Oct 6, 2011

Why does this blog exist?

This is to document an experiment in eating only foods from plants. I don't want to call it Vegan or Vegetarian because there is a lot of emotional and spiritual freight in those terms. This experiment has nothing to do with morality, it has everything to do with my health. I hope that this will document a successful change in my habits resulting in better health and perhaps help and inspire others to make the same trial.

A year ago I had a heart attack.

I was lucky, I figured it out quickly. It was early evening and I was walking back to my study to write, when I got the sensation of having swallowed a lump of food without chewing it. It felt about the size of a radish. I sensed that it might be a heart attack, but I sat down at the computer and quickly Googled the symptoms to persuade myself that I was wrong. By the time I realized that I was being a fool, the lump had grown in pain to the size of an orange. My wife called 911, and I got trundled off in an ambulance to the great entertainment of the neighborhood.

A few days later I was home again with two brand-spanking new stents in my coronary arteries and a stern admonition that I had to change my ways.

I did, carefully checking sodium levels, eschewing butter and fat in favor of olive oil, going to the gym and taking the forty-leven daily pills that were intended to keep my blood flowing nicely. I was highly motivated to not have that huge damn tube shoved up through my wrist again.

And so it went until a couple of months ago. When I heard about a documentary called Forks Over Knives. The film documents how two doctors, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, a nutritionist, and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, a surgeon, doing separate research, reached the same conclusion ... animal-based protein is bad for the heart, and probably bad for other things as well. I was skeptical, but interested, and wanted to see it but missed the local showings. Lucky for me it turned up on a popular but overpriced streaming video site (okay NetFlix), a few weeks ago.

I wasn't totally persuaded by their arguments, but it seemed as if the weight of the evidence was on their side of the scales. As someone who had grown up in an Adelle Davis governed home, I know enough about nutrition to discount the claims that vegetarian diets lead to malnutrition. So I decided that it couldn't hurt me to try the experiment. At worst, I'd be bored by my food, at best, if the FOK claims were true, I'd be much healthier and might even be able to cut back on the small fortune that is required for my monthly prescriptions.

It took me until today to realize that it would be a good thing to document my progress, my recipes (I do love to cook), my temptations, and my mood.

That's what this blog is for.

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