Category Archives: Book Excerpts & Recommendations

Soil Erosion – the silent environmental catastrophe

Say No to Meat Book CoverThe following is an excerpt from our book, Say No to Meat, by Amanda Strombom and Stewart Rose. This book includes answers to all the questions you may have about becoming a vegetarian, and is invaluable to new and existing vegetarians alike!

How does raising livestock cause soil erosion?

It’s hard to get excited about dirt but our lives depend on it. The crops can’t grow without soil and without the crops we all face starvation. Soil is formed through a natural process of wind and water on the earth, but this is a slow process. For example, in Iowa it takes 200 years to form one inch of topsoil. Plants and vegetation bind the soil together, but when those plants are removed, due to grazing or farming crops to feed animals, there is nothing to stop the soil from being washed or blown away. In Iowa, soil is being removed 30 times faster than it is being formed.  85 percent of all soil erosion in the United States is due to raising livestock. With 56 billion farm animals raised in the world each year, and one third of the habitable land being used directly or indirectly to raise them, scientists are sounding the alarm as massive soil erosion continues unabated. In parts of the US, China and sub-Saharan Africa, the result of soil erosion has been that what was once valuable farming land is now desert.

Vegetarian Living – How to include more fruits and vegetables in your diet

Say No to Meat Book CoverThe following is an excerpt from our book “Say No to Meat“, by Amanda Strombom and Stewart Rose, published by Healthy Living Publications.  This book includes answers to all the questions you may have about becoming a vegetarian, and is invaluable to new and existing vegetarians alike!

How can I include more fruits and vegetables in my diet?

Take veggies seriously. Vegetables are an important component of your diet, and most of us don’t eat enough of them. The American Cancer Society advises us all to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day, and many researchers suggest 8 to 10 servings per day would be optimal. The only way to achieve this is to plan each meal to include several servings of fruit or vegetables.

For breakfast, focus on fruit. A smoothie (see Protein-Powered Fruit Smoothie recipe) is a great way to get plenty of fruit into your diet, as you can include bananas and whatever fruit you have on hand. Alternatively, a glass of orange juice, and a piece of fruit on the side of whatever else you have for breakfast will get you started on meeting your fruit requirement for the day.

For lunch, try to include a couple of different vegetables with the meal. This may mean that you include some greens, cucumber slices, and red pepper sticks in your sandwich. Choose romaine or red leaf lettuce or spinach rather than iceberg lettuce, which has little nutritional value. Baby carrots, zucchini and red pepper sticks are great to dip into hummus or other dips. Coleslaw (see The Great American Coleslaw recipe on page XX) is a delicious option in a pita pocket, and vegetable soups are always a good choice. A piece of fruit makes a great dessert.

For snacks, choose a piece of fruit, dried fruit in trail mix, and baby carrots as quick, easy options.

For dinner, choose an entrée which has plenty of vegetables included, and add more if you can. For example, if you buy a prepared vegetable pizza, there will be a few small pieces of vegetables included. Top up the pizza with extra vegetables – sliced mushrooms, zucchini, red peppers and some frozen peas and corn are easily added to give extra nutrition and fiber. In addition to the entrée, aim to always have at least one steamed vegetable and a salad bowl on the side. Good choices for steamed vegetables include greens such as kale, collards or chard, green beans, and broccoli, although any vegetable you like is a good choice. Remember that variety is important, so try to vary your choice of vegetables from one day to the next.

Main Street Vegan – a book review

It’s hard not to get excited about this book. It’s hard not to fall in love with it. Victoria Moran’s latest book, titled Main Street Vegan – Everything You Need to Know to Eat Healthfully and Live Compassionately in the Real World, is sure to be a winner.

We were excited by innovations such as the chapter on finding the method of switching over to a vegan diet that works best for you, rather than the usual one way fits all. “Vegan one day at a time”, “vegan one food at a time” and “vegan at home” are just a few of the strategies offered by the author for the reader to choose from. There’s even a “vegetarian for now” strategy for those just getting started on the veg journey who haven’t reached vegetarian yet.

Also exciting is the forthright way the author confronts the myths and misinformation that abounds about some foods, such as the false fears being spread by the soy bashers and the false promotion of unique health benefits of fish. She doesn’t shy away from such real world considerations such as fitting vegan food choices comfortably into your budget, and she is not afraid to make specific recommendations and evaluations about specific brands of foods and other products which are so helpful to those just starting out.

We loved the way Victoria wrote the book for real people and what it takes to switch over to the vegan way, in uniquely human terms. “To become a Main Street Vegan yourself”, says the author, “you’ll call on your courage, your flexibility, your sense of adventure, your willingness to learn, and your ability to rise to a challenge.” We loved the way she wrote in a personal style instead of “to whom it may concern,” the impersonal tone found in so many other books today. Victoria gets up close and personal, revealing her own switch over to vegan which did so much to help her in her own weight loss struggles. We also loved the recipes, arranged throughout the book, that use everyday ingredients but yield especially delicious dishes of every kind.

In short, this book is a treasure trove that will reward the reader with one gem after the other, and we recommend it wholeheartedly. Victoria Moran is an author, motivational speaker, corporate spokesperson, and certified holistic health counselor (HHC, AADA). Her latest project, Main Street Vegan is published by Tarcher/Penguin and has been endorsed by such luminaries as Russell Simmons, Moby, and authorities such as Neal Barnard MD, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Among Victoria’s ten additional titles are the best-selling Creating a Charmed Life (in thirty languages), and the plant-based weight-loss classic, The Love-Powered Diet: Eating for Freedom, Health, & Joy. A vegan for twenty-eight years, Victoria wrote Compassion, the Ultimate Ethic, the first book on vegan philosophy ever published by a major publisher, as her college thesis in 1985.

Environmentalists in Deep Denial

ImageWith Earth Day just around the corner, we can’t help but lament the depth of denial most of the environmental community is in when it comes to the issue of animal agriculture and meat. There are some notable exceptions, such as the World Watch Institute who says, “The human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future — deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities, and the spread of disease.” But, on the whole the environmental community has chosen to remain comfortably unaware of the facts connecting our food choices with environmental sustainability, and several attempts by us to get the environmental movement engaged have resulted in a lackluster response. Read more

Winning the Battle of the Bulge

Besides saving money, winning the battle of the bulge is the other most popular New Year’s resolution. And, there’s little wonder why, with two thirds of all Americans now either overweight or obese.

There are three phases to weight loss: getting your diet started, working the diet to your goal and transitioning to everyday eating for long term results. Every endeavor starts with a single step, and since New Year’s Resolutions are all about beginnings, here’s our our top recommendation for getting started on your journey to victory in the battle of the bulge.

In 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart: Boost Metabolism, Lower Cholesterol, and Dramatically Improve Your Health, PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D., shows you how a vegetarian diet will help you drop pounds, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and improve blood sugar—in just three weeks. He also provides three weeks of recipes, nutrition information, and cooking tips, as well as inspiration from celebrities, including a foreword by Alicia Silverstone, tips from Biggest Loser’s Bob Harper, and advice from NBA champion John Salley.

This book is a powerful tool on its own, but what makes the Kickstart program even more advantageous is the online portion that goes with it. From webcasts and teleclasses to daily messages from famous doctors, and from social media such as Facebook to additional recipes and nutritional advice, this online program is truly special. You can check it out by visiting pcrm.org/kickstarthome/

What’s even more special is the way Dr. Barnard combines sound scientific principles of weight loss with a caring and compassionate attitude. In fact we’re so impressed with this doctor, we’ve invited him to be a speaker at this year’s Vegfest! We invite you to come down hear him speak and meet him in person. And best of all, he’ll answer all your questions.

Eat Vegan on $4 a day

Happy New Year one and all!  January is New Year’s resolution time, and since the economy continues to struggle along to recovery, many are resolving to redouble their efforts to save money. Vegetarians of Washington is here to help with a review of the latest tool in the battle of the budget:  Eat Vegan on $4 a Day by Ellen Jaffe Jones.

This book needed to be written. This is a book for our times. This book dispels a myth held by far too many that you can’t eat healthfully while still eating affordably, and it’s the most practical tool we’ve seen in a long time to help with eating on a budget.

In these difficult economic times, more and more people are looking to save money in their weekly food budget. Many people are also under the misimpression that it costs a lot of money to follow a healthy diet in general, and a vegan diet in particular.  This eminently practical book goes through the basics of thrifty shopping and follows up with daily and weekly menus for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks of delicious vegan meals along with recipes for each dish. I especially liked that each meal is completely priced out at average grocery store prices.

Practical to its core, the recipes mostly use commonly obtainable ingredients found in most ordinary supermarkets. However, if you have access to a natural food store so much the better! You’ll find valuable tips on how to save money on your long time favorite “health foods” and organics.

Going far beyond bulk bin basics, I can just see many retailers and manufacturers cringing as the author reveals any number of industry “secrets” so as to enable you to save even more money and find bargains in a wide variety of circumstances. I liked the fact that recipes were thrifty but fun. There’s no sense of sacrifice or austerity, so even the most well-heeled reader will find the recipes attractive.

This book accomplishes its goal so well that after reading it you’ll never think it’s too expensive or difficult to follow a veg-diet again.  We won’t hide our enthusiasm for this book! In fact we liked it so much, we’ve invited the author so much we invited her to our upcoming Vegfest. Check back for speaking and book signing times closer to the event.

Calling all Veg-Friendly Healthcare Providers

Here at Vegetarians of Washington, we are often asked for recommendations of vegetarian or veg-friendly healthcare providers.  If you are a healthcare provider of any kind, licensed in the state of Washington, and you are either vegetarian or vegan yourself, or you consider it to be a very healthy choice for your patients to make, we encourage you to contact us to let us know of your qualifications, your specialty, your practice location and contact information, and your experience with vegetarian and vegan diets.  We will compile this information into a helpful list which we can share as needed.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) publishes an excellent book – A Nutrition Guide for Clinicians, which is a comprehensive, portable medical reference manual.  It covers nearly 100 diseases and conditions, including risk factors, diagnoses, and typical treatments. Most importantly, it provides the latest evidence-based information on nutrition’s role in prevention and treatment, including an in-depth examination of general nutrition, macronutrients, micronutrients, and nutritional requirements for all stages of life.  In addition, it describes helpful ways to talk with patients about dietary changes.  If you’d like to have all the latest nutritional information at your fingertips, you may find this book very helpful.  It is written for clinicians, so it provides all the medical details you’ll need for almost every common situation.

The PCRM has also put together a website http://nutritioncme.org/ which offers free online Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits to healthcare providers who study the educational materials on their website.  It is well-designed with the latest nutrition information to help bring any healthcare provider up-to-date with the scientific evidence showing how our food can help heal many common diseases.

If you need a movie to recommend to patients who could benefit from a change in their diets, or a quick introduction yourself to some of the recent research which has uncovered the many health benefits of a vegetarian diet, the new movie Forks over Knives is now available for free instant download from Netflix, for downloadable rental ($3.99) or purchase ($9.99) or as a DVD ($14.99) from Amazon.com.  You can also recommend our books The Vegetarian Solution, by Stewart Rose, or Say No to Meat, by Amanda Strombom and Stewart Rose, as good sources of valuable information about the health and other benefits of changing your diet. For patients who are new to healthy food, our latest book In Pursuit of Great Food: A Plant-Based Shopping Guide, could be very helpful for them.

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