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Menachem's Blog


Vegans, Vegetarians, Raw Food and Whole Food, Plant based Diets

I used to eat meat, lots of meat. What do you expect: I was born and raised in Australia. When I was a kid beef was much cheaper than chicken, so we only ate chicken on special occasions (and I don't remember if we ever ate turkey, duck or goose, but then they probably didn't haven't kosher geese or ducks in Sydney where I lived; they probably had kosher turkeys in Melbourne where there was in those and imagine still today, a larger Kosher consuming society. I do remember when they allowed venison to be slaughtered for prvate consumption -- I tried to get a few guys to guarantee buying a whole deer for kosher slaughter, but it never came off. I was in my 20's by then.)

But then I saw the light!! :-) I'd just spent a month outside of Israel. I was at a festive celebration at the Sheraton Plaza Hotel in Jerusalem. They all said it was a fantastic meal that they prepared at the banquet, and I admit, it tasted good, and everyone enjoyed it. But I'm sure it was designed for the taste buds only -- I guess laced with MSG and/or other chemicals that belong in chemistry lab and not in my body. That night I didn't sleep too much nor too well as the cow and chicken took their revenge . . . .yes we were served a medley. (I'm sure how that word came to be applied to meat -- I know how to swim a medley, but eating it is something else.)

Well really, I stopped eating meat last August. Not just meat, but anything connected or derived from meat. Not eggs, milk, fish (yes, fish is an animal!) -- just plants, from the ground and from the sea (yes seaweed is yummy and healthy too -- lots of minerals, better than land grown plants).

There were a number of reasons for this, that all seemed to come together at the same time. I had stopped consuming cow-milk products seven years earlier, and felt all the better for it. I had switched to goat yoghurt and cheese (they make some really good goat yogurt and cheese at Givot Olam in Itamar if you're that way inclined, which I was). I really felt the better for it, in a couple of different aspects of my being. But I was getting less comfortable with it and while I was away (in Sydney Australia, Chiang Mei Thailand and Hong Kong, I didn't have any, nor felt any lack.

Then I met my personal physician, Efraim Ben Zeev in Efrat who was reading a book called the China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell II. I was off meat for a couple of months by the time I read the book, but his description of the Study was influential on my decision. Ben Zeev now basically follows the dietary recommendations of Collins (but eat a bit of organic chicken on shabbat and a low fat latte on Tuesdays).

I was learning Midrash with my son, Aviel, before his Barmitzvah. His Barmitva was on Shabbat Bereishit, the first parsha, portion, of the book of Bereishith, the first book of the Torah. When God blesses Adam, he gives him permission to eat from anything that grows out of the ground (vegetables, grains, legumes) and on the trees (fruit) only. This shows that man can live on vegetables alone. The fact the He later, in the time of Noah, allowed the eating of meat does not detract from the fact that man does in no way need meat and from-meat products (if I was calf I'm sure cow's milk would be beneficial, but just like I never saw a cow smoke a cigarette, I never saw a cow or a bull put milk into a cup of coffee). Man was allowed to eat meat because God noticed man's weakness (how many of Adam and Eve's grandchildren had burgers out the back of the outhouse before they smoked that (vegetarian) cigar).

So what differentiates man from a goat, deer or other ruminant? [What is a ruminant? a hoofed, even-toed, usually horned mammals including cattle, sheep, goats, deer and giraffes (yes a giraffe is most certainly Kosher -- when did you last eat a giraffe steak?) They have a stomach divided into four compartments and chew a cud consisting of regurgitated, partially digested food moving about these stomach compartments.] Well man only has one stomach, so can't produce cud. Our bolus goes down a one way street. If your semi-degraded, masticated, food goes against the flow, against the peristalsis in your esophagus, you ain't feeling to good -- you'll (watch under) chunder as the Okkers say [vomit for the rest].

The difference lies in the fact that humans can use their brains. We know (though those into raw foodism seem ignorant) that in order to absorb the nutrients in many foods (yes, yes, I know not all foods -- heat kills the bacteria in Miso and in soya curds [yes Little Miss Muffet]. Our primitive, one stomach bodies need help, so we have to cook, pickle, curdle our food and yes sometimes eat it raw too.

My wife, Jill Kuchar, lost (I would say gained) nearly 60 points down on her cholesterol level. Her HDL cholesterol ratio is great. So this is a great cholesterol reducing diet. Triglyceride level is normal and weight has gone down. Me, I've had some improvement too, but started from a lower point.

I eat more than before, eat a much more varied diet than before, and don't have those up and down feelings that characterised the last time I ate a piece of animal. But remember, only eat whole foods -- avoid any kind of (unnecessary) processing, and where possible eat food from the organic garden -- leave the chemicals in the lab! Stick to olive or sesame oils.

I've just put up some photographs of my Home town EFRAT.