Keeping Backyard Chickens Is Not a Good Idea

The following is a letter I sent to Denver’s Washington Park Profile in response to their front-page article on keeping backyard chickens:

chickens-in-coopI’m glad your July article on backyard chickens included the downside.  Given the practical issues of daily care, humane concerns, and health consequences of eating eggs, is this something the city of Denver should be encouraging?
Often would-be urban farmers do not understand what they are getting into, as indicated by this from an NBC News report: “Hundreds of chickens, sometimes dozens at a time, are being abandoned each year at the nation’s shelters from California to New York as some hipster farmers discover that hens lay eggs for two years, but can live for a good decade longer, and that actually raising the birds can be noisy, messy, labor-intensive and expensive.”   Continue reading “Keeping Backyard Chickens Is Not a Good Idea”

My Beef with Meat

My Beef with Meat: The Healthiest Argument for Eating a Plant-Strong Diet–Plus 140 New Engine 2 Recipes, by Rip Esselstyn.  Grand Central Life & Style, 2013.

Rip Esselstyn’s second book–following The Engine 2 Diet–is clear, concise, down-to-earth, at times humorous, and will surely answer most questions people have about why we should be eating whole plants instead of animal products and processed food. This is a quick, go-to guide for such topics as protein, calcium, iron, what’s wrong with paleo, why grass-fed is no better than grain-fed, why oils should be avoided, and numerous other topics. Although mostly about health, the book also comments on animal suffering and the environment. And the recipe section!! I can hardly wait to try some of them. I was fortunate to hear the author live earlier this month at a local bookstore, and was impressed with his command of issues and facts, his friendly style, and the enthusiasm he conveyed. He’s an excellent ambassador for a healthier America.


Whitewash: The Disturbing Truth About Cow’s Milk and Your Health, by Joseph Keon. New Society, 2010

Keon gives us a comprehensive look at what the dairy industry is NOT telling us. By analyzing numerous studies, he chips away at, and ultimately demolishes, all the reasons we’ve been given to drink milk, and instead shows how hazardous it is. For adult humans to “nurse” from another species is pretty bizarre at the outset, when you view it objectively. The author’s stated purpose in writing the book is to show that instead of supporting bone health, dairy products actually undermine it. Countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis are those with the highest consumption of dairy. Continue reading “Whitewash”

Vegan’s Daily Companion

Vegan’s Daily Companion, by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.  Quarry Books, 2011.

Colleen has expertly compiled page after page of helpful and uplifting information for those on the vegan path. She includes stories and photos of rescued animals, how to handle awkward moments when omnivorous friends question the vegan lifestyle, recipes and food lore, and much more. This lovely guide would be the perfect gift for someone new to veganism, although Colleen’s encouraging words would surely be welcomed by everyone trying to live a more compassionate life.

The Engine 2 Diet

The Engine 2 Diet, by Rip Esselstyn.  Wellness Central, 2009.  Watch video and learn more:

In case there is any lingering doubt that veganism is for guys—and not only average guys, but tough athletic guys–here’s a book to dispel it.  Esselstyn, an All-American swimmer and long-time professional triathlete, became a firefighter over ten years ago.  To help his fellow firefighters reduce their life-threatening high cholesterol and overweight, he developed his Engine 2 Diet plan, based on research about plant-based diets done by his father, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, M.D. and Dr. Colin Campbell (who contributes a foreword to the book).  The E2 Diet, which excludes not only all animal products but refined flours, refined sugars, and oils, achieved remarkable results in the firehouse, and subsequently received national media attention.  The plan is endorsed by the likes of Lance Armstrong, who sought out the author for dietary advice. Continue reading “The Engine 2 Diet”

How to Eat Like A Vegetarian Even If You Never Want to Be One

How to Eat Like A Vegetarian Even If You Never Want to Be One, by Carol J. Adams and Patti Breitman.   Lantern Books, 2008.

If you’re looking for a book to help yourself or others who are new to preparing whole plant foods, if you’re puzzled about what to do with tofu or kale, pick this up.  The authors adopt a friendly, laid-back tone to meet readers right where they are in their eating habits, and exert no pressure to make sweeping dietary changes.   “We aren’t inviting you to go for a PhD in vegan cuisine,” they write, “we’re inviting you out to the playground!”  The book does contain recipes, but is mostly about putting together simple foods in simple ways.  Every time I’ve shared information from it, the response has been enthusiastic.  Many people want to eat more healthfully, but don’t want to commit to being vegetarian.  They lack the time or interest to learn about unfamiliar foods.  This will get them started down that path, and they’ll learn the ethical reasons as well as health considerations. Continue reading “How to Eat Like A Vegetarian Even If You Never Want to Be One”

The China Study

The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health, by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., and Thomas M. Campbell II.  Benbella Books, 2006.

This is the most convincing and thorough exposition of the health reasons to go vegan, period. The author’s reputation as a researcher is as distinguished as one could hope for; the reader can have absolute confidence that what is being asserted is based on the best science we can get. The evidence that a plant-based diet minimizes risk of, and even reverses, so many chronic debilitating diseases is now sufficiently strong that rational doubt is virtually impossible. The section toward the end about why the American public is not hearing this message–including physician ignorance of nutrition and the deliberately created confusion, denial and pressure from the food and drug industries–is equally brilliant.
Read this, and get it into as many other hands as possible.