Last December, I became a vegan—at least mostly vegan. Over the previous year, I had watched with amazement as Peter, a lawyer friend of mine, lost weight and improved his health by adopting a vegan diet. Vegans eat plant-based foods, but do not eat animal-based foods (meat, eggs, dairy, and cheese). My new diet has had an immediate and dramatic effect on my, weight, my cholesterol level, and the way I feel. And, to my great surprise, I have not missed animal-based foods at all.
When I talked to my friend Peter about giving veganism a try, he told me to read The Engine 2 Diet, a book by Austin firefighter Rip Esselstyn. In the book, Rip describes how he and his fellow firefighters lost weight, lowered their cholesterol, and improved their overall health by adopted a plant-based vegan diet in the firehouse. Rip also discusses how his dad, Caldwell Essestyn, a doctor at the Cleveland Clinic, has successfully used a vegan diet to treat patients with serious heart disease. I highly recommend The Engine 2 Diet for people considering a vegan diet. It is written in a breezy, conversational style and includes plenty of recipes.
After reading Rip’s book, I became interested in the science underlying claims that eating a vegan diet promotes weight loss and reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, and other common diseases. So I began reading about the nutritional research conducted by T. Colin, Ph.D. In his book, The China Study, Dr. Campbell discusses the implications of the data from the China-Cornell-Oxford Project, which examined the relationship between mortality rates and lifestyles of 6,600 people in 65 rural China. In his book, Dr. Campbell explains that the study shows that people who eat a vegan, plant-based diet have a lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.