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Monday, January 10, 2011

RE-Education & re-alignment

I remember quite clearly the exact moment when I knew I would change my diet forever. I had been reading quite a few books (some of which I had read a year or so earlier, but hadn't been ready to embody the message) and had been trying to get my mind around some of the concepts. I had pretty much committed to going vegetarian, something I had done previously in my life, but hadn't considered vegan as a diet option (how could I possibly live without cheese?!?!?).

I was standing in our barn and the equine dentist was out to do our horses' teeth. In case you aren't familiar with this procedure, it is quite the ordeal. The horse is sedated enough to make the procedure tolerable for him and his head is supported while a large speculum props his jaws open so the dentist can work on his teeth.

We have 5 horses, so quite a bit of time was going by while I was just leaning back and observing. About on the 2nd or 3rd horse I remember having the realization of how similar equine teeth are to human teeth; down to even the presence of a singular canine tooth. You could have knocked me over with a proverbial feather. I thought: I DON'T THINK WE ARE SUPPOSED TO EAT MEAT!!! I continued pondering this thought off and on throughout the rest of the dentist's visit and considered things like the mammoth size and strength that my horses have managed to attain while ingesting only hay and fresh grass. Hmmmm.

I began to really feel a shift to an alignment with the plant-eaters of the world and it felt just very right; I could feel the truth of it in my core.

But the scientist in me wanted to learn more and to find some cold, hard facts (plus I knew I would be questioned and questioned hard by relatives and friends) and would need data and lots of it. I came upon (via The Healthy Girl's Kitchen blog) the book that pushed me firmly over the vegan cliff: The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell. This book is so compelling I simply do not know how anyone could really process the information contained in it and not be motivated to make a change in the direction of a plant-based diet. It should be required reading for certainly all Americans, and better yet, for all of humankind.
Of course then as I read more and more, I learned of all the other parallels between the human body and other herbivores: intestinal length, taste buds, chewing action of the teeth and so on. I looked at the mouths and teeth of our many barn cats and our dutiful dogs and again saw that we are so much more similar to our horses than to our cats/dogs. It is these simple and irrefutable differences that I tell people about who question why I have chosen this diet. You can see the instant that most of them ponder their own teeth and for a minute grasp the truth of it. Of course upbringing and years and years of programming are hard to combat. (But, 'we've always done it that way' has never been an adequate argument for continuation on a given path). And so, when I present these observations to friends or interested parties, I watch for that flicker of light as, just for a moment, they too wonder....hmmm....maybe we aren't supposed to eat meat.
I'm continuing my education and it is great to see so many other esteemed professionals coming out in support of plant-based diets for health. It's an exciting time and I am hopeful that the disease epidemics that currently plague our country will be overcome. It's good to be vegan.

Sue - firmly on the plant-based path, in Ohio

Other books that had a huge influence on me were Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet, Rip Esselstyn's Engine 2 Diet, Skinny Bitch by RoryFreedman and Kim Barnouin, and many more.

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