Eating Meat and Cheese just as Bad as Smoking Cigarettes, Study Suggests


According to a new study, published in Cell Metabolism, the increased risk of developing cancer from consuming high amounts of animal protein is comparable to the increased rate of developing cancer from smoking cigarettes.

Researchers looked at the dietary habits of 6,318 adults over the age of 50 and found that those who consumed the highest levels of animal proteins were four times more likely to die of cancer than those who had low-protein diets.  The study also showed that individuals who ate lots of meat and dairy were more likely to die at an earlier age.


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Have a Heart-Healthy Valentine’s Day

FruitVeggieHeart_520x480Valentine’s Day is this week, bringing a heightened sense of affection, caring and love to our everyday routines. February is also known as “Heart Month,” drawing attention to heart heath by raising awareness of the number one killer in the United States – heart disease. Every year, 600,000 Americans die from heart disease, with many of these deaths being preventable. So what better way to take care of your heart and show yourself a little love than by adopting a vegan diet.


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FARM Urges San Diego School District to Adopt Meatless Mondays

Executive Director and California native, Michael Weber wrote a letter to the San Diego Unified School District urging its board members to adopt a Meatless Mondays program. In a city where nearly 28% of children are overweight or obese, Michael says, “Now is the time for community leaders to speak out about proper diet and healthy habits. And this public health initiative, begun by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, is a great start.”

Being overweight or obese increases a person’s risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and many cancers. The economic costs associated with obesity and physical inactivity in California are estimated at $41.2 billion. The state (and the country) is at a turning point in the battle with chronic disease, and we have a choice…we either take steps to improve our overall health or we continue down the current path of disease and premature death.

In his letter, Michael also points out the devastating environmental impacts animal agriculture has on the planet and the inherent cruelty and suffering that comes with raising animals for food. According to the United Nations, reducing the amount of animal products we eat is one of the simplest ways to lower our carbon footprint, since animal agriculture is “responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, a bigger share than that of transport[tation].” Not to mention, that raising billions of animals for food to produce massive quantities of meat, dairy, and eggs has taken a major toll on the animals themselves. Standard industry practices include intensive confinement, mutilations without painkillers, and a horrific slaughter – practices that shock nearly every- one who views them.

Michael says bringing one meat-free day a week to school students is “an easy, effective way for our children to start the week off right.” With an abundance of readily available vegetarian and vegan options, the number of schools and colleges that have successfully adopted similar programs is steadily increasing. And for those looking to eliminate all animal products from their diet, FARM offers 100% vegan recipes through our Meatout Mondays program and additional vegan resources through our Live Vegan website.

FARM applauds the San Diego Unified School District for considering implementing such a life-saving program, and we hope they take Michael’s recommendation into account. To read the letter in its entirety, please click here: LTR_SanDiegoMeatlessMondays13

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How a Plant-Based Diet Can Prevent, Treat & Reverse the Top 15 Causes of Death

Today marks the Week of Action for Meatout! This year we’re striving to encourage 25,000 individuals to take the Meatout pledge on March 20th. Together, we can save 8,000 animals from being tortured and killed, 3.7 million square feet of forest from being destroyed, and prevent 10,500 doses of antibiotics from being misused on farms — just by eating vegan for 1 day! Eating a plant-based diet not only saves billions of animals and protects the environment, but it greatly improves human health.


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Ring in the New Year with a Healthier, Happy YOU!

It’s that time of year again, when most of us are thinking about the New Year ahead and reflecting on the decisions we made in the year passed. It’s the perfect time for resolutions and establishing goals to create a brighter future. The most common New Year’s resolution is to get healthier by losing a few pounds, exercising more, and eating better. And with the country’s obesity epidemic, diabetes epidemic and heart disease and cancer on the rise, making health a top priority in the coming year is the perfect resolution and anyone can do it!

But before you get started, there’s one thing to keep in mind…traditional ways of losing weight have consisted of fad diets that require starving your body and your taste buds. Yes, you might lose a few pounds in the beginning, but it usually comes back, leaving you frustrated and setting you up for failure. Instead, try something new this year; start by really looking at the food fuel you are feeding your body. This is the easiest and most important step towards success…and one that is guaranteed to keep you committed to living healthy.


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Vegan Outreach for ALL Ages: From Students to Seniors.

As I (Cindi Saadi) finish up my last week working with FARM and my last official post for the FARM Blog, I decided to share a few thoughts about a topic not often specifically discussed: the importance of vegan outreach for seniors in our communities.  On the heels of a very successful Meatout campaign packed with so much passionate vegan outreach, I want to highlight some of the significant benefits of including seniors as part of the vegan outreach audience. And for purposes of this post, “seniors” are people age 60 and over.

Vegan outreach activities are frequently focused on the younger crowd and for reasons that make good sense. After all, young people are forming and refining their life beliefs and tend to be more open to considering new concepts and challenging traditional models. The younger years are an ideal time to become aware of the impact of diet on our health, the animals, and our global environment, and to make beneficial changes. And of course, young people have a lifetime ahead of them to affect change for future generations.

This factory-farmed pig wants people of all ages to hear the vegan message!

Although many outreach efforts do not set out to exclude any group of people, one concern is the risk of limiting vegan outreach for seniors because of assumptions that they are less open to new ideas and less willing to change. Although this may be true in certain cases, it is not true across the board. Seniors may have well-established beliefs, but everyone is capable of change. When presented with real, compelling information, most seniors will consider it thoughtfully. And as far as a senior having less time ahead of them than a younger individual, see the section below about people with incredible accomplishments after age 60. Plus, each moment we have is precious, no matter what age.

So seniors might be a more challenging audience, but the benefits of including them, in my opinion, are well worth it and can have significant positive outcomes for the vegan/animal rights cause.

And one thing is certain…. the animals want EVERYONE to hear the vegan message, no matter how young or old we are!

Here are a few of the benefits to / reasons for including seniors in vegan outreach:

WISDOM: Seniors have a wealth of invaluable life wisdom to offer. I often wonder how my father keeps such a library of information in his head, from important facts to solutions to your everyday household emergency. I can often skip the Internet and simply call Dad. People in other countries (perhaps more so than in the U.S.) revere, protect, and respect their elderly community members and place great value on their contributions and wisdom. Thus, given the many significant health-related benefits of a plant-based diet, introducing senior folks to a vegan lifestyle would likely increase the amount of time we have our wise ones with us. And having them with us, fortifies us. (more…)

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Forks Over Knives Dishes Out a Powerful Message

A simple solution, yet consistently ignored.

Reverse disease? Cut health care costs by 70-80%?
Could there really be an easy way to do these things?

A compelling new film, Forks Over Knives, has taken on the bold mission of shining a big bright light on the simple truth that eating a plant-based diet and rejecting animal-based and processed foods can forever change our experience of disease. Armed with two world-renowned men of science, Dr. T. Colin Campbell (The China Study) and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, as the film’s primary messengers, the facts are very difficult to ignore.

In addition to following the paths of these two pioneering scientists, the film’s real life case studies are equally powerful and persuasive.  One man, Joey Aucoin, comes to the study with high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. At risk for heart attack and stroke, he was taking nine pills and two injections every day.  Aucoin switched to a plant-based diet and by the end of the study, had reduced his cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar, lost weight, and was able to stop using all nine medications! Even the film’s writer & director, Lee Fulkerson, became one of the case studies and experienced first-hand the power of eating a plant-based diet.  In fact, the film crew’s entire core team, including the music composer, Ramon Balcazar (& his entire family!) were so affected by the film’s information that they switched to a plant-based diet.

“One quarter of what you eat keeps you alive. The other three-quarters keeps your doctor alive.” ~ Forks Over Knives

Nutritional scientist T. Colin Campbell and the Cleveland Clinic’s Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn both grew up on dairy farms with nature’s “perfect food” (for calves, they say).  In their studies and travels, both discovered a relationship between chronic disease and the amount of animal-based protein consumed. The findings of Dr. Campbell’s famous China Study revealed that people who consumed the most animal protein also got the most chronic diseases and those who consumed a plant-based diet were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease. Independently these men began their research paths and together now, they seek to get the truth out to everyone.

Reviews from people who have attended the advanced screenings have been extremely positive, noting that instead of being a science lesson or a dry docu-drama, it is a well-done film with very interesting and easy-to-relate-to life stories.

So what will you choose? To change what’s on the end of your fork or to potentially be on the other end of the knife?

The movie is due to be released in theaters in March 2011. Until then you can watch for an advanced screening in your area and follow Forks Over Knives on Facebook and Twitter. You can also sign up for updates on the film’s Web site.

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Got Truth? In Search of an Honest Dairy Label

A federal appeals court recently struck down a ban in Ohio that prohibited the labeling of dairy products as “rbST free” or “hormone-free.”  The court also challenged previous rulings by finding that dairy products from cows given rbST (recombinant bovine somatotropin, also known as Monsanto’s Posilac) ARE compositionally different from dairy products from non-treated cows in that they have increased levels of IGF-1, periods of lower nutritional quality, and increased somatic cell counts (i.e. more pus).

Using artificial hormones, which several countries have banned due to human and animal welfare concerns, increases milk production (up to 10%) and thus many dairy farmers insist it is vital for staying in business.  Dairy farmers have argued that allowing farmers who do not use artificial hormones to label their milk as hormone-free is unfair and misleading. The recent ruling changes the picture considerably and is somewhat of a positive step from a consumer standpoint.

But a REAL consumer victory would involve REAL TRUTH IN LABELING about dairy.

Even without artificial hormones, milk contains many naturally occurring hormones, allergens, fat, cholesterol, pesticides, drugs, pus, and yes, feces. These items are even more concentrated in dairy products such as cheese, ice cream, and butter.

USAGE: Intended for calves only. Hormones in the milk, such as IGF-1 cause rapid and substantial growth in calves. A calf may go from 65 lbs to 400 lbs in one year!

CALCIUM WARNING: Drinking milk actually accelerates bone loss as a result of adding excess animal protein to the body and thus, causing calcium and other minerals to be pulled from the bones to lower acid levels. “Osteoporosis is caused by a number of things, the most important one being too much dietary protein.” Science 1986; 233(4763)  Plant-based protein has far less of an acidic effect on the body than animal protein. Leading medical authorities on diet and disease, such as Dr. John McDougall, agree that the calcium-losing effect of protein in the body is not controversial in the scientific community, it is well-proven.

HEART & DISEASE WARNINGS: Consuming dairy products substantially increases your risk of heart disease as a result of the high saturated fat and cholesterol content. Insulin-dependent diabetes, allergies, colic, obesity, and iron deficiency in infants are also associated with dairy consumption. (see PCRM article)

CANCER WARNINGS: Dairy consumption increases the risk of prostate cancer, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer.  As noted in John Robbins book, The Food Revolution (citing a 2000 Health Professionals follow-up study) men who consume more than 2 servings of dairy products daily increase their risk of prostate cancer 70% more than men who consume no dairy.

ANIMALS & THE PLANET Were Harmed in the Making of this Product: In a dairy cow’s short life before becoming ground beef, her male babies will live short horrific lives before being sold for veal and her female calves will be fed milk other than hers and then put through a continuous cycle of forced impregnation and lactation. These sentient “milk machines” will endure painful years of standing on concrete attached to automated equipment and will suffer through the extraordinary pain of being separated from their calves. Read a compelling Animal Rights & Oppression blog post about this separation.  Dairy cows given artificial hormones often suffer from severe mastitis, hoof diseases, sores, internal bleeding, and deformed calves.  Yet, the FDA took only 90 days to approve Monsanto’s hormone and ruled it safe for humans and cows.

The Earth cannot escape the “Dairy Warning Label” either. Although dairy scored second to beef in terms of nitrogen pollution (a big contributor to dead zones), as Americans eat far more dairy than beef, dairy’s nitrogen footprint is much bigger.  Pollution and environmental issues are inevitable when dealing with football field-sized lagoons of waste.


Ditch the dairy, grab some greens, and sit in the sun for about 15 minutes a day (no sunscreen). Humans, like cows, get the calcium they need from a plant-based diet! Calcium is far MORE bioavailable in brussels sprouts, broccoli, and other dark green vegetables and we can get our Vitamin D from the sun and/or Vitamin D enriched foods. Get more info here regarding sources of calcium.  There are also numerous healthy dairy alternatives available now in stores, including coconut milk, nut milks, and soy. Visit GoDairyFree.Org for lots of resources!

Additional PCRM article

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