Long-time vegan Liz Dealey gives us the run-down on the benefits of being vegan for health and how it keeps her looking and feeling young.
1. Please share with us the benefits you have derived from living the vegan lifestyle. How long have you been vegan for?
I went vegetarian in 1984 and then vegan in late 1986. So 24 years a vegan. Living as a vegan is much easier now than ever.
There’s no excuse for buying into cruelty, as there is an alternative to everything you ever ate or used ‘before’. I don’t get tired quickly, sleep well and don’t get struck down with the flu or multiple colds. The health benefits of a vegan lifestyle are a bonus, but the main benefits for me are living without harm and showing others how easy it is to live a meaningful life making kind choices.
2. Do you think following a vegan diet helps you to stay youthful both inside and out? Does a meat and dairy diet, in your opinion, appear to age people faster?
Yes, I believe that consuming a plant based diet helps our bodies to slow the ageing process. We are not constantly overworking our bodies like we are when we ask them to digest flesh, milk and eggs. Also, all the hormones added to animal products these days can only have a detrimental effect on the human body. I look at a lot of meat eaters and their skin looks grey and I find many of them to be unhappy, or cranky, always complaining about some ailment or other.
Also, I think that I have been spared any chronic menopause symptoms, as while I do get hot flushes occasionally, that’s the only symptom I have. This is probably because I have been eating soy products for so long.
And in the midst of all the sadness I feel for all the atrocities committed against animals. I always try to stay upbeat and happy, as I don’t want to portray being a vegan as doom and gloom.
3. Compared to your meat-eating contemporaries, is your health in better shape than them?
I have to say a definite yes to this! Many of the meat eaters I am surrounded by are overweight with a multitude of health issues. Some of them have diseases such as diabetes and yet I still see them guzzling sugary drinks and shoving awful food into their mouths. I often wonder if they have some weird death wish!!!
I’m often asked how come I’m always eating, but don’t put on weight. I say look at what I’m eating and look at what you eat! I’ll be eating a handful of sunflower seeds as opposed to chips or chocolate.
However, there is a lot of vegan junk food out there these days, so it can be hard to stay totally healthy. I’m trying to add more raw food into my diet now, such as having a raw green smoothie for breakfast, but I have a really sweet tooth and there is so much vegan sweet stuff available, it can be tempting.
4. Can you please share with us your favourite recipe.
Okay, this is my ‘secret 7 herbs and spices’, oven baked ‘chicken’ tofu recipe. This will win over even those non believers who dislike tofu.
Slab organic Tofu
Nice’n’Tasty Chicken Yeeros shake (it’s completely vegan and even says so on the container)
Braggs Amino Liquid (it’s like soy sauce, only better)
Savoury Yeast Flakes
Pour some olive oil into a metal oven roasting tray.
Cut the tofu into 1cm thick slices and place in the tray. Cover each slice with a thin layer of oil.
Pour the braggs over the slices, so that it pools in the oil.
Sprinkle all over with the Yeeros shake.
Cover the whole lot with a good layer of savoury yeast flakes and drizzle more oil over each slice.
Bake for 20 mins in a preheated oven at 180c.
Turn over and repeat the process, go lightly on the shake and Braggs on this side, or they will be too salty and bake for another 15 mins.
Drain the oil from the pan straight away and don’t let them sit in the oil. You can then leave them in the pan to cool a bit before eating.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for several days. It’s just as good cold. My dogs love this too.
5. Besides diet, are there any other factors that you think you can attribute to your youthful appearance?
Firstly, I’m not sure about actually looking ‘youthful’! Maybe I do from a distance. Ha ha. That’s a hard thing to achieve at 54. I just hope that I look a few years younger than I actually am. I think attitude has a lot to do with it too. I’ve got a young outlook on life and I’m not your average 54 year old. We never had skinkids, (as opposed to furkids) so haven’t had the stress of that! I love a good joke. I think also that being surrounded by people who are younger than me really helps. Some of my closest friends are 16 or 20 years younger than me. And living a cruelty free life helps me to feel positive that my life is meaningful, making a difference to those less fortunate than me, all the animals suffering in the world.
6. Any last inspirations you would like to share with us?
Try and be a healthy vegan. Drink lots of water.
I’m not perfect by any means, I sometimes eat junk food, don’t get enough exercise, drink alcohol, swear a lot and I’m getting a bit thick around the middle, but I am happy in the fact that my life is not causing suffering and misery to any animals.
I think that once you find out the truth behind the awful way animals are treated in the food industry, you have to start making kind choices in what you eat. Ignorance is not bliss.
People who are just starting on this journey are lucky that they coming in at a time when things are slowly starting to change for animals. Hopefully for future generations, eating animals will be a horrible, distant barbaric practice that they can only read about in history books.
And remember, you will never find peace in this world, while your body remains a graveyard. Try and live a meaningful life, be proud of what you achieve for animals, no matter how small a victory it may be. Speak out, make your voice heard. A voice for the animals.
I recently spent my 54th birthday at the Edgar’s Mission World Animal Day extravaganza, and I felt so lucky to be able to spend the day surrounded by such happy animals and all the wonderful people who are working so hard to make this world a better place for animals.