PETA is on the Lookout for Sexiest Vegan Over 50
Everyone from Bill Clinton to Time Magazine has been touting a plant-based diet as the secret to a longer, healthier life. While there may not be a stand-alone secret “ingredient” to staying healthy and active into your golden years, it has been suggested that a diet rich in plants and low in animal fats can keep blood pressure low, heart disease and diabetes at bay and moods elevated. Is anything sexier than a big heart, a healthy body and happy mind?
This is the idea behind PETA’s “Sexiest Vegan over 50″ contest, an annual challenge that praises compassionate, butt-kicking vegans over the age of 50. Whether or not you’re a fan of the organization and their controversial methods of activism, in a youth-obsessed culture constantly fixated on looking “better,” the fact that PETA runs this contest at all is a very serious win. It not only promotes veganism, but veganism at all stages of life, negating the idea that you need to be a certain age in order to be considered “sexy.”
“’Sex appeal’ is about much more than washboard abs and a firm tush,” reads the organization’s call for entry. “Altruism, integrity, determination, and enthusiasm are all sexy—and vegans tend to embody all these qualities and more.” We can all raise a glass of green juice to that!
To avoid judging entries based on looks alone, PETA states they also look for compassion, inspiration, dedication, optimism and bravery. Each year, one male and one female is chosen based on a mix of audience votes, overall demonstrated enthusiasm for the vegan life, and level of attractiveness, both inside and out.
To explore what it really means to be dubbed one of the sexiest vegans over 50, we caught up with Carlyn Montes De Oca, 2011′s contest winner (pictured above).
ZE: Can you describe what it was like entering and winning this contest?
CMDO: The contest was fun and transformational. For several weeks the public voted on their favorite contestant. I put out a few you tube videos so people could get to know me a little better and could understand why I was running. The morning the news came, I could hardly believe I won! I had been a vegetarian for about 30 years until then, but the contest motivated me into becoming 100% vegan. It also became a catalyst to help me speak out on behalf of animals in a much stronger way.
ZE: Why do you think it’s important that PETA is highlighting strong, warm and attractive vegans 50 and over?
CMDO: 50 is a pivotal age for women. It’s our third act. At this age we can become more creative, more intuitive, more of who we really are meant to be. But instead of thriving, often at this time of life women begin to show signs of chronic illness. It might start with being overweight, and then can lead to heart disease, diabetes and even cancer; all conditions that can be prevented or helped by adopting a healthy vegan diet. A strong, warm and attractive vegan woman in her fifties is a great role model and an empowering example, not only to women of a similar age, but to all women who want to live life to its fullest. Of course this goes for men as well.
ZE: I read that your husband is also vegan! How is it having a partner who shares your interest in compassion?
CMDO: Ken was a vegan even before I was! It is wonderful to have a partner who eats and lives life with values that I hold so dear. Compassion, kindness and a big heart for animals are very sexy qualities in my view, and Ken has these in spades!
ZE: Do you have any lifestyle tips for vegans looking to thrive into their fifties and beyond?
1. If you love movies like I do, watch Forks over Knives, Cowspiracy and Plant Pure Nation for inspiration.
2. Adopt a dog or cat to be your health and wellness buddy. Most people haven’t realized the amazing health benefits that animals offer us physically and emotionally. Your personal dog doctor or cat nurse could at this very moment be eagerly waiting for you at your local shelter.
3. Join local Meet-ups in your community to connect with other vegans. You will get great support on your vegan journey and you will also make great friends on the way!
An acupuncturist by day, Montes De Oca is the author of the upcoming book, “Dog as My Doctor, Cat as My Nurse, an animal lover’s guide to a healthy, happy and extraordinary life!” Other past Sexiest Vegan Over 50 contest winners include Emmy-winning news anchor, investigative reporter and author Ellen Jaffe -Jones and Veterinarian Dr. Barry Taylor.
The contest is still open for entries. To check out rules and regulations, click here.
Image courtesy of Carlyn Montes De Oca