Science Matters – for Vegans and Everyone Else

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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

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

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

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

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 >

How “Science-Based Medicine” Gets Vegan Diets Wrong

How “Science-Based Medicine” Gets Vegan Diets Wrong

The latest book to capitalize on anti-veganism is by science writer Mara Kahn (and, yes, of course, she’s also an ex-vegan). It’s called Vegan Betrayal: Love, Lies and Hunger in a Plants Only World. I can’t comment much on the book since I haven’t read it. But I can comment on a review of the book that appeared on the Science Based Medicine (SBM) website.

Written by SBM co-founder Dr. Harriet Hall, it was more a synopsis of the book’s contents than a thorough review. It was also an endorsement for a number of non-science-based myths about vegan diets.

Usually, I find the SBM website to be balanced and evidence-based. Its writers (including Dr. Hall) are smart and insightful and I often agree with their ... Read More >

Are You a Vegan with a Chronic Disease? Tell Me Your Story

Are You a Vegan with a Chronic Disease? Tell Me Your Story

Almost exactly three years ago, I asked blog readers to tell me their stories about going vegan after the age of 50. The feedback I received—almost 200 comments and emails—were an amazing source of information and inspiration for Never Too Late to Go Vegan (which, by the way, is available this month for e-readers for just $1.99).

For a new project, I’m looking for a completely different type of story. Are you a vegan with a chronic disease, like heart disease, cancer or diabetes?  Or high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol that hasn’t dropped as much as you anticipated? Or are you a vegan with obesity? If so, I’d love to hear about your experience.

I’m not seeking stories about people who have reversed their ... Read More >

Yes, Vegans Can Climb Mt. Everest

Yes, Vegans Can Climb Mt. Everest

Dr. Maria Strydom on Denali

Last week, a vegan named Kuntal Joisher successfully reached the summit of Mt Everest and came home to post photos to his Instagram account. Chances are, you didn’t hear much, if anything, about him. No doubt, though, you heard about another vegan climber, one who died while attempting to climb the tallest mountain in the world.

Of the nearly 1,000 internet articles generated by this story, some overtly questioned the safety of a vegan diet for climbers. By noting that she was a vegan in the headlines, every single one of the articles implied that this was somehow a relevant fact related to Dr. Maria Strydom’s death.

Dr. Strydom wasn’t some irresponsible dilettante when it came to big mountains. She ... Read More >

Vegan Diets Are Safe for Children

Vegan Diets Are Safe for Children

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported about a preschool in Jersey City, NJ that offers only vegan food. The article kind of made me cringe. It made veganism look like a somewhat nutty, somewhat elitist diet that denies kids cupcakes at birthday parties.

But at the very least, it didn’t question the safety of vegan diets. An article in Slate magazine did question it, though. Science writer Melinda Wenner Moyer said that she “couldn’t help but wonder: Can kids actually get the nutrients they need on a vegan diet?”

One way to find out would be to ask actual experts on vegan nutrition. For example, Ms. Moyer could have called Dr. Reed Mangels, who has a PhD in nutrition, teaches at the University of ... Read More >

Vegan Food for People Who Don’t Cook

Vegan Food for People Who Don’t Cook

Recently, I had a taste of what it’s like to be a vegan who doesn’t cook.

For what seems like the past decade or so, I’ve been living with a kitchen remodel. Cooking while my kitchen was torn apart was not really a problem. I have an electric frying pan, an Instant Pot, and an Aroma Rice Cooker/Slow Cooker. I set them up in the dining room, creating a functional kitchen annex. But without running water (or a sink) plus some concurrent remodeling of the (very old) plumbing in the bathroom, clean-up was a challenge.

While I started out cheerfully cooking up black beans and quinoa in the Instant Pot and rice cooker, my cuisine quickly morphed into whatever could be made in the ... Read More >