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Vegans Take America

Drop that hot dog. America goes vegan. We look at the trend with Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Mollie Katzen, and more.

Red Lentil Thai Chili (Theppk.com)

For years and years, to be vegan was to be well outside the American mainstream.

On TV Americans heard “Beef: it’s what’s for dinner,” while vegans ate no meat, no fish, no eggs, no dairy – for some not even honey. Nothing that would exploit an animal, never mind keep a steakhouse or burger joint running.

But things change, and suddenly vegans and veganism seem to be everywhere. Some Americans going all the way.  Some toe-dipping. It’s a remarkable moment, a remarkable shift.

We look at what’s up with Americans going vegan.

-Tom Ashbrook


Kim O’Donnel, journalist, chef and author of The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook. Her food column for USA Today is Family Kitchen.

Isa Chandra Moskowitz, author of the “Post Punk Kitchen” blog and author of the new book Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes. You can read an excerpt.

Mollie Katzen, best-selling cookbook author. Her books include Moosewood Cookbook and The Enchanted Broccoli Forest.

Susan Nitzke, chair of the department of nutritional sciences at the University of Wisconsin, where she also is a researcher in diet and nutrition. For nutritional information on vegan diets, she recommends going to the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group.

**Check out more of On Point’s food coverage: Mark Bittman on Intelligent Eating; Anthony Bourdain on “Medium Raw”; Michael Pollan’s ‘Food Rules’; Gourmet’s Ruth Reichl: “Not Becoming My Mother”; Food Critic Frank Bruni Talks “Born Round”; Sweet Lightning: Extreme Chocolate.

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  • http://bluebeadsandbones.tumblr.com Brittany

    Hello! Three year vegan in Columbus, Ohio here. I’d just like to say that without the help of Isa’s cookbooks, I never would’ve been able to stay vegan. Her recipes are always an inspiration!

  • http://home.olemiss.edu/~mshannon Megan Shannon

    Thanks, On Point, for your upcoming show on veganism. I’ve been vegan for three years and feel amazing! Before I was vegan, I had occasional asthma attacks and frequent headaches. Both have been virtually cured with a vegan diet. As someone living in Mississippi, I’m often asked if it’s hard to find vegan foods among the rich, deep-fried culture of the south. But delicious vegetables, beans, and whole grains are available everywhere – you just have to keep your eyes and mind open.

  • Samantha NK, Jamaica Plain, MA

    Hey! I’m 16 years old, a vegan and I have been for almost a year now (vegan, that is, although I will be 17 soon :P). I just wanted to say that all of Isa’s books have made it incredibly easy for me to become vegan.
    I became vegan shortly after I saw “Food, Inc.” on PBS. Since then, not only have I become more conscious of animal agriculture and animal rights, but I’ve also become more interested in environmental issues, issues of food security, and of food and cooking in general. Isa’s books have undoubtedly been in a huge part in all this, so thanks. :)

  • Maggie Fiedler

    My fiancee and I are both longtime vegans, 10 and 5 years respectively, now living near Clemson, SC, we are on a tight budget but still are able to cook home made gourmet every day. Proteins like textured vegetable protein and tofu are relatively cheap and packed with nutrition. We never feel like we are missing out and I feel confident that I can make a vegan variation of nearly any recipe without sacrificing taste. Sometimes people even end up liking it more, like substituting tofu ricotta (crumbled tofu, lemon juice, chopped spinach, and chopped basil) for the real thing.
    Even if a person doesn’t want to go full fledged vegan, it is easy to incorporate at least one vegan meal a week and not feel like you gave up anything.

  • Mary Dwyer

    Being an animal activist, I have seen momentum picking up quickly in regards to the fight against animal cruelty. Whether it be on farms, in slaughterhouses, animal test labs, the fur industry, dog fighting rings, circuses, etc…….. animals in our country, as well as others, suffer extreme agony, loneliness and fear, at the hand of man. It is an atrocity that has been allowed to continue for the sake of monetary profit, entertainment, fashion and food for humans. Meat is not needed as part of man’s diet. Animals’ furs are not needed to keep man warm. Testing done on animals for everything from medications to shampoo, has, in most cases, proven to be unreliable, as animals differ greatly from humans when you get down to the physiological and biochemicallevels. And certainly, there are many forms of entertainment for humans without putting animals through great suffrage so we can go to the circus or even worse, participate in dog fighting rings. I’ve seen video after video of the horrors that our animals endure. I’ve signed petition after petition, called my congressmen and women and even called the White House to lend my voice to the voiceless. It is a constant upward battle to try to undue what the profiteers have done. And I, like so many other animal advocates, are sick and tired of having our hearts ripped out every time we see or hear of animals being unimaginably abused in one form or another. We’ve seen videos of animals being skinned alive for their furs, horribly depressed and scared dogs, cats and an array of other species, in animal test lab cages that will never see the first ray of sun, feel the first blade of grass under their paws, or know the touch of a kind hand. We’ve heard the pathetic screams of desperation of a mother cow after her newly born calf has been ripped from her side to be sent off to slaughter for veal. We’ve witnessed slaughter house workers literally getting a bang out of torturing livestock in unfathomable ways, including beating them to death, or some, close to death, then dragging them by their ears, viciously kicking them, hanging them upside down by their hooves, then slitting their throats, leaving them to hang there til they bleed to death, even sticking electrical devices up their anuses, and doing many other ungodly acts of torture. So, it’s time. It’s UNACCEPTABLY WAY PAST TIME, to put an end to ALL FORMS OF ANIMAL CRUELTY.

    Thank you,

    Mary Dwyer

    Laurel, Md

  • Bonnie

    Looking forward to the show! I’ve been vegan 15 years, my husband for 20 (we’re in our 30′s). A shout out to the metro Portland, OR area, vegan-mecca! I’m from MN and went vegan while attending a very small midwest college.

  • Laura in Taos, NM

    6 month vegan checking in here. I also am a passionate cook and Isa’s books have been a inspiration and joy to our palettes here at home. Some days it’s really hard living in a society that turns a blind eye to such suffering; it’s nice to know that the circle is growing!

  • http://eatandtalk.wordpress.com Kelly

    I’ve been vegetarian for 6 years, vegan for 3 of those years – and still am. Isa (and Terry Hope Romero)’s Veganomicon was my first full vegan cookbook and to this day is the one I rely on the most. I’ve never missed eating any animal products and I feel better than I ever did eating meat or dairy. I love seeing the momentum picking up more and more. Thanks Isa, for keeping the Post Punk Kitchen and your good vegan vibes going!

  • maggie

    Not a vegan, but as a mother of a child with severe dairy and egg allergies, Isa’s books have been a lifesaver and she has made it easier for me to move to a more vegan diet. And become a better cook! I love her recipes and so have many other omni’s I’ve cooked for. I don’t know if I’ll ever go completely vegan, but thank you for helping me make a change that is healthier for us and the planet.

  • http://www.veganbakesale.org Gary Loewenthal

    My wife and I have been vegan since 2004, and we use Isa’s cookbooks extensively – tons of great recipes.

  • Ellen

    Can’t wait to hear this show! I became vegetarian as a child, about 35 years ago, when I found out where meat came from. Became vegan almost 10 years ago and I’ve had about 100 of my own and foster dogs through my house in that time who have also thrived on a vegan diet. (The first words of my new vet, examining my old dog, were: “Do you have a fountain of youth under your house?”)

    It used to be difficult even to be a vegetarian. But the amazing increase in vegan cookbooks and ingredients in the last decade have made being vegan fabulously easy! It benefits animals, the planet, and our bodies. I can’t think of any reason other than inertia not to be vegan. It’s great fun to draw other people into veganism by making them delicious food.

    (I live in St. Paul, Minnesota.)

  • http://www.a-soy-bean.blogspot.com Abby Bean

    Eleven year vegan from the Northeastern United States; I want to thank NPR for showcasing this lifestyle that promotes compassion for all!

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  • David

    As far as conversation goes, few things can possibly be more dreary than listening to a vegan talk about what they don’t eat. They are the New Puritans, ever working (and ever failing) to perfect themselves and others. The only thing comparable to them in terms of zeal is evangelical Christians. Case in point: look at the number of vegans who have commented already about a radio segment that hasn’t even been broadcast. How can you possibly comment on something you haven’t even heard yet?

  • Donna

    I had been vegetarian since age 24. By age 35 my cholesterol was 234! On the advice of a friend I read “The China Study” by Drs. T. Colin and Thomas Campbell. At now 40, my NON-FASTING cholesterol is 155. This lifestyle makes sense! We are the only mammals to drink the milk of another mammal. Breast-milk is produced to nourish that mammals infant prior to solid food, not for another species of mammal to consume.

    Essex, VT

    • Nicotti

      We are not the only animals that drink other animals milk. We
      are the only animals capable of milking other animals. There’s a big
      difference there.

  • http://ibelieveinbutter.wordpress.com Soli

    On Point Radio, I hope that at some point you look at the other side of the fence and schedule a show with someone like Nina Planck, author of Real Food: What to eat and why.

    New Haven, CT.

  • John

    I think animal rights supporters should work more to improve living conditions for farm animals and to get people to decrease their consumption of meat (portion sizes and number of meals containing meat) instead of trying to recruit people to an extreme diet that few want to adopt. I see nothing immoral about eating animals, but the way they are raised and the environmental issues need to be addressed.

  • geffe

    I’m all for eating healthy food. I don’t eat much meat myself and cook all my meals from scratch. I love to cook.
    That said there is nothing more boring or infuriating than listening to vegans. Everyone I have ever met has been pretty annoying and some as stated above have the air of evangelicals of worse Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    I be giving this show a pass.

  • Solvei Blue

    I’m not a vegan. I tried vegetarianism for about four years and it didn’t agree with me. I’m at my best with some animal protein in my diet. Not surprising, since humans have been eating animal protein since before we were humans, and our bodies have evolved to handle an omnivorous diet. Of course, there have been innovations in human diets since prehistory. Humans have developed tools and spoken language. We have domesticated other animals. So of course we are the only animal to drink the milk of other animals; without domestication, there would be no reason for any other animal to evolve the necessary enzymes to digest milk. Then again, not every human possesses these enzymes either. Those that do are no doubt descended from a population that depended on a pastoralist lifestyle at some point in the past. A grain-based diet is a relatively new innovation, evolutionarily speaking; some people are well-adapted to a plant-based diet and other people are not.

    There’s no one diet that is going to work for every person. While I agree that most Americans could eat a lot less meat, and I myself enjoy meatless cuisine on a regular basis, it is folly to expect widespread adoption of a vegan, or even vegetarian diet. It’s simply not healthy for a significant segment of the population.

    I find exhortations about the morality of eating animals to be short-sighted in the extreme. All farming causes animal deaths, directly or indirectly. Unless you have chloroplasts in your skin, you must kill in order to eat. Replacing wool with petroleum-based fleece trades making a bunch of sheep uncomfortable for a while, for causing wars and thousands of human deaths in the Middle East as America continues its imperial quest to secure oil resources. Factory farms are a moral and environmental travesty, but abolishing animal husbandry entirely is not a realistic, or humane, alternative. In order to really evaluate the moral impact of the choices we make about what we consume, we must consider the process of production, consumption, and disposal in its entirety.

    People seem very enthusiastic about the Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s cookbook, so I will definitely check it out. Like I said, I do enjoy cooking meatless meals from time to time. But thanks to the evangelist attitudes adopted by some vegans, veganism has been far more controversial than it needs to be.

    Solvei Blue

    Burlington VT

  • liah

    Not all vegans are scary, militant, or preachy. I am excited to hear a show like this because I face a lot of harsh criticisim in my everyday life, even when I don’t bring it up. There have been many social dinner settings where I have sat quietly eating my food only to be interupted by someone’s rude comments- people have even sneaked meat on my plate when I wasn’t looking. There is always something to learn when approaching a foreign subject with an open mind, instead of assuming you’re in for a “boring” and “dreary” harangue. Give it a try, all you have to do is listen!

  • geffe

    vegans ate no meat, no fish, no eggs, no dairy – for some not even honey.

    Oh please not even honey. What about all those plastic shoes and belts some vegans sport don’t have an environmental impact? Cotton is not the best of crops in terms of environmental impact either. I think the only crop used for making clothes or shoes that does not use a huge amount of chemicals is hemp. My point being that the idea if vegans being so pure is a kind of illusion in my opinion.

    Is this show the result of a vegan on the On Point staff?

  • Laura S.

    I think everyone should listen to this show, particularly non-vegans. It’s good to listen to the alternative point of view from time to time. That being said, I don’t believe in the lifestyle. I don’t have a problem eating meat. So many animals die and suffer out in the wild, and in ways worse than animals living with humans would. “Natural lifespans” are hard to qualify, as many animals die in infancy, most don’t make it past old age, and battles for status and hunting grounds among the same species has always existed (leading to even more death). As a species that creates has its own view on ethics and “humanity”, I think we should try to lessen the harsh treatment we douse on animals, but that is a moral and ethical argument. And it is not something I believe applies to the “natural” world. Not everyone can understand that argument. Also, I draw a thick line between properly raised farm animals (in conditions perhaps not perfect but not torturous either) and fight animals, bears in “bile farms” in china, etc. It is also something to note in terms of conservation and environmentalism how large scale animal farming correlates with the depletion of water tables and the need for more and more grain crops; especially now that the world grows in prosperity and numbers and how many people (even in the beloved world of THE CHINA STUDY) are putting more meat into their tables. The issues that arise from such phenomenon are hard to guess, but it doesn’t look good. It is a double edged sword though. On the one hand, it is most probably a problem on the environment that more people want meat, but it is also mostly an outcry of western voices who’ve have this diet for a long long time that are telling the rest of the world to back off. I just believe eating meat is a multi-faceted and nuanced issue. It’s the political and privileged argument that trumps the environmental argument. And I hate the mindset I’ve encountered in MANY vegans who exclaim that you can’t “love” animals (like be for their welfare) or care for the environment if you’re an omnivore. If you believe in your vegan lifestyle, you will not win friends outside your circle by telling people they eat chicken menstruation and guffawing at all the “animal corpses” most people have been eating and learning to eat through the centuries. How about just saying how “this dish is pretty good” instead of touting it’s magnificence against a meat-based dish. I know this sounds a little biased against vegans, but to each his own. If you want to change the world, holier-than-thou attitudes turn more people off than win them over.

  • http://www.simplyvegan.net Lynn Pauly

    Thank you for airing this program. I look forward to hearing both cooks. The vegan momentum is definitely building which will help realize a healthier planet, healthier humans, and a more compassionate view of animals.

  • geffe

    liah people who are rude are just nasty people.
    Sneak meat on your plate? Are you eating at frat houses?

    I would never preach back too you and personally I think what you eat is your own business. My objection is the preachy nature of the shows title. I’m all for good healthy eating and for families to actually sit down and eat dinner together instead of watching TV or rushing the kids off to some event all the time.

    How we relate to food as a culture when compared to another country, say France, would have been a more interesting show in my opinion.

  • http://ibelieveinbutter.wordpress.com Soli

    I don’t buy the argument that veganism is somehow inherently better or healthier than diets with animal products. First and foremost, NO culture in history has been able to thrive without some form of animal product in their diet. Secondly, not all land in the world is suitable for farming. Land which grows grass well is not going to be able to handle vegetables very well.

    I agree that industrial agriculture has done a great disservice to the world, both plant and animal (including humans). But worst of all, we no longer have any connection to the land and how all the cycles of lives work to bring together good soil and good food. Now we have cows eating grain they cannot digest, living on concrete, monocultures galore growing in the middle of the country, and of food which isn’t all that nutritious (corn and soy), genetic engineering, etc., and thanks to all that chronic illness galore.

  • http://justinvankleeck.blogspot.com Justin Van Kleeck

    Vegan for 12 years now, and I am also an activist & writer for animal issues. Thanks, On Point, for the show!

    Responding to Soli: Vegetarian/vegan diets have been shown to be healthier for most people than the standard American diet. Making claims beyond that is sketchy, and anyone (vegan or not) who says that should be asked to explain what they mean. However, the *main* issue is that vegan diets are proven to be healthy for anyone in any stage of life, so we humans can get by without animal products, and the positive effects to the environment and other living creatures that result make it the “healthiest” diet on a *moral* level.

  • ThresherK

    Just curious if everyone insisting that meat is a need is talking about meat, per capital, ounces per day, that we ate thirty years ago, fifty years ago, or a century ago.

    Until the USDA does more than subsidize the big farms, and all the stuff grown there that we cram down the maw of animals to fatten them up right quick, I consider vegetarian talk a necessary addition to the conversation.

    (PS This show would do well to discuss the following words: CAFO. Oprah Texas hamburger lawsuit. Hog lagoon. Hog lagoon rupture.)

  • Valkyrie607

    @ Justin

    Pretty much anything would be healthier than the Standard American Diet. That’s setting the bar pretty low.

  • http://ibelieveinbutter.wordpress.com Soli

    Justin, I’d love to see some statistics over the long term, as I can also provide many cases of people who have not done well on animal-free diets.

    I have a few questions for the vegans:
    Where do you get your food during fallow seasons like winter?
    Do you eat a lot of soy?

  • Brandy from Massachusetts

    I’m thrilled to see veganism represented by people who aren’t with PETA, especially Isa!

    I get my food from the grocery store! In warmer months I frequent the farmers market but it’s not really possible this time of year in New England.
    I do eat soy products. Tofu or tempeh around once a week, soy milk in small quantities for baking or whatever (I prefer oat or almond milk to drink), and sometimes soy-based margarine. Soy sauce, too, but that’s not unique to vegans I’m sure. :)

  • Val Nelson

    I am anxiously awaiting this conversation in Omaha, NE. So happy that mainstream media outlets have started to pick up on this food choice that is really expanding and growing among the American population. Isa’s cookbooks are considered the bible of vegan cooking among my friends. At the end of the day, while the recipes maybe vegan, let’s face the fact that the food is absolutely delicious.

  • ann hart

    Cape Cod checking in…..8 year vegan married to 30 year vegetarian. As for many people,it is a three-pronged decision based on awareness of:
    1)ethical reasons
    2) personal health
    3) environmental reasons
    Just a note about choice – being vegan prevents me from eating all kinds of bad food that has other ingredients that I don’t want to eat in addition to the animal products. And, as a lifestyle, not a diet, being vegan is how you live and becomes intrinsic. The hardest part is perhaps not being smug about being wise……

  • http://ibelieveinbutter.wordpress.com Soli

    Brandy, I would recommend you look into the other side of soy, as unfermented soy has antinutrients, disrupts your thyroid, and dumps a lot of estrogen into your system.

  • Brandy from Massachusetts

    @Soli – Oops. I wouldn’t have responded to you if I realized you were a Weston A. Price fan. We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one.

  • BHA – Vermont

    Bit of a stretch to say “America is going Vegan”.

    I’m pretty sure 1% is not exactly a stampede.

    Mike Tyson has given up eating ears?? ;)

  • Sam

    I have a question for the guest: is it possible to get all of your nutritional needs naturally with a vegan diet — all the vitamins, minerals, protein, without artificial supplements?

  • http://thehumaneleague.com Dave

    I’ve been doing a lot of vegan work and education in Boston with The Humane League. If you’re interested in learning more about veganism, we offer free starter kits on our website!


    You can also check us out on FB if you are interested in activism!


  • Philip Selby

    Nothing so new here. Eastern Orthodox Christians have been keeping a vegan diet since the 4th century. Back then, of course, that meant all Christians. We abstain from animal products every Wednesday & Friday and during 4 periods of fasting. All in all that works out to about 50% of the time.

  • Diane

    Thanks, Tom, for this important show, and THANK YOU, Isa, for your incredible cookbooks. I own them all and cook from them regularly. (Pad Thai and Tempeh Reubens are a few obsessions/addictions.) Veganism is about values–a consciously chosen nonviolent diet for an ever increasingly violent 21st century (see http://www.meat.org/video-2.asp). No animals “bullied”, mutilated, tortured, raped and murdered. What values are we teaching our children when we serve up these corpses on their lunch trays day after day?

  • Irv West

    There is a slight toxin that is a by-product of the metabolism of meat. So I am not surprised that your guest spoke of “feeling lighter.”

    Interestingly, because the Inuit have to live a meat based diet (you can’t grow veggies on the tundra), there have been physical changes in their body structure to tolerate the excess toxin.

  • Donna

    Picked up Dr. Esselstyn’s book on preventing heart disease after watching a Bill Clinton interview. For me it was all about losing weight and it worked! Lost 20 pounds in a little over a month. Weight loss has plateaued now but I’ll keep with it. Just feel better.

  • geffe

    Mark Bitman is not a vegan. He eats plenty of meat, just less than he did. He is into healthier eating however.

  • K from NH

    While I generally eat very little meat and genuinely enjoy a wide variety of vegetables on a regular basis, my husband and I have recently adopted a “vegan day” one day per week. I find that vegan day not only makes me more mindful of what I eat, but it also dramatically increases my plant-based consumption on that day, when I can’t fall back on eggs and dairy (not even honey.) It also expands my cooking repertoire. So even vegetarians can benefit from vegan day.

    Vegetarians that consume animal products must be aware that consuming eggs and dairy has the same environmental and ethical impact as consuming meat.

  • George

    If you think vegans can’t be athletic or strong, checkout http://www.VeganBodybuilding.com and MikeMahler.com. These guys kick some serious tail.

    I’ve been vegan since last spring. I feel more energetic and stronger than before I made the change.

  • http://www.veganambrosia.blogspot.com Allison

    I’m so glad you’re having this show today. I eat a vegan diet but avoid identifying myself as a vegan – for me, it’s a practice rather than an identity. But I also make a point to disassociate myself with “veganism” because of how vegans are portrayed and portray themselves. I eat a vegan diet for environmental sustainability and because I think it’s right for my body. I also love the creativity that has come into my cooking and baking – I recently started a vegan food blog to give me an outlet to talk about it.

    And I want to thank Isa Chandra Moskowitz and the Post Punk Kitchen for giving me recipes and making vegan food cool.

  • Greg Vasse

    From New London, New Hampshire
    The high health risk conditions on industrial farms, where some studies indicate up to 70% of hogs are colonized with MRSA and the poor, inhumane treatment of the animals in CAFOs are strong reasons to restrict the amount of meat one eats if not turn to veganism. Principles associated with animal handling and ones health risks are strong motives beyond flavor and preference to favor a vegan diet.

  • Steven

    Not a vegan, not even close. I plan on spending the weekend hunting. That said, I have gone 99% vegetarian. I was convinced by a co-worker to give it a try. Our rules are 1. Hold to vegan for 16 of 18 meals 2. on the other two meals, natural meat (ie hunted or farm raised) is fine.
    We are both doing it mostly for health reasons, but I also personally think the meat industry is unsustainable.

  • Susan from Jericho, VT

    Vegetarian since 1978, Vegan since 1998…. For me it’s all about my relationship to animals and my respect for their place on this planet….as Ghandi once said.. “the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

  • Val

    VOTE WITH YOUR FORK!!! In a political environment in which it seems like our personal vote results in gridlock in Washington, the American people need to know that they can have a HUGE impact on their personal health as well as the health of the world by adopting a plant-based diet. Eating plants instead of meat is equal to driving an electric car. Eating plants can impact our disastrous health care system by ELIMINATING heart disease, type 2 diabetes and numerous other incredibly expensive diseases. There are MANY alternative doctors and other healthcare professionals who have been providing the message of the advantages of a plant-based diet for many years. I am greatly anticipating the movie FORKS OVER KNIVES, but it is far from the first movie of its type. See: Processed People, Food Inc., King Corn, Raw For 30 Days. Thank you, thank you, On Point, for discussing this vital topic.

  • http://www.like-no-udder.com Karen Krinsky

    I own the world’s first (and only, I believe) soft serve ice cream truck in Rhode Island. My first season was in 2010 and the response was great! Lots of vegan customers but also people who are lactose intolerant and looking for something more ethical.

  • http://n/a Laurie-Marie Pisciotta

    Thank you for discussing this important topic: diet and the connection to disease. I’ve been vegan for almost six years, and I’ve never looked back. I’m 34 years old, but I could easily pass for early twenties. I feel great. I look great. I don’t have any health problems. And my values are in line with my diet. Every vegan meal is a boycott against needless cruetly. Once I learned that a plant-based diet was protective against disease, it was a rational choice to become vegan. In addition, it also became a question of morality: is it right to eat burgers and cheese because I like the way they taste, knowing that the animal who died for it spent their short lifetime in miserable and cruel conditions? Of course not. The two minutes of pleasure I get from eating cheese is not worth the suffering of another sentient being.

  • Kim

    I’ve been a vegan for 3 years and I’ve never felt better. I used to have digestion problems and that went away once I went vegan. I lost 15 pounds and my skin cleared up. My hair is shinier and my nails are stronger. I have more energy and strangely a more positive outlook. I went vegan for ethical reasons but the health benefits were better than I ever expected. I feel great mainly because I have a clear conscience. I feel good that I am NOT contributing to animal cruelty and global warming. The book that changed me is John Robbins – Diet for a New America. Also, read the China Study. Essential reads.

  • Louise

    I have been vegan for 16 years, and your program’s topic seems a few years too late to me. Rather than feeling more supported or understood in my diet (an ethical choice, by the way), in the last year or so I have felt an increasing backlash against vegans and vegetarians. As more folks follow a paleo diet or eat locally-raised meat, I am finding vegans are labelled as irrational and even self-centered. Perhaps as veganism becomes more mainstream, such a backlash is inevitable?

  • Smith from Charleston

    I am all about eating healthy, but in my experience, a vast majority of individuals in their mid to late 20′s who choose the vegan lifestyle do so seemingly for the social status.

    Like the old saying goes, How Do Know If Someone Is Vegan?

    They’ll Tell You Within 30 Seconds of Meeting Them.

  • Alison

    While I am neutral to the vegan diet, knowing there are more environmentally friendly ways to eat locally and responsibly. One of the biggest concerns is parents raising their children vegan and what health issues may spark at such a young age?

  • Tricia Orr

    Thanks for this show on the rise of veganism in the U.S., On Point! I’ve been a vegan now for about 3 years. Before that I was vegetarian for about a year. It was only when I completely cut dairy out of my diet that I stopped having frequent stomach upset. The potential negative health consequences of dairy is, by and large, hidden from the public, and I find that to be very frustrating. So many people in my family are suffering with chronic health problems. Of course, they don’t want to believe me when I tell them that a vegan diet would help them.

  • Former Veg


    I was a fish-eating vegetarian for 12 years, and stopped when I had kids with so many allergies I (and a nutritionist) felt we needed the nutrients. They’ve outgrown them, but we are still eating meat.
    One reason I refused to eat meat though was the huge and unethical agribusiness in the country. IT’s far more expensive, and we have to sacrifice to do it, but we eat almost entirely organic and free-range meat. I feel it doesn’t give you the “heavy” sort of feeling that the other vegetarians discuss. I support the local organic community farm. I still feel good, and meat is sure yummy. My taste buds never caught up to my ethics, I always missed chicken and steak. ;)

  • Jay Kenosky

    I became vegan in 1996, and put in a decade for the cause. While my reasons for abandoning this diet are personal, I have yet to leave the lifestyle. Veganism is more than whether or not you eat meat, dairy, and perhaps honey, it is also about living sustainably and compassionately despite what food you decide to eat.

    If you are not vegan for political reasons, then you are simply full of bull crap. It’s rise in popularity is rather annoying, especially considering that many [most] are now into solely for health reasons. Or for pseudo philosophical reasoning. Face it, it is simply the hip, cool, new-age thing to do. A year from now, you’ll be on to something else.

    By the way, the reason why I stopped being vegan was because of health reasons. I was constantly hyperglycemic, had no energy, gained 40 pounds, and constantly ate throughout the day. Now, I adhere to a mostly vegetarian diet, but I do include eggs and seafood on occasion.

  • Catherine

    A vegan diet is extremely beneficial to one’s health. One should consider a vegan lifestyle. However it often excludes the use of animal products in ANY type of outwear and accessories in addition to food. Certainly the use of natural fibers like cotton and wool are good alternatives to fur and animal hide. However, we must weigh the costs of the use of synthetics in place of animal products have an impact on the environment which can persist for up to 200,000 years before being broken down. Also, plastics and synthetics consume fossil fuels during their production. Surely this impact cannot be better than the consumption of natural animal products?

  • JJ

    Great that you’re covering this. I had high cholesterol as a child and most people don’t realize that the only source of cholesterol in our diet is from animal products! Veganism is healthier, plus I’d never eat my cat so why eat other animals?

  • John

    Can’t On Point find a pundint to refudiate the vegans?

  • Pancake, meatless in NC

    John, geffe and BHA
    Your meat heavy diets are making you testy. Not only is digestion tortured by a meat heavy diet, but the suffering and anxiety of the animals is communicated through the complex proteins produced in the meat industrial complex. Are you guys ready for GM pork?

    I believe meat prematurely ages people, causes heart trouble and prostate enlargement and produces secondary appearance characteristics (hairy ears and noses, prominent guts) as well as problematic boorish and aggressive behaviors.

    Crashing a “salad party” by commenting aggressively on something of which you appear totally clueless betrays some of these symptoms. If vegetarian choices are a minority thing this is all the more reason to remain tolerant and receptive to these discussions. It looks bad to attack harmless minorities for their restraint. Like Sarah Palin’s crosshairs your meat habits are something of which you are defensive, and secretly ashamed. What you are defending is energy waste, unnecessary violence and corporate correctness.

  • Daniel

    I stopped eating meat in ’97 when I decided to only eat food I was comfortable gathering for myself. Since I don’t want to slaughter a cow, I don’t eat beef, but I don’t mind collecting eggs or milking a cow, so I still eat eggs and dairy.

  • Sandra Carew

    I have followed a low carb diet for several years for weight loss and control. Guilt about eating animal products prompted me to try the vegan diet, but I immediately gained over 5 lbs. I feel like my body can’t accommodate veganism. Is this common?

  • Corey Harrower

    I started all meat, went to vegetarian and am now a non-dairy vegetarian. Can Isa talk about the issues she has with eating eggs if they are locally produced by friends? For me I can’t justify killing something for a particular type of protein (that would include the dairy industry since male calves are killed, etc.). Thanks.
    I’m listening online from Frankfurt.

  • Rodney Robinson

    Back and forth between vegan and vegitarian,mostly vegan,and feel great physically and mentaly.

  • Megan Elizabeth

    I went vegan five years ago, and besides the physical effects of losing weight and clearing up my acne, it has opened to me up to a whole new world of food that I never knew about. I have way more variety in my diet than I ever had as a meat eater, and enjoy cooking now because of it. The vegan lifestyle has completely changed how I treat my body, and I’ve never felt better.

  • fara

    why vegan? for health, environment and animals. the question is why NOT vegan? how could i not be vegan?

    why vegan? my mom was diagnosed with cancer. spent 45 days in the hospital five years ago. had part of her intestines removed. heard about caldwell esselstyn’s work. watched the film EATING. heard speakers from PCRM. listened to Dr. Michael Greger. i changed my diet. feel better at 41 than i did in my 20s. what i thought was “normal” was just my body having to work extra hard to process foods that my body was not designed to process. if there is any truth to the research why would i continue to eat foods that were slowly killing me?

    why should animals suffer if they don’t have to/ i don’t need to eat animals in order to survive or thrive.

    why waste air time and air space talking about greenhouse gases and transportation and not be willing to even consider trying a plant-based diet?

    Diet is the easiest way to have an impact personally, locally, globally.

  • Lee H

    Veganism is so 90′s. Raw food is the new wave. There is a growth of raw restaurants in Boston, NY, San Francisco. The use of the term ‘plant-based diet’ allows people to shake off the Birkenstock image.

    BTW, the movie, as mentioned earlier in the show, is called ‘Forks over Knives’.

  • http://like-no-udder.com Karen Krinsky

    By the way, the business name is Like No Udder. I chose to sell soft serve instead of hard ices cream or novelties because it has a happiness factor that is palpable. The hope is eventually to franchise. My website, like-no-udder.com is the place to get more information. I even sell hot food when I work events. Finally an option for people looking for alternatives.

  • Carrie

    Love that you have Isa on! Her books are the best. Tomorrow is my 8th anniversary of going vegan. I went vegan for the 16 billion animals who die for the meat, dairy and egg industry, but as a bonus, I lost 50 lbs!

  • Charmaine

    What are everyone’s feelings on pet foods? What are vegans feeding Fido??

  • http://www.twitter.com/jessica731 Jessica Weil

    Question for Isa: What about using products (shampoo, detergent, etc.) that test on animals? Is that truly “vegan”?

  • BHA – Vermont

    ThresherK: “Just curious if everyone insisting that meat is a need is talking about meat, per capital, ounces per day, that we ate thirty years ago, fifty years ago, or a century ago.”

    That is a good point. I recall a TV ‘reality’ show where families went to live on the Prairie with only 1800′s capabilities. One guy was blowing all his money on a lot of meat and went to the doctor because he was losing weight. Turns out he was getting down to a proper weight, prairie people in the 1800′s worked a lot and didn’t eat a lot of meat.

    If I recall, that family quit the show (and had cheated by getting mattresses and such). Just couldn’t handle the lack of a cushy life. Interestingly (or maybe not) they were quite well off in ‘real life’ compared to the other families and most other people as well. Probably never had to deal with ‘do I buy this OR that’. Soft

  • Lois Marks

    Not everyone can tolerate a diet based only on plants. The Dalai Lama acknowledged his need to eat meat, because doctors have determined he needs some to remain healthy. On the other hand, many people are allergic to dairy products in ways many MDs don’t recognize–sinus infections, headaches, etc–not just stomach cramps and diarrhea. Many others are allergic to shellfish, some are allergic to beef proteins. Most fish have PCBs and mercury and other heavy metal contamination. Better to minimize exposure to unnecessary animal proteins. But those with gluten allergies (more people than may be aware), should choose plant food-sources carefully, too.

  • Jenn

    I’m surprised that Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is not on your program. She has written several amazing vegan cookbooks, has incredibly informative podcasts and a great website: http://www.compassionatecooks.com/

  • http://www.squaredive.com aj

    I went alkaline 5 months ago for health reasons. It’s actually vegan but stricter. You need to look at what foods create acid in your environment. Vegan is a huge first step but you still need to take out sugar, fruit, and wheat to create an alkaline environment. Look into The PH Miracle by Dr. Robert Young. It’s saved countless lives! This way of eating has literally cured cancer. If your already vegan, look into alkaline.

  • Kait

    I feel very strongly about animal welfare and animal rights, and I respect vegans and their choices. I however, have taken a very different route by embracing our local food movement here in Vermont. I’ve met a lot of my food — including regular visits to play with and interact with my veal. I find meat, dairy, and other animal products to be essential to my health and diet, personally.

    My way works well for me and my family, but I still respect vegans and their choices. My vegan friends have taught me great new ways to enjoy my veggies!

    I just wanted to note that there are other ways to embrace positive animal welfare and support animal rights without forgoing animal products.

    Thanks for a great show!

  • http://foodmorals.blogspot.com Josette

    Hi, I’m an omnivore in Boston. I eat vegetarian five days a week and try to only buy meat from the farmer’s market. I like to know where my food is coming from; that’s why I support local farms both for animal products (eggs, milk, meat, cheese) and for veggies (CSA share). The only problem I have with vegan options in the supermarket and in many vegan recipes is the overly processed fake meat and dairy products. The vegans I know eat way too much imitation deli, fake cheese, fake yogurt, etc. How is that good for you OR the environment?

  • ALGriffin

    Great and timely show. I’ve been fascinated with vegetarianism/vegan lifestyle since I was a teenager, I’mm 44 now. Six years ago I remained a vegetarian for about 7 months and never quite forgave myself for not keeping it up. Last year I embraced Meatless Mondays happily and this year my prayer for the New Year 2011 was that God remove the desire for meat from me – I know the year is just 2 weeks old but I am happy with my choice and not feeling deprived – I find new exciting recipes everyday.

    Since I am also grossly overweight, I have been leaning more toward veganism hoping the elimination of dairy and it’s related fat will help with weight loss. I’m also exercising regalurly as well. My primary issue though is that it is such a polarizing issue even in my household. I don’t want to be on a soap box about it I just want for ME to eat healthier and tread more gently on the earth. Exploring this lifestyle is something that I want to commit to now.

  • Pancake, still meatless, In NC

    Let me also address Jay in the previous post. I’m sorry compulsive eating undermined your good intentions, Jay. You may be substituting food for sex, nurturing, confidence or success. It is OK to focus on your personal problems, but self-demeaning to project them onto others who have accomplished what you were unable to do.

  • Iowa City, IA

    I only eat meat once or twice a week but I cannot imagine my life without cheese!

  • Jim

    However, to you carnivores out there:

    Keep Being Awesome!

    (Google for reference)

  • Kimberly French

    First, I want to say the Veganomicon girls, Isa and Terry, are absolutely brilliant. They really know what they’re doing with food. I consider myself a bit of a foodie, and this has been my favorite cookbook for a couple years, even tho’ I consider myself a “flexitarian” more than a vegan. I’m making the leek-bean cassoulet tonight, which I think may be the star recipe in the book, competing with perhaps the green bean piccata.

    For me, the most compelling reason for eating vegan is environmental, the amount of carbon released from large-scale animal farming. For individuals, reducing animal-food consumption is the single biggest step we can take in reducing our carbon footprint.

    But I also feel that food is important to culture. For me personally, I want to say, yes, I’ll eat anything, especially if someone makes it for me with love. When the choice is mine, at home or eating out, I try to make the most healthful and environmental choice. A young vegan pol-sci professor friend makes the case that asking people to adopt this “flexitarian” position is more likely to have a dramatic environmental impact. That made a lot of sense to me.

  • Elizabeth


  • Jennifer Duncan

    As a friend of many vegan’s and a consumer and worker in the health food industry. I feel as if the whole vegan movement is another neurotic way of living for some.Creating indifference in some. The whole I don’t eat any animal products because of principle, is just a self righteous stand. As a parent and meat love. Our family always buys local free range, grass fed meats, that have been humanly killed. We have been out to the farms where our food comes from and met the family’s who run them, met the butchers who cut the meats slaughter the cows, pigs, chicken and turkeys. They are very grateful for the animals life, and they make sure to give them a happy pasture to live in. We do not eat out unless we know the restaurant owners personally and know the farms they use for the menu. I think the vegan thing is good for some, but for some vegans to say anyone who eats bacon has a mind set of a toddler, is just plain mean. My husband get s frustrated with vegans saying they don’t eat animals because they don’t want to exploit them. What about the bee who pollinated the squash plant and helped the plant become a vegetable, only to be picked and fried or sauteed! LOL. Eat what you will please have your own reasons but don’t put anyone down for doing the opposite.NAMASTE :)

  • John

    Pancake (a high carb food), I have a 28″ waist and eat meat in moderation which is what I advocated. I didn’t find my comments to be insulting to vegans. I stated that I shared two of their goals just not the method and extent. On Point’s forum should be about comments from all opinions not just to advocate for the show’s topic.

  • ThresherK

    “All meat”, Corey? Surely you consumed some starches and vegetables somewhere along the line back then.

    Seriously, though, there’s a thinks-it’s-clever segment of American society which is terrified of not having meat at every meal. What are “meatatarians*” so threatened by?

    (*I’m not saying anyone here is.)

  • Jess

    I’m from Murfreesboro, TN.

    I care about the welfare of animals and I completely believe in ethical eating, but I am not vegan. I eat less meat than I used to, buy locally when I can, but the vegan lifestyle is not for me. I think it is okay to eat animals in smaller portions and less often and I believe it is very important to take good care of our food animals. Meat is costly to our environment and factory farming is not sustainable, but it is not inherently bad to eat animals. I support my vegetarian friends and have been vegetarian myself for short periods of time, but the vegan diet is not for me.

  • Jo Tyler

    Veganism is gaining popularity because it taps into mainstream values of not causing unnecessary harm to others. The American Dietetic Association confirms that a vegan diet is appropriate for humans at all life stages. So if we don’t *need* to harm and kill animals to survive, why do it? For pleasure? Vegans ask: Is that ethically defensible?

  • Kate

    My biggest head-scratching vegan question:

    Why do so many “Vegans” love to SMOKE? Especially the 20-somethings.

    Interesting that they are so concerned about animals but, not their own bodies.

    Makes me laugh when I hear them talking about “oh, I never eat flesh” but, they are burning up their own lungs.


  • Mary from Somerville MA

    Best comment on veganism I saw lately, from Ed Yong, science writer, referencing the recent bird issues:

    “@edyong209 Great idea, but I just went vegan for the new year. Figures meat would fall from the sky THE MINUTE I SWITCH TO GROSS PLANTS!”

    That said, vegans are the biggest and most irritating food zealots on the planet. At least one of the has a sense of humor.

  • Lois Marks

    Sorry–not “gluten allergies”–I should have written “gluten intolerance”–celiac disease and all degrees of intolerance up to full-blown cases that can lead to colon cancer. Also, dairy allergies are different from lactose intolerance. People can one or the other or both. Plant allergies include, of course, nut allergies, citrus, tomato, etc.

  • Mary Greendale

    From Holliston: I know that some folks will not eat meat but will eat fish. My question – is there a distinction between farm grown fish and fish from nature? I’m wondering if the “farming” idea affects its value.

  • geffe

    Pancake your a real piece of work. I don’t eat a lot of meat at all. I maybe eat red meat about once every two months. I eat chicken about once a month. The rest of the time I eat what one would describe as a vegetarian diet.
    I eat food because I enjoy it. I like good cheese, good wine, and I wear leather shoes because they last.

    My staple is beans and rice and green vegetables.

  • Kim Findlay, Charlotte, VT

    I went vegan a year ago when, here in Vermont, a slaughterhouse was charged with extreme cruelty to bob calves that are a by-product of the dairy industry here. The tendency of humans to think that they are entitled to have whatever they want regardless of the cost fuels violence and indifference. You could link this to your previous show. The USDA turns a blind eye, the food industry has become a matter of making products that are as cheap as possible, workers are low-paid, and the ones who pay the price for all of this are the animals.

  • http://onanov.com Donald Baxter, Iowa City, IA

    I’ll honor anyone who can pull this off and make it work for them–it is moral, it’s better for the planet. We eat too much meat and our system to produce animal protein at the level we do is truly killing our planet. That being said, there are three times as many ex-vegetarians and vegans as there are current ones. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Meat–eat less–much less.


    I am a steak eater from Iowa who has been vegan for 35 years. we used to have wonderful vegan restaurants in the greater Boston area, due to the fact that Brookline village was the site of Michio Kushi’s Macrobiotic Institute. For $5 you could go to the home of a Macrobiotic/vegan family any night of the week and have a 3 course meal with them. The vegan restaurants in Brookline and in Cambridge are long-gone. I think it is because of growing number of affluent students and academics who enjoy rich diets and junk food. My turning point was when a psychologist told me that the only natural way she’d heard of curing cancer was with the Macrobiotic (vegan) diet. I had nothing to lose, and my doctor was very impressed at how I improved. After that I just stayed Vegan…mostly because I do not enjoy ingesting steroids, antibiotics, and other chemicals and unnatural substances used in raising and processing meat of any kind industrially. I dare you, Tom, to eat meat after seeing “Peaceable Kingdom.” Although this was not what turned me, it is a powerful film made by an x-cattleman. MLC

  • MIchael

    I view veganism as an extreme diet, requiring careful planning or supplements to achieve appropriate levels of vitamin B12, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and more. I am an organic vegetable farmer and certainly appreciate a diet that contains lots of fresh veges. However, a diet that contains small amounts of local pasture raised meat as well as eggs from the henhouse is a more balanced approach to nutrition and certainly does not violate any environmental or animal rights ethics.

  • Carrie

    I find that vegans can sometimes tend to be quite arrogant about their dietary choices and this, in my opinion, is what’s off-putting about the practice for many people. I feel that all people should be able to choose their own diets just as they can choose their own political parties, religious views, etc. What’s irritating is when people are judgmental about others’ choices and, in my experience, many vegans are like this. For instance, I distinctly remember a vegan friend walking into our kitchen when I was a kid and literally grabbing her nose and asking, “What’s that awful smell?” My mother was cooking hamburgers. This is just one example, but is not my only experience of this kind with vegans.

  • Joanne

    Several people I know are vegans, and it seems like they cook and eat all day long; it seems like you have to eat so much more in order to sustain your energy, whereas eating meat gives you sustained energy over a longer period. Do your guests have any suggestions for people who want to eat vegan, but are too busy to spend more than an hour a day cooking and eating?

  • Debbie Rogers

    Thank you for discussing veganism, NPR! And Isa, you are a saint who has convered so many of my friends. The millions of animals who forced to live in cramped, filthy conditions before they are beat, hacked, and killed will be so grateful. If Bill Clinton can go vegan, anyone can!!

  • A fan from Boston

    My hope is that someday vegetarianism, veganism, and all the other “isms” can dine together! I and members of my family have food allergies to nuts, soy, and other things. The best restaurant would be one where everyone can eat safely, by which I mean that all ingredients are treated like raw meat so as to avoid cross contamination. Cutting boards and cookware are cleaned thoroughly after use and chefs are properly trained in safety techniques. It can be done. Ask Ming Tsai of Blue Ginger fame.

    Peace :-)

  • Lisa Williams

    I love Isa’s cookbooks. I buy every vegan cookbook that comes out. I’m not militant. I never comment on what other people eat, but boy do they comment on what I eat. And I find it so amusing that nothing seems to get people angrier than discussing “not” eating meat. I’m glad people are becoming more aware of the issues surrounding eating animal products — the factory farms that are inhumane for both animals and people. I wish people would lighten up — I’ve got to answer for myself all the time because I don’t eat meat and I never discuss it or judge others. I’ve had so much fun cooking and exploring that variety of ethnic cuisines that don’t use a lot of meat and even those that do (I use the create seitan recipes). It’s fun!

  • John

    Does anyone really believe Bill Clinton isn’t sneaking hamburgers?

  • jim

    Someone wrote:
    Great that you’re covering this. I had high cholesterol as a child and most people don’t realize that the only source of cholesterol in our diet is from animal products! Veganism is healthier, plus I’d never eat my cat so why eat other animals?
    1. If you don’t eat dietary cholesterol, your liver will produce it. The body needs cholesterol, and there is mixed evidence whether or not serum cholesterol is even related to dietary cholesterol for many people.

    2. You might eat your cat if stranded in the Andes after a plane crash. You might not, but you might.

    No, I don’t think I could eat my cats either…

  • S, from Ipswich

    What about those who live in climates where veganism is not an option?

  • Kaitie

    Thank you for discussing this topic, I have been a vegetarian on and off over the past few years and an issue that haven’t been addressed is how veganism is a privilege of the wealthy in the United States. I imagine many vegans are also looking into organic and local products that haven’t been sprayed with pesticides, which are always the most expensive in my shopping cart. Personally, I find that one of the biggest deterrents for people to go fully vegetarian or vegan is the cost and that fact that our support of agri-business makes eating healthy harder and more expensive.

    Also, another issue that hasn’t been addressed is a “newer” trend in vegan-ism, which is a raw-foods diet.

  • http://www.thisveganlife.org Jo Tyler

    Comment from Salem, MA

    Veganism is gaining popularity because it taps into mainstream values of not causing unnecessary harm to others. The American Dietetic Association confirms that a vegan diet is appropriate for humans at all life stages. So if we don’t *need* to harm and kill animals to survive, why do it? For pleasure? Vegans ask: Is that ethically defensible?

  • Benjamin Hall

    Thanks for this great topic.
    I want to echo one aspect of the caller from Newburyport’s point: that veganism and even vegetarianism are not right for everyone’s body. I was mostly vegetarian (fish once a week) for 23 years, with 9 years in the middle with no meat whatsoever. It was for ethical concerns, which I still hold. I always used to think it was absurd when some people asserted that you had to eat meat to be healthy and/or be an athlete. I was a competetive cyclist, and ate virtually no meat (except the weekly fish). But by my mid-30s, I developed bouts of chronic fatigue and exhaustion. I had to reduce my cycling from racing to training to commuting to (finally) nothing. My Western doctors had no insight nor suggestions about how to treat my frequent susceptibility to illness and missing work and social life as a result. A naturopathic clinic finally gave me a regimen that included, in addition to exercise and supplements, a radically altered diet of all vegetables, meat, and nuts. Carbs were gone. Ethically, this is troubling for me, but my choice was either that or live a life of perpetual sick days and zero energy. And I ate very well when I was a vegetarian: not junk food, but whole foods with complete vegetable proteins. I am recovering. Even the Dalai Lama apparently eats meat occasionally because his doctors say he must, although (from what I have read) he is pained to do it.

  • http://www.mackeyarchitecture.com Chris

    I am tired of people selling veganism with animal rights. There are so many reasons for becoming vegan and not all of them involve gushy feelings for animals. For example, a huge portion of our nation’s carbon emissions come from the production of animal products and, to be honest, I am much more concerned with the sustainability of our civilization over the next few centuries than I am with animal feelings.

  • EVD2011

    Vegans should read Lierre Keith’s book “The Vegetarian Myth” for a more nuanced and realistic view of the subject than was discussed on the show. I’m a meat-eater (I only buy grass-fed, local, humanely-raised meats) but support veganism, even though vegans think they are much more environmentally and ethically pure than they actually are. Keith’s book has the details on how eating commodity grains, for example, is not necessarily any more humane or sustainable than small-scale beef ranching.

  • Lor Pamer, from Somerville

    BEANS, BEANS, the MUSICAL FRUIT—I love ‘em but my friends retreat when I f—
    So I’m a “pescatarian” -eat fish + a grain based vegetarian regime. It works—for 40 years. Let me know when you come up with a way to prepare beans that makes them flatulence proof. Thanks for the program.

  • phil Saulnier

    I always hear the Quetion asked of vegatarians, how do you get your protien? Protiens are composed of ammino acids and vertualy all foods contain these ammino acids.Your body knows how to combine these nutrients to creat protien. Vegatarian since 1971. State cycling champion 1976.

  • Lindsey

    What about the inherent logic of nature? This is not to say we have have the right to exploit animals excessively, but how can we look over the fact that nature runs on animals consuming one each other? I think it is hard to look towards veganism as an ethical stance because it operates in a vaccum. Not only ignoring the uncomfortableness of nature being at times violent,but also ignoring the entitlement of veganism since it is mostly a western ability to not eat what it available.

  • John

    from Cincinnati, Ohio

    What are your panelists thoughts about holidays that center around the consumption of animals, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas? These are important times for the gathering of the family, but they often include a turkey or a ham. It can be perceived as rude to refuse these foods in some situations. Are we to expect that the hosts will provide a different menu for us, or should we bring our own food and risk insulting the host? And how do we deal with the dead beast in the center of the table?

  • Don

    From Burlington, vt

    If vegans don’t eat honey because it exploits bees, how do they identify/avoid fruits and vegetables that are dependent on domestic bees for fertilization?

  • Brendan from Boston

    I tried veganism (and am still vegetarian) and I experienced the clarity and energy discussed, but I don’t think it’s being recognized how time consuming it is to cook constantly, especially if I don’t want to eat the same thing everyday. It can also be expensive. The spices to make grains, vegetables, and beans taste different are expensive. I sympathize with the college student that couldn’t keep it up. I work 70+ hours a week and after a 12 hour day I don’t have the energy to cook two full meals (one for the night, the next for tomorrow’s lunch).

    Also, It is not discussed how vegans can be inconveniencing. At the time I tried veganism, I happen to go to a lot of events (parties, weddings, banquets, etc) and I felt horrible about asking for a vegan option. Most didn’t know what it was (no vegetables with butter is not vegan) or there wasn’t an option at all. Why should me, the one person be so inconveniencing? I’m a guest, not the honoree. Most of the time I would just stick to the salad… plain.

    Lastly, it takes a lot of work to burn the calories. Often vegans don’t get enough fat making them eat more. When are we suppose to work it off? The few moments I have in the day I’m cooking not working out.

    I do have to say I still bake cupcakes from “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World” they’re the best!

  • Bear

    I’n not a vegan and am not likely to become one, being a lifelong omnivore, however I am trying eat more on the basis of Michael Pollan’s theory “Eat food, mostly plants, not too much” and am using vegitarian recipes to augment my diet toward that end.


  • BHA – Vermont

    Pancake -
    “I believe meat prematurely ages people, causes heart trouble and prostate enlargement and produces secondary appearance characteristics (hairy ears and noses, prominent guts) as well as problematic boorish and aggressive behaviors.”

    Which of us is testy??

    At no point in this discussion have I said there is anything wrong with being Vegan. I just found the title of the hour to be a WHOLE lot out of proportion with reality. A better title could have been chosen.

    - My older daughter is vegetarian
    - My wife’s aunts and uncles have all made it past 90 years old, her father is a healthy ‘mere’ 85. I challenge anyone to guess his age, they would be wrong by 15 to 20 years. Her aunt still bowls at 93. NONE of them is/was close to vegan; meat is/was part of their daily diet. Her father was born when his father (born in 1861) was 64 years old. He was not a vegetarian either. NONE had heart problems. Living to an old age is not restricted to vegetarians/vegans.
    - In the summer, I buy eggs from a local guy who has about 2 dozen chickens. They have the run of the yard all day long. These are not unhappy caged factory chickens. Why not in the winter? Because he doesn’t force the chickens’ environment to be “forever summer” and they only lay enough for his family’s needs.
    - I will definitely look into the books by the authors on the panel. I do have my doubts though: my vegetarian daughter doesn’t like many vegetables! Beans? nope. She is vegetarian because she doesn’t want to eat anything an animal had to die for. If it were not for milk and cheese, her protein intake would be near zero. But if I can find something she will eat in those books, so much the better.

  • Kathryn Camgemi

    Newton, MA—I have discovered with my own veganism that you can talk to non-vegans til you’re blue in the face; no one will “get it” until they actually try the delicious foods vegans eat. I’m not talking only tofu, either–many of us are allergic to soy and have had to find alternatives. By bringing vegan chocolate chip cookies or chocolate cupcakes (for example) to parties and hearing the rave reviews and then seeing the surprise and enlightenment cross over their faces when they realize the deserts are vegan is, in my view, the easiest way to eradicate all of the negativity the word seems to carry. THEN you take it a step farther by mentioning the animal cruelty and all the health benefits. No one wants to be preached to, so it’s a fine line vegans must walk to convince others it’s a fabulous way of eating. That’s why I’d love if Isa spoke more about the delicious recipes she’s made–more listeners might be more open to trying veganism after hearing about her to-die-for “Slobby Joes” :)

  • Michèle Lemettais

    This is a wonderful show ! Thank you, Tom, for making us come forward. My husband and I have been vegetarians for 30 years and vegans, at home, for 20 years. I did it for the animals, my husband for the environment and now we are doing it for the world! And, I am soooo glad to hear Isa say that she does not have that “vegan clarity”,nor has she the “vegan skinny look”. We do not have that either, I have to admit, but we are full of energy and so seldom sick, that we feel like super people. While traveling in Europe, Russia, Turkey, etc., we do tend to go back to vegetarianism as being vegan then and there can be tricky.
    THANK YOU again,
    Michèle (and yes, I am 100% French and working on my Mom’s diet !)

  • Jo Tyler

    FAQ about veganism

    - what about plants? don’t they feel pain?
    - isn’t killing animals “natural”?
    - didn’t God say we have dominion over animals?



  • Ronald Johnson

    For me it’s all about ethics: http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/

    The animal slavery issue is the main one.

    Lincoln MA

  • Laurie

    I’m going to break away from the vegan pack a bit, and confess that a BIG part of the draw of a veg diet for me is the creativity and challenge it inherently provides. I love pushing myself to learn new and more cost-effective methods of feeding myself, and I love discovering ways of making/eating my favorite foods veganized: spanakopita (thanks, Isa!!!), cheesecake, BBQ, etc… After a year and a half of cooking and baking vegan, I’ve learned not only the “what” of the ingredients lists of recipes, but the “why” as well, and doing so has made me a more informed cook about how ingredients interact and create the tastes and textures I crave. More than almost anything else about it, veganism is like an art form to me.

  • Adam

    Charlottesville, VA

    There is nothing so unsustainable and irresponsible as a vegan diet! Replacing vibrant and thriving ecosystems with soy and corn based mono-cultures? How is that kind to animals? B-12 supplements? Support a responsible local farmer who’s cows or goats turn inedible grass into food naturally. There are NO traditional vegan cultures, it is a purely American invention and a boon to the processed food industry. Get real, accept your place in the food web, and support sustainable, ethical poly-cultures!

  • Lindsay

    I don’t understand how vegans can claim the mantle of “cruelty free” eating. The way that most vegetables- even organic ones- are grown, processed, and shipped has a very direct impact on the wider environment and the animals who inhabit it.

  • Steve

    Eight year vegan here, and loving it. Trying every day not to hurt of kill any fellow creatures is uplifting, clarifying and pretty fabulous! It is also surprisingly easy to live vegan, particularly with grocery stores starting to stock all manner of good stuff.

  • Jo Tyler

    Great article about the ethics of eating meat from The Atlantic:


  • Mika

    It really upsets me to listen to the self righteousness of the guest, Isa, today.

    I fully respect friends who have a vegan lifestyle, but I oppose the militant and self promoting nature of individuals who make themselves out as bodhisattvas among the rest of the populace. I grew up with vegetarians and went to school with vegans, who have made it a point to make other miserable for their food choices. Vegans may feel marginalized because of their choices, but imagine how difficult it is to be around someone who is adamant about eating their way.

    I was in a grad school program that traveled all over the country, studying socio environmental issues in different communities in North America. At the beginning of each semester, we discussed and made decisions by consensus on group meal preparation while we were in the field. We had one vegan, a few vegetarians, and a few omnivores. The meat eaters conceded, due to storage issues of meat on our travels, while the vegetarians and vegan duked it out on food choices. It was the most painful consensus discussions we had each semester. Our discussion on the use of technology was far easier.

    The other guests seem to be a bit more mature on this issue. Isa is a bit dogmatic, in spite of her denial, in her discussion on the air.

  • geffe

    Lor Pamer try soaking the beans over night until they swell up. Drain the water and rinse the beans a few times.
    Then cook them in fresh water. This will remove a lot of what causes the gas.

  • Astrid afKlinteberg

    How can Ms. Moskowitz assert that she is not judgmental about veganism and then tell Molly Katzen that she’s not ethical because she isn’t a strict vegan?

  • Paula

    I’d like to know how drinking milk or eating eggs is unethical…I don’t understand. These are products produced naturally by animals and are produced in order to keep generating more cows and chickens (without a lactating cow, calves couldn’t survive; without eggs, chickens would cease to exist).

  • Sara

    In the past year, I became what I call a “compassiatarian”–I’ll only eat meat that I know has been raised and slaughtered in humane circumstances. I made this compromise with full vegetarianism in part because my children (two boys, 10 and 13) are adamant that they still want to eat meat. In addition, I’m incredibly busy so all the learning and planning involved in trying to feed my (resistant) family was more than I could find time for in my hectic life.

  • Jo Tyler

    Lindsay – because it takes more plant products to fatten livestock than to feed people directly. Raising livestock is resource intensive and wasteful. If you care about plants, and natural habitats of wild animals, the best thing you can do is go vegan.

  • Chris

    Manchester, NH

    I am all for personal choice and healthy eating but wonder about the elephant in the room that people are built to eat vegetables and meat. This is nature, who are people to say it is wrong. I do have a question though, how do your guests feel about breast feeding, seems a vegan should think this most natural of acts is wrong.

  • Alisa

    I’ve been a vegan for over 20 years and so have my mom and dad, who are now in their late 60s/early 70s. My dad is one of the few men his age who hasn’t had at least one heart attack or joint replacement surgery. Lots of his friends see how healthy and active he is and have started eating more vegetarian meals,to.

  • http://www.veganambrosia.blogspot.com Allison

    Hello from Somerville, MA. I love the way Mollie Katzen is talking about eating – I am also pro-vegetable. This is exactly the way I feel about my “plant-based,” vegan diet.

    I love the food I eat, but I don’t think it’s fundamentally unethical to eat animal products – especially if they’re sourced locally and healthily. I would be a locavore if I liked meat and eggs, but in lieu of that, I choose to eat a vegan diet.

    I also agree with Isa that if more restaurants had vegan options on their menus, they’d get a lot more business. I ate out much more when I was living in Minneapolis, where there more vegan-friendly restaurants than Boston.

    Finally, in regards to nutrients, everyone needs to pay attention to their nutritional intake – omnivores, pescatarians, vegetarians, vegans. In addition to eating a balanced diet, I take a vegan multivitamin, calcium, and vegan DHA (an omega-3). I’m very healthy.

  • John

    I am in Jamaica Plain MA

    Given that a diet that included animal protein is widely credited for allowing early man to develop a larger brain and ultimately evolve in to the modern human, how this is reconciled with vegan philosophies? I wonder if the intense aversion to “harming” animals might just be anthropomorphication.

  • Matt

    I like the word vegetabalist. farm and forage fiber for fun.

  • Miryam Wiley

    Remember that the cows get their protein from the grasses they eat!

    There is plenty of protein in the veggie world! Too much protein makes people sick!

    Will you have Dr. Gabriel Cousens in your show? He and Dr. Joel Furhman and Dr. Collins, of the China Study!!

    There are so many good people talking about the TRUTH IN FOOD! The living foods have made people come away from diabetes!! Thanks for helping this discussion!

  • Ronald Johnson

    Paula: milk and eggs come from the female of the species. That means 50% of cows and chickens are slaughtered, mostly soon after birth. Go to YouTube and search for Dairy Cruelty and Egg Cruelty and then see what you think.

  • Lori in Newton, MA

    I eat a fair amount of vegan foods and I hear a lot of back & forth about soy. I use soy milk in my coffee and I recently switched from using soy milk in my cereal to using almond milk in my cereal in order to cut down on soy. Any comments on this?

  • Jo Tyler

    The United Nations urges a world-wide shift to a vegan diet in order to prevent the worst effects of global warming, environmental disaster and world HUNGER.


  • Kathy in VT

    I’m a happy omnivore who tries to make good and ethical choices about where my preoteins come from whever possible. While I respect other people’s food choices I am offended by the attitude of Isa Chandra Moskowitz. She has made several snide and obnoxious remarks about several callers’ opinions, and has shown no respect — or even tolerance — of other peoples’ choices. What’s right for her isn’t necessarily what’s right for everyone else.

  • BAS

    Jamaica Plain

    In my 60th year I have been a vegetarian most of my life. I’m a lacto-vegetarian, no eggs and avoid cheeses using animal rennet, plus keep milk to a minimum and try to know the farm sources of dairy I take in.

    This is the means whereby I pay attention to what everything ‘is’ and the source – a lens for inquiry about what is on my plate, in a can or food product etc. and, as a way of life, a very helpful window for making sense of the world and how everything reaches us. This started at a very young age for me ( 4 or 5) and I long had to adapt to the kitchens of unsympathetic others.

    Happy the tide is turning.

  • Sherry Stanley

    Ironics that vegans are reminded they need to consciously think about providing nutrition, as though omnivores are going to be okay no matter what they eat. Careful decision about nutrition is essential across the board.

    I take B12 supplements, but I believe my health (after 40 years of vegetarianism) is more connected to what is no longer in my diet.

    Speaking of the ethics of animal exploitation, take a look at Jason Hribal’s Fear of the Animal Planet. Jason would provide a fascinating interview.

  • Jane

    When I decided to give up eating animal products – I went in with both feet & went full on vegan. No I don’t miss cheese, no I don’t miss regular hamburgers, yes I get enough protein, no I’m not just eating rabbit food, no it’s not expensive, yes I have to buy some specialty products (textured veggie protein for example), no I no longer have chronic headaches, general malaise, breakout prone skin, indigestion or cholesterol problems. Yes it has altered my general thinking about how we treat animals (animal testing, factory farming, etc) & I now seek out companies that do no harm to animals. No I’m not some hippie radical treehugger – I grew up very Republican & suburban…but I’m very eco-oriented & much much much more liberal than the company I keep. Yes I still wear my leather boots – the damage is done so to speak & I’ll be a good steward to the boots (i.e animal) I have…but I won’t be buying anymore leather goods ever again. Yes people treat me differently when they find out I’m vegan – they thought they knew me & that confounds them. Yes I rather like that too.

  • Jo Tyler

    If it weren’t possible to live a healthy and nutritionally complete life as a vegan, it would not be endorsed by the American Dietetic Association.

    And yes, all diets need to be appropriately planned.
    We can’t just live on coke and french fries.


    More great resources on Vegan Nutrition:



  • Naomi

    Your guest had a vast amount of knowledge but she needs a crash course on addressing people’s differences. I am a vegetarian but do not criticize those with views different from mine. She should be respectful of those who are not, or do not follow her way of life for whatever reasons they may have.

  • Sequoia McDowell

    “There is such a thing as a Vegan permaculture.” I believe this is incorrect. Unless you are exclusively foraging, your food sources will require animal inputs. If there’s a vegan farm that doesn’t use manure, fish emulsion, or other animal derived fertilizers, I’d like to see it. (You need animals for manure. To the inevitable devil’s advocate: if there is a 100% humanure farm, please show me where.)

    All vegan cultures, farming or culinary, just don’t exist.

    Vegetarians have this issue with milk and cheese… What do you think happens to the bull calves that are born for the mothers’ milk?

  • BHA – Vermont

    Josette: “The vegans I know eat way too much imitation deli, fake cheese, fake yogurt, etc. How is that good for you OR the environment?”

    GOOD QUESTION! We buy vegetarian foods for my daughter and the list of ingredients on some of them is longer than my arm.

    The vegan/vegetarian diet is full of chemicals unless it is ‘make it yourself at home from only fresh vegetables’ food.

  • Laura

    I’m an “old” vegan, in both senses of the word–I’m 56, a vegetarian since I was ten, because I love animals–all animals. I became a vegan some years thereafter when I realized that the baby calves were the by-products of the dairy industry and were made into veal. And that’s just the beginning of the horrors.

    Your guest, Isa Chandna Moskowitz, is fantastic–articulate and funny, she’s covered all the points: vegan for the animals, for health, for the environment. To kill an animal is to harm an animal, and the way they are forced to live is often just as merciless as their deaths.

    Also, Isa’s explanation about dining with flesh-eaters was perfect: while vegans are constantly told that we shouldn’t impose our ethics on others, there is the third party present: the animal. We represent the animals. Any omnivores I know demonstrate their respect for me by foregoing flesh-eating when dining with me. Frankly, I wouldn’t want to know anyone who wouldn’t give me that one consideration. It’s only polite.

    Re: Isa’s overcoming her lingering penchant for blue cheese, I agree completely that the palate changes. As a kid who once loved chocolate, I found that the palate does indeed catch up with ethics. Right on, Isa!

  • Paula

    thanks for your response Ron. I agree with your point about the cruelty that runs rampant in the corporate dairy and poultry industries…I can’t purchase these products from a supermarket knowing how the animals are treated. But if I raise my own chickens (which I do) for their eggs, and they live out their lives being raised on pasture…I don’t see how that’s unethical.

  • Jane Buchan

    From Jane on Stannard Mountain in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont: Thanks for the “vegan” show. I’ve been grateful to have access to wonderful local foods to support my plant-based diet (yes, I’m vegan) for twenty years. Too many benefits to enumerate, but among the most important: an inter-generational connection (I’m 65, and lots of food conscious folk are very young); an animal connection (empathy for industrially exploited animals is humanizing); and, an earth connection (industrial agriculture and especially feed lots and all factory farming of animals is devastating to land, air, and water). Other champions of conscious eating are John Robbins (a hugely important educator regarding the connection between environmental devastation and animal factory production); Francis Moore Lappe (I believe the originator of the ‘plant-based diet’ phrase); and Jane Goodall (whose lifetime work provides a model for the deeply instructional joys of inter-species communication). Re fear of deficits in this diet; Red Star Nutritional Yeast is a wonderful vegan food supplement that combats Vitamin B12 deficiency. As food supplies are threatened, we’re discovering that plant-based diets are the lynch-pin of local food economies and food sovereignty. And finally, maybe the lightness people describe comes from all of us being connected through what our physicists are calling morphic fields. As soon as we choose food that is honoring of earth and all species, how could we not feel lighter. This isn’t a Puritan thing . . . vegetables, grains, fungi, and legumes are voluptuous, living, riotously sensuous foods for those open to walking on the wild side! Eating with the Earth in mind is great for the body, mind, heart, and soul. Thanks for this wonderful show. Historically, empires failed when their food systems failed. Because we are learning the importance of plant-based diets for every constituency, we are refining our food systems and, as we do, healing so many things.

  • judy

    Soli-I would suggest YOU look into ‘the other side of soy’, the one that has study after study AGAINST the use of soy, funded by the meat industry!!!!Bias much?

  • John

    Any omnivores I know demonstrate their respect for me by foregoing flesh-eating when dining with me. Frankly, I wouldn’t want to know anyone who wouldn’t give me that one consideration. It’s only polite. – Posted by Laura

    – I think respecting your decision to eat what you want without criticism is the extent of what someone who dines with you owes you. They have the same right to choose their dinner as you do.

  • http://www.bookpubco.com Rick Diamond

    I think the issue of becoming vegan is bigger than the issues of food, nutrition, and even the environment. I personally became vegan after attending a workshop where one of the panelists talked about growing up on a farm and being made to raise a lamb that would eventually be slaughtered. I think of this as an example of institutionalized cruelty. We cannot abide the idea of people being put to death in mass execution chambers but we are willing to tolerate this kind of cruelty against animals that, relatively speaking, are not very different from us. I consider Mahatma Gandhi’s proscription “Be the change you want to see in the world” as an important guiding principle that was intended to be taken literally. Vegans are trying to reduce the amount of institutionalized violence in the world. If you want to commit your life to creating a more peaceful world, becoming vegan is a good way to start.

  • Cindy Haigh

    Thank you so much for discussing veganism. It’s really easy being vegan at home but going out to eat is another matter. Finding things palatable without eggs and dairy is next to impossible. Many restaurants will say that the chef can make something special, but requesting it is always an awkward moment, particularly in front of business associates. (And if it is so special why isn’t it on the menu? Because usually it’s something boring like plain pasta or steamed vegetables.) Coverage of this subject may inspire restaurants to make the jump and add one or two interesting vegan entrees. Thanks again.

    Milton, MA

  • http://www.thisveganlife.org Jo Tyler

    @ Paula, you asked: “I’d like to know how drinking milk or eating eggs is unethical…I don’t understand. These are products produced naturally by animals and are produced in order to keep generating more cows and chickens (without a lactating cow, calves couldn’t survive; without eggs, chickens would cease to exist)”

    Please google “male chicks” and “dairy veal connection” for more information. What you will find is that male chicks are of no economic value to egg producers. They are routinely destroyed at birth. Methods of killing include gassing, crushing and grinding them alive in chippers.

    Here is an expose from one of the largest egg producers in the country:

    But these cruelties also occur on small, “free-range” and organic farms. It is a world-wide practice called “culling.”

    Also – please be aware that the vast majority of eggs come from hens kept in conditions so cruel that it would be a felony if they were dogs or cats. Some people say, “Oh, I only buy “free-range” or whatever, but what do you do about the eggs in the products you buy at the market? or about the eggs in the meals you eat at restaurants or elsewhere?


    And of course, after the hens have been all used up and are no longer “productive” – they are slaughtered.

    Same thing goes for dairy cows. In my opinion, eggs and milk are the cruelest of all foods. In order to give milk, cows must have a baby. So they are repeatedly impregnated on what the industry calls a “rape rack.” If their baby is a female, she will be taken from her mother and raised to be a dairy cow. If the baby is a male, he is typically sold at auction to notoriously cruel veal producers. I have seen video footage of these auctions and it is heartbreaking. The calves are terrified and wobbly-kneed. Many are dragged around by their necks and ears. Some still have their umbilical cords attached.

    Luckily, we don’t need eggs or dairy to live a healthy, happy life. Try Almond Breeze (milk made from almonds!) or Rice Milk or Soy Milk instead. And baking without eggs is simple — I guarantee no one will ever know the difference. I have people asking me for my vegan cookie recipes all the time…
    check out this amazing cookbook from your local library

  • BHA – Vermont

    Interesting aside: NPR had a story last night about quinoa – the fact that the price for the locals in South American had gone up 7X in 10 years. Why? Because it is being shipped out of the country. Makes good money for the farmers.

    So, is it ethical to cause economic harm to some poor person in Boliva so you can eat quinoa instead of meat?

  • http://www.thisveganlife.org Jo Tyler

    Consumers are really being misled by “humane” labels. I urge everyone to educate themselves before buying into this propaganda:


  • http://www.thedailycoop.com Poochie

    I’ve been vegan for several years now. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done and we eat out all the time. I love it and have never been happier. From feeling better and more compassionate about my food choices to improving my health and reducing my impact on the environment, I can’t understand why you wouldn’t want to “go vegan”!

  • judy

    Mika-you thought Isa sounded militant because deep down you have guilt for still being a cruel animal-eating human.It’s actually a good thing, this means you still have a soul. I, being from the vegan side, felt like Isa sounded very logical and true to HER convictions, the other guests couldn’t have been stacked more against her, I mean come on, they had vegans calling in to bag on other vegans? WTF? That phone was steadily busy and you mean to tell me those were the only people calling in? No. It was done for ratings sake. Reality radio gone wild. Isa handled herself zenfully beautiful. Back to your dilemma Mika. If we vegans sound like we’re better then others, it’s not intentional, it goes with the territory. Those of us that have adopted the vegan lifestyle, to save the lives of innocent, sentient beings have been gifted with a deep connection to all that lives. I’m not about to apologize for that or make excuses so you omnivores/carnivores feel better about what you’re doing wrong. I hope some day you are able to feel this same way and stop the senseless, brutal, killing.

  • Debbie Reynolds

    I have been a vegetarian for 24 years, and a vegan for the past 2… my reason for being vegan is primarily ethical, but I also embrace the benefits to both my health and the environment.

    One of the best things about being vegan for me, is that I get to eat a LOT of food every day, and I LOVE to eat… alot :)

  • http://ibelieveinbutter.wordpress.com Soli

    Judy, I would recommend you take a look at HWO soy was eaten in the countries where it was consumed. It was not as “milk,” “cheese,” texturized vegetable protein, chips, tofurkey, flour, etc. I do eat soy when it’s well aged-soy sauce and I’d eat natto if I could get it. But I don’t eat a lot of it.

  • Bonnie DeGray

    Just happened to notice that most opposing views come from the northeast. I’m from Vermont. Every Vegan I have ever met has suffered from feeling COLD in a room that feels comfortable to me. I milk a cow and collect eggs every morning. The cow is not suffering, but she would be if I didn’t milk her. Cows have FOUR teats (remember Fred Tuttle?) and give birth to ONE calf. Your caller said she equates her cat with a cow. Is her cat vegan? My hens fly up onto my shoulder when I bring them food. The Meat “industry” is not natural or ethical, but living in balance with nature does involve accepting that we are part of that balance. Vegans are no more ethically superior than I am. Eating meat that you have looked in the eye is not animal cruelty, it is an acceptance of nature. I eat lots of vegetables, and lots of meat that I knew as an animal. I have no quarrel with people who are vegan or vegetarian, but ilike milking my cow, and I love being warm.

  • John

    Eating cats might be good to save the wild bird population.

  • Jo Tyler

    What’s wrong with eating eggs?

    Please google “male chicks” for more information. What you will find is that male chicks are of no economic value to egg producers. They are routinely destroyed at birth. Methods of killing include gassing, crushing and grinding them alive in chippers.

    Here is an expose from one of the largest egg producers in the country:

    But these cruelties also occur on small, “free-range” and organic farms. It is a world-wide practice called “culling.”

    Also – please be aware that the vast majority of eggs come from hens kept in conditions so cruel that it would be a felony if they were dogs or cats. Some people say, “Oh, I only buy “free-range,” but what do you do about the eggs in packaged products you buy at the market? or what about the eggs in the meals you eat at restaurants or elsewhere? And what does “free-range” really mean?


    And of course, after the hens have been all used up and are no longer “productive” – they are slaughtered.

  • http://www.thisveganlife.org Jo Tyler

    Ok….and what’s wrong with eating dairy products?

    Please google “dairy veal connection” for more information.

    In my opinion, eggs and milk are the cruelest of all foods. In order to give milk, cows must have a baby. So they are repeatedly impregnated on what the industry calls a “rape rack.” If her baby is female, she will be taken from her mother and raised to be a dairy cow. If the baby is male, he is typically sold at auction to notoriously cruel veal producers. I have seen video footage of these auctions and it is heartbreaking. The calves are terrified and wobbly-kneed. Many are dragged around by their necks and ears. Some still have their umbilical cords attached.

    Luckily, we don’t need eggs or dairy to live a healthy, happy life. Try Almond Breeze (milk made from almonds!) or Rice Milk or Soy Milk instead. And baking without eggs is simple — I guarantee no one will ever know the difference. I have people asking me for my vegan cookie recipes all the time…
    check out this amazing cookbook from your local library

  • Miryam Wiley

    I forgot to state I am in Wellesley, MA. My coment is above, at 11:55

  • http://ibelieveinbutter.wordpress.com Soli

    In response to Debbie’s comment about eating a lot, I’d like to ask this. Where IS all this plant food going to come from? Good farming land is being lost to development, and soil depletion is also a major issue. Do we go for importing from other countries and deprive their people of food?

  • Josh

    I am an omnivore who lived for many years in Northampton MA, one of the more vegetarian/vegan friendly places around. I love many vegetarian/vegan foods and am a fine veggie cook who is more than happy to tailor my cooking to what people feel comfortable eating. However, I found the guest, Isa, had a very sactimonious tone even as she appeared to try not to. My eating choices (as well as my sexual choices, choices about my appearance, and all the rest of my lifestyle choices) are mine and mine only. No one else gets to tell me what to eat, who to love, or how I should look. And then I won’t tell you how to live your life, either. And now for a recipe that will piss all kinds of people off…

    Bacon tofu potatoes-
    Chop up a bunch of potatoes, some onions, garlic, hot peppers, a block of pressed tofu, and a package of bacon. Toss with oil and salt, pepper, and herbs (usually italian seasoning) and bake until done (45min-1hr, depending).
    Optional- add a layer of your favorite cheese 5-10 minutes before taking it out of the oven. Enjoy both the tasty potatoes and breaking the tofu/bacon wall.

    “I’m the one that’s gonna die when its time for me to die… So let me live my life the way I want to… ” -Jimi Hendrix

  • Janice

    Josh, that recipe is golden!! You get major “heart-age” from me! :>

  • geffe

    It’s interesting how many of the vegan’s commenting on here remind me of evangelical preachers or the anti-abortion movement. I’m also struck on how many of the vegans have these links to their “lifestyle” blogs.

    I’m all for healthy eating. However the sanctimonious tone from Isa Chandra Moskowitz made me turn this show off and confirmed my original critique.

    As to people who think that if they eat dinner at a friends and they should respect your dietary choices I have to ask why are imposing your life style choices on your friends? It’s rude. If you can’t stand that they eat meat don’t except invitations for dinner.

  • Andy

    Every time there’s an article or radio program or *anything* on veganism, like clockwork there will be an army of self-righteous meat eaters descending decrying the so-called “self-righteous preaching” of vegans.

    The only self-righteous preachings going on here are those from self-righteous meat eaters whining about the eating choices of vegans.

    If you are convinced your eating habits are the greatest thing since sliced bread, great. Go have your own episode and you can preach to your heart’s content. No need to come here to whine non-stop.

  • https://mividavegan.wordpress.com/ Martha

    I live in harmony by accepting that animals are not here for us to use. They have their own lives, love, raise family’s, feel fear and joy and more.
    There IS a connection between sexism, racism, etc. and animal use.


  • John

    There IS a connection between sexism, racism, etc. and animal use. – Posted by Martha,

    – Men and women eat animals or use animal products in most cultures all over the world.

  • Julia Pancake Rankin, above the dam,in McAdenville, NC

    Martha is correct. There is a proven clinical connection among racism, sexism, classism, sexual abuse, child abuse and animal abuse. (She stated this idea awkwardly.)
    Hierarchical exploitation under corporate capitalism probably provides an fostering umbrella for the structural violence that fosters these cruelties. The realpolitik that allows the hard-hearted to excuse these behaviors by saying “everybody does it” betrays these critics as perpetrators or wanna-be perpetrators. The increasing coercive and predatory atmosphere in American employment is a symptom of this type of psychological totalitarianism. Freedom to be cruel is slavery to sadism. Vegetarianism is a more humane counter-trend that sadists can’t tolerate. A rational predator would look the other way and say,”More meat for me.” But sadists thrive on punishing anyone different.

  • geffe

    Oh Andy, lighten up. I don’t see to many omnivores telling the vegans to shut up instead what I am seeing here are people objecting to the idea of being told how and what to eat as one of the guests was doing with all the self-righteous preaching of an evangelical preacher.

    I fro one don’t’ care what you eat. You can eat coconuts all day for all I care.

    The last few comments are so off the wall. A connection between racism, sexism, classicism, sexual abuse, child abuse and animal abuse? So all people who raise livestock are animal abusers and then in turn they are child abusers and racist? This is a tad extreme.

  • Mary

    Posting from Spokane, Washington:

    I was a vegetarian for nearly 10 years and a vegan for one of those years. Vegan cooking introduced me to wonderful foods from around the world and taught me how to eat my vegetables :) Unfortunately, while I do love to cook, I found myself thinking about food all the time! I had to be extraordinarily prepared when it came to eating out or at the homes of friends and family. I found I was always hungry and couldn’t keep my blood sugar up–even though I counted my proteins and ate what I considered to be a healthy array of foods. I lost 15 lbs. of muscle and couldn’t figure out how to keep it on, no matter how many cookbooks and vegan websites I read. I eventually gave in and went back to meat eating and have found myself able to retain muscle and keep my blood sugar steady with no problems.

    I am absolutely for the vegetarian/vegan lifestyle. Overall, it can be a wonderfully healthy way to live. However, I don’t believe “one size fits all” when it comes to diet. Also, while I was vegan I was on the receiving end of a lot of lame jokes from meat eaters who thought I had something against meat eating. It was really a pain to deal with. . .but it just reinforced in me the desire to be pleasant to everyone no matter what their dietary preference.

  • John

    Hitler was a vegetarian. Whether he ate meat or not was irrelevant.

  • Andy

    geffe, ever consider practicing what you preach and actually lighten up yourself?

    For some who declared “there is nothing more boring or infuriating than listening to vegans” and claimed “I be giving this show a pass”, you sure are obsessed with it, putting up posts after posts of whining.

    You know that such obsession is highly unhealthy, right?

    All I see is people like you complaining about “self-righteous” vegans when in reality you’re the one being self-righteous here, putting up posts after posts complaining about other people’s eating habits.

    I said it once and will say it again. If you don’t want to eat vegan, don’t. Just remember not everyone feel the same way you do. Stop your whining already.

  • susan from california

    Thank you Tom Ashbrook for this story. Going vegan is one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. My main reasons to help reduce worldwide hunger and starvation (we should grow food to feed to people directly, instead of feeding it to animals for weeks or months so that the world’s wealthier people can then eat the animals), and animal compassion. If I had known how easy it would be and how good well-prepared vegan food tastes, I would have done it years ago. Since I didn’t do it for health reasons, I was totally shocked to find that my energy, muscle tone and strength increased significantly after just a few months of eating a plant-based diet. It was a very nice bonus! Thank you for having Isa Chandra Moskowitz on the show…LOVE her cookbooks and love her passion! :)

  • geffe

    Andy don’t me what tell what to do. OK.
    All I said was one of the guest was a bit much. I never said I cared about vegans being bad people I was only commenting on the preacher aspect to all of this.
    I’m not obsessed at all. I did listen to the show as it was on while I worked and I thought I should at least give it a shot. I turned it off after about 40 minutes or so as Isa really turned me off.

    Food should be about enjoyment, not suffering and preaching.

    Andy, bight me…

  • Andi

    Is it just me or did Isa seem really pious and self righteous.

  • geffe

    Oh one more thing I’m not whining I’m objecting people like yourself trying to tell me what’s wrong with my eating habits.

    Like I said, I don’t care what you or anyone else eats.

    Someone mentioned that Hitler was vegetarian and Churchill was meat and potato man who drank to much.

  • Pancake, counting my m&ms, in NC

    Thanks Andy. I don’t like to appear extreme. No well meaning person does. What ticks me off is when those who try sacrificing something for the general welfare are attacked. That’s like when the cowboys make the old barber dance by shooting at his toes. That’s sadism in action. Someone jumped on Martha, and I defended her, just as I would in the subway. If it walks, talks and hits like a bully; it is probably a bully. I have lived in a situation where a ewe flock was used to breed lambs for Easter dinner. Boneheaded sheep have more emotion and real love than some of these know-it-all meat-johns berating alternative ways exhibit. Needless to say I got out of that business as soon as possible. In order to do the cruel procedures it takes to produce factory meat the rancher has to make a bargain with the emotion devil. If you get to where castration and slaughter are easy it is bound to bleed over into your political life and views. The majority of people avoid the facts of meat. I’d rather be a vegetarian than an ignorant smiling carnivore who thinks meat comes out a screen on the Enterprise. If you’re gonna eat meat, or smoke cigarettes (thanks Kate) or have unprotected anal sex you owe it to yourself to learn the facts.

  • Andy

    geffe, stop back-paddling. At the very beginning you’ve made it clear that you have problems with vegan: “there is nothing more boring or infuriating than listening to vegans.” That’s a verbatim quote from you. So who’s being self-righteous here?

    You don’t like vegans, we get it. You can stop your preaching & whining now.

    “Food should be about enjoyment, not suffering and preaching.” — It’s time for YOU to stop preaching YOUR idea of what food should be about. Other people have other ideas of what food means to them. Plenty of people care about the sufferings of animals. Just because you don’t care about that doesn’t mean other people shouldn’t talk about that aspect of food.

    “bight” me?? What’s “bight”? does meat consumption lower IQ?

  • Arden

    I am an ovo-lactic vegetarian, I have been for 41 years.
    I became a vegetarian for moral reasons, but it is obvious the health benefits and environmental benefits are significant as well.
    In the last couple of years, I have leaned more and more towards veganism, both for moral reasons, and for health reasons.
    I will say it is easier to be a dairy-consuming vegetarian than a vegan in terms of societal acceptance. The only times now that I eat cheese or eggs in when I am at a restaurant or social function where eating the pasta is a better choice than going hungry.
    I try to never be preachy or strident, I usually keep my views to myself. But it has been my life experience that for some reason, a lot of people seemed to be threatened by my not eating meat; and love to get up in my face about it.
    The laugh will be on them when they can no longer get their precious meat, because the practice of raising it has become too expensive and ecologically unsound to continue.

  • Pancake, still agitated, in NC

    Maybe vegans are the new queers, just like queers were the new Blacks. A Black lesbian who refuses meat could bring out the Meat Klan. She’s a triple threat. Does peroxide remove blood from your sheets?

    There’s always tomorrow, Andy. “They’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” Popeye’s Wimpy

  • Pancake, round,flat and curvy in NC

    Oprah can’t sue me. She’s a pubic figure, and a full one.

    That’s all. The tiempe is all fried up.

  • http://www.veganambrosia.blogspot.com Allison

    I was a little disappointed that Isa Chandra Moskowitz was the only vegan on the show, and that she was so strident. She was clearly trying to restrain herself, but she still came off as sounding (to me) overly critical of non-vegans (or even someone like me, who eats a vegan diet but still wears leather and eats honey), calling those who aren’t “yet” to her level of veganism unethical.

    Her views are important to the conversation, but so are others’. Ethics are subjective and appropriately targets of debate and continual revision. There are a lot of reasons to eat a vegan diet that are positive, and there are a lot of vegans who do not judge other people’s choices.

    That said, some people need to chill out. Can’t we all just get along?

  • Laura Beth Slitt

    Since reading “They Die Piece by Piece,” an April 2001 Washington Post article by Joby Warrick, about Gail Eisnitz( author of “Slaughterhouse,” a thirteen year expose of her investigations by http://www.HFA.org, Humane Farming Association) investigations of a Washington State IBP slaughterhouse, I’ve been vegan( I cheat a couple time a year).
    Face it, there is NO humane way to truck animals in tight confinement, freezing and boiling temperatures( no food or water provided), force their terrified bodies off these trucks, many injured badly, to a dis-assembly line that blows in their brains with a captive bolt stunner(VERY ineffective)cuts off their legs, rips off their skin, and carves them up with chain saws….If you think free range animals do not suffer, I wish I could live with such denial.

    Hitler was NOT a vegetarian and as the book, Eternal Treblinka , Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust , http://www.powerfulbook.com, states, he ate many forms of flesh but was concerned that meat caused his bad body odor, flatulence, and feared that his mothers cancer was caused by meat eating.

    As A Jew, I am obligated to never harm animals unnecessarily, Tsa’ Ar Be’ Alei Chayim, tragically lost even on most Rabbi’s.Since there is no need for it, and I love animals and do not wish to participate in their suffering, I refuse to spend a single cent supporting the very government that ALSO treats me like a unit of production, valued ONLY for my economic contribution.

  • Tami Kowal

    Excellent job, Isa! I think you should do your own podcast or radio show. Seriously.

    Just wanted to say to the lady that was concerned about B-12 levels in vegans, I have never had a problem. I take a liquid B-12 by Bluebonnet several times a week (which is delicious, btw) and get my levels checked regularly. The only thing I ever come in low from is vitamin D, but that is true for most of that live in the Pacific Northwest in the winter and has nothing to do with my diet. It is also easy to supplement. I think it’s all about eating whole plant foods and having a varied diet, plus taking the b-12. Easy peasy. And for the record, I am vegan for the animals, but I must add my cooking and eating has never been healhier or more exciting. :)

  • Liz

    Please do not spread the misinformation that vegans eat honey. Sure, there are people that call themselves vegan and eat honey — like there are people who call themselves vegetarians and eat chicken (I’ve met a few). There are even people who eat dairy products and call themselves vegan, but that doesn’t make it true. Veganism is against all animal exploitation and bees are animals, too. Honey is even specifically mentioned by The Vegan Society (creators of veganism) in their definition of veganism. We may not be able to reasonably avoid all animal exploitation in our lives, but that doesn’t excuse eating honey anymore than it does drinking milk. Both are easily avoidable for the vast majority of people.

  • Tami

    oops! I meant to type “healthier” in the above post, but I’m sure you all figured that out. :)
    Also, thank you to Tom for doing this show in the first place. You asked great questions.

  • http://www.veganambrosia.blogspot.com Allison

    Hi Liz,

    “Please do not spread the misinformation that vegans eat honey.”

    Sure, you’re right that the Vegan Society and a lot of vegans don’t approve of honey – I never said otherwise. (Although, it’s worth noting that while the Vegan Society may hold the copyright on the “vegan” symbol, they’re not the boss of vegans – or me. Language evolves and changes over time, through use in the real world.) In fact, I was noting that Moskowitz wouldn’t see eating honey as “ethical,” and of course she has the right to think that.

    I personally eat a vegan diet, by my and many others’ definitions, which does include honey produced on small, local, ideally organic farms. I probably don’t eat a vegan diet for the same reasons you do, but, as Moskowitz said, “that’s cool.”

    “We may not be able to reasonably avoid all animal exploitation in our lives, but that doesn’t excuse eating honey anymore than it does drinking milk.”

    I’m not asking you (or the Vegan Society) to “excuse” my life choices, any more than you’d ask me to “excuse” (or approve) yours. Statements like these are what gets people like geffe up there so pissed off. Let’s all just live our lives the best way we can and try to be nice to each other.

  • millard_fillmore

    Should have had Terry Romero on the show. She’s smokin’ hot and would have had all meat-eaters eating out of her palm!!! Oops, there I go, exposing my sexism, even though I don’t eat meat. ;)

  • markie obrien

    Isa, how dare you insult a 4th generation vegetarian. As far as I am concerned you are a quack. Ya ya ya supplement your B12 and take your arrogance elsewhere.

  • Elizabeth Giles

    I eat exactly as Mollie Katzen says she does: while not banning animal products altogether, I fill the plate with vegetables and there’s little room for anything else. But the term “Pro-vegetablist” is very awkward. May I suggest the term “vegephile”?

  • Nancy Seager

    I’m from Londonderry New Hampshire and have been Vegan for 6 yrs was vegetarian for 10 yrs before going Vegan.
    My decision to go Vegan:
    Ethical for the way animals are treated when raised for food, better for the environment as well and for my health. I’m 65 and have the energy level of my 3o/40 something daughters.
    Eating out in this area is difficult as the traditional American Diet prevails but I love to cook, have Vegan with a Vengence and also have converted many of my mother’s recipes to Vegan by substitution.
    Get healthy and go Vegan!

  • markie obrien

    Isa reminds me of a climate change denier. She has this delusion of what humans are physiologicalty. Thank goodness Dr Nitzke called her out on her lies.

  • Gretta

    As for a vegan diet being environmentally beneficial it has the obvious benefits of decreasing energy input in the food (growing animals takes a lot more energy per calorie of food produced than growing plants) BUT if vegans are just importing fruits or demanding fresh veggies in the winter or *using non-animal clothing* … all of these habits highly foster our tragic dietary reliance on oil. Coming from a small scale ag/permaculture background … focusing on local food (even if that means animal products) offers a much more environmentally friendly solution (plus this means fresher food which increases the nutrient potential of your meal) !

  • Nathaniel

    Most vegans I know here are just about on the “crazy side”

  • Kelli

    Loved listening to this segment – very interesting. I’m a lacto-ovo-pesca (dairy, egg, fish) vegetarian who recently went vegan and it’s a lot easier than I expected it to be. Although, It does take some planning and some education to do it correctly, as Isa mentioned on your show. I really appreciate you bringing this subject to the spotlight and I look forward to hearing more segments about it in the future. Thanks!

  • Christine

    “Isa reminds me of a climate change denier. She has this delusion of what humans are physiologicalty. Thank goodness Dr Nitzke called her out on her lies.”

    I didn’t get this from her interview at all. As far as I know, it has been demonstrated in scientific studies that a plant-based diet is nutritionally complete.

  • Dave

    The people posting angry responses about Vegans “not respecting our choice to eat meat” and complaining that Isa was “pious” or “dogmatic” are experiencing cognitive dissonance – they know that cruelty to animals is morally wrong, yet they cannot see themselves as anything but morally upright.


    Having been Vegan for ten years, I have heard all of this before many times. We even saw the obligatory Hitler reference. As others have said above, going Vegan was the best decision I ever made. Knowing that you are doing the best you can to live a non-violent life is joyful and liberating. It is also surprisingly easy.

  • Summer

    I’ve been vegan for 8 years. I’ve never had a problem with getting sufficient protein, calcium, vitamin B12, or vitamin D. I have taken a multi-vitamin since I was a child (who ate meat and dairy, too). I eat lots of different greens, grains, and beans now and I think my diet is more nutritionally diverse and fulfilled than it was as a meat eater. I think you can be a healthy meat-eater, if you don’t load up on high fat foods and don’t eat too much. However, I don’t think you *must* eat meat to survive and if you can spare some lives by avoiding it, why not?

    I also don’t feel like or know any self-righteous vegans. Like Isa said, most vegans are thinking about the animals involved, not about the person. Of course, when I see someone eating buffalo wings I’m upset! I’m reminded of the 8 chickens who died (in my view unnecessarily) so you could eat 16 wings. I think it’s a selfish thing to say, “oh, I like the taste of meat so I’m going to subjugate another species because I can”. If more meat-eaters were faced with killing their own food instead of just picking it up pre-packaged from the market they would feel similarly.

  • Ruth Swanson

    Is it just me or does this Isa Chandra Moskowitz, simply sound like an unpleasant person?

  • http://n/a Taylor

    I only caught about the last 15 minutes of this program in the car, but I was pleasantly stunned at the subject matter. Us vegans read a lot about our way of life, but I rarely hear anything about it. The recent stream of “everyone needs to drink milk” commercials on the TV made me think I never would so this was great to hear. First of all, I think some of those who chose to call vegans “self righteous” or “preachy” have less than zero clue what true veganism is about. They have been listening to the teeny bopper information about glamour veganism. They have doubtless taken no time or effort to research and see the benefits of true, honest to goodness veganism. If you’re going to be a vegan, you cannot just do it for the animals. You have to take the time to research the health benefits to understand why this way of life is so universally wholesome. I come from a family who has several members who have flirted veganism, some for ethical and animal reasons and some for health reasons. I personally, do it for both. I love animals and would never want to hurt them, but to be completely honest, the health benefits of the lifestyle are the number one reason I do it. I grew up vegan until I was about 15, after that point your parents can only withhold the evidence of junk for so long. So from 15 to 25 I ate almost like a normal American, although I ate nowhere near as much meat or cheese as everyone else I know because I never had much craving for it in the first place. Even when I did eat meat, I never could comprehend the lifestyle of those who ate meat two or three times a day since I only ate it about 2-3 time a week. Anyway, having the knowledge my mother instilled in me growing up as a base, I began researching healthy eating habits as I was looking to change mine for several reasons. Oddly enough, meat was the last thing to go because I didn’t know much about it. The first thing to go was procssed sugar and flour and various other “empty calorie” foods. I realize you can eat those things and still be vegan, but to me eliminating those things is included in being vegan simply because is SUCH a healthy step. Next to go was milk products. I’ve always had soy milk to begin with so I didn’t need to drop milk itself, just milk products, eg: cheese, etc. A couple of months after milk, gone was the meat, cold turkey (forgive the punn). After reading about how the meat is made, how the animals are treated, what happens to them physically when they are on their way to being slaughtered and how and what they are forcefed when they live as well as how they live… It was all too much for me to handle and still live comfortably. Next I researched how the body handles meat, digestion-wise. For those who don’t know, digestion is the source of all disease. Aside from being born with weak organs or severe hereditary issues (which can still be overcome), all disease comes from what we eat. Anything you consume that is dead creates mucus in the body. The mucus turns to fermented mucus which seeps into your blood, which goes through your liver which carries it all over your body. Its not at all difficult to figure out the how the rest works. Where do you think heart disease comes from? Too much animal protein! That’s right. Take the time, do the research and you’ll see. Milk: same thing, slightly lesser extent. Being vegan is not just about saving the animals, its about living utterly on the natural plant resources of the land and maintaining clean organs as God, or nature or whatever you believe in intended. Wanna hear something nasty? We are the only species on this planet who drinks milk after being weened from mother’s milk, here’s the nasty part: we drink another specie’s milk! Natural? I think not. Meat: The hormones an animal excretes in the moments leading up to slaughter alone are enough to cause serious health issues. Just think about all the hormones they have injected into them throughout their lives! Then there’s the fact that they live in the excrement of other animals throughout most of their lives and breathe air we couldn’t stand for 5 minutes. Like I said: don’t do it because I say it’s right, do the research, take the time and I think you’ll be surprised what you find.

  • Lindsey

    Does anybody know the title/artist of the reggae type song played in this segment….about eating veggies and such.

  • DaveB

    I’mon an all meat diet, because more than anything in the world, I can’t stand people telling me how to live my life. Also, I don’t care about animals. I care about people. I’m going to go wound a deer right now. You made me do this. :)

  • Julia

    Just had to say (as a 4-year vegan) – the comment and response to it from Isa about how vegans marginalize meat-eaters was hilarious. Sometimes, I’m so constantly surrounded by carnivores that I forget that there’s people that think like me. Thanks to the show for reminding me!

  • John Myers from Nehwon

    I’m accidentally vegan much of the time. I eat meat sometimes. Wouldn’t want to kill and clean any animal, but if I were or my kids were starving I’m sure I could.
    One important point though is that the rise in obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease and alzheimers has been linked to a high carbohydrate diet. If I went vegan I wouldn’t eat any grains. Not even whole grains. No bread. It’s our physical response to excess insulin that is most likely causing these diseases. Even if you eat whole grain products. If you’re vegan and overweight, and wondering why, please try cutting out bread for a couple of weeks.

  • Ruth Swanson

    Dearest Taylor: ummm ok…

  • ruthswanson

    Dave: please take a breath…I promise you it will all be ok:)

  • Laura Slitt

    My earlier post was removed as it spoke of the heinous nature of animal slaughter. If the meat consumers were forced to work in any slaughterhouse, one week for each specie of animal they ate, perhaps, if they had any heart left, they’d not then continue to participate in this madness.

    We are NOT designed to eat flesh , otherwise, our hospitals would not be filled with patients with stomach, colon, and other cancers or kidney failure from concentrated animal protein. Our teeth are too short, jaws too small, stomach acid not the right make up to digest dead flesh, and intestines, unlike true carnivores, way too long.

    On a planet with 70% water( steadily in decline from animal agribusiness) and 30% land, it is unconscionable to use 70% of crops grown ( and heavily chemically treated )for fattening animals.

    We are literally eating our planet to death. And we call ourselves the species of higher intelligence?????


  • Neil Kaplan

    20 year vegan, age 57. The health and environmental evidence cannot be ignored except for those who choose to live in denial. If you can’t change all at once, go gradually, as many of us did. The animals, the earth, and your health will be better for it.

  • Rick — Madison, WI

    I glad On Point took up this topic. Why though, of the four guests, was only one vegan? This lopsided panel resulted in an odd conversation somewhat askew from the main topic. I couldn’t help noticing that the call screeners were picking meat apologists of various sorts rather than very many vegans. The resulting conversation was less informative and thoughtful than it otherwise could have been

  • John

    Dear Ruth Swanson,

    It’s just you. Looks like Dave was right, cognitive dissonance at work.

  • Andy


    Agreed. It’s ridiculous to do a show on veganism and yet only have 1 out of the 4 guests to be vegan.

  • geffe

    Andy what part of the meaning of opinion don’t you understand. I find the way the subject was presented to be boring and preachy. It’s an opinion.

    The bite me comment was a joke. I see you seem to also lack a sense of humor. This is an open forum, I have the same right as you to post here. As do you.

    Like I said I think food should be enjoyed. It seems to me that a lot of vegans seem to take the joy out of food. To make sure you understand, that’s my personal opinion.

    “there is nothing more boring or infuriating than listening to vegans.” How is the self righteous in anyway. It’s a comment, an opinion that is not based on me thinking my way of living is better. I’m so self absorbed to suggest to anyone that they should eat one way or another. That’s really a personal lifestyle thing.
    Mind you obesity is a huge problem in this country but that’s more about the culture of food in the US than the idea of becoming a vegan.

    Let me be real clear here, I’m not condemning your dietary decisions, I don’t care. I’m objecting one of the guests of today’s shows way of presenting the subject in a way that seemed to me to be self rightous.
    Not unlike evangelicals if you ask me.

    Just think one day you will be on your death bed and you get this sudden realization that you missed out on the experience of eating foie gras. That even with all your extreme dietary restrictions you are still going to pass away like everyone else and most likely from the same thing as me, old age.

    I’m not advocating the eating of foie gras, it’s an example, just in case you don’t get my drift.

  • Andy

    geffe, let me get this straight.

    So when it comes to you preaching your way and bashing others’ ways, it’s “just a personal opinion.”

    But when it comes to vegans like Isa expressing THEIR personal opinions, all of a sudden it’s them being “self-righteous” and “sanctimonious”?

    My recommendation: go look into the mirror before you mouth off next time.

    And my “meat lowers IQ” comment was a joke too. You seem to lack the sense of humor to understand it. Did I hit too close to home?

  • Rick in Vermont

    I am an omnivore living in Vermont. Most of the beef, pork, chicken and eggs that I consume are raised humanely on nearby organic farms, and I know the farmers personally. For me, a grain-based or vegetarian diet is not as healthy as a vegetable and animal protein diet. For others, a vegan diet might be just fine, and I respect that. But, if you’re human and you eat anything, you’re killing animals. If animal habitat is being converted to agriculture for soy and grains, you’re killing the animals that lived there. When tilling the land for these crops, creatures in the soil are being destroyed. When harvesting these crops, mice, voles, snakes, among other animals, are being shredded by combines and threshers. Is killing a cow unethical, but killing mice isn’t? If yes, why? It’s impossible to draw a line, because the reality is that we all feed on the death of other creatures. That’s just part of life. That being said, what really is unethical and inhumane are the CAFO’s that destroy the environment while degrading and torturing cattle, pigs, and chickens. The locavore movement is focused on remedying that, and you can be a locavore and be vegan, vegetarian, or omnivorous.

  • Tom


    So you’re arguing that vegans aren’t perfect. Agreed. I’ve never heard anyone claimed otherwise. Not sure why you felt the need to argue that.

    As for your assertion that eating animals is the same as eating plants whose production causes the death of animals, that’s like saying driving is the same as murder because the consumption of petroleum caused the Iraqi war which resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of civilians. You might think that way, but I do think there’s a difference between driving and murder.

  • http://beaelliott.blogspot.com/ Bea Ⓥ Elliott

    It was definitely the animals that got me (and husband) on a plant based diet… 3 years later, it’s the delicious food, the great health benefits, the issues regarding human rights and the environment. There’s so many advantages that are discovered as time goes on. Best decision we ever made! :)

  • Rick in Vermont

    @ Tom

    I never asserted that anyone was perfect–you’re misinterpreting what I wrote. However, one of the main reasons vegans (and vegetarians) give for their choice of diet is ethical–they don’t want inhumane treatment of animals. Neither do I. But the reality is that animals die when food is produced, whether you’ve chosen to eat the animal directly, or eat the plant that provided shelter and sustenance to the animal. Collateral damage, to borrow your parlance, is still murder. Both you and I derive our nutrition from death, whether we like it or not–that’s the way nature works.

    Animals dying for us to eat is inevitable. What isn’t inevitable are the choices we as consumers make. Voting with our pocketbooks for environmentally friendly, topsoil enhancing, organic, sustainable and humane methods of polyculture production is the only way we can change the quantity over quality mentality of the American food industry.

    It sounds like you are a conscientious vegan or vegetarian. I respect your choice, for whatever reasons you made it. I also ask you to respect mine, since for me (and I know, as I’ve been a vegetarian in the past) eating animal-based proteins and a diet heavy in vegetables and low in grains is best for my heart, cholesterol level, joint health (I’m a long-distance runner, and grains are inflammatory and affect my joints), and stamina. I’m not trying to convert anyone to my quasi-paleolithic diet, as I am well aware it is not the best choice for all, but it is the best choice for some, just as is the case for vegetarianism or a vegan diet.

  • Tom


    I respect your choice. Having said that, this is a show devoted to veganism and it interviewed just one vegan on why she became vegan. Somehow that resulted in this page now full of comments from non-vegans trying to “poke holes” in veganism. Why such defensiveness? I’ve listened to radio shows on yoga and I’ve never seen yoga-practitioners being attacked the way vegans are being attacked here.

    Like I said, I’ve never heard anyone claiming that veganism causes absolutely zero death of animals. The difference is that between direct deaths and “collateral damages”. On that point we’ll just have to agree to disagree. Yes death is death, but to me there’s a big difference between driving a car and killing someone directly. Judging by how prevalent driving is in this country, I suspect that many feel the same way.

  • http://beaelliott.blogspot.com/ Bea Ⓥ Elliott

    @Rick and anyone else who has expressed that “Animals dying for us to eat is inevitable.” To be consistent in our language usage and to better communicate truth, I think it should be noted that animals DO NOT “die” for us. They are KILLED.

    And there is a world of difference from the accidental killing of animals during the harvest of crops then the intentional breeding of billions of animals destined for butchery. Furthermore, since so many crops are grown to fatten “meat” animals – The injury done during harvest of their feed only increases the harm and killing.

    No a vegan diet does not eliminate all unnecessary suffering… But it does seek to cause as little harm as possible.

    On the non-stop use of the placebo word “humane”. Humane means to be concerned with the alleviation of suffering. These animals are not in aging pain or ill. They are delivered (for slaughter) as healthy, sentient, innocent beings… They are quite fit for life! So there is no “suffering” to end – Only terror and suffering to cause.

    What about the human element? Has anyone really considered what kind of society we create by employing thousands of people to hack the lives out of animals all day, everyday? Look at the stats on those working in “meat production”. The highest turnover and injury rates. Extreme problems in domestic abuse, alcoholism, drug use and crime… Also as the meat industry exploits the animals so it does to the labors… These slaughterhouse workers are paid the lowliest wages to do the lowliest of jobs. Does this benefit a culture whose quest is (or should be) for nonviolence?

    Make the connection people. Our meat-eating culture has contaminated our planet with anti-biotic ridden factory farms and blood-spilling (horror) slaughterhouses. It is equally destructive to our physical health and our emotional intelligence. We all know what is “fair”… To kill innocent (docile) life when there is no need to do so can no longer be justified. There’s never been more compelling reasons or better opportunities to evolve beyond where we are.

  • http://www.pioneervalleyvegan.wordpress.com Nicole

    While I am glad that On Point decided to have a show to discuss veganism, I thought their choice of guests was odd and made the show awkward. Why would a show on a focused topic such as veganism only have one vegan on the guest panel? We wouldn’t have a show on organic gardening and have only one of the four guests be an organic gardener. Ca we get a redo?

  • http://www.onpointradio.org Eileen Imada


    The song that you heard is “Be Healthy” by the hip hop duo Dead Prez.

    Thanks for listening and for asking.

  • geffe

    If humans were meant to be vegans then why do you folks have to take supplements?

  • geffe

    Andy that’s not what I heard. The tone of Isa was one of you meat eaters are awful people. I don’t eat a lot of meat by the way. I also have good sense of humor and I got your jibe. I never said that you should eat meat. Did I?
    I only said that vegans seem to be extreme and take the joy out of food. That’s a valid comment considering some folks think eating honey is bad. Honey is bad? Talk about silly.

    Anyway good luck with the vitamin D deficiency.

  • Patricia

    I listened to the show on the vegan buzz. I have followed a plant-based diet since 1986 for the most part and consider myself a vegetarian. I’ve eat vegan and raw foods once in awhile, but would never make this my way of life because I don’t feel that these diets work for my constitution and I also don’t enjoy someone else forcing their ethics down my throat.

    Diet is personal, but has become political in the last three decades or so. I applaud people for choosing to honor the planet through their diets and to treat animals with kindness. However, I believe that vegans take this too far to the point of alienating their friends and families, when they adopt a dogmatic stance. And vegan clothing and shoes are most often made from petrochemicals, which aren’t good for the environment. So when a vegan waxes on about how their diet is more environmentally friendly than a vegetarian diet or an omnivore one, I say think again. There is no perfect diet out there.

    But I advocate education about factory farming, treatment of animals, (and not just in the food industry), and everyone should know where their food comes from, and how it was produced. This should be taught in schools K-12, instead of consumerism that is so cleverly disguised as knowledge. Then people can make ethical decisions based on what they learn.

    Isa Chandra kept saying that an omnivore or vegetarian diet is fine as long as the person is transitioning to a vegan diet. I tell you what, I challenge Isa Chandra to visit the Saharan Desert of Africa and ask nomadic people to switch to a plant-based diet, or to Indigenous people living near the Arctic Circle. It’s not going to happen.

    However, if middle class Americans choose to switch to a plant-based diet this will curb CO2 gases, but to think that the world will some day go plant-based is pure fantasy.

    I love animals too and live a green eco-logically friendly lifestyle. I realize that we all make some difficult choices everyday. Do I buy the vegan shoes or the leather ones? Which one uses more fossil fuels to produce? Canvas shoes work in the summer. Do I eat local or organic? I focus on my own decisions. I don’t have time to make decision for other, but I hope that people choose the healthiest path for themselves, their families, and the planet.

  • Andy

    geffe, at least Isa never said anything as self-righteously pompous as “there is nothing more boring or infuriating than listening to meat eaters,” now did she?

    The only one being extreme here is you. You keep whining about how you are entitled to your (however misguided) opinions yet you’re the first one to attack the opinions of Isa and other vegans.

    Good luck with your quadruple bypass. Too bad I’ll be stuck shouldering your medical bills through insurance.

  • Nicole from Northampton, MA


    If humans were meant to be omnivores, then why do so many omnivores wind up with cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis? The only nutrient we need to supplement is Vitamin B12.

  • Rachel

    “I think animal rights supporters should work more to improve living conditions for farm animals and to get people to decrease their consumption of meat (portion sizes and number of meals containing meat) instead of trying to recruit people to an extreme diet that few want to adopt. I see nothing immoral about eating animals, but the way they are raised and the environmental issues need to be addressed.”

    I agree with this comment made by John. I grew up on a farm and have been vegetarian since college. Not everyone is going to adopt this way of eating or living so it would be a good step to take care of the animals that are used as a food source.

    I’m looking forward to the day that meat will be grown in a lab and animals won’t be used at all. Even if every human becomes vegan, we still have to feed our pets meat and I would feel a lot better if it were grown in a petri dish.

  • Erik Phillips

    Before 1850, anyone who refrained from eating animas was called a “Pythagorean.” Pythagoras taught and lived by the principle of compassion for all life, which inspired Plato, Plutarch, Plotinus, the Genostics, and the early fathers of the Christian church. All major religions recognize animals as sentient and within our moral sphere of behavior and have some form of the Golden Rule, which teaches loving-kindness to others. All major religions support the spiritual transformation and the birth of a new consciousness that veganism, and sustainability calls for.

    Issac Newton is recognized as one of the primary leaders in the advancement of animal welfare, according to The Bloodless Revolution, a book about the history of vegetarianism.

    In his quest to discover God’s universal laws of morality, Newton undertook a massive project of biblical and historical scholarship. Newton believed he had discovered the fundamentals of the original religion, both its ceremonial form and its moral base. . . . Newton believed that Noah’s people carried with them the essential moral laws. Predictably, two of them were the key biblical commandments to love God and to ‘love thy neighbour as thyself.’ But the third major law that Newton identified—much more controversially and unexpectedly—was the commandment of ‘mercy to animals’. The central commandment ‘love thy neighbor’ was expanded to say ‘all men should be friends to all men & even to bruit Beasts.’

    Founding Father Benjamin Franklin was also vegetarian, as were many American revolutionary patriots. Franklin represented the struggle between the ‘primitive and savage’ meat-eating and the ‘higher, spiritual’ vegetarianism, as between two fundamentally opposed concepts of man’s position in nature. Franklin showed that it was impossible to dissect the medical, economic and ethical motives of vegetarianism. He fully endorsed the sparing of animals, which merged easily with his sympathy-based arguments on anti-slavery and political rights.

    “The time will come,” said Leonardo da Vinci, “when men will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.” “Cruelty is inescapable in confining, mutilating, and slaughtering animals for food, and we bring this violence into our bodies and minds, disturbing the physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual dimensions of our selves in deep and intractable ways.” “Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth,” said Albert Einstein, “as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” From a metaphysical perspective, many vegans believe that other animals’ (and plants’) separateness from us is an optical delusion of our consciousness, and this delusion is restricting our affection to just a few persons nearest us; but our task is to widen our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty, as ourselves.

  • Erik Phillips

    Ecological Issues:

    Animal agriculture is the number one cause of U.S. human death and disease, the number one cause of global biodiversity loss, the number one cause of global climate change, the number one cause of deforestation, the number one cause of US water pollution, consumes 70% of all food, consumes 80% of all U.S. agricultural land, and kills over 9 billion land animals and 71 billion sea animals per year for the US alone.

    Animal inputs are not necessary in agriculture, except that we need to be recycling the soil fertility in human manure for true sustainability. However, among farmers there is an almost universal myth that ‘it is not possible to build up soil health and grow organically or sustainably without non-human animal manure.’ Many farms have proved this to be untrue.

    All life and fertility originates through photosynthesis by primary producers. Animals, including humans, are net consumers, converting plant energy and nutrients into heat through life processes like respiration. Animals may concentrate fertility in manure, but it would be thermodynamically impossible for animals to increase soil fertility. “No one is denying that animal manures and slaughterhouse by-products fertilize the soil and yield crops. However, the fertility does not originate from these residues, but rather from the grass and grains which the animals ate.” Animals are not only unnecessary for sustainable agriculture, but make it exponentially harder to achieve sustainability because of the exponential amount of energy lost by eating the animals rather than the plants.

  • Erik Phillips

    Health Benefits of Veganism:

    The official position of the American Dietetic Association, the largest U.S. organization of food and nutrition professionals is that:

    “Vegetarian diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases [and w]ell-planned vegan and other types of vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence”

    In contrast, the standard American diet is based almost entirely on meat and dairy products, plus white flour and white sugar. “One third of the caloric intake of the average American comes from animal sources (including dairy), totaling 800 pounds per person per year, meaning that US citizens derive 40% of their calories from fat.” Because of this diet,

    one-third of the women and one-half of men in the U.S. population die of heart disease, the number one cause of death. Meanwhile, medical research is telling us that vegetarians and vegans not only have far less heart disease, but also have lower rates of cancer, hypertension, diabetes, gallstones, kidney disease, obesity, and colon disease. They live on average six to ten years longer than the rest of the population, and in fact seem to be healthier by every measurement we have of assessing health outcomes.

    The health benefits of veganism are overwhelming: “There is a 3-4% drop in heart disease risk for every 1% decrease in blood cholesterol. Vegetarians have a 14% lower, and vegans a 35% lower blood cholesterol level than non-vegetarians.” “The most common problem for which people go to the doctors in the U.S. is high blood pressure. While the ideal is 110/70 (without medication), the average of non-vegetarians is 121/77, and vegetarians average 112/69. Plus, 30-75% of patients with high blood pressure achieve substantial improvement by switching to a vegetarian diet.”

    More than half a million Americans die of cancer each year and the U.S. spent about $228 billion on cancer treatment in 2008. 60-70% of all cancers can be prevented by staying physically active, not smoking, and most importantly, by following a simple dietary recommendation: “Choose predominantly plant-based diets rich in a variety of vegetables and fruits, legumes, and minimally processed starchy staple foods.” Cancer rates for vegetarians are 25-50% less than those of the general population, even after controlling for smoking, body mass index, and socioeconomic status. Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer mortality worldwide, and the risk of lung cancer is 20–60% less for people who frequently eat green, orange, and yellow vegetables. The most common cancer among American men is Prostate cancer and there is a 70% increase risk for men who consume high amounts of dairy products.

    Excess weight causes diseases that kill about 280,000 Americans annually. There is double to triple increase risk of heart disease for obese people; double to triple increased risk for gallstones; triple to quadruple increased risk of colon cancer; and 40 times greater increased risk for diabetes. Obesity rate among the general U.S. population is 18% (and 25% of U.S. children) but only 6% for vegetarians and 2% for vegans.”

  • Erik Phillips

    Vegan Dilemma?

    Unlike the nuances of Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma, which is a justification for a nonhuman animal slavery and custom—“the standing hindrance to human advancement” — veganism is a new foundation for a “countercuisine” and culture based on values of respect, kindness, equality, sensitivity, and connectedness. The desire to eat meat is cultural and it is not consistent with our physiology—or sustainability. There is no dilemma for vegans.

  • Erik Phillips

    I am a militant vegan.

    I have been vegan for 4 years and vegetarian for 11 years prior (since I was 10). I became vegan while living in Boulder, CO and I now live in Vermont.

    I think that people who are not vegan, in general, have no intellectual or moral integrity. When people try to justify consuming animal products, it sounds, to me, like they are trying to defend genocide. It’s pathetic and reprehensible.

    I think that higher standards of what we consume should be codified prerequisites for participation in any organization dedicated to sustainability or environmental or social justice. Ghandi recognized that “[t]he truth, power and moral force of a movement are inseparable from the truth, power and moral force of its actors.”

    Sustainability is a function of what we consume and veganism is a way of consuming that is consistent with the urgency, sacrifice, and shift in consciousness that sustainability necessitates. But the most sustainable (“sustainable plus”: healing our human and ecological diseases) way to live is vegan-local.

  • John

    I think that people who are not vegan, in general, have no intellectual or moral integrity. — Posted by Erik Phillips

    Yes, obviously over 99% of people throughout the entire history of the human race have no intellectual or moral integrity.

  • http://www.ThankingtheMonkey.com Karen Dawn

    I just listened to and loved this show! As the last caller spoke about having to look her animals in the eye before she killed them, I wondered what she said to them: “I could eat a lentil burger for lunch but hey, sorry, you taste better.” Then Tom Ashbrooke closed with a quote from Moby that said something similar. So perfect!
    A note on nutrition: I was uncomfortable with the dieticians’ suggestion that one has to be so nutritionally careful on a vegan diet, as if one doesn’t have to worry on a standard American diet. Yes, vegans are more likely to be low in B12, and most of us acknowledge that and take supplements. But we are so much less likely to have all of the number one killers — heart disease, cancer, diabetes. The truth is that one needs to be very worried about one’s health if one is eating a standard Western diet, not if one is eating a vegan diet.

  • Linda S.

    As a vegetarian, I am happy to see that there is a national discussion going on about veganism. For many people, giving up meat and animal products is a process requiring baby steps – giving up meat at certain meals, then giving up certain types of meat altogether, and on from there. As long as people are thinking about it and realizing that eating a hamburger is not the same moral choice as eating pasta, this is a positive step.

    I would like to say to carnivores, please don’t be so defensive about it. Many people still seem to be taking the attitude that vegetarians and vegans are making a personal attack against carnivores, and this makes the carnivores bristle and refuse to give up their lifestyle. You’re hurting yourselves in the process. This is not a war. You don’t have to dig in and refuse to surrender. Don’t maintain a carnivore lifestyle out of spite just because a vegan posted an insulting comment. This is not about personal insults, or certain unpopular activist groups, or the food that your mother raised you on. This is about animal suffering and your health. My mother raised me on meat too, but I’m not a kid anymore, and I much prefer my food choices to hers.

  • Lesley

    Thanks for covering veganism. Been vegan for over 10 years. It’s a great lifestyle and more companies are really need to tap into this demographic.
    Vancouver, BC Canada

  • http://berkeleybreathed.com Jody Boyman

    Wonderful show, important topic! Thank you for covering in such a thoughtful and meaningful way. As a long time vegetarian and now migrating toward a nearly vegan, I particularly resonated with Moby’s quote: Could you look an animal in the eye and say my appetite is more important than your suffering? In any case, eating lower on the food chain is not only the most compassionate choice for animals, it also speaks volumes about a person’s choice to do their part in preserving our precious environment.

  • anna from toronto

    Great show! Isa is so neat to listen to.

    I’m glad more people are talking about ethical veganism. Eating meat/animal products boils down to one’s culinary pleasures being more important than another being’s suffering and life. It is great when the media can help us make these connections, which can be hard to see when we’re so used to seeing things one way. The fish is last to know about water…

  • alexandra

    Thanks for the vegan program, with wonderful guests! An important issue, keep it up!

  • G.M. WEBER, Ohio

    What great coverage of a topic – which we and our friends are so very tuned into~!

    Very encouraging to know our tiny “minority” is not so tiny anymore! We are definitely a seriously growing segment of society. Compassion and intelligence really do go hand in hand.

    Thanks so very much for the great coverage. We will certainly watch for more news along this line~!

  • Aggie Monfette

    Your show on veganism was superb! For this important subject/lifestyle to be aired on such a prominent show is invigorating and the exposure all important!

    Both my husband and I have been vegan for many, many years. He is an excellent cook who enjoys the creativity that being vegan inspires. The torturing of the animals was our #1 reason for becoming vegan, but the benefit of improved health for both of us is rewarding. Not only our we helping animals, we are living free of disease caused by unhealthy eating. Bon Apetit!

  • Carla in Washington

    It is so sad when people resent veagnism–as if they resent the very compassion and empathy that brought folks into this lifestyle. But thank you, “On Point”, for airing this program and shedding more light for those who have the capacity to see. Maybe some day, through education, patience and understanding, humans will evolve beyond violence, greed and selfishness to actually become the great species we think we are.

  • Gerardo Tristan

    vegan for 5 years and neevr feel better. My varicose veins are gone and I feel great like never before!! Now it is a lifestyle but it started as a diet choice! Go Vegan and save the planet, get helthier and help the animals too!

  • Michaela

    Thanks for the great coverage!! It seems that people are finally realizing what’s good for them, the animals and the planet.

  • Gerardo Tristan

    Oh!By the way: GREAT show NPR/ Tom! It ws about time. I am looking forward to more show on this VERY important issue.

  • Suzie

    Thanks for this show. I enjoyed hearing it. If we all went vegans, we’d get rid of most of the health problems (diabetes, obesity, cancer, heart troubles, etc.) And yes, vegan food is yummy!

    More shows about the veganism please!

  • Kristina

    Wonderful but why did you include Molly Katzen? She was never that pro animal and not very vegan friendly. She even said she doesn’t want to discuss meat issues only how vegetables are so great.

    I love vegetables, too but I want to follow true blue vegans. Those who really care about animals, truly want to reduce suffering and are appalled by animal cruelty. Although Katzen has been a longtime vegetarian she is not in this caring category. I do not consider her vegan…she admitted she eats meat. Please do not include her.

  • Laura

    Thank you for this. I’m mostly vegan 25 years and love it more every day…there is just so much great food, all the varieties of grains, veggies, fruits, seeds, nuts, beans, and so many wonderful ways to prepare them, or NOT prepare them…good produce is such a fantastic blessing. Someone above said we need to supplement B12…true, but so do “omnivores,” as studies have shown they can be deficient in this important vitamin due to non-absorption. I use sublingual B12 a few times a week (500mcg) along with fortified foods.
    When I was cheating several years back, eating greasy fries, onion rings, bean & cheese burritos, drinking milkshakes, and so on, my weight and blood pressure went sky high and I had irritable bowel syndrome. Since being strictly vegan and nutritionally smart again I’ve dropped 70 lbs, my blood pressure is great, and no more digestive problems. Menopause was a breeze, I take no drugs, and feel great and young.
    Veganism is wonderful for the soul too…my main concern are the animals…don’t want that horrible suffering caused by me.
    I can’t see how anyone could have a problem with us unless they are connected to the animal agriculture industries.

  • http://www.creaturequotes.com SBHC

    I read the comments first, then listened to the archived program.

    I’d like to share a few of my thoughts on both.

    First, my hat’s off to Tom, who is one delightful, perceptive, on-point interviewer!

    Second, I paid close attention to the tone and word choice of each guest. I couldn’t find anything remotely confrontational or condemning in Isa’s comments. She spoke warmly to — and of — Mollie, even after Mollie used words like “puritanical” and “dogmatic” to describe those who subscribe to ethical standards of eating.

    Third, my overall impression is that most people are hyper-consumed by the physical effects of what (or who!) we ingest. I think the emphasis on physical health is backwards and imbalanced. It makes more sense to me to focus on the moral and spiritual qualities of thought that our behavior and our fare represent, then watch the health benefits of ethical eating tag along, as they’re bound to do.

    It seems we could all afford to do a little more inquiry and introspection. For example:

    Do our meals reflect our desire to be kind to all living beings or do they involve betraying and killing defenseless, harmless animals?

    Are we tending toward self-justification or self-sacrifice when making our purchasing decisions?

    Do we say we are compassionate toward animals and care about the earth but are not aligning our behavior with our values?

    Do we believe our taste buds and cultural traditions and conveniences and “comfort foods” supersede someone else’s suffering?

    If we decide to become ethical vegans, are we also being gentle and understanding with those who are still carnists (the newly coined word that describes the ideology of eating animals) or do we look down on them and treat them as uninformed, cold-hearted brutes? The qualities of humility, honesty and courage that cause someone to stop harming nonhumans must be equally expressed toward our fellow humans. Otherwise, we continue to contribute to the spirit of war instead of sowing seeds of peace among all beings.

    It’s challenging to be an ethical vegan bent on reforming the centuries-old animal-exploiting system without sounding holier-than-thou. But it’s important to distinguish between whether we’ve purposely insulted someone or whether they’re simply reacting defensively, out of guilt and shame, to our non-judgmental-but-strong statements about the violence inherent in misappropriating animals as ours to eat, wear, and otherwise “use.”

    Those vegans who become activists for animals and the environment do so out of an impulsion to spread the good news — not because they are trying to intrude on anyone’s personal beliefs. Vegans realize that, as with any social movement, eyes must (and will) open, minds must (and will) change, hearts must (and will) soften, and eventually laws must (and will) be rewritten. That’s how the world progresses!

    Lastly, I think the “clarity” a couple of vegan callers refer to describes the freeing feeling — the joy and relief — that comes from no longer being complicit in cruelty to lovely, innocent creatures, our co-inhabitants of this good green earth.

    Thanks, NPR, for making way for this essential conversation.

  • David Spratt

    Vegan for 15 years.
    Animal rights advocate all my life.
    Improve conditions for food animals so that we can live with our guilt? No way.
    If you feel the suffering – don’t create it.
    If you don’t feel the suffering then you have no soul.

  • http://veganelder.blogspot.com/ veganelder

    From Norman Oklahoma…..Thank you for airing a show about veganism and how such an approach to living/eating lessens the unnecessary misery and suffering and death inflicted upon animals that don’t happen to be human animals.

  • audrey

    i’ve been vegetarian for 13 years and love to see animal welfare issues covered in the media, so thank you NPR!

  • http://www.choosevegan.co.uk deborah minns

    humans are compassionate deep down, there just need some encouraging finally to do the right thing for their own health for that of their childrens the earth and their morals, if we were carnivores we would have claws and acidic acids strong enough

    • Jill

       We are omnivores who don’t have claws because we used tools and learned to cook.  People can survive for a very long life on a meat-only diet.  Of course we are omnivores.  Pretending that we are herbivores is just denying the obvious truth.

  • John

    The human body evolved to its current state while we were hunter gatherers. Thus we ate a varied diet of mostly plants, some meat, and animal products while getting a lot of exercise. Most people do not get sick and die from cancer, heart disease, diabetes until they are past their prime reproductive years, so evolution is not factor in whether we should eat meat and animal products or just vegetables as they genes have already been passed on by then. The fact that we can digest meat means that as animals we are capable of doing so. As other animals consume animals, I don’t think that we are morally wrong for doing so. Is it moral to provide meat for a carnivorous house pet (assuming that pet ownership is not immoral)?

    • Jill

       But evolution and natural selection are not just based on how many offspring one can have, but how on many survive to adulthood and procreate.  They was likely an advantage to having family members within a group that survived to old age.  Supporting moms, helping with birthing, watching children…these are all things that could provide a subtle evolutionary advantage.

  • g

    Isa’s attitude is SO off-putting. This whole attitude of “i am better than you” is coming across in her voice.

    I cannot stand it. A lot of vegans are like that.

    The restaurant owner that called to tell about the fact that she has food on her menu that is for EVERYONE and that she tries to make responsible choices, Isa put her down. WTH!? Not only did the point of the caller – acceptance and tolerance for everyone’s food choices – didn’t register with Isa, but she had the NERVE to talk bad about the caller. “Maybe the restaurant is having issues”?! Cannot stand her! She is so annoying. Go enjoy your tofu, smarty pants, better than everyone.
    It turns me off the whole choice of becoming a vegetarian.

  • g

    This, is from her website:

    Check out our media page for more blah blah blah on how awesome we are

  • g

    Hard core vegans are nuts!
    Anyone who takes their beliefs, vegans or hard core religious FANATICS are NUTS!

    culture based on values of respect, kindness, equality, sensitivity, and connectedness. The desire to eat meat is cultural and it is not consistent with our physiology—or sustainability. There is no dilemma for vegans.
    Really!? Our culture is not based on respect and kindness? People donating their time and money to causes OTHER THAN animal cruelty do not count?

    Because I eat meat I am unkind and not respectful?

    What is wrong with you people?

    You want tolerance from others, do you give tolerance to others? Even if you disagree with their food choices?

    Nauseating. This whole attitude. “you’re a carnivore! you’re hurting yourself!”

    Now, I have been a pescaterian for a number of years, but I will NEVER become a vegan.
    It is not a baby step for me.

    Current animals were bred for meat consumption.
    We, humans, evolved the way we did BECAUSE we started eating meat. You wouldn’t be as smart as you are today, if your ancestors didn’t eat meat.

    I respect your choice to not wear leather and fur and not eat meat and animal products, but the attitude that YOUR choices are better than MINE, is appalling.
    Keep it to yourselves.
    Same thing I tell to the religious fanatics. Keep YOUR GOD to thyself!

  • Erin Gaines

    Wonderful show! Loved the interview with Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I highly recommend her cookbooks. Thanks for covering such an important topic. Choose compassion!

  • Deedee D.

    When one is talking about the heinous animal cruelty that goes along with consuming meat and dairy — even so-called free-range eggs and meat — I *do* think vegetarians and vegans have the right to think that they are doing better than others who eat dairy and meat, as well as who continue to eat meat and dairy upon finding out how horrific it is for the animals. And I don’t think one has to avoid the cruelty issues when educating people on becoming a vegetarian/vegan and only focus on an “Isn’t this good?” mantra. Many of us are making these food choices so that a few less of the billions of animals won’t have to suffer before landing on the table. So be it.

    • Jill

       The problem is, you are not actually doing as much good as you think you are.  Soy, grain, and corn monocultures are not good for the environment.  Thousands of birds and small mammals are displaced and killed for these crops.  Poisons and traps are used to protect crops during storage.

      The fields that my grass-fed cow spent its life in are teeming with life.  Birds, snakes, squirrels….all living a normal life along side a cow.  One cow can feed me for half a year.

      Some vegans are compelled by their egos to try to show they are superior because of their diets.   I am not and never will be ashamed of the way I eat.  I choose meat from animals that had an excellent quality of life.  I am not in denial that lives are lost so I can exist. 

  • http://www.happyhealthyfit.com Kimmi L.

    What an awesome show, and a great couple of people (including a meat-eater!) to sing the praises of eating a healthier, plant-inclusive diet.

    Thank you so much for the questions you asked and for getting some great info out there for the how-to on how to flirt with eating more veggies, what it means to eat compassionately and what lies deeper as to why people eat so much meat and stick to habits.

    These real, heartfelt interviews are just what so many Americans who don’t stop to think what’s going into their mouths need to hear – even if it doesn’t turn our country vegan, every person who eats more grains, veggies and fruits is going to live happier, healthier and fitter! <3

  • RMP

    Wonderful that you devoted a whole hour to this topic!!
    Thank you so much! It is crucial that this conversation and coverage continues. It rarely gets the media coverage it deserves and I applaud you for doing this show. Please continue to cover the ethical side of choosing not to eat meat. The nonhuman animals need our voices to speak up for them. Keep up the great work!

  • John

    I’m curious as to what the ultimate goal vegans have for domesticated animals once they are no longer being raised for food. Most of these animals cannot exist in the wild and even if they could they would not be native species so they would have an impact on the local ecosystems. Continuing to raise them has environmental costs (frequently cited as a reason not to eat meat) so that couldn’t be a long-term solution. One final harvest? Sterilize all of them and let them retire? Is liberation of pets next? Those animals have a destructive impact on the environment also. Is polluting the environment by driving a car more ethical than enslaving a horse? Why should seeing eye dogs be forced to help the visually impaired?

  • Kathleen

    Great show. Loved the thoughtful and thorough approach by the host. I’m a vegan at heart and shows like this provide great information and encouragment.

  • g

    John, you’re funny and ask relevant questions!

    I think we DO need to lower our meat consumption.
    I think the mass production of animals IS wrong.
    I think that at the rate we are eating meat, all the grass-fed and range-free meat producing farms could not possibly produce enough for everyone. As well as the current meat production IS impacting the environment so IT IS NOT SUSTAINABLE.

    But I don’t think that eating meat is bad for us in moderation. Meat that is healthy and that comes from the animal that is raised properly.

    I think it is ok to raise domestic animals that providing us with meat, as long as they are slaughtered with least amount of pain and are not pumped full of chemicals.

    I don’t understand why people apply the humane feelings to animals. You don’t know what that chicken is feeling or that cow is thinking. You don’t even know if they do feel or think. I am sure they feel pain on the purely physical level, but there are ways to limit and lower the pain when slaughtering the animal.
    Animals ARE not humans.

    Once humans are treated humanely on this planet, I will then start worrying about the animals being treated humanely. When women and children are hunted and killed for their beliefs and differences, I think it IS inhumane to worry about a chicken than about those people.

    But, I am absolutely ok if other people choose to go all vegan. Just don’t preach to the rest of us how much BETTER and MORE EDUCATED and MORE INTELLIGENT YOUR CHOICES ARE. They are your choices, so keep them to yourself. I am happy for all the vegans and vegetarians out there. I applaud your choices, but you’re choices are not better than mine. Nor are you.
    I disagree with assigning value to each individual. I think all humans are equal. Vegan or carnivores.
    And no one is better than the other because of what they choose to consume.

  • LH

    Man, omnis are defensive. We must be striking a nerve.

  • g

    A large dairy animal approached Zaphod Beeblebrox’s table,
    a large fat meaty quadruped of the bovine type with
    large watery eyes, small horns and what might almost have
    been an ingratiating smile on its lips.

    ‘Good evening’, it lowed and sat back heavily on its haunches,
    ‘I am the main Dish of the Day. May I interest you in the parts
    of my body?’

    It harrumphed and gurgled a bit, wriggled its hind quarters in
    to a more comfortable position and gazed peacefully at them.

    Its gaze was met by looks of startled bewilderment from
    Arthur and Trillian, a resigned shrug from Ford Prefect and
    naked hunger from Zaphod Beeblebrox.

    ‘Something off the shoulder perhaps?’ suggested the animal,
    ‘Braised in a white wine sauce?’

    ‘Er, your shoulder?’ said Arthur in a horrified whisper.

    ‘But naturally my shoulder, sir,’ mooed the animal contentedly,
    ‘nobody else’s is mine to offer.’

    Zaphod leapt to his feet and started prodding and feeling
    the animal’s shoulder appreciatively.

    ‘Or the rump is very good,’ murmured the animal. ‘I’ve been
    exercising it and eating plenty of grain, so there’s a lot
    of good meat there.’

    It gave a mellow grunt, gurgled again and started to chew
    the cud. It swallowed the cud again.

    ‘Or a casselore of me perhaps?’ it added.

    ‘You mean this animal actually wants us to eat it?’ whispered
    Trillian to Ford.

    ‘Me?’ said Ford, with a glazed look in his eyes, ‘I don’t mean

    ‘That’s absolutely horrible,’ exclaimed Arthur, ‘the most revolting
    thing I’ve ever heard.’

    ‘What’s the problem Earthman?’ said Zaphod, now transfering his
    attention to the animal’s enormous rump.

    ‘I just don’t want to eat an animal that’s standing there
    inviting me to,’ said Arthur, ‘It’s heartless.’

    ‘Better than eating an animal that doesn’t want to be
    eaten,’ said Zaphod.

    ‘That’s not the point,’ Arthur protested. Then he thought about it
    for a moment. ‘Alright,’ he said, ‘maybe it is the point. I don’t
    care, I’m not going to think about it now. I’ll just … er … I
    think I’ll just have a green salad,’ he muttered.

    ‘May I urge you to consider my liver?’ asked the animal,
    ‘it must be very rich and tender by now, I’ve been force-feeding
    myself for months.’

    ‘A green salad,’ said Arthur emphatically.

    ‘A green salad?’ said the animal, rolling his eyes disapprovingly
    at Arthur.

    ‘Are you going to tell me,’ said Arthur, ‘that I shouldn’t have
    green salad?’

    ‘Well,’ said the animal, ‘I know many vegetables that are
    very clear on that point. Which is why it was eventually
    decided to cut through the whole tangled problem and breed
    an animal that actually wanted to be eaten and was capable of
    saying so clearly and distinctly. And here I am.’

    It managed a very slight bow.

    ‘Glass of water please,’ said Arthur.

    ‘Look,’ said Zaphod, ‘we want to eat, we don’t want to make
    a meal of the issues. Four rare stakes please, and hurry.
    We haven’t eaten in five hundred and sevebty-six thousand
    million years.’

    The animal staggered to its feet. It gave a mellow gurgle.
    ‘A very wise choice, sir, if I may say so. Very good,’ it
    said, ‘I’ll just nip off and shoot myself.’

    He turned and gave a friendly wink to Arthur.
    ‘Don’t worry, sir,’ he said, ‘I’ll be very humane.’

  • g

    Yes, LH, you are striking a nerve. I dislike with great passion arrogant people!

  • John

    Thanks, g. It is always a compliment to be told one is funny by a Douglas Adams fan.

  • Laura

    Hahaha, notice how g says we’re arrogant and forcing our morals/opinions on him when we’re only stating our position. Only his position is allowed to be stated, and no matter how wrong, caustic, deceitful, nor how obnoxiously it is uttered at us, they are never trying to “force their morals/opinions on anyone”…lol! Our position is such a threat to the status quo, as well it should be…they are, quite simply…wrong.

  • http://www.francostigan.com Fran Costigan

    Vegan diet is all over the world! I see students regularly in all my classes including my twice yearly Vegan Baking Boot Camp Intensive in NYC. Think every state in the US, and from virtually every country: Italy, South America, Israel, Japan, Thailand, France, Amsterdam…. you get the picture. No need to eat a tasteless, deprived diet to be vegan. Healthy and vegan with yum factor intact is absolutely today.

  • Mikael

    Thank you so much for putting this on the air. Great job Isa!!!

  • Andy

    “g”, your sound just like the other self-righteous preacher on this board, “geffe”.

    I bet you two are the same person.

    What, are you so ashamed of yourself that you have to change your name?

    Nobody is more “nuts” and “sanctimonious” than hard-core preachy meat eaters like you who are insecure and self-righteous enough to feel the need to come to a show on veganism and put up posts after posts of obnoxious whining about how bad vegans are.

  • http://lacasadelencanto.com laura

    Great to bring this topic for discussion! I am a ‘flexible’ ‘partial’ vegan. This means I’m vegan when I can be which is mostly. If I am invited to dinner, I eat what is served and compliment the cook with grace. I believe we must move toward a more vegan world for critically important reasons mostly ecological and to prevent animal cruelty. But the health benefits are also well shown.

    I agree that the ‘Evangelical’ craziness is a detractor to the vegan philosophy and should be explored as a psychological issue and a counterproductive defect by vegans.

    My 32 yr old nephew, Noah Hannibal, has been vegan all his life and recently won the weightlifting championship of Australia! Goggle vegantank. He has created a group of weightlifters all vegan to demonstrate that it is a myth to believe you can’t be strong and be vegan.

  • http://lacasadelencanto.com laura

    I forgot to say in my other post that I am American originally from Illinois but living in Southern Mexico for more than 20 years. It’s easy to be vegan in Southern Mexico too. We prepare fabulous Mexican dishes without animal products. The flavor is really in the chiles and sauces. Mostly meat serves as placeholder anyway around rich chile sauces and moles. Well spiced potato or zuchini holds that place very well in enchiladas, chile rellenos etc. Beans and rice combined makes more complete protein even when we can’t get those wonderful fermented soy products (tempeh).

  • taylor

    Great show! Isa was great! I would have liked to see Caldwell Esselstyn or T. Colin Cambell debate that nutritionist.

  • Brian

    Vegan from Austin, Texas here. Great show. Isa was great and I think that it’s awesome that veganism is getting more exposure from someone other than a PETA member.

  • http://www.tusaludpr.com Elisa

    I just listened to this program over the internet from Puerto Rico, and I’d like to thank you for such an interesting, balanced show. It was wonderful to hear Isa Chandra Moscowitz, particularly interacting with callers, and I felt the host did an exceptional job of maintaining a friendly, respectful discourse throughout. It was lovely to hear Isa acknowledge the debt modern vegans and vegetarians owe to Ms. Katzen, and it felt to me like a real shift in perspective from the “old guard” to the new, fresh, vibrant perspective of Ms. Moscowitz. Plus the music and quotes were really interesting.

    As a side note to the nutritonist’s comments, of course any diet requires thoughtful consideration and planning in order to be healthy–this is so for omnivores, low carb fans or any other style of eating just as much as for vegans. Any of these is prone to nutritional deficiencies, and the standard American diet is far more risky from a health perspective than any issues a vegan diet might pose, not to mention the issues of compassion and nonviolence, conservation of the Earth and a host of other concerns.

    Thanks again for such interesting coverage of a vital issue of our times, and for such a wonderful job from Mr. Ashbrook. I look forward to more programming exploring this topic.

  • Stefani

    Vegan in Southern California. I loved this episode and Isa is so great. I just got Veganomicon and it is wonderful. Thank you so much for having this conversation!

  • geffe

    I have a question for the vegans. If you don’t eat honey because it’s an insect (animal) being used for it’s bounty then why do you eat the vegetables and fruits that are the result of the use of bees to pollinate the produce you eat?

    What’s the difference in having hives and taking the hives to a growers fields and collecting honey? The bees are being used to produce a food product in both cases.

  • http://www.reafrey.com Rea Frey

    It’s so refreshing to see that Veganism is taking the world by storm. I run a food blog with my husband and a weekly vegan column at http://www.cheekychicago.com/cheeky-vegan. It has completely changed both of our lives. My husband is a rugby player and has lost 45 pounds since our transition (and yet he has maintained the same weight). Becoming a vegan isn’t about deprivation – it’s about making energetic choices for your body. I don’t think people know how good they can feel. Everyone should read The China Study and Thrive – two truly life-changing books!

  • geffe

    Andy I’m not a huge meat eater. I’m not self righteous, I don’t care what you eat. Which I’ve said over and over again.

    This is a public forum, you keep proving my points which is fine with me by telling me I don’t have a right to post an opinion. In some way some vegans remind me of extremist, particularly religious ones.

  • John

    What I find confusing is that vegans are following an absolutist diet and everything that falls short of that is considered to be unethical by at least a significant percentage of them (as evidenced by many of the comments here). Yet when confronted with evidence of animal harm inherent to agricultural production of plants (use of bees for pollination, mice killed during the harvest, etc), the response is that they accept that being a vegan can’t solve every problem completely. Yet methods to reduce harm quantitatively and qualitatively to animals through reduction of meat consumption and reform of farming methods are dismissed as being ethically insufficient.

  • Maria

    Amazing show. Thank you!! Oh, and I’m an ethical vegan! :-)

  • Andy

    “g” or is it back to “geffe” now –

    I don’t care whether you are a “huge meat eater” or not. Makes no difference to me.

    I merely pointed out your self-righteousness and hypocrisy. You kept saying you were just expressing your opinion. Yet you attacked Isa and other vegans for expressing THEIR opinions.

    You’re just like a religious fanatic. It’s perfectly fine for you to talk about your view. But as soon as others start to talk about their views that are different from yours, you get all sanctimonious and attack others.

  • Lisa

    Thanks for the show! The host definitely did a good job. I have been vegan for 2,5 years and Veganomicon was my first cookbook. I now have more than 15 cookbooks and Veganomicon remains a favorite. I have made more than a fifth of all recipes from that book. So, I am another fan of Isa.

    It is interesting to hear her on the air. You pretty much get that same attitude as in her books :)

    I too hope that there will be more shows exploring this topic. There are more than 10 vegan Registered Dietitians that I know of. Although their opinion on the topic of nutrition will not differ from that of Susan Nitzke, they might offer an interesting perspective since many of them also feel passionate about veganism. Some of the names are: Reed Mangels Ph.D. R.D, Jack Norris R.D., Virginia Messina R.D., Brenda Davis R.D. And of course there are MDs like Dean Ornish, Calwell Esselstyn and other who use plant-based diet in treating serious chronic diseases that affect millions of people.

  • omnivore

    Vegetables taste good.

  • geffe

    Andy why do you eat food that is pollinated by bees?

    • wildflower

      Geffe: we live as vegans as much as
      humanely possible. Veganism doesn’t mean impossible or unrealistic
      demands. Manipulating bees is wrong in my opinion, but I don’t see
      anything wrong with fruit pollinated by wild bees. I do eat whatever
      fruit I can get in my grocery store, but when vegan organic farming
      becomes more mainstream I will choose fruits and vegetables from that
      source. Until then I do what I can. Being vegan is not about being
      perfect, it’s about doing our best-you can still do plenty by
      avoiding animal products such as meat and dairy.

  • Liz


    “I have a question for the vegans. If you don’t eat honey because it’s an insect (animal) being used for it’s bounty then why do you eat the vegetables and fruits that are the result of the use of bees to pollinate the produce you eat?”

    Because it is usually extremely easy to avoid eating honey — and we know that bees were exploited to make the honey. Avoiding any product that may or may not have been produced using the pollination of managed bee hives? That’s a bit trickier. It’s not like you’ll find it on the label and even if it were it’d be hard at the moment for most vegans to eat a balanced diet avoiding all such products. Otherwise, sure, I bet more vegans would.

    Ideally, we would not use managed hives for pollination. We’d encourage wild pollinators, let them do their thing in peace, and not steal their food. It may surprise some people, but honeybees are not necessary to pollinate all crops and in fact are not even native to the Americas. People have lived millions of years without trucking around honeybees. Even in such cases where there are managed hives, we certainly don’t need to add insult to injury by stealing their food.

    See also: http://www.vegetus.org/honey/honey.htm

  • Dan Williams

    Vegan here, and I definitely agree that this thing is really happening, and all over the world! And I also experience “vegan clarity” like the one guest was talking about!

  • geffe

    Liz bees are more exploited for pollination than for making honey. Honey is a byproduct from the huge pollination business in this country. I buy local honey from small bee keepers myself and as far as I can tell their bees are not exploited. I also have vegetable garden that uses wild bees or shall I say they pollinate my garden. I have been doing an experiment with them.
    I have planted more wild flowers in the front garden that in the back and the result is the back garden now suffers from poor yields of plants that need pollination.

    I read your comment on using wild bees for this. Lets get real here, even the best organic farms can’t afford to do this. Then you go on to talk about some romantic ideal about how for centuries people did well without carting around bees. Have you researched this? I’ve seen plenty of evidence to counter your claims, bees have been used in man made hives since the Egyptians.
    Grains were the staple for centuries and they still are.
    But if you want to eat fruit, and most vegetables you will need bees. It’s the way nature works you can’t change that. Of course you could go out and pollinate your garden by hand, I’ve done this as well and the bees are better at it. If my life depended on my garden I would starve for several reasons. One being I don’t have an acre of land and two, I don’t have bee hives.
    Three for good measure it would also help to have some livestock for their manure.

    Birds and other insects also pollinate plants as do some bats.

  • geffe

    Liz you know there are plenty of vegetables that do not need pollination. Vegetables we grow for their leaves (greens, spinach, cabbage) and roots (beets, carrots, radishes), pollination is not important. But with vegetables we grow for their developing fruit, ripened fruit, or seeds (melons, corn), pollination is almost always needed. Corn is pollinated by wind from what I understand.

    The pollination process in all beans, peas, and tomatoes is called self-pollination because the transfer of pollen takes place within the individual flowers without the aid of insects or wind.

    Just thought if you did not know this that one could eat things that do not need bees to pollinate if one wanted to. Fruit would be a problem, but hey you can’t have everything.

  • S.L. Hill

    Vegans were coming out of the woodwork in 2010, including several great vegan cookbooks. For me, one in particular stands out, Vegetarian Traditions, by a longtime vegetarian chef and blogger, George Vutetakis. He’s the real deal. His vegan recipe’s are elegant with great flavor. What I like best about the cookbook is the recipes don’t call for much oil or processed soy–only tofu and tempeh in this book. Worth checking out.

  • http://www.creaturequotes.com SBHC

    geffe, I appreciate your helpful tips in your Jan. 23rd comments. It makes me want to explore the topic of pollination even more.

    May I suggest that an organic garden or farm doesn’t need livestock manure to thrive? Google for the book “Growing Green: Animal-Free Organic Techniques” by Jenny Hall and Iain Tollhurst. The authors head up Vegan Organic Network (www.veganorganic.net), a site that, by the way, I have no personal stake in mentioning, having just discovered it tonight!

  • Carlos

    Is there a way to know which songs were played during this show (Vegans Take America)?
    Much appreciated.


  • Becci

    The angrier meat-eaters are, the guiltier they feel about eating animals and their byproducts. That’s not a hard-and-fast rule, but in my years of activism it’s been true about 99% of the time. So remember–when a meat-eater is getting upset or angry and bringing up the same dumb “arguments” we’ve heard and debunked 10,000 times before, stay friendly! Stay polite! You just might get through to them.

    Vegan for 7 years and have never felt better. Hi from Vancouver, BC!

    • Crazed_hound

      Not a hard and fast rule but then true 99% of the time?
      Me thinks your a bigot.

      • Crazed_hound

        Or at least a very close minded person.

  • http://www.peacetoallbeings.com Judy Carman from Kansas

    Thank you for airing this great program on veganism. Veganism is basically a commitment to nonviolence in all areas of our lives. It is part of the paradigm shift that must take place in the world. Human beings have come to a critical cross roads. We have been a destructive species too long. If we choose to take the new road toward cooperation, harmony, and nonviolence, we have a chance to be part of the miracle of life and beauty on this planet. When we adopt a vegan lifestyle, not only do we commit to stop participating in violence toward animals, nature, people, and ourselves, but we find a joy bubbling up from within that comes from an opening of our hearts to unconditional love for all beings everywhere. Thanks again for sharing this good news.

  • May

    I just want to say that as a vegan for four years, I have never met a vegan (and I know many) who has tried to convince anyone else to become vegan or thought themselves better than omnivores or vegetarians; they only talk about their veganism when questioned.

  • Shana Curtis

    I’ve been vegetarian for 20+ years. The move to total vegan was not hard at all. I’m on the Esselstyn diet and without any hardship, feelings of deprivation or even minor suffering, I have lost 40 pounds in 13 months. The same 40 pounds I have been struggling with all my life. I eat all the time. I can eat all day long and maintain my weight (I also jog 3-4 miles 4x week; I am 71) because with vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes and no added fat, NO ADDED FAT, it takes a bunch of food to get my 1500 nutrient-dense calories. I know what is not my food and I just stay away. I am 98% past any cravings. I make my own low-fat soy yogurt and berry sorbet. During my first few months I would cheat occasionally and my body reacted within half an hour (no details necessary). I just won’t do it for a passing urge. I love to cook. I have an herb garden. I pick mega quarts of berries all summer long and freeze them. As the person before me said, I don’t push my choices on others. I only mention it when it comes up. Far too many of our chronic diseases come from dairy, meat and processed food.

  • http://www.viva.org.uk Jane Easton

    Hi, great news about this show – I’ve saved the link and will listen to it in full at home. It’s important to get this debate going – not to guilt-trip but to let people make genuinely informed choices. Those truths may not be palatable (!) but how can we really make an informed choice about who we eat if we don’t know how they got to our plate. The meat, dairy and egg industries (inextricably intertwined) certainly don’t want us to know. As for the ‘I tried vegetarianism but I’m meant to eat meat’ – the science suggests this is not the case – we aren’t true omnivores (check out teeth, guts and saliva) which is why meat plays havoc with our bodies – heart disease and cancer. Vegans are no puritans, we’re lovers of life and good food. Maybe the objectors want to think about why the mention of a kinder diet nudges their comfort zones so much? Check out the new vegan cuisine and enjoy!

  • Summit

    Tom & On Point,
    Thank you for discussing the Vegan/Cruelty Free/Plant Based Diet “explosion” in the Western World right now. Its absolutely ‘on point,’ no punt intended. I truly believe the healthy, primarily raw Vegan diet is the healthiest, most ethical, most earth friendly, most nutrient dense diet. I wish to hear a program with you and an actual Vegan. I believe you can get a lot more of listeners questions or concerns answered that way, rather than just introducing the concept of its popularity. Again, thanks for covering this!

  • J_rourk1

    The guest Isa was quite condescending to many of the callers. I wonder what she feeds to the cats that inspired her to become vegan? I can’t imagine any cat being healthy on a meatless diet.

  • Gerhard Konig

    The movie, “Earthlings” can be seen on U-tube, is a look at how abysmally animals are treated around the world. The section on food animals, can create an instant Vegan…

  • Guest

    You might find this cooking recipe, set to “Be Healthy” (the song in the
    segment at 27:30) worthwhile:

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dora-Siragusa/521389194 Dora Siragusa

    check some recipes here http://www.veganblog.it if you click on the english banner on top right most recipes are translated in english :)

  • Pingback: Prep for Meatless Monday with ‘The Compassionate Cook’ | Quotes About People

  • Pingback: Prep for Meatless Monday with ‘The Compassionate Cook’ | Quotes About People

  • Jill

    I was incredibly disappointed with this program.  The authors were allowed to propagate multiple myths about human physiology and meat eating.  I hope they will provide a counterpoint show.

    The “facts” about the human GI tract being consistent with an herbivore is simply not true.  Our GI tract is consistent with an omnivore than can subsist on a very large variety food items for an extended period – whether that be all vegetable or all meat.  However, it is clear that consumption of meat was selected for in a positive manner in humans.

    I was also uncomfortable with how the authors claim they don’t harm animals with their way of eating.  They may not actually eat the animals they harm, but thousands of animals are killed, poisoned, trapped and destroyed in the process of planting, harvesting, protecting and transporting large monocultures.  These crops are NOT good for the environment.

    Finally, MANY, MANY people are finding optimal health and relief from chronic illnesses by following a grain-free diet. 

    I dislike all the half-truths put forth by these guests.   Just speak the truth – propaganda is not welcome. 

  • Beth

    Why do so many people spend so much time and energy trying to convince people NOT to eat vegan? No one is stopping you from eating meat. Undoubtedly, there are reasons not to. And that is why many people eat vegan/vegetarian diets. The argument that being vegan doesn’t make a person 100% ethically pure is irrelevant. Many people (meat eaters and not) have valid concerns about mass food production. Attacking vegans won’t make that any less true.

    • Guest

      Either because they are ignorant or work for the beef industry or some other crazy reason.

      For the last 38 years, I have been a vegan or a vegetarian. I like cream in my coffee so I added Whipping cream to my list of okays in the last couple of years. A few changes enabled me to lose from 209 to 128 lbs in two years. All as a vegetarian. Sounds good to me.

  • CG

    Most of the vegans I know aren’t really vegans.  One of my friends who claimed to be a vegan for health reasons did so over a pound of salmon.  “But you’re eating salmon now,” I said.  “Well, I’m travelling now,” he said.  “How much are you on the road?” I asked.  “About 6 months out of the year,” he said. 

    The other told me she got her protein from protein shakes.  I looked at the ingredients.  First on the list was whey.  I didn’t point out the inconsistency of whey with her philosophy because another vegan I knew had just collapsed in the warehouse where we worked.  The final diagnosis was exhaustion due to malnutrition.

    I actually eat and enjoy meat/dairy free meals from time to time, but I think touting it as “easy” and “healthy” is off the mark.

Aug 20, 2014
A man holds his hands up in the street after a standoff with police Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, during a protest for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo. (AP)

A deep read on Ferguson, Missouri and what we’re seeing about race, class, hope and fear in America.

Aug 20, 2014
In this Oct. 21, 2013 file photo, a monarch butterfly lands on a confetti lantana plant in San Antonio. A half-century ago Monarch butterflies, tired, hungry and bursting to lay eggs, found plenty of nourishment flying across Texas. Native white-flowering balls of antelope milkweed covered grasslands, growing alongside nectar-filled wildflowers. But now, these orange-and-black winged butterflies find mostly buildings, manicured lawns and toxic, pesticide-filled plants. (AP)

This year’s monarch butterfly migration is the smallest ever recorded. We’ll ask why. It’s a big story. Plus: how climate change is creating new hybridized species.

Aug 19, 2014
Lara Russo, left, Cally Guasti, center, and Reese Werkhoven sit on a couch in their apartment in New Paltz, N.Y. on Thursday, May 15, 2014.  While their roommate story of $40,800 found in a couch made the news, other, weirder stories of unusual roommates are far more common. (AP)

From college dorms and summer camps to RVs and retirement hotels, what it’s like to share a room. True stories of roommates.

Aug 19, 2014
Police wait to advance after tear gas was used to disperse a crowd Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, during a protest for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer last Saturday in Ferguson, Mo. (AP)

“War zones” in America. Local police departments with military grade equipment – how much is too much, and what it would take to de-militarize America’s police force.

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