I Challenge the Challenge

Richard R. Barron challenges YOU!
Richard R. Barron challenges YOU!

Recently a meme has swept the country: the “ice bucket challenge.” Its goal is to raise awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. While I have no objection to something relatively harmless making the rounds in the name of a good cause, I feel that it is mostly a representation of a culture of sameness and a culture of obedience. By that I mean that we should be aware enough of the way the world works to do good deeds without an internet meme challenging us to do so.

Have a look at the 15 most common causes of death in the United States…

Cause 
Percent of Total
1. Diseases of the heart 28.5
2. Malignant tumors 22.8
3. Cerebrovascular diseases 6.7
4. Chronic lower respiratory diseases 5.1
5. Accidents (unintentional injuries) 4.4
6. Diabetes mellitus 3.0
7. Influenza and pneumonia 2.7
8. Alzheimer’s disease 2.4
9. Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis 1.7
10. Septicemia (blood poisoning) 1.4
11. Suicide 1.3
12. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis 1.1
13. Primary hypertension and hypertensive renal disease 0.8
14. Parkinson’s disease (tied) 0.7
15. Homicide (tied) 0.7

 

Of note is that many of these illnesses (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease) would benefit from changes in behavior, most notably diet. With that in mind, I challenge my readers not to dump something unpleasant on themselves to “raise awareness” of something, but to act. I challenge anyone who reads this to a one month vegan challenge. If you go vegan, I’ll go vegan.

Yes, I know that as a dietary vegetarian, I am closer to vegan than most of my readers, but I know that if I can eat a vegan diet, so can you, and I know that we will all benefit greatly from it.

Comment on this and let me know when you want to start, and it’s on. So what do you say?

Here is a sample of one of my favorite vegan meals, stir-fried cabbage. It is among the most nutritious things you can eat, and is amazingly delicious.
Here is a sample of one of my favorite vegan meals, stir-fried cabbage. It is among the most nutritious things you can eat, and is amazingly delicious.
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7 Comments

  1. And yes, I am aware that I am using an internet challenge to call out and internet challenge. I expect my redemption is that I am calling for a real action, not a symbolic one.

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  2. I think, before I attempt something like going vegan, I should work on behavior like eating less Ding Dongs and Pop Tarts while watching college football. ;-)

    As for the ALS thingamabob, may I quote some recent tweets of mine?

    Aug. 29:
    “Per year:
    3,400,000 die from unclean water
    6,000 die from ALS”

    (Note: there were links to sources in the tweet.)

    Aug. 27:
    “#IceBucketChallenge is an embarrassing waste of thousands $$$ (water/ice costs) that could have been simply donated for ALS.”

    If you’re going to donate $100 to help find a cure for a disease, why not donate $102? (Prices of bags of ice and clean tap water will vary by region.) It would cost you the same.

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  3. You do make an excellent point, that the leading causes of death in our country (possibly even higher in our particular region) are things drastically affected by behavior.

    I wish, however, that they were called the leading causes of *premature* death, since death of course will come for us all, just a little later if we’re really well-behaved.

    Stated this way, it can also be an impetus to do more with your life, to make more of a difference in others’ lives.

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  4. >>I think, before I attempt something like going vegan, I should work on behavior like eating less Ding Dongs and Pop Tarts while watching college football.< < When Abby and I have our Super Bowl party, it always includes a fruit tray. Good place to start.

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