Venkatraman Pichumani speaks about the common myths regarding athletics, age and diet.

Venkatraman Pichumani speaks about the common myths regarding athletics, age and diet.


I turned Vegan around 10 years ago. The reasons are not important but it has got
to do with my health, the planet, cruelty to animals and the harms that we’re doing
to the ecology. All three reasons slowly settled in my mind. People ask me how long I’ve been vegan but
I don’t remember. It’s not like one day you tell yourself that
I’ll turn vegan from today. It’s a slow process. Your natural habits change gradually with time. When I went to buy a new car, then I thought
no, there’s leather in a car. I should take a motor vehicle that does not
have leather. So that was one more step. Like that you gradually become a vegan, it’s not like one day you press a button and turn into a vegan. But I tell people, those that ask me since
how many years I’ve been a vegan. I make my own soya milk at home. So I might be a vegan for 10 years. So I’ve had open-heart surgery. I used to run before that too and I was a
vegetarian back then. I’m from a Tamil family and used to drink
milk, curd with sugar. Sometimes I’d have egg whites for the proteins. So this was what was going then. But, after about 2-3 years of heart surgery,
I started becoming a vegan and I’ve been running. The question arises whether you take Siddharth or you take Kuntan and me as an example is the nutritional demand of an athlete is more
than a sedentary individual. Because he needs to recover more, there are more chances of sustaining fractures in the bones. Hence, he will need more calcium So if an athlete can meet his demands through a vegan lifestyle, then why can’t I do the same. This is the question you need to ask yourself today. So as a vegan, I have this to say, you will
get all the nutritions, it’s not like there’s something in an animal that a plant does not have. Animals get their proteins and calcium through plants as well. I won’t go into the details like which plant
has how many proteins etc. But ultimately, this is the cycle of life,
what an animal eats is the same as what a plant eats and it all comes from the earth. Nature puts all the 5 elements in the plants: air, water, minerals, sun(fire) and the ether which is the soul and DNA of a plant. We eat all of this and we get all of the nature inside us And when we die, we once again go back into the soil. So we complete the cycle, we are a part of the ecosystem. There is no need for an animal to enter the cycle. We can be as healthy as we want. I run regularly, I’ve run in 155 half-marathons
to this date. I decided around 5-6 years back that once
a year the Mumbai marathon comes so we train for that and fitness should be a year-long activity. So I decided that every month I’ll run 21 km. If there’s an event then I’ll take part in
it. During the summer there are no events so I’ll personally run. So that is how I reached the number of 155
marathons. It seems like a huge number but believe me if you run every month, the number keeps adding up. How much is 21 km, how much is 42 km? Many people don’t have an idea. Even for 1-2 kms, people use the auto. If you start here and end up at Shivaji Park, that is 21 km. So that much distance I can run even today and I can get up. Yesterday, we ran 10 km and the previous two Sundays before that, we ran 21 km as part of the training for the Mumbai Marathon which is next Sunday where I will again run 21 km. So, whatever my age is, you can be as healthy. There’s a joke, some say at the age of 62
he has run 155 marathons, what is your excuse? So the reply comes that I’m not yet 62. So you don’t have to be like that, you can
be 40 or 30 you can still be healthy and fit. I don’t take any supplements, I’ve avoided
all packaged food in the last 4-5 years. Which is why I make my own soy milk. When I wanted to stop consuming milk, Dahi, I would have packaged soy. But then I wanted to stop packaged food so I started making my own soy milk. I get a medical test done every three months and once a year I get stress 2d echocardiography test done. This is to check what is the status because it has been 12 years since my heart surgery. I can tell you that my blood sugar, my cholesterol, my BP, my vitamin D3 and my vitamin B12 has been normal in every test. Other than a tablet for blood thinner, Ecosprin which was prescribed to me by my friend and cardiologist, he told me not to stop Ecosprin because I have a history of cardiac disease. Other than that, I do not have to take any
other medication. I say this because, if I can lead this life,
so can you. I’ll touch two topics, WHO studied and found out that life expectancy is increasing for everyone. Because we have covered most of the diseases. In the Tamil pyramid when one crosses 60 years of age we would celebrate it at 80 we would celebrate again and treat him as a God. So now everyone is crossing this mark so that
is why age should not be the criteria for judging the level of fitness. WHO wanted to find out that though life expectancy
has increased, are they really healthy? So they came out with some new statistics:
HALE which is Healthy Average Life Expectancy. So if a person is old, is he healthy? What is the definition of healthy: that means
no medication. If you take even one tablet, be it for diabetes
or hypothyroid or like in my example the Ecosprin, I’m outside the definition of healthy. What is the average HALE of the population
now being judged but it has not become a popular statistic Actually, the HALE is dropping. People are becoming cardiac patients, as she
said 7-8-year-olds are menstruating. We had a heart attack case in our Chennai
runners group last Sunday when people were running, that fellow is 36 years of age. People are undergoing surgeries at the of
28-30. Doctors now say that one should have a check-up
at the age of 30. Before, it was to be done at the age of 40. People are having diabetes at 30. So, life expectancy is increasing but HALE
is declining. This is very important and what people like
Pradip bhai are doing is extremely important. Because we have to have a high life expectancy
but it should be healthy and not a consumer of medicines from pharma. Which comes to my last point, I saw a headline
in the paper that our GDP is the lowest in the last 42 years. It’s not about politics or economics but it
is about measuring GDP as a measure of success of a country. About 80-100 years ago economists said that
the production in a country is the measure of the development of that country. Where there is production, there is consumption. So we have all become consumerists.We have
always been told to eat something, take something, wear clothes, buy watches and cars. The entire environment has become a consumer
and one of the important points that doctors made was to go on fast and not consume. The lesser you consume, the more healthy you
will stay and one of the essentials of consuming less is by becoming a vegan and plant-based. Becoming healthier not just for yourself but
also for the planet both of which we have only one. We have one life and we have one planet, make
both of them healthy. Thank you very much.

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