It’s Veganuary 2019, Veganism is Going Mainstream | achs.edu

    Written by: Judy Starr /
    Jan 10, 2019 7:01:00 AM

    veganuary

    According to Forbes, 2019 is the year veganism goes mainstream. The Economist says it’s the “year of vegan”. https://veganuary.com/ Are You Ready to Try It?

    Veganism has been about a 15 year process for me.  I’d like to say my reasons for starting down the vegan path are noble – like saving the planet and sparing animals from a torturous and short life span. In fact, even when I was in my 40’s, active, fit, and ideal weight my cholesterol was way too high.  My mother died of heart disease at age 59 and my doctor said, “find a solution.”

    So, I talked to some friends who are vegan.  I began researching and found information about the benefits of a vegetarian diet. Within 60 days my cholesterol dropped from 280 to 230.  My doctor was amazed and said “keep doing whatever you are doing. “ I eventually, gave up dairy as well as all meat to bring my overall cholesterol down to 175.  That’s where it is today and I’m happy to be able to do it without taking a statin drug.

    Although, in the beginning if my vegan transformation, you would have thought it was the end of the world as the condolences and  words of sympathy came from my meat eating family and friends along with questions like, “How do you get protein in your diet?” “Aren’t you concerned about osteoporosis and your bone health?  How do you get calcium?”

    The truth is, yes, I did need to learn the importance of eating a healthy diet packed with nutrition like fruit, vegetables, whole grain, nuts, and seeds. For sure, eating nothing but pizza, diet drinks and processed food would lead to malnutrition.  So, as I learned, I was also able to assure my concerned friends that vegetable calcium in bok choy, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, collards, kale, spinach and swiss chard would more than take care of my nutritional needs. These green leafy vegetables combined with the high potassium and magnesium content of fruits and vegetables, reduce blood acidity and lower urinary excretion of calcium as a bonus.

    Additionally, there are many plant sources that can help vegans meet their protein needs, including peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas, seeds, nuts, soy products, and whole grains like wheat, oats, barley, and brown rice.  Iron is also found in whole grains, beans, lentils, seeds, and nuts. B12 is hard to find except in animal sources like meat and eggs so eating foods fortified with vitamin B12 like certain soy and rice beverages and breakfast cereal or taking a vitamin B12 supplement is recommended. I give myself a B12  injection weekly to ensure I’m getting enough to stay healthy. You can find helpful books on nutrition at: https://www.apothecary-shoppe.com/collections/books

    There is a lot to know about good nutrition and certainly many studies over the past 10 years alone clearly show there are significant healthy, longevity promoting benefits of the vegan diet.  According to research by Harvard Medical School, benefits include weight loss, lower risk of a cardiac event due to ingesting less saturated fat and a reduced risk of certain types of cancer and Type II diabetes, thanks to the nutrition factors attributed to eating lots of fruit and vegetables. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/becoming-a-vegetarian

    Overall, I feel great, especially for a woman in her 70’s.  My lab tests are practically perfect now, I still work at a full time job at the American College of Healthcare Sciences that I love, and until recently I paddled on a dragon boat racing team. Now that I’ve moved back to Portland from Central Oregon, I plan to get back on a racing team this spring.

    Alright, so here it is “Veganuary and this is your chance to try going vegan for a month to discover a whole new world of taste and flavor. By the end of 30 days, you’ll be amazed at how fantastic you will feel.  Sign up today.

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    Image Copyright: Natalia Klenova / 123rf.com

    Authored by Judy Starr

    Judy Starr, VP of External Relations at American College of Healthcare Sciences, has more than 25 years of experience working with nonprofit organizations and brings her expertise in marketing and communications to ACHS. She has raised millions of dollars during her career through her work with major gift donors, foundation grant writing and corporate relations. Judy is a vegan who seeks to inspire others with her passion for organic unprocessed foods. As a licensed esthetician for 28 years, she has served at day spas and at the Ann Wigmore Institute in Aguada, Puerto Rico, where she taught skin care classes and provided skin care and Reiki treatments. Through her unique career journey, she has learned the value of choosing pure unadulterated natural ingredients for customized skincare regimens. Her niche spa experience gives her a unique perspective and platform to share industry-specific knowledge in the realm of natural skin care, body care and holistic wellness. Judy has been a Reiki master for 20 years.

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