2021: let’s choose health

The new year approaches. It’s the perfect time for all of us to collectively choose a new year’s resolution. What if we all agreed that 2021 is the year we get healthy?

It’s not complicated. For the most part, it’s as simple as transitioning to a whole food, plant-based diet along with getting our bodies into some motion. Throw in some fresh air and sunshine, and it’s a wonderful package that improves our individual and collective health while also addressing the number one factor that can help to heal our planetary environmental crisis.

The data is out there (science, you know) that demonstrates a whole food, plant-based diet can prevent, mitigate, or reverse the big name killer diseases we’ve been living with for far too long — you know, these are all those co-morbidities that have sadly compromised so many with the coronavirus. Heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, cancers, kidney disease, high blood pressure — all of these things and more can be prevented, mitigated, or reversed by simply making the switch from meat-dairy-processed to plants.

The data is out there (yup, that pesky science again), that shows animal agriculture’s negative impact on our personal health as well as the health of our planet. It is the number one factor contributing to our climate crisis as it bulldozes rainforests, pollutes our air, soils, and oceans, and drives species to extinction at an alarming rate. We are all part of this problem and have the power to fix it with a simple lifestyle change that only benefits us.

We spent 2020 collectively fear-focused on fighting Covid-19. We spent the entire year engaging in stop-gap measures, many of which were destructive for people in terms of economics, social fabric, mental health, education, and, yes, even physical health. We could have chosen health during that time, but, even now, many choose instead to simply wait, masked and reclusive, breathlessly placing their trust in a vaccine for which long-term safety is an absolute unknown.

Next year could be different. Let’s make 2021 the year we take a positive, no-fear approach to a better, safer world. Let’s make 2021 the year we actually focus on getting and being healthy — together. 

simple changes for a healthy life and world

veru2_13_19-e1550060900590.jpgI was happy to see a recent video in which Mic. the Vegan interviewed Dr. Dean Ornish.

Mic. the Vegan always offers fun and informative presentations on all things vegan. His forte is delving into actual research to substantiate what we know about the vegan lifestyle. Be sure and check out his channel here.

I’ve appreciated Dr. Ornish since way back when he first published Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease. Everything in there made sense to me then, back in 1990, and it still does.

Ornish has a new book, Undo It, written with his wife, Anne.  The idea is that most chronic diseases can be reversed through simple lifestyle changes.

In Mic.’s interview, Ornish boiled the themes of the book down to a handful of maxims:

EAT WELL.

MOVE MORE.

STRESS LESS.

LOVE MORE.

Eating well translates to a plant-based diet. Ornish encourages vegan – the book includes recipes, too. Moving more means exercise. Stressing less involves things like meditation and yoga. Loving more means healthy, loving relationships in our lives, including connectedness with friends and community.

Sounds simple enough, eh? 

Mic. quizzed Ornish about a variety of topics. One that they spent some time on was the prevalence of depression and loneliness, and the impact on health – hence, the “Love more” part of the mix – which Ornish singled out as a high priority. In fact, in 1998 he wrote an entire book on that subject alone: Love & Survival.

Needless to say, Ornish’s latest book is on my reading list. It would be great to see us all take Ornish’s four simple maxims to heart: Eat well, move more, stress less, love more. If we did that, we would all be a lot healthier.

Not only that, adhering to those maxims as a culture has the potential to change the world and our collective future in very positive ways – from protecting our endangered planet to improving the very structure of our society.

Works for me. It’s simple steps each one of us can do to take care of ourselves and each other. Let’s “be the change we wish to see.”