When is this vegan nonsense going to stop?

This is the question my BFF asked recently: When are you going to stop this nonsense?

This cracked me up, especially coming from Lisa, an unrepentant carnivore and classically trained chef, whose preference for two--and only two--restaurants we've indulged for decades. (Benny's and The Cherry Cricket, for the curious. Never let it be said that cooking school spoils the palette.)

Her question, though, got me thinking. Why am I so obsessed?

In the wonderful movie Moonstruck, Olympia Dukakis confronts her on-screen husband, played by the late, great Vincent Gardenia, with his cheating. "Cosmo," she says," no matter what you do, you're gonna die."

Being of an age where mortality weighs more heavily, I wondered whether it's death I'm trying to forestall. Maybe. But more to the point, it's the kind of death.

Both my grandmothers died of Alzheimer's Disease (AD). This is not a quirky, funny disease where victims get a little dotty and say cute things (though, this does happen). It's a devastating illness that robs people of their personhood, condemns them to alternate, hallucinatory realities and eventually, after removing memory, cognition, movement and dignity, it kills them.

Since my maternal grandmother, a woman who helped raised me, received her diagnosis, not a day goes that I don't feel the spector of this wretched disease.

That's why I'm eating my vegetables, people. There's some data about the brain protective qualities of a vegetarian diet, but on the flip side, there's data showing that vitamin B12 deficiencies--a problem for vegetarians, who don't supplement--increase the risk of dementia. There also seems to be a correlation high cholesterol and AD and this really gives me the willies.

I'm going to make my green smoothie now. Yumbo! I can't cheat death, but maybe I can die with my wits.

Comments (3) -

May 13. 2011 11:07


God Bless!

Sue |

May 14. 2011 22:55


If you haven't already read The China Study you should! And recommend it to everyone you know. It's life changing!

Christina |

May 16. 2011 09:47


hey leslie - i totally get the living healthy and eating your veggies - idea. but since we are not sure that being a vegan actually does anything at all to prevent alzheimers, i think it is important to fully enjoy the life that we do have. and eating good food is a big part of that enjoyment - at least for me. if you start forgetting things wth 80 or so, you want to know that you have enjoyed a fantastic life before that.
i am actually going the other direction. i did not eat meat (or almost no meat) for about 20 years, but now when i there is a good gumbo with andouille or a paella that has meat or chicken - i eat it;;))

martina |

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