My Plantcentric Journey

Posts tagged ‘Forks Over Knives’

Why the Word “Vegan” is More Powerful Than Ever

By Colleen Holland

VegNews’ Colleen Holland explores why companies are clamoring to position themselves as “vegan.”

It wasn’t long ago that the word “vegan” evoked images of emaciated hippies, angry activists, and starving dumpster divers in the mainstream lexicon. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a lean physique, being passionate about a cause, and saving perfectly good food from going to waste, but in the past five years, something has changed. Perhaps the shift occurred when Ellen DeGeneres announced to the world that she was thriving on a vegan diet, or when the pro-veg film Forks Over Knives swept the nation with its sound science and promise that diseases like diabetes and obesity could be cured with a plant-based diet. Or was it the CNN interview with Bill Clinton where he extols the virtues of living without meat and dairy, the exposure to delectable vegan food through the hundreds of meat-free cookbooks now published every year, or the constant barrage of undercover factory-farm footage on major television networks? However the change took place, the perception of veganism is more positive than ever before, and everyone from Anderson Cooper to Arian Foster are talking about it. It is nearly impossible to deny that veganism’s moment has arrived.

According to the latest “how many vegetarians are there?” poll by the Vegetarian Resource Group, roughly 7.5 percent of the population identifies as either vegan or vegetarian, and an astonishing 33 percent eat “mostly veg.” Combine that with the millions more allured by the health benefits of ditching dairy and beef for almond milk and veggie burgers—not to mention the unprecendented 12-percent nose dive in meat consumption over the past five years—and we’ve got ourselves a little vegetarian revolution.

The Power of Vegan
Remember that scary word, vegan? For years, marketers were told to stay clear of using it on product packaging and promotion. It was seen as a turn-off to consumers, and a surefire way to get buyers not to buy a product. But now that it’s 2012, and veganeverything practically grows on trees, I wanted to find out just how far we’ve come. Are companies finally embracing the once-forbidden label? For Seth Tibbott, founder of Turtle Island Foods (a 32-year-old vegan company that makes veggie dogs, sausages, deli slices, and the famous Tofurky), the answer is an emphatic “yes.” He says, “We showcase the term ‘vegan’ as a major point of differentiation from our main competitors. This makes it easier on current vegans, interesting to meat reducers, and intriguing for others.” Earth Balance, an all-vegan food company that produces everything from butter spreads and soymilk to nut butters and mayonnaise, has prominently marketed its products as vegan since the company’s inception in 1998. Marketing Manager Adriane Little emphasizes the importance of communicating this message to consumers as “a way to show that a vegan diet should not be restrictive, but the opposite—a lifestyle filled with good-tasting, good-for-you options.”

But what about non-vegetarian companies? Have they recognized the benefits of marketing their brands as vegan? In my own analysis (spending a day at a natural-food store photographing any product that used the word vegan on its packaging), never before have I seen such a broad use of the once-taboo term. The word is splashed across boxes of Boca burgers (now owned by Kraft); popular pasta-sauce purveyor Victoria Fine Foods has launched an all-vegan line called Victoria Vegan; and Dr. Praeger’s—whose product line also includes seafood—doesn’t hold back when touting vegan on the front of its packaging. Combine this trend with such recent news as Subway testing vegan sandwiches in Washington, DC stores and McDonald’s opening its first all-vegetarian restaurant in India, and it’s just a matter of time, I believe, before major food brands embrace the word vegan to represent health, sustainability, and authenticity. For vegans, these values are nothing new, and according to Tibbott, we’re just ahead of the curve. “Vegans are ahead of their time in terms of eating a diet that we feel will be adopted by more and more people in the coming years. By living their values, they inspire others to consider dietary changes.” I couldn’t agree more.

To see an array of products currently marketed as vegan, check out Colleen Holland’s Vegan Food Slide Show.

Thank you to Staff of Life in Santa Cruz, CA for allowing VegNews to shoot the photography for this piece.

http://vegnews.com/articles/page.do?pageId=4950&catId=1

Rosie O’Donnell Watches ‘Forks Over Knives’, Contacts Dr. Esselstyn

Forks over Knives logo

BY MICHAEL DESTRIES AUGUST 27, 2012

After suffering a potentially fatal heart attack several weeks ago, Rosie O’Donnell has wasted absolutely no time in giving her diet a dramatic overhaul.

The 50-year-old almost immediately starting cutting animal products out of her life; claiming on Twitter to have lost 10 pounds in the process.

“this crazy summer has taken me into uncharted territory,” she wrote today on her blog. “into mornings that begin at 7. long walks and vegetables.”

Ecorazzi reached out to Rosie over Twitter earlier to ask if she had caught the awesome documentary “Forks Over Knives.” She tweeted back that, yes, she had seen it and also chatted with the esteemed Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.

As those who have seen the doc know, Dr. Esselstyn is world-renowned for his work in showing that a vegan diet can have profound effects on reversing the effects of cardiovascular disease. His recommended lifestyle reboot, as detailed in the book “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease,” has been extremely popular – and is one of the sources former president Bill Clinton relied upon for his own health transformation.

“For them to realize that this is not just the luck of the draw, that this is something that you yourself can control,” Esselstyn told the site FoodNotMeds.com. “You can become the locus of control for this disease that is the leading killer of women and men in Western civilization. It’s truly nothing more than a toothless paper tiger that need never ever exist, and if it does exist, it need never progress. This is a food-borne illness.”

Once again, we give credit to Rosie for listening to her body and making a concerted effort to reach out and educate herself. As someone that commands a cultural spotlight, here’s to hoping she continues to inform on the benefits she’s experiencing as well. Good luck, Rosie!

http://www.ecorazzi.com/2012/08/27/rosie-odonnell-watches-forks-over-knives-contacts-dr-esselstyn/

 

Frank Medrano: Powered by Plants

FrankMedrano570x299 Frank Medrano: Powered by Plants

Have you heard of Frank Medrano? He’s a body builder, and he does stuff like this.

And his strength comes from plants. That’s right: Frank Medrano is vegan.

Frank, like most people, wasn’t born vegan. He ate meat for 30 years. And though he’s been training for 7 years now, it was a little over a year ago when he learned that two good friends of his, Dan Attanasio and Noel Polanco, were vegan. They were body builders, too, and Frank was intrigued. His two friends helped him get started with a plant-based diet, helped him make meal plans and answered all of his questions, and within 2-3 months, Frank was feeling all the amazing benefits of a plant-based diet. The most notable were the increase in energy – “real high energy” – and quicker recovery times. He calls the benefits of a plant-based diet “super wellness.”

“I thought I was healthy and strong before, but [after adopting a plant-based diet] I started to feel energetic and I was having quicker recovery after training,” Frank said.

Help from friends made the transition easier, but Frank admits it wasn’t a completely effortless transition from an omnivorous diet to plant-based. “The hard part was in my head,” he said. “My head was telling me I was missing something, but I wasn’t.” Through trial and error, Frank discovered his new favorite foods, and within 2-4 weeks, he was on track and feeling great.

After about three months on a vegan diet, Frank approached Dan and Noel about joining forces and spreading the word about the benefits of eating vegan. Together, the trio formed Vegan Calisthen-X. Through their website they share information, answer questions, and create videos of their plant-strong feats of strength. The videos are immensely popular online, and on-site while they’re being filmed. Naturally, Frank gets a lot of feedback from passers by, wanting to know, “How do you do that?!” Frank loves chatting with people about fitness and plant-based nutrition, and people are most often shocked when they find out he eats zero animal products. “90% of the time, the first thing people ask is, ‘What do you eat?’” Frank says. He also states that many people look disappointed after he explains his diet, but that he hears success stories, too. Later he’ll run into someone that he had spoken to before and they’ll report to him that they’re trying to go vegan, or have gone vegan, and with excellent results. Their excitement and success feels rewarding. Knowing that he has had a positive influence on someone, Frank says, “It’s fulfilling to know what you’re doing is right.”

Through the Vegan Calisthen-X website, Facebook, and Youtube pages, Frank answers a lot of questions and shares a lot of information, including his favorite inspirational resources. Among them, the film, Forks Over Knives, rates highly as a must-see. He also recommends those interested in fitness to check out Robert Cheeke and his site, VeganBodyBuilding.com. For those interested in filling their plates with delicious and nutritious plant-based fare, he refers them to NakedCore.com.

So, what more is on the horizon for Frank Medrano? He’s focusing on adding more information and creating more videos for Vegan Calisthen-X, as well as performing at fitness expos. He would love to have more speaking opportunities. Frank recently had two photo shoots for a feature in the new Vegan Health and Fitness magazine. And he will, of course, continue to educate and inspire everyone on how to thrive (and beyond) on a plant-based diet.

Amanda Just

Amanda Just

Amanda Just is a freelance writer, who contributes to This Dish is Veg and other websites. She also teaches cooking classes and works with at-risk youth. Read more about Amanda on her blog, Hungry Vegan Traveler.

Rip Esselstyn – Scene from Forks Over Knives

10 Brawny & Buff Vegan Men (Plus a Bonus!)

Our picks for the brawniest vegan men.

BY CHINA DESPAIN FREEMAN MAY 25, 2012

If you’re a vegan or a vegetarian, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll hear this question at least once in your life: “But where do you get your protein?!” Despite plenty of scientific evidence to the contrary, there is still a pervasive belief that humans must eat meat — and lots of it — to ingest adequate amounts of protein and build muscle.

Not only that, but there’s also a stigma, particularly for men, that being vegan is somehow less “manly” than following a carnivorous diet. In fact, a recent study found that people tend to describe meat as more “masculine” than vegetables. The study’s authors say that, “To the strong, traditional, macho, bicep-flexing, All-American male, red meat is a strong, traditional, macho, bicep-flexing, All-American food. Soy is not. To eat it, they would have to give up a food they saw as strong and powerful like themselves for a food they saw as weak and wimpy.”

This is clearly a misconception that needs to be addressed, so we’re doing our part to show that there’s nothing wimpy about vegans. In fact, there are plenty of examples of strong, studly, masculine dudes who abstain from animal products, and we’re here to prove it. So, without further ado, we present our choices for the top 10 brawniest vegan men, with a vegetarian bonus.

Robert Cheeke

Bodybuilder Robert Cheeke has been a vegan since age 15.

Robert Cheeke is a bodybuilder whose vegan diet helps him maintain his ripped physique. He grew up on a farm in Oregon, an experience he credits with helping develop his compassion toward animals, and at age 15, he gave up all animal products. Now he gets his protein from legumes, greens and plant-based protein powders, and considers fruits and nutrient-dense burritos his go-to foods. “Yams and potatoes, quinoa, kale and artichokes are some of my other favorite whole foods. Thai and Indian dishes, especially Masaman and Yellow Curry and vegetable samosas and Aloo Matter, are by far my favorite dinner meals. Avocado rolls are another menu item I indulge in regularly,” he says.

VegNews named him one of its 15 most influential vegan athletes, and in 2006, Cheeke released a documentary about vegan fitness. He has also been involved in animal advocacy campaigns for PETA and VegSeattle.
Photo credit: Mikkei

Mac Danzig

The champion fighter embraced a vegan diet after seeing the plight of pigs in a slaughterhouse.

Mac Danzig, an MMA fighter and UFC competitor who has won numerous titles, including King of the Cage Lightweight Champion and Gladiator Challenge Lightweight World Champion, is a strict vegan who has campaigned with PETA for animal rights. ”Animals on factory farms and in slaughterhouses don’t have a fighting chance,” Danzig says in the PETA ad. “I don’t eat animals because I don’t want to contribute to their suffering — it’s that simple. Do yourself a favor, do the planet a favor, and help end animal abuse — go vegetarian. I am a fighter in the best shape of my life.”

In 2008, he was listed as a finalist in Men’s Health magazine’s 25 Fittest Guys in America, and in the profile, he explained how, due to an allergy, dairy was detrimental to his health. “A lot of people don’t realize how hard milk, whey, and other dairy products are on the sinuses and respiratory system, and the dairy industry would like you to believe that you need milk to get calcium. That notion is as oxymoronic as you can get. Although not everybody has as severe an allergy to dairy products as I did, I just wanted to point out that after years of battling with ear and sinus infections, eliminating dairy completely cured my problems. Anyone with similar problems may want to try it for a while,” he said.
Photo credit: PETA

Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson credits his 130-pound weight loss to his vegan diet.

He may have suffered a number of ups and downs in his career, but there’s one thing that can’t be disputed: this brawny guy was a really great boxer. A former heavyweight champion of the world, Mike Tyson holds records as the youngest boxer to ever win the WBC, WBA and IBF titles (he was 20 at the time). Now retired from the sport, Tyson lives a much more peaceful life overall, shunning all animal products from his diet.

He credits the diet overhaul with helping him shed 130 pounds (revealing a sleeker, stronger physique), and explained in 2010 that it was part of an overall plan to revamp his life and improve his mental and physical health. “I wanted a different life. I felt like I was dying. I had an incident in life where I lost my 4-year-old daughter in a tragic accident at home. I don’t know. I didn’t want to live anymore. So I said, that in order to go there, I had to change my life. I am going to change everything I dislike about myself. I changed everything that I was as a human being. I started that journey in October or November…I don’t smoke anymore. I wanted to give up everything. I had to change my life.” Mission accomplished.
Photo Credit: CarlaVanWagoner / Shutterstock.com

Brendan Brazier

Brendan Brazier went vegan at age 15 to improve his sports performance.

This Canadian athlete is proof that a vegan diet is more than enough to fuel an active lifestyle. A former triathlete, Brendan Brazier won 50-kilometer ultramarathons twice: once in 2003, and again in 2006 (If you don’t do metric, that’s about 31 miles. In other words, a really long way to run!). An advocate for a plants-based lifestyle, Brazier is also the man behind the Thrive Diet and the Vega sports nutrition line (fellow brawny dudes Robert Cheeke and Mac Danzig are fans).

Brazier discovered veganism as a teenager, and has never looked back, even though he no longer competes professionally. “I’ve been vegan since I was 15, and I got into it just because I wanted to be a better athlete, I didn’t care what I ate,” he says. “At the time I would’ve eaten anything if I thought it would have made me a better athlete. And I just tried different ways of eating…That’s what brought me to it, it was really selfish reasons. I mean, I’m kind of embarrassed to admit it. Then I found that a properly put together, plant-based diet was a real performance advantage, and I started racing professionally.” The rest is triathlon history.
Photo credit: Iknowiknowithink

Jake Shields

Jake Shields is a lifelong vegetarian who made the switch to vegan in 2011.

This MMA and UFC competitor is a lifelong vegetarian and current vegan who cites the SunWarrior brand as his protein powder of choice. A middleweight and welterweight champion, Jake Shields is an animal rights advocate who teamed with PETA to support vegetarianism. The Srikeforce champ denounced the way slaughterhouses treat animals, and cited himself as an example of a successful vegan athlete. ”I’m living proof that you can further, train harder, and pack a meaner punch without eating animals,” reads his PETA ad.

Shields has been advocating for a meat-free diet for years. Back in 2009, he explained, “I’m a life-long vegetarian and the diet obviously works. I also have two brothers that are strong and healthy. But you do have to have a good balanced diet and eat healthy foods. There’s plenty of ways to get protein other than eating meat.” Well said.
Photo Credit: PETA 

Rip Esselstyn

Rip Esselstyn is the creator of the Engine 2 Diet, which is featured in a Forks Over Knives companion film.

The success of vegan documentary “Forks Over Knives” helped make Rip Esselstyn a household name (his father is one of the doctors profiled in the film), and now he has his own documentary touting the benefits of a meat-free diet. A former All American swimmer and top triathlete and current firefighter (and Lance Armstrong workout buddy), Esselstyn’sfitness background is impressive: ”[Esselstyn] took first place in many major events, including the 2001 Police and Fire World Games, the world’s largest athletic competition. He also won the Capital of Texas triathlon eight times and was the leader and top-three finisher at many televised events, including the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon, where he was first out of the frigid, shark-infested waters six years in a row. Rip still competes in various events, recently winning the master national championships and setting the national record in the process.”

Esselstyn is also the creator Engine 2 diet and hosts its companion film, “Forks Over Knives Presents: Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue” (it streams on Netflix if you want to check it out), which features him teaching two families basics of a plant-based diet. He initially created the Engine 2 diet to help save the life of one of his firefighter co-workers (it worked!), and now works with Whole Foods to spread the message about the benefits of a vegan diet.
Photo credit: Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue

Georges Laraque

Georges Laraque is an animal-rights activist and vegan restauranteur.

Canadian athlete Georges Laraque may have retired from hockey, but the 6’3″ forward made quite an impression on the ice in his day: in 2003, he was named “Best Fighter” by The Hockey News, and Sports Illustrated crowned him “Best Enforcer” in 2006. Despite his tough on-ice persona, Laraque lives a decidedly more peaceful life outside the rink as a PETA supporter and vegan restauranteurIn a PETA video, Laraque says, “I don’t put up with much, and I certainly don’t want to put up with the cruelty of the meat industry. I’m Georges Laraque, and I’m vegan.”

His decision to abstain from animal products came after watching the documentary “Earthlings.” “After I saw that video…I encouraged people to watch it, because I am sure people, like me, are sensitive to cruelty. And when you see that animals go through so much cruelty, why would you want to encourage that?… I felt better, I have much more energy, and I feel even stronger, so the stereotype that says that big guys cannot be vegan, if you don’t eat meat, you can’t be strong, it’s not true,” he says. And not only did the film lead him to change his diet, but it brought on a whole new level of activism for Laraque,including participation in fur protests. Now that’s a fight we’d like to see him win.
Photo credit: PETA

John Salley

Former NBA star believes a raw vegan diet is optimal for good health.

It takes a lot to fuel 6’11″ of muscle up and down a basketball court, but former NBA starJohn Salley knows the key to a healthy diet is abstaining from animal products. Salley has had a varied entertainment career since he retired from sports, but his real passion is health, and he’s an outspoken raw vegan who has worked with PETA and the PCRM and who has his own line of organic, vegan food products.

Salley’s discipline is both physical and mental; he considers his body a temple, and takes care of it through fitness, diet and spiritual study. And he believes it’s up to adults to spread the message of good health to our children. “As a former athlete, I know that the nutrition of the food I eat has a direct impact on my physical and mental performance on the basketball court. More fruits, vegetables, and other vegetarian foods help you stay healthy, fit, and alert. Adults influence kids’ eating habits. We have to improve kids’ eating habits — and re-educate adults about what is food and what is not food. People can have pizza and pastries without dairy products and eggs. They can have tofu mozzarella cheese or egg substitute and they should use agave in place of high-fructose corn syrup and refined whole sugar,”he said back in 2010. Here’s hoping his suggestions catch on.
Photo credit: Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com

Bryan Danielson

Bryan Danielson credits his meat-free diet with helping him succeed in the WWE ring.

Also known as Daniel Bryan and the Red Dragon, this vegan WWE superstar has a litany of credits to his name, including: “former Ring of Honor World champion, two-time Pro Wrestling Guerrilla World champion, a one-time Westside Xtreme Wrestling Heavyweight champion, a one-time FIP Heavyweight Champion and a one-time World Heavyweight Champion in WWE.” He’s also integrated veganism into his villainous wrestling persona to elicit crowd reactions.

Like many of the athletes on our list, he’s partnered with PETA to promote the benefits of a vegetarian diet. In a video for the animal-rights organization, he says, “As a WWE superstar, staying healthy and having a lot of energy helps me succeed in the ring, and that’s why I choose to be a vegetarian. My vegetarian diet allows me to lead a healthier lifestyle, reduce my carbon footprint, and save the lives of more than 100 animals every year. I’m stronger and healthier than ever, and I feel good about doing something positive for myself, animals, and the planet.”
Photo credit: PETA

Carl Lewis

Carl Lewis's most successful year as an athlete happened when he adopted a vegan diet.

Carl Lewis is one of the United States’ most decorated athletes. Standing tall at 6’3″, this former track and field athlete competed from 1979 to 1996, racking up nine Olympic gold medals, one Olympic silver medal, eight World Championship gold medals, one World Championship silver, one World Championship bronze, and three Pan American Games medals (two golds and a bronze). He was also drafted by both the NBA and the NFL, although he opted not to play in either league. All this and he’s a vegan — now that’s what we call impressive.

So, just how did his meat-free diet enhance his career? Lewis says, “In the spring of 1991 – eight months after beginning to eat vegan…I was drinking 24 to 32 ounces of juice a day. I ate no dairy products. And I had my best year as an athlete ever! You have total control over what you put in your body. No one can force you to eat what you don’t want to eat. I know that many people think that eating a vegetarian diet – and especially a vegan diet – will require sacrifice and denial. Jannequin Bennett demonstrates…that eating vegan does not have to be tasteless and boring. As she says, ‘vegan eating is a truly indulgent way of life, as vegans regularly partake of the very best foods that nature has to offer.’ Your body is your temple. If you nourish it properly, it will be good to you and you will increase its longevity.” Well said, Mr. Lewis.
Photo credit: Manfred Werner

Michael Clarke Duncan

Michael Clarke Duncan says he's stronger as a vegetarian than he was as a meat-eater.

Actor Michael Clarke Duncan is the 11th guy on our list, and we’re including him as a bonus. He’s not a vegan (yet!), but he adopted a vegetarian diet three years ago, and is a prime example that meat is not necessary to maintain a strong, manly physique (according to Wikipedia, he’s 6’5″ and 315 pounds). The star recently teamed up with PETA to advocate his animal-friendly diet, which helped him lose weight and improve his overall health.

In the video for the campaign, he says, “The best thing about being a vegetarian for me, number one, is I know I’m not harming any animals. The number two thing is increased strength. I’m a lot stronger than I was when I was eating meat. Most of your most powerful animals in the wild are vegetarian, so I’m trying to get my strength to that level…Don’t think that you have to have these gigantic steaks to get your protein. The protein you put in from the beans, legumes, fresh fruits, and vegetables will last way longer, and you’ll get more out of it than you will in that 12 ounces of meat.”
Photo credit: PETA

::

This pretty much proves it — there’s nothing un-masculine about abstaining from meat. On the contrary, these guys all concur that it’s not possible to be healthy, fit and strong on a vegan diet, it’s actually easier! And not only are they taking care of themselves, they’re also helping to save lives and protect the planet. That level of kindness is just plain hot.

Featured image: Shutterstock.com

About China DeSpain Freeman

China DeSpain Freeman is an Atlanta and San Antonio based writer and blogger. She loves pop culture, animal rights, health and fitness, international travel, books and wigs. You can find more of her work at themodernista.comand writefork.com. Follow China on Twitter: @ChinaDeSpain

The Vegan Comes to Main Street Victoria Moran

An Interview with Victoria Moran

Are you annoyed by vegans?  Envious of their great skin?  Or wondering if a vegan diet is right for you? Being a vegan is no longer just for hippies and rich celebrities.  A plant-based diet, and the astounding health benefits that come with it, are within reach. Curious?  Learn more in this exclusive interview with Victoria Moran, best-selling author of the new book, Main Street Vegan.

Julian A. Barnes of Body Local chatted with Victoria Moran—the best-selling author of eleven books, including Creating a Charmed Life and the plant-based weight loss classic, The Love-Powered Diet—about her new bookMain Street Vegan, how she began her journey as a vegan, and her thoughts about why the medical community has been slow to advocate plant-based diets. Below are excerpts from that conversation.

JAB: Hi Victoria. I have heard you say that you are returning to your roots with Main Street Vegan. What have you learned since you wrote your first book, “Compassion the Ultimate Ethic: An Exploration of Veganism,” in 1985?

VM: A lot! I started writing for teen magazines when I was in high school, and after I went vegetarian at nineteen, I wrote for small magazines sold in health food stores. When I was in college, I had the opportunity to do a foreign study and went to the U.K. to study vegans. (Since the vegan movement started there, there were enough vegans in a small enough area to actually study.) That research led to “Compassion the Ultimate Ethic,” the first book on vegan philosophy and practice to come from an actual publishing house.

JAB: I have also heard that many people refer to Main Street Vegan as “The Vegan Bible.” How does that make you feel?

VM: It was quite an honor to have it called that by Big City Vegan and I’m thrilled that other people are saying it too. I want this to be a book people turn to where they can get their questions answered. It shouldn’t be that big of a deal to be vegan, but because of the social connections we make and how people react when we do something different, people think it is. I wanted this book to be a guide that people could lend to their friends or family member to support that person who is embracing this wonderful change.

JAB: So what was your inspiration for the title?

VM: I went to a PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) fundraiser in 2010, and although I’ve been in animal rights for all of my adult life, that evening the images in the videos they showed were just so powerful that I wanted to help in a greater way than I ever had before. On the train home that night, it just came to me: write “Main Street Vegan,” short chapters, a recipe after each one, geared to people who have an interest in this way of life but who think it’s just too edgy or fringy, or that it’s a really good idea but not something they themselves could do.

JAB: So how would you define a “Main Street Vegan”?

VM: A Main Street Vegan is, like any other vegan, a total vegetarian, meaning he or she only eats food from the plant kingdom. But this person isn’t a mogul or celebrity with a private chef. A Main Street Vegan is just a regular person who wants to live a better life, enjoy better health, do some good for animals, and live responsibly on the earth.

JAB: What do you think has contributed to the interest in a vegan lifestyle?

VM: I think it’s the result of two movements—animal rights on one hand, health and fitness on the other—growing rapidly on parallel tracks over the last 30 to 40 years. On the health front, there was a renewed interest in vegetarianism beginning in the 1970s and ’80s with books such as “Diet for a Small Planet” by Frances Moore Lappé, and “Fit for Life” by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond.  Meanwhile, ground-breaking research was conducted by doctors like Dean Ornish and Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., who showed that coronary heart disease could be reversed with a plant-based diet. When I started, being a vegan was very odd. Now most people know at least one vegan and many people have seen former President Bill Clinton’s CNN interview where he discussed why he has adopted a plant-based diet. So, even though only 2.5 percent of Americans are vegan, more people are aware of the benefits of a vegan diet.

JAB: Why has it taken so long for society to understand the benefits of a plant-based diet?

VM: That’s a great question, especially since an article that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association way back in 1960 stated that a pure vegetarian diet could eliminate 90 percent of coronary disease. Part of the reason is economics. Rapid and widespread adoption of a vegan diet could cause economic chaos to the meat, dairy, and pharmaceutical industries. And the standard American diet is standard because we’re used to it; it’s part of our culture. Besides, preventative measures are not sexy; people are always looking for something dramatic and instant like a cure for cancer instead of a cancer prevention solution.

JAB: Are doctors more enlightened about plant-based diets today?

VM: I believe that more are aware than ever before, but most don’t feel sufficient urgency to make these changes themselves or to share the notion of plant-based diet, which is still seen as radical by most Americans, with their patients. And the majority of medical doctors weren’t trained in nutrition so they don’t talk about it—or they pass along the same conventional wisdom that everyone else believes in. Doctors, like the rest of us, have different points of view and they are entitled to their opinions, but you need to shop for a doctor the way you’d shop for a spouse. You don’t marry the first person who takes you to dinner.

JAB: Do you believe that Americans could live longer on a vegan diet? Would this country have more Blue Zones, communities where people live active lives past the age of 100?

VM: That’s exactly right. The only Blue Zone in this country is in Loma Linda, California, which is a largely 7th Day Adventist community. Approximately 50 percent of Adventists are vegetarian and in Loma Linda, where they have their large university and medical school, that percentage is higher. As a tenet of their faith, members consume very little refined or processed food, they don’t smoke or drink, they tend to have stable families and community support, and they’re taught to value exercise. The upshot is an entire city where the health statistics—or rather, the illness statistics—that are common to the rest of America just don’t apply.

JAB: Let’s shift gears for a second. Tell us how a young girl from Kansas City became a vegan.

VM: I was a practicing binge eater for my first 30 years. I took time off to diet but all I really knew how to do was diet and binge eat. I couldn’t go vegan until I had the willingness to treat my binge eating like alcoholism or a drug addiction. I admitted my own inability to deal with the issue, then I turned that over to the care of a Higher Power, and finally I focused on cleaning up my life and being of service. This occurred around the time daughter was born and it was important to me to raise my child vegan. It was hard in those days to stay plant-based at restaurants and while traveling and in social settings, but I looked at this baby and I couldn’t tell her that it was okay to eat eggs and milk when we were out but we didn’t do it at home because it hurt the animals. It either hurt them or it didn’t. I wanted to be ethically consistent.

JAB: Did yoga play a role in your journey?

VM: Absolutely. Someone introduced me to yoga when I was 17 and I fell in love with it right away. I’d always been interested in spirituality, and yoga was the first time I’d ever seen spirituality come with a physical component. I’d separated my “high, lofty spiritual thoughts” from my overeating and the body I disliked, and here was yoga telling me that I was a single entity, and that I was of value on every level. Yoga also introduced me to vegetarianism. In those times, it was just expected that if you did yoga, you’d stop eating meat, fish, and probably eggs. With the explosion in yoga’s popularity, that’s been lost in many of the iterations these days, but it’s still in the tradition.

JAB: I read that you are a “high raw vegan” and that you eat an 85 to 90 percent raw diet in the summer. What’s a typical summer meal for you?

VM: I generally have a smoothie in the morning with almond milk or coconut milk and I put in berries and a banana, 2 teaspoons of ground flax seeds, and a scoop of Vega One All-in-One Shake. Maybe half the time I put in some blackstrap molasses. It tastes like a milkshake and is very sustaining.

JAB: Do you have a favorite juice bar?

VM: Watkins Health Food on 116th Street and Lenox is my standard spot because it’s near my apartment. I also love Organic Avenue and do one of their cleanses at the change of every season.

 

JAB: How about your favorite restaurants in NYC?

VM: Oh, I have so many favorites, including Pure Food and WineCandle Café WestSacred Chow, and Quintessence.

 

JAB: Do you have any practical tips for the average person to make the transition to veganism?

VM: It’s a very wide door. First, eat more colors. Your plate should look like a Christmas tree—mostly green with splashes of other bright colors. Step two is to get to know other people who are doing this. There’s a New York Vegetarian/Vegan Meetup Group with over three thousand members. Then educate yourself. Read books, like Main Street Vegan, and see films such as “Vegucated and “Forks Over Knives.  And attend some of the amazing events throughout NYC such as The Seed: A Vegan Experience. I’ll be speaking there along with a host of other fabulous speakers, including professional triathlete Brendan Brazier and best-selling author Kathy Freston.

http://blog.bodylocal.com/2012/05/31/the-vegan-comes-to-main-street/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Master%20-%20NYC&utm_campaign=Body%20Local%20General%20-%20%28Clean%29

How To Find A Plant-Based Doctor #Jeff Novick, MS,RD #Esselstyn, MD

How To Find a Plant-Based Doctor

Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., MD

Jeff Novick, MS, RD

Introduction

Jeff Novick, MS, RD

Over the last few years, I have been honored and privileged to work with and speak to literally 10’s of 1000’s of people who were looking to change to a plant based diet and lifestyle.  As a result of this work, one of the questions that comes up very frequently is how does someone find a plant based doctor to work with.

While there are several ways to respond to this question, one of the greatest responses I ever heard was from Dr Caldwell Esselstyn during our Q & A sessions at an immersion.   After hearing it, I asked him if we could work together on expanding and drafting his response into a formal article.   What follows is our first draft, which we may update and amend over time, but because of the importance of this, we wanted to put it out now.

Here we go…

How To Find a Plant-Based Doctor

Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., MD

Jeff Novick, MS, RD

People often despair that they lack a local physician with a plant based focus. It is a common concern we hear often. While ideally it would be best if there were a plant based doctor for everyone who wants one,this is rarely the case.

However, do not despair. Working together we can bring you and your current doctor fully up to speed with knowledge about plant based nutrition. Therefore the first thing that will be important for you to do is to get yourself up to speed on the basics of plant-based nutrition.

One way to do this is by visiting one of the residential or immersion programs** run by one of the recommend doctors. Other ways that can also be of value include reading the recommended books**, watching the recommended DVD’s** or taking the E-Cornell plant based nutrition course**. Of course, nothing can take the place of a live interaction with a knowledgeable plant based doctor.

It is important to continue to work with your doctor and let them realize we are not taking away his/her patient; we are merely focusing on a very important dimension of care -the causation of their illness, which local physicians 1. don’t have the time for 2. don’t have the passion for or 3. lack the training or skill set for.

Also, in the beginning, you do not have to get into the specific details of your diet.  Just let them know you have decided to start eating better and going to make some changes (eat a few more fruits, veggies, whole grains and beans and less junk food and fried foods) and see how things go and that you would like them to keep an eye on your numbers. Even ask them if they have any recommendations.

Then, just keeping following the program. This way, working together with your local physician, he/she will be able to reduce 1. blood pressure meds as the patient’s hypertension resolves 2. reduce cholesterol meds as cholesterol lowers 3. reduce diabetic meds as glucose is reduced.

In addition, once you being to have success and your doctor sees these positive changes, he/she may initiate the conversation with you about what you have done and be far more willing to have the conversation from a more open perspective having witnessed the improvements. And, by doing it this way, you will have helped to educate your doctor about the power of plant based, no oil way of living without having any confrontational interactions.

When we approach it this way, the local MD’s will recognize that those of us in lifestyle medicine are working synergistically in the spirit of cooperative endeavor to have their patients have the full benefit of plant based nutrition to halt and reverse their disease.

**Here is the beginning of the recommended resource list in alphabetical order by last name.

(It will be updated over time with live links to the resources.)

Books

Neal Barnard MD

– Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes

– Breaking the Food Seduction

– 21 Day Weight-loss Kick start

Colin Campbell

– The China Study

Caldwell Esselstyn

– Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease

Rip Esselstyn

– The Engine 2 Diet

Doug Lisle

– The Pleasure Trap

John McDougall MD

– Dr. McDougall’s Digestive Tune‐Up

– The McDougall Quick & Easy Cookbook

– Dr. McDougall’s Total Health Solution for the 21st Century DVD

– The McDougall Program: Twelve Days to Dynamic Health

– The McDougall Program for Maximum Weight Loss

– The New McDougall Cookbook

– The Starch Solution

DVDs

Neal Barnard MD

– Tackling Diabetes DVD

– Kick Start Your Health DVD

Caldwell Esselstyn

– Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease

Rip Esselstyn

– Forks Over Knives Presents The Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue

Michael Klaper

  1. -Digestion Made Easy

Douglas Lisle

– The Continuum of Evil

– Losing weight without losing your mind

– The Pleasure Trap

John McDougall MD

– Dr. McDougall’s Total Health Solution for the 21st Century DVD

– McDougall Made Easy & Irresistible

– Dr. McDougall’s Money-Saving Medical Advice

– Dr. McDougall’s Common Sense Nutrition

– McDougall Made Irresistible

– Dr. McDougall Disputes Major Medical Treatments

– McDougall Made Easy

– McDougall’s Medicine

Jeff Novick

– Lighten Up

– Calorie Density

– Should I Eat That

– From Oil To Nuts

– Nuts & Health

– Fast Food Vol 1 The Basics

– Fast Food Vol 2 Burgers & Fries

Movies/Documentaries

– Forks Over Knives

– Processed People

Immersions and Programs

– The McDougall 3, 5 & 10 Day Programs

– Dr Esselstyn – 5-hour intensive counseling seminar at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute

– Farms To Forks Weekend Immersions

Online Course

– E Cornel Plant Based Nutrition Course

Additional Material

BOOKS

John Abramson MD

– Overdosed America

Gilbert H. Welch MD

– Should I be tested for Cancer?

– Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health

– Know Your Chances: Understanding Health Statistics

Nortin Hadler MD

– Worried Sick: A Prescription for Health in an Overtreated America,

Thursday, August 2, 2012

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