PAWS Magazine

Issue 41, Spring 1999

Meat makes you strong...yeah, right

PAWS member Tom Wilkenson explodes myths about "weak" vegetarians

PAWS member Tom Wilkenson, a captain with the Port of Seattle’s Police Department, has climbed Mt. Baker, Mt. Olympus, Glacier Peak, and Mt. Rainier. He has ridden in the Seattle-to-Portland and Seattle-to-Vancouver bike rides. He runs 12 miles a week. He lifts weights three times a week.

And he’s been a vegetarian for 20 years.

Whether they admit or not, many non-vegetarians harbor assumptions about vegetarians: they are scrawny and weak, or they don’t get essential nutrients and vitamins. But don’t tell this to Wilkenson. "I don’t eat meat of any kind," says Wilkenson. "The only thing that I’ve continued to do is eat a little dairy and eggs, but I don’t think you even need to eat them [and be healthy]."

Wilkenson’s department encourages its officers to get yearly physicals. "They tell me I have absolutely no problems," says Wilkenson. "In fact, I was specifically told to ‘change nothing,’ [because I was in such great shape]."

This is welcome news for Wilkenson, considering his family history includes high blood pressure and high cholesterol. "My dad even had two heart attacks," says Wilkenson.

Besides making Wilkenson stronger physically, becoming a vegetarian has strengthened his spirit. "It was a decision based on my compassion for the suffering of animals," says Wilkenson.

Wilkenson offers encouragement for people considering going veggie. "It was actually very easy to give up meat," says Wilkenson. "There were no withdrawals, and I found that there was plenty to eat. In fact, I have to watch what I eat so I don’t put on any extra pounds!"

Back to Issue 41 Contents

Back to PAWS Magazine Issues

Sign Up for PAWS E-newsletters!

Contact Information

* denotes a required field

Which regular PAWS Newsletters would you like to receive?

Please check all that apply

E-mail this Page

E-mail this Page

Like what you see? Send a link to this page via e-mail. We respect your privacy. Neither you nor your friend will be added to PAWS’ mailing list.

Security Code

Thank you!

Your message has been sent.

Note: We will do our best to respond to your email on the next weekday. For an immediate answer, please give us a call.


I'm sorry, your message was not sent. Double-check your security code. If this error persists, please contact us at (425) 787-2500 or

Fatal Error

I'm sorry, there was a fatal error sending your message. We cannot process your request at this time. please contact our support team at (425) 787-2500 or