On Veganism

I wrote this post over a week ago. Well, the list portion of it. The rest of it was emotionally driven. It didn't seem to match me. It was spurned on by someone commenting on our decision to become vegan, and basically saying that not everything we read on-line is true, and most sources, especially PETA have an agenda and use a lot of sensationalism. Apparently my love of (and quest for) facts hasn't quite infiltrated everyone I know. I've been actively studying nutrition for the last four years (and have been casually learning more about food and how it affects the body for most of my adult life). I created this list as a way of showing some of the books we've read and movies we've watched. And no, PETA had no influence on our decision (I think I've been to their site maybe three times in my whole life), you know, just for the record.

World Peace Diet - Will Tuttle
In Defense of Food - Michael Pollan
May All Be Fed - John Robbins
Get Healthy, Go Vegan - Dr. Neal Barnard
Whitewash: the Disturbing Truth About Cow's Milk and your Health - Joseph Keon
Spontaneous Healing - Dr. Andrew Weil
Healthy Aging - Dr. Andrew Weil
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vegan Eating for Kids - Dr. Andrew Villamagna and Dana Villamagna, MSJ
The Word of Wisdom - Verses 13 and 15 had never really stood out to me until recently. I love that they are included. Or maybe I love that they basically say the same thing, and that thing is included twice.
Food Matters
Food, Inc.
King Corn
The Future of Food
No Impact Man
FLOW: For Love of Water
Super Size Me
The Beautiful Truth
Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days - I've loved all of the movies I listed, some more than others (the Beautiful Truth has some ridiculously cheesy narration, though I admire the boy's quest), but this one struck an especially personal chord. Like many people, diabetes is quite rampant in my family, and to see the drastic effects changing one's diet can have on this disease astounded me.

(From one of my favorite farmer's markets. It's part of Davis Ranch in Sloughhouse, CA)


  1. I have been thinking a lot about this lately. I know I need to add more raw foods into my diet, but raw is very hard for me. How did you make the transition? Do you have any recipes that you absolutely love that you would be willing to share? I lack creativity in the kitchen. I struggle with fruit. A smoothie is hard to gag down. Any ideas?

    Also, how do you distinguish between everything? It just seems that there are so many ideas out there. How do you discern what is right and what is wrong. One group says one thing, then you have this other group over here proving the others wrong. It's kind of confusing!!!

  2. I have the opposite problem: I could eat fruit all day, but when it comes time for a snack, or any raw veggie for that matter, my old habits creep in, and I usually choose something else. Jake eats raw fruits and vegetables all day. It's all he takes with him to work/school. I suppose the biggest change we made in that area is simply buying more produce. If we have apples, pears, carrots, etc, and we don't have processed snacks in the cupboard, we eat more of what's better for us. Something easy is to do prep work ahead of time. Have easy stuff like carrots, grapes, broccoli, etc. They're easy to grab, carry around, and munch on. My favorite snack is a handful of raw almonds. I love them.

    Something else: we almost always have a fresh dip of some sort. Salsa and hummus are usually our options. It's super easy, and chips and salsa is my favorite food. No joke. Oh, and we almost always have avocados on hand, so I can make some guacamole really quick. My dietary weakness is corn tortilla chips (the Great Value bite-sized rounds are my favorite) . I love the crunch, I try to substitute them for crunchy veggies in hummus, but they usually win. We have been making so many new recipes, I think I'll start sharing a few a week on my blog. Last night we have Tuscan quesadillas. WOW! The fun thing about vegan cooking is that it automatically makes you more creative in the kitchen.

    Let's see, Distinguishing. I think the biggest factor is cross-referencing. Take the study that says drinking red wine in moderation is good for your heart. It's true, but you get even more benefits without the side effects of alcohol when you eat dark grapes. There usually isn't a single study on any point of nutrition. So, the parts that we've latched onto have been confirmed in various places. I think one really important thing to remember: In our society, everything comes down to the bottom dollar. The meat (beef, pork, poultry) and dairy industries are HUGE markets with countless lobbyists in their behalf. When was the last time you heard of a fruit or vegetable lobbyist, or a water lobbyist? Milk's claim to fame is the calcium. It is drilled into us that it's a good source of calcium, and we need it. Milk has so much calcium because cows eat calcium rich green plants. If a big cow can get all of its calcium needs from plants, so can humans. (And each avenue of meat/dairy has it's tag line about why it's essential.) Little things like that add up quickly. Most importantly, I'm doing what feels right for my body. I've been feeling my way through ideas for several years, and I know what makes my body feel good. The quest for good health [physical and mental] is a spiritual one for me, and food is a big part of health. I love this quote by Hippocrates: "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." I think that sums it up in far fewer words than any particular study.

  3. Thanks. I would love to see some recipes. I am trying to cut out our processed foods. My kids eat way to many. It will be harder for them than for me.

    You are right about "the quest for good heath" being a "spiritual one." I have been discovering this as well. Mostly impart of my ignorance on the last post. :) I started reading and realizing how there really is no one true answer or a "blanket" diet that refers to everyone. It really is a personal choice and what feels good to you.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Darrell and I just watched the Oprah on Veganism- it really peaked our interest in it. Although I know I will never be a vegan, I would love to start using more produce... more GREEN produce. We do depend on meat too much as a society- I think there can be moderation in all things, Darrell and I want to try and start at least one meal a weak with out meat. Recipe's would be greatly appreciated- and I want to read Micheal Pollan's book.
    As I type this two of my kids have asked me if we are having a dessert, because they are hungry... we have a lot of work in this house!



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