I went from vegetarian as a kid to omnivore in my twenties, including a macrobiotic period, an Italian period, a Japanese period, various garbage periods, and eventually drifting back towards mostly vegetarian, and vegan since May of 2015, and realistically that was primarily based on the Esselstyn information, so I like to call it "no-oil WFPB," or "oil-free WFPB."
The salient facts
- 75% of our healthcare spending is on treating degenerative diseases, such as CardioVascularDisease (CVD) - including Erectile Dysfunction (ED), Type 2 Diabetes, High Cholesterol, High Blood Pressure, Prostate cancer, Colon cancer, macular degeneration, cataracts, arthritis, osteoporosis. See a.o. this blog on Vegan.io.
- A diet based on animal proteins is 10-20 times more resource intensive than a diet based on plant-based proteins. See this infographic on the True Environmental Cost of Eating Meat. On the whole, the environmental impact of animal husbandry is greater (18% of greenhouse gas emissions) than that of the entire transportation industry (13% of greenhouse gas emissions).
- In short, by switching to a WFPB diet, you are becoming healthier yourself, you are making a huge contribution to the environment, and you are helping to feed the world: four billion people could be fed from what is now "feed grain," for cattle.
Online support for the WFPB diet
Here are some of the online resources that can help you.
- Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine - tons of information, including the invaluable (and free) 21-day kickstarter program.
- Engine2 7-day Rescue Challenge. This free program offers an easy way to get started on a #WFPB (Plant Strong) diet, or a refresher, if you feel stuck in your cooking. Brilliant stuff from Rip Esselstyn and Engine2.
- Food Revolution Network - unbelievable amounts of information, almost too much. Pricey, but offers great handholding.
- Plant-based on a budget - my kind of site, free or cheap.
- T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies - A wealth of information from one of the leading sources.
- Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr.'s Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease program - Again, one of the leading sources.
- Engine2 Plant Strong - Rip Esselstyn, Dr. Esselstyn's son, offers his own variation, based on his experiences with his fire fighter colleagues.
- Plant-based medical providers. and more here - it helps if your physician understands your diet, for the whole paradigm is different if you seriously try to follow the WFPB. Whole Foods Plant-Based diet.
- Cardiac Wellness Program - Montefiore Hospital, Bronx, NY - every patient of Dr. Robert Ostfeld, cardiologist at Montefiore is invited to his half-day nutritional seminar with their significant other, to learn the practice of the vegan (WFPB) lifestyle on a budget.
- American College of Lifestyle Medicine - A professional association for Lifestyle Medicine. You can also find medical providers in your area who subscribe to the Lifestyle Medicine concept.
Vegan VideosThere are videos, there are many powerful documentaries that have helped lots of people, some are found on Youtube, some have their own sites:
- The Mad Cowboy. Howard Lyman, former cattle rancher turned vegan, is at the center of this absolutely classic documentary which followed on from Lyman's appearance on Oprah, and the lawsuit by the Texas Cattlemen that tried to stop Lyman's message that beef was not as healthy as they say it is. Howard's book and the documentary "Mad Cowboy"followed.
- Forks over Knives. The most important documentary on the work of T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn about the new nutritional paradigm of the Whole Foods Plant-Based diet, based on the results of the China Study, and Esselstyn's clinical work. The message is: 75% of our healthcare dollars go to the treatment of degenerative diseases that can usually be prevented and often reversed by switching to a Whole Foods Plant-Based diet.
- Cowspriracy puts it all together from an environmental angle as well. Very powerful.
- What the Health. The follow-on project from the makers of Cowspiracy, which explores the connection to how medicine and bad diet go hand in hand.
- Talk by Howard Lyman, has the whole story of the lawsuit, and lots of useful information.
- Meat the Truth, another useful documentary that puts together the environmental angle.
- Dairy is Dangerous, by Dr. Neal Barnard. Powerful story by Dr. Neal Barnard, president of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, (PCRM). His latest book, The Cheese Trap is also highly recommended.
- The Perils of Dairy, Another excellent production on the perils of dairy by Dr. John McDougall.
- Best Speech You Will Ever Hear by Gary Yourovsky. An incredibly powerful presentation on the benefits of the Whole Foods Plant-Based diet from Israeli activist Gary Yourovsky. He is now retired from 'activism,' but his contributions stand the test of time.
- Animal Protein Causes Cancer. This is a very powerful recap of the main findings of T. Colin Campbell on how animal protein causes cancer, and plant protein turns it off. No more needs to be said.