These vegan health articles are presented to assist you in taking a pro-active part in your own health.
M.M.: Do you find yourself running into opposition from parents who feel youíre preaching a personal agenda to their kids?
M.K.: When people come to see me all clogged up and on eight different pills, and theyíve got chest pain when they walk half a block, they usually donít need a whole lot of convincing. Thatís why they came to me. They know they are going to hear a message about a plant-based diet and healthier eating. But when I go to schools and I talk about what a meat-based diet is doing to our planet and to our health, and then the kids go home and say, ďI donít want to eat my meat tonight,Ē you bet we get some angry calls from parents.
ďItís easier to talk to people about a sex change operation than it is about changing our diets!Ē
Itís easier to talk to people about a sex change operation than it is about changing our diets! The comfort foods we were given as children put some powerful imprinting on our nervous system, but thereís another factor. It means that mother or dad were wrong when they gave us meat every night just out of love. They didnít know it, but it means that it was a mistake, and that the American Dietetic Association is wrong, the family doctorís been wrong, the commercials on TV are wrong, and itís such a dramatic blow to oneís reality orientation. People wonder: If Iíve been deceived about that, what else am I being deceived about?
M.M.: What do you say to them?
M.K.: It needs to be done in a sensitive manner in an appropriate venue. The Internet is making it easier because the information is out there and the kids are talking about it with each other online. So the kids know about it, but modern society is such a juggernaut. The fast food restaurants are everywhere, the advertising is everywhere, your peers are say, ďLetís go get a hamburger or pizza.Ē Itís hard to say ďNo, I donít want to do that.Ē
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and others have put out a lot of information, and when I speak at the Vegetarian Association, there are always a lot of kids there. And although parents sometimes get upset at first, when you really talk to them say, ďWell, yes, my husband has just been diagnosed with high blood pressure,Ē and ďYes, I just found this lump in my breast last month.Ē
M.M.: I was talking to someone the other day who was saying, ďYes, Iím really concerned and Iím looking closer at cutting out meat and dairy foods but itís difficult to talk to my husband and even my 7-year old son about it, especially since his dad may feel that Iím influencing him in the wrong direction.Ē
M.K.: What I tell them is donít say anything to your kids or your spouse or whomever. Just do it yourself. Just say, ďGuys, you can eat what you want, but this shelf in the refrigerator is mine, and Iím going to put my veggie dogs and my tofu sandwich here, and Iím going to do this because I have to do this.Ē Thatís all. Donít say anything else. Just start making your vegetable soups and your steamed greens, have your granola and soy milk in the morning, and you just do it yourself and donít make them feel defensive.
Gandhi said, ďExample is not the best way to teach; example is the only way to teach.Ē Youíll get a little ridicule and resistance at the beginning, but after a while it will stop once the novelty wears off, and youíll be surprised after a few weeks when they start saying ďHey, that vegetable soup looks pretty good, can I have some of that?Ē
When I speak at company immersions where the company brings employees in for a week and feeds them vegan food and gives them lectures and all this stuff, I tell them not to march into the kitchen and announce that weíre going to start eating healthy now. Thatís exactly how youíre going to engender a lot of resistance. Just buy your food and start eating it yourself and watch what happens. The good results will speak for themselves.
M.M.: Another thing that happens is when you go out to dinner with other people, or youíre visiting their homes, and they get defensive about your way of eating. You find yourself apologizing and saying things like, ďItís just something my doctor told me to do.Ē
M.K.: Yes, Iíve been doing it for 30 years now and Iím at the point where I donít care when everyone orders steak and I order spaghetti. Itís not 1950 anymore. People know about vegetarians, there are vegan items on the menu, and they even use the word now on the menus. Burger King sells bean burgers now. So I just smile and if they stop being a friend because I donít eat meat, then itís not a friendship that Iím going to mourn losing. I just make it very clear itís not a commentary. I love them all anyway. Iím just eating what Iíve got to eat.
M.M.: What about the health profession? Do you run into much flak or opposition from the more traditional medical field?
M.K.: The National Institutes of Health is composed of 27 different institutes, like the National Eye Institute, the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. And not one of the 27 institutes has the word ďnutritionĒ in its title. Western medicine does not believe that food has anything to do with disease, and certainly not the Western diet. The entrenched interests are so powerful, the multi-national companies that make food and drugs sponsor the medical schools and the researchers, and nobody is going to stand up and say a vegan diet is the answer to high blood pressure. Itís much easier just to take a pill.
And there are the standard put-downs, like in the TV commercials that say, ďWhen diet and exercise donít work ÖĒ Theyíre telling us that diet and exercise is not going to work. But thatís because nobodyís doing the real diet.
Cutting down to three cheeseburgers instead of four is not a diet thatís going to work.
M.M.: But the word is still getting out there.
M.K.: Yes, youíve seen everyone from Dr. Oz to Oprah talking about plant-based cooking, and there are movies like Forks Over Knives. And itís also starting to percolate up through the medical leaders. If you go to Medline or the official medical libraries of NIH and type in the word ďveganĒ, youíll get lots of studiesÖVegan Diet and Arthritis, Vegan Diet and Diabetes, Vegan Diet and High Blood Pressure. Itís starting to show up in the medical studies.
And finally, you run into individual doctors. Weíve got a rheumatoid arthritis doctor who knows that his arthritis patients do better on a vegetarian diet. So itís chinks in the armor. The wall of resistance is starting to crumble.
When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, it happened very quickly. I think thatís what may happen. It may happen with breathtaking speed how quickly a change to a plant-based diet gets official approval on a lot of levels. If they stop subsidizing the meat industry, the economics is going to dictate it, the public health is going to dictate it, the animal fairness, the Internet, all these things are forces that we may be astounded at how quickly the turn happens.
We began this archive as a means of assisting our visitors in answering many of their health and diet questions, and in encouraging them to take a pro-active part in their own health. We believe the articles and information contained herein are true, but are not presenting them as advice. We, personally, have found that a whole food vegan diet has helped our own health, and simply wish to share with others the things we have found. Each of us must make our own decisions, for it's our own body. If you have a health problem, see your own physician.