Vegan is the New Black

In my experience, when people think of vegans, they think of smug, skinny hipsters who basically have eating disorders. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was nine and to not eat meat in a culture centered around hamburgers is tough enough, but to then not eat pizza is just separatist. That being said, these days it seems that even my favorite meat eaters know that a plant-based diet is good for you and that eating too much meat and dairy can have harmful consequences on your body. But what about the reverse – how drastically can eating a plant-based diet alter your health positively?

The new documentary Chow Down follows three people who have been told by their doctors that they have incurable diseases (heart conditions and diabetes) and who choose to treat their sickness through dietary changes, instead of having surgery or taking medication. The film follows their struggles as they turn away from the typical American diet of processed food, dairy and meat, and adopt a plant-based diet. Their cheerleader is Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. A longtime activist for the diet-disease connection, Esselstyn has proven in studies that a plant-based diet can reverse the effects of heart disease and other illnesses, and he is trying to carry his message to others. This film is not yet yet available for rental or in movie theaters, but there are a bunch of screenings planned for the tri-state area, including one tonight, February 8th, at the Tribeca Grand with a panel discussion and Q&A with health foodies like Dr. Annemarie Colbin (Founder, Natural Gourmet Institute), Bart Potenza (Owner, Candle Cafe) and Gene Baur (President, Farm Sanctuary).

One Comment

  1. tamiko
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    I find it strange that grains aren’t the central arguement of the movie. In fact, it’s not saturated fats that create heart disease ~ but processed grains. I was a vegetarian for 5 years and a supporter of those who also choose to be. However, I think the benefits of humanely raised grassfed and finished beef or game should not be discounted. In fact, giving up all processed foods and grains is the first key to the benefits of diets such as the one in this movie. The next key is adding in the three types of plants – sulfer, greens and colors to the tune of 3 cups per meal. My husband and I follow the Wahl’s protocol of eating to cure MS. She suggests no processed foods, legumes, seed oils and grains. 9 cups of veggies a day is our norm with a sweet potato here and there plus some quaility salmon or grassfed beef. Nuts, avacodo, coconut oil and organic cultured butter are our fats of choice (despite saturated they are proven to actually lower cholesterol). I can’t see how this type of diet would be less beneficial than pure veganism. If veganism keeps you away from processed industrial meat, stick with it! But please don’t think grabbing a loaf of bread is ok because it at least kept you out of the meat section of the grocery store!

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