April 4, 2013

My Brief Life as a Vegan

A few weeks ago I announced "I am a vegan." Today I'll announce "I am no longer a vegan."

I decided to give the vegan diet a try after viewing several videos that suggested vegan diets might forestall and treat Parkinson's. I did some additional research and concluded "What the hell. Let's give it a shot."

I've mentioned here before that I'm a confirmed "neophiliac" (novelty-seeker). Neophiliacs make quick decisions based on incomplete information. That's me!

So, based on two short videos and 30 minutes on Google, I became a vegan. A week later, I received the April issue of Tufts University's Health & Nutrition Letter. The lead story about a recent Mayo Clinic study gave me pause: people 70 and older who ate the most carbohydrates in relation to proteins and fats were at four times the risk of developing cognitive impairment.

Hmmm. A vegan diet might slow down my Parkinson's but accelerate dementia. Time to rethink!

My Brief Life as a Vegan
Bill Clinton became a vegan, a decision he claims saved his life. He lost 23 pounds in a few months. I added several pounds in my first weeks as a vegan.

Clinton and others reported having more energy as vegans. I had less. Before trying the vegan diet, I had experimented with a low carb/high protein diet. ("My name is John and I'm a neophiliac.") One of the things I did on this kick was substitute a salmon-and-cheese dish for my breakfast oatmeal. I was much more energetic in the morning as a result. When I returned to oatmeal during my vegan experiment, I began dozing off again over the morning Washington Post.

I realized how crazy all this diet faddism was, at least for me. I should know better: I see regular reports that bolster and deflate these diet fad claims. Flip a coin.

I also know there's only one diet that gets nearly universal acclaim: the Mediterranean diet. I feel good when I'm on this diet. It's easy for this non-cook, since I shop at Figsa neighborhood restaurant run by Lebanese. Great carryout options  that require nothing from my kitchen other than a plate and a fork! I just had lunch: a mix of their carrots, beets, bulgar wheat, and kale. Of course, the Mediterranean diet includes meat, fish, and cheese, too. But I'll continue to avoid the meat.

I hope I can stick with this tried-and-true diet. No need to pursue the latest diet fad.

Tomorrow, I'll share a list of foods found to be beneficial for people with Parkinson's. These foods are part of a Mediterranean diet and are beneficial for anyone.

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