They LOVE me (so far)! Advance reviews for “The Skeptical Vegan” are coming in …

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As a first time author I have NO idea how my words will be received by vegan, and the veg-curious, readers from around the world. So far? So good. The initial reviews on GoodReads are all favorable and the few reviews so far on Amazon … are also great (and the book has gone from #1 New Release in Vegan Diets to Cooking Humor since its release)! I am so grateful!

Of course, I want to sell books but, more importantly, I want to spread the word about going vegan (especially to those people who are looking toward their “golden years”). It’s never too late to go vegan and The Skeptical Vegan proves this in every chapter.

Something else I wasn’t prepare for was seeing my book on the shelves at retail locations (including and AMAZING full window display at our local bookstore, Buffalo Street Books). To think that this is the book based on the blog based on the bet is now a gorgeous hardcover book sharing shelf space with the hundreds of vegans I have admired for years. It’s all so surreal.

And I thank you all.

From here, I am working in preparations to attend the Animal Rights National Conference in Washington DC (August 3-6, 2017) and then back home to get back to writing my next book, Mind Your Peas and Cukes: A Guide to Raising Vegan Kids. You know, all in my spare time.

Here are some recent articles and links worth checking out (also, be sure to follow The Skeptical Vegan on Facebook to keep tab on speaking and signing events):

Please share. Comment. Buy the book. Leave a review. And, most of all …

#GoVegan

I’ve Joined the FARMily!

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As 2016 comes to a close and I reflect back on my own vegan journey over the past few years (more on this available this Fall in graphic detail in my forthcoming book, The Skeptical Vegan), I’m amazed at how many doors have been opened for me as I dig deeper and deeper into the animal rights movement.

Having gone from unapologetic meat eater, to herbivore, to vegan, to ethical vegan and then evolving my business interests in the same direction, I’m excited to announce that since mid-October, I’ve been on board as full-time Marketing Director for Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM).

Who is FARM? I’ll explain that in a bit but for now, watch this video (it’s well-worth the 7 minutes):

This 40th Anniversary video, that premiered at a New York City event this past October, says more than I could ever say about this amazing organization that was founded by Alex Hershaft. Since 1976 (started as the Vegetarian Information Service), FARM has been committed to saving farm animals through a wide-array of programs: 10 Billion Lives, Vegan Support, Fast Against Slaughter, Seasonal Days of Action, and the Animal Rights National Conference to name just a few.

Started in 1981, the Animal Rights National Conference is the world’s largest and longest-running animal rights event. With 100 speakers and 60 organizations represented, the conference is open to a diverse array of viewpoints on animal liberation. Conferences are held each year, alternating between the East and West coasts and bring together over 1,500 caring people each year to network, share wisdom and learn new skills. It will be held in Alexandria in 2017 and I’m looking forward to finally attending.

This opportunity working with FARM has allowed me to take my over twenty years experience in marketing and communications, and further apply it to my personal mantra: Animals are not food.

As 2016 comes to an end, I would like to encourage you to support FARM moving forward. Each donation this year will be matched by a very generous donor so every dollar you give is given again toward saving more animals. Click here to give.

Finally, someone asked me the other day what I’ve been up to and I replied with two meaningful words: “Saving Animals.”

One vegan at a time.

I am now at the forefront of a world that respects and recognizes animals as sentient beings, a world that fully understands that our own environment is at risk, and a world that understands that nearly every major disease can be controlled, reversed, or cured with a plant-based diet.

Being a part of the FARMily has opened more doors for me to help more animals to be free.

#GoVegan

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Watch for the release of The Skeptical Vegan from Skyhorse Publishing in fall 2017! Pre-order The Skeptical Vegan NOW! Available at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble! More than 25 of my favorite meaty dishes … veganized and made simple for simple people. And smart people, too … like you!

2017: The Year of the Vegan Book

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V“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” ~ Toni Morrison

The number of vegan book titles available these days is just incredible and this list is expanding at an amazing rate each year. Just over the last few years some of the most anticipated books, by some of the most respected names in veganism (Gene Baur, Jason Wrobel, Mary Mattern, Jackie Sobon, Ruby Roth, and so many more), were released and this upcoming year is going to prove to be one of the most exciting years yet. Everything from ethical veganism to plant-based cuisine to Dave Loves Pigs, there is a wide selection of books for every taste to round out your own personal collection.

Or, better yet, get some of these books into the hands of your friends to spread the word!

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Below is my own list (so far) of titles you can expect to see. If you have any to add, please comment below so I can update the blog post and we can keep this current through the coming months!

From the good people at Vegan Publishers, 2017 is going to prove to be a very exciting year with new titles like:

  • Farm to Fable by Robert Grillo. This book, written by the director of Free From Harm, who formerly worked in the advertising industry, is about the many fictions we are taught about non-human animals.
  • The Skinny on Soy by Marie Oser. This book counters a massive amount of misinformation about soy that has been put out there by those with connections to the meat and dairy industries.
  • Millennial Vegan by Casey Taft. My next book will be a guide for younger vegans that provides support, tips for navigating in a non-vegan world, and tips for advocacy.
  • Dave Loves Pigs by Carlos Patino. This is a follow up to the popular Dave Loves Chickens, and is about a monster from outer space who can’t believe that humans eat these amazing animals we call pigs.
  • Libby Finds Vegan Sanctuary by Julia Feliz. As far as we know, this is the first every vegan-themed board book for young children. It’s about a turkey who is rescued and brought to a vegan sanctuary.

And from BenBella Books, expect:

  • PlantPure Kitchen from the same people who brought us the amazing PlantPure Nation film, cookbook, PlantPure Summit, and so much more.
  • The China Study Family Cookbook from the same people who brought you the China Study film, cookbook, and so much more. Someone should come out with a Campbell’s soup or something.
  • Kushi Institute Cookbook founded in 1978 by Michio and Aveline Kushi, Kushi Institute has offered guidance and support to thousands of individuals, families and organizations. The Ritz Carlton Hotel Company is among those organizations which have engaged Kushi Institute to instruct and guide their chefs in creating healthful macrobiotic menu choices which meet the Institute’s  guidelines.

And from Book Publishing Company, check out these titles:

  • ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOODS and RECIPES: Using the Power of Plant Foods to Heal and Prevent Arthritis, Cancer, Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Chronic Pain  by Beverly Lynn Bennett
  • HERBAL ANTIVIRALS: Strengthen Your Immunity Naturally by Sorrel Davis

From Skyhorse Publishing:

Other upcoming titles include:

  • NYC Vegan by Michael Suchman and Ethan Ciment (VeganMos): NYC Vegan brings New York’s fabulous foods to the plant-based table. The book was written by native New Yorkers as a tribute to the city they love. From the diners and delis of Brooklyn to the traditions of Little Italy and Chinatown, the foods of New York are the foods of the world.
  • The Vegan Air Fryer: Healthier Versions of Your Favorite Comfort Foods by JL Fields
  • 15 Minute Vegan by Kate Beskow
  • Now available!MeatLess: Transform the Way You Eat and Live–One Meal at a TimeGo Vegan by Kristy Middleton
  • No Meat Athlete Cookbook from Matt Frazier. From the founder of No Meat Athlete: plant-based recipes packed with nutrition to help athletes perform better and recover faster! ORDER here!

#GoVegan

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#Veganism, A Better Way of Living [#vegan #govegan]

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My daughter, who was recently accepted as a freshman to Geneseo, chose veganism as the subject of her senior high school research paper (she got a 97). Let’s just say it’s obvious, between the two of us, who has the brains in the family.

One out of ten of your friends over twenty-four are following the healthiest diet available.  Even more of your younger friends, ranging from sixteen to twenty-four, are following it (Jourdan).  

Their diet consists of only plant-based foods, cutting out all meats, dairy products, and eggs.  Not only are these people healthier than anyone else, they also have a limited chance of getting diabetes, acquiring heart problems, or cancer.  Vegan diets are spreading rapidly to both adults and children.  About five percent of children and infants are on a complete plant-based diet and are vastly healthier than children who are not (Rosen).  Not only does veganism save your life, but it also saves the lives of animals.  

Farm animals are killed in slaughterhouses to be sold in your local grocery store.  Once dairy cows and laying hens reach their reproductive capacity they are murdered, but even before that point they are grossly abused for their milk and eggs.  The way animals are being raised today is “destroying and depleting our arable land, potable water, and clean air.”  The majority of land around the world is used to raise animals for food.  This business is polluting our air and destroying our topsoil due to bacteria, antibiotics, hormones, and pesticides from animal excrement (Fallon).  As we continue to eat more meat, eggs, and dairy; we continue to kill the Earth as well as ourselves.  Living off of a plant-based diet is extremely beneficial to both adults and children, causing them to live longer and have healthier lives.

Fifty-seven million Americans are prediabetic, excluding children, actual diabetics, and people from the other one-hundred-and-five countries around the world.  Now imagine if this number could be erased entirely.  Living off a healthy diet without any meat, dairy, eggs, or any other animal products can not only prevent Type One and Type Two Diabetes but also reverse it completely.  After living on a consistent, low-fat plant-based diet for several months, severe diabetics are able to stop taking their medications and many say that their new-found diet works better than their medication ever could (Jad’on).  Not only can a vegan diet prevent both types of diabetes, but it can also lower high cholesterol levels enough to prevent all heart problems.  Dr. Kim Williams, a well-known and trusted cardiologist in Chicago, learned that his “bad” cholesterol level, also known as LDL, was too high and pursued a plant-based diet.  After only six weeks of his new diet, his cholesterol level went from one-hundred-and-seventy milligrams per deciliter to only ninety.  On average, a healthy LDL level is between seventy to one-hundred-and-thirty mg/dl (Deardorff).  According to the Senior Policy Director for Farm Sanctuary, Bruce Friedrich, meat, eggs, and other dairy products contain very high levels of cholesterol, as well as saturated fats.  These not only slow people down and make them less energized, but also can kill them in the long run.  In August of 1999, the American Journal of Cardiology published an article which stated that patients on a plant-based have become “heart attack proof.”  The evidence to this is that all vegan eaters have a cholesterol level below one-hundred-and-fifty milligrams per deciliter, the “level below which no one has ever been documented as having died of a heart attack” (Fallon).

High cholesterol levels also lead to a slowed metabolism and a less energized personality, which causes extreme weight gain.  People on a low-fat vegan diet feel more energized after only two weeks, however with a regular exercise schedule they are even more fit and active.  In order to keep our bodies in working order, we need complex carbohydrates and fibers, which cannot be found in eggs, meats, and other dairy products.  After a few years on a plant-based diet, the majority of asthma patients are able to stop using their inhaler and patients who have angina, severe heart pains, suffer limited attacks (Fallon).  A vegan diet also benefits those with allergies, eventually eliminating them completely.  People with severe acne or other skin problems, like eczema, will have limited skin imperfections.  Robert Conti was diagnosed with an extreme case of multiple sclerosis, causing his shoulders to lose feeling and almost shutting down his urinary tract and bowels.  After only a few short months on a plant-based diet, lead by McDougall Wellness Center, Conti gained control of his shoulders again and is healthier than he has been his whole life, and he is fifty-six-years-old.  His doctor states that he could no longer detect a plaque build-up on Conti’s spinal cord and Conti says that without his vegan diet he would “be using a wheelchair for mobility and eventually require communication aids” (Templeton).

Gary Fraser conducted a study on thirty-five-thousand vegans, testing illnesses from diabetes and terminal illnesses, and heart diseases.  Fraser found that vegans have little to no risk of heart disease, as well as many cancers (Weintraub).  As for heart disease, it is mainly caused by high levels of cholesterol and saturated fat intake which is found primarily in eggs, dairy, and of course, meat.  The American Heart Association restricted the amount of saturated fat consumption to only six percent of one’s daily calories in order to encourage the utilization of polyunsaturated fats, which prevent heart disease, like omega-three and omega-six (Deardroff).  Heather Moore conducted a plethora of research on veganism and the damages to our health and found that regular consumption of egg yolks is “almost as bad for your heart as smoking.”  This is because smoking and egg yolks both accelerate atherosclerosis, a detrimental disease in the arteries which prevents plaque of fatty material to attach to the body’s inner walls.  Heart disease and cancer are clearly caused by meat and dairy, but can easily be prevented by a plant-based diet.  According to Bruce Friedrich, “people who consume animal products are … four percent more susceptible to cancer.”  The risk of colon cancer is three times as likely in meat eaters than in people who follow a vegan diet (Fallon).  Prostate cancer can be reversed or prevented completely with a vegan diet as well (Weintraub).  An anti-vegan advocate, Thea Jourdan, even states that the risk of bowel cancer is increased by one fifth on a carnivorous diet rather than a vegan one (Jourdan).

Cancer is the number two cause of death in America, but obesity is one of the leading factors that contributes to the other main causes of death. More than sixty percent of people in the United States are either obese or overweight (Templeton), however people who live on plant-based diets have the lowest levels of obesity (Weintraub).  Some of the professions that struggle the most from weight problems are veterans and police officers.  The top cause of military ineligibility is obesity; although, once in combat it is almost impossible to live a healthy lifestyle due to the harmful meals filled with saturated fats and other damaging nutrients.  Almost eighty percent of veterans are overweight or obese after entering the military.  The Pentagon spends over one-billion dollars on illnesses related to obesity and heart diseases, and that number does not take into account other health problems like the common cold.  “Law enforcement is the fattest profession in America” and when all police officers, firefighters, and security guards are combined, almost fifty percent of them are obese.  “Police officers are twenty-five times more likely to die from weight-related disorders such as heart disease than from fighting crime.”  Our nation’s healthcare bill totals over two trillion dollars and seventy-five percent of that treats “heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity” (Atcheson).  Veganism has also been proven to help you live longer, due to promoting a healthier life.  According to David Templeton, “a low protein diet during middle age likely is beneficial to prevention of cancer, overall mortality …”  A study made by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey stated that people who eat protein from plant sources are healthier and live longer than anyone who eats other protein sources, like meat (Moore).

Although living a vegan diet is much better than a carnivorous one, it is important to still eat meals with low-fat content.  Vegans and vegetarian who eat primarily pizza, potato chips, and other junk foods are much less healthy than the average meat-eater.  However, if a plant-based diet consists of low-fat meals, it will be much more beneficial to one’s health than a diet filled with meat, eggs, and dairy (Weintraub).  The main argument on many vegan’s minds is that red meat is extremely dangerous to one’s health.  Thea Jourdan argues that red meats have large amounts of myoglobin, “a protein found in the muscles of mammals.”  Many advocates against a plant-based diet believe it is impossible to get enough protein with a vegan diet; however, a study in Cell Metabolism found that a low protein diet is actually beneficial to all of the same things a vegan diet helps (Templeton).  The only nutrient problem facing vegans is ingesting too many carbohydrates, but it is very uncommon for vegans have to high carbohydrate levels and it is easily avoidable (Deardorff).  Sally Fallon believes that marginal land used for corps as opposed to raising animals is more damaging to the land.  Animal hooves help aerate the soil and urine and manure help to fertilize the soil. Bruce Friedrich counters this argument by mentioning how animal excrement carried harmful bacteria to the land (Fallon).  There are numerous beliefs that a vegan diet for adults is detrimental to the health of adults, but the arguments towards vegan infants and children are much more extreme.

The number of vegan children is progressing just as quickly as vegan adults, both moved from three percent in 2010 to over five percent in 2012.  Youth polls typically follow the same paths as adult one’s, so if the number of vegan grown-ups keeps raising, the number of vegan children will as well (Rosen).  One of the main concerns parents have about switching their child to a plant-based diet is whether or not they will receive enough nutrients.  For the first six months after birth, infants are on a strict diet of only breastmilk.  Breastmilk of vegan or vegetarian mothers’ is just as healthy, if not more, than the breastmilk of a woman who eats meat.  

A study was conducted on four-hundred infants and children, where seventy-five percent of those children were birthed by vegan mothers.  It was found that the infants were low in birth weight, however it was not detrimental to any of the children’s health and the numbers were similar to “well-educated United States white women.”  Nutrients in breastmilk are very important to the growth of children because it is filled with vitamins and minerals.  The content of vitamin A, C, and D are all the same in vegan and carnivorous women.  The only difference between the two types of mothers is the saturated fat, eicosapentaenoic acid, linoleic acid, and linolenic acid contents.  In the breastmilk of vegan women, there are lower levels of saturated fat and eicosapentaenoic acid, but higher levels of linoleic acid and linolenic acid.  High levels of linoleic acid make it more difficult to promote the synthesis of docosahexaenoic acid, which is a n-three fatty acid important for the growth of the brain and retina.  This problem is easily avoidable if the mother intakes more food with high levels of linolenic acid, like flaxseed and flaxseed oil, canola oil, and soybean oil.  The diet path for vegan and carnivorous children are very similar.  After six months of breastfeeding, infants are moved into solid foods.  Whereas solid foods for meat-eating children consist of a high-protein diet of chicken, turkey, and milk, vegan children get their protein from healthier places, like tofu, dried beans, and other soy-based products.

Vegan infants and children may lack certain nutrients in their diets, but it is easily avoidable and very rare.  Children being raised on a vegan diet may need supplements of B12, zinc, iron, and vitamin D. B12 helps support rapid growth in a child, which can help with infants who were born with a low birth weight.  Zinc and iron supplements are usually not needed, but if infants transitioning into solid foods are not getting enough of either minerals in their diet, a supplement may be needed.  Vitamin D is only recommended for children who do not receive enough sun exposure, but they can be raised just by laying the infant in the sun for a few hours per week.  Aside from needing possible supplements, the only other problem that arises is children who are allergic to soy.  For mothers who are unable or who do not want to breastfeed, the only other option for the first six months is a soy-based formula.  A soy-based formula is just as healthy as breastmilk and regular milk; however, there are no other non-dairy formulas on the market that do not include soy (Mangles).  Only 0.4 percent of children are allergic to soy, so a problem has not arisen where we need another dairy-free formula, but eventually it will be important to let all parents have the choice to raise their children on a plant-based diet.

As of 2012, over five percent of adults and children in the United States are vegan.  Avoiding meat, dairy, eggs, and other animal products has been proven to be healthier for both adolescents and adults (Rosen).  Plant-based diets make problems like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer completely avoidable.  If information spreads about the health benefits of a vegan diet, less people will die of these diseases, and others.  A plant-based diet is not only healthy for yourself, but also for the lives of animals who are suffering in order to keep the meat and dairy operations alive.  Over three-thousand animals are murdered per second; that is fifty-six billion animals per year (“Food”).  Raising animals for food is damaging land and air, but using this same land for crops will eventually make it more aerial and fertilized.  Overall, a vegan diet is more healthy than a carnivorous one to both the human body, of adults and children, and the lives of innocent animals.

Works Cited

Atcheson, Robert. “Why Real Men Don’t Eat Meat.” USA Today 30 July 2015: n. pag. Print.

Deardorff, Julie. “Top Cardiologist Sparks Debate by Recommending Vegan Diet.” Chicago

Tribune [Chicago, Illinois] 17 Aug. 2014: n. pag. Print.

Fallon, Sally, and Bruce Friedrich. “Debate: Is Veganism a Better Way of Life?” The Ecologist

[Bideford, United Kingdom] Oct. 2011: 1-4. Print.

“Food.” Food. Animal Equality – Activation for Animal Rights, n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2015.

<http://www.animalequality.net/food&gt;.

Jad’on, Kelly. “U.S.: 2 Million Children (12-19) Are Pre-Diabetic, Vegan Diet Helpful.” Basil &

Spice [Jebsen Beach, USA] 08 Oct. 2009: n. pag. Print.

Jourdan, Thea. “Why Red Meat Can Be Good For Your Health.” Daily Mail [London] 03 Nov.

2015: n. pag. Print.

Mangels, Anne Reed. “Considerations in Planning Vegan Diets: Infants.” American Dietetic

Association (2001): n. pag. ProQuest. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.

Moore, Heather. “A Sin Tax on Meat Could Save Lives.” People for the Ethical Treatment of

Animals [Glenview, Illinois] 10 Apr. 2015: n. pag. Print.

Rosen, Jill. “Feeding Children a Vegan Diet Is Gaining Popularity.” St. Cloud Times [St. Cloud,

Minnesota] 27 Mar. 2013: n. pag. Print.

“Soy Allergy – Food Allergy Research & Education.” Soy Allergy – Food Allergy Research &

Education. Food Allergy Research & Education, n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2015. <http://www.foodallergy.org/allergens/soy-allergy&gt;.

Templeton, David. “Not Just Vegetarian, But Vegan.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette [Pittsburgh,

Pennsylvania] 1 July 2014: n. pag. Print.

Weintraub, Karen. “Eat Less Meat.” Boston Globe [Boston, Massachusetts] 9 Sept. 2013: n. pag.

Kids Need Healthy Food!

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Remember what your mom said:

“Eat your vegetables.”

Of course, as a father of two vegan babies, we never have to say this because … well, that’s pretty much all they eat. Vegetables, fruit, rice, brown rice pasta, and so many more plant-based foods are the entirety of their every meal and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Not sure how many parents of a two-year-old boy can say their kid hangs out in the refrigerator looking for broccoli. Or grapes. Or hummus. Or guacamole. Ours does and the 11-month-old baby is right behind him.

Raising kids vegan gives them an enormous head-start on a healthy future and it also is a compassionate reminder that animals are not food.

Animals are not food.

There are a growing number of organizations committed to ensuring that kids have access to plant-based meals (you should check out what PlantPure Nation is up to with their PlantPure Pods). Another organization near (geographically) and dear (I am friends with the Executive Director) to me is the New York Coalition for Healthy School Food.

I met Amie Hamlin years ago at the whole-foods, plant-based Friday Dinner held in nearby Brooktondale, New York. She is an incredibly committed and passionate woman who is helping to bring plant-based foods to all public schools in New York (if you’ve heard about this on the news recently, Amie was behind it). We all want a healthy future for our children and the Coalition is making this happen … one school at a time.

The Coalition’s vegan recipes have been distributed to 25,000 schools nationwide and their Wellness Wakeup Call program is heard by tens of thousands of students around the country every day! And today (8/28/15) is a very important day to the organization.

Giving is Gorges.

The Coalition for Healthy School Food is teaching healthy plant-based cooking and nutrition classes in Ithaca and New York City and today is Giving is Gorges day in Ithaca. In the Ithaca classes, students cook vegan entrees that will be on their school menu for lunch that week. Kids, teachers, and parents love the program. Some teachers and parents are surprised to see the kids eating the food they make.

And the kids agree that the international recipes from different cultures are delicious. Today, your donation can help the Coalition for Healthy School Food raise additional funds. The group with the most donations (greatest number of donations) will get an additional $500! Please help them get this! Click here to find out why they had to tell kids to stop eating vegetables, and to donate.

Please share and Go Vegan.

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Oklahoma Farmers Eat Drone

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[BARTLESVILLE, OK] The Greater Bartlesville Police Department is investigating claims that two Oklahoma pig farmers shot down and ate a drone being utilized by a film crew as part of an ongoing exposĂ© investigating factory farms and the health risks of “open sewage lagoons,” that surround them.

“Apparently, these two believed the drone was ‘trespassing’ and they shot it down with their .22,” said Deputy Gregory Smalls. “And once they downed the drone, they proceeded to cut it into pieces, bread it, deep fry it, and eat it.” The exact details of the report are closed at this point as the investigation is ongoing.

Drones have been used in the past to gain access to appalling conditions on factory farms. One such filmmaker made news recently for uncovering sewage lagoons in North Carolina where nearly 1,000 local residents are forming a class action suit against Smithfield Farms claiming they are contracting deadly diseases by breathing the contaminated air sprayed from these lagoons.

Deborah Johnson, chief executive officer of the N.C. Pork Council, said it is “alarming to see farmers who work hard every day to comply with regulations and laws operating their farms be targeted with actions like this.” Really?

The filmmaker, who also directed the documentary Speciesism, commented about the sewage lagoons by stating they are “among the most bizarre and disturbing environmental phenomena that I have ever confronted in America.” You can watch the video of Mark Devries’ footage here. In the video, the drones capture shocking aerial footage of several massive facilities that supply pigs for Smithfield Foods.

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In a recent radio interview on KTOK, Oklahoma’s News Source, one of the Oklahoma pig farmers commented: “… that thing [drone] was scaring up some of our hogs and we don’t want no scared hogs. So, hell yeah, we shot it down and ate it. Tasted like chicken.”

The investigation is ongoing and details will be posted here as they become available.

Go vegan.

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45,000,000 Deaths this Holiday Season: #GoVegan

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Please share widely (right mouseclick on image and select “save image as” and post on your own blog or social media). We can’t stop the holiday but we have the power to make people think.

Go vegan.

Edible Finger Lakes’ Not So Palatable Cover

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As you read this, keep one thing in mind: I’m an ethical vegan. Yes, my diet is vegan (no meat, dairy, eggs, or honey) but being an ethical vegan goes a few steps further. Not only have I replaced all my animal-sourced clothing and personal care products with cruelty-free versions, but I have “made the connection.” I not only recognize where meat comes from but I also have deep, emotional feelings attached to the animals that are purposefully (and needlessly) bred and raised to be raped, tortured, and killed for food.

So, as you read this blog post, please keep this in mind.

I was at the grocery store this week when something caught my eye. In fact, I had this feeling I was being watched. There on the shelf, among other travel and food magazines, was the new issue of Edible Finger Lakes, the regional culinary and travel publication for the area where I live in New York State. Staring at me, with an undeniable sadness in its eyes was a sweet piglet. Captured at a moment in time that now acts as a memorial to its life. This young piglet (former front cover magazine model) is now, surely, dead.

For no good reason. None.

To make matters worse, this piglet stood under the magazine’s masthead: “Edible Finger Lakes.” As if its only food and not a sentient being. As if it’s not an animal with a mother and a family and friends and a spirit attached to a will to live.

And this young piglet, with the unforgettable look in its eyes, stood alongside the words “Good Meat,” presumably a lead-in to an article about how wonderfully these animals are raised, and fed, and treated so that the consumer (animal eaters) are guaranteed the highest quality pork anywhere. And of course, like all good meat, I’m sure this piglet was humanely killed. Humanely killed good meat.

Good meat?

Is that all it is? We won’t know its name? Or where it lived? Or anything else about its short life. Just the fact that it’s existence is considered good meat?

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What struck me the most, though, as I was leaving the store was that this innocent and trusting beast was most likely killed by the time I saw the magazine in the rack. Throat slit, skinned, bled, butchered, packaged and sold. Its life never mattered to anyone who crossed its path. Or looked it in the eyes. Or, took its photograph and decided to put it on the cover of a magazine.

When did humankind become so callous and uncaring and cold?

Is this really what we’ve become?

When did an intelligent and social animal, like a pig, become the “mascot” for bacon? Pigs aren’t made of bacon.

Hipsters, in your flannel shirts and thick-glasses and shaggy beards, please find another food to worship. Please. And Edible Finger Lakes, please try to be more compassionate in the future when choosing a front cover image.

Go vegan.

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@Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret to Screen in #Ithaca

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 “COWSPIRACY: the Sustainability Secret,” the documentary uncovering the immense environemental impact of large-scale factory farming, to Screen in Ithaca, NY in October …

Cornell University Vegan Society and ThankTank Creative Present

[ITHACA, NY] Cornell University Vegan Society and ThankTank Creative present a limited screening of the controversial documentary “COWSPIRACY: the Sustainability Secret” on Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 7:30 PM at Regal Ithaca Mall Stadium 14. Reserved seating tickets are currently available and recommended.

“COWSPIRACY: the Sustainability Secret” is a groundbreaking feature-length environmental documentary following an intrepid filmmaker as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today – and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about it. As eye-opening as “Blackfish” and as inspiring as “An Inconvenient Truth,” this shocking yet humorous documentary reveals the absolutely devastating environmental impact large-scale factory farming has on our planet.

“This is an important film for everyone to see,” said Eric C Lindstrom, President of ThankTank Creative. “Every few years a documentary comes along that everyone who cares about this planet needs to see, this is one of those documentaries.”

“COWSPIRACY: the Sustainability Secret” has been screening across the world since its release and this limited engagement screening at Regal Ithaca Mall Stadium 14 provides the Finger Lakes Region an opportunity to learn more about the environmental impact of large-scale factory farming around the world.

For more information visit and to reserve your seats, www.tugg.com.

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FOR SALE: Horse Urine $1,000,000,000/yr Potential Income. Premarin Cures Crankiness!

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Horse Toture

Every so often I find out about something that is so outrageous and disgusting, I have to stop everything I’m doing to blog about it. The use of beaver anal sac excretions in my morning cereal was one of these things and the added carrageenan in my almond milk was another, but these dull by comparison to what I found out about the drug Premarin.

I get it, menopause is probably uncomfortable for women and makes them cranky and unable to sleep at night but any amount of discomfort cannot compare to the practice of impregnating horses, limiting their water intake and movement, collecting their urine for use in the drug, and then killing their offspring. Or, in some cases, the “lucky” ones get to live so they can lead the same enslaved life as their mother.

If you are currently taking Premarin, please stop reading this blog post. You are not welcome here.

Any form of animal abuse is bad and I am oftentimes criticized for singling out what abuse I think is “worse” than other abuse (the fact that it is legal to eat your own cat or dog in 43 U.S. states disgusts me but, technically, it is no worse than the millions and millions of animals mistreated and killed for food around the world). What gets me about Permarin, is that there are options that do not involve animal secretions or animal testing and, in fact, there are options that involve changing your diet.

In fact, nearly all symptoms of menopause can be controlled by going vegan. A high intake of phytoestrogens is thought to explain why hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms rarely occur in populations consuming a predominantly plant-based diet. Increased intake of phytoestrogens by consuming more: soy milk, linseed, tofu, tempeh and miso, pumpkins seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, celery, rhubarb and green beans will help with menopause.

I know, I know … going vegan is drastic whereas having someone else rape and enslave a beautiful mare to collect her urine while she is pregnant and, subsequently, killing her useless offspring isn’t.

I’ve said it once before and I will say it again: Pfuck Pfizer.

Go vegan.

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More Evidence that Animals Are Not Food

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We have a little vegan boy smashing his way around our apartment. At 17-months, he can pretty much pick up any piece of furniture and toss it across the room. He runs into things full-speed and eats an entire tray of food by the fistful. He is 100% vegan.

We are expecting another vegan baby at the end of next month so, hopefully, that will give Little Hulk enough of a distraction that he’ll settle down. Meanwhile, the only thing he sits still for (besides food), is a good book.

Recently, friends of ours (one of which has a vegan blog here), gave us a copy of Lois Ehltert’s wonderful board book, “Eating the Alphabet.” Lois Ehlert’s Caldecott-winning children’s books are alive with vibrant colors and her collages are just beautiful. Hailing from Wisconsin, so many of her books are a natural part of every infant’s library that they traditionally share a shelf with Eric Carle’s “Very Hungry Caterpillar.” The big, noticeable difference between Carle’s gastronomic tome and Lois’ “Eating the Alphabet” is that one book is vegan and the other … well, sorry caterpillar fans, is not.

As vegan parents, we are always prepared to replace un-vegan passages with vegan phrases: “This Little Piggy went to market … this Little Piggy stayed home … this Little Piggy had kale salad …” You get the idea.

The interesting thing about “Eating the Alphabet” that I think is worth pointing out is that it doesn’t have to be edited. Lois Ehlert takes us from A to Z without once stopping at “C’ is for chicken, or “P” is for pork, or “W” for water buffalo. And to be even more specific, the author didn’t use cheese or eggs (which also shouldn’t be consumed).

To some, this might be overlooked but to me there is a very powerful message in this book that resonates with me every time I read it: animals are not food.

They aren’t.

There is no valid reason or argument to eat animals and anyone who continues to do so, is not clearly not making the connection. Animals are our friends and we don’t eat our friends. At least I don’t.

Go vegan.

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Questions About Being Vegan? Here Are the Answers.

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If you’re like me, you’re frequently on Facebook. And, if you’re like me, you have joined the various Facebook groups dedicated to being vegan. And, if you’re like me, you’ve grown very tired of the same questions being asked over and over and over again.

So, as a public service, I have written this blog post to answer all of these questions in one convenient place.

The following are actual questions that have been posted multiple times across Facebook … again, these are real questions … I can’t make this stuff up. I take that back. I could make this stuff up … that’s what I normally do but in this case, these questions are real.

  1. Are bananas vegan? Somewhere someone was told that bananas may be sprayed with a spray derived from shrimp and crab shells that allows bananas to stay fresh for a longer period of time. Unfortunately, this could be the case with some non-organic bananas. You may want to avoid these. But, the banana itself is vegan.
  2. Can I raise my dog vegan? Yes. Our dog is vegan. The oldest dog in the world was vegan. Dogs thrive on a vegan diet just as humans do. It’s good for them. Cats, on the other hand, are hunters/carnivores and require meat to stay healthy (and, more importantly, happy).
  3. Is breast milk vegan? Yes. Breast milk (which is usually reserved for babies, by the way) is vegan. Same species, with consent. Same is true for swallowing semen. Vegan. Same species, with consent. If you consume either of these without consent, we may have to notify the authorities.
  4. My neighbor has happy hens can I eat the eggs? If you want, sure. But, you’re not vegan then. Even if a hen walked into your living, on its own volition and laid an egg and then got in a car and drove itself to a farm sanctuary to live out its life and you decided to eat that egg … you’re not vegan. Vegans don’t consume meat, eggs, dairy, or honey.
  5. Are Oreo’s vegan? Yes. So are most potato chips, Sour Patch Kids, and some PopTarts. There is so much vegan junk food out there that I bet you could trick an omnivore into becoming vegan just by feeding them junk food alone (can someone say “French fries!”). Remember this song? Love it!
  6. Someone told me that plants feel pain, is this true? No. Plants have no central nervous system. Look at it this way, would you take your kids strawberry picking or to the local slaughterhouse. There. Is. No. Comparison. Lettuce doesn’t scream.
  7. Can kids be raised vegan? Yes, just don’t feed them meat, eggs, dairy, or honey and guess what? They’re vegan … and they are going to thrive! It’s the healthiest way to live.
  8. What about soy? Is it safe to eat? Yes. You can safely consume up to five servings a day. Soy is loaded with protein which is why the meat industry is trying its hardest to make everyone fear soy. In its organic/non-GMS state … it’s good for you and delicious. If you’re a man and you eat too much, you might grow get growavaginaitis (see here).
  9. Do I need to take supplements when I am vegan? B12 for sure. A vegan multi-vitamin is helpful, too. Other than that, you will be more than healthy enough eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and vegan junk food.
  10. Since becoming vegan six months ago, I seem to be tired all the time. What should I do? Sleep more.
  11. I find myself having cravings for meat, what should I do? Eat meat. Or not. Sounds like maybe you’re not ready to go vegan. Maybe you’ve been lured by the promise of a healthy diet and that’s true but there is no such thing as a vegan who craves meat. They don’t exist.

Eat more veggies. Take your time. Replace items one-by-one (many experts will tell you to start with dairy, by the way … it’s pretty much the worst thing on the planet for you and there is more rape, torture and death in one glass of milk than there is in a steak).

I’d like to add that we do want as many new vegans to come over as possible. Give it a try. Ask as many questions as you need to if it helps maintain a cruelty-free lifestyle. Becoming vegan takes effort and commitment and becoming an ethical vegan takes even more time. But it’s worth it. For you. The planet. And, the animals.

With this said, when any of these questions are asked (and they will be asked), simply supply the asker with the following link ( http://wp.me/p3EQ27-14N  ) which will go directly to this handy vegan answer guide.

Go vegan.

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Meat’s Better Dead

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If you have to eat meat and, face it, it seems like some of us need meat to survive, you should always check for the “100% Dead Animal” seal on every package. Your family deserves this and, this way, you’ll be sure that you “don’t let that meal get away.”

Forget “grass-fed, or “free-range” or even “humanely-killed,” what’s most important when planning your dinner is making sure you are cooking 100% dead animal. Don’t settle for anything less …

Go vegan.

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