Now Is The Time

onion veg


Well OF COURSE I’m going to take the opportunity when we’re on the cusp of this new year to encourage you to go vegan/plant-based/whatever you want to call it, if you aren’t already.

But let me explain WHY the time is now; why there has never been a better time to take this step.

Global consciousness is rising, it really is. People are beginning to think about the wider issues outside of their own four walls or their own community.

They are beginning to consider the impact their actions have on other beings, both human and non-human.

They are beginning to join the dots and see how their life choices connect to cruelty towards others and environmental degradation, not to mention how these choices can lead to personal ill-health.

In east and west coast US (and progressive cities in between – Hi Austin, Asheville, Boulder etc!) this information is coming through loud and clear and the markets are rapidly changing to accommodate this new demand. You find restaurants, cafes and food emporia loaded with sumptuous plant-based fare. Brighton in the UK is getting there, and I hear Berlin and Gothenburg are vegan meccas. Forgive me Aussie readers, I’m ignorant about your country (though I’d love to visit one day), but I believe Melbourne is the place to be for plant-based delights aplenty.

Other places may be slower on the uptake ( 🙂 ) but are moving in that direction nonetheless. You only have to consider how vegetarians and vegans were perceived twenty years ago and compare that to now to know this is true. If you are too young to know this, ask an older friend or relative.

Yes, sadly it’s true that as some countries that were once poor are getting richer, many of their photo monbiot imagecitizens are indulging in more meat and dairy, believing this is the ‘western,’ affluent thing to do. But, as technology enables information on the destructiveness of animal food production to spread fast and thick on a global scale, it is inevitable that very soon animal consumption will decline in these countries too, and at a much quicker rate than it did in ours.

If you are thinking of moving in a plant-based direction; whether you want to go vegan overnight, or start with vegetarian and see how it goes, or switch some animal products for plant-based ones and see how that feels – you’ve chosen the right time.

Here, here, here and, ooooh… here are some tips.

You will be part of a strong and gathering current of consciousness, a flow of positive energy that will only ever increase exponentially in force.  It doesn’t even matter right now if you think I’m talking hogwash and your reasons for going vegan are more health or environment-based than ethical. All the reasons are interwoven, and you’ll feel connected to them all sooner or later.  It’s no coincidence that the best thing for animals and the planet is also the best thing for you.

Get in on this energy at this stage. Don’t be late to the party. You’ll miss so much!

Just do something. Move forward. Now is the time.


Here’s Why Being Vegan Isn’t Elitist

ethiopianLentilStew_002 from Flickr via Wylio
© 2007 SaraJane, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

An excuse for not being vegan accusation often thrown at vegans is that to be vegan is ‘elitist’; that it’s a white, middle-class, bourgeois thing to be.

Apparently some think it’s a first-world luxury, and a privilege only rich and pretentious types can afford.

This is so easy to ‘out’ as an excuse for, at best, not wanting to go vegan, or, at worst, an uninformed, ignorant jibe, that this post is gonna write itself.

Here’s why this is BS:


1. Is veganism a first world luxury?

Lots of the countries that we call ‘third world’, by default eat very close to a vegan diet. Meat is rarely eaten – maybe at a religious feast or celebration, but is way too expensive to eat on a daily basis.  The RICH people in these countries may eat more meat, but the poor certainly don’t. It’s MEAT that is considered a luxury, not plant foods.

In most of Africa, most of Asia and most of the Middle East, meat is an occasional luxury, and everyday staples are made up of grains, veg, beans, legumes and fruit. The demand for meat is on the rise in developing countries, precisely because people are becoming richer and aspire to live in what they see as a more ‘western,’ i.e. affluent, fashion.

Thus – in most of the world meat equals luxury; beans equal poverty. Veganism would definitely be thought of as a peasants diet by most of the world, so HOW is it considered elitist here?


2. Is veganism a ‘white’ lifestyle choice?

This couldn’t be a more insane point of view.

Being vegan makes even more sense, health-wise, for non-whites. About 75% of the world’s population lose their lactase enzymes after weaning. This mean they are forever after intolerant to lactose and ideally should not be eating anything that contains it. This is especially applicable to the vast majority of Africans and Asians. Only some (very white!) Northern European and some Mediterranean peoples are thought to retain the lactase enzyme into adulthood, meaning they are more able to digest lactose (this DOESN’T mean dairy is good for them, it just means they have less trouble digesting it than others).

MANY people of non-white ethnicities are vegan for ethical reasons. Veganism is a tenet of the Rastafarian religion, Jainism, which originated in India, prescribes a cruelty-free diet; and just check out the work of A. Breeze Harper and Bryant Terry , (whose book Vegan Soul Kitchen has been a favourite in my kitchen for years).


3. Is veganism just for rich people?

Many, MANY of us have written about the fact that it’s cheaper to eat a plant-based diet than a meat and dairy strong diet. I’ve even done it myself. Meat costs more than beans, always has, always will.

So we shouldn’t expect people to spend money on healthy food, but we SHOULD expect them to spend huge amounts of money on healthcare when they get diseases that could have been avoided by buying healthy food (WHICH IS ACTUALLY CHEAPER THAN UNHEALTHY FOOD) in the first place? Have you seen how little beans and grains cost from bulk bins???

This is absolutely frickin’ bonkers.


4. DO vegans think they are better/more superior/of higher status than anyone else?

A few seconds of critical thinking will help anyone see that vegans don’t eat animals precisely because they do not think they are superior to any other living being.

Meat eaters, by the same token, must think they are of a superior status to animals – otherwise they couldn’t have them killed in order to eat them. In truth, it’s meat eaters that are elitist.


5. Is it a luxury or privilege to devote time to thinking about what you’re going to eat?

No. As I’ve said before, if you are healthy, happy and strong in every way, you can better and more optimally serve.

Most diseases can be prevented with a whole food, plant-based diet. If you are ill, you are not able to contribute to, or help others because you are suffering. When you are in pain or discomfort (whether physically or mentally), your focus is inwards, on yourself, because you are hurting.

When you feel good in mind and body, you naturally think less about yourself and more about what you can do for others, even if it’s just exuding joy or radiating positive energy – which can have an amazing effect on those around you.

If you really think that looking after yourself is elitist, you are not seeing the big picture. When you’re sick – someone has to look after you; you’ll take sick days from work, putting more of a load on others; you won’t be able to look after your kids properly; you’ll miss appointments etc.


6. Is it really elitist to care about the planet?

Meat and dairy consumption is the worst thing for the planet. If you think it’s elitist and middle-class to care about this and want to do something about it, I can’t even….you’re crazy, that’s all.




To be absolutely fair, I can see how some might get the idea that a plant-based diet is elitist, with all the instagram pics of smoothies containing the hideously expensive chia, maca and lucuma, and the oh so pricey coconut water and coconut-related products.

But these are just extremely fashionable superfoods right now. While there is no harm in them and they are great to include in your diet if you have a pretty penny or two, there is absolutely no need to include any of them on a healthy, whole food, plant-based diet. My theory about their popularity is that people see them as a quick fix – as the super-quick route to health; they are marketed to us in such a way that we think they will dramatically rejuvenate us and protect us from all evil. It’s not surprising that the world has gone crazy for chia et al.

I can assure you, you don’t need expensive shizz from the peaks of the Peruvian Andes to have an optimal vegan diet.

The less glamorous truth is – long-term health is really built on solid, consistent quality nutrition. That is to say, meals of ‘plain old’ vegetables, grains, beans, legumes fruit and nuts, These are what will sustain you long-term. They are less sexy to be sure, and maybe beans don’t look so hot on instagram, but they will see you right, and won’t drain your bank account.

I’ve NEVER ingested a single chia seed (nothing against chia, I’ll no doubt try it soon), and I wouldn’t know lucuma if it smacked me in the face, but I’m doing great without them.


How To Navigate Conflicting Information On Plant-Based Diets


So you’re seriously thinking about going vegan, or at least leaning in to a more plant-based way of life.

Something or someone has made you consider all the reasons why you might do this, and one or all of them resonate with you.

Maybe you have dogs or cats and the penny just dropped that all animals are as intelligent and sentient as your furry friends.

Maybe you watched Forks Over Knives and they talked about a health issue you can relate to.

Or maybe you’re a nature lover and are keenly conscious of environmental issues, and just discovered that livestock agriculture is the prime cause of ALL forms of environmental degradation.

So you decide to give this plant-based thing a try and see what happens.


…you tell people of your decision, and they immediately tell you of studies they read that say meat and butter are good for you, and it’s actually wheat that is the devil; or that livestock agriculture is actually GOOD for the planet, didn’t you know?

You dig around on the internet, seeking out more and more information.

This is GOOD, you need to inform yourself. You need as much info as possible to make sure you get the nutrition bit right, and you want to know all about the environmental impact of meat and dairy so you have lots of motivation to sustain your decision through the first couple of weeks when you might experience cravings and get tempted; and so you can answer any questions people might have.

However, though the internet is a beautiful thing in many respects, it is just like people; the more you involve yourself with it, the more conflicting information you come across.

Just who ARE these William Davis and David Perlmutter guys saying it’s actually wheat that’s responsible for most chronic disease? What is the Weston A Price Foundation and why are its members telling you to eat lots of meat? Is butter now a health food? Who is Alan Savory and why is he saying there is an environmentally sound way to farm cattle? Who is Denise Minger and is she right when she says The China Study is rubbish?

If you’re time-strapped, let me help you – it’s all crap.

But…if you have the time, I’d MUCH rather you discovered truths for yourself – they resonate more powerfully that way.

It’s important to know what to do when you come across information that says the opposite of something you believed to be true.

Here’s some things that it’s helpful to consider:


1. Consider the source

For example: Allan Savory, who says he has invented a way to farm cows that is actually beneficial to the environment – is a cattle rancher in South Africa. He has a very obvious financial interest in continuing his farming practises.

The Weston A Price Foundation are behind lots of articles on how meat and dairy are healthy, and that veganism and vegetarianism are bad. They are heavily criticised by scientific institutions as having little evidence for their treaties, and are listed on

Though Weston A Price himself recommended vegetarianism, the foundation now promote a diet containing meat and raw milk, and state that soy is dangerous (which goes completely against peer-reviewed science).


2. Consider who is paying/funding the source

Is the study/article independent of commercial interests that would benefit from the public being aware of it?

Ronald Krauss, the guy behind the recent ‘butter is back’ shizzoula, and the whole ‘saturated fat is now good’ BS, works for the beef and dairy industries, specifically the National Cattleman’s Beef Association and the National Dairy Council. Of course, the mainstream media ran wild with his work and ignored the many criticisms of his studies, because they support the status quo.


3. Consider the bias

Different to ‘consider the source’ as financial gain/loss is not necessarily at stake, but nevertheless you need to find out what the personal motivation could be behind any article or study.

For example; Denise Minger, famous criticiser of the China Study, runs a ‘low carb’, meat-strong, paleo type website. She clearly didn’t want to hear that meat is not a healthful food, as this would not be in accordance with her lifestyle choice, and so she spent what must have been an insane amount of time trying to pick apart Professor T Colin Campbell’s life’s work (she also speaks and writes for the Weston A Price Foundation).

Lest you think that Dr Campbell was biased towards a plant-based diet, his background was very much in animal farming and he grew up believing that dairy and meat were necessary parts of a healthy diet. He believed this until the science he was working on showed him it wasn’t true, and he could no longer believe it.

Just like Denise Minger – the other criticiser of The China Study, Chris Masterjohn works in health and nutritional science, and is particularly interested in cholesterol. He argues that this is not what causes disease. He is also an author for the Weston A Price Foundation.

To make us think his science on animal fats is legit, he says he has a number of peer-reviewed publications indexed on PubMed. You know what? He has – but NONE of them are related to showing that cholesterol from animal fats isn’t detrimental to health! They are on completely unrelated subjects!


4. This is perhaps the most important one – Is the study peer-reviewed or published?

When any study worth its salt is completed, peers of the person who carried out the study will review it, and the study is replicated to see if it produces similar results. If it does, then this study is often published in a reputable scientific or medical journal.

No critique of the China Study has ever been published or peer-reviewed.

Davis and Perlmutters books are not based on any peer-reviewed or published studies.

The Blood Type Diet is not based on any peer-reviewed science.

Allan Savory’s study on cattle farming is NOT peer-reviewed; he has only published the information HIMSELF on HIS website. Hardly science with integrity!


5. Ask yourself (and answer yourself honestly!) whether the study supports a mainstream view (that might support corporate or political interests)…

…and if this could be a case of ‘people wanting to hear good news about their bad habits’?


6. Consider the tone in which an article in written.

If the tone is as neutral as possible, this obviously shows professionalism and objectivity.

If there is any snark in the tone AT ALL – this can only reflect a bias, and any information given in this tone cannot be trustworthy. Even if you are trying to prove that someone as hateful as Hitler was a psychopath, it is more effective if you seek to inform in a neutral, pure fact-stating, manner.

Denise Minger, in many posts and talks, is pretty consistent in using a snarky tone towards Dr T Colin Campbell and the other plant-based doctors. Dr T Colin Campbell in all his mentions of her is fair, measured, neutral and balanced..


Dr John Mcdougall posted this handy infographic below on Facebook this week (very timely for me writing this post!)

He says:

‘Note that this is not a comprehensive overview, nor is it implied that the presence of one of the points noted automatically means that the research should be disregarded. This is merely intended to provide a rough guide to things to be alert to when either reading science articles or evaluating research.’


You know, even though science is most definitely on the side of a plant-based diet in every aspect, if you are still on the fence about meat and dairy due to all the conflicting information, there are nevertheless a couple of things you can’t argue with:

  • The sheer number of people who have reversed both mild and chronic diseases with a plant-based diet, and the number of people who have lost weight, and found a plant-based diet to be the only way to sustain that weight loss. The amount of testimonials out there reporting renewed health and consequent maintenance of optimal health because of a shift to a plant-based diet is overwhelming.

In John Robbins Reflections On The Weston A Price Foundation , he reports that one of the board of directors of the Weston A Price Foundation, Stephen Byrnes, published an article called ‘The Myths Of Vegetarianism’ where in an ‘about the author’ section it is stated that ‘… he enjoys robust health on a diet that includes butter, cream, eggs, meat, whole milk, dairy products and offal.

Stephen Byrnes in fact suffered a fatal stroke in 2004, before he was even forty.

  • A vegan diet will always be better for the animals, and, seeing as how none of us relish the thought of killing animals ourselves, this lifestyle actually allows us to (and is the only way we can) live in accordance with our values of non-violence and compassion towards EVERYone.


For The Last Time – There Are No ‘Better’ Choices When It Comes To Meat!


calf 22

I’ve written about this subject on previous occasions, but I’m seeing and reading things all the time both on social and regular media that tell me this message needs to be put out there continually and consistently.

Look. I make clear on my FAQ’s page that I love consulting with anyone who is reducing their animal product consumption by ANY amount.

I get that we’re all at different stages on this path; that we’re all informed by completely different influences; and that we all approach things in different ways. Sometimes it definitely IS better to start upgrading your diet very slowly; maybe eliminating one thing at a time. This can be more sustainable in the long term. If you know yourself enough to know that you’re not a ‘cold turkey’ type and that you assimilate changes into your life better by making them slowly, this is laudable.

Any reduction in a habit that is negative to all concerned is amazing, and I have so much respect for anyone who starts ANYWHERE on a plant-based path – EVEN MORE SO for those coming from a meat and dairy heavy diet, as that’s an even bigger change.

Can you so tell I’m building up to a rant though?

You’re not wrong.

What gets properly up my nose, is those who have made an effort to cut down their meat consumption, but make the point (loudly) that they are ‘careful’ to ‘make better choices’ when they do consume it.

Case in point:

I saw a French TV report yesterday, where, in light of all the information entering the mainstream regarding our overconsumption of animal products, a reporter goes vegan for 45 days to see what happens. He visits the doctor at the beginning, has his blood work done, his cholesterol tested and gets weighed, etc.

During the 45 days, he not only learns about what to eat and how to read labels etc, but is shown some pretty horrendous stuff taking place in slaughterhouses, and sees chicks being put in meat grinders and garbage bags.

At the end, he assesses what he’s learnt. He revisits the Doctor who, unsurprisingly, tells him his blood work is improved, he’s lost weight and his cholesterol is down.

The Doctor then has a chat with him and says (despite all the positive effects on his body), that he shouldn’t cut anything out of his diet. That he can eat meat, but to eat ‘better’ meat. To think about where the food is coming from rather than just putting anything in his mouth.

When the guy reports back to the studio at the end of the experiment, he says that although he is no longer vegan, he’s learned a lot. He says he now realises that animals aren’t a ‘product,’ that they are sentient beings. He says he will think before eating from now on and will make ‘better choices’ when he does eat animal products.

Um – if you know a being is sentient, how is there any better way to have it killed for your consumption?

There ARE no ‘good’ choices when it comes to eating animal products.

You: I thought you said you respect anyone who reduces their animal product intake by ANY amount?’

Me: I do.

But justifying eating meat by saying the little you do eat is better quality (grass-fed, poetry-read, tucked-in-bed or whatever) is just BS.

And it IS just that, a justification. It’s totally giving yourself a reason to continue a harmful habit, just in smaller amounts. It’s kidding yourself that it’s ok, and gives you absolutely NO reason to evolve further.

If someone just gives up chicken, for example, because they know themselves well and this is all they can manage for now; I believe this is admirable. A positive change has been made, and the door is open (once they’ve become comfortable with their new chicken-free life) to make more positive changes further down the line.

If you truly understand why all animal product consumption is inherently harmful, you can only move in one direction. If you are working on eventually replacing all animal products you previously ate with plant foods (however slowly, it doesn’t matter) this is surely more logical and more in alignment with your new understanding of animals being fully sentient – than reducing consumption somewhat, but tricking yourself into believing that the products you DO eat are minimally impactful.

How can you unsee what you just saw? How can you unlearn what you just learned?

Consider these points:

  • The ‘better’ choice still involves the taking of a life. And isn’t it worse taking a life that was enjoyable rather than one that was miserable?
  • And we know that lots of animals do NOT actually have a more enjoyable life – a consumer-friendly marketing-term is just used to make you feel more comfortable buying their meat. The difference in quality of life for these animals to that of an intensively farmed animal is minimal. And don’t forget that all food animals are killed at just a fraction of their potential lifespan.
  • Health-wise; ANY meat, however it was raised, contains cholesterol, saturated fat and ZERO fibre.
  • Grass-fed cows produce MORE greenhouse gases than intensively farmed ones, and what if everyone in the world wanted to eat ‘better’ meat, which, as poor countries get richer, they inevitably, eventually will? Well they can’t! There’s not anywhere near enough land on the planet to support this.
  • You think organic meat is a better choice? Think again.


If you really GET ‘why’ you’re changing your diet and set your intention to do this, but find you can only reduce your meat consumption a little for now – that’s cool. I’m confident that when you are ready (and you will know when you are) you will make more positive changes.

Just please don’t tell yourself that there are ANY better choices when it comes to consuming animal products because it simply IS. NOT. TRUE.


Should We Respect The Choice To Eat Meat?



When people say ‘I respect your choice to be vegan, you should respect my choice to eat meat’; should we?


We do not have to do this.

And there are two big fat reasons why:


1. Eating meat has several highly negative ramifications that impact others, NOT just the one eating meat.

Would you purposely take an action if you KNEW it would harm others?

If choosing to eat meat was as unimpactful on others as choosing to wear a blue T-shirt on a Tuesday, then fine.

However, meat-eating not only affects the animal that has lived and died horribly; but the farming of animals is the prime factor in ALL forms of environmental degradation, and diverts to animals grain that could otherwise feed the world’s hungry.

Thus, someone eating meat is negatively affecting MY/OUR environment (and, let’s not forget, the environment of their own families!). How can this be respected? How can we respect an act that serves ONLY the self and doesn’t pause to think about the inevitable consequences to other beings? Especially when there is no NEED to eat animal products when:

A) We live longer and healthier without them

B) A plant-based diet can be as delicious, tasty and varied (oftentimes more so) than a standard diet

2. Unless you were veggie from birth and then decided to eat meat later, NOBODY has really, with their own agency, CHOSEN to eat meat.

Let me explain:

Eating meat is the mainstream diet, so meat-eaters have made ZERO choices. Society chose FOR them. They’ve basically just carried on eating what their parents/guardians fed them from infancy and never questioned it!

Unless someone is obviously not in a position to have been informed, or to understand the consequences of eating meat i.e. if they clearly have learning difficulties etc, then I unashamedly DO NOT respect the consumption of animal products.

How do we communicate this if someone asks us to respect their choice?

All we can do is point out the reasons I’ve discussed above as to why this is impossible.

We can also do this as compassionately as possible, remembering that there was a time when WE ate animals and hadn’t taken these issues on board.

If the person you’re talking with is not ready to hear what you’re saying and comes out with defensive ignorant crap – just walk away (though ideally you’ll know enough about this person initially to assess whether it’s worth speaking out).

I might be being a little optimistic, but when I think about it, I haven’t had anyone ask me to ‘respect their choice to eat meat’ for a long while. Perhaps this is a signifier that society IS waking up to all the facts concerning all the negative impacts of meat-eating, and even if we are not, collectively, ready to change, maybe perceptions have nevertheless shifted and we are now aware that meat-eating is not respectable? I hope this is the case.

Do Vegan Parents Really ‘Impose’ A Vegan Diet On Their Children?


I want to address something I’ve read quite often in comments sections following articles about vegan parents bringing up vegan kids.

It’s this worn out old chestnut:

I think it’s disgusting and selfish that you impose YOUR diet on your children. Kids should be able to choose how they eat, and they are missing out because of YOU!

I understand where that position comes from, but it’s ultimately an entitled and ignorant thing to say.

It comes from a very skewed perspective and needs to be called out.

Here’s why:

Does any child CHOOSE to eat a meat and dairy-centric diet from the time they start eating solid food? Isn’t THAT diet imposed on them? Just because it’s the mainstream diet, it doesn’t make it any less an imposition of an agenda on a kid.

When you look at all the health hazards we set our kids up for by feeding them animal products (ear, nose and throat infections, sinus issues, migraines, food poisoning, appendicitis, diabetes, the list is too long to complete here) does the status quo REALLY mean that much? Is it better to fit in with the herd than have a healthy kid?

When the kid is sick – aren’t they missing out on playing, learning and fun? I know I had copious ear infections as a kid, and chronic asthma and eczema. What with this and my fair share of colds, flu, and sickness – I must have (as most of us must have) missed weeks of my childhood.

Then there’s this:

In my experience, kids are NOT happy when they find out that animals are killed for meat. Some actually don’t join the dots until they are much older (and we can’t blame them for this – HOW the meat got to the plate is kept WELL-hidden from them by a myriad of societal and commercial forces), but I’ve seen myself that when very young kids – say, four, five, six years old – learn that an animal had to be killed, they are not on board with this.

As vegans, we are in a position to see this first hand. Friends kids often ask me why I’m vegan, and when I tell them about the ethical reasons (I don’t get graphic about this, I just keep it simple, I’m not into scaring kids!) they are sometimes in a state of disbelief. They’ve said things like ’I know about cows but chickens aren’t killed when we eat them are they?’ Now this seems a silly thing to say, but I read it as the child in question not wanting to believe that THAT MANY chickens are killed ALL THE TIME.

Check out this video of a tot realising that the octopus on his plate had to be killed first:



I even know a kid who is very nervous around animals, so unlike most, he doesn’t particularly see them as friends – but even HE was not ok to learn that animals die for our food. He has an innate understanding of the animals right to live, run around and be happy just like him.

And it doesn’t make sense that we read our kids stories like Peppa Pig, and introduce them to a ton of friendly fictional and film animal characters that in real life we treat horrendously! Does your kid know that bacon comes from poor Peppa’s back?

Kids are often interested in environmental issues too – it’s in their interest, they will inherit the planet! But I also think they really get on board with things like recycling because they understand it. It’s also not difficult for them to understand that animal farming is more energy intensive than plant farming. They can easily comprehend that plants are grown directly to sell, while animals have to be fed with plants, then the animals are fed to us.

Because meat and dairy farming is the biggest contributor to all forms of environmental degradation, world governments are already encouraging us to eat less animal products for environmental reasons; and in the not too distant future – well within the lifetime of your child if they have an average lifespan – independent experts predict we’ll be entreated to eat NONE at all.

How will these children, as grown-ups, feel about the fact that meat was unquestioningly imposed on them as infants?

And I’ve never even explained to a child the impact that livestock agriculture has on world hunger, I think it would break their heart to know that we grow crops to feed animals to feed us  (WHEN WE DON’T EVEN NEED TO EAT ANIMAL PRODUCTS TO THRIVE – in fact, eating them is harmful to us!), and that other kids in poor countries die of starvation as a result, when the crops could have been grown to feed THEM.

As interest in veganism grows exponentially year on year, all this information will become mainstream, in fact, it’s already happening. Children today will come across all these facts sooner than we think. What will they make of the selective blindness, selective compassion, and lack of thought for the future that we passed on to them?

I’ve written here about how easy it is for children to eat plant-based. There are abundant plant-based treats and fun food, just far less of the health issues associated with a diet containing animal products.

I don’t have kids, but having experienced the health problems my childhood was riddled with, and knowing that kids have a natural affinity for the environment, and for other kids across the world less fortunate than them,  and for non-human animals, I absolutely couldn’t impose animal products on them.

My Favourite ‘Why Vegan?’ Books

The other day I was asked which books in particular have engaged and inspired me on my plant-based path.

It wasn’t a book that influenced me to GO vegan – because there weren’t really any books on the subject twenty-five years ago, just maybe a couple of sad recipe books showing how to make a very bland nut roast and other cliched vegan meals – that FYI – vegans almost NEVER eat. I can’t remember the last time I had nut roast; I’m not knocking it, there’s just NO reason it should ever have been the poster meal for vegans.

How things have changed, hoo boy!

How lucky we are now to have so many vibrant, creative and fun recipe books, and amazing voices speaking about this subject.

The recipe books I’ll post about another time. In this post I’ll cover my favourite ‘why vegan’ books.

The great thing is, today’s plant-based voices are from such a diverse crowd. It doesn’t matter who you are, there is a book/author that will appeal to you.

I can’t possibly write about all the books on the subject that have impressed, thrilled and re-inspired me, there are far too many.

But these are the ones that frickin’ BLEW MY MIND, and that I still refer back to even today:


1. ‘The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Change the World by John Robbins

This was, I think, the first book I read that laid out ALL the reasons for ditching animal products. Until I read this, I just thought people went vegan for the animals and for some health issues.

Every impact that an animal product-based diet has, is explained here in a very accessible way.

It is full of powerful quotes and stats, and Robbins is also very knowledgeable about the food revolutioncorporate forces that have an interest in keeping us unaware of the damage meat, dairy, fish and egg farming do to us and the environment; and about the cruelty involved.

How do we know John Robbins is the real deal? As if this well-researched book crammed full of science and evidence isn’t enough for you to take his words on board, you’ll be interested to know that John Robbins was heir to the Baskin-Robbins ice-cream company, but turned his back on it when he realised that the dairy ice-cream industry is not only part of the health problem, but also environmentally unsustainable and cruel.

Random excerpt:

…there is one question the meat, dairy, and chemical companies do not want people to ask, It is a question however that I find important. How much less cancer and suffering would there be if people were spreading information about true prevention with the same passion and zeal with which they are telling women to get mammograms and raising money for chemotherapy research?


2. ‘The World Peace Diet: Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony by Dr Will Tuttle.

THIS book is probably the one that had the most impact on me. We know the three reasons WHY vegan, but this book actually talks about even more wide-reaching and mind blowing impacts.

A main theme of the book is this:

The beliefs that make us think it’s ok to abuse and kill animals for meat follow the exact same thought patterns that legitimise sexism, racism, homophobia etc in the minds of the sexist, racist and homophobic. Every form of hate is the same. The object of hate – be they an animal, a world peacewoman or a Jew – is ‘other’ised by the hater.

We see all the differences between us and animals, and think it’s these differences that give us the right to use them. This is exactly what whites did to blacks during days of slavery, and what some men unfortunately still do to women.

Tuttle is saying that as long as we are maltreating ANY being in our society, we will never have world peace. This isn’t a new idea, Tuttle himself uses the quote by Isaac Bashevis Singer ‘As long as people will shed the blood of innocent creatures there can be no peace, no liberty, no harmony between people. Slaughter and justice cannot dwell together’, but he explores this in such depth and with such academic rigour (though it’s still very comprehensible, I promise!), that we are left in no doubt that this is a universal truth.

He talks about our ‘herding culture’ that led us to where we are today in terms of our beliefs and rituals around animal foods; and the meat-medical complex which actively pushes our continuation of these meat and dairy eating habits to support their interests.

So much more is covered, way too much to elaborate on here, but you end up seeing how the livestock industry and our animal ‘other’ising culture are actually connected to most of the worlds ills. Tuttle makes you see just how this fact is very intricately hidden partly with deliberate masking by various commercial powers, but also by general social conditioning which blinds us to it.

Random excerpt:

Refusing to see animals as commodities, we are able to see through countless other pretenses. And, as transformative as this is for an individual, it would be infinitely more transformative for our culture to do so, and to evolve beyond the absolute orientation that sees animals as mere food commodities.


3. ‘Veganist: Lose Weight, Get Healthy, Change the World by Kathy Freston

I love Kathy. She must have influenced sooo many people into going plant-based with her accessible, compassionate, easy-going approach. If you want to help someone go plant-based but don’t want them to feel overwhelmed, intimidated, blinded with science or academics, this book is ideal.

It is set out in a simple, enjoyable way, with eight ‘promises’ – eight benefits you will see by veganistgoing plant-based.

Kathy is all about what she calls the ‘lean’ – leaning into a plant-based diet; doing it in an incremental, manageable way, so it is more likely to stick.

Like the other authors mentioned here, Kathy also talks about ALL the reasons for going vegan.

However, she is savvy enough to know that weight and health is a concern for lots of people, and that they may come to veganism for these reasons. She consults with experienced, very eminent plant-based doctors and lays out her interviews with them, but also uses stories by ordinary people whose formerly bad health has been transformed by a plant-based diet.

She offers very practical and implementable advice for optimising the weight maintenance and health benefits.

Random excerpt:

SO why have these high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets (think Atkins, the Zone, and Eat Right for your Blood Type) stayed around for so long? Probably because most of us have developed a great love for the taste of rich, fatty food and gratefully follow the advice of anyone who says it’s okay to keep eating it. Simple as that, really; we want to be told it’s okay (and good!) to keep doing what we’re doing.

 4. ‘The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet by Alicia Silverstone

This book is great. Alicia is funny, entertaining, and just says it like it is. You COULD say this kinddietbook is for a younger crowd – that’s probably what the book publishers thought, but I think her style would appeal to any open-minded person with a sense of humour.

Again, she’s used her connections to the best plant-based doctors to help answer all the main questions people have and to dispel all the common myths.

Also like Kathy, she is compassionate about the different paths people are on and suggests three approaches according to what you think you can do:

Flirt – Try plant-based meals a few times a week, and switch out some animal products for plant-based products. When and if that feels ok, take another step

Vegan – Concentrate on going vegan first for as long as is necessary, before adding a whole foods health-based approach

Superhero – A whole foods, plant-based diet

There are also lots of recipes at the back of the book for every level of plant-eater!

Random excerpt:

…Maybe we should ask ourselves if we really even want to be meat-eaters. The carnivores of the natural world have quick, precise energy, but then they’re tuckered out and sleep for days. They are aggressive hunters with very little endurance. The herbivores, like horses or giraffes, not only have long-lasting energy and strength, but are generally a peaceful lot. Hmmm…


Other highly recommended books:

The China Study by Dr T Colin Campbell – This book talks, among other things, about how during research Dr Campbell undertook in China, it was discovered that upon injecting plant protein into a mouse with a tumour that the tumour decreased in size; but by injecting it with animal protein the tumour grew.

Dr Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes: The Scientifically Proven System for Reversing Diabetes without Drugs by Dr Neal Barnard – Does what it says on the tin; a MUST-READ if you or a loved one has diabetes.

Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure by Dr Caldwell Esselstyn – Does what it says on the tin: a MUST-READ if you or a loved one has heart disease.

The Engine 2 Diet by Rip Esselstyn – A ‘How to’ book. Will appeal to anyone, but particularly those men that think veganism is just for women 🙂

Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman & Kim Barnouin – Very colloquial and humorous book about going vegan – not just to maintain a good weight, but for all the other reasons too (these are cleverly hidden behind the books pretext!).


When you’ve read all about ‘WHY’ vegan, you’ll  need to know the ‘HOW.’

You betta know I’m here to coach you, hold your hand and help you transition healthily to this joyful, mindful and compassionate lifestyle! I’ll show you just how easy it can be!


Like It Or Not, You’re An Animal Too


We’re not vegetables.

We’re not minerals.

That just leaves animals.

Yes. We’re animals. Just like lions, cows, leopards, pigs, penguins, chickens and zebras.

Sounds BLINDINGLY obvious and you may think I’m being patronising. But people who eat animals do their absolute best to disassociate themselves from other animals, and make themselves seem something apart. They have to – in order to continue eating them.

The word for us – ‘human,’ is just a word (like lion) that differentiates us from other animals like penguins and sheep.

This differentiating word doesn’t mean ‘has dominance,’ or more intelligence, more conscience, or more anything. If we think it does, we think that because WE are human.

It’s exactly like someone saying ‘blond hair is best,’ when THEY have blond hair.


Why have we been taught to distance ourselves so much from other animals?

Why do we say ‘we love animals’ like they are separate to humans?

Why do we call someone an animal to insult them, again, as if animals were separate to humans?

Why do we say humans AND animals? Sorry to be Pete the pedant here but unless we are, in fact, vegetable or mineral, this is inaccurate. If you must differentiate, the most you can say is ‘human and non-human animals,’  though even this is very human-normative, i.e. arrogantly assuming that humans make up the majority and are ‘the norm’ when, in fact, considering there are around 7.7 million animal SPECIES in the world, and ants alone (according to a BBC documentary) number a hundred trillion; this indicates, quite fantastically, otherwise.


So that we can continue to kill and use other animals for our agenda (which is NOT even one of need), we have to desensitise ourselves by making them seem as different to us as possible.

And my, how we’ve done this!

Can’t we see that this is what we’ve done to any living beings we’ve wanted to colonise/enslave/subjugate/kill/rape?

Where other animals are concerned, we tell ourselves:

  • Other animals are here for us to eat, God said so (what we mean by this is – a book written by some flawed old men says this)
  • We are at the top of the food chain. Therefore we can eat animals that are lower down than us
  • Other animals don’t have consciousness
  • Other animals don’t have a soul
  • Other animals don’t know they will die; therefore they’re not as conscious as us

Unsurprisingly, it has not been highly publicised that prominent scientists now realise that animals are as conscious as we are. As for the rest, WE created the books. WE created the food-chain, and IF animals don’t know they die (which is completely not knowable) do they need to? Why is it better to know this?

Funnily enough, there is ONE time it serves us to liken ourselves to other animals, and that’s THIS argument humans use to justify eating them:

  • Lions eat antelope, therefore we can eat cows. It’s the same thing.

(FYI, it’s not the same thing. Lions are obligate carnivores; they HAVE to eat other animals to survive. We are not; we thrive and are so much healthier NOT doing so).

Now we can’t have it both ways. Are we like other animals or not??

If we were to make ourselves see the commonalities and not the (insignificant) differences between us and other animals, we wouldn’t be able to kill and eat them.

In the US during slavery, slave owners focussed on and played up the colour of skin and the different shaped skulls Africans had to whites, so they’d be able to see them as not quite as ‘human’ as THEY were, and therefore not feel bad enslaving them.

Some men have traditionally focussed on the purely mechanical physical differences that women have (to them) in order to see women as other than human and therefore justify controlling and using them.

As for other animals, not only do we see all the physical differences between us, but we also see them as uncivilised, base and less intelligent.

Why are we judging them by our standards when our standards leave so much to be desired?

It’s not animals that are destroying the planet. It’s not animals that have razed forests to the ground, caused air and water pollution (apart from when WE intensively farm them for ‘food’), depleted topsoil and fossil fuels, or caused droughts and ‘plastic islands’ in the oceans.

THEY only take what they need, and actually CONTRIBUTE to the planets ecosystem. We look at the ecosystem as if it revolves around humans. But did you know that if all humans died tomorrow, the earth would eventually replenish itself with all the plant-life it had lost, its atmosphere would slowly purify, and it would utterly thrive without us? By contrast, if even the tiniest creatures, like bees, or ants were to die tomorrow, the entire ecosystem would collapse.

Look at how humans kill each other on silly pretexts, then read about how ants cooperate with each other and work in unison for the best interests and health of the colony.

We’ve all seen the Youtube vids of animals who are best friends with an animal from another species (often the most unlikely ones); the cat that adopted the squirrel; the male dogs that adopt kittens (this also blasts right out of the water another two tired old stereotypes that all females – and only females – are nurturing!). By contrast, we can’t even get on with our own species. We fight and kill other humans because they believe something a bit different.

It’s not animals that get obese, lollop around malls aimlessly, and get diabetes. Look how lithe and sinewy squirrels, horses, lions and monkeys are; their bodies are perfect for the needs of their habitats.

It’s not animals that create constructs to control, reduce and diminish each other.

And look at how Zen they are; how they are always in the moment, but at the same time have insanely sharp reflexes. If you have a cat on your lap and stand up suddenly, it will always land on its feet. If you had a human on your lap and stood up suddenly, they would flop to the floor like a dead weight.

We need to dehumanise in order to oppress humans. And in the case of other animals, we have to see them as different and as inferior to humans as possible to desensitise ourselves to their suffering – so we can eat them.

The truth is they are far more similar to us than different. Exactly as people with dark skin are more similar than different to people with white skin and as women are more similar than different to men.

All oppressions are the same and need an ‘other.’ We’ve ‘otherised’ animals that are not human to such an extent we don’t even know we’re doing it.

Time to stop.


How To Stick To Your New Years Plant-Based Resolutions

talking leopard


So, in case you’ve made resolutions of the new year kind, and in case they are to do with going more plant-based (or if you are already vegan and want to go in a more healthful direction, i.e. eliminating sugar), then here are 5 pointers to aid your resolutin’ :

1. Only you know you.

You probably have a pretty good idea by now whether you’re a ‘cold turkey’ or a ‘step by step’ kind of person. Don’t try and be a hero and change your lifestyle overnight if this has not traditionally been your way of doing things. If you make a change in the way that really suits your character, it is way more sustainable.

If you are going from meat-eater to plant-based overnight, this is great, only please be sure you have enough information on nutrition and all the incredible foods available to you. Take a week or so beforehand to plan and learn. If you need my help on this, here’s how to get it (there’s lots of other amazing vegan resources online, and in bookshops too). If you make the change quickly and end up only eating the same few things over and over, you will get very bored and possibly ill. You can learn ‘on the job’ as it were, but you’ll need some good varied meal ideas for at least the first few days.

See what I did there?

If you’re a ‘step by stepper,’ don’t be afraid to go as slow as you feel you need to. Intention and consistency are key, so if you feel that going meat, dairy or sugar free for one meal, one day a week is as fast as you’d like to go for now, that’s great, as long as you are consistent with that. Set a future date when you’d like to increase that to two meals, then another for three, and so on. Maybe you could be meat/sugar free every other day, or on weekdays – of course there are endless permutations, just find one to suit.


2. Frame it helpfully, in your mind.

Whether you make a big change overnight, or you are making small changes over a longer period, DON’T think of words like ‘eliminating’ and ‘forever.’ You are not so much eliminating as adding an abundance of new tasty food to your life, and crowding the old stuff out with delicious alternatives.

If you are changing your lifestyle in a way you know will be a personal challenge; thinking in terms of ‘forever’ will be intimidating and off-putting. Rather think ‘this is what I am doing today, I’m seeing how it goes, and will reassess tomorrow.’ Yes, I know this is an AA strategy, but if it works – why the heck not apply it? And, as we know, sugar and casein (in cheese) are addictive, so it seems pretty appropriate to me. For those making big changes rapidly, take it hour by hour if you need to.


3. Slip up? Fall off the wagon? A chocolate bar/chicken nugget fall into your mouth?

So what? Yes, you heard. So the hell what?

Listen, if you beat yourself up about it, or feel guilty, you are never gonna live up to your standards, and you’ll risk falling into the mind set of ‘weeell, I’m never gonna be able to do it, I’m not good enough, so why bother…?’ You CAN do it, and you may well slip up, but a slip-up does NOT a failure make. The important thing is to just quietly acknowledge and accept what happened and move on. As in the previous point, you can take it hour by hour, and what you did in the last hour is not relevant to what you are going to do in the next hour. Try and find out why you were tempted, and ensure you are not in that situation again, i.e. making sure you have plentiful snacks on you at times when you may be tempted, or not walking the aisle in the supermarket with the tempting thing that’s calling your name.

Confession: In my first year of being vegan, I lived in Paris, and one day I was walking past a deli that had chickens on a rotisserie outside on the wall. This particular day the smell of them was too tempting, and I caved and bought one. I ate too much of it, was grossed out, and was never tempted by meat again. I think that as slip-ups go, that was a pretty hefty one for a vegan!


4. Remind yourself why.

At times when you feel despondent, or feel it’s too much effort, or that you don’t have the strength to do it, go back and remind yourself why you made this resolution in the first place. If you went vegan – read up on all the health, environmental and ethical reasons. If you are cutting down or eliminating sugar, take half an hour to read of the multitude of health benefits, and diseases that you are at less risk of contracting.


5. Reward yourself!

No matter whether you’re 4, 34, 94, we all need to be rewarded for effort. Give yourself a time period, and a treat to enjoy at the end of it. For example, if you are going plant-based from an average diet, have a dark chocolate bar/vegan cupcake/small pack of beetroot crisps every day or every other day.

If you are already vegan and trying to dodge the sugar, make sure you have a maple syrup, agave or brown rice syrup based treat to enjoy at certain times along the way.

I Don’t Care How Trendy And Urban The New ‘Single Concept’ Restaurant Is – There Is No Sexy Meat


I’m just gonna say it.

There IS no sexy meat…

…despite the nauseating attempts of new ‘single-dish’ restaurant businesses to make their ‘burger’ or ‘chicken’ seem exciting, cool and ‘urban.’

(I ain’t naming no names, but I know y’all know damn well the kind of places I’m talking about! The ones I particularly have in mind are in the UK, but this is a ‘thing’ that came here from the States, so US peeps – you know full well what I’m referrin’ to too!)

Using words like ‘honest,’ ‘gourmet,’ ‘real,’ ‘wholesome,’ ‘sustainable,’ ‘bonafide,’ ‘farm fresh,’ natural,’ ‘healthy,’ ‘traditional,’ etc etc; this crop of new, mainly meat-based restaurants are desperate to seduce you with all these self-proclaimed qualities.

A ‘wholesome hipster’ type atmosphere is also seemingly enthusiastically encouraged, and consumers are made to feel ‘in the know,’ for patronising these places.

However, it is possibly an indicator of how big vegetarianism and veganism have become.

In the dying breaths of a meat-based culture, one that is slowly realising that meat consumption is killing the planet (and us!) it is perhaps predictable that there will be more energy than ever concentrated on attempting to give meat a sexy new resonance, to try and pull people back from the overwhelming trend in the US and western Europe of reducing meat intake.

I admit it, some of these restaurants look like great fun – the decor is usually casual and cosy. Many have a bit of a rustic-y, basic-y conceit going on which is quite enticing in its own way, I suppose. People look like they’re having fun inside. Wait staff are youthful and perky. A particular ‘single-dish’ chicken restaurant I am thinking of has buff male fitties in tight t-shirts turning the big spits the chickens are roasting on.

But if I give it even one minutes thought, the fact that certain positive words are being used to manipulate consumers into believing that the food (usually meat) they are eating is associated with the way these words make them feel, makes me heave.

What the hell about a burger or roast chicken is honest? Natural? Healthy? Gourmet? Wholesome?

Let’s examine this for just a moment.

It is made a big deal of that the burgers in these restaurants are made from grass-fed beef.

We know that grass-fed animals emit even more methane than factory farmed, thereby contributing to even more climate change, and that farming this way is just as unsustainable land-wise. If everybody in the world wanted to eat grass-fed cows – we would need another coupla’ planets!

The free-range chicken these places shout about using is not any better than factory farmed chicken. Customers think their chicken roamed free on a lovely grassy farm, but in fact the label free-range is just a marketing term designed to make you THINK this is the case. We know it is not.

‘Traditional’ is another word commonly used, regarding the preparation and style of the food. I find this calculating and manipulative. When we hear this word (as any good advertiser knows) it subconsciously goes beyond the description of the food, and tends to engender a positive, warm feeling in us, and conjure up images of family and celebrations. It makes us feel we are doing something intrinsically ‘right’ and ‘good.’ Er, let’s remember that ‘traditional’ isn’t always good. FGM is traditional. Slavery was traditional.

And on the health aspect? Meat, NO MATTER ITS PROVENANCE, contains saturated fat, cholesterol and hormones. SO even though you are being given the impression that the meat in these restaurants is a healthier version than a fast-food joint might sell you – it’s not, not really.

I even prefer the idea of fast-food joints to these new honest/gourmet/real heart attack emporia. At least they’re not pretending to be something other than what they are.

The only difference really is that Real Natural Honest Meat Place has pretty, rustic distressed wood tables and benches, and the staff wear cooler T-shirts and have more upmarket accents. That’s all.

Yet I’m sure the people who frequent these places are under the impression they are eating in an establishment that cares about the environment and their health.


All I can say is, don’t let a marketer decide what is healthy, honest or cool for you. And if you are vegan, don’t be downhearted about this phenomena, I’m not. It’s annoying, but I truly believe it’s part of a last-ditch attempt to entice us into buying meat before vegetarianism and veganism take an even stronger hold.