John was told at the age of five that he must eat animals to be healthy.
John Machin was told by his doctor he wouldn’t live past the age of ten when he decided to stop eating animal products as a child. He is now a 63-year-old fitness fanatic who trains every single day.
The energetic athlete spends two hours a day honing his strength and fitness. But you won’t find him lifting weights – he prefers using his own body weight to sculpt his muscles, otherwise known as calisthenics.
John, who is from Cheshire, said: “There’s a belief that vegans must be pale, weak and skinny; I’m hoping to show that the exact opposite can be true. Being 63, I can also demonstrate that a life eating purely plant food offers lasting and quite spectacular physical results.
“I have been vegan since childhood. Back then, people like me were just known as fussy eaters. If my parents gave me anything from an animal such as meat or dairy, I felt disgusted; I couldn’t even consider eating it. I knew I’d be physically sick.
“This caused some consternation and, at the age of five, I was gravely informed by our doctor that, unless I began eating meat and dairy, I wouldn’t live to see the age of ten.
“I think he got that one slightly wrong.”
John’s early diet wasn’t always healthy but as he reached his teenage years, he took an interest in fitness and nutrition, subjects he now teaches. He added: “I evolved from lifting weights to using my own body weight to train. It is a functional and much more effective way of strengthening every muscle in the body.
“Plant foods are ideal for health and fitness; they’re what we naturally thrive on. Now in my seventh decade, I have never been fitter or healthier. I love the vegan diet and training, and how they make me feel.”
John had been vegan for 50 years before he met his first fellow vegan, so he finds the growth in veganism today as heart-warming as it is surprising.
He said: “It’s never been easier to be vegan with so many positive health and environmental studies and with such a wealth of fabulous vegan food on the shelves, there are no longer any reasons not to try veganism. Just excuses.
“I don’t preach about veganism anymore; pictures speak louder than words, so I just show people what 63 years of plant foods can do. I hope I’m visual proof that being vegan long-term is beneficial for not just our minds and our bodies, but also for our self-respect as a species.”
John is also supporting charity Vegetarian for Life’s Memory Care Pledge, which is similar to The Vegan Society’s Catering for Everyone campaign. Both initiatives work to ensure vegans at care homes are given suitable food, with Catering for Everyone also targeting schools, universities, prisons and hospitals.
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