Interview With Dixie Mahy
Dixie Mahy is President of the San Francisco Veg Society, host of the World Vegetarian Conference.
Dixie, how long have you been a vegetarian?
I've been vegetarian 52 years and vegan 32 years. I first wanted to be a vegetarian when at age 5 in 1938. I went fishing with my father and caught a fish, but all I wanted to do was put it back into the water. I saw it suffering and I couldn't eat it. I felt a oneness with the fish, almost a Zen thing.
Did your family support your decision to go vegetarian?
No, growing up I was told I couldn't live without meat, and the rest of my family remained meat eaters. I'm 76 now. I have no medical issues, no arthritis, no cancer, no knee replacements. I buried two of my younger sisters, one 10 years younger. It's sad when you see your own family ignoring you, not connecting the dots.
Why did you go from vegetarian to vegan?
I started learning about problems with raising calves, with milk production, the cruelty involved, and I became a vegan for compassionate reasons. After that I learned about the health reasons, too. Medical doctors such as Dr. McDougall find that milk is perhaps even more harmful than meat.
Dr. McDougall also advocates a low fat diet.
Yes, almost all oils are not good for us in large quantities.
What do you say to people who assert that humans are biologically designed to be carnivores? Have you heard of the Paleolithic diet?
Let's go back further than Paleolithic. Our ancestors were primates. The great apes are vegetarian, and we have similar DNA. Our teeth are not for tearing flesh. Our fingernails are for picking. Our digestive system is suited to digest carbohydrates. Carnivorous animals digest meat quickly, but if we eat too much meat we get cancer of the colon. We're more like herbivores.
What is your ideal diet?
The ideal diet is whole grains, nuts, seeds, veggies. I want to eat more raw greens as well. I'm always improving my diet, adding more raw foods.
Do you take supplements?
I probably get more nutrients than most people. I do, however, take B12 and other supplements.
In Search Of the Perfect Diet
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