Hesh Goldstein, host of Honolulu's "Health Talk," a weekly talk radio show focusing on diet and health, has been on the radio since 1981. He was vegetarian for 20 years before becoming a vegan in 1995 after learning of the connection between dairy products and asthma. The switch to a vegan diet brought him dramatic relief from frequent asthma attacks.
Close to the health scene, Hesh was the Comptroller of Down To Earth Natural Foods in Hawaii for 13 years as well as being the co-manager of their busiest store.
A teacher of meditation, martial arts, women's self-defense (Wing Chun Kung Fu), and sports injury massage, Hesh is also an avid athlete. He enjoys 4 on 4 half-court basketball, sub 12-minute mile racewalking, racketball, and weight lifting, quite an athletic schedule for a someone who is 63. If that isn't enough to fill a week, he also officiates at high school football. He says, "For my real job, I am the Chief Financial Officer of a multi-corporate construction company."
We live in a country where, supposedly, 3% of the population or 9 million people are vegetarian. Assuming that 1/3 of these are kids, that leaves 6 million people who can vote. The question is, how do we tap into this group and live the adage, "In unity there is strength."?
Right now, we have various vegetarian groups throughout the country all doing their thing independently from one another. The intelligent thing to do would be to form an organization such as The Vegetarian Society of America that all the other groups would be a part of.
The only problem that I forsee is the human problem, the problem of false ego. The true ego is the eternal soul and the false ego is thinking that the temporary, changing body is who we are. The maidservants of false ego are power, recognition, lust, greed, and envy. The "I want to be the guy" attitude is the attitude that always gets in the way.
To pull this off will require hard work, dedication, and the reality that someone other than yourself will be the person in the forefront. For some, this is the bad news. But the good news is that there will be a strong voice in this country that can finally rebut the lies of the flesh and dairy industries.
There would be an organization that is capable of delivering 6 million votes in a national election, an organization that would be well represented in Washington and could elicit change where change is due.
But, before we can bring about change, we must first change ourselves and learn humility by sacrificing our personal motives and gains for the benefit of the whole.
One thing that is very important is to have people such as Drs. Ornish, Klapper, McDougall, Shintani, Pinckney, Castelli, & Furman as well as Ruth Heidrich, T. Colin Campbell, and John Robbins on the board. That covers the credibility issue.
The issues addressed would center around the link between diet and disease. At present, the Heart, Cancer, and Diabetes Associations are weak, archaic and slow in pointing out that saturated fat is the crux of the problem. A central national organization representing all vegetarian groups could issue press releases and lobby congress, for example, to
These activities would certainly get people's attention rather quickly.
Vegetarian groups on the local level are certainly beneficial in delivering the message, but what weight would the Vegetarian Society of Hawaii, or the Vegetarian Society of West Virginia carry in national affairs? Not too much, I would imagine.
The unity could begin with a conference where representatives from all the groups could come together to organize, plan, discuss, and create a course of action. Having someone who has been involved in organizing a Political Action Committee would be helpful as well. Imagine what people would eat if the subsidies of the flesh and dairy industries were eliminated? Can you imagine anyone paying $150.00 a pound for ground beef? Am I a dreamer? Hell, yes! But, if it weren't for the dreamers, where would we be?
The marathon starts with the first step.