Beyond Willpower 2: Small Steps

How does change occur? The practice of creating New Years resolutions promotes a vision of change as something that happens in sweeping fashion. We imagine that we can go from carnivore to vegan by making a sudden, large commitment. Although this is certainly possible, I’ve already mentioned in my last piece how the results of … Continue reading Beyond Willpower 2: Small Steps

The Triumph of the Veggie Burger

It’s a great source of irony that the veggie burger, a subverted form of the macho, all-American staple, is the first vegan dish to go truly mainstream. It’s true that oatmeal is available at any diner (often it’s the only vegan dish at diners, even with their voluminous menus) and that salads (hold the cheese!) … Continue reading The Triumph of the Veggie Burger

Why Fast?

Long gone are the days when the benefits of fasting are ascribed to some vague nonsense about “detox” or “cleansing.” The problem with claims of “detoxification,” are that no one can ever identify what toxins are being eliminated. Instead, fasting has evidence-based benefits related to rebooting the immune system, lowering blood sugar, improving insulin sensitivity … Continue reading Why Fast?

The Second Book on your Vegan Bookshelf

If first book on your vegan bookshelf convinces you to go vegan, the second one should tackle the practical problem of making veganism healthy and approachable. This problem is not as easily solved as we would like. 84% of all vegans and vegetarians in the United States return to meat eating. Some develop nutritional deficiencies, … Continue reading The Second Book on your Vegan Bookshelf

Does the need to supplement undermine veganism?

Supplementation is virtually a must for vegans. B12 is the obvious example. Some claim that you can get by on nutritional yeast and plant milks. I’m skeptical of even fortified foods because it’s easy to get inactive analogues of B12. It’s a subject of debate whether vegans need to take Omega-3s. ALA is easy to … Continue reading Does the need to supplement undermine veganism?

When Facts Mislead: Paltering and Veganism

Some critics of veganism routinely deploy facts about nutrition that aren’t true. They make use of facts that are narrowly true, but only serve to muddy the waters in the pursuit of overall understanding. There is a name for this form of deception: paltering. Lies of commission (intentionally making untrue statements) and lies of ommission … Continue reading When Facts Mislead: Paltering and Veganism

The Psychological Toll of the Slaughterhouse

Note: this post contains graphic descriptions of slaughterhouse work. Adam Smith, commenting on the early problems of the Industrial Revolution, famously wondered what happens to a person who spends most of his waking hours making the heads of pins. His thesis was that such dreary, repetitive labor improves productivity, but dulls the mind. I wonder … Continue reading The Psychological Toll of the Slaughterhouse