Just a reminder: Please do not treat the below as a replacement for medical or any other professional advice—if necessary, please do consult with a qualified specialist who can advise you on your individual needs.
I always found it ironic that people with a chronic illness would prefer to take a pill to mask the symptoms of a disease rather than eliminate the very thing that is causing the disease in the first place. For example, over the years, I have witnessed many cases of patients with cholesterol issues. We all know that saturated fat comes primarily from eating animal flesh and results in elevated cholesterol and clogged arteries. Also, dietary cholesterol is only found in animal foods (it’s produced in the liver). Common sense then dictates that the smartest thing to do to improve your cholesterol levels is to reduce your intake of saturated fat by reducing your intake of animal products. But instead, I have seen many people take the “easy” way out by resorting to medications, which only mask or temporarily relieve symptoms instead of eliminating the root of the problem. And the medication itself can even add another problem to the mix—pharmaceutical side effects!
I will always remember one day from the 1980s when I was a young nurse on the heart and stroke ward. I was taking breakfast to one of the heart patients, and it struck me that the type of food I was serving could actually be causing some of the very problems that put the patients in the hospital in the first place. Breakfast was bacon, eggs, and toast slathered with butter. Lunch was a hamburger with cheese and a big glass of milk. Dinner was roast beef, potatoes au gratin, and some limp, lifeless string beans! I decided to ask one of the doctors why we were doing this on the heart and stroke ward. The doctor’s response was to ask me where I had heard that meat was bad, and I replied that I had read it in Prevention magazine. I will never forget his response. He looked straight at me and said, “You can’t believe everything you read.” At that point, I knew that there was something wrong with the “health-care” industry.
I went vegetarian myself, quit working on the heart and stroke ward, and went into another specialty. I just could not continue to serve people the very food that was making them sick. Now 30 years later at age 64, I am vegan and have enjoyed perfect health and have lots of vitality and energy. I give the credit to my vegan diet. I wish that everyone had the joy of feeling so good.
One thing I have learned from being a nurse for so many years is that prevention is always the best route to take. For long-term health, the wiser decision will always be to eat foods that promote health instead of those that cause disease. Who wants to spend their golden years with heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, obesity, doctor’s visits, hospital stays, surgery, expenses, limitations, pain, and misery?
I have seen many cases that could have been prevented by simple changes in diet that not only promote healthy living but also are humane and pain-free. I think if I could go back and advise some of the patients I saw, I would beg them to realize that they are killing themselves one forkful at a time. “Put down that pork chop and run directly to the produce section of the market! It’s time to pursue the good life.”
It has taken the medical establishment a long time even to admit that meat is the culprit in causing many diseases, but now that we know what to omit for the sake of health, we can remove what causes these diseases. The word is out there in books, newspapers, and television. The research indicates that eating meat is linked to heart disease, strokes, certain types of cancer, and more. The good news is that it is easy to prevent killing ourselves with our forks. It’s simple, and it’s good for us, animals, and the planet.
Go vegan for a win-win!
Sandy Boss, R.N., is a vegan animal rights activist and long-time PETA supporter.