Dear Dr Ruth,
We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Europe (I am writing from Luxembourg, though originally am from Lithuania), but the idea of this holiday (the giving of thanks part) is truly beautiful. And we all should have as many beautiful things in our lives as we can fit in. So I thought: I will celebrate it by writing you a thank-you letter. I imagine you receive a lot of thank you letters, perhaps they’ve become a constant feature, like the roar of the ocean. And I can only hope that this letter – yet another wave crashing – would manage to bring a sparkle to so much used phrase – thank you – and would be a nice message to receive during this holiday.
It is strange how one thing leads to another and before you know it, your whole life is so different from what it was just a year ago that you can hardly imagine that it’s still you. That’s the best way to describe my year so far. I know that the changes that took place were made by me, but you have been a huge inspiration while doing those changes. I am truly thankful for all the work you do in promoting veganism and running. Especially because it must get tedious at times to constantly repeat same things over and over again. And yet you still manage to sound fresh and enthusiastic! Somehow your words don’t wear off! And that is appreciated a lot!
First time I have heard your story was in Forks over Knives documentary. And then by accident I came across your vsh presentation in U-tube and that opened another treasure trove of videos from the Vegetarian Society of Hawaii. I am so very grateful to Bill Harris, Karl Seff, Lorraine Sakaguchi and many others who work behind the scenes and make it possible for everybody to see the videos. It helped me a lot to better understand various health issues and know that my decision to go vegan was the right and only way to proceed with my life. It is very useful to have a reliable source of information because there is still a lot of misinformation around. For example, recently a friend of mine talked to a president of a Luxembourg vegetarian society who was adamant that you don’t need to take B12 vitamins if you eat organic produce! I also took a Nutrition class on Coursera from Vanderbilt University (https://www.coursera.org/
I am also thankful you are such a passionate sports advocate. It really helped me get back into sports. You can hear a thousand times from doctors or various studies that sports are good for you and it does nothing. But when you see somebody leading by example in such an awesome way, you can’t wait to follow them! Until 16, I played table tennis professionally and after falling and injuring my knees one too many times I became convinced that sports are not all that healthy. And for the next 17 years I did absolutely nothing in terms of exercise (I guess the fact that I managed to look fit without doing any exercise did not help the cause). And now I am slowly getting reacquainted with my running shoes and retraining my legs to run again. And every morning when the tape recorder in my head starts playing the excuse song: “Should I put those running shoes on and go tackle the 100 stairs going up the hill nearby to where I live when it’s so cold and dark outside”, I think: “What would Ruth Heidrich do?” And there is only one answer to that: she would just run and eat some kale afterwards.
Best wishes, Eugenija Stankeviciute