Monday, March 21, 2011

Like-Minded From Down Under

A few days ago I received an email from Peter, who resides in Sydney, Australia. He writes: "I stumbled upon your blog and read over many past entries. I too have studied nutrition extensively over the past 15 years."

He adds, "On asking myself the simple question 'how does what you put in your mouth affect you?' I became a vegetarian in 1996. Up until then I was sceptical as to whether I could get all my nutritional requirements without eating animal products. After I moved away from home I still ate some animal products i.e. dairy and even fish on rare occasions.
I was for the most part glad to remove animal products from my diet and the suffering that is attributed with them.

As I gained greater knowledge about a plant based diet I became a vegan about two years after this. Being a vegan has opened my eyes to the huge variety of plant foods that are available to eat from the broad categories of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. As such I never miss any animal product and especially in countries like the U.S., Western Europe, Australia, etc. there is such a variety of plant foods to eat that it's pretty simple to adopt a vegan diet. I've lived in Central Europe and the Middle East and did not find it difficult at all to eat a healthy vegan diet there either.

My decision to become a vegan was based on the vast accumulation of studies indicating the efficacy of a plant based diet. It's not just one study but the huge range of them based on reputable science. Furthermore, doctors such as McDougall, Furhman, Esselstyn, PCRM (Physician's Committee For Responsible Medicine www.pcrm.org/ ) amongst others have demonstrated the benefits of adopting a plant based diet.

Becoming vegan is one of the best decisions I ever made. I love the foods and have explored many plant foods that the average person probably isn't all that familiar with. I'm lucky that my father has a wonderful, extensive vegetable garden. Although my parents' live some 450 km away it's a great treat to visit with the variety of vegetables at their disposal. One really gets an appreciation and understanding of where our food comes from. I live in a townhouse and currently only grow a few chilly plants and mint. One day I would like to have a large garden at my disposal to grow a wide variety of vegetables and fruits, especially greens.

The last time I had a full blood test the doctor was very impressed. He said 'it must be hard work being a vegan' to which I responded by saying 'are you kidding, it's easy to do something that you like'. I should add that I do exercise every day i.e. walking and moderate weight lifting, do not smoke and drink alcohol very rarely.

I came across the short video below on you tube where Martina Navratilova credits in part her plant based diet to her longevity in tennis.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiCgh0sw4vU

It's such a simple wonderful message which encompasses my thoughts and philosphy about a plant based diet."