Oh the advantage of having your own backyard. I could plant anything! Right now, we are still preparing the plots. Manong Presco, our gardener is taking his time, probably because it practically rains every day so planting is not good. But my sister said she is going to bring some herbs for planting – basil, parsley, sage, rosemary, cillantro and mint.
I have been telling my friends Ondoy, Adette, Ines and Frank that I want to have my own vegetable garden, not that we have land. I want to go vegan, but before that, I need to have my own supply right below our kitchen.
US First Lady Michelle Obama wants the US to raise a healthier generation of American kids. Her Let’s Move campaign builds on two ingredients: better food and more activity. Perhaps, she could learn a thing or two from Bill Clinton, whose shift to a near-vegan diet after his cardiac surgery last year added impetus to campaign for vegetarianism. Aside from being back to his high school weight, Clinton said he feels much better and expects to live longer. We don’t have an epidemic on obesity here, but we have hunger and malnutrition. People do not see a vegetarian diet as a solution. Well, I do!
Despite high-profile endorsements, proponents of plant-based diets are still waging a battle against the meat-eating population, one that will continue until future generations will be convinced that a vegan lifestyle is the best path to health and physical fitness.
This is a core issue that demands a more creative response: does a vegan diet result to an active and healthy body? The myth that vegans look thin and malnourished continues to permeate the consciousness of some consumers. Last year, we applauded the initiative of the City of San Diego when it declared October 2 as the start of the San Diego Veg Week, the date being the birthday of Mahatma Ghandi, an icon of vegan lifestyle. Not to undermine the tremendous contribution of Ghandi to global change, he is hardly an inspiring image to the younger generation.
We need to change our messaging strategy and tell the young ones that being a vegan is not a form of sacrifice to preserve the environment and promote animal rights; it is a lifestyle choice that brings us health and wellness and contributes to the global initiative to sustain life here on Earth.
Just last month, Kathy Freston’s book Veganist: Lose Weight, Get Healthy, Change the World was number one bestseller on Amazon. The book, instead of preaching, narrates the positive effects of plant-based diets to the body and to the environment in an alarming but affirming language. So, the people listened! That should be the tone in which we inspire the young generation of consumers to turn vegan, or at least near-vegan like Clinton.
To educate the young generation about the benefits of vegan diet, we need to highlight the following points in manner that respects their intelligence, inspires their spirit, and motivates them to change their eating habits.
- A vegan diet is also for the young
Nobody is too young to be a vegan. The American Dietetic Association, in its position paper on vegetarian diets, found that they are appropriate for all ages, including the young ones. “Well-planned vegan and other types of vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life-cycle including during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence.”
2. A vegan diet makes you sensual and sexy
As Dr. Dean Ornish said to CNN’s Wolf Blitz in an interview about plant-based diet, “Your brain gets more blood; you think more clearly; you have more energy, and your skin gets more blood, so you don’t age as quickly. Even your sexual organs get more blood in the same way that Viagra works.”
Vegetarians often do not have weight problems and do not have difficulty in doing workouts that will give them the body shape they desire. In contrast, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said children who are overweight increase the risks of weight-related health conditions such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Obesity is found to lower the libido.
3. A vegan diet helps you live longer
A study of 1904 vegetarians by the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsche Krebsforschungszentrum) shows that vegetarian men reduced their risk of early death by 50%. We all know that the biggest killer in America is heart disease. For years, doctors like Dean Ornish and Neal Barnard have been telling people that “heart disease can be not just prevented, but reversed with a plant-based diet.”
4. A vegan diet makes look younger and fresher even as you age
Perhaps the proof is in the countless of models and actors who opt a vegetarian diet.
Michael Roizen, doctor and author of The RealAge Diet: Make Yourself Younger with What You Eat, wrote that, “Individuals that eat saturated, four-legged fat get a reduced life span and also more disability during the last part of their lives. Animal products block your arteries, sap your energy as well as slow your defense system. Meat eaters additionally encounter faster cognitive and sexual dysfunction at a younger age.”
5. A vegan diet gives you energy
High-meat diets are known to cause storage of fat in the body that eventually prevents muscles from breathing oxygen, leading to lethargy and tiredness. In contrast, whole grains, cereals, vegetables, and fruit contain complex carbohydrates which feed the active body with fuel. It is not true that all vegan diets are low in calories. There are vegan foods that are high octane for athletes and active individuals. Take it from Joe Namath, the legendary quarterback who has proven that a vegan diet can feed the energy needed for sports.
6. A vegan diet helps you become cool and trendy
Choose a vegan diet is becoming part of mainstream society. Gone are the days when it was an effort to look for sources. Great-tasting vegetarian meals are offered in supermarkets, restaurants, and even in fast-food outlets. There are salad bars in most social events. Besides, to be a vegan is to join a growing global community that includes politicians, celebrities, supermodels, scientists, and athletes. This coolness is healthy for the self-esteem and builds self-confidence.