Cardiologist chooses vegan diet, lowers his cholesterol and garners mad haters »
As reported by the NYT Well blog, Dr. Kim A. Williams, president-elect of the American College of Cardiology, wrote a post encouraging people to go adopt a plant-based diet for heart health—so of course everyone freaked out. Because why listen to science when someone is trying to deny you your god-given right to eat dead cow! And when I say deny your right, I mean dare to suggest it might not be healthy.
He was inspired to make the change when he got a cholesterol test and found out his LDL cholesterol level was 170. From his post:
I thought I had a healthy diet — no red meat, no fried foods, little dairy, just chicken breast and fish. But a simple Web search informed me that my chicken-breast meals had more cholesterol content (84 mg/100 g) than pork (62 mg/100 g). So I changed that day to a cholesterol-free diet, using “meat substitutes” commonly available in stores and restaurants for protein. Within 6 weeks my LDL cholesterol level was down to 90.
I don’t totally know what all this LDL stuff means but 170 to 90 in six weeks seems pretty amazing! If you read his post, it’s pretty benign. Not too preachy, just mostly about his personal journey to a plant-based diet and how it’s helped him. But people still got all heated, as per usual when any hint of veganism comes up. This screen cap of the site he wrote the post on can give you an idea of the calamity:
Yeah, 74 comments. Seems a bit above their average. I skimmed through some, and as expected: VOM. People are so annoying sometimes. Sigh.
The doctor responds to some of the criticism in the NYT post. I especially like this part:
Some critics suggested that Dr. Williams and the college were “unduly influenced by industry,” which baffled him.
“Who is the industry that promotes vegan dieting?” he asked.
AND HOW. That is always the silliest criticism to me when someone promotes vegan eating! There is no special agenda to make people go vegan because that’s not where the money is! The money is in A. the meat and dairy lobby, and B. the pharma lobby. Those people do not want you do eat vegan. Obvisiously non-vegan food industries don’t but pharma doesn’t either because if no one was sick, how would they make money?! You would hope a doctor, however, would have entirely different motivation, and it seems Dr. Williams does. As he says:
"Wouldn’t it be a laudable goal of the American College of Cardiology to put ourselves out of business within a generation or two?"
Note: Save yourself the trouble, I’ve heard the reasoning against and I’m still going to keep saying “vegan diet.” We all understand what someone means when they say “vegan diet,” it says you adopt the diet of the vegan lifestyle but not the rest of it. Plus I find “plant-based diet” a confusing term. Plant-BASED doesn’t connote to me that you don’t eat some meat or something.
Denver’s Watercourse Foods ditches dairy and goes all-vegan! »
Vegan deviled eggs. That’s probably all you really need to know about the completely overhauled menu that launched a few weeks ago at Denver’s premier vegetarian restaurant, Watercourse Foods.
Watercourse was already one of the best things about Denver, with its huge, all-vegetarian, mostly vegan menu and hip wall art that makes me want to get a tattoo every time I walk in there. But now they have a new chef and they’ve kicked out the dairy and eggs! It’s a whole new day in D-town.
The vegan deviled eggs were kind of a revelation and probably worth the price of a plane ticket. The “whites” are made with tofu, agar, and black salt. The yolks are all creamy and mustardy, and they’re pink because of beets or something. They’re pretty intense, so get a plate to share. But hell yeah, this is a food I have missed.
I visited less than a week after the new menu launched, and I will say that I think they were still working out some of the kinks. The black bean cassoulet side was too salty, the hush puppies were dry, the menu was full of typos, and the servers were a bit confused. But give it a couple months and I’m pretty certain this is going to be an excellent change. Especially as they kept some of the best stuff from the old menu, like the Po Boy and Seitan Grinder sandwiches and the seitan wings. And especially as they won’t be supporting the devil dairy and egg industry anymore. Oh and they serve breakfast all day now! Biscuits and gravy at 8 pm, here I come!
Here’s some of what my table ordered. The photos kinda suck because I didn’t follow Isa’s advice and ask for the Instagram seat near a window, but that just means you’ll need to go see it for yourself, stop relying on me for everything, ARG. [Ed. note: these pics are super, you goof!]
Roasted cauliflower salad.
A trio of sides: Coconut curry soup, slaw, and kale.
Red Beans & Rice with hush puppies.
Green Chili Burger with black bean cassoulet.
Final ed. note: WE CANNOT WAIT TO GO HERE!!!! Rachel, can we stay at your house? Do people still have futons? I call the futon!
UN Court calls bullshit on Japan’s whaling program! »
Image from Greenpeace.
Yay! The International Court of Justice has ordered a temporary halt on Japan’s annual whale slaughter! The UN Court does not think the program is truly in the name of science (screw science anyway, save all the whales!). And according to BBC, Japan said it will honor the ruling.
Reading a summary of the judgment, presiding Judge Peter Tomka of Slovakia said that the present “research program,” dating to 2005, has involved the killing of 3,600 minke whales and a number of fin whales, but that its “scientific output to date appears limited.” The ruling suggested instead that Japan’s whaling hunt served political and economic reasons.
Lawyers attending the proceedings said there was a gasp in the audience when Judge Tomka ordered Japan to immediately “revoke all whaling permits” and not issue any new ones under the existing program.
AWESOME! Let’s hope it sticks!!!
A final note from Captain Alex Cornelissen of the deservedly proud Sea Shepherd Global:
Though Japan’s unrelenting harpoons have continued to drive many species of whales toward extinction, Sea Shepherd is hopeful that in the wake of the ICJ’s ruling, it is whaling that will be driven into the pages of the history books.
Meat, eggs, and dairy could be as harmful to your health as smoking, new study suggests »
"People need to switch to a diet where only around nine or ten percent of their calories come from protein, and the ideal sources are plant-based."
-Valter Longo, director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California. (via the Guardian)
A study published in Cell Metabolism (my new favorite scholarly journal) is making waves today!* After studying 6,000+ people, their data suggests that (at least for people under 65), a diet high in animal-derived protein can be as harmful as smoking, in terms of mortality. I’m sure you can see why that statement would make waves! People do not like when you speak ill of their precious meat and dairy. And we could say comparing it to smoking is a ploy for attention. But, we could alternatively say that the comparison makes the data easily digestible for people (ew, pun!). Plus, it totally deserves attention, so ploy away!
Check out these two “highlights” from the study abstract:
- High protein intake is linked to increased cancer, diabetes, and overall mortality
- Plant-derived proteins are associated with lower mortality than animal-derived proteins
Some critics are saying it’s harmful to compare smoking to dairy and meat because it will make smoking seem less detrimental than it is. I say those people are completely unclear on just how detrimental meat and dairy are.
My favorite thing about this study coming out is that hopefully it’ll shake up the blind faith in protein. I mean, we already knew meat and dairy are bad for you (“we” as in us vegans), there are plenty of studies that have suggested that long ago. But this is a hard attack on the ever-venerated animal protein! The next time you see an omni, you should totally be like: "Where do YOU get your protein?" Booyah!
*Warning! Besides the data they have from studying people, they use data from studies done on mice as well. We don’t have to condone it to learn from it though.
Breaking: Humane Society finds cannibalism, cruelty, and disease at Kentucky pig factory »
HSUS released a new undercover video today from the Iron Maiden pig factory in Kentucky. Besides awful gestation crates, they discovered that the factory takes piglets who die from “Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus” and feed them to mother pigs. It’s done in an effort to immunize the pigs. Freaking disgusting. Vegansaurus friend Paul Shapiro said of the factory, “The entire atmosphere at this facility is awful for animals, many of whom are perpetually immobilized and suffering from body sores, diarrhea attacks and prolapsed uteruses.” And it’s all for bacon? Our society is unbelievable.
I’m wondering, am I the only one who immediately feels claustrophobic when I see the pigs in the gestation crates? A NYT article describes gestation crates pretty chillingly:
They live out their adult lives without exercise or meaningful social interaction; it’s like a life sentence of solitary confinement in a coffin, punctuated by artificial insemination and birth.
Awful. As the article title asks, “Is That Sausage Worth This?”
You can read more about the exposé on the Humane Society’s site, including a description of the video if you don’t want to watch. They also have a link to a petition but other than that, I’m not sure what we can do besides raise awareness and be vegan. If anyone knows about other ways to help, please share in the comments.
Al Gore has gone vegan?! »
The Washington Post is reporting that Al Gore is vegan! We’re guessing Gore has adopted a “vegan diet” rather than lifestyle but hey, you never know. And you have to start somewhere! Plus I think food might be the biggest hurdle for most people when they think about becoming vegan (maybe because they don’t realize about the other stuff?).
From the Washington Post:
An individual familiar with Gore’s decision, who asked not to be identified because it involved a personal matter, confirmed that Gore opted a couple of months ago to become vegan. Gore’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
It is unclear why Gore, one of the nation’s most visible climate activists, has given up dairy, poultry and meat products.
That last sentence cracked me up at first because it’s like, “It’s unclear why Mr. Save-the-Environment is taking the biggest personal measure you can take to save the environment,” but then they go on to make the case that it probably is for environmental reasons.
In conclusion, you go Gore! Keep it up! Let’s take over! Rah rah rah!
Forbes names vegan food a top food trend of 2013! »
Go Forbes! Now I know we will get some people like, “trend? TREND?” but we consistently have been seeing veganism as a “trend” in the last half a dozen years AND if we’ve learned anything from beets, many things that start as trends, become menu staples. So! Here is what Forbes has to say!:
"The new wave of veganism is more about health than animal welfare," says Mike Thelin, co-founder of Feast Portland. "For better or worse, this is why it will have more staying power." Witness the rise of such eating plans ("diets" seems too limiting) as Vegan Before 6 and the China Study. Chef Tal Ronnen opened L.A.’s vegan restaurant Crossroads after catering vegan for celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and the wedding of Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi. Now he creates artichoke "oysters" (pictured) with artichoke puree, crispy oyster mushroom and kelp caviar and "crab cakes” composed of hearts of palm, apples, and beets, with nuts refined into non-dairy cheeses. Matthew Kenney of M.A.K.E. in Santa Monica does similarly photogenic dishes and has a cooking school to back it up. It’s not just a west coast thing: Chef Jose Huber of the Amway Hotel Collection in Grand Rapids, Mich. goes vegan for a month each year to taste test recipes such as a cauliflower steak.
Fine, a lot of people follow vegan “meal plans” for health but that’s better than nothing and I have seen many people start out for health and eventually get to the animal rights reasons. Because a lot of people aren’t even aware of what happens to animals used for food but once you start reading about reasons to be vegan, that stuff is going to come up!
I really couldn’t be happier that Forbes is down with veganism. Now the riches will be all up on it and make us even more yummy restaurants!
Food for Lover’s Vegan Queso is going gluten-free!
According to a press release, the company is switching from using wheat flour to oat flour in their entire line because it just actually tastes better. That’s a refreshing development.
Expect it in stores, with a new label, in November or so. Imma stock up on some corn chips and salsa and pig out, you’re invited.
Did you know: PCRM has a vegan-food-only office! »
PCRM! Sometimes amazing, sometimes embarrassing, but always working toward a vegan world, which we can certainly appreciate. And in service of that goal, the organization has a vegan-food-only office policy, which the Washington Post reported on this week for … reasons.
PCRM has also piloted vegan eating programs at other workplaces in the Washington area. In one instance, they worked with a group of employees at Geico’s Chevy Chase headquarters. The nonprofit asked the insurance group to adopt a vegan diet and offered them weekly instruction on how to make healthy, tasty and cost-effective vegan choices. After 22 weeks, they compared employees in that group to Geico employees who hadn’t received the training. The vegan group lost more weight, reported improved physical health and said they saw a decrease in food costs.
Of course people are always yapping about how veganism will MAKE YOU THIN at which point YOU WILL WIN LIFE, which is a dumb lie. But are we going to criticize a cruelty-free office kitchen? Of course not. Health vegans, we love you too. Everyone’s welcome on team vegan.
[Photo by Justina Davies via Flickr]
(Source: Washington Post)
Dog Pulls A Lassie, Saves Homeless Man »
What is it, Mole, you adorable German Shepard mix? There’s a homeless man trapped under those rocks here on Mt. Rubidoux, near Riverside, CA? He’s totally dehydrated and has been there for a week or more? You need me to come help him and call rescuers? Is that why you’re pulling on my pant leg? It better be, because this is getting annoying. Good thing I brought you hiking with me, Mole! Dogs are the best!