“Most people grow up using animal products. Changing takes time. If you take steps incrementally, I know you’ll start seeing the benefits in no time,” he said.
And age does not have to be a factor, he stressed, emphasizing how former U.S. President Bill Clinton has recently turned vegan and is touting the positive results of his new lifestyle.
Baur remembers as a child being upset when his mother served a whole chicken for dinner, and the image of that intact bird stayed in his mind for weeks to come.
But it was not until he was an adult and began understanding what he felt was disturbing treatment of livestock that he started to consider a vegan lifestyle himself.
His efforts to bring awareness to the plight of animals did not stop with his personal choices, however. Within a year of his switch to a plant-based diet, he had founded the Farm Sanctuary, a farm-animal rescue and protection organization.
Today, his Farm Sanctuary operates a shelter in Watkins Glen, N.Y., and two shelters in California. The facilities serve as homes to animals whose lives are now devoted to comfort and safety.
Baur’s efforts at this year’s Ironman are dedicated to those animals and to a lifestyle he believes will promote a healthier America and a more sustainable food supply.
The Lake Placid Ironman features a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile marathon. Nearly 2,000 athletes competed in the 2012 event.
A vegan lifestyle not only eliminates meat and other animal products from the diet but also restricts the use of all animal products, including leather, fur, silk and wool.
A healthy and varied vegan diet includes fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes. Many of those items provide adequate protein in a varied diet.
Email Jeff Meyers:firstname.lastname@example.org
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For more information on Farm Sanctuary, visit the organization's website at www.farmsanctuary.org.