Vegan movement hits East Texas - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Vegan movement hits East Texas

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Marshall Mayor Ed Smith Marshall Mayor Ed Smith

Texas and vegan are two words you wouldn't normally put together. But in Marshall, Texas it's an effort to get healthy.

Marshall Mayor Ed Smith made the switch to a vegan diet in 2006 after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. "We're over here in Texas in the middle of meat eating, fried, everything is deep friend and it's usually meat," says Smith.

Smith's prostate scores dropped from scores of more than four to a score of one. "We tightened down on what we ate and my PSA scores began to decline," says Smith. Smith believes it has everything to do with his diet. He says he hopes others make the switch to better their health. "Most of these diseases, chronic heart disease and type two diabetes, or a lot of autoimmune diseases are a result of what we're eating in this country and it's epidemic in this country. But it's all tied to the diet that we're eating here," says Smith.

Smith says educating his town about the benefits of a whole foods plant-based diet is having a positive effect.

Marshall Interim Fire Chief Reggie Cooper was having issue with his diabetes in 2005 and 2006. Cooper says he was taking three different medications three times a day to control his diabetes but it wasn't enough. "I was eating what I wanted to eat, but then I had a breaking point with my blood sugar levels spiked to somewhere around 500," says Cooper. He turned to a whole foods plant-based diet and the results were life changing. "My blood sugar levels were dropping into the 50's. I had to stop taking the medication and I haven't taken medicine since," says Cooper. " What I started to see was I started feeling better, joints didn't hurt anymore."

The vegan diet is not only making a positive impact on Marshal residents, many food spots are adding vegan options to their menus. At Central Perks, they sell more veggie burgers than regular burgers. Mayor Smith says once people try vegan foods, they usually like it. " A lot of people have preconceived ideas and notions about what the food is like. Some people say ‘Oh, that's like eating cardboard.' But they never tried it. They don't know that. And there are things out there that taste as good or better than what they're eating now," says Smith. "The closer you can get to eating 100% whole foods plant-based diet, the better you are."

Click here to visit the Get Healthy Marshall website.
Click here for more information on the Marshall Health Fest.
Click here to read The New York Times' article on Mayor Smith going vegan.

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