A very interesting lecture by John McDougall MD, The Perils of Dairy. If you want to convince someone to get milk and all dairy out of their diet because it’s unhealthy, and they try and tell you that a little milk, even skim isn’t that bad, this video is pretty effective in convincing them otherwise. After you have them watch this video educate them about all the great milk alternatives. This is the video that convinced my Mom to stop eating ice cream, cheese and she switched to milk alternatives soon after watching it.
The media this week have proven how culpable they are in exacerbating the health crisis in America. “Pour on the olive oil: Big study finds Mediterranean-style diet cuts heart attack, stroke risk.” shouted a headline on the Global TV News website. The article went on to say/lie, “Consuming more than four tablespoons a day can significantly lower your risk of having a heart attack…” “Stock up on olive oil and nuts!!” a CNN talking head squealed. What are we, squirrels?
In case you have been under a rock, an article was recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine claiming that a Mediterranean diet is much more effective than a “low-fat diet” in preventing cardiovascular disease. No one in the media bothered to really dig deep into the study, everyone was too eager to tell everyone that they can feel good about pouring on the olive oil. The actual thing that makes the Mediterranean diet healthy, VEGETABLES, NOT being talked about.
Turns out the control group were not even on a low-fat diet. All the hype about olive oil being beneficial was bullshit. If you haven’t already you can read some wonderful responses by low-fat diet advocates; Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. John McDougal and Jeff Novick RD.
I know many important and intelligent people in the vegan movement tout the Mediterranean diet. They need for olive oil to be beneficial because olive oil makes a plant-based diet more palatable. I can understand that. But olive oil is not good for you and that’s the truth. These same people talk about how we need to be honest in our advocacy. So why aren’t they being honest about olive oil?
What a scary thought if we did what some in the media are suggesting and consume more than 1/4 cup of olive oil a day. How is adding 70 grams of fat and 600 calories to our diet going to be beneficial? If you want to see what olive oil can do to your health, check out my latest blog entry, my before pic, I poured on the olive oil. If olive oil were that beneficial don’t you think I should have looked like my after picture?
WARNING: This post is about how awesome I am and how awesome the vegan lifestyle is. If this makes you sick, please get your puke bucket out.
What you are looking at are before and after pictures of me before and after switching to a plant-based diet. In the before picture I had just stepped out of the bathtub, that’s why I have a towel wrapped around my head. I also have my pajamas on. I had struggled with my weight for a few years before this picture. My weight would go down, then I’d struggle to keep it off and it would go back up. I worked really hard and lost 20 pounds. So before this pic I was heavier. The night this picture was taken I was fed up. I had my twin brother take the pic. I told him that I wanted a before picture. That I wanted to change and that whatever I was doing wasn’t working for me anymore. If you can believe it I was exercising everyday during my before pic. I have exercised religiously since I was 19. I did it for my mental health. I actually enjoy exercise and find that it helps with the panic and anxiety that I have suffered from since I was a teenager. What got me to that point in the picture is eating a poor diet, nothing else.
In the after picture, it is the middle of 2008, a year and a half after going vegan and about 2 years after the before picture was taken. The difference is quite dramatic. I post these before and after pics reluctantly and have put it off since I started my blog. Part of the reason is I’m embarrassed about how I look in the before pic, it’s not the most flattering picture of me. But also because I’m worried that the pics could be snatched and used by unscrupulous businesses as before and after pics for their products. I’ve heard of it happening to people. Why did I decide to post them now? Is it weird that as a guy I was inspired by Lena Duhnam of HBO’s “Girls”? Let me start out by saying that in no way am I suggesting Lena Duhnam is fat. She’s normal looking. She has flaws like all of us do. She’s unashamed of her flaws and I find that incredibly inspiring. It made me realize that I was being incredibly vain and stupid by not posting my before pics. I could give a crap if someone wants to laugh at me. What I hope, is to inspire others to make changes in their diet. Not because they’ll look better but because they will be healthier.
My journey to becoming vegan started with me wanting to become a healthier person. And I didn’t start out looking to change my diet that dramatically. I wasn’t so much interested in losing weight either, although it was important to me. I had a small inkling that my diet was not the healthiest and I wanted to start eating for maximum nutrition. That was the goal when I started searching for a book that would help me achieve that.
I really mean it when I say I had an small inkling. I was so very dumb when it came to what was and wasn’t healthy. I actually believed that because there was “corn” in Doritos that it counted as a vegetable. I thought milk and cheese were good for my bones. I used margarine and olive oil liberally and didn’t even give it a second thought. My go-to meal was a greasy veggie burger on a white highly processed bun, slathered in high fructose corn syrup laden ketchup. And I falsely believed that because I didn’t eat meat (I was a vegetarian for a long time) that I was doing animals and my own health a real favor.
One of the first books I stumbled upon in my journey to get healthy, was The China Study by T. Colin Campbell. The cover and description was exactly what I was looking for and instantly appealed to my situation. The cover shouted, “The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted And the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, And Long-term Health.” I had no idea that the book was going to convince me that I should go “vegan” or to use the correct term, plant-based. I really had no expectations about what was in the book except that it was going to help me with nutrition. To say the book was eye opening is putting it mildly.
Besides changing my idea about what was and wasn’t healthy to eat, it changed my thinking about a lot of other things. In searching out more nutritional information about the vegan diet, I began stumbling upon websites about animal advocacy. This woke me up to the fact that my junk food vegetarian, egg, cheese and milk heavy diet was not only causing me great suffering but the animals too. I am embarrassed to say I never really thought about the suffering that the animals used for eggs and milk production were going through. I always thought they were frolicking freely in green pastures. I also had this untrue belief that a vegan diet was extreme, unhealthy and unrealistic. I imagined myself choking on dry salads. This book not only convinced me that the vegan diet was safe but optimal. Reading that book was life changing for me in so many ways. By the time I finished the book I was enraged. Enraged that I had been lied to by the dairy industry. Enraged that the media had kept me in complete darkness about all of this. Enraged that I had convinced myself for so many years that my diet was healthy. Enraged that I had been so blind to the suffering of animals. It was as if my eyelids had been ripped off my face and I could no longer close my eyes to the truth. I began to ask myself, “What else have I been wrong about?” I literally began to question EVERYTHING.
2007 was an amazing and transformational year for me, both physically and mentally. When I look at the before picture now I don’t so much see a fat person. I see someone who was completely confused. I see someone who was headed towards heart disease like my Dad who died of a massive heart attack in his early 50s. My blood pressure was always around 130/80 and rising each year. I couldn’t comfortably bend over to tie my shoes without my belly crushing my lungs. I also suffered from severe depression because of my poor diet. My joints ached a lot from carrying all the extra weight. Now, I can get depressed but the episodes are much more manageable and less frequent. My blood pressure is on average 110 over 70. And yes a size 32 skinny jean fits loose on me. But most importantly I live a lifestyle now that minimizes animal suffering and my own suffering.