Ten years ago, my wife Marcee watched a CNN special with Sanjay Gupta about President Clinton’s miracle treatment for heart disease: a plant-based diet. This hit home for Marcee, who before law school had handed instruments in the operating room to heart surgeons Crawford and Debakey. Taking steroids and pain pills for her arthritis, she figured that, like heart disease, it was an inflammatory process. Why wouldn’t a plant-based diet work for her, too? Well it did, and two weeks later she was off her medications.

It took me months and some investigating to come around. The health claims checked out. Besides heart disease, a whole food plant-based diet could improve insulin resistance for diabetics, reduce cancer risk and double your odds of survival if you are diagnosed, fight kidney disease and a dozen other chronic diseases. If there is a cure for everything, a whole food plant-based diet could be the ticket. And no adverse consequences. No pill can do that.

Besides good health, veganism also scored as a solution to many of the world’s problems. According to Brad Plumer of Vox, it takes 30 calories of feed to make one calorie of beef; and according to Dr. George Borgstrom of “Cowspiracy,” a pound of beef production takes 2,500 gallons of water. It’s a wasteful system that essentially turns 30 plant burgers and 625 gallons of water into one hamburger — that can give you heart disease, diabetes and cancer to boot. Imagine if the 70 percent of water resources that are now funneled into animal agriculture were suddenly stopped; the Colorado River might flow to the ocean again. If the world’s going to win the fight against climate change and world hunger, it will only be because millions give up meat — at least every once in a while.

And karma. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly 10 billion land and 47 billion aquatic animals were slaughtered in the United States last year. Raised almost entirely in factory farms and feedlots, these innocent animals endure harsh conditions to maximize profit, with no chance to do normal animal things, before being slaughtered as young adults.

It’s also biblical. In God’s first conversation with man, he commanded us to eat plants (Genesis 1:28). God’s later concession to man’s lust was grudgingly given and set up with a host of rules designed to make eating meat difficult, including that anyone who killed an animal apart from temple sacrifice should be shunned like a murderer (Leviticus 17:4). We don’t go that far at the Burro; everyone is welcome.

Being vegans, we couldn’t have done the Golden Burro any other way. Our hope is that we will make Leadville a better place to live and visit as a result. To find out more, please join us at the Burro for the Leadvegans meeting Sunday, Nov. 21 at 4 p.m.

Dan Lundeen

Leadville

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