September 29, 2009
By Trista Cornelius, Contributing Writer
As I left the lecture hall after John McDougall's second talk at VegFest [Sept. 19, Portland], I overheard a woman say to her friend, "You can find research to support any kind of diet. How do you know what's right?" A few nights later at a town hall meeting, one of the representatives emphasized the importance of citizens getting the facts and knowing the facts. I thought of all the information available to us right now and how it multiplies every day, and I empathized with the exasperated woman at VegFest--how do you know what's right? How do you discern the facts?
Then, today, I heard a futurist speak about our fast-changing world, and he said one skill we all need in order to succeed is the ability to learn, un-learn, and re-learn. Facts change. If you've been veg long enough, you know that the idea of getting your "complete protein" was once considered not only fact but vital to your health. Now, we know it's not true. Going veg makes us un-learn many things (milk builds healthy bones) and re-learn others (eat your fruits and veggies).
John McDougall described his veg life as a journey, saying that he lives better today than six years ago, and better six years ago then twenty years ago. As we learn more or differently, we live better. Maybe it only serves to exasperate us to seek the one, definitively right way to live and eat. Maybe the right way changes throughout our lives. Maybe it's more fun, as the food samples at VegFest proved, to pay attention to each bite and make our choices based on how our food makes us feel--physically and spiritually--and let that lead us to what is right.