My name is Brian Deslauriers and I have trouble remembering a time when I did not love running and watching track events.
For the last 30 years, except for a 5-year period, I settled for running mostly 2 to 3 mile distances about two and a half times per week. However, last November I read “Younger Next Year” which stresses, for those of us beyond 50, the importance of working out 6 days a week and pushing yourself to sweat and achieve a significant level of fitness. Achieving 6 days per week is tough, but this year I have almost doubled my workouts to five per week. Just as importantly, I have set my sights on running longer and faster. I’m not fast by any standards, but by varying my training to include interval, speed and distance workouts my times have been improving. In the last week I completed my first 9-mile run, and then golfed in the afternoon.
People in the Veggie & Fit running group have offered a lot of encouragement, especially Marvin who has been constant in his belief that I can complete the September 30th ScotiaBank half marathon. Well, maybe. Even if I’m not ready for that race, I am very much aware of an increased physical fitness this year, much greater stamina and a lower resting heart rate. I believe “Younger Next Year” is something we can all achieve if we recognize the importance of devoting time to our own fitness.
Photo: Veggie runners Marvin Nguyen and Brian Deslauriers at the “Run for Canada” finish line.
In the early 70s I began to get into whole foods and eventually vegetarianism mostly for the personal health benefits. Aside from the famous books of the time such as “Diet for a Small Planet,” two other books also published in 1971 were “The Supermarket Handbook” an invaluable resource for understanding what you are getting, and “The New York Times Natural Foods Cookbook” with many excellent vegetarian recipes.
Today my wife Mary and I are completely vegetarian at home, and for the most part vegan. However, with running our own business I still find it hard to be vegetarian when traveling and when the alternatives are limited. As a result, I have chosen to be what I call Veggie90, which means I limit my non-veggie meals to two per week (and based on the idea of 20 meals per week, that gives 90% veggie). Some weeks I am 100% vegan, but I try not to fall below 90% for a given week.
Members of the Veggie & Fit running group have been excellent resources and motivators for maintaining a vegan lifestyle. In the last year we have also been reading many vegan-oriented books, including those from Ruth Heidrich. She is quite the inspiration, being a long-term cancer survivor who at 70 is still competing in triathlons.
Overall, the vegetarian lifestyle has never been better positioned to become more popular. Factory farming practices are so inhumane, and so destructive of our environment; and the health benefits are of major interest to an aging population that is desirous of being ageless. To attract more people to vegetarianism, it may be best to begin with the Veggie90 approach and even to celebrate people reaching 70% and 80% levels (i.e., four non-veggie meals/week).