Q: I am considering going vegan—although am not sure exactly what that means. The rumor has it that you are vegan. Do you have any resources that explain the trend and the benefits? Thanks for your help.

A: Thank you for your questions. Reportedly, Donald Watson coined the term “vegan” in 1944 when he co-founded the Vegan Society in the UK. He did so because, as he put it: “We can see quite plainly that our present civilization is built on the exploitation of animals, just as past civilizations were built on the exploitation of slaves, and we believe the spiritual destiny of man is such that in time he will view with abhorrence the idea that men once fed on the products of animals' bodies.”

Yes. I have been eating vegan style for more than a decade and my health has definitely improved. In fact, my surgeon once commented that had I been vegan for most of my life, I might possibly have avoided hip-replacement surgery. Apparently, my body does not much like “dairy” products—although my taste buds used to love them—and we grew up eating a lot of dairy products (especially cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, and cheese blintzes with wild blueberries), my parents believing they were excellent sources of protein. Maybe so for calves, but not for someone with Scoliosis Syndrome. (Smile)

There are some helpful and interesting sites that explain the benefits and also provide statistics on countries that are making a shift toward veganism. Here are some, and no doubt you can easily find more.