“Veganism is a very fine form of nutrition. It’s a little extreme to tell a person who is using flesh foods that you’re going to take everything entirely away from them. When I was in practice in medicine, I would tell the patients that the vegetable based diet was the healthy way to go, and to keep away from the animal products as much as possible. People are very sensitive about what they eat. You can talk to people about exercising relaxation, good mental attitude and they will accept that. But you talk to them about what they are eating and people are very sensitive about that. If an individual is willing to listen, I will try to explain to them on a scientific basis of how I think it’s better for them.” – Dr. Ellsworth Wareham
Below is a video clip of Dr. Ellsworth Wareham, a 100 year old recently retired heart surgeon who has been a vegan for half of his life (5o years).
Why Vegetarian And Vegan Diets Are Becoming More Popular
This 100 year old heart surgeon isn’t the only one, Kim A. Williams, M.D., incoming president of the American College of Cardiology has also adopted a vegan diet.
World renowned figures throughout history, from Plato and Nietzsche all the way to pop icons like Paul Mcartney and Bob Marley, to political leaders like Gandhi and and Benjamin Franklin, have all advocated a vegetarian diet. There is no doubt that the influence of these kinds of “celebrity” figures, along with outspoken animal rights advocates, have played a role in the rise of vegetarianism in recent years, but the main reason for its recent popularity really has to do with the way it makes people feel and the science behind it. There is no shortage of studies demonstrating the clear health benefits of vegetarian and vegan diets, and many of them outline how these benefits increase the more an individual decreases the amount of animal products they consume.
That being said, even if you are not an advocate of a vegetarian or vegan diet, it’s important to note that a very high and alarming percentage of Americans eat hardly any vegetables whatsoever. According to the Wall Street Journal, in 2011, approximately 80% of Americans who ate meat rarely consumed vegetables at all. (source)
“Studies are confirming the health benefits of meat-free eating. Nowadays, plant-based eating is recognized as not only nutritionally sufficient but also as a way to reduce the risk for many chronic illnesses.” – Harvard Medical School (source)
For example, the American Dietetic Association weighed in with a position paper, concluding that “appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.” (Journal of the American Dietetic Association, July 2009) (source)
These diseases include heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and more.
Again, there are literally a multitude of studies showing the benefits of vegetarian and/or vegan diets. If you are still skeptical, a quick little research session will make the matter abundantly clear.
It’s good to see research into vegetarianism and veganism confirm these benefits, whereas in previous years they focused solely on the problems that can arise from potential nutritional deficiencies. That being said, if you are going to make this transition, it is very important to be aware of your body’s requirements and what nutrients you may be giving up. You will have to learn the plant-based sources of these nutrients.
If this is something you are interested in, we encourage you to further your research. If you try it out, you should not feel tired, lacking energy or strength, or feel depressed. In fact, it should be the exact opposite. If something like this happens to you, you are most likely deficient in nutrients, so make sure to adjust your meals accordingly.