I was listening to a recent episode of the Main Street Vegan podcast when the host interviewed the authors of a book with perhaps one of the catchiest titles I have heard in a long time.
The title of the book is "Even Vegans Die: A Practical Guide to Caregiving, Acceptance, and Protecting Your Legacy of Compassion."
"By addressing issues of disease shaming and body shaming, the authors present a manifesto for building a more compassionate, diverse and effective vegan community," according to a promotional plug for the book.
The authors spoke about the underlying belief among vegans and others that a plant-based diet is a guarantee of good health. I hear this often, as well as the opposite -- that I am not eating a well-rounded diet without meat, dairy, eggs or honey.
I have to admit that I have internalized some of this disease shaming. Eating a vegetarian diet since the mid 1980s has paid off big time for me in the form of good health.
When I finally dropped the remaining eggs and dairy products a few years ago, I felt even better and gained a surprising amount of energy.
So it's been easy for me see a vegan diet as a panacea. I am 54, have never been on a single long-term medication and am still able to do high-intensity exercise workouts several days a week.
I truly believe that a vegan diet is the best option for the health and welfare of humans, the animals and the planet. Science is kind of in my corner on this one.
But the truth is that even vegans die. If I am not killed by some sort of accident, I will get a diagnosis some day that I cannot escape. I get that, I guess.
In the meantime, I will continue doing everything I can to protect animals and the planet, and remain healthy physically, psychologically and spiritually. (All three are fed through a vegan diet, by the way.)
A guidebook to health that I cannot recommend enough is "How not to Die," by Dr. Michael Greger. The author lists the 15 leading causes of death in this country and refers to science to show how each can be prevented, treated or even reversed with a plant-based diet.
The second half of this big book lists the dozen plant-based foods that should be eaten daily to maintain good health. This list is also supported with plenty of scientific references for skeptics and the curious, like me.
The covers of both of these books are designed in a very similar manner, which I am assuming is not a mistake, considering their seemingly opposing titles.
I have not yet read "Even Vegans Die," but the title alone has caused me to reflect on my own mortality and how I can continue striving for a healthy life without denying the reality of death.