Eating vegan throughout your life is going to protect you from chronic disease and a whole host of other diseases. Now, we’re seeing living examples of this. Mary Minihane is a prime example that eating vegan is key to thriving (and surviving) in later life.
Back in 1974 as a young woman, when Mary made the decision to never eat meat again, she stood out from the crowd. Nowadays it’s a mainstream lifestyle decision and most restaurants offer vegetarian options.
The mother of one took it a step further however — she became vegan, that is eliminating dairy and eggs as well as other animal products from her diet, 15 years ago.
You could say that as an older woman she is a ‘poster girl’ for ageing healthily: “My health is amazing. I haven’t an ache or a pain. I will be 65 in March. After that I get the pension and I can’t believe it — I will be running down the road to collect it,” she jokes.
Mary Minihane, who is currently treasurer and membership secretary of the Vegetarian Society of Ireland, has adopted certain perspectives on healthy eating that would be against mainstream views such as only eating foods in their natural form.
Having said that, she can’t remember when she last visited a doctor — apart from when she had an attack of vertigo on a flight to the US about eight years ago.
“I don’t go to doctors because I don’t feel the need to. My health is my responsibility and there is nothing wrong with me,” she says. “I believe the body is naturally designed to heal itself if you get out of the way and let it. But what most people do is interfere – they kind of panic and don’t give it a chance.
“If you eat light easily digestible foods and let your body get on with it, it will, but if you’re sick and you start eating meat and your body has to concentrate on digesting it, it’s too busy doing that.”
She does this all the time anyway, which she fully believes contributes to her rude health: “I eat fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and greens — that’s all I’ve eaten since I became vegan in 2001.”
We humans have learnt to adapt but the fact that we can eat something, doesn’t mean that we should, she argues. Just because we can survive on it doesn’t mean we will thrive on it.