If you get a chance, check out this video of Loreen Dinwiddie, a spirited 108-year-old woman from Portland who insists that a big part of her longevity is her vegan diet.
Similarly, fitness guru Jack LaLanne, who passed away in late January at the age of 96, while not a vegan, was close to it. He did eat fish and eggs, but almost never touched any other animal products.
In the scheme of things, the vegan diet is a relatively new way of life. The pioneering British vegan Donald Watson (1910-2005) founded the first vegan group in 1944 with a few kindred spirits. He died at the age of 95, living long enough to see his once marginalized lifestyle gaining new adherents around the world and moving from the fringes to the mainstream.
Because the diet has not been around for long (even though there were certainly practitioners of it before Watson came along and gave it a name), we have not really had time to test whether it promotes human longevity. Do vegans live longer than non-vegans? The verdict is still out.
But we do know that so many animal-based products are not healthy. For those who still don't believe this, check out the statistics published by the Vegetarian & Vegan Society of Queensland, Australia. Or any other reliable, comprehensive vegan Website. Or download Vegan Outreach's wonderful brochure here.
The stats don't lie. Veganism is a far healthier way of living than omnivorism or vegetarianism. But - like all diets - you always have to be mindful about what you eat. My downfall comes from the fact that Oreos and Ruffles are vegan. Also, Sweet & Sara's Vegan Marshmallows have become a staple of my diet, and sometimes I'd be better off if I didn't eat quite so many of those.
The vegan diet has only been around in name for 67 years, but I have a feeling that history's verdict on the lifestyle will be a very positive one. And people who embrace it will be rewarded with longer lives and a knowledge that their decisions are not spreading and prolonging misery among non-human animals.