Since I’m a lifelong vegetarian, you might expect me to say that eating animals is a very bad thing to do.
If we apply the golden rule to animals as well as people, “do unto animals as you would like it to be done to you”, most of us probably would not want to be eaten.
I could say that huge amounts of research has shown a direct correlation between consumption of animal foods and disease of all kinds.
But that’s not what I want to talk about today.
Last night we attended the showing of a short film in Hollywood, CA, made by a group of talented people, many of whom have recently graduated with university degrees in media production. If I can get a link to their latest video, Ill post it here.
At the meeting, there were a couple people older than I. One looked very young for her age. I spoke with her and found out she’s from Thailand and went to college in Australia. Her husband was an accomplished musician and even used to play music with the king of Thailand.
Having spent a year in Thailand, and five months in Australia, we found lots to talk about.
But what caught my attention the most was her bright eyes, clear skin, and sharp mind. She might be in her 60’s, but it’s very hard to tell because she really looked good. While talking about Thailand, I mentioned to her that one of the reasons we love Thailand is that my wife and I both have to avoid gluten and dairy, and since most Thai food has neither and tastes great, it makes Thailand a great place for us to vacation.
I need to say up front that I have not learned about health out of mere theoretical interest, or because I enjoy changing my diet. For years it seems I’ve been dragged, kicking and screaming, into health because my body was giving me loud messages, telling me I wasn’t healthy. I was the last of six children, and by the time I came along, maybe most of what contributes to health had been already taken by my siblings! Don’t get me wrong, I really like my siblings, and I couldn’t ask for better ones, but of all of us, I had the most problems with allergies, low energy and poor digestion.
But if I could have had great health and good energy by avoiding ice cream, pies, cakes, chocolate chip cookies, cheese, milk, candy, sugared cereals, Kool-Aid, cobblers, pizza, milkshakes, candy bars, chocolate milk, chocolate bars, Peanut Buster Parfaits, lollipops, jawbreakers, red hots, tootsie rolls, M&Ms, Lucky Charms, fruit canned in heavy sugary syrup, and chocolate dipped ice cream cones… If my mom or anyone had said, “you can feel really good and have lots of energy if you give up these things!” what would I have said?
NO WAY! I loved those foods! That’s a long list, but I’m sure I left out a lot. I loved anything sweet, and anything with lots of cheese in it. I’d make toasted cheese sandwiches that had so much cheese, my friend would get nauseated just watching me eat it. The first time I heard someone say “that’s too sweet”, I was shocked. I’d never heard of anything being “too sweet”. Never imagined such a thing.
But by the time I was 20, I felt like I was 80. I just didn’t feel good. The doctors said “you’re doing great”. Heart worked fine, blood pressure fine, blood sugar – no problems, circulation good. All systems go other than a few allergies. But I felt terrible. What could I do? In 1980, I couldn’t get on the internet and use Google to find answers to health problems. A doctor thought maybe I had candida, so I read “The Yeast Connection”, one of the first books about candida cover to cover. The doctor put me on Nystatin to kill the candida, but I didn’t feel any change.
So I did what I could. I drank water, I ran, I cultivated my spiritual life, but I still felt terrible. I was so desperate, I actually began to change my diet and avoid most of the above items. The long list of foods above. And I think it helped a little. When my doctor told me to avoid gluten, and when I was able to avoid dairy, it helped. Reading Dr. Fuhrman’s book, Eat to Live really inspired me to eat more high nutrient foods, and that helped. But none of these changes were merely because I have a fascination with health. I just wanted to feel ok. I wasn’t trying to be an Olympic athlete. I just wanted to feel as good as an average person.
So when the Thai lady asked me last night if I worked in the medical field or health field, I said I don’t have formal training in it, but due to my health issues, I’ve been forced to do a lot of personal study, and I related a little of my story to her. She said she also had less health and more allergies than her siblings, and she also is intolerant to milk. But to me she looked good, and now she doesn’t have problems with allergies, and Los Angeles is not known for pure, clean air.
What stood out in my mind is that even though she is not a vegetarian, she eats lots of fruits and vegetables. I’ve looked over a lot of scientific research on nutrition and health, and this seems to be a common theme. Whether a person eats a little meat or not may be less significant than how many fruits and vegetables they consume.
Prior to the writing of “Eat to Live“, Dr. Furhman spent years studying every scientific study he could find in the arena of nutrition and health, roughly 10,000 studies in the scientific literature, and he found the same thing. Fruits and vegetables are inversely correlated with disease of nearly every type. In other words, the more fruits and vegetables they ate, the less disease. Vegetarian or non-vegetarian pales in comparison. Even vegetarians who avoid milk and eggs but who don’t eat fruits and vegetables are at significant risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and all the other chronic degenerative diseases.
The Thai lady was an inspiration to me, a living example of the benefits of high nutrient foods. If I see her again, I’ll ask if I can take her picture and post it here.
What do you think? What are some of the keys you’ve found to energy and a state of feeling good? I’d love to hear your comments below.