published Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Braly: Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine recommends vegan cookbooks

After scolding such well-known cooks and cookbook authors as Julia Child and Paula Deen for contributing to the bad health of America, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine turned around and hailed five others in its Five Worst/Best Cookbooks of the Decade report. (See January 27th’s blog if you missed the worst.)

You’ll notice a common factor among all the recommended books. Each emphasizes adopting a vegan lifestyle, something which I don’t feel is altogether a great idea. Before doing so, check with your doctor. I think some lean meats, not red all the time, but once a month, along with a steady diet that includes chicken and fish high in Omega-3 fatty acids, are important to include in your diet. The key thing to remember is moderation.

Here’s the list:

* “The Kind Diet” (2009) but Alicia Silverstone makes me want to run and hide. The name alone brings on a guilt trip after my holiday gluttony. The book offers a full range of vegan recipes and details an outline for healthy eating. Vegan is OK, but nonvegetarians such as myself might have to go over to the bad side with Paula Deen’s ham hocks on occasion.

* “Skinny Bitch in the Kitch: Kick-Ass Recipes for Hungry Girls Who Want to Stop Cooking Crap and Start Looking Hot!” (2007) by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. If the name of this cookbook doesn’t attract attention, I don’t know what will, except maybe the recipes for Bitchin’ Breakfast Burrito to Cha Cha Chili. According to the physicians’ group, abundant research has shown that people who maintain a healthy weight over the long-term tend to eat a plant-based diet. I’m thinking ham hocks again, but maybe could go a week without meat if the recipes are as good as these sound. And the book’s a treat to read.

* “The Conscious Cook” (2009) by Tal Ronnen is another vegan offering. The author cooked for Oprah during her vegan cleanse and catered Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi’s vegan wedding. This new cookbook shows how exciting and delicious a vegan lifestyle can be. “You won’t miss the meat,” the author says. I’m not buying it.

* “The Engine 2 Diet” (2009) by Rip Esselstyn is from a firefighter/cook who worked to improve the diets of his fellow Engine 2 firefighters in Austin, Texas. By following his plan, everyone lost weight, some more than 20 pounds, while lowering cholesterol. This book outlines the plan, based on, yes, once again, a vegan diet.

* “Cooking the Whole Foods Way” (2007) by Christina Pirello. Studies have found that a vegan diet can even reduce the risk of recurrence for some types of cancer. This book shows how readers can rid their diets of processed foods, meat and dairy to begin following a vegan lifestyle.

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benr said...

Good column!!! People should eat what they want, of course, but I want to point out that the American Dietetic Association--the world's largest organization of nutrition professionals--says that well-planned vegan diets are appropriate and healthful for every stage of life and can help reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Remember that obesity-related medical costs are a huge factor in our skyrocketing health care bills. Americans now eat more than 200 pounds of meat and more than 30 pounds of cheese a year. More meatless meals could help people lose weight and be healthier.

February 3, 2010 at 11:57 a.m.

I second that, but please government and activist Vegans, don't impose your lifestyle choices on everyone else. The best, proven ways to convince people is to show them and then allow them to make their own choices and fail or succeed on their own. Kinda like raising children, eh?

February 3, 2010 at 12:34 p.m.
remluc said...

canaryinthecoalmine: The meat and dairy industry have been telling us for DECADES how to eat and what to eat. We're just so used to it we accept it as the truth.

February 3, 2010 at 1:19 p.m.

Nobody, including the meat industry had to TELL my ancestors and myself to eat meat or not. Do you have a mind of your own? Yes? Well, so do most Americans, they can and should choose for themselves. BTW, the recent Memorial Hospital issue re: not hiring smokers? PETA (people for the ethical treatment of animals) contacted them to TELL them not to hire meat-eaters. That's what I'm talking about. Dictatorial, interventionist orgs and Big Gov'ts have a tendency to do this. Show them, teach them all of the options for a healthy diet. Do not dictate.

February 3, 2010 at 3:06 p.m.
harrystatel said...

Less than 5% of PCRM are physicians. Another fringe element that would force their dictates on everyone.

go here for more info.

February 3, 2010 at 3:58 p.m.
harrystatel said...

Please pardon the incorrect website listed above. Here's the correct url for information about the PCRM.

February 3, 2010 at 4:12 p.m.
remluc said...


What I was trying to say is that I believe the government absolutely dictates meat/dairy to be part of our diets....I just don't think people are aware of it.

PETA is an extreme organization that does do a lot of help by making the headlines with their crazy ideas. They also obviously hinder the cause because people won't even LISTEN to conversations about eating veggie diets. So please don't make the mistake of lumping all vegetarians/vegans into that PETA mentality. I would never support discrimination on any level and I'd be willing to bet it would never happen. Like I said, it's attention getting statements like that one that keeps PETA in the news.

I eat a "vegan" diet for selfish reasons, for my own health. I believe it's the healthiest way to live and I tell you I've never felt (or looked) better in my life. It works for me, it could work for everyone, but it's not my place to judge. Just don't judge me for my choices either. Don't make assumptions that I want to dictate to you how to live your life.

And the whole caveman debate...yawn...that's silly (did they have bountiful gardens at their disposal? Did they understand that saturated fat and cholesterol clogs your arteries and kills you? Did they eat the same amount of animal products that people shovel down now? Were their animal products full of hormones?) and irrelevant to this conversation.

Oh and I love how we can't believe ANYTHING the PCRM says or does because

"Less than 5% of PCRM are physicians. Another fringe element that would force their dictates on everyone."

.....but we allow the meat and dairy lobbyist to dictate the food and the quality of it that we eat. We can trust big business to do what's best for us as consumers - right?!?!?

Just something to think about.

February 4, 2010 at 10:47 a.m.

remluc, you seem to have similiar tendencies as some posters do who read into and/or put words in our mouths that were not there. You need to re-read my post.

First of all, you used the plural "we" when making statements re: the meat and dairy guys telling you and others how to eat. I pointed out that most Americans (and others) can think for themselves. You also assumed I was picking on vegans when I mentioned PETA. I was born and ate veggies and raw food while this generation was still a twinkle in their Mama's eye. You need to stop assuming things about people you don't know. My use of 'ancestors' meant just that, not cavepeople. You have grand parents, great-grand parents, no? Some of that argument is relevant and yes, many had gardens and ate a raw food diet too. The arrogance of this generation never ceases to amaze me. They actually believe they all invented the wheel, recycling, eating right, vegetarianism, and good health, etc. Pssshh.

I used the example of PETA and Gov'ts to make my points about certain groups or agendas dictating to people nowadays about pretty well everything. It needs to stop. People need to make their own choices. If you still cannot understand my post, I have done my part in trying to help you read, not read into others writings. If you're in college, shame on your Profs for not teaching you objective and critical analysis. If not, teach yourself. That's how it has been done for thousands of years. And yes, that is SO relevant.

February 4, 2010 at 3 p.m.
remluc said...

From reading your post, I did not realize you were referring to your grandparents when you referenced "ancestors". What generation do you think I'm in? I believe we know SO MUCH MORE now about food than we did even 50 years ago. And sadly, our food supply and eating habits have changed dramatically too. That is what I was trying to get across. I don't know if that's arrogance or just trying to be informed.

I don't believe I assumed anything about your PETA statement. You said that you are tired of those kinds of organizations dictating what other people should be doing. I just wanted state that not all PETA supporting vegetarians/vegans want to dictate to others. Basically PETA does a lot of good, but does about as much bad by forcing (dictating) their ideas.

I believe I understand your point that you do not want anyone to dictate to you what to eat. My point is that I believe the government does dictate it, but people are unaware of that influence. Of course you seem to be well aware of it, but I'm talking the general population. I believe the government's food pyramid clearly "dictates" a lot of people's (again not yours) food choices.

I used the term "we" to include myself into the lump. I feel betrayed by the government and industries telling me that milk would make me grow strong and meat would build my muscles. If I don't drink milk, my bones will all become brittle and break. If I don't eat meat I will be a weakling.

I would like to share ideas, not attack the quality of a person's education. That's not helpful or productive. You don't know me either, so please don't assume I would try to dictate anything to anyone. I just believe in making educated choices. If all the information isn't made available to the general public, then most people aren't able to make educated decisions. If after reading all the information people still choose to eat meat/dairy, that's their choice, not mine.

February 6, 2010 at 12:17 p.m.
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