Sexy author and style maven Joshua Katcher says body and mind can be improved with a little vegan attitude
The notion that vegans are undernourished, tofu-bingeing hippies is so 1982. We’ve come a long way, baby! Take a look at the vast selection of veg-foods at Kro-gurl (Boca burgers, Lightlife Smart Dogs and Tal Ronnen’s Garden products). And thanks to PETA’s I Can’t Believe It’s Vegan list, we can load up on accidentally vegan treats like Oreos and Cracker Jacks.
Hmm … no wonder some of us could stand to lose a few pounds.
We caught up with queer ethical style icon Joshua Katcher (NYC-based author of the popular vegan blog The Discerning Brute) while he was visiting Dallas recently to get his for cruelty-free health tips. After a peak at those pecs, we were all ears.
Visualize. "Your body is a physical, mechanical, biochemical system that needs maintenance and TLC," he says. "Visualize your brain, lungs, liver, digestive system, tendons, ligaments, bones, muscles and your balls! Simply being aware that you’re carrying around all that precious cargo can have a serious affect on the health decisions you make."
Open your heart. "Most of us spent our youth dealing with bullies and homophobia, we’ve developed tough skins. Bottling up all that emotion has physical health ramifications, so having an outlet and maintaining emotional wellness are intertwined," Katcher says. "Guys who have compassion and empathy are incredibly sexy. Organizing and fighting for those who can’t do it themselves will give you purpose, motivation, emotional rewards."
Get it up. "Your veins and arteries are not just delivering crucial blood to your brain and heart," Katcher points out. And that means they enable you to maintain an erection. "A plant-based diet is the healthiest way to keep your tool receiving the blood it needs through cholesterol-free veins and arteries."
Greens are your best friends. "Kale, spinach and other dark leafy-green veggies should be staples in every man’s diet. They are powerhouses of vitamins, minerals and immune system boosters. They can lift your mood, help you lose weight and even help build muscle tissue."
Lose the gut. Sometimes doing crunches and leg-lifts just doesn’t cut it. A belly inflamed by deep-fried food, dairy products and other toxins is gonna be harder to tame. "Soothe your gut by eating fermented products like tempeh, miso and sauerkraut. Eat probiotic foods like soy yogurt, or take a probiotic supplement."
Know the protein myth. Men are often confronted with images of meat equating to manliness. But animal muscle is not the only source of protein — nor necessarily the healthiest. "Vegans who get their protein from nuts, seeds, beans and soy greatly reduce their risks for getting terminal diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes," Katcher says, "and you can still be a strapping hunk." Yeah, we’ve noticed.
Milk is your enemy. Nature designed cow’s milk to make something small get very big, very fast. For an adult human trying to lose weight, steering clear of dairy is crucial. "Ditch the fat, cholesterol and the addictive casomorphin found in dairy products and instead, try soy, rice, coconut and other non-dairy milks and creamers," he says. "There are also many dairy-free cheeses, ice creams, yogurts and spreads."
Taste better. "It’s true that you are what you eat. You also smell and taste like what you eat," he says. So if you have the decomposing carcass of a an animal slowly passing through your digestive tract, by the time it concludes its journey it has released tons of toxins into your body. "Eliminate all animal products from your diet for one week and ask your lover" — or, oh! snap! — yourself —"if you smell and taste better than before. In my experience, everything smells and tastes better about a vegan. Everything."
Katcher writes TheDiscerningBrute.com. For information on veganism, visit ChooseVeg.org.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 19, 2010.