According to the calendar, today’s my 52nd birthday. It’s hard to believe; I don’t feel any older than I was on the day I stopped eating meat and dairy 15 years ago. Though my choice to go vegan was for the sake of the animals—whose misery and death I was no longer willing to be a part of—the karmic reward (so to speak) has been the arrest of some of the detrimental conditions common among people in my alleged age group and a slowing down of the aging process all living things are subject to.
Unlike vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains and legumes, which can be kept as fresh as the day they were picked, meat begins to decompose the minute an animal is killed and their blood stops flowing. Any hunter or backyard butcher knows it’s a race against time to preserve dead meat before it spoils or is taken over by parasites (the microscopic kind as opposed to the human ones).Meanwhile, if not performed with great care, the morbid act of “gutting” an animal can spread E. coli and other intestinal nasties onto the “food.”
No matter how freshly killed the host animal was, their flesh is a product of death. It stands to reason that eating dead flesh cells, which contain no fiber and literally rot in the colon, will adversely affect whosoever consumes them. That’s why most herbivores live twice as long as the carnivorous species. And it’s why people who eschew meat and dairy* can potentially prolong their lives and find themselves feeling much more youthful and vital than most of their meat and dairy-eating counterparts.
*(For its part, dairy is rife with mucus forming pus—creating a favorable environment for respiratory contagions—as well as animal fat and acidic animal protein that leaches calcium from adult bones, while eggs are notoriously high in cholesterol.)
There’s a lot of truth in the saying, “You’re as young as you feel.” Forget the calendar, I don’t feel any older than 37. I can walk just as far, ski just as hard and chop as much wood as I did back then. I have just as much strength and stamina and am every bit as active in all ways—perhaps even more so, since I’ve had a decade and a half to recover from the ill effects of eating animal products.