The Compassion Bash, AKA a V-E-G-A-N Party!!!
When you read those words, what comes to mind? A bunch of hippies eating hummus and veggie burgers, wearing faux leather moccasins and “Save the Whales” t-shirts while listening to The String Cheese Incident or the late Bob Dylan? I didn't know what to expect from something called the Compassion Bash but that illustration wasn't far off. Except, the music wasn’t quite that good. Who knew a band could play songs by Ke$ha and Katy Perry live, with real instruments? That's what you get when you hire a cover band. Either way it was fun to drink free beer, listen to the thought provoking Neal Barnard and dance to catchy pop tunes with fellow veg heads. And better yet, all for a good cause, the Animal Protection and Rescue League.
I was on the edge of my seat eating hummus and other vegan viddles waiting for Dr. Neal Barnard to say a few words. You may have seen him on Oprah, Extra, Ellen, Dr. Drew or maybe you have read one of his bazillion published articles. But on Saturday night he was right here in San Diego speaking to moi (and 75 other people, but whatever). Neal Barnard, MD has written something like 10 books on preventing and reversing disease with a vegan diet. He writes mostly about cancer and reversing Diabetes. Dr. Barnard has been the principal investigator on several clinical trials with some amazing findings on nutrition and health and is the founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM).
His talk was riveting as he explained his own experiences performing autopsies and feeling hardened arteries built up with plaque. Plaque from a high-fat, cholesterol laden diet that led these individuals to the autopsy lab. He shared stories about his own mother reversing high cholesterol without drugs, patients with ED suddenly being able to have an erection after switching to a plant based diet and many others reversing Diabetes through a vegan diet rather than the typical diet recommended by the ADA.
Here are a few points I couldn't get out of my head:
- Today’s children will have a shorter life span than their parents if they continue on the typical American diet. (I've heard it before but it shocks me still.)
- At this rate, 1 out of 2 boys will develop some type of cancer in their life and 1 out of 3 girls. These are our kids we are talking about!
- Even while our government is struggling to find ways to cover the costs of diabetes drugs and supplies--which typically cost between $3,000 and $5,000 for just one person with diabetes each year--it also pays out massive subsidies to the sugar industry. Junk food is made more affordable, and diabetes risk skyrockets.
- Even as we seek to cover the cost of cholesterol-lowering drugs--one Lipitor pill costs about $5--our government also subsidies the production of high-cholesterol meat and cheese products.
- Government contracts ensure that school lunches are loaded with high-fat fare. More than 80 percent of schools serve too much high-fat food to comply with the federal government's own nutrition guidelines. (GRR!)
- On an encouraging note: Many of us know it takes 3 weeks to develop a new habit. Giving up meat and dairy for plant based foods may seem hard, but after 3 weeks it will be habitual. It certainly doesn’t hurt to TRY. :)
I also want to add that the PCRM has a 21-day Vegan Kick-Start program. When you sign up you receive free recipes, meal plans, restaurant guides and even an iPhone app! Check out the video (with Neal Barnard, MD himself). :)