Vegan Lifestyle-Life Lessons Go To School

1 Jun 2012
Author: Lindsay Johnson
Read time: 9 min
Category: Archive

I have been following a vegan lifestyle since the late 60’s. I was a member of the Natural Hygiene Society which advocates raw food, exercise, fresh air, sunshine, mental poise and fasting. I belonged to my local chapter in Toronto, Canada and went to the society’s annual conferences. At one conference, about 25 years ago, I heard this fellow from Florida, named Brian Clement, speak on sprouting. He mentioned a place in Florida called “Hippocrates.” As I was in pretty good health at the time and was following a very healthy program - I thought- I didn’t pay too much attention.

Well, in 2001, I developed a health problem: Candida. I couldn’t believe it. This couldn’t be happening to me. I was doing everything right. I had been so disciplined with my health. I was at a loss about what to do. The president of our Toronto chapter, who had been to Hippocrates, suggested I give that place a try. So my husband and I flew to Florida for the three week life change program.

I have to admit now, that when I went to Hippocrates, I went with attitude. What could they teach me? I had been a Natural Hygienist for more than 30 years. I had heard learned speakers from around the world at their conferences and at our monthly meetings. And I also had quite a library of books, articles and cassette tapes that I had amassed over the years. So I was very skeptical the first week that I could learn anything new at this place.

But by the second week, I started to listen to the lectures with more interest. To my surprise, I found I still had a lot more to learn - a lot more. By the end of the third week, I was sold. I had not only lost weight but was also impressed with the various topics that were addressed that Natural Hygiene had never touched on.

In my desire to eat as much raw food as I could, I had made a big mistake in my past. What raw food is the easiest to prepare and very tasty? Well, fruit, of course! So I would often make a meal out of half a huge watermelon and a spoon. A basket of peaches? It wouldn’t last 2 days. But now I’ve learned that what I was doing was eating too much sugar. Vast amounts. Result: Candida. So I stopped eating fruit for three years. To my surprise, I didn’t find this hard to do. I got rid of the candida, which was also causing my irregular and rapid heartbeat.

I began to appreciate, that even though I had learned a great deal from Natural Hygiene, Hippocrates was on the cutting edge of new health discoveries. I learned more aspects of healthy living than even knew existed in my last 30 years pursuing the topic.

The next year I came back to Hippocrates with my sister, Shirley. My husband, Edgar, 69, had gone off to Africa to climb Mount Kilimanjaro with his friend Ron, who was 78 years old. Ron has been a raw food vegan for more than 40 years. (My son, Laurence, refused to go as he would not climb a mountain whose name began “Kill a man.”) I urged my daughter Heather to come and she finally did in 2005 and has since been to Hippocrates three times. She became so enthusiastic that this time she persuaded me to take the Health Educator Program, which I did last fall. I am now very keen to spread the Hippocrates message to as many people as possible. And now Heather hopes to do the Health Educator program this summer.

My son, Laurence, was the last family holdout. He arrived in October 2007 for the three week life change program. At first, he was very reluctant, but by the end of the three weeks, he had lost 27 lbs, gave up smoking and overcame his apnea. For this I will be eternally grateful to Hippocrates. Laurence is now a firm believer, and is trying to maintain the lifestyle, growing sprouts at home and eating predominantly raw.

My daughter, Heather Wilson, is the principal and administrator of our Montessori School in Canada. The school has nine campuses in five communities. There are more than 1,200 children, ages 12 months to age 14 years. After attending Hippocrates, Heather brought her juicer to the staff room of the main campus. The rest of the staff became curious about why she was drinking this strange green stuff and filling the fridge with nothing but raw vegetables and sprouts. Heather encouraged them to also drink the juices and as they learned more, with Heather’s help and inspiration, they started growing their own wheat grass and sprouts in their classrooms.

The children were very involved of course, and spread their new-found knowledge and enthusiasm to their parents, even educating them with their new words like germination, enzymes and chlorophyll! (Many of these children were only 3 to 5 years old.)

Then, last October, one of our teachers, Keerthi Singh, was diagnosed with breast cancer. After this devastating news, and consultations with an oncologist (who advised surgery, chemo and radiation) Keerthi did a lot of soul searching. Because of the enthusiasm and encouragement of Heather and other members of the staff she was already growing wheat grass at home as well as in her classroom and was already showing improvement. When she was urged to start the chemo, Keerthi, was reluctant. She then made the decision to come to Hippocrates. Keerthi arrived on Feb. 1 for the three-week week life change program.

Back at the school, interest in sprouting and juicing continued. Meanwhile, one of the parents from Keerthi’s class started a collection to help defray the costs of Keerthi’s stay at Hippocrates. The children also wanted to help but what could they do to contribute? Then one of Keerthi’s colleagues had a great idea. “Let’s have a fundraiser. The children could make something that the parents would be sure to buy. What could that be? Let’s have an arts and crafts sale.

The children put their heart and creative talents and boundless energy into cutting, pasting, painting, coloring and beading. Every night the children hurried home to tell their parents about their exciting project and in just two weeks they organized, advertised and produced the event that they called “Creations for the Cure.” Parents, friends, the staff and the public were invited to attend. They held the event in the school’s gym and since they had been growing trays of sprouts they included a juice bar. The attendees, many for the first time, were offered the experience of drinking the energy giving green juice, grown by the children.

Someone from the media heard about this fund raising event. Feb. 19, the local television station broadcast the event. Meanwhile, back at Hippocrates, Keerthi learned about the event. She was informed that during the broadcast, she also would be interviewed from Hippocrates.

This was an exhilarating time for the children especially those from Keerthi’s class. The people from TV had come to see their arts and crafts. They were being interviewed on TV and their art work was on television. But their greatest thrill was knowing their efforts had helped their beloved teacher. They all smiled into the camera as they sent their best wishes to Keerthi and hoped they would be seeing her soon.

The event raised more than $4,400. Since the event, many more parents are now growing sprouts and changing their eating habits. At least two parents expressed an interest in coming to Hippocrates.

When I told Brian Clement about the TV event, he said he would like to visit our school. We arranged for him to give a talk to the parents, staff and interested public on April 18, 2009. We are hoping Brian’s talk might become an annual event.

Keerthi returned to Canada feeling happy, encouraged and optimistic. She is looking and feeling great. Her husband, Paul, was impressed enough to make big changes in his lifestyle, too. Keerthi says she may come again and do the Health Educators program so that she can help others as she has been helped.

Vol 29 Issue 2 Page 42

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