Umami

Do Some People Need to Eat Meat?

It’s one of the most frequent questions I get from blog readers: How do we respond to people who insist that they require meat in their diets?

I know very well that some vegans struggle with their health, because I hear frequently from those who are looking for help. Most who contact me are animal advocates who are experiencing nutrient deficiencies (diagnosed through blood work) or they simply don’t feel well.

These are not people who are eating junk-food vegan diets. Anyone who gets sick from eating a diet based on potato chips and cookies will usually have a fairly good idea […]

By | 2013-03-02T11:06:01+00:00 March 2nd, 2013|Tags: , , , , , , |155 Comments

The Vegan-for-a-Week Challenge: How to Survive and Thrive

Going “vegan for a week” seems to be a popular thing. Lately, quite a few blog posts and news articles on this phenomenon have been turning up in my google “vegan” search. These are usually written by people who want to see what it’s like to be vegan, even for just a few weeks.

My impression is that most of these temporary vegans have had reasonably good experiences with finding satisfying food. Most have also run up against challenges, usually due in part to a lack of preparation or knowledge.

I haven’t seen any of these experiments morph into an actual embrace […]

By | 2013-02-19T12:38:22+00:00 February 19th, 2013|Tags: , , |21 Comments

Ten Tips for Staying Happy and Healthy on a Vegan Diet

There is a long list of reasons why people fail on a vegan diet and return to the world of cheese sandwiches and fish fillets. They might have developed overt deficiencies or vague symptoms of poor health. Some ex-vegans say that they experienced depression or foggy thinking or fatigue without animal foods. Others struggled with challenging social situations or with cravings for animal foods.

The following ideas for staying happy and healthy on a vegan diet are all things I’ve written about before, but I wanted to condense them into a sort […]

Is Umami a Secret Ingredient of Vegan Activism?

In a recent New York Times article, wellness reporter Tara Parker-Pope explored the challenges of going vegan. Those challenges—including knowledge about how to prepare vegan foods and finding support—are real, although not nearly as insurmountable as Ms. Parker-Pope would have us think.

In particular, she focused on the taste and experience of familiar foods, saying “Giving up favorite foods is never easy, food scientists say, for it means overriding taste preferences imprinted on the brain during a lifetime of eating.”

No doubt that’s true, but I’m not sure that we have to override those taste preferences. I wonder if the […]

By | 2012-04-18T09:13:42+00:00 April 18th, 2012|Tags: , , |87 Comments