A 63-year-old vegan who has never eaten animal products has spoken out about how he is thriving on a vegan diet.
Doctors told fitness fanatic John Machin's parents that he wouldn't live past the age of 10 if he didn't start eating meat and dairy - but he now trains every single day, training for two hours.
He doesn't lift weights, but uses his own body weight to sculpt his muscles – otherwise known as calisthenics.
Smashing the stereotype
"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," Machin said in a statement sent to Plant Based News.
"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 10. I think he got that one slightly wrong."
Fitness and nutrition
Machin says he wasn't particularly healthy as a child, and his early diet consisted mainly of chips, baked beans, and tinned peas. It was in his teenage years that he took an interest in fitness and nutrition – subjects he now teaches.
"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," Machin, who worked as a writer for television shows such as The Two Ronnies and Noel's House Party, said.
"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."
'Never been easier to be vegan'
Machin says he finds the growth of veganism heart-warming, as he had been vegan for 50 years before he met his first fellow vegan.
"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," he said.
"Veganism is better for our health, for the human race, for the planet, and – crucially – for our wonderful animals. 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."
Machin is supporting charity Vegetarian for Life's Memory Care Pledge campaign. Vegetarian for Life is dedicated to supporting older vegetarians and vegans. The campaign ensures older vegans or vegetarians in care homes who may have lost capacity are still able to eat meals in line with their beliefs.
"Vegetarian for Life is a charity which is close to my heart because my mother suffered from dementia, and spent her final years in a nursing home. Those with dementia may have lost their short-term memory, but they have not lost their self-respect," he said.
"The beliefs they held before their illness must be respected, and ignoring the diet and lifestyle of those who made the courageous decision to avoid meat and/or dairy is as immoral as it is callous. So I support the campaign wholeheartedly."
Amanda Woodvine, Chief Executive of Vegetarian for Life, said: "John seems such a strong and thriving vegan. His commitment to being plant-based all of these years is inspiring and shows just how much strength can be built and maintained on a vegan diet.
"We are grateful that John is supporting our Memory Care Pledge campaign, and we need as many UK care homes to sign up as possible. It's free, and really simple to do.
"Let's ensure that mealtimes are inclusive, enjoyable, and in line with all residents' beliefs and wishes for their whole lives."
You can find out more here
Machin is currently a finalist in PETA's 'UK and Ireland’s Hottest Vegan Over 50 2019' competition. You can find out more here