Veganism – and Gardening – for Justice and Compassion
Here in western Massachusetts, there is a blanket of snow on the ground, but I’m dreaming about my garden. It’s what gardeners do. If we’re not out and about among the flowers, we’re planning and reading and dreaming about them.
One of the most consequential books I read last year about gardening is A New Garden Ethic by Benjamin Vogt. It advocates for gardening with native plants but is much more than a gardening book. It’s a plea for justice and fairness in the way we view our landscapes and those who share them with us. Unintentionally, it’s also a compelling argument in favor of a vegan ethic.
First, a couple of things about native plants and how they relate to veganism. Native plants have ... Read More >
Going Vegan: Five Tips for Success
Whether you’re diving headfirst into a vegan diet or making a gradual transition to more plant-based eating, you’ll maximize your chances of success by learning a little bit about nutrition, finding foods you enjoy, and having realistic expectations. Most of the information here comes from the Keys to Success section of Vegan for Life.
Be Smart About Nutrition
It’s easy to meet nutrient needs on a vegan diet but it’s not enough to simply eat a variety of whole plant foods. If you’ve always depended on cow’s milk for calcium and meat for protein, you need to learn new ways to get these and other nutrients. The Vegan for Life Food Guide will get you started and you’ll find more information in my nutrition primers ... Read More >
Finding the Best Vegan Diet (And Why It’s Not Low-Fat)
It’s been quiet on this website for a long time while I’ve had my attention on several all-consuming projects. One was the new edition of Vegan for Life. By the time that book was published last May, I was already immersed in an even bigger endeavor which was a 10-year update to The Dietitian’s Guide to Vegetarian Diets, scheduled for publication in October 2021. Co-authored with Dr. Reed Mangels and Dr. Mark Messina, this is a textbook and a comprehensive overview of all aspects of vegan and vegetarian nutrition.
One subject that both books cover is the use of vegan diets for reducing risk for chronic disease, losing weight, or managing heart disease or diabetes. Defining the “best” vegan diet for these purposes ... Read More >
Vegans and Bone Fractures: New Findings and Best Practices for Keeping Bones Strong
New findings from the EPIC-Oxford study in the U.K. have raised questions about vegan diets and bone health. In this study, which included around 55,000 (mostly white) subjects, vegans had a 43% higher risk of fractures overall compared to nonvegetarians, as well as higher risks of hip, leg, and vertebral fractures.
The biggest difference was for hip fractures; vegans were more than twice as likely as people who ate meat to break their hip. Vegetarians and pesco-vegetarians (their diets include fish but no other meat) also had a higher risk of hip fracture, although not as high as vegans. Among the vegans, risk for fracture seemed to be greatest in women, especially post-menopausal women.
The average lower body weights of vegans was part of the ... Read More >
Vegan For Life: Updated, Revised, Expanded, and All-New
I’m excited to announce that a completely updated and expanded edition of Vegan for Life is headed into the world. Its pub date is May 12, 2020 and it’s available for pre-order now.
My co-author Jack Norris and I have added lots of new material to the book – a brand new and much simplified food guide, a chapter on eating to manage intestinal issues, and a compassionate guide to addressing body size issues within a vegan ethic. All the nutrition information is updated as are the guidelines for eating to reduce risk for chronic disease. We’ve added lots of information to help people go vegan and stay vegan.
Our goals for this book are the same as they were when we wrote the first ... Read More >
Prepping the Vegan Pantry for a COVID-19 Quarantine
On any given day I’m well prepared to be quarantined. I have stacks and stacks of books waiting to be read on my bookshelves and kindle, plus supplies for all kinds of craft projects, and plenty of work. I’m the ultimate homebody anyway and am never bored. Also, I have sort of an odd penchant for dystopian literature, and it inspires me to be prepared for the worst. I’m not a prepper by any means, but I do get a little anxious if there is less than a six-week reserve of food in my pantry.
Even so, I’ve been reassessing my supplies as I follow the news about COVID-19. Given all the uncertainty over the coronavirus, it seems like a good idea to be ready ... Read More >
Giving Up Dairy is a Good Idea. And It’s Easier than You Think
According to social media, Joaquin Phoenix’s Oscar acceptance speech has a lot of people asking whether it might be a good idea to ditch dairy. The answer is yes. In the name of compassion and justice, dropping dairy foods from your menus is a very good idea.
Farmers insist that dairy cows live happy, protected lives. They share photos and videos that certainly make it look like the cows on small farms are content. But every single one of those cows and every single one of their calves eventually goes to slaughter. Some are sick and weak when they are loaded onto trucks. They might travel through several livestock auctions before they reach the slaughterhouse. They may travel for long distances without food or water ... Read More >
For World Vegan Day: 5 Things to Know About Veganism
November 1 is World Vegan Day marking 75 years since the word vegan was coined. Even though the concept of veganism has been around for a while, there are plenty of misconceptions about it. Here are five things to know about veganism.
- For most people, going vegan is a process, not an overnight transformation. Staying focused on that process, making one choice at a time, can make the endeavor seem way less daunting. That is, instead of worrying about whether you can ever be vegan, just start making more vegan choices and see where you end up.
- Veganism is not a diet. According to the Vegan Society, it is “a way of living which seeks to exclude, as ... Read More >
On Privilege, Priorities, and Processed Foods in Vegan Diets
Lately it seems that every restaurant chain is scrambling to add some type of vegan meat to their menu. And these new products are so excellent that they appeal to vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.
Is this good news for vegans, or are we all going to suddenly keel over and die now that we can eat fast food just like the rest of America? Detractors, including some plant-based diet advocates, are quick to point out the processed nature of the new burgers. They say people are being led astray if they believe that these are healthy alternatives. Some even suggest that the health of vegans is suffering because of all the new vegan products on the market.
But, it’s not like there have never been ... Read More >
Vegan Children and Vaccines
A couple of weeks ago, I took myself to the pharmacy for the first of two doses of the shingles vaccine. I didn’t want to do it at all. For one thing, I’m highly needle-phobic. (I don’t even have pierced ears.) Also, I was working toward a major deadline and didn’t have time to be sick. Headache, fatigue, and low-grade fever are common side effects of this vaccine, according to the CDC, and they can last for several days.
But I had recently heard from two people who have had shingles in the past few months (one is a family member, the other an animal activist) and their experiences were way worse than the usual mild side effects of the ... Read More >