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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise

Vegetarian Books

Each issue the VIP birds endeavor to soar to the highest literary peak to peck out the most unique, informative, and accomplished book or books that contribute to vegetarian enlightenment.

This month we review two books that travel across the age spectrum

Click here for a review of green kids club: wolf howls

Lifelong Running :
How to Overcome the 11 Myths of Running
and Live a Healthier Life

By Ruth Heidrich, Ph.D with Martin Rowe

Lantern Books, 2013
Paperback $18.00

Lifelong Running Ruth Heidrich has been running for her life almost all of her life. Because of her dedicated exercise program, this septuagenarian has the bone structure that many thirty year olds would envy. The word "osteoporosis" is not in her vocabulary.

Now in her 70s, this raw vegan triathlete is the winner of more than 900 trophies, 8 gold medals in the U.S. Senior Olympics, and has participated in 67 marathons including ones in Boston, New York, and Moscow. She is the winner of 6 Ironman Triathlons but would prefer the title of "IronLADY" instead of Ironman.

Life has not been easy for Heidrich who had a double mastectomy to remove the cancer in her breasts when she was 47. Following the surgery, visits to five oncologists did not yield satisfactory answers to her number one question: how could she strengthen her immune system to fight cancer?

She refused chemotherapy and radiation because her own research revealed no evidence that either would extend her life, but both treatments could cause permanent damage to her immune system.

Heidrich's persistent research led her to Dr. John McDougall who told her, "If you want to save your life, change your diet." By this time a bone scan revealed the cancer had spread to her bones and one lung. Her cholesterol was so high she was in danger of a heart attack or stroke. The next day she started her vegan diet and has been cancer-free for over 25 years. She revealed much of this information in her first book, A Race for Life, and also covered it in her second book, Senior Fitness.

Ruth Heidrich In our interview for her 24 Carrot Award, Heidrich told Vegetarians in Paradise, "I'm convinced that a vegan diet saved my life. By the time the breast cancer was diagnosed, it had become advanced and spread to my bones and left lung. I'd had the surgery to remove the primary tumor, so I was depending on my immune system to handle the remaining cancer. My diet of 100% whole plant foods allowed my immune system to function more efficiently."

Although she has benefitted from following a vegan diet, one of the myths she dispels in this book is that "you need to change your diet to run." She says all that is required is sufficient calories and carbohydrates. Along with those elements is "the best diet to support your running." She provides a list of nutrient-dense, high-fiber foods that are included in her raw vegan regimen.

The focus of the book is the 11 chapters dealing with the common myths surrounding running.

Myth #1, for example, is But I'm Not a Runner! Here she covers the excuses people develop to avoid running.

In subsequent chapters she deals with 10 more myths and offers research and details from her own life experiences to disprove them.

The title of each chapter reveals the topic covered:

  • Women Shouldn't Run
  • It's Too Hard to Start Running
  • You Need to be Young, Thin, and Have the Right Genes to Run
  • You Need to Change Your Diet to Run
  • Running Ruins Your Knees-and Other Body Parts
  • You Can only Run Under the Right Conditions
  • Running Isn't a Real Sport
  • Running Is Boring
  • Running Is Lonely
  • There's No Such Thing as a "Runner's High"
Martin Rowe Each of the chapters begins with a quote from a well-known runner. Throughout the book are statements in sidebars from Martin Rowe, who assisted Heidrich in writing the book. Rowe, co-founder of Lantern Books, is also a runner. In addition to commenting in each chapter, he also provides a section of the book called "Interlude: The Marathon by Martin Rowe" in which he presents a history of marathons and includes some of his experiences with running and marathons.

When someone asked Heidrich how many miles she has run during her lifetime, she responded by saying she averaged six miles a day for 45 years bringing the total to 98,550 miles, or four times around the earth. We wondered if that number also included the multitude of marathons she has run.

Along with quotes from well-known runners, the book's Appendix features personal stories from four other runners. Also included are Resources, pages listing books and internet websites and Notes providing sources for information covered in the book.

For anyone who believes a raw vegan diet is unhealthy and that running is detrimental to the body, Ruth Heidrich is living proof they are wrong. In Lifelong Running Ruth Heidrich provides both inspiration and information for anyone who wants to adopt a healthy lifestyle that incorporates a sensible diet with a valuable exercise like running. Heidrich is the consummate poster person for all she recommends.

green kids club: wolf howls
featuring Tiago

By Sylvia M. Medina
Contributor: Saige J. Ballock-Dixon
Illustrations by Joy Eagle

Green Kids Club, 2014
Paperback, $9.95

green kids club: wolf howls is one of a series of books created to make young children aware of the need to preserve animal species threatened with extinction.

In this graphic story, Tiago, the younger brother of Victor and Maya, accompanies his siblings on a camping trip with their friend Kaya.

green kids club: wolf howls After drinking out of a bottle that contains glowing green water, the children go to sleep in their sleeping bags. Maya feels something in the water is magical and makes the children able to communicate with animals.

Zor, a gray wolf, who is known as "Protector of the forest," lifts Tiago from his sleeping bag and carries him away to a cave. Tiago, who is wearing his wolf pajamas, pleads with Zor not to eat him.

Prior to this incident, Zor's mate and son were carried off by humans. Tiago offers his help in tracking down Zor's family. The other children join the pair in rescuing the baby wolf.

At the story's end the hunter says to Tiago, "You are right, wolves are an important part of our world and we need to learn to live together and share the land with them. We need to stop taking wolves!"

The book concludes with two illustrated pages of wolf facts and two more pages devoted to wolf restoration, both sections with stock animal photos. Most of the book features colorful pastel illustrations. One specially appealing drawing shows Zor and Tiago (in his wolf pajamas), both howling at a yellow moon.

green kids club: wolf howls is a sensitive story that makes young children aware that many wild animals should not be killed, but instead preserved. It is a story parents will enjoy reading to their children whose attention will be held by the engaging illustrations in a tale that emphasizes that animals also live in families that care for each other.

Click here for past book reviews

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