The role of nutrition for a quality life style is rarely argued, yet rarely respected. Both of my parents have high blood pressure. My mother also has high cholesterol and is a survivor of a quadruple bypass. She has suffered a couple of both mini strokes and heart attacks. My father has survived prostate cancer and throat cancer. He is a double leg amputee due to poor circulation. My parents are in their seventies and grew up believing lard was meant to be consumed daily. Then along came technology and the word hydrogenated meant “longer shelf life.” Artificial flavors and colors replaced natural grays and real taste. My parents, like so many others, believed this way of eating was not only natural, but healthy. Today they are unable to explain why they suffer from so many common medical conditions.
Me? I’m a health conscious, label reading, vegetarian. I decided to become one 15 years ago when I moved out on my own and started cooking for myself. At first, I decided to do it for moral reasons. Tearing animal flesh from a chicken’s leg with my teeth just seemed wrong to me. But then I started educating myself about a vegetarian diet, and I became very interested in the health benefits.
For 15 years now I have enjoyed a relatively healthy life. I rarely fall ill, although I can not remember a season going by during my meat eating childhood when I was not attacked by both a nasty cold and deathly flu. Passing on occasional taste and convenience has certainly been worthwhile for me.
Now, at age 37, I went through a successful pregnancy and gave birth to a very healthy baby boy. During genetic counseling, I was informed by the medical staff that my eggs were “that of a 20-year-old.” During delivery, my doctor exclaimed to the nurse, “Wow, look at that healthy placenta.” My 3 month old vegetarian breast fed baby has grown from a healthy 8 pounds, 6 ounces to a healthy 17 pounds. His height is growing with his weight. He is not colicky or fussy, he rarely gets gas, and he almost never spits up. He is happy and on target with every mile stone.
Maybe I’m just really lucky, but I believe nutrition is playing a very important role. So, I’ll pass on the hardening of the arteries fat salami, but you can pass the broccoli!