Vegetarian expounds on benefits of a healthy lifestyle in new book

Tofu hot dogs? Meatless burgers? Vegetarians have come a long way since the days when nuts and twigs ruled supreme.

"Being a vegetarian is not what it used be," said Jeff Brown.

"For those of us who do not eat 'dead food,' there are a wide variety of good alternatives to choose from now."

"Live Food - Dead Food, Is There a Link to the Aging Process?" is the title of Brown's new 42-page book dedicated to the benefits of eating healthy — particularly the benefits of eschewing meat and seafood, or what he calls "dead food."

Brown, who has been a vegetarian for 26 years, preaches vegetarianism as the key to reverse the aging process.

"There has got to be a way to slow the aging process," he said.

"If dead foods can take you into the hospital for a multitude of sicknesses, than live foods can give you optimal health."

Brown, a part-time construction worker, added that eating healthy has not deprived him of tasty food.

In fact, he enjoys the wide range of foods vegetarians can choose from these days.

"In the beginning I had a hard time, but I got better at it," he said.

"If you are vegetarian and don't get that protein every 24 hours, you fail."

He explained that some people say they are vegetarians but still eat chicken or fish, which would not make them true vegetarians.

Brown does eat natural animal by-products such as milk, eggs and cheese; and true to his word about getting enough protein, he starts every day with a hearty breakfast of two eggs, a bagel and 12 ounces of milk with a protein supplement.

Dinner might consist of meatless lasagna or spaghetti cooked with herbs and spices.

Although fruits and vegetables are the mainstay of his diet, he adds protein such as nuts, legumes and a protein supplement to each meal.

He also uses a juicer for his favorite carrot, celery and apple juice drink and takes "large volumes" of vitamins and supplements as well as pure Korean ginseng.

"I have never felt better, and I have a lot of energy," said the 57-year-old.

For Brown's wife, Dianna, the conversion to an all-vegetarian diet took a while.

After giving up meat eight years ago she lost 50 pounds in six months simply by changing her diet.

His children, now grown, follow their own paths, although one has remained a vegetarian, he said.

Brown said the book, published by Vantage Press, is his first writing endeavor, but he hopes to follow it up with a second book.

The book will also be available locally at Hastings Books and Healthy Habits health food store.