Tag Archives: vegan

Your dog can be vegan!

Yes, your dog can be a vegan! When it comes to diet there are three kinds of animals: carnivores that subsist on meat, such as cats, herbivores that subsist on plant foods such as horses, and omnivores that can subsist just fine on either on meat or plant foods such as dogs. Therefore, dogs can do just fine on a vegan diet and they can be even healthier than on a meat diet.

The domestication of dogs resulted in increased levels of enzymes especially designed to digest plant food and this has led to the classification of dogs as omnivores. Reinforcing this, a study looked at the effect of a vegan diet on 12 Siberian huskies involved in sprint-racing.  For 16 weeks, they fed six of them a meat-based commercial diet recommended for active dogs, and the other six a meat-free diet formulated to the same nutrient specifications.  Health checks were conducted by a veterinarian who didn’t know which diet each dog was fed. All dogs were assessed as being in excellent physical condition and none developed anemia or other detectable health problems.

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Blacks go vegan!

According to the latest research Black Americans are more likely to become vegan or vegetarian than their white counterparts. According to a Pew Research Center survey, 8% of African Americans identify as vegan or vegetarian compared to just 3% of the general population.

Many people of color say they have switched to a plant-based diet for the environment, for animal rights and for their health.  Increasingly, they realize that what they eat is important, and that they can do a lot to help avoid hospitals and keep themselves healthy by changing their diet.

Black cardiologist Kim Williams says, “I recommend a plant-based diet because I know…that plant-based diets are associated with lower rates of obesity and diabetes, high quality of life and longer life-expectancy, as well as less hypertension, dyslipidemia, peripheral artery disease, coronary disease, myocardial infarction, erectile dysfunction, heart failure, stroke and death.”

Of course there have been Black vegetarians for generations.  While Rev. Martin Luther King was not a vegetarian himself, he showed a growing concern with the plight of animals, as well as people, when he said “Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake.” That concern blossomed into the vegan way with his wife Coretta Scott King, and also his son Dexter Scott King who said “Veganism has given me a higher level of awareness and spirituality”

Civil rights activist Rosa Parks maintained a vegetarian lifestyle until she passed away in 2005. “I have been a vegetarian for a few years. It was not hard at all to not eat meat. [Becoming a vegetarian] was something I wanted to do,” she said. Among her favorite vegetables were broccoli, greens, sweet potatoes and string beans.

Today, many famous Black Americans are good role models as vegetarians, including tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams, footballer David Carter, music promoter Russell Simmons, musicians Erykah Badu and Stevie Wonder, actress Kimberly Elise, and many more.

Sprinter Morgan Mitchell is vegan

Australian Morgan Mitchell went vegan at the age of 19, in 2013.  After competing in the 4×400 meters relay event at the 2015 World Championships and the 2016 Olympic Games, she switched focus to the 800 meters and rapidly improved to come in sixth in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games (held in July 2021).

She has appeared in the media talking about the positive impacts a plant-based diet has had on her performance.  She describes what she eats each day as focused on protein-rich meals like breakfast burritos, vegan chicken salads, smoothies, burgers and Buddha bowls.

But eating vegan is more than just about health and performance.  When asked about her diet, she says: “the life of an animal and the wellbeing of the environment means more to me than any amount of money or the career path I wish to take” because the lives of the farm animals and the future of the environment depend on what we do.

Vegan powerlifter wins Belgian championship

photo credit Sahyuri Lalime via Instagram

The Belgian female champion powerlifter, Sahyuri Lalime, has just taken home the Belgian national title for the fourth year in a row, and she is vegan. The plant-powered athlete won best overall female lifter, lifting a total of 412.5kgs: 152.5kg squat, 80kg bench, and 180kg deadlift, which shows that you don’t need to eat meat to be strong!

Lalime has been vegetarian for nearly 20 years, and vegan since 2015. She went vegetarian when she left home for college, based on not wanting to kill animals.  Having lost her mother as a child, she became very sensitive to death and didn’t want to be a part of causing others to experience the same trauma.  At college, she learned about how dairy cows were treated and realized that a vegan lifestyle was preferable.  Sahyuri explains that the transition took her a while:

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NYC elects vegan mayor

NYC Mayor Eric Adams

New York City has just elected its first vegan mayor.  Eric Adams, a former police captain, ran on a campaign to restore New York to its former glory after being ravaged by the pandemic, but the fact that he’s vegan could have a big impact.  We’ve previously written about how Adams went vegan 5 years ago, while suffering from Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and he was losing his eye-sight.  Within 3 weeks of changing his diet, his vision improved.  Within 3 months, his nerve damage recovered and he has not needed to take any more medications.  With such a dramatic improvement, he has become passionate about the importance of a healthy diet.

He has previously been able to use the power of his position to share the importance of eating healthy and the benefits of a plant-based diet as widely as possible.  As the Borough of Brooklyn president, he was able to ban processed meat from schools in 2019.  In addition, in June he provided a discretionary grant of $10,000 to State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate College of Medicine, so that medical school students there could study the benefits of a plant-based diet. The money will help fund a new initiative entitled “Food as Medicine.” It will act as a supplemental program to the college’s existing nutrition courses. 

While he has many other challenges on his plate as the mayor of New York City, we look forward to watching what other changes he is able to make to encourage more plant-based eating in New York.

Hershey’s launches vegan chocolate bars

Hershey’s is testing a vegan chocolate bar made with oat milk. While some dark chocolate bars are naturally vegan, many are not, and of course milk chocolate is very rarely vegan.  Some smaller companies, such as Pascha, have come out with high quality vegan milk chocolate bars, but this is the first time we’re aware of that a major brand has launched a vegan milk chocolate.

The new line of Hershey’s Oat Made bars will come in flavors such as Classic Dark and Extra Creamy Almond & Sea Salt with each oat milk-based bar clearly labeled vegan.  The Oat Made line is part of a real-time marketing test Hershey’s is conducting and the new vegan chocolate bars will be available at very limited retailers, including select Target locations, nationwide starting this month and through June 2022, a Hershey’s spokesperson confirmed.

Hershey’s is working on producing more “Better for you” brands, including plant-based options, through both research and acquisition of new products.  Its vegan chocolate bar is a part of this program. “We are the leader in US confection, and our consumers rely on us to understand their needs for everyday moments, seasons and special occasions, offering high-quality and great tasting candy that’s accessible for everyone,” Kristen Riggs, Chief Growth Officer at Hershey, said. “Expanding our expertise, building new capabilities, and delivering more choices in better-for-you confection is the next big category opportunity for us to lead.”

The new Hershey’s Oat Made chocolate bars are currently available online at Target, if you’d like to give them a try. Pascha chocolate is available at PCC Community Markets, Marlene’s Market, and some other natural food stores.

Rheumatoid Arthritis – Veg Diet helps

Rheumatoid-Arthritis handsRheumatoid Arthritis (RA) hurts. Nearly 3 million Americans suffer from it. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can affect more than just your joints. In some people, the condition also can damage a wide variety of body organs, including the skin, eyes, lungs, heart and blood vessels. An autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body’s tissues. There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis. There are treatments, but many have significant side effects.

Following a plant-based diet can reduce your chances of getting RA. One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, comparing those who followed a vegetarian diet to those who ate meat but otherwise followed a healthy lifestyle, showed that those following a vegetarian diet reduced their risk of getting Rheumatoid Arthritis 50%. Read more

Top restaurants dip their toes

Top restaurants and chefs are embracing plant based cuisine. As they open up again after the pandemic, some of the top restaurants are switching out specific animal products for plant-based alternatives, while others are choosing to go all in as a fully plant-based restaurant.

Chef Josef Centeno recently replaced dairy with vegan cheese in multiple dishes at his Tex-Mex eatery Bar Amá in Los Angeles, CA. An acclaimed chef who holds a Michelin star at his other LA eatery Orsa & Winston, Centeno partnered with So Delicious to make the switch. Centeno—a nominee for Best Chef at the 2020 James Beard Awards—realized that he could switch out regular cheese for plant-based alternatives without sacrificing the texture or flavor, so he now uses vegan cheese in place of dairy in some of his most popular dishes, including Cheddar Almond “Queso” and Chile Relleno.

In 2018, Michelin-starred chef Alexis Gauthier removed foie gras at his French restaurant Gauthier Soho in London. Prior to the change, the restaurant sold more than 40 pounds of this especially cruel animal product every week. While he has offered a vegan menu since 2015, Gauthier decided to reopen Gauthier Soho as a fully vegan restaurant earlier this year after going vegan himself. 

Here in the US, the chefs at the restaurant “Eleven Madison Park” in New York were looking for a creative way to reopen their popular top restaurant and realized that the world has changed.  Chef Daniel Humm said, “It was clear that after everything we all experienced this past year, we couldn’t open the same restaurant. With that in mind, I’m excited to share that we’ve made the decision to serve a plant-based menu in which we do not use any animal products—every dish is made from vegetables, both from the earth and the sea, as well as fruits, legumes, fungi, grains, and so much more.”

While there’s no sign yet of any of Seattle’s top-rated restaurants going 100% plant-based, we are lucky to have several excellent vegan and vegetarian restaurants, such as Cafe Flora, Plum Bistro and Harvest Beat in Seattle, plus many more casual vegan eateries throughout the area.  We encourage all restaurants to try out the many plant-based alternatives available and find which would work best for their popular dishes, as a solution to the climate crisis and to reduce the suffering of animals.

Olivia Newton-John – plant-based to fight breast cancer

Olivia Newton John is using a vegan diet to help in her fight against breast cancer. 

Seventy two year old singer, Olivia Newton-John, is best known for her role in the musical film Grease back in 1978, but she also produced many solo hit single recordings in the 70s and 80s and has continued to record and perform throughout her long career.  She’s a four-time Grammy Award winner with five US number one records and another 10 Top Tens on Billboard’s Hot 100. She has sold an estimated 100 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time.

She has been a longtime activist for environmental and animal rights issues. In 1992 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and has since become an advocate for cancer research and other health issues as well. She enjoyed a long period of remission, but in 2017 she was again diagnosed with breast cancer, and she switched to a plant-based diet to help her get healthier while being treated.  She shared that her daughter, Chloe Lattanzi, is key in helping her to eat more plant-based foods. “I’ve been eating vegan because my daughter was visiting me and she’s a vegan.  I feel very good.  After having lived for years with different cancers, and having surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, I thought it would be wonderful if we could find different kinds of treatments for people going through cancer” she said.

Newton-John recently launched the Olivia Newton-John Foundation with her husband, John Easterling, to promote plant-based eating as a way to stay healthy through cancer treatment.  Her foundation aims to develop less damaging forms of treatment, as well as to support research into how a plant-based way of eating can help nutrition and health for patients.

There’s already a lot of research into how a plant-based diet can reduce your risk of getting breast cancer in the first place and reduce your risk of recurrence if you’ve had breast cancer.  Let’s hope that this foundation finds evidence for the benefits of plant-based diets during treatment as well.

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