146 – Happiness – Hanging with a Friend

Highlights from today’s show…

  1. Dr. Dave is LIVE from Vegetarian Summerfest in Johnstown, PA! 
  2. Dr. Dave has a special guest today talking about all things vegan.

Hi! It’s Dr. Dave, “Mr. Vaygan”. It’s episode #146 of The David Madow Lifestyle Show. This is the show where we help you become stronger, thinner, healthier, and happier. I have a great one for you today. I am still hanging out at Vegetarian Summerfest. I have done a couple recordings here, so if you are listening to this I am not actually still here.

Be sure to follow my LIVE daily broadcasts on Periscope at www.periscope.tv/davidmadow.

So I am roaming around the University of Pittsburgh campus in Johnstown, PA. There are a lot of people here. There are a lot of people here and most people are looking happy and having fun. So I came across this young guy who coincidentally has a black shirt on. The front of the shirt says Speaking of Vegan and the back of the shirt says The Vegan Airwaves and then speakingofvegan.com. So I stopped to ask him what is speaking of vegan? He said that it was a podcast that he did. I thought to myself, “Wow! I just met another guy here who’s vegan and who does a podcast but not only that I felt a true connection to this person even though we hadn’t met before. Just they way he answered the question, I liked the guy within the first within the first 5-10 seconds of meeting him. So we started talking and I asked him to be a guest on my podcast. He agreed and I am going to bring on him in just a few minutes. His name is Anuj Shah.

Dr. Dave: “So the first thing I am going to ask him, before we get into anything else. Anuj, tell me, Am I correct? I connected with you right away and I feel like you are a happy guy. Did I hit the nail on the head?”

Anuj: “Hey Dr. Dave first and foremost I want to thank you for having me on your show. This is awesome. It is so much fun to be on your show. And I really want to echo your thoughts. You meet all kinds of people and its like you said. People are great and it’s a lot of fun but there are certain people that you meet that you just form a connection with. There’s an instant chemistry and I feel that with you too. I’m really happy that we met.

And that answers part of your question, am I a happy guy? The first thing I’ll say is a resounding yes. And you know happiness is an interesting word. What I will say is that there is happiness, there’s joy, there’s fulfilment, there’s a lot of different ways to look at this but I will tell you that I feel so incredibly blessed.

The last few years I have really been living in a state of gratitude for even the simplest things. Even the fact that I have eyes that can see and ears that can hear, and I can eat, and function, and run and walk, and jump, and work out. So that’s certainly one level of it. I know that everybody is doing the best that they can. And a lot of times what happens with us in these sort of Western industrial societies is that we’re all in this rat race just trying to survive. It’s hard for people to connect with their deeper selves in all the business of life and I certainly understand that. I think I was able to find a why and a purpose. When you find a deeper purpose or deeper fulfillment within yourself you really connect with a deeper level with yourself. And that really is something that can produce joy and happiness. And I feel so blessed to have done that and so lucky to have done that.

Way back when I was a teenager, back in 1989, I came across some literature that had me start looking at what I was eating and the choices that I was making around food. And overnight one particular day I decided that I would be plant based diet. I didn’t know what the word vegan was at the time. There was no such word. The book that I was reading at the time was Fit for Life II : Living Health. There was a big chapter on animal products. I still remember it was February 28th, 1989 at 2:35am and I am reading this chapter and I finished the animal products chapter and I said oh my gosh, I can’t put this stuff into my body. And I said I am never eating animal products again. I thought to myself, you mean to tell me that the chicken sandwich I had this afternoon with my friends at at XYZ restaurant is the last meat I’ll ever eat? And I thought for about two seconds and I said yeah I guess that’s it. At that time, that wasn’t my “aha” moment as in this was the purpose to my life. But something clicked within me at that time.

A couple of months later, I read a book called Diet for A New America. That book is so beautiful. It basically transformed my life. The book has four parts to it. Basically there are four reasons why people would want to be on a vegan diet. There’s the health aspect of it. That’s something that there is tremendous research in favor of so we don’t need to talk about it. There’s the environmental destruction that happens from animal agriculture and that’s been coming up more and more. There’s a wonderful documentary called Cowspiracy that has come out within the last 12 to 15 months. It’s gone viral on
Netflix and that kind of thing. There’s also a world hunger connection and of course there’s the animal connection. It’s how these animals are treated, how they’re bred, how they’re being caged and mutilated and dismembered and finally slaughtered in these farms and slaughterhouses.

That connected so deeply with me. I had never thought of that before. I think I always chose not to look at that. But I started connecting with a much deeper part of my heart and myself. And I remember crying through different parts of the book. Right then and there something hit me and I thought you know what? This is going to be the purpose. I think we are all better than this. All of us have a deep level of love and compassion within us. For some of us it might be buried deeper than others. We all have different life experiences. But right then and there that summer of 1989 is when I found my why. And ever since that time it has transformed my life.

I am actually a lawyer right now and I find a lot of joy in my practice and I love it. And you’ll never hear a lawyer say that. I am probably one in a thousand. But I really loved law school and I love practicing law. I love the fact that I am vegan and that it has really transformed my life and how I look at the world. It’s just a different paradigm, a different way of living. I’m so blessed with the career that I have, a wonderful family, and I have all my health. What is there not to be happy and joyful about? So it was a little bit of a longer answer that you might have anticipated Dr. Dave but I am just so deeply humbled when I think about how blessed I am. Yes, indeed not only am I happy but I am deeply fulfilled and I’m deeply joyful. And I am thrilled and honored to be able to share that with you.”

Dr. Dave: “I think I was actually correct when I came across this guy Anuj. I hit the nail on the head. He is just the kind of guy that you want to hang out with. And I know you gave a long answer but that’s ok. I said before we started for you to talk as long as you want because I think it would really help my listeners a lot. I have all types of listeners. A lot of them are vegan but a lot of them aren’t. A lot of them are listening to the message and I know what they’re thinking. They’re thinking it works for Dr. Dave, it’s working for Anuj, and Dave tells me all these great stories but I need my yogurt in the morning, I love my cheese, I can’t give that stuff up, it will be tough in social circles. How will I explain to people that I am vegan? I know it works for some people but I just don’t think I can do it. I’m not convinced it’s really the type of thing that I want to do. But I am a plant based vegan and it’s changed my life like it has changed yours. So talk to the person who has been listening to the message and maybe are considering it. What’s going to get them over the edge? Can you help me with that? Again, I don’t push people at all, I lead by example. I’ve told my listeners many times Anuj that I still love them. Whatever they are doing in their lives. I don’t look down on anybody that is still eating meat and using animals. A lot of my friends and family still do. I was doing it myself several years ago. Speak to the person that’s listening to the message but is not really sure what they want to do.”

Anuj: “Dr. Dave you raise a few really great points and I absolutely agree with you. It’s not even an issue or a question of looking down. We are all people. We are all brothers and sisters on this journey of life together. And as you said we all have different timetables, different life experiences, and different backgrounds. Until I was 18, I was actually anti-vegetarian. It’s really funny. In high school when I was doing debates, I would be on the anti-vegetarian team. And somehow something opened up in me when it did. And I came across the literature I explained a few moments ago. Something shifted in me. All I know is that have lived an incredibly blessed and incredibly vital life. I have so much energy. I am so healthy. I am just grateful! You know what? I am in my 40’s now and I appreciate the fact that you referred to me as young.”

Dr. Dave: ” I never would have thought that. I would honestly guess much younger. Seriously! How old are you 41?”

Anuj: “ok, I am 45.”

Dr. Dave: “Wow! I know my listeners can’t see you but I would have guessed about 35. Honestly. I am not kidding.”

Anuj: “I think the only reason you would have guessed that Dr. Dave is that I have a lot of silver in my hair now. I think if I dyed my hair (which I don’t want to do) I would look much younger than that. I feel vibrant. At my age, most American men are on some kind of medication. They are taking blood thinners, cholesterol lowering medication, people are having their hearts stop, or they are having diabetes pop up. And I have nothing. In a quarter of a century, I have never taken a pill for anything. I live an incredibly vibrant life. I exercise regularly, have good relationships, and love my career. And I eat a wonderful plant based diet. All of that combines to create so much health and vigor and vitality that it really is a way to live by example.”

Dr. Dave: “I want to share something with you Anuj. I think I told you how old I was earlier. I am 61 and guess what? I take zero medications. I believe the statistic is that average people in North America over 45 are on at least 3 types of medication or something like that. I am on zero and you are on zero. I think that is kind of like big to me. It’s not a scientific study but it does say something.”

Anuj: “Dr. Dave huge. I mean and 3 sounds really low. When you start to think of all the health issues that people start having in the United States on the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.). When you start hitting 40 and above, people have cholesterol, they have diabetes, they have heart disease, they have different organs that aren’t functioning properly. So I mean 3 sounds kind of low. So I want to echo your sentiments about living by example. We are not judging anyone. I lovingly offer information. I am passionate about my podcast because what I do is I talk to different kinds of people. I have interviewed bodybuilders, scientists, nutritionists, and doctors. I have interviewed people from an ethical point of view about animals. I have interviews on my schedule for the environment and the ecological connection with animal agriculture. I am offering information because we want to educate and inspire people. Because this information is not that readily available. Whether it was divine intervention or destiny or whatever you want to call it, those books landed in my hands for a reason. There is no reason that those books should have necessarily landed in my hands but they did. I am so blessed to have the opportunity to create these podcasts and interview incredible people that have done wonderful research and are making a real difference in the world in their fields. We have huge multi billion dollar industries that are interested in keeping people taking drugs and prescriptions and eat meat foods. And so this information is usually hidden and is not really available. So it’s great to be able to share this information to allow people to listen to things they haven’t heard in other arenas. Hopefully you’ll feel inspired and educated to open their hearts and minds and say hey I want to live this way.”

Dr. Dave: “You just shared something with me a few minutes ago when we were chatting before we began recording. You said that you were doing something later this month and where will you be in California?”

Anuj: “Sure, so I am on the board of a number of organizations. I have been vegan for almost 3 decades now and have traveled the world and been a part of several vegan rights organizations. Currently I am on the board for Go Vegan Radio that stems out of California and they have the World Vegan Summit. It is coming up on July 29th, 30th, and 31st. It’s a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It’s going to be an incredible event. The World Vegan Summit last year was in Los Angeles in March. It’s a 3 day event where people come together to discuss these issues. What’s happening in the world around vegan food, plant based agriculture, animal ethics, and all kinds of wonderful things. When you are in a place like Vegetarian Summerfest, like we are now, and you have like minded people who share a common passion and a common goal, it just fills your cup in a whole new way. You leave feeling so inspired, so invigorated, and so rejuvenated. You feel like you are not alone. And you’re not! In 2016, this is an exploding phenomenon. When I was vegan in 1989, I was kind of alone. But this is a whole different thing. And it’s wonderful to go to these events, make connections with people, and feel like you are not alone. I know the Western culture tends to talk about individualism and we think it’s great to be an individualist and there’s nothing wrong with being an individualist in a lot of ways but we’re also people who crave social connection, love, joy, and companionship. So it’s great to be in environments like this where we can share that with each other. All these things combine for a wonderful way for us to get together and inspire people.”

Dr. Dave: “I call it a giant vegan mastermind group. I don’t know how many people are here – hundreds or maybe even a thousand. By the time this podcast is released I think your event may be close to over, I’m not sure. So if you can’t make it this year, make plans for next year for sure. Anuj let my listeners know exactly how to get in touch with you. I have a feeling you connected with many of them today. ”

Anuj: “Well, again thank you so much for having me on the show. It’s been such an honor and I feel so humbled to be able to do this. It’s wonderful. I hope I connected with people because I know that it’s all on everyone’s time. For whatever reason, like I said moments ago, those books came into my life and I connected with those authors and their message. And so if there is anyway that I connected with people here and they are inspired, I am just overjoyed. My website is www.speakingofvegan.com. The podcast is available right there and you can listen live. If you have an iPhone you can listen on iTunes and subscribe. It’s all free and it will automatically download to your phone when a new episode is released. We release one episode every couple weeks.  Please invite people to listen. Like us on Facebook. Send comments and suggestions. If anyone out there is inspired and wants to be on the show if you’re vegan or you have ideas, I would be thrilled. This is a community. It’s not a one man show. This is a village!”

Dr. Dave: “Thank you so much Anuj for taking time out of your busy schedule to be on the show. I am honored that you could be on my podcast. Let’s do something in the future again. Episode #146 is almost in the books. I will give Anuj the last word. See you guys next week! Here’s Anuj for the last word”

Anuj: “Hey guys! It has really been an honor to connect with you here. I am interviewing Dr. Dave for my podcast as well. so tune in to Speaking of Vegan. We have a bunch of interviews we are doing here. So stay tuned and as soon as we are up and running I will send the info to Dr. Dave and he will let you know. Be well. Be safe. Open your hearts and I hope you go vegan.”

“Thank you very much for listening! The show is literally downloaded by the thousands each week now. In fact, we have passed the 310,000+ downloads mark! Wow! I so appreciate you listening and sharing this show with your family and friends. I love to help people live a healthier life! It is so great that we have listeners from all over the world from the United States to the UK to Canada to Europe to Japan to Australia. I love hearing from people all over the world on Facebook, Twitter, Email, and our phone hotline too!” – Dr. Dave.

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