According to Forbes, 2019 is the year veganism goes mainstream. The Economist says it’s the “year of vegan”. https://veganuary.com/ Are you ready to try it?
Veganism has been about a 15 year process for me. I’d like to say my reasons for starting down the vegan path are noble – like saving the planet and sparing animals from a torturous and short life span. In fact, even when I was in my 40’s, active, fit, and ideal weight my cholesterol was way too high. My mother died of heart disease at age 59 and my doctor said, “find a solution.”
So, I talked to some friends who are vegan. I began researching and found information about the benefits of a vegetarian diet. Within 60 days my cholesterol dropped from 280 to 230. My doctor was amazed and said “keep doing whatever you are doing.“ I eventually, gave up dairy as well as all meat to bring my overall cholesterol down to 175. That’s where it is today and I’m happy to be able to do it without taking a statin drug.
Although, in the beginning if my vegan transformation, you would have thought it was the end of the world as the condolences and words of sympathy came from my meat eating family and friends along with questions like, “How do you get protein in your diet?” “Aren’t you concerned about osteoporosis and your bone health? How do you get calcium?”
The truth is, yes, I did need to learn the importance of eating a healthy diet packed with nutrition like fruit, vegetables, whole grain, nuts, and seeds. For sure, eating nothing but pizza, diet drinks and processed food would lead to malnutrition. So, as I learned, I was also able to assure my concerned friends that vegetable calcium in bok choy, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, collards, kale, spinach and swiss chard would more than take care of my nutritional needs. These green leafy vegetables combined with the high potassium and magnesium content of fruits and vegetables, reduce blood acidity and lower urinary excretion of calcium as a bonus.
Additionally, there are many plant sources that can help vegans meet their protein needs, including peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas, seeds, nuts, soy products, and whole grains like wheat, oats, barley, and brown rice.
Iron is also found in whole grains, beans, lentils, seeds, and nuts. B12 is hard to find except in animal sources like meat and eggs so eating foods fortified with vitamin B12 like certain soy and rice beverages and breakfast cereal or taking a vitamin B12 supplement is recommended. I give myself a B12 injection weekly to ensure I’m getting enough to stay healthy. You can find helpful books on nutrition at: https://www.apothecary-shoppe.com/collections/books
There is a lot to know about good nutrition and certainly many studies over the past 10 years alone clearly show there are significant healthy, longevity promoting benefits of the vegan diet. According to research by Harvard Medical School, benefits include weight loss, lower risk of a cardiac event due to ingesting less saturated fat and a reduced risk of certain types of cancer and Type II diabetes, thanks to the nutrition factors attributed to eating lots of fruit and vegetables. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/becoming-a-vegetarian
Overall, I feel great, especially for a woman in her 70’s. My lab tests are practically perfect now, I still work at a full time job at the American College of Healthcare Sciences www.achs.edu that I love, and until recently I paddled on a dragon boat racing team. Now that I’ve moved back to Portland from Central Oregon, I plan to get back on a racing team this spring.
Alright, so here it is “Veganuary” and this is your chance to try going vegan for a month to discover a whole new world of taste and flavor. By the end of 30 days, you’ll be amazed at how fantastic you will feel.
Sign up today!
Judy Starr, VP of External Relations at American College of Healthcare Sciences
About American College of Healthcare Sciences – Founded in 1978, ACHS.edu is a Portland, Ore.-based, accredited college offering online, on-campus, and study abroad integrative health education. With undergraduate and graduate degrees, diplomas, certificates, and continuing education units in integrative health, ACHS makes holistic health and wellness education accessible to a diverse community, including healthcare professionals, military students, stay-at-home parents, and lifelong learners. Specializations include aromatherapy, herbal medicine, holistic nutrition, and wellness. ACHS is a Certified B Corporation® and was named two of 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon 2017 by Oregon Business magazine. ACHS is also accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Visit achs.edu.