To Vegan or not to Vegan? That is the Question…

To vegan or not to vegan

Right after we rang in 2012, my lovely oldest daughter Jenny decided to go vegan. She attends Point Park University in Pittsburgh and is in the musical theatre conservatory there. Like many of her classmates, all performers and dancers, good health and a well-tuned (ok, toned!) body is a priority. She’d been a vegetarian for many years and recently decided to get even more serious about a plant-based diet.

This child of mine inspires me!! I would like to be vegan. I really would. But I’m lazy. I don’t like change. Gratefully, I don’t have health problems or discomforts that make me think changing my diet in this way will alleviate any nagging issues. Mostly, I don’t have a burning desire to give up my daily plain greek yogurt with sliced banana fix, or that shaved parmesean on top of my arugala salad. Yet, I know it would be good for me…

Jenny is my Vegan Daughter

So just after we stepped into 2012, as I was sorta pondering a very slow move toward veganism, a newsletter from my friend, actor Victor Fischbarg, landed in my in box. Victor and I met on the set of Dating in the Middle Ages.

I was cast as a nasty matchmaker, and he continuously cracked me up during the shoot as my snooty sidekick, “Gerard”. Victor is a very funny and busy actor, writer, and now, vegan!

If you’ve been pondering making the move away from meat, dairy, etc., maybe you’ll find his thoughts enlightening, as well as inspirational:

“Well, statistically speaking, whatever your new year resolutions were, they’re probably nearly abandoned by now. So I thought it would be good timing to share one of mine. Many of you know how phlegmy and gassy I get after eating my beloved cheese, and those of you who didn’t, well, at least you can always easily opt-out of my newsletter, right? Like many who’ve dabbled with vegetarian meals here and there, I wondered about the practicality of going vegan (no dairy). Is enlightenment overrated without pizza? Even Bubba Bill Clinton has seen the light; he’s now vegan?! While Beano is the miracle drug if you aspire to be gas-free, I don’t want to get all full of hot air about it. Sorry, couldn’t resist. That was a really low blow. Sorry, couldn’t resist. Feeling winded by these puns? Sorry, couldn’t resist.

So, new year, good time to test out a new vegan, non-dairy diet, right? Plus, for the first time in 2 years, I do not have a pizza commercial from any chain running anywhere. Here was last year’s pizza ad; enjoy it while you can, since it’s unlikely you’ll ever get to see me as a Canadian Hockey Dad ever again. So until the next job, I have this brief window of not being hypocritical. Or, a pizza-shilling hoser. Take off, eh.

Now, statistically speaking again, you probably fall in either of these two veggie camps: ‘I tried that, it was too hard, and made me feel awful.’ Or, ‘I could never live without meat. And definitely not cheese.’ Why do we have so much resistance to the idea, including me? Could there really be a deeper issue here? One reason: Judy Greer’s web show says cheese triggers a morphine-like addiction.

a film that can save your life‘But wait, isn’t this the same guy who wrote to me last summer about sampling fried butter at the county fair?’ Well, thanks to my friend David’s tip, I was stunned by Forks over Knives, now out on DVD.  It’s a must-see, especially if you like Dr. Oz or CNN’s Sanjay Gupta. And did I mention, Clinton? If you are usually bored by documentaries, this one shows how most, if not all, degenerative diseases can be controlled or reversed by rejecting animal-based and processed foods without medication. And why the government can’t effectively decide what the basic food groups even are… Basically, healthy people who eat fruits and vegetables don’t buy enough crap!

Some fascinating moments (Spoiler Alert!):

  • In men, adding lowfat dairy products (Pinkberry, skim milk) can actually elevate prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction due to a higher concentration of dietary animal protein
  • In women, those with reproductive issues had their conditions reversed after a vegan trial (except one, see Special Features on the DVD)
  • Casein, a common milk protein additive that’s even in some fake veggie cheeses, is carcinogenic in rats. Consuming anything over 5% of total calories from casein is the “on” switch for cancer tumor growth
  • Animal protein to avoid includes: casein, whey, chicken, eggs, and fish; all replaceable with vegetable protein
  • Type-1 (juvenile) diabetes might now be linked to brief/no breastfeeding combined with early cow’s milk consumption

So I would encourage you to remember that in my case, instead of focusing on all of the things I was giving up, life gave me a world of exciting new things to explore… Isn’t that so typical of that snotnose know-it-all called life? Giving us fun new things to try?

And just as I bring this all up, here is the timely quote I just read on the side of the Kombucha bottle: “Knowledge is learning something every day. Wisdom is letting go of something every day.” – Zen Proverb

Victor is currently sampling a gluten-free, dairy-free, kosher, halal, whole-grain, organic slice of soy pepperoni pizza. 

Victor is a vegan

Me? I’m still eating dairy… But feel free to share what’s cooking with you…