Saturday, January 6, 2018

The Why & How of Vegetarian Eating: A Self-Study Guide*

According to a growing body of research, as well as the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicinea vegetarian diet can:
  • Prevent cancer
  • Prevent heart disease
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Prevent and reverse diabetes
  • Reduce gallstoneskidney stones and osteoporosis
  • Reduce asthma symptoms *
Given this amazing list of health benefits, shouldn’t you at least consider becoming a vegetarian? In this post I’ve pulled together a bunch of links to articles, videos and other resources from respected sources to help you learn more and decide for yourself.
The Science Behind Vegetarian Eating
A major milestone in our understanding of food and nutrition — particularly the benefits of a non-meat, plant-based diet — was the publication of the groundbreaking “China Study.”  According to its authors this study examined the death rates and eating habits of 880 million [yep… that’s 880 million!] Chinese citizens. How’s that for a large sample size! The quotes below (my bold added) are from the book:
[It was] the most comprehensive study of diet, lifestyle and disease ever done with humans in the history of bio-medical research. It was a massive undertaking jointly arranged through Cornell University, Oxford University and the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine. The New York Times called it the ‘Grand Prix of Epidemiology.’… [Our key findings relevant to diet and disease were that]: people who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease. Even relatively small intakes of animal-based food were associated with adverse effects. People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease.” —  T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell from The China Study 
This book represents a “deep dive” into the vast and expanding body of research supporting vegetarianism. If you want to immerse yourself in the details, get the book and settle in for a powerful, and possibly life-altering, read.  Click here to go to the Google Books listing to learn more about The China Study or click here to download a PDF.
Some Well-Researched Videos
The bad news: Some advocates of vegetarianism can appear a bit… well… flakey! They base their advocacy on emotional arguments and “new-agey” philosophical perspectives. The good news: There are many scientists and medical professionals who are doing solid, well-documented research that supports vegetarianism on the basis of proven health benefits. These free, no-nonsense videos provide good introductions to their work:
“Free” for Netflix subscribers:
  • Vegucated — “In this documentary, three meat- and cheese-loving New Yorkers agree to adopt a vegan diet for six weeks. Lured with true tales of weight lost and health regained, they begin to uncover the hidden sides of animal agriculture.”  – Netflix listing
  • Forks Over Knives Presents: The Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue — “Join Rip Esselstyn, former firefighter and author of the national bestselling The Engine 2 Diet, as he guides the White and Wally families through an Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue. Watch Rip teach these families how to take control of their health.” – Netflix listing
  • Hungry for Change — “This documentary exposes secrets the diet, weight loss and food industries don’t want consumers to know about: deceptive strategies designed to keep you coming back for more. Find out what’s keeping people from having the body and health they want.” – Netflix listing
 Some Webpages to Explore

  • is FILLED with articles and videos that summarize (and footnote!) the latest research findings related to nutrition and health. (See also my first video listing above.)

  • Think only weirdos are vegetarians? Check out this list of 50 Famous Vegetarians from, including athletesentertainerswriters/artistsleaders/activists, scholars/inventors, and more. (Did you know Steve Jobs and Mike Tyson share this list with Einstein and Gandhi? Wow!)
Practical Tools & Advice for the Newbie Vegetarian 
Here are some useful tools and sources of information that can help you to get started “eating clean” the vegetarian way:

The Vegetarian Starter Kit from
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
A Few More Items for Your Consideration
  • — from Australia: Good reasons & recipes for vegetarianism, mixed with some good old fashioned “save the planet & protect the animals”
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* Links marked with an asterisk (*) are subject to change. If you can't find the post you're looking for, email me at or try a Google search. Sorry for any inconvenience!