Kathy Rayner is a Seventh Day Adventist and an emergency-room nurse.
The 59-year-old vegan is also a missionary of sorts — for the
“Good health is not a coincidence,” she insists. “It’s a choice. You
have to be intentional about it.”
Rayner and her husband, Gord, 70, have been vegan for 12 years. The
London couple were part of a vast study of Seventh Day Adventists —
ideal subjects for research on the health benefits of a meatless diet
because most Adventists are either vegetarian or vegan. They also
represent a variety of nationalities.
The survey has revealed startling connections between plant-based
diets and good health and longevity. Adventist men live to an average
age of 83.3 years, nine-and-a-half years longer than the average male.
Adventist women live an average 85.7 years — about 6.1 years longer
Studies like this are changing the conversation about vegetarianism.
Early adopters embraced vegetarianism so they wouldn’t have to harm
animals. The next wave of vegetarians were influenced by environmental
studies about the disastrous impact factory farming is having on air
and water quality, soil pollution and climate change. (One study
estimated animal agriculture accounts for up to 18 per cent of
greenhouse gas emissions.)
More recently, the allure of vegetarianism is just as likely driven by
While it’s estimated that 4 per cent of Canadians are vegetarian or
vegan, converts are hopeful more people will join the revolution to
save both the planet — and themselves.
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