out that many people are lactose intolerant for a reason, and while our dairy and meat intake have increased dramatically our fruit and vegetable intake have decreased alarmingly.

There are many vegetables that are high in calcium. Kale, Collard Greens, Turnip Greens, Garlic, Arugula, Broccoli, Sun Dried Tomato, Spinach and Okra, to just name the top ten. How is it that we have become a world that has forgotten that natural, unprocessed, whole foods are not only good for us but can decrease many ailments that the meat and dairy industry have caused, heart disease and diabetes being number one. Where we have the highest rates of heart disease we find the highest rates of dairy consumption. Rather than cut out the things in our diet that are making us sick, we run to the doctor to get medication to mask the symptoms. It is a vicious cycle indeed, one that is only getting worse as time goes by.

There's a place on this planet where they have more people living over age 100 than anywhere else, where the average woman lives to age 86, where people don't even need x-ray machines because they don't get breast cancer or osteoporosis. That place is 160 islands between Japan and Taiwan called Okinawa. I recently read the book 'The Okinawa Plan,' and you read that these people are eating 1/20th the amount of calcium that we do, yet they don't get bone breaks.

It is not just about the food, of course. Your spiritual life, however you choose to interpret it, your relationships with others, your handling of stress and your choice of being sedentary or active are all a part of the overall picture.

I say try cutting dairy out of your diet for one month, and see if you notice anything significant. What is a month out of ones life, if not to see something that could change your life!!

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