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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise

Vegetarian Essays/Vegan Essays

Hesh Goldstein has been a vegetarian since 1975 and a vegan since 1990. He has been doing a weekly call-in radio show in Honolulu, since 1981, called "Health Talk." He has no sponsors, pays for his own air time, and for the first time he now sells a product called Organic Sulfur Crystals, the benefits of which can be viewed on his website, http://www.healthtalkhawaii.com .

At the end of 2007 Hesh completed his Masters degree in Nutrition. He did this to cut off all the doctors who called in to his show asking what his credentials were.

At age 70, Hesh still plays 4 on 4 half court basketball two hours a week, racewalks, plays racquetball, body surfs, does various weight and cardio training, trains in and teaches martial arts (Wing Chun), has no illnesses and takes no meds whatsoever. When asked why he is so healthy, he replies, "Exercise, sunshine, and if it had a face or a mother or if man made it, I don't eat it."


By Hesh Goldstein

"Oh my God, there it is!" A chocolate covered doughnut, a "Super Sized" nut and marshmallow candy bar, and steamy hot, garlic Cajun spiced fries. You know these are the last things you should eat. You know you'll get a sugar rush that will make you tired, give you a bit of heartburn, or make you gain an extra 10 pounds. But, right now you want this junk food more than anything else.

If someone could bottle this effect it has on people and sell it, they would make a fortune. So, what is it about junk food that makes us lose our intelligence despite knowing that it lives up its name and is precisely junk? For one, it tastes good. Maybe you've had a crappy day and deserve a reward. It's cheap and it makes you feel soooooooo good. Whatever it may be, I'm sure you can come up with a dozen other reasons. But, the harsh realities are staggering:

  • In 2003, Americans spent $117 billion on obesity related costs.
  • Each year about 300,000 Americans die from fat related causes.
  • In the year 2000, Americans spent more than $110 billion on fast foods.
  • We now spend more money on fast food than on higher education, personal computers, computer software, or new cars.
  • We spend an estimated $50 billion a year on diet and weight loss things.
  • The fast food industry has a yearly advertising budget of $30 billion.
  • McDonalds spent $500 million on one ad campaign while the National Cancer Institute spends about $1 million a year to promote fruits and vegetables.
  • Three year olds are targeted for junk food advertisements.
  • In 2002, junk food marketers spent an estimated $15 billion specifically to market to children.

Last but not least, at their Heart Ball the Hawaii chapter of the American Heart Association serves prime rib, veal, or filet mignon to raise money to find a cure for heart disease. Come on, who's gonna pay $3,500 a plate for steamed vegetables, tofu and brown rice? After all these years and all these balls and all the research, isn't it about time they announced a cure for heart disease? Nah, nah nah! It's not about a cure; it's all about money. Hesh Goldstein

OK, OK, you've figured it out. The healthy food message is no match for the advertising budget of the junk food industry and the hypocrites that are more interested in raising money to keep their lifestyle intact than to really do something about obesity and heart disease. Our kids are raised in a world where fake, processed foods are the norm, and drinking soda and eating French fries are everyday experiences.

So, what do we do to avoid junk foods? Changing your mindset, which is harder than climbing Mt. Everest, is what needs to be done. Instead of looking at this "stuff" as a reward or a treat, try looking at it as calories that will make your body look like the Pillsbury Doughboy.

  • Toxic garbage that will turn your body into a "dump"
  • A combination of chemicals and artificial flavors that defy pronunciation
  • A waste of money
  • Not something to give a developing child
  • Something that is sure to increase your medical bills

When you look at healthy foods, don't see them as boring but as the staff of life that will build and enhance your immune system, give you a defense against disease, and make you look younger as you get older. We are told that there are no "bad" foods, only foods that should be eaten in moderation. Do you really believe that crap? I hope not.

Here are some foods that you might want to reconsider putting into your body:

A malasada is a ball of white flour, covered in sugar, deep-fried in grease, that will sit in your stomach like a lead weight. It's a guaranteed Homer Simpson special. The store-bought ones contain 200 to 300 calories, mostly from sugar and contain 35 to 40% of heart clogging trans fats.

A 20-ounce bottle of soda has about 14 teaspoons of sugar in it only because the sugar would not stay suspended if more were added. The 7-11 "Big Gulp" has 56 teaspoons of sugar in it. To add insult to the white sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, cola is loaded with caffeine. Mountain Dew has as much caffeine as instant coffee.

What about diet soda? Let's hear it for Aspartame and Splenda. Aspartame converts to formic acid (formaldehyde) at 86 degrees Farenheit (the body temp is 98 degrees). Those who drink Aspartame might want to answer casting calls for the remake of "The Night Of The Living Dead." With sucralose, aka Splenda, being born from chlorine, it might be better served if it were added to swimming pools.

Studies linked soda to osteoporosis, obesity, tooth decay, and heart disease. Soda consumption by kids has almost doubled in the last 10 years. Do you think that schools with vending machines always within sight could contribute to the problem? What am I thinking? These guardians and caring educators of our children make deals with the soft drink companies to encourage the kids to drink soda after soda because the schools share in the profits that help to fund student activities. What an unconscionable catch-22! These wonderful human beings sell the health of our kids down the river for a few bucks. It's just like leading cows to slaughter in a slaughterhouse. Show me a school without a vending machine, and I'll show you a closed-down building.

Anything fried has the likelihood of trans fats and cancer-causing acrylamide to deal with. When frying oils are exposed to oxygen, rancidity occurs and produces large amounts of damaging free radicals to the body. What you may not know is that these heated oils can cause premature aging, blood clotting, inflammation, cancer and weight gain. If you like French fries, try Hesh's Baked French Fries. Here's the simple recipe.

Hesh's Baked French Fries

  1. Get a pan or a Pyrex baking dish.
  2. Cut potatoes in "French Fry" type slices.
  3. Coat your hands with olive oil and rub the potatoes in your hands.
  4. Line up the slices in the pan, coat the potatoes with your favorite spices, cover the potatoes with nutritional yeast and bake at 349 degrees until brown (350 and up will produce acrylamides).

You will never go back to the fried junk again.

Trans fats, acrylamide, high fat, excess sodium and heartburn due to cooking in rancid oil. Umm, umm, umm, finger lickin' good.

Now for the bad news. The U.S. Government rejected the April, 2003 report by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which argued for a reduction in the national recommendation of sugar consumption from 25% to 10%. The sugar industry was so bummed that they lobbied to prevent the government from accepting the proposals and to cut off the $406 million yearly contribution to the WHO.

The National Soft Drink Association argued that 25% added sugar is not harmful despite numerous studies showing sugar's link to obesity. Is it reprehensible that the Government puts the interests of sugar ahead of the fight against obesity? Yes! But, it's the sugar industry that makes those "sweet" political campaign contributions year after year and no one wants to bite the hand that feeds them.

If you want change, it must come from you. Not buying these obesity-linked foods is a beginning. Maybe some day the government will stop subsidizing the sugar and flesh industries. And when chopped meat costs $98.00 a pound and milk costs $25.00 a quart, the country will be swarming with vegans. What a nice thought!


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