in her own words - how i became a vegan - shelley

i get so many emails asking me about how and why i am vegan that i've decided to start a readers series to help others make the transition from a regular, sad (standard american diet) to a vegan diet.
you all know that i switched the minute i finished watching earthlings.
but not everyone does it that way.
i look forward to introducing you to regular readers of my blog and have them share with you, in their own words, just how becoming vegan happened for them and the impact it has had on their lives.
if you would be interested in participating, please email me.

so first up is shelley.  she is a schoolteacher in san diego and has a wealth of information that she shares regularly in the comment section of my blog.
so here is shelley's story.

How did you become vegan? THAT is a question I get asked regularly. The answer? We were forced into it.

In Oct 2010 my husband---age 70-- was pre-diabetic and overweight and he failed a treadmill test which resulted in him getting an angioplasty and 2 stents in his coronaries. And he was told he's need a 3rd stent in 6 months. He was never even given an option of changing his diet. That was a huge wake up call for the both of us.

My husband lost 40 pounds following the regular Mc Dougall starch/plant eating plan and he's kept if off - for a year now.  He was never hungry. His new cardio doc took him off his 2 statin drugs and his 2 BP meds--10 months ago- and says no 3rd stent required. All his follow up tests show good strong blood flow to his heart.

He has not overcome his compulsive eating behaviors - they will always be with him. Instead, he changed his diet so these behaviors don't trip him up.

The KEY was for us to fully understand the STARCH BASED vegan diet - I read all the resources that I will post here--right below. 
They were most helpful :

The China Study by Colin Campbell [ your library has it ]
McDougall Program -
Jeff Novick's DVD excerpt on Calorie Density -
Mc Dougall forums for recipes, support and new ideas:

After reading or watching the above, we both committed 100% to this starch/plant way of eating for 2 months to just SEE if we could do it - we were semi-vegetarians for 20 years prior to becoming vegans and so it took only a month of getting rid of cheese and yogurt and ice cream and fried foods and oils to feel like we were not "missing out" but honestly we do not miss cheese or yogurt or ice cream or fried foods or oil at all now. Every time we cheated we RE-committed -  we didn't let a small cheat be an excuse to continue to cheat the rest of the day. So if you are thinking you want to try plant based, I'd suggest you commit to it for 2 months-don't tell yourself you are doing this way of eating FOREVER - say to yourself you are doing just a 2 month trial. If you can stick with it for 2 months you will be glad you did. The hardest part is over after 2 months-!! We see our friends and family members suffering with all sorts of health issues and we feels so bad for them. I hope this post will inspire a few reader's of Janet's to do something good for themselves. It's not complicated - eating this way is very simple and easy!

The change in the quality of our lives still amazes me today, after over 18 months of eating this starch/plant way. No Rx drugs, more energy, better sleep, clearer skin, fewer aches and pains, better mental clarity and the peace of mind that comes with knowing we are doing what is best for ourselves, the animals the environment and planet earth !

All these benefits and THIS :  it is CHEAPER than eating meat + dairy + junk.
-Shelley [ in San Diego ]

thank you shelley for sharing your story!



  1. Janet, this is great...I will definitely be following along. I am a new vegan...just 3 months in now and never going back.

    Shelley--thank you for sharing your story. I started just as you said, just trying it out to see if I could live with it. And for me, it was easy. I am glad to know about the reversal of your husband's health issues. Something I will share with my husband, for sure.

    1. Old Married Lady-You are so welcome. I am delighted if anyone can be helped by our story. You can read many wonderful stories of healing on dr mc dougall's website. janet-thanks for the opportunity to help-!

  2. Thanks for sharing this. It is amazing and interesting

  3. This is a great new feature - asking people their own stories on why they became vegans - thanks Janet and thanks to Shelley too - I found it really interesting especially the health benefits you have both experienced - particularly your husband. Sarah (Semi Expat)

  4. What a great and inspiring feature. I would really love to try this!

  5. oh ajj!
    this is a wonderful new series.
    so like you in your gentle way of spreading health and happiness and simplicity.
    if you ever get a lobby group to go to washington to get them to listen and change
    the horrendous ...that word is too weak for the torture endured.. in slaughterhouses and
    the factory farms across this nation... count me in. surely enough of us could make a difference.

  6. So glad you're doing this. I'm definitely a committed reader of your blog and love it. I follow Dr. Fuhrman's plan so I"m 90% vegan. It lets me indulge once in a while when I join friends and I have no trouble getting back on course afterwards. I was plagued with sinus problems and infections even as a child (am 64 now) and cutting out dairy solved that issue. Transitioning to vegan was easy for me years after that. Obviously, I'm much healthier tho' I still need to be disciplined about exercising. Grrrrr.

  7. Janet,

    I know I have mentioned that my daughter went vegan early last year. She went back to chicken and egg whites for about 6 months but then returned to being a full fledged vegan again.

    It's great you are doing this, maybe I can persuade her to email you her story! :o)


  8. Subject good on so many levels! Thank you for this new feature.

  9. P.S. Like Shelley's husband, my girlfriend's brother-in-law had a lot of heart issues, undergone multiple surgeries. (stents,etc) His cardio doc told him he HAD to go vegan if he wanted to live. He has stuck with the diet for well over a year, lost 20 lbs. and so far so good.

  10. Hi Janet, oooh! I just LOVE this. I read your blog regularly. I have totally slacked off on my blog. :( But would love to contribute to this new feature!


    ps - I made your pesto pasta with tomatoes for girlfriends (not vegan) and my nieces (not vegan). Both my girlfriends and my sister (nieces's mom) asked for the recipe - so I sent them to your blog. Thank you so much for sharing such a hit!

  11. thanks janet and shelley. i've been vegeatarian since i was in high school. mainly started out because i thought it was healthier. as i got older, i did not like how the animals were housed or slaughtered. i was allergic to milk and egg whites when i was little so did not have much craving for them. i do however like cheese! now if i can learn to make a great veggie burger that does not require oats (gluten intolerant) that will be fun. thanks for the jeff novick link.

  12. I am a veggie, my family all eat meat but I have just done the menu plan for the next 6 weeks and cut out a lot of meat and dairy, let's see if they notice!

  13. People need to not be afraid of food -- healthy food -- no matter what the source. Please face up to the fact that we are carnivores by NATURE.

    1. You should do your homework before coming on a forum and making a ridiculous statement like that. Your ignorance is astounding. humans are NOT carnivores.......!! You need to face up to the fact that you are woefully uninformed on what "healthy food" consists of for humans.

      All respected science now corroborates that eating animal products results in heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity for humans while research over the last 70 years has shown that a diet based on starches, vegetables, and fruits makes people healthy.

      "are humans designed to eat meat ?"

      i think you will find this video interesting - it debunks a lot of hooey.
      i had to watch in 15 min segments as it is long.

      this info --below--is all from the video :

      herbivore stomach is smaller than that of carnivore
      herbivores eat multiple times per day - "batch feeding"

      dogs do not get coronary artery disease no matter how much cholesterol they eat.
      neither do they get gallstones...but humans do-!

      bile emulsifies fat..carnivores have strong bile
      humans have weak bile

      only herbivores have carb-digesting enzymes in their saliva..
      only herbivores have an appendix..
      human intestine has classic measurement of all plant eaters...
      humans have the anatomy and physiology of a plant eater....
      fiber is important . .

      carnivore's or omnivore's small intestine is three to six times the length of its trunk. This is a tool designed for rapid elimination of food--meat-- that rots quickly
      and putrifies in the colon...humans as well as other herbivore's small intestines are 10 to 12 times the length of their body, and winds itself back and forth in random directions.
      This is a tool designed for keeping food in it for long enough periods of time so that all the valuable nutrients and minerals can be extracted from it before it enters the large intestine.

    2. blah blah blah blah
      I guess the cave men ate nutritional yeast and drank soy milk ?
      And what do you think your molars are for?
      A balanced diet of healthy foods from ALL the food groups; that's the key.

    3. you know...
      there is something about people like "anonymous" who comes into a forum with rudeness.
      as in 'blah blah blah blah.' it makes you rather like a hit and run driver. you run over people and don't think a thing about it. we are a group of people who respect each other and our right to have a friendly discussion. you hide behind your rudeness by not giving your name. you are not very brave are you? what do you think we might do? it is just unfortunate that you have to change the tone of what should be an enlightening exchange of ideas. please take your blah blah blah elsewhere if you can't be civil. (and maybe you should work a shift in the latest slaughterhouse that was recently closed by the usda in california because of their torture of the cows. sick ones at that.) then make your comments.

    4. AS far as I'm concerned, what difference does it make what we ate as cavemen? Looking at how our animal based is effecting our health and the environmental impact the industry is having globally, isn't their reason enough to consider change? And how long did these supposed meat eating cavemen live? They didn't pop down to the grocery store in their automobile after getting up from their couch after a long day in front of their computer.

    5. I agree--eating meat is an archaic way of existing. Cave men did not live very long is right!

      I tend to follow the viewpoint that if you don't NEED to eat animals, then isn't it gluttonous and hedonistic and CRUEL to do so?

      I am very interested in anthropology and I studied it in college and there is no doubt in my mind that humans have always eaten meat when it was available. I get that. But do modern humans get that there are more humans alive today than were born and lived and died in the past? Do they get that over 3/4th of arable land is given to raising livestock and if that land was given to growing plants it would feed twice as many people? Do they get that the fact that the majority of food-borne bacterial illnesses require an animal host in some part of the cycle? We may have evolved as omnivores. I don't argue that point. But the world we live in today is not the same as it was 200,000 or more years ago. We not only have big brains, but we have the experience of all those who have gone before us to help us make decisions about our world. Yet despite that, we continue to make bad decisions.

  14. As for me and mine... It was the realization of the brutal treatment to nonhumans that was the catalyst. From there we gathered information about the health benefits of plant based eating - And it figures... What's the healthiest for your mind and spirit is the healthiest for body as well. I love my compassionate and delicious food - Meat-free for 8 years... Egg and dairy-free for 4 and have absolutely no regrets except that I didn't make this choice sooner!

  15. I really like this new series and think it's a great idea. I look forward to learning from other vegan readers. This series is a great help to animals, the environment and humans.

    However, I do have one suggestion: Please consider editing the posts that your contributors make. This post was a little painful to read in terms of the grammatical errors, poor writing and unprofessional style. I appreciated some of the substance, though.

    1. really anon? the title of this series is in her own words.

      shell took the time to write her story for the benefit of others, the environment and for animals. whereas your comment seems to only benefit your desire to put someone down.

  16. Why are the rude comments always anonymous? and why, if they are so close-minded abotu vegan eating, are they following a vegan blog enough to comment?
    Other than that, thank you for such an inspirational post. For those of us trying to change our diets for the better, it always helps to hear others' stories.

    1. Thanks-! I too wonder why a person so opposed to learning about becoming a vegan bothers to even come to this blog. And yes - why are the negative comments always anonymous-? I think that if you lack self esteem, a way to try to make yourself feel better is by putting someone else down. This is what a lot of people do. Psychologists call it "leveling".

  17. Thank you for this thought provoking series. I have contemplated starting a vegetarian diet because of health issues, but find it hard to commit. I felt this would be an easier way to move toward vegan. I am afraid of the hormones in meats and have been seeking out hormone-free beef, milk and free range chicken. Your suggestion to commit for a short time is a good one. When I return from Ireland (don't know how easy it would be to start this on a 10 day trip), I am going to commit for one month after checking with my doctor.

  18. Pls publish other stories, I am veg I'd love to stop grilling meat for my husband, last year he underwent total colectomy because he suffered from ulcerative colitis, his doc says his diet should be based on white flour, white sugar, refined foods, grilled chicken meat and potatoes..I am sure this diet is lethal, I would like to consult other specialist but he trusts his own...

    1. @ lovesjetlag - please go here:

      and read the story of Andrew Neuman-in 1999 he was a young man who was dying from ulcerative colitis & he made a complete reversal with a change to a starch-based low-fat diet and now has a colon free of disease.

      For the prevention and treatment of IBD Dr Mc Dougall says your diet should avoid all kinds of added fats, oils and animal foods. Your prime source of calories needs to come from starches, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squashes, beans, and rice.

    2. thank you so much, I'll check this website

    3. Sorry I am late replying but I have not been able to get this comment out of my mind. Is it possible that your husband did not hear the doctor correctly? Maybe the doc said "should not include ....." or " omit....". Perhaps the doctor was being sarcastic although this does not sound probable. It would not hurt to double check w/ the doctor.

    4. Mr Anomymous, I can't stand smug people who think they know all, do you think that after all these yrs we do not know exactly what doctor thinks a cholectomized person should eat? Do you think we are idiots? Omg, why is this world so full of people who think they are way better than others?

    5. I am so sorry. I am the idiot. Obviously ignorance and smugness are very close. Thank you for not ignoring me and calling me out. My sincerest apologies.

  19. Great idea Janet! I was wondering what you and Shell think of coffee? Some vegan's drink it and others don't. I've been trying to do a juice fast and coffee seems to be the only thing I have trouble passing up.

    1. I think a little coffee might be ok for most people. Two years ago coffee was causing acid problems for me so I switched to making coffee with "coffee concentrate" - which is made by soaking coffee grounds in cold water overnight & then straining. This yields a solution with about 63% of the acid removed. You then add hot water to 2-4 tablespoons of that concentrate for a cup of coffee. I drank 2 cups a day of
      coffee made like that for awhile and then about a year ago I gave that up. Caffeine triggers a stress response that involves a surge in adrenal hormones and the classic fight-or-flight "emergency," affecting virtually every cell in the body. I now am drinking a roasted barley coffee-like drink called Teeccino. I buy it at the health food store. I feel calmer without caffeine and I sleep better without it. I never thought i could give up my 2 morning cups of caffeinated coffee but it was easy!

  20. What an interesting read, thanks for sharing, Shelley! I've been a vegetarian since I was old enough to know where meat came from. Thanks to Janet and her amazing vegan recipes Jon and I have decided to try to go vegan for two days a week from now on. xxx

    1. i can't tell you how happy that makes me vix. xoxo

  21. I really enjoyed this post and am looking forward to hearing other people's stories. I am vegetarian (I still eat cheese from reliable sources.) Due to where I live, my journey to healthier eating was not easy, and I am curious, are there any other vegans, vegetarians, or healthy eaters out there, who are struggling in a "food desert" like myself?

    1. are you in a food desert or a recipe desert? let me know, maybe i can help.

    2. Actually, both. But initially it was a food desert: a populous urban environment, in the industrialized world where healthy, affordable food is difficult to obtain. Whole Foods finally opened a store in the city where I live and my life has gotten somewhat easier. After about a year on this healthier diet (healthier for the enviornment, animals, and people) both my college age children (who still lived at home) expressed concerns about the changes in their social lives and (for my son) even mild depression. By changing the food they were eating, they had, in essence, taken themselves out of their social norm. They were going against the very grain of society. When all their college buddies were gathering at the local Pizza Hut or KFC, my kids were making veggie sandwiches at home. Now, after three years of vegetarianism, there is no turning back. Just the sight or smell of meat is offensive. A good portion of my days and weeks are spent shopping for and preparing food. But it's worth it. So I guess, what I really need right now are some healthy, affordable recipes. I'm in a bit of a culinary rut and could really use some help. Thanks!

  22. Love this idea, and Shelley's story. I participated in Veguary this past February and in 2011. Even after only a month I could see the difference it made. I'm sorry to say that I slip back easily as I find it hard to come up with recipes that don't include pasta. I will keep trying but I would love some help with recipes.

  23. Roseanne - email me at:

    and I'll send you some easy recipes and a simple meal plan.

    1. Thanks I just emailed you.

  24. Just wanted to drop a line thanking you for this series. I also want to thank you for speaking out last year on veganism. God had been dealing with me on this matter, I love animals and am a mercy person by very nature. For years, meat eating had bugged me and it was hard for me to reconcile in my mind and heart eating these animals. I went in and out of vegetarianism, a doctor became unglued and I succumbed. But your blog last year with the brief clip of earthlings did it for me. That was it. I've been a strict vegetarian and ethical vegan since, seeing your blog last year and now eat with a clear conscience not to mention the blessing of health benefits.

    Thank you for sharing Shelley, I let my husband read it and he enjoyed it as well. : ) Dr. McDougall is much needed today.

    Thank you Janet for sharing your blog and allowing testimonies, I am so going to enjoy this! Thanks also for the recipes. My four daughters and I really enjoy your blog. Blessings!

  25. I have been a vegetarian for twenty years and although I'm still chubby....I don't have any of the health problems all my friends do of my same age. I just don't. I would like to go further and be a vegan...just have not done it yet. I don't eat much dairy....I mostly eat vegetables and tofu but do have dairy occasionally. I stay away from fried foods...because I really don't enjoy them. But when I do eat heavy friend stuff because I'm with friends and I sway under peer pressure....I wake feeling awful. It reminds me that its just not worth it.

    I have a friend who is going through major medical problems now and is only a few years older than I. She is diabetic and has lost one leg because of it and may lose the other and yet....she won't change the way she eats. She eats like a child. She has no idea what it's like to feel good because I bet she's never eaten stuff that is good for her even one day. She was raised eating no vegetables and thinks that I am crazy because I eat brussell sprouts and edamame as snacks. I love them! I don't care about potato chips....I honestly don't. There was a time I liked them...but I stopped eating them long ago and do not miss them one bit. When we have parties a vegetable tray is provided for me and honestly...I am the only one eating it.

    People amaze me that they won't try to change their diet even when it is killing them.

    1. It amazes me too that people won't change their way of eating even when it is killing them.
      I really am convinced that the starch/plant based diet is the healthiest way for all of us to eat.
      Maybe more don't embrace it because people do not realize that their tastes will change...BUT it takes time.
      You have to give your taste buds time !

      I had read all kinds of testimonials saying you'll notice in like 14 days your tastes will change.
      When that didn't happen for me, I was still determined to keep on and thought oh well, food just wouldn't equate to
      as much pleasure for me anymore. I did not eat meat but I ate parmesan cheese on everything--oil on many things and
      fish and french fries & potato chips & fried foods.
      I was happy to discover that MY TASTES DID CHANGE. And although my tastes didn't change right away- it took me 2 months- they eventually did.


      TASTES DO CHANGE. I was a potato chip addict - had to have them all the time. They do not tempt me at all now. I
      have no desire for them whatsoever.
      Most people do not realize how addicting animal flesh,
      oil, sugar & dairy products are. once you stop tasting those things and once you stay off them for awhile, you will LOSE your desire for them.

      The hardest part for us going starch/plant based was making up our minds. We decided to "TRY" it for 2 months and then re-evaluate. And boy are we ever glad we did! No going back - I am sure we won't be eating greasy oily fried things and cheese again.

  26. I went on the McDougall plan years ago, when I was in my 20s. I dropped a lot of weight, and several people close to me were convinced that I was starving myself. (I wasn't underweight, just thinner than I'd ever been.)

    Then I got sick (not food/diet related) and was unable to cook for myself, and gradually slipped into some bad eating habits. 20 years later I'm working on getting back to my old vegan habits, which had served me so well.

    Anyway, all this is to say that I totally agree that portion control is not a concern at all, if you are on the McDougall plan. When I was on it, I was never hungry, and I ate a LOT of food. And it was good! (It drives me a little crazy when people talk about portion control, because I know it's not necessary.)

    I'm back on a vegan diet now and feeling better than I have in a long time. Alas, avoiding fats & oils is not as easy as it used to be, due to the fact that it's not practical at this time for me to bring my own lunch to work. Nevertheless, I've lost 3 pounds in the past couple of weeks, by simply cutting out the processed foods.

    1. I'm glad to read of your experience with the Mc Dougall way of eating.

      Mc Dougall has 2 programs - one for maximum weight loss and a regular one.

      BOTH plans are based on starches & vegetables.
      The McDougall Maximum Weight Loss Plan (MWL) to lose weight is similar to the regular McDougall plan,
      but differs by replacing foods made from flour, even 100% whole-grain flour, with whole grains cooked whole; by limiting fruit to two raw pieces a day.

      Mc Dougall's delicious approach to food is the holy grail for weight loss & maintenance.

      I did not need to lose weight and I didn't . If you don't have weight issues then you eat plenty of bread, some nuts, avocado, & pasta you will not lose weight.

      One thing Dr Mc Dougall wishes everyone knew about weight loss: Starches are known as "comfort foods" for one good reason: they are the right foods for PEOPLE. Our natural cravings are correct. People love beans, potatoes, rice, corn, and sweet potatoes.
      Most "diets" are impossible to maintain.

      I know most people going on Mc Dougall's way of eating plan miss meat and cheese and other dairy and first.
      But you lose interest in eating those things after a few weeks and it is easy to follow Mc Dougall because most everyone has carb cravings and on Mc Dougall you can eat plenty of potatoes, rice and corn. You are never hungry and it is relatively inexpensive.

      And if you don't like to cook "fancy" it's the best ! The foods are so simple.

  27. P.S. I could never watch Earthlings, but I highly recommend the film, Forks over Knives. It does a great job of covering the nutritional and scientific issues in a very responsible manner. I watched it when I was thinking about going vegan again. I was wondering if the scientific research still supported this type of diet, and that film convinced me that it was worth trying again.

  28. Janet,
    I really enjoyed reading Shelly's story...her approach seems very realistic. Better health and clarity...sounds like two very good reasons. It is surprising how western medicine did not even discuss change in diet. I'm looking forward to reading more in this series and taking a look at the books Shelly has recommended. Thanks Janet!

  29. @lovelythings-Thanks I am glad to read you thing my approach was realistic. TRYING a starch-based vegan way of eating for 2 months to see if you can stick with it appeals to people more than thinking they HAVE to suddenly eat a certain different way FOREVER ! The great thing is if you can stick with starch/vegan for 2 months, you will feel so much better and your tastes will change so much that you will WANT to keep on with it. But you won't know that unless you TRY it.

    I think most doctors believe that most patients will not change their diets. Thus they do not mention it. And I think that was mostly true and probably still is true but hopefully that will change.

    On Mc Dougall's forum today they were discussing Dr Fuhrman & how you will lose weight and regain health on a Fuhrman diet but it is more expensive than McDougall. Someone said that neither Fuhrman nor McDougall is an unreasonable plan and neither requires counting or figuring out points or eating exotic food etc. If a diet is easy to follow in that it requires only food you can buy at the local market, doesn't require elaborate counting or calculations (like the Zone or weight watchers) and if you choose can be as simple to prepare as cutting up raw vegetables and cooking others in a microwave and is nutritionally sound it's amazing to me that people don't choose to follow it. But in our culture, most of us were fed meat, dairy,fats and eggs from very early childhood and the eating habits of our culture are not easy to break.

  30. Great story. I have been watching a bunch of Jeff Novicks you tube videos - very, very interesting. The closest I have gotten to being vegiie is this Spring. I felt healthy, lost weigh etc. Then I fell off the wagon and am trying to get back. You always have some great inspirational stuff on your blog! Thank you.

    1. I LOVE Jeff Novick - so glad you find him interesting. He's Dr Mc Dougall's nutritionist and he is totally wonderful in my opinion! I learned a lot from him!

  31. try watermelon agua fresca. this recipe was posted on mc dougall's boards today. it's HOT here in san diego and i made this today-it's wonderful-!

    Watermelon Agua Fresca
    3 cups chopped and seeded watermelon
    1 cup ice water
    a dozen fresh mint leaves
    Juice from 1/2 lime

    Place everything in the blender and process until liquefied. Serve over ice with a couple of mint leaves for garnish. Serves two (or one really thirsty person).

  32. My husband and I are newly vegan and we are enjoying this new way of eating. I have Celiac disease and cannot eat most grains so the McDougall's plan would be difficult for me although I love the premise of it. Right now I am eating lots of vegetables fixed many ways, tofu, small amounts of quinoah and brown rice and fruit. Trying to come up with tasty things for dinner is a challenge. Any recommendations for vegan recipes or cookbooks?

    1. RRC posted this on Mc Dougall forums:
      I have celiac disease and am doing just fine. The Mcdougall Plan is really easy and inherently gluten free. Rice, quinoa, millet, corn, winter squash, beans, vegetables, fruit, and nuts and seeds are all naturally gluten free. You just have to make sure that your sources of these foods are clean. Plus I wash all my grains and legumes several times to be sure that I've cleared out any debris.

      I have to take iron even though my diet has almost twice the recommended amount in it.

      and Jenny posted this:
      I would think it would be actually easier to combine gluten free and McDougalling. You still have the option for potatoes, rice, various other grains, oatmeal (gluten free, even though it tech is, it can be contaminated so now they make some processed separately and labeled), etc. We don't try to do gluten free, but most of the time I am just b/c I prefer my pasta to be brown rice pasta anyway and don't eat much bread, etc. And then things like soy sauce, etc is easy to get gluten free.

      and stirfry posted this:

      It's absolutely possible to do Mc Dougall if you have celiac disease. There is a whole forum for Gluten free issues right here...

    2. I appreciate your reply. There are very recent studies that show that most grains contain gluten - corn, rice and oats among them. Here is the explanation - quite convincing actually and very discouraging for me since I now believe I should not be eating any grains. I will look at the link that you gave - I appreciate it.

      Catt in Kentucky

  33. I really enjoyed reading that Shelley and thanks for posting it Janet. I am always thinking that I would like to try vegetarianism and so far the only thing I have stopped eating (for years now) is red meat. I still eat poultry and fish and some dairy products so I am not anywhere near being a vegetarian or vegan. I do believe that it would be a healthier lifestyle and would like to try it. I am a little intimidated by the unknown and it keeps me from trying it. I know, it's stupid but that's the truth. I have cut out meat from our diet at least 2 days a week but would like to do it full time. I don't think my husband would though and that makes it hard when it comes to dinner (and cooking two seperate meals). I can't convince him that it's healthier (and ethical too). He has watched a couple of shows with me about the food farms and the unethical practices of slaughtering and he has empathy for the animals and is a kind person but still can't quite picture his life as a vegetarian. Maybe I'll do it myself even though it's going to be more cooking and seperate meals every day.

    1. @Kearneygirl - Thanks I am glad you are thinking of trying to change. Great! Are you the cook in your house? This topic of cooking separate meals comes up all the time on Mc Dougall forums. My experience has been that someone will change only when they are ready to make a change. It may take years - a decade or more. Maybe never. The easiest way to co-exist is to make meals where you can add the meat separately 'after-the-fact', such as meatballs with spaghetti or a piece of meat in addition to the starches and vegetables that you would normally serve. Lead by example and don't nag. Also-you should not feel badly about having your husband fix his own meal once in awhile if you are having a great vegan meal and he insists on having meat. He may be a bit grumpy but he needs to find out that he will indeed live if he has a meal without meat on occasion.

      Some good basics that don't really need meat are Chili, Spaghetti with lots of veggies, curried vegetable dishes over rice and a huge variety of vegetable soups and salads. Just keep feeding him vegetable dishes and ignore the fact they don't have meat unless he specifically asks for something meat based.

      It does not have to be HARD. I rely a lot on McDougall's Quick & Easy Cookbook. The recipes are so simple, but the dishes are wonderfully flavorful. A real time saver. Dr. Esselstyn's Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease is another good book to have for recipes. It's not sold as a "cookbook" per se but it has many, many recipes. And every one that I have tried is delicious.

      this section--Food and Recipes--of Mc Dougall's forums you can find many wonderful recipes:

      I think people can get caught up in the idea that they have to have interesting, time consuming recipes all the time. My motto: What's wrong with plain food once in a while? Just have the "easy to prepare" food most of the time, and then when you're in the mood, then pull out the recipe book and chop chop chop.

      Keep it simple!

      Eat potatoes, vegetables, beans, lentils, rice, fruits, grains, nuts and seeds. It's cheap and easy to make steel cuts oats type
      of oatmeal and add blueberries and a few walnuts.
      what about steamed vegetables over rice with a drizzle of Bragg's amino acids, salads with raw veggies-?

      A simple meal is a baked potato with beans and salsa or bbq sauce.
      You can also now almost always find pre-cut/chopped FRESH veggies in bags - all you do is
      open the bag & rinse and then eat the veggies raw or steam. Or add to veg broth and make soup.
      Quick meal? Fix a pot of rice or soba noodles and steam some frozen veggies. ....mix together & eat with Braggs amino acids and a few
      sesame seeds sprinkled on. At the market the other day I bought a bag of fresh organic pre-cut cubes of sweet potatoes, butternut squash & beets.
      I had made brown rice with other mixed grains the day before so I just reheated the rice & grains, steamed the cubed potatoes,
      squash & beets and mixed it all together - squeezed on some fresh lemon juice and had a yummy meal. I had some raw broccoli
      [ organic cut up flowerlets ] and some organc baby carrots along with some no oil hummus to go with my
      rice/grain/potato/veg dish. I make a simple curry "sauce" that keeps in the fridge for 5-6 days. I make it by simmering
      [ in veg broth ] some peeled and
      cut up red potatoes with chopped onions and garlic and curry powder. Then I use my hand blender to blend this up and use it as a "sauce" over

    2. Thank you for all the great recipe ideas. I will certainly try them. I have no problem with simple food. I enjoy it.

  34. Dear Janet, I've read through all the comments with interest. I follow a virtually fat-free diet in order to control the many gallstones currently hanging around in my gallbladder and bile duct, the result of years of home baking and biscuit eating! I am aiming to deal with this problem non-surgically by means of a cleanse and shall be following the recipes and advice in your blog.
    Like other commentators I do wish that people would not hide behind 'anonymous', they should put a name to their opinions, whatever they are.

    1. @ Share my Garden-- I have been doing liver/gallbladder cleanses since 1998. I did my 35th one last month. Back in 1998 I did a series of 6 cleanses 2-3 weeks apart. Now I do them twice a year. You probably know how to do them but if you want my tips you can email me at:

  35. I am enjoying this series.
    Anonymous sounds very angry...
    anonymous it's time for you to come clean and put your name on your comments.

  36. I too am a vegan and have found it easy. I was vegetarian for a few years before making the transition and I have not had a problem with it but then I was never a big fan of dairy and I only had cheese rarely and ice-cream now and then. I haven't drunk milk since I was a child as I don't like it and the same goes for cream,yoghurt etc.

    In response to anonymous I wonder why you follow a vegan blog when you eat meat and also I would like to point out that we don't need any animal products in our lives and the fact that there are vegans in the world goes only to prove this. The production of meat has a huge impact on the environment. Cows produce huge amounts of methane and far more than the worlds transportation networks. It also uses more water than crop farming as well as all the crops grown for animal feed. If meat eaters just cut down the amount of meat they eat then this could have a huge positive effect on the environment. Then there is the question of animal welfare. Most farmed animals are caged and live in terrible conditions. Dairy cows are kept constantly pregnant in order to produce milk and when they collapse from exhaustion they are slaughtered. Male cows are slaughtered or sent of to a veal factory as they have no use. Male chicks are crushed alive as they serve no purpose and battery hens are kept indoors and fed growth hormones to make them grow quicker and with bigger breasts. They can hardly stand under their weight and some die and not removed so are left to rot. You may kid yourself that we need meat to survive but as someone who does not eat it I can assure you that we do not. I personally want no part in harming animals but respect those who really don't care just because they want to consume them. I believe it is just ignorance to pretend that we need meat etc. If you are shown the facts about animal farming and the treatment of animals and still choose to eat meat then that is your choice but at least own up to it and admit that you don't care if animals are slaughtered in order for you to eat them but don't hid behind the premise that we need meat to live.

    1. Dear Handmade
      This is my first comment on this topic so I'm not the Anonymous you've directed your comment to. However, I'd like to say that I am a meat and dairy eater too, though only small amounts of meat and generally not more than 2-3 times a week. However, until this particular post on this blog I hadn't realised it was specifically vegan. I've been browsing on and off because I've been interested in the home, style and other posts and hadn't till now picked up that it was vegan. In regard to cruel animal farming conditions I completely agree with you that there are some very bad animal practices out there. However there are also farmers who practise much more humane and healthy techniques. I buy eggs and chickens from certified organic free-range producers and bacon and pork from similar and where I can, beef and lamb the same. It takes some searching and costs more but I would rather do this.
      In addition, I respect your right to follow your vegan path and it's wonderful that it's having such a beneficial effect. However, I think it's also important that while vegans speak of the benefits of their eating decisions they're not tempted to feel somehow superior as people and disparage others or imply that those who are walking another path are somehow inferior or cruel or unhealthy. I try to follow a balanced diet, principally a Mediterranean one, organic where possible, with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, but also dairy and some fish, meat and chicken. In summer I grow my own vegetables, salads, herbs and strawberries without using any pesticides. I also have citrus in pots: a Tahitian lime, lemons and cumquats that are very healthy without any pesticides and produce masses of fruit. I eat very little processed food and virtually no takeaway. My blood sugar is absolutely normal and my blood pressure is fine for my age (I'm over 65) so it doesn't seem to have done me much harm. Apart from this comment, I don't normally discuss my own food habits and certainly don't try to make people feel that they are wrong because they eat differently from me or my family. We all have to follow our own paths and beliefs and it's important to respect each others' rights to do so.

    2. If I come across as sounding superior than I apologise as I certainly don't feel superior. I live in a household where my husband eats meat sometimes and my son who was vegetarian foe 8 years has started eating meat again and my two daughters are vegetarian so whilst I don't cook meat for anyone I do handle dairy for my daughters and I don't have a problem with this. My comment was aimed at the previous anonymous person who said that we need meat. Before becoming vegetarian I too ate organic meat but a lot of it ends up at the same slaughterhouse and is killed in the same way so whilst the meat is better in that it is not full of hormones and other nasties it may still be killed in an inhumane way. That is not to say that all organic meat ends up this way, far from it but a lot of it does. I by no means implied that non vegans were inferior or cruel or unhealthy and I didn't try to say that anyone eating meat are wrong. I was saying that we don't actually need meat to survive as a human race and SOME people (they may be few in numbers) eat meat under the guise that we do need it when really I would rather people be honest and say that they eat it because they enjoy it as I did when I was a meat eater knowing how animals were slaughtered etc. Everyone decides for themselves how to live their life and I am a believer in live and let live and I hardly ever mention to anyone that I am vegan unless it crops up in conversation.

      The anonymous to whom I refer is the one who said we need to face up to the fact that we are carnivores and then went on to critise Shelley's grammar etc.

    3. @anonymous @ 8:29-Handmade is right-- there is so much cruelty in animal factory farming. I DO say it is WRONG to eat animals - yes I believe it's unethical to eat/use animals, sentient beings, when it's completely unnecessary. It's also dreadful for our health. Factory farming is a moral disgrace for everyone in this country; for those who eat the results and for those who "stand by" and allow it to happen.

      Eating animals products is unhealthy for the environment and environmental health and human health are inseparable.

      I hope you realize that cow's milk (mucous) is designed by nature to nurse her newborn calf, not human animals. In order to obtain this milk from a mother cow, a young calf is brutally removed from his mother to be slaughtered while his mother grieves for him. At this point, the mother cow continues to lactate and is hooked up to a factory milking machine for years until her milk production wanes, at which time her body is so crippled from calcium depletion, that she can barely walk and is often dragged to her death by slaughter in the most aberrant and horrific act of cruelty. It doesn't matter if you get your milk and dairy products from a non-factory farm. ALL milk products have CASEIN. Casein promotes cancer. Casein makes up 87% percent of cow milk protien.

      Knowing that animal proteins are the cause of many cancers today is it "ok" to consume them in small amounts..??.....that makes no sense - what would make you want to eat animal proteins at all?.

      I was reading that cows that produce "organic" milk are not treated much differently than cows on a non-organic farm. They still live the same way, are fed mostly the same diet, kept in muddy pastures where they are often knee deep in their own excrement, and sent off for slaughter when their milk production begins to drop around the age of 7 years old. The only requiments that must be met in order for milk to be labeled organic is that it be hormone and antibiotic free. So if you are picturing happy cows running free over green rolling hills like the picture on the lable often dipicts- that simply isn't the case! dairy farming causes animal cruelty and misery. if you drink milk you are not only ruining your own health you are supporting animal cruelty.

      Chicken and eggs are the top sources of arachidonic acid in the diet, an omega 6 fatty acid involved in our body’s inflammatory response.
      It does not matter if the eggs and chicken come from organic sources. We are not designed to eat them.

      Melanie Joy gave a lecture at Mc Dougall's Feb seminar & she makes the intellectual case for us to act HUMAN.
      It's a long one and I had to watch in segments but it's worthwhile. 19,000 animals are
      slaughtered every minute in the USA. Please try to watch at least the first 23 minutes.

    4. Shell, this is the point I was trying to make. I used organic products before I became vegan but they animals are treated no differently really, they just aren't allowed feed containing hormones etc so we are kidding ourselves if we think they are running around a farm all happy. I had no idea previous to becoming vegan that the cows were kept constantly pregnant but obviously they need to be to produce milk but having said that I haven't drunk milk since childhood because I don't like it. In the animal kingdom only babies drink milk. We are the only adults that do. I don't drink soya milk or any other milk because it still looks milky and tastes it to me and as I said I don't like it but I use it in cooking.

      The point I was trying to make previously without sounding superior is that we do not need animal products to survive. The fact that there are vegetarians and vegans in the world is testament to that.

    5. @Handmade-yes indeed people kid themselves is so true. Every animal has an ideal diet. Meat is an ideal food for pointy-toothed carnivorous cats and powerful-jawed omnivorous dogs. Horses and rabbits are herbivores, and would soon sicken on a diet of meat. The same happens with people when they consume a meat and dairy-centered diet.

      Cow's milk is created to turn a 45-pound calf into a 300-pound cow in a year. If drinking cow's milk were natural, it would be just as natural to drink dog's milk, yet most people are disturbed by the thought of this. It is amazing how customs and advertising can change the way we think about such issues. Milk is designed solely for the purpose of feeding the young. Human milk is designed for human babies, cow's milk is for calves. Once babies have been weaned, there is no further dietary need for this food...!!

      In 2012, about 577,190 Americans are expected to die of cancer, that is
      more than 1,500 people a day. 2/3 of Americans are overweight or obese and 600,00 of us are killed each year by cardiovascular disease.
      The plant based diet treats or prevents 15 of the top 16 leading causes of death. [ The 16th leading cause of death is accidents ]

      Everyone needs to read "The China Study"-by Colin Campbell - what were the findings? "People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease ... people who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease. These results could not be ignored," said Dr. Campbell.
      The NY Times calls The China Study the "Grand Prix of epidemiology" and the "most comprehensive large study ever undertaken of the relationship between diet and the risk of developing disease."

  37. @Shell, I watched the clip you linked above and it was fascinating. Melanie Joy spoke wonderfully on why people eat meat etc and I couldn't watch the bit on the treatment of animals. It was watching a clip like this that converted me to vegetarianism and then veganism. I have also watched this clip which had me mesmerised by Hesh Goldstein as he told it like it is @ It is long but well worth it x

  38. @Handmade-I tried to watch the video with the link you provided - but it would not come up--is this it?


kindness is never out of style.

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