I want to welcome all of you here today to Veggie Fest in the Lisle/Naperville, Illinois area, outside Chicago. We have come together from all parts of the world to explore keys to a healthy lifestyle.
Each of us has the power to create a healthier way of life. The choices we make today impact our physical, mental, and spiritual health tomorrow. We are laying the groundwork for our health in the future, whether months or years from now. We are also making choices that impact our family. What we choose today in the care of our body, mind, and spirit will determine what our future health will be.
If we would realize that everything we do is building a foundation for our own life and the life of our family and children, we might think and act differently. If we knew that all the choices we make regarding our physical, mental, and spiritual health were forming the foundation for our physical existence now and for the future, we would make better decisions about what we are doing.
Do we want to build a healthier body, mind, and soul for ourselves and our family? If so, then we can make choices that contribute to a healthier lifestyle.
Meditation can improve our health and well-being physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Keys for Staying Healthy
Be still. We know that our parents had the solution for us when we were children. When we were rambunctious and naughty, they had five words for us: sit down and be still. These very words are one of the first keys for a healthy lifestyle.
Being still is another phrase for meditation. Scientific research done by medical practitioners and doctors have proven that meditation has benefits to the body and mind.
When we meditate, we slow our heart rate and breathing to a point where we are calm. When we are agitated and upset, the body produces fight-or-flight hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, which may be useful when in danger to help us defend ourselves or to run, but are not useful when the simple problems of life upset us.
We do not need cortisol and adrenaline to kick in when our spouse or children leave the toothpaste cap off, or someone cuts us off on the highway. We have been conditioned to get so upset about things that are not life-threatening that we produce stress hormones that react on our body in a way that they break down our organs and bodily systems.
Meditation helps us sit in a calm, relaxed state so that we can ward off the effects of daily life challenges. When we remain calm, our body is not producing excessive fight-or-flight hormones that can lead to stress-related ailments such as heart attack, stroke, hypertension, headaches, and digestive and skin problems.
When we meditate we also keep our mind tranquil. We not only suffer physical illness from stress, but we create emotional and mental difficulties when we are not calm. This can lead to emotional and relationship problems, or stress-related mental disorders. Through meditation we can keep a calm and peaceful mind to help us lead happier lives.
Besides meditation, another key to a healthy lifestyle is leading a vegetarian way of life. Why?
First, doctors are proving how a plant-based diet reduces the risk of many diseases such as stroke, heart attack, diabetes, digestive disorders, and even some cancers, among other illnesses. By cutting out meat, and even fish, fowl, and eggs, we can reduce the risk of many ailments.
Second, there are benefits to our state of mind. It has been said that we are what we eat. All that was a part of animals becomes part of us when we eat them. This means we are getting the animals’ fear and panic hormones, which will also contribute to our own state of fear when it becomes a part of our body.
We also ingest anything the animal ate, including antibiotics, which can be overly prescribed, making them ineffective against bacteria that become resistant to them. We ingest hormones the animals were fed to make them grow faster, which could lead to problems because these are now in our bodies. We also ingest many diseases that the animal contracted through the food it ate or water it drank. For these reasons, we can reduce the risk of illness by avoiding foods that involve taking the life of any animal, fish, or poultry.
Wide Variety of Plant-Based Vegetarian Foods Available to Us
Today, as we can see here at Veggie Fest, there are numerous delicious and nutritious vegetarian, plant-based foods we can eat. Besides a blossoming number of vegetarian restaurants, most restaurants offer a wider variety of vegetarian dishes than before. Most mainstream supermarkets have vegetarian options for customers. Even places where it was hard to get vegetarian foods, such as school cafeterias, hospitals, cruise ships, conferences, and professional gatherings, offer vegetarian choices.
There are companies that make foods that look and have the texture of meat-type products but are made of plant-based foods, for those who still want the feel of food they may have grown up with.
There are vegetarian options that appeal to children to encourage them to eat healthier while still enjoying the taste. It is now easier than ever to be vegetarian, and the benefits are enormous.
If we want to lead a healthier lifestyle, the best proof is trying it for one’s self. Today and tomorrow at Veggie Fest you can attend cooking demonstrations, visit booths, and try the all-vegetarian food court; we can incorporate plant-based food into our life as an experiment to see if we gain better health.
Meditation can also lead to a healthier body, mind, and soul, and we can try this experiment for ourselves. We can devote time daily to meditation while also increasing consumption of vegetarian foods.
We will find the proof of the pudding is in the eating, figuratively and literally. If we can track the changes it makes and we find that we are healthier, physically, mentally, and spiritually, we will have proven for ourselves, through the scientific method, the benefits of meditation and a vegetarian diet.
We can take a few minutes each day and incorporate being still into our lives through meditation, along with experimenting with a healthier diet. In this way, we can compare where we are today to any positive changes we find, and thereby have a stronger foundation for our future.
I hope everyone makes positive choices to experience the benefits of a healthy lifestyle for body, mind, and soul.