I know someone who doesn’t take such good care of her body. It’s not that she’s overweight, but she drinks like a fish and subsists on Wheat Thins and Diet Pepsi, among other things. I want to tell you the same thing I tell her when she asks for my dietary advice.
We look at fat person and think, “That person sure looks unhealthy.” But what makes up someone’s health? Is it just their weight? Absolutely not! Weight is just one of many indicators about the state of our health. Since we adults tend to be very visual we believe what we see, and we can see if someone is fat or thin. However, we cannot see the insides of our bodies without cutting them open. You have probably never seen the inside of one of your arteries, and you probably have no idea if your liver is shriveled up and sickly or if your kidneys are enlarged and diseased.
I am a big believer that our insides tell the story of our health before our outsides do. If you could get a camera and run it through your arteries right now, you’d probably be shocked to see signs of coronary artery disease. Autopsy studies done on children who died from accidental deaths (like car accidents) found that children as young a 4 years of age had signs of coronary artery disease! Unless you eat like a purist, it’s a sure thing that you do too.
We can’t see our insides, so we forget about them. But since we are so visually oriented, try imagining this scenario going on inside of our bodies: Our insides (organs, blood, immune system, etc) work their tails off to keep us healthy. We throw sugar, salt, fat and chemicals down our throats, and our insides become like a firefighting department, racing into gear to save us from ourselves! Alarms and bells are going off everywhere! Imagine, after eating a meal made up of salt, sugar, fat and chemicals, all your organs screaming to each other, “AAAACCCCKKKKK! Saturated fat coming down the pipes! Oh No! 2,000 mg of SALT coming our way! Watch out! Yellow #11 and Red #7! HEEELLLLPPPP!! All hands on deck!”
They do a great job of handling all this stress we put on them, but over years and years of abuse, they eventually wear down, and they start crying out for help. In the early stages, these cries for help can show up in the form of fatigue, weight gain, and inability to concentrate, among other things. Later on, if we ignore these cries for help, they become screams, and this is when we start peeing every 15 minutes … and find out that we have diabetes, or we have chest pain … and find out we’re having a heart attack.
What would your pancreas look like if you could open up your body and see it? What would your heart look like? Your arteries? Your brain, liver, kidneys, ovaries, prostate, etc? Would they be pink and healthy and happy? Or would they be showing the signs of how hard you are making them work?
A healthy vegan diet is so easy on our insides. When we eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans that don’t have a lot of added salt, sugar, fat or chemicals, our insides can practically process our food while they sleep. These foods digest quickly, leaving healthy vegans feeling energetic and alert, not bogged down or groggy. They are naturally low in calories and fat yet provide huge amounts of nutrients, including (yes!) calcium and protein. As a result, vegans are trim, vibrant, need less sleep, have tons of energy, and in my opinion, are generally quite a happy lot.
So the next time that soda, chips and candy (even the vegan brands) are calling out your name, go consult with your insides: Do you really want to put them through so much pain when they have worked so hard to keep you alive all these years? If you’re mindful enough to remember to ask, the answer will assuredly be “no.”