A Science-Based (and Vegan) Perspective on the New “What the Health” Documentary
I wasn’t really planning on writing a review of the new vegan documentary What the Health. I watched it; I fumed; I complained on my personal Facebook page and more directly to my science-based colleagues. And then I figured I’d move on.
The thing that changed my mind is that the film is getting considerable (negative) attention from the non-vegan sphere. Some of these reactions are just anti-vegan diatribes and some are aimed purely at being offensive. But some are thoughtful and informed. And the fact is that it’s not possible to defend this film against the thoughtful and informed criticisms. Not from a scientific point of view anyway. And there is little to be gained by making weak, exposed efforts to defend bad science ... Read More >
Brand New Website! Plus a Nutrition Primer on Vegan Bone Health
If you’re reading this on the web, you’ll see that TheVeganRD has received a long overdue redesign. A big thank you to web designer Chad Smalley (who also happens to be a bassist and singer with Houston band Blaggards and is a vegan. Chad was great to work with and never even batted an eye (at least I don’t think he did) when I said that my taste in design runs toward “cozy vintage.” I think he did an amazing job.
In celebration of my brand new look, I want to start expanding the nutrition primers on this site. In particular, I’ve lately had a lot of questions about bone health. They have come mostly from vegan women who have experienced a fracture or been ... Read More >
Cow’s Milk, Plant Milks and Growth in Children
New research from Canada found that kids who don’t drink cow’s milk are shorter than those who do. It’s a finding that makes for some sensational headlines but the study itself is not all that exciting.
This was a cross-sectional study of 5,034 children between the ages of two and six years (average age was about three years). Of the study population, 246 kids, or about 5% of the subjects, drank only non-cow’s milk, which included plant milks and goat’s milk. For each daily cup of non-cow’s milk consumed, children were 0.16 inch shorter. By age three, those who drank three cups of non-cow’s milk per day were about 0.6 inches shorter than children who drank an equivalent amount of cow’s milk, but this finding ... Read More >
Everything You Need to Know about Vegan Nutrition (Plus a Few Words about Vitamin B12)
My friend Erik Marcus recently invited me to write an introduction to vegan nutrition for his website vegan.com. In his weekly newsletter, Erik wrote about why he feels so strongly about providing solid nutrition information for vegans.
One of the most important and most neglected topics in all of veganism is our high recidivism rate—the percentage of vegans who go back to eating meat. I suspect in many cases, it’s because these people did not read accurate information about how to sensibly plan a vegan diet. There’s just so much misleading information about vegan nutrition out there, much of it passed along by people who have only the best intentions. […] Remember, animal lives aren’t just saved by people going vegan. They’re also saved by ... Read More >
Even Vegans Die: A Book for Animal Advocates
Guilt and shame are common reactions for vegans who get sick. Our diet is all too often portrayed as a way to get skinny and stay bulletproof against disease. Vegans who don’t reap those outcomes sometimes wonder if there is a place for them in our community of animal advocates.
These kinds of issues have been a concern to me as a vegan activist and health professional for a long time and they are addressed in my new book, co-authored with Carol J. Adams and Patti Breitman. It’s called Even Vegans Die and is being published this month by Lantern.
Our book’s premise is that we are better advocates for animals and for our fellow vegans when we accept that vegan diets do not absolutely ... Read More >
Science Matters – for Vegans and Everyone Else
It’s easy enough to get drawn into the hype, hyperbole, and conspiracy-driven drama that’s often used to advocate for vegan diets. It’s sometimes meant to convince people that vegan diets have one-of-a-kind health benefits. Or it might be used to create a sense of comfort around veganism by assuring newcomers that it’s not possible to be nutrient deficient if you are eating all whole plant foods.
The truth is way less dramatic. There is no body of evidence to suggest that you have to be vegan in order to be healthy. The evidence does not suggest that every disease in the world is reversible with a whole foods vegan diet. And, yes, it is possible to fall short of nutrients on a vegan diet ... Read More >
7 Tips for Sticking With Your New Vegan Diet
Maybe you’ve decided to jump right into a vegan diet or maybe you’re dipping a toe in the water and opting for a gentle transition. Either way, there are lots of things that newbie vegans can do to make their diet feel more practical and sustainable for the long run.
1. Embrace your cooking style.
In their annual click bait story on the “best” diets, US News and World Report suggested that eating vegan means spending lots of time in the kitchen. This is a poorly-informed and limited view of veganism. Vegan diets are diverse and so are vegan cooking styles; they can be as laborious or as fast and simple as you like. Time saving options for vegans include canned beans, frozen vegetables or ... Read More >
Vegan Betrayal: More Myths from an Ex-Vegan
Please take a peek at my new article on the Science Based Medicine website. You may recall that I criticized the website back in July for their review of the book Vegan Betrayal. I hadn’t actually read the book at the time, however. I’ve done so now and I asked them to consider sharing a new review of the book from me. They were kind enough to do so.
Curiously, though, they inserted an editorial comment at the beginning of the article suggesting that my perspective is similar to their own original review of the book. I don’t know—Dr. Harriet Hall who reviewed the book for them claimed that its nutrition information was solid. I say that it’s not based on any evidence whatsoever. It ... Read More >
The Sexual Politics of Dairy
Early last summer I asked readers of this blog to share their personal experiences with chronic disease either as comments here or privately via email. Thank you to everyone who responded. Those stories and perspectives were extremely valuable for a book I’ve been working on which will be published in the spring of 2017. Stay tuned for more information on that.
In the meantime, I am honored that my friend Carol J. Adams, author of the groundbreaking book The Sexual Politics of Meat has asked me to co-author a new book with her, The Sexual Politics of Dairy. This is a project that will most likely evolve as we delve into the subject matter, but our plan is to look at all aspects of dairy: ... Read More >
Taking Responsibility for the Health of Vegan Children
No doubt you’ve heard about the legislator in Italy who is proposing to make it illegal to raise kids as vegans. Italian lawmaker Elvira Savino wants to see jail sentences of up to seven years for parents who feed their children only plant foods.
The proposed bill describes veganism as “a diet devoid of elements essential for healthy and balanced growth,” It’s ludicrous. Given what we know about nutrient needs, there is no reason to think that children of well-informed vegan parents are at risk for poor health. It is not especially difficult to create a diet that will ensure adequate nutrition for vegan children.
But, as I’ve said on this website many times, you do need to know a little something about meeting nutrient ... Read More >