21-Day Vegan Challenge for 2010

Have you made a New Year’s resolution to go vegan? If so, you’ll get a lot out of the 21-day vegan challenge that I produced about eighteen months ago. It’s a free audio series of 21 podcasts, five to ten minutes in length apiece, that covers all aspects of going vegan.

If you’re already vegan, I hope you’ll publicize this series on your Facebook wall or through Twitter: You’ve probably got some friends who want to change their eating habits in 2010, and this could be the push they need. Link.

Possibly Inauthentic Pralines

Here’s the latest recipe from the Manifest Vegan site. Not being a Southerner, the author makes clear that she can’t vouch for the authenticity of this recipe, but she can vouch for its yumminess. Recipe.

Factory Farm Antibiotic Risks Grow Clearer

The Associated Press just published a great article about antibiotic use on factory farms, the resultant risks to human health, and the enormous difficulties in seeking new regulations. Dr. Thomas Frieden, who heads the Centers for Disease Control, says,

If we’re not careful with antibiotics and the programs to administer them, we’re going to be in a post antibiotic era.

The article offers some useful background concerning how bad the problem’s gotten:

Federal food safety studies routinely find drug resistant bacteria in beef, chicken and pork sold in supermarkets, and 20 percent of people who get salmonella have a drug resistant strain, according to the CDC.

…Johns Hopkins University health sciences professor Ellen Silbergeld, who has reviewed every major study on this issue, said there’s no doubt drug use in farm animals is a “major driver of antimicrobial resistance worldwide.”

“We have data to show it’s in wastewaters and it goes to aquaculture and it goes here and there,” agreed Dr. Stuart Levy, an expert on antibiotic resistance at Tufts University in Boston. “Antibiotic use in animals impacts everything.”

But even with this mountain of evidence, factory farmers keep telling the public that everything is perfectly OK. Factory pig farmer Craig Rowles says:

I’m telling you that the product that we produce today is the safest, most wholesome product that you could possibly get.

Wow, the flesh of tightly confined, antibiotic-fed animals is the most wholesome product you could possibly buy? I had no idea.

One of the most infuriating aspects of writing about factory farming is that these guys get to tell whatever lies they want about food, without facing any consequences. But anyone who sets the record straight is at risk of getting sued over food disparagement laws. (Thanks Gregory and Jenn.) Link.

CNN Reports on Illegal Slaughter Farms

Just when you thought the meat industry couldn’t get any worse comes news of illegal slaughter farms. Like dogfighting and cockfighting rings, these businesses are probably more numerous than anyone realizes. This lengthy CNN piece focuses on Richard “Kudo” Couto, and his effort to expose and shut down these horrific operations.

Every detail in this article is disturbing. That Couto has voluntarily immersed himself in this horror is proof that heroes walk among us. (Thanks, Jessica.) Link.

Meat Market Now Available Exclusively Through

I’ve got some great news. I just signed a contract that will keep paperback copies of Meat Market
available from until my existing inventory runs out. Because of changes in my distributor’s terms, I’d worried my inventory would become homeless on the first of the year, and that I’d be forced to have the books either pulped or remaindered at rock-bottom prices.

Now the bad news: Meat Market is now exclusively available in paperback from You can’t buy it from bookstores, nor will or carry the book once they run out of inventory. The hardcover edition is now out of print, save for the few copies online sellers might have remaining.

Finally, it’s my understanding that will soon eliminate the discount on the book. So, if you want a copy, better get one now as the price will likely soon increase by almost five bucks.

I want to end this update by telling everyone who bought copies over the holidays how much I appreciate it. The reduction of inventory took a lot of pressure off of me, and made this new distribution arrangement more workable. So, thank you!

The New Yorker on Whole Foods Market’s John Mackey

Two of the most worthwhile things I’ve read in the past year have been lengthy magazine profiles of two men who founded wildly successful companies. A few months ago, Wired magazine ran a marvelous profile of Craigslist founder Craig Newmark. And today, the New Yorker ran a lengthy profile of Whole Foods Market founder John Mackey.

Neither piece is hagiographic—in fact, I think both err on the side of unfairness to their subjects. But these articles offer great insights into how two uniquely and wildly successful companies grew out of the personal idiosyncrasies of their founders. The Mackey piece is, I think, required reading for vegetarian advocates, as it does a masterful job of capturing the evolving nature of the natural foods industry. For activists who insist on dividing up the world into saints and sinners, the piece on Mackey is nuanced enough to kick a shoe into those cognitive gears.

Fifteen years ago, I read the first edition of Warren Belasco’s Appetite for Change, which beautifully chronicled the birth of the modern natural foods movement in the 1960s and 1970s. I feel like today’s New Yorker piece, by focusing on Mackey, does a masterful job of bringing us up to date on how the movement, and industry, has grown into adulthood.

At more than 9000 words, the Mackey profile is far too long to be comfortably read online. Here’s the printable version.

California Forbidden from Labeling Meat Hazards

The meat industry has ended the year on a happy note. The American Meat Institute won a lawsuit against California that forbids the state from posting hazardous substance warnings on or near USDA inspected meat sold at retail.

Yet more proof of the extent to which the meat industry holds its customers in contempt. Link.

Jack Norris RD’s One-Hour Video on Vegan Nutrition

Jack Norris RD has likely studied vegan nutrition as closely as anyone on the planet. A couple of weeks ago, the Vegetarian Society of Hawaii brought him out for an hour-long presentation titled: “Vegan Nutrition—What Does the Science Say?”

In this superb lecture, Jack covers topics like B12, Omega 3s, DHA, and soy. My sense is that there are a lot of vegans who are putting their health at risk by remaining uninformed about these topics. Jack’s presentation is probably the best way to quickly become acquainted with the main nutritional issues of special interest to vegans.

If, after watching this presentation, you feel overcome by the urge to purchase some vegan multivitamins, some B-12, or some DHA, please use our links to get great prices while generating a kickback to Link.

Santa Stops at a Factory Pig Farm

This is beautiful and heartbreaking: the only moments of kindness these Austrian factory farmed pigs will ever receive. Pigs live to play in straw, and on a factory farm they never get any access to it.

Merry Christmas, everyone. (Thanks, Mahi.)