Update below…


In The China Study, Cornell researcher Colin Campbell
presents a mountain of evidence showing that a diet based on animal foods is
responsible for all of the diseases of affluence with which we are all so
familiar.  Heart disease, obesity,
cancer, diabetes, and many others occur at high rates among people who eat
animals.  Study after study shows that a
whole-food, plant-based diet results in healthier people, and actually slows or
reverses the disease process in former meat-eaters.  For example, Dr. Dean Ornish demonstrated
that cardiac patients treated with lifestyle changes including a very lowfat
vegetarian diet fared better than those treated with conventional medicine. 

Scouting around the web, I found a site called BeyondVeg
that critiques Campbell’s
China Project as being insufficient evidence for pro-vegan claims.  However, the article refers only to that one
study, while Campbell’s
book uses that and many more studies to support the argument. 

So, is TR going vegan? 
If I were single or at least childless I would give it a shot, for
sure.  However, since I am responsible
for feeding several other individuals, none of whom would take kindly to
veganism, it would be exceedingly difficult for me to follow those rules.  (The rules, according to Campbell, are really very simple.  Eat all you want of whole plant foods,
including all vegetables and fruits, whole grains, nuts, and legumes.  Minimize added oils, refined grains, sugar,
and fish.  Avoid meat, poultry, dairy,
and eggs.)  Left to my own devices, I
would happily eat brown rice, beans, and tofu. 
I like that stuff, and was an “ovo-lacto” vegetarian for many years
before I was corrupted by my carnivorous husband and my own pregnancy-related
beef cravings.  

My kids, however, would not be so quick to give up pizza and
chicken nuggets. 

So here’s my plan: cut the animal products in my own diet
way, way down.  Get some vegan cookbooks
and feed the kids some new stuff.  Couldn’t
hurt, right?


The first thing I did this morning was break the
rules by putting a splash of half and half in my coffee.  I’m
taking baby steps, ok?

On my way to work I stopped at Starbucks for a
<gasp> soy mocha.  I did have them put on my usual “light on
the whipped cream” topping, just so the first sip wouldn’t be such a
shock.  Actually, the drink was better than I thought it would
be.  I’ll get used to it.  Won’t I?

After work I hit the grocery store to buy a
sampling of the many vegan convenience products now available,
including veggie hot dogs, which I planned to sneakily feed my children.

Dinner time: I told kids we were trying a
“different brand” of hot dog.  I didn’t tell them that the new
brand lacked the snouts and hooves they were accustomed to in their
usual dog.

Verdict: Both kids said they like the old brand
better, though they did eat the one I gave them.  On a whole wheat
bun.  With a fresh vegetable on the side.  Good enough.

Evening: As soon as the kids go to bed, I’m having a cookie with my red tea.  So there.


41 thoughts on “

  1. My daughter and I went vegan for about a year. That was atleast 4-5 years ago.We really liked it. It was fun. One of our favorite things to eat was steamed broccoli on top of a baked potato with soy margarine. We still think about that dish. We also loved tofutti ice creams.

  2. Nope, couldn’t hurt. I’m trying to mix in more meatless dishes, since my daughter (12) went vegetarian about 6 weeks ago. Lemme know if you find some good recipies! Lisa

  3. There’s Marilu Henner’s book, Healthy Kids with recipes specifically kid-friendly. She’s not vegan, she eats fish, but aside from that most of her recipes are vegetarian and she does not use dairy products.

  4. Oh, I neglected to mention that Marilu Henner is insane, so ignore her psychotic ramblings (I suspect she was tortured by a group of farm animals at some point in her childhood) about why you shouldn’t eat this and that and just look at the recipes. Everything I’ve cooked from her books has been delicious.

  5. Good luck! There are some vegan dinner-type meals that we eat, but I’ve never had any luck with vegan baked goods–other than plain whole wheat bread. I tried to make decent vegan cookies when we had vegan houseguests, and I failed.

  6. Sounds WISE to me. From what I hear, the more colorfull your foods look the healthier you are eating. Enjoy the adventure in culinary change and keep us posted on the results! In the meantime–eat lovely rainbows of food.

  7. Hey, I was a vegetarian until I got pregnant, too.  I craved beef with every single pregnancy I had. 
    Your plan is sound.  But I would stay away from vegan cookbooks.  I would stay away from all vegetarian cookbooks.  Stick with accidentally-vegan recipes.  In my experience, people whose primary motivation is culinary ethics are not in the business of making palatable food.

  8. Eat better and live – LONGER-?  As George Burns would have said, “You don’t really live longer, it just seems longer.”
    I myself was a vegetatian for the space of about a year and a half.  (But it seemed like 4)

  9. Some years back, my dad had to have part of his liver removed.  I don’t know exactly what the problem was, but it was something generally seen only in Asian people due to their diets.  Moderation, methinks, is the key.

  10. I tend to think that any diet that excludes much has some problems… Variety and moderation seem like the best plan. Re: the kids. I need to get better about my own but when they were younger I saw some pamphlet about colors and so would talk more about “eating a variety of colors” as being healthy, rather than excluding things. It seems a more positive idea. Even now, we’ll do a “pop quiz” kind of thing at dinner and count up how many colors we each ate. Ah, here’s the web site: 5 a Day. I told them I was aiming for 1 or 2 vegetarian nights a week. Last night I did a spinach/tofu thing over rice that did not win rave reviews, although they ate it because that’s all there was. 😉 There’s a cookbook, The Six O’Clock Scramble, that has a bunch of vegetarian recipes in it that sound good, as well as non-vegetarian. And it’s definitely aimed at families.

  11. Meh. I used to be gung-ho about the vegetarian goodies (Boca, Gardenburger, etc.,) until I had heart failure. Then I started reading the labels, and of course, they were full of salt. So my lazy person’s way of going meatless didn’t work. Stupid vegetarianism! Be less difficult! I’ll have to check that book out–since I’m going to have to cook more anyway, I might as well get started on the right foot.

  12. In the mad/diddy house we rarely feature meat as the centerpiece of the meal.   My advice is to hit up a good Asian cookbook (check out anything by Madhur Jaffrey) and pick out the gems.  Lots of this stuff is low or no meat.
    As for the science, I’m sure there’s more than just a single study that keeps dairy on the food pyramid 🙂

  13. Salt is the least of the problems with Gardenburgers and Boca. I stock both. Each has more chemical attitives than a Banquet tv dinner. For healhy foods try the organic section. Boca is usually in the breakfast asile. You’ll find a selection of organic vegetables and dinners hidden somewhere in the frozen food section. Check the entre aisle in frozen foods at your local wal-mart.

  14. Not a fan of vegetarianism, try reading the book, Four diets for Four Blood types, it totally blows all these theories out of the water…I’m an O+, therefore I must eat meat, it’s what my blood requires, if you are an A blood type, then no meat…It’s by Dr. Peter D’Adamo,MD, it’s got lots of information that really makes alot of sense…and thanks for stopping in, come back anytime, I’ll do the same…marilyn

  15. While it’s always good to try to work more vegetable and vegetable products into our diet, keep in mind the old adage…. “Everything in moderation, even moderation.”
    I’d say, don’t feel guilty about keeping a certain level of animal products in your diet. They offer nutrition that is very difficult to get when one is extreme about vegetables. And besides, there is likely a reason our bodies crave them.(But garden burgers… mmm…. I’ve found I like those better than beef burgers… if they’re not overcooked).

  16. Silk brand creamer (soy) is delicious and tastes just like half-and-half, but without the moo. I am currently on a no-dairy, no-egg diet, thanks to come lovely food allergies, and I have to say, the only thing I really miss is cheese. That said, my diet is complicated by the fact that I am also allergic to wheat and gluten, so I can’t do all the whole grains. Ugh. And I do load up on the bacon, so. . . yeah, vegan would be very, very hard for me.

  17. While I agree that we need to eat more veggies, fruits, and nuts…the idea that we are solely vegetarian is a crock. We’re omnivores–meaning we eat all of the basic food groups. A strict vegan lifestyle brings its own set of problems, starting with anemia. Animal proteins have their place in our diet, just not to the extents that we eat them. And as for the diseases, the key is not in eating solely one food group. The key is in not leaning so heavily on processed foods that are filled with chemicals and salt.

  18. I think those cavemen were hunting and gathering.
    My research points to the fact that filet mignon should be eaten twice a month in summer when the grill is burning bright.A little soy and lean protein the rest of the days…

  19. I have the opposite feeling – it was (and still is) easier to feed my kids vegetarian (if not entirely vegan – my daughter she loves the milk & cheese!), than to feed myself in that way. I am the one who started craving meat and now must have it on a daily basis 🙂 There are quie a few good fun vegan cookbooks out there, including some aimed at kids. One book I like is “How it All Vegan” by two very hip young vegans! They have a follow-up title as well, although I can’t recall the name of it off the top of my head. It might be geared specifically to kids, now that I think of it. Couldn’t hurt to at least incorporate some veg recipes, if not going cold turkey… so to speak. Mmmmmm… cold turkey.

  20. Good word. Apparently there are more opinions on this subject than there are beans in a burrito. As for me, living life without regrets is my mantra. That way, if I get hit by a bus next week my last cogent thought won’t be “Oh man…..I could’a eaten that hot dog!” (insert hedonistic grin here)

  21. I can’t totally give up meat.  I love fresh veggies and eat lots of them, but I think a diet lacking protein isn’t healthy, niether is a diet w/o dairy.  Fresh foods are the best if you want to be healthy.

  22. i have no clue if it’s vegan…i went to look at the ingredients list to try and answer your question and YIKES…there’s some pretty bad stuff in it (partially hydrogenated soybean oil for one…BAD!)…i might have to look at different brands to see if there’s anything better.

  23. Just to correct you (gently) there are no hooves in hot dogs. Anuses, genitalia, tails, and faces, yes – but no hooves. Hooves either end up as dog treats or are boiled down to make gelatine. So if any of your vegetarian friends decide to continue eating Jell-O, remind them that it is made out of hooves and bones of the bovine and porcine variety. Makes for a nice YUK factor for the uninformed, which is what really pleases me.
    One more thing, soy hasn’t been in the American diet long enough for dietary science to tell us what sort of changes (either good or bad) we can expect from it. Using the Asian people experiences with soy won’t give us the whole story, due to differences in culture and overall diet. I remain an omnivore, for that is how we evolved.

  24. Very inspiring. One thing I wonder is, aren’t there going to be some ethic/genetic variations? (Just hoping I can make an excuse for dairy.) Think I’ll get that soy creamer and try it.

  25. I’ve been gnawing on the big oak tree in my back yard.  I figure there’s enough there to last me a decade or two.  (Seriously–a challenge, and good luck!)

  26. Gotta tell ya, TR, looks like you’re gettin’ tore up on this one.  Eat lamb, ten million coyotes can’t be wrong! RYC, yep, the kitties keep the mice down to a tolerable level. Mother cats are such good hunters. It’s funny to see them come down the driveway with a gopher hanging out both sides of their mouth!

  27. hey they ate the dog, maybe you should just tell them they don’t make the old brand anymore. Personally, I figure I’m screwed with my whole life style, which I really enjoy, so I’m just gona stick with it. Health is for nuts.

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