Being Vegan, Vegan Being: Raj Israel – I Wanted to Live to See my Granddaughter Grow Up

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a retired chemical engineer and had the privilege of working for GE, NASA, L&T (India) and was engaged in designing and building chemical plants specializing in low pollution and energy saving.

I am living now in West Linn near Portland OR.

What lead you to veganism? How long ago?

I became vegan on August 10th 2010 when I had a massive heart attack by the blockage of LAD (so called widow maker artery) that took out almost half of the left ventricle of the heart.  After I read Dr. Esselstyn’s book titled “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease”, I was convinced that if I want to survive and live a normal life and see my granddaughter grow up I have to drastically change my lifestyle. It has been eight years since I started following low fat Vegan diet and I have been thoroughly impressed with the results.

When you first went vegan how did you phase out your non-vegan food, clothing and other items?

I was following the standard American diet involving white of eggs, lean meat and salmon with salad and steamed spinach before my switch .Giving up fat and sugar was very difficult but once I crossed the sixty day period, the craving vanished. Now I can cook tasty Indian non-vegetarian meal without even tasting for visitors.

I lost forty pounds during the first ninety day period and my weight remains constant within two pounds ever since in the last eight years. So I had to totally revamp my wardrobe since my waist went down to thirty three inches from thirty eight inches.

What does being vegan mean to you?

Veganism to me corresponds to health and life. I admire the vegans who have done the switch based on ethics and sustainability but those were not my motivation.

Is it every vegan’s duty to become an activist?

I try to promote veganism every chance I get without becoming a pest by giving the interested people the facts on why it benefits them.

Any recommended Vegan books? Any recommended social sites, blogs or pages?

There are two books as a scientist and an engineer that convinced me:

Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease” by Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., M.D.

“The China Study”, T. Colin Campbell, PhD and Thomas M. Campbell II

Do you have a favorite movie or videos or your own media that you want to share? (Forks over Knives)

Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?

Entertaining guests becomes a struggle since you do not want to impose your diet on them. When they see you settling down with a vegan alternative for dinner, they feel guilty in splurging themselves with filet mignon or mutton Biriyani that they would really enjoy. It takes a lot of convincing for them to feel at ease with their choice.

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