Everyone must have a reason for doing whatever tickles their fancy. Whether it’s gardening, taking up a sport, reading a book or listening to music in the stillness of your “quiet” place, you have a reason for doing so. Likewise, I would like to share with you my reasons for living healthy, enjoying a healthy lifestyle and how it all begun.
The Trip That Changed My Life
My father was working away from home as a cook on the east cost of Trinidad called Galeota Point, Guayaguayare. When I was 13 yrs old, I spent a week with him during the summer and had the opportunity to attend a health seminar put on by a doctor in one of the local Seventh Day Adventist Church. It was during that week of lectures that I learn about how to live a long, healthy, happier and meaningful life.
The first thing that caught my attention was the statement that “if you want to be a brilliant student, you should limit the amount of meat you eat, or don’t eat any whatsoever”. Then, the doctor went on to explain the dangers of eating meat, drinking milk with sugar and what dairy farmers would be doing with their livestock in the future.
By the end of the week, I decided that I was going to be an ovo-lacto-vegetarian; cut out the combination of milk and sugar from my diet and start exercising regularly. I wanted to be an ace student and decided to put the doctor’s theory to the test. But, I had a problem. I was not cooking for myself, and no one in the family was a vegetarian.
Mommy I Want To Be A Vegetarian
When I returned home, I told my mother about the series of health lectures I attended, what I learned and that I wanted to be a vegetarian. My mother listened with intense interest and simply said “let me think about that”. It took my mother one full week to tell me what she thought.
Let me tell you a little about my mother. My mother – like all her children – is a member of the Seventh Day Adventist denomination. The church is big on healthy eating and living a balanced life, which included but not limited to exercising, sleeping at least 8 hours per day, no smoking or use of alcoholic beverages and being a vegetarian. Little did I know that my mother was inquiring about attending vegetarian classes that were put on by our local church in preparation for me going vegetarian.
My mother called a family meeting and explained to everyone my intention and her support for my decision. My siblings were curious to find out if they had to give up meat eating as well. She assured them that I am the only one for now and she wanted them to support me as well. In time, most of my siblings including my mother and father became vegetarians and some of us are still vegetarians today.
Meat On The Menu – Really????
Many individual exclaim that they could not live without eating meat. But, have we ever stopped and consider if out bodies are designed to digest meat. Additionally, do we believe that our teeth were designed to rip the flesh of animals off their bones as we chew on it? Consider for a moment the design of the teeth of every predator that kills another animal for food. Look at their teeth and we would discover that the front canines are long and curved. That is for ripping into the flesh and tearing it off the bones.
Human teeth are designed for us to masticate fruits, vegetables, nuts and generally, food that are grown both under and above the ground. I can tell you without any hesitation or reservation, that I am healthy because I chose to be a vegetarian coupled with a rigorous exercise program, not smoking and /or drinking hard liquor.
Enjoying a healthy life means having a balance between what we eat and how we care for our bodies.
Growing up as kids in a rural area, most families raised their own animals. Traditionally, children were given one animal to care for. We had goats and my friend had a cow. One morning the cow died and his father cut up the meat and sold it to families in the village and surrounding neighbourhood. I concluded that if a person with one or two cows could do that, what about the dairy farmers with 100s or 1000s of cattle. They probably do worse that. No wonder why so many people are suffering with diseases that have no cure or doctors cannot diagnose.
One Sunday I accompanied my mother to the farmers’ market and as we walked around looking for provisions, I was observing how meat was displayed and sold. At one stall, I looked at some meat and thought one of them looked at though the flesh was separating from the bone. I stood up to watch as the butcher cut and sold the meat. First cut was good. Second cut was good. When he made the third cut puss ran out. I ran to my mother and told her what I saw and told her I would never eat meat again.
What I saw in the market that Sunday morning and what my friend’s father did with that dead cattle, allowed to be steadfast in my decision to be a vegetarian, no matter what. Therefore, the question still remains, do we really need to eat meat to be healthy?
The Long And Winding Road
As I started out on my vegetarian journey, I found the road ahead to be a long, winding and difficult one. My mother was supportive, but my siblings were not. When they cooked, they cooked meat knowing very well I would not eat the food and they would get it to share among themselves. When mom came home she would prepare something for me or I will resort to eating bread and cheese.
The temptation to eat meat was great, especially when you smell the aroma of the food with the meat in it. As difficult as it was, I never returned to eating meat again up to today and I live to see two of my siblings and mother are still vegetarians.
Many of us want to pursue a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced meal and exercising, especially if we want to be a vegetarian or vegan.
The road ahead will be a long and winding one. Determination and discipline will be two principles that we would require along the way. We have to keep the end in sight at all times and stay focused. Do not give up though the road ahead seem rough. Every challenge we encounter along the way is designed to give us strength and courage to meet the next, and the next until we come to the end of our journey.
Healthy As The Morning Sun
As the sun rises every day to keep the vegetation of the world green, ripen the fruits and support life in general, we also rise every day with a responsibility to live the best life we possibly could for that day. We do not know what tomorrow brings, and since today is all that we have, let us vow to make it our best day ever. We could do that by deciding within ourselves that we are going to live a healthy, happy life today and live it to the fullest.