Robert Atcheson considers himself a tough guy. He falls squarely into the stereotype of an all-American tough guy too. He grew up on a farm in Iowa, where he helped his family raise and slaughter hogs and cattle. For a time, he worked in a restaurant that served standard greasy spoon fare: bacon, burgers and fried chicken. At age 19, he left home to spend four years in the Marine Corps, then joined the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department rising to the rank of captain.
So when his teenage daughter told him she was going vegan several years ago, he did what many tough (perhaps too tough) parents would do when faced with the same situation. He told her to either eat the food he cooked for her, or get out of the house!
While he ridiculed her at first, the encounter got him thinking. It turned out that his daughter’s desire to go vegan was supported by doctors, researchers, dietitians, fitness gurus, everyone except the meat industry itself. Then he remembered his father’s heart attack and his mother’s type II diabetes, and realized that he was headed for the same. At that moment he decided he wanted something better for his daughter, for himself, and for the whole country.
According to Captain Atcheson, “When you eat meat and other animal products, you’re playing a losing game of chicken with your health. It takes courage and discipline to ditch that crap and clean up your plate. So do what I did, and what many of my best officers eventually did, too: trade in that morning doughnut for a smoothie. Swap that chicken sandwich for a black bean burger. Your health — and your family — will thank you.”
We find it very encouraging that the health message of plant-based diets is reaching far and wide. Our thanks go out to not only to the Captain for this message but also to his courageous daughter who stuck by her guns and told him what he needed to hear.