• Breakfast: Oatmeal with brown sugar and raisins
  • Lunch: Black bean burger with sauteed mushrooms and onions, cup of vegetarian tomato soup (from Doug Fir)
  • Dinner: Leftover black bean-vegetable soup from last night
  • Snacks: Dried pineapple, hummus and veggies

If I’m not mistaken, that’s a totally vegan day right there. Of course, one meal was at a restaurant, so who knows? The bun looked like it was whole wheat, but I can’t say for sure, nor do I care. I’ve also been drinking a lot of water, I had a cup of coffee at breakfast  and I had one beer after work.

I mentioned that I’d read some books about this whole “going vegan” thing, so if you’re interested, here are the ones I’ve tackled.

The first two are called Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease and The Engine 2 Diet. The first is written by a heart doctor and the second is written by his son. The basic gist here is that the doctor took a group of heart patients with advanced cardiovascular problems and very little hope, and managed to stop and in many cases reverse the effects of cardiovascular disease by changing their diet and prescribing a low dosage of cholesterol lowering medication. His son is a firefighter in Austin and follows the same diet. Somehow he managed to talk all of the guys at the firehouse into taking up this diet (only in Austin, right?), with dramatic effect.

I kinda think these two guys are a little crazy. They recommend not only cutting out all meat products, but all oils and fats of any kind. While I can certainly understand why this might be necessary for heart patients in grave condition, I didn’t really buy that it was necessary to prevent getting to that state. We’ve all heard about “good fats” and “healthy oils,” and while I’m sure any fat can cause problems in the body, it seems to me that the benefit of these fats and oils outweighs the negatives in a healthy individual. Plus, I just don’t see how you can remove all fat from your diet unless you cook at home for every meal. I’m not to the point where I want to do that just yet. However, there are some good recipes in both of these books, so we have culled a few things from them.

The other book I read is called The China Study, and this one makes much more sense to me. This book discusses the results of many scientific studies that show that eating a plant based, whole foods diet can dramatically reduce your risks of a variety of diseases. The highlights include all sorts of cardiovascular disease, cancers, diabetes, some autoimmune diseases and (you guessed it) kidney stones. Indeed, after reading this book, you’ll think that eating little to no meat might just allow you to live forever.

Do I think T. Collin Campbell (the book’s author) has it all figured out? No, I don’t. Nutrition is such a complex subject, I doubt we’ll ever have it all figured out, and he even talks about this in the book. Do I think there’s significant benefit to eating this way, even if he’s not right on every point? Absolutely. In fact, I think we all know that eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains is good for us. This book just puts a great framework around that and shows some very specific ways in which animal products can be harmful.

I think all three are worth reading if you’re interested in the topic at all. At the very least, they’ll make you think about what you’re putting into your body, and that’s always a good thing.