Category Archives: Nutrition and health

The pandemic gets worse—why?

Burying plague victims in medieval Tournai (then in France). Public domain image. Source.

It’s probably not news to you that the COVID-19 pandemic is getting worse in the United States. Here are three questions. First, why is the pandemic getting worse? Second, what are the practical implications? Finally, who wants to repeat this experiment in another few years with a different disease? Continue reading

Thinking the unthinkable

“Castle Bravo” blast in 1954. Public domain image from US Department of Energy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Castle_Bravo_Blast.jpg

Will a million Americans die due to the COVID-19 pandemic? I doubt that the casualties will get this high, but it is not unthinkable.

When I was young, the “unthinkable” was the possibility of human-caused nuclear war. Today, we face the reality of human-caused pandemic diseases. The destruction from this pandemic probably won’t be quite as grim as an all-out nuclear war. But it is getting into, perhaps, the terror of a limited nuclear exchange. Continue reading

Shut down the slaughterhouses

On Tuesday, the Denver Post reported  that “5th Greeley JBS worker dies.” JBS is a Colorado slaughterhouse employing 6000 workers. Over 100 employees tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19), and five have died: four workers and one person who worked at the corporate office. (Let’s see, that works out to about a 5% mortality rate.) Despite this, JBS is re-opening! And the company is going to court to stop the union from raising safety concerns in public! Continue reading

Unpacking the significance of the pandemic

Red Cross woman, August 1944 (public domain image)

The pandemic isn’t even over — in fact, it looks like it’s just getting started! But already we can start asking, what does it all mean? Vegans have already noticed one obvious significance: the pandemic is yet another consequence of eating animals. While we don’t know the precise route the disease took, some people ate or came into contact with some animals (snake? bat? pig?) and now over a million have been sickened and over 60,000 are dead, with no end in sight.

But the pandemic has vast and confusing complexity both of causes and effects, on multiple levels of significance, which are still unfolding. Here are some of them. Continue reading

This pandemic is about animals

“Pandemic” is a popular board game. If our current situation were replicated in game terms, we would have lost already, because more than seven outbreaks have occurred. Source: author’s photo.

This pandemic is a pivotal event, not just for vegans, but for almost everyone on the planet. There’s a lot that we still don’t know. But there can be no doubt that this pandemic is a consequence of our treatment of animals. Continue reading

About Neurofeedback

My encounter with neurofeedback was a positive and interesting event during my recent stroke treatment. Neurofeedback is a therapy for various types of injuries or problems with the brain, including both those considered “physical” (like stroke) and those considered “mental” (like depression).  There seems to be solid scientific evidence backing up its usefulness, yet it is not generally recognized as effective either by the medical community or by the general public. In this somewhat lengthy blog I thought I’d pass along my own experience and what I’ve learned from reading and talking to others. Continue reading

About PlantPositive

"Eating meat": homo erectus female, Smithsonian institution

Powerful forces in our society would like to create confusion about diet and health. These forces try to create doubt about the overwhelming evidence linking meat, dairy, and animal products, with heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc. The behavior of these “confusionists” is very similar to that of the tobacco companies arguing that smoking doesn’t cause cancer, or to that of the fossil fuel industry trying to create doubt about human-caused climate change.

There is now an important new web site, PlantPositive.com, devoted to bringing the truth to light about diet and health. Continue reading

Vegans and Strokes

It appears that a vegan diet strongly protects you against strokes. Nevertheless, a stroke could happen even to a long-term vegan, and it happened to me. However, it was quite mild (as strokes go), I have not changed my diet, and I recovered completely. I therefore offer this essay as a kind of “man bites dog” story as well as a warning that vegans should be aware that as we get older stuff tends to happen more — just not as much as it does to nonvegans. (And, activists, watch those stress levels!) For general information about nutrition and disease, including information about strokes, I suggest the site NutritionFacts.org, which has informative videos such as “How to Prevent a Stroke” and “Preventing Strokes with Diet.”
Continue reading

Is the Weston Price Foundation an Astroturf Site?

Easter Island status symbol

Easter Island status symbol

Is the Weston Price Foundation an astroturf site? I can’t prove it, but I suspect that it may be, and here’s why.

I recently came across an alarming series of articles by George Monbiot on “astroturf” campaigns on the internet.  “Astroturf” is a name for the synthetic grass that football games are often played on; but it is also a derisive term referring to organized support for a government or corporation which mimics a spontaneous grassroots movement. Continue reading

“The Vegetarian Myth” (review)

Review of “The Vegetarian Myth” by Lierre Keith

This is an anti-vegan book which will be a difficult book for vegans to read. The text resembles more a stream-of-consciousness monologue than an organized discussion. The author is an ex-vegan, after having been a vegan for 20 years, and blames most of her numerous health problems (skeletal problems of some sort, evidently) and mental problems (depression, anger) on her vegan diet.

But this is an indictment not just of veganism, but of agriculture in general, and indeed our entire civilization, and needs to be read in that context. Obviously as a vegan I don’t go along with the anti-vegan part, but there are also several significant things she has stated accurately.  Continue reading

Michael Pollan and the Inuit Diet

Michael Pollan

While promoting the excellent DVD Food, Inc. on Oprah on January 24, Michael Pollan made the following statement: “The Inuit in Greenland you were referring to [have a] 75% fat diet — no type II diabetes, no heart disease.”

The implication that the Inuit’s high-meat diet is healthful is almost certainly wrong. Continue reading