What is a Vegan?
The term vegetarian is familiar to
nearly everyone. Its generally
accepted definition is “one who does not eat meat”.
There are several different types of vegetarians including;
ovo-vegetarians (they eat eggs), lacto-vegetarians (dairy products),
pesca-vegetarians (fish) plus combinations such as: ovo-lacto, etc.
Vegans (vee-guns) are a more strict or extreme form and might be
described as the purists among vegetarians.
They consume no eggs, no dairy and no fish, i.e., no animal products at
all. There are also vegans who
don’t wear fur, leather, etc. but these are issues outside of diet and get
more into the political arena which isn’t the subject we are trying to address
Who becomes a Vegan?
The stereotypical vegan (and/or
vegetarian) is a young counter-culture type protesting the exploitation of
animals and fighting for animal rights. While
many vegans may fall into this category, there is a large and growing number of
older people (50 plus) who are adopting the vegan diet primarily for health
reasons. Many in this age group
note that as they become older, their health starts to deteriorate at an
alarming rate and may eventually find themselves diagnosed with a life ending
illness or condition. These include
heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, etc. They seek help from the health care industry and are a put on
a regimen of drugs, chemicals, radiation and surgery, treatments where the cure
is often worse than the disease. Eventually,
as they despair of ever regaining their health, they lose their faith in the
medical establishment and begin looking for options.
Others look ahead, see what is in store for them and refuse to turn
themselves over to the health care industry before beginning their search for
alternatives. Changing to a vegan
diet is the alternative that the fortunate and the lucky find.
Why become a Vegan?
is a dirty little secret out there. It
is that the “western diet” (the diet that Americans, the people of Western
Europe and the affluent around the world eat) is making us sick and killing us
before our time. While there is a
lot of evidence to prove the above statement, the most impressive fact is that
cultures that do not eat our high fat, high protein, high sugar, processed food
diet do not have heart disease, do not have high blood pressure, do not have
adult-onset diabetes and have very low rates of cancer.
Wait a minute! If this is true, why aren’t our government officials and
health care professionals out there shouting this message from the rooftops?
Well, some are but there are billions even trillions of dollars being
made by entrenched industries that are selling us what passes for nutritious (or
maybe just convenient) food in today’s society.
Billions are also being made by the drug, medical and health care
industries that minister to the sick and preside over the final days of the
dying. An ongoing campaign of
obfuscation and disinformation has prevented most of us from realizing what’s
going on. Becoming a vegan solves
the problem, gets us off the bad food treadmill that’s making us sick, puts us
on the road to recovery and can eventually restore us to health.
Becoming a vegan is a journey, a
series of steps. Few would be able
to jump into this instantaneously. The
best way to get started is to find someone who has successfully made the change
and solicit his/her help. Also,
there are programs that offer education on background and philosophy and provide
instruction on food preparation. Your
local nutrition store should be able to provide you with appropriate reading
material and identify contacts and resources to help you get started.