“Vegan for the animals” just so happens to be better for your health, too.
My vegan journey started when I learned that animal products contributed to not just the declining health of the modern world, but to my own grandparents, three of whom died just a year prior with heart disease. Back then, my doctoral research focused on atherosclerosis where I pointed blame to dietary cholesterol; I was likely wrong but I happened to be pointing the arrow in the right direction and hit the target anyway by swearing off animal products entirely.
A series of events merged animal rights and human health issues together with serendipitous timing that led me on my path to veganism (read about it here). The more I learned, the more I couldn’t figure out how I hadn’t known earlier.
Here, I’ve compiled a variety of my favorite resources, from trusted experts, to show a vegan lifestyle isn’t just more ethical, but safer and healthier as well.
Dr. Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM
Dr. Greger is a physician and an enthusiastic fan of nutrition science literature. He is the founder of NutritionFacts.org, where he offers free access to a huge wealth of nutrition recommendations based on peer-reviewed scientific literature.
In addition, Dr. Greger’s YouTube channel offers ad free educational videos that help you digest nutrition information sourced straight from the scientific literature.
I am knee deep in his book How Not To Die, which takes a deep dive into the 15 leading causes of death in the US, and his recommendations on how to avoid them.
Dr. Greger helps you put all this information to use in his free app, “Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen” (in the App Store or Google Play) with a concise checklist of foods you should incorporate into your diet every day, scientifically shown to promote health and longevity.
His app also includes “21 Tweaks” where he includes science backed ways to help you lose or manage your weight, which he covers in detail in his book How Not To Diet, currently in queue on my growing reading list.
Here’s the best part about Dr. Greger: to show that he’s not in this for financial gain, Dr. Greger takes no money from his website or Youtube, where he offers an entirely ad free experience. All of his book and cookbook sales are put directly back into the production of his website, or given to charity.
T. Colin Campbell, PhD
Dr. T. Colin Campbell is an influential nutrition scientist and researcher. His research includes the massive China Study that examined association between diet and disease across China.
The T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies website, NutritionStudies.org, is another great source of comprehensive yet digestible science-based information on healthy diet.
In June of 2021, I took Dr. Campell’s Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate program offered through eCornell that teaches his evidence-based principles to nutrition.
As a scientist, I found Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s newest book, The Future of Nutrition, to be riveting from every angle. Of course, the book outlines evidence, including his own research, that plants provide health promoting benefits, but also that meat, dairy, oil and sugar are significant triggers for disease, including his specialty, cancer.
Unexpectedly, Dr. Campbell also addresses the systemic flaws in academic research and political policy that allow bias across science, specifically when the science questions the current paradigms.
Neal Barnard, MD, FACC
Dr. Barnard is a physician, clinical researcher, and the president of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM.org). His educational website takes a truly vegan approach by advocating not just for plant-based diet as preventative medicine, but also for ethical experimentation and decreased laboratory animal use.
PCRM.org is another great source for nutrition advice, offering resources such as a 21-Day Kickstart plan and vegan starter kits.
Dr. Barnard’s research and interests focus on the endocrine system, or hormones. His latest book, Your Body in Balance, is high on my to-do list. The book tackles hormone balance in the body, including topics like PMS, erectile disfunction, infertility, menopause, and diabetes, and how these dysfunctions relate to diet.
The Plant-Based Athlete
Bodybuilder Robert Cheeke and ultrarunner Matt Frazier co-authored The Plant-Based Athlete. Matt and Robert use their personal experience along with science-backed evidence to discuss the effects of a plant-based diet on athletic performance.
Matt (founder of nomeatathlete.com) and Robert (founder of veganbodybuilding.com) incorporate their experience with many other plant-based athletes to provide real-world examples of how to incorporate the vegan diet into a high-performance lifestyle.
If you’re new to the plant-based diet, looking for athletic inspiration, or if you’re just not into the super technical nutrition details found in The Future of Nutrition, I think this book is valuable. I included this resource because it offers offers tried and true nutrition in plain, approachable, non-technical language, while still incorporating evidence-based principles.
Book Quick Links
Here I’ve compiled the books mentioned above, which just happens to be my nutrition-focused, science-based reading list. Have you read any of these? Do you think I’m missing something important? Feel free to drop some suggestions in the comments below!
- Eat and Run, Scott Jurek (Current read: Nov 2021)
- How Not to Die, Michael Greger, MD
- How Not to Die Cookbook, Michael Greger, MD with Gene Stone and Robin Robertson
- The Future of Nutrition, T. Colin Campbell, PhD
- The Plant Based Athlete, Matt Frazier and Robert Cheeke
- Your Body in Balance, Neal D. Barnard, MD, FACC