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Choosing vegetarianism may be the most important thing you'll ever do

Why be a vegetarian?

* To be healthy. Less chance of heart disease and stroke and colon cancer.

* Compassion for animals. They feel. Do you?

* To preserve the environment, keep grasslands from being converted to deserts by the munching of cows, keep forests (including rainforests) from being cut down so cows can graze, keep groundwater from being contaminated by runoff from animal farms.

* Because production of animal-derived foods requires several times as much land and energy as plant-derived foods require, vegetarianism decreases world hunger, energy shortages and costs.

Understanding the above issues, and impressed by the intelligence and good spirit of some vegetarians I'd met, in 1969 I quit eating meat, fish, eggs and foods which contain them. I found the transition difficult for only a few days. At first I thought of vegetarianism as an experiment, a choice in which I wasn't fully confident, but before long, a sense of well-being and peace developed in me, which I could not abandon. I did keep eating dairy products (mainly yogurt) until 1986, when I became a complete vegan -- that is, I no longer eat any animal-derived foods. Searching for expressions which ring truer to me than the slightly other-worldly sounding word vegan, I've come to prefer full vegetarian and whole-hearted vegetarian!

Several recent studies show that chocolate which contains no milk has health benefits lacking in milk chocolate. Fruit-sweetened chocolate is a worthy occasional addition to your mouth and body. A little healthy game of tasty self-discipline I play: eat one piece of chocolate-covered ginger each day. (OK, occasionally I splurge and have 2 or 3.) Many brands of delicious, acidophilus-cultured, fruit-flavored soy yogurt are widely available, so there's no need to eat cow-milk yogurt. Have you been taken in by the myth, promoted by the large dairy industry, that dairy products are good for us because of their calcium content? Actually milk and other dairy products inhibit the body's calcium uptake because of their high protein content. Osteoporosis rates are highest in countries which consume the most dairy products.

Do you think fish are good for you? Read up on mercury poisoning. Some fish lack mercury, but are you sure you always know which is which? Go omega via walnuts and flax -- most days I add a tablespoon of flax oil to my salad (along with an olive oil-based salad dressing), or to other food, or sip it straight, and munch a few walnuts and other nuts (good for the heart).

We all have more to learn about everything, including the pros and cons of various foods, yet I find that learning about health is more of an adventure and a pleasure than a burden. Health feels better than unhealth.

Interesting related site:
vegsource --- a comprehensive vegetarian website with lots of articles, links, discussion boards, heart.


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Black Currants may protect against Alzheimer's disease, according to a study in the latest issue of the magazine "Chemistry & Industry". Expanding on previous research which had found antioxidant properties in currants (and other fruits and vegetables), Researchers at Tufts University said that compounds (anthocyanins and polyphenolics) which are most concentrated in the darkest currents may prevent or significantly delay the onset of Alzheimer's.

"We have evidence that the compounds protect against Alzheimer's by influencing the early gene expression in learning and memory, which influences cell signaling pathways that help neuronal cells communicate with each other," researcher James Joseph said.
(from HealthDay News)

I wonder: Do other dark & colorful fruits, such as blueberries and raisins, have similar effects? Added to my to-do list: buy some black currant plants, for my garden (which already includes a productive concord grape vine, and younger blueberry and buffalo currant shrubs).

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upchange-cows.jpg
vegetarian pals

"Never eat anything bigger than your head.
~ Miss Piggy

Supplements

Probably a good idea: take 1000 i.u. of vitamin D per day (halves the risk of various cancers, including breast cancer, according to recent research by Cedric Garland's team at U of Cal at San Diego's Moores Cancer Center -- see American Journal of Public Health). Beyond D -- for about 38 years I've used Vitamins C, E, B complex, further B-12, kelp, multi-minerals (or at least calcium-magnesium and zinc), multi-vitamins, nutritional yeast, lecithin. In recent years I've added DHEA, alpha lipoic acid, L-Carnitine, potassium, flax oil, aspirin, etc. For about 20 years I've used psyllium powder -- "Colon Cleanse" (often mixed into cereal with soy milk). For about 10 years I've drunk one glass of wine most evenings (before that, for several years, I avoided alcohol). Sometimes I use melatonin to help me sleep. Let's do more research on these and other supplements -- everyone's needs are somewhat unique, and misconceptions are unavoidable, as knowledge in this area is changing rapidly. More than tablets or powders, I appreciate herbs, as living friends and in the form of tea -- see the herbs page.

A useful magazine: Vegetarian Times

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