Vegan Valentine - Episode IV - Heart

Leonardo da Vinci sketches of the human heart

So valentine's is full of Heart symbol related paraphernalia pertaining, amongst other meanings, to the arcane idea that love was a feeling emanating from one's heart. We now know is really the brain's department.

I wanted to be nothing but a Cardiologist when I was a kid. I learned all about the heart - about it's different chambers, its functions and its diseases. I was insatiable. I had access to my father's medical textbooks, so I spent hours poring over the text and images. I even got to dissect a cow's heart at a 'witch' themed party, which was one of my most exciting childhood party moments. (Could I seem any less Vegan). While the other kids were telling the class they wanted to be ballerinas, lawyers like mommy, what-have-you, I was saying, "cardiologist." My father eventually allowed us to choose to study whatever we wanted to, as long as it wasn't medicine. Go figure.

The real heart that matters on Valentine's day, and every day, is your organ - the heart. That little pump that keeps your body going, your ticker, your clock that shouldn't miss beats. Unless it's on Valentine's day - that's alright. But furthermore, you should be looking after it, because its condition determines not only your longevity, but your quality of life.

This article by Dr. Neal Barnard of the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine explores the negative effects of eating meat on your heart. The coincidence of the surname Barnard and his subject were not lost on me, it's pretty rad. I wonder if they are in any way related, considering the last 200 years or so - not in the extended "we are all from the same mitochondrial mix" way.

Human Heart
Dr. Neal Barnard states that "Unlike foods from plants that enhance our health, meat and dairy products have the same hazards as cigarette smoking, including increased risks of strokes, heart disease and cancer." That's a tough pill to swallow for carnists. In another article on the PCRM site, it is stated that "The vegetarians were also slimmer and had lower total cholesterol and blood pressure. These findings are consistent with other large population studies showing vegetarians have less incidence of and death from heart disease." These findings won't be new to many of you, and I may sound like I'm preaching to the choir, but you wouldn't let your children or loved ones smoke - because you know it will shorten their life expectancy and increase their chance of chronic disease. It's time everyone sees meat consumption in the same way they perceive cigarette smoking. I know that we're not going to get everyone to stop smoking, or to stop eating meat - but this is a pretty good motivation to eat far less of it, if you cannot commit to none at all.

Valentine's is about pledging your love to someone. Pledge it to yourself, and your heart - the one in your chest. Also, take it for a run. Your heart will <3 you.

Read Vegan Valentine - Episode I
Read Vegan Valentine - Episode II
Read Vegan Valentine - Episode III
Read Vegan Valentine - Episode V

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