My Plantcentric Journey

Posts tagged ‘plant-based diet’

James Cameron Goes Vegan for Animals and the Planet

james cameron

BY ALI BERMAN OCTOBER 2, 2012

Environmentalists adore James Cameron for his environmental activism and for making “Avatar”, the eco film that got the world talking about how we use and abuse our planet.

Now, in a move that helps the earth, people and animals, it seems that the director has gone vegan, and has brought his family along for the ride. When asked about how his family reacted to the plant based diet he said, “…the kids want hamburgers and Coke because they’re kids. But all of human consciousness is five years old emotionally. It’s not a requirement to eat animals, we just choose to do it, so it becomes a moral choice and one that is having a huge impact on the planet, using up resources and destroying the biosphere.”

While we’re all for those celebrities who choose to go vegan for their health, we do love it when we hear about someone like Cameron making the choice to give up animal products for purely ethical reasons. The health benefits are a great added bonus, but it seems he’s doing it because of the animals and the huge amounts of resources it takes to farm them.

Cameron, with his special love for the rainforest, probably knows that one of the biggest contributors to the destruction of those precious bits of land is cattle ranching. Trees are cut down so the cows can graze. And of course, animal agriculture is responsible for a huge portion of greenhouse gases, in part because of how many trees are cut down to accomodate the large animals.

We’re sure with a bit of education, his family will get right on board with reducing their consumption of animal products. Even if they don’t, we’re sure his animal and eco-friendly choice will inspire others beyond his own blood line.

About Ali Berman

Ali Berman is a writer, teacher and activist. She works as a humane educator for HEART teaching kids about issues affecting people, animals and the environment. Ali is also a fiction writer. Her published work can be found on her website at aliberman.com. In early 2012 Ali co-foundedflipmeover, a production company with the mission to use media to raise awareness of social issues.

http://www.ecorazzi.com/2012/10/02/james-cameron-goes-vegan-for-animals-and-the-planet/

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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

Top 10 Food Documentaries

By John A. Zukowski

Despite the largely unflattering vegan and vegetarian stereotypes in pop culture and the lack of information about food ethics in the news media, there’s an increasing interest in food ethics and healthy eating.

With a growing vegan subculture (and a lot of A-list vegan and vegetarian celebrities), more people are curious about plant-based diets. To fill the gap of information missing in the mainstream media, a number of food documentaries have been released since Morgan Spurlock’s 2004 film “Super Size Me”—which kickstarted the food doc genre. Spurlock’s rejection of a fast food diet opened the gates for other filmmakers to take on the food industry.
These ten movies provide information about the modern food industry that would never be shown in the mainstream media—which is partly kept in business by advertising from the food industry.
However, most of them advocate for a vegan diet for health reasons. Perhaps this means the gateway for individualistic Americans to veganism is telling the public they will be healthier. The ethics of eating meat or animal exploitation is covered less often than health reasons. Some documentaries such as “Food Inc.” even stop short of vegetarianism and instead call for a return to local small farms as sources for meat rather than the corporatized meat industry.
Still, the success of these documentaries indicates there is growing resistance to the corporate agriculture business and meat-based diets. Here are the ten best food movies that cover ground the mainstream media won’t:

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