“How Not to Die” first 100 pages

I decided to take a short break from Eating Animals because I consider my veganism like a liberal arts college… I need a well-rounded education.


So in order to round myself out, I started reading How Not To Die by Michael Greger, M.D., this week.

I have discovered over the past year or so that I am a huge geek when it comes to nutritional science. I love reading about food and it’s effects on the body, so you know I’ve been like a kid in a candy shop reading this book.


I collected the most mind bending stuff I came across (although for the record I already knew a lot of other mind bending stuff included in the book, so depending on how long you’ve been looking into diet, this is probably far from an encompassing list).

Here they are!!!!!!

  • “If there’s anyone reading this over the age of 10, the question isn’t whether or not you want to eat healthier to prevent heart disease but whether or not you want to reverse the heart disease you very likely already have” (21).
    • Ugh. So at 28 that basically means my insides are allll messed up by meat.
  • “To become virtually heart attack proof, you need to get your LDL cholesterol at least under 70 MG/DL” (22-23).
    • I just recorded this because he made a distinction between what is average and what is healthy. Apparently a doctor may tell you your LDL is well within average, but in a country that is filled with heart disease that means next to nothing. 70 is a good level to strive for, for health.
  • “Thankfully, humanity dodged a bullet with mad cow disease. Nearly an entire generation in Britain was exposed to infected beef, but only a few hundred people died. We weren’t as lucky with swine flu, which the CDC estimates killed 12,000 Americans. Nearly 3/4 of all emerging and reemerging human diseases arise from the animal kingdom.” (78-79)
    • I honestly forget sometimes about the diseases we get from animals. He has a really interesting section about how many of the diseases we have faced came about when we domesticated different types of animals, and the hard truth is that the chances of another issue arising from animals is not a matter of likeliness but a matter of timing. CC lower quote about antibiotic resistance for more panic.
  • “With every breath you take, you inhale thousands of bacteria, and with every bite you eat, you can ingest millions more. Most of these tiny germs are completely harmless, but some can cause serious infectious diseases, occasionally making headlines with sinister – sounding names like SARS or Ebola. Although many of these exotic pathogens receive a lot of press coverage, more lives are lost to some of our most common infections. For example, such respiratory infections as influenza and pneumonia kill nearly 57,000 Americans each year.” (79)
    • 😨

  • “Another option for athletes who want to sustain their immune function is nutritional yeast. A 2013 study reported that you may more effectively  maintain your levels of white blood cells after exercise by consuming a special type of fiber found in bakers, brewers, and nutritional yeast. Brewer’s is bitter, but nutritional yeast have a pleasant, cheese – like flavor. It is particularly good on popcorn.” (89)
    • I included this specifically because J asked me the other day if nutritional yeast is a good, an empty or a bad food for you. I had no answer, but Dr. Greger did, and it is to keep on keeping on with the nutritional yeast.
  • “The director–general’s prescription to avoid this catastrophe included a global call to “restrict the use of antibiotics in food production to therapeutic purposes.” In other words, only use antibiotics in agriculture to treat sick animals. But that isn’t happening. In the United States, meat producers feed millions of pounds of antibiotics each year to farm animals just to promote growth or prevent disease in the often cramped, stressful, and unhygienic conditions of industrial animal agriculture. Yes, physicians over prescribe antibiotics as well, but the FDA estimates that 80% of the antimicrobial drugs sold in the United States every year now go to the meat industry.” (98)
    • I have some doomsday prepper blood flowing in my veins, so this quote pushed me toward the edge. To me overuse of antibiotics is similar to our environmental issues. They are literally staring us in the face, with evidence mounted even higher than our trash piles and people are still like “Eh, it will work itself out.” NO IT WON’T, CRAZY! We need legislation, and movement in the right directions and awareness like, yesterday. How is it that EIGHTY percent of antibiotics are going to the meat industry, people are talking about super bugs and basically the end of a world where antibiotics can cure you, and nothing is being done.
  • “So what’s jamming up the door locks on your muscle cells, preventing insulin for letting glucose enter? Fat -– more specifically, intramylocellular lipid, the fat in side your muscle cells.” (103)
    • I have heard this, but he put it very nicely that it is FAT not carbs that lead to type 2 diabetes. Basically fat stands in the way of insulin being able to do its job.
  • “The largest study ever to compare the obesity rates of those eating plant-based diet was published in North America. Mediators topped the charts with an average BMI of 28.8 – close to being obese. Flexitarian’s (people who ate meat more on a weekly basis rather than daily) did better at a BMI of 27.3,  but we’re still overweight. With a BMI of 26.3, Pasco – vegetarians print the Sea people who avoid all me except fish parentheses he did better still. Even US vegetarians tend to be marginally overweight coming in at 25.7. The only dietary group found to be at ideal weight where the vegans, his BMI averaged 23.6.” (105)
    • Now, he was drawing from a study published in 2009 for this one, so I don’t know if anything has changed, but this is really interesting. I am currently at a BMI of 28 which is close to the 30 of OBESITY, and well within the range of overweight, which begins at 26. I don’t know for sure what veganism will do for me as I have only lost 1 pound cumulative so far (although J has lost 11, the asshole), but I think that is reason enough to keep this going.

As a ending note, I have become very interested in poop since going vegan for reasons you most likely understand if you are vegan, but he had a really interesting section of his book about stool weight (.5 lb and up a day is healthy) and I also found this interesting video on his website Nutritionfacts.org. Basically just a quick video to get you hip on your poo.

Anyway, that’s all for this episode of Jane’s weird thoughts.

Have a GREAT weekend!

P.S. J and I are going to go explore some new vegan eats this weekend. Will report back if I remember to take pictures before I feed the monster.



Podcast Quick Mention


I just wanted to express how much I love the Big Fat Vegan Radio podcast. It has been giving me LIFE as I do some home projects. If you aren’t familiar you can listen over the stitcher app, which I also highly recommend.

I love that they talk about current events in the vegan world, and things I’d never considered or known about previously. Plus, they are hilarious. Anyway, just a quick thought for your Wednesday!



“Eating Animals” First Thoughts


I am about 75 pages into Eating Animals by Jonathan Saffran Foer today, and I thought it might be nice to visit some of my favorite quotes so far. I am impressed by his ability to challenge paradigms about food and animals, and he is making me think about food and how we define what we eat versus what we don’t.

  • “We need to explain that the parsley on the plate is for decoration, that pasta is not a “breakfast food,” why we can eat wings but not eyes, cows but not dogs. Stories establish narratives, and stories establish rules” (12).

    • I had never directly thought of it like this, but it is true, much like social behaviors are taught so are food behaviors. I came from a meat eating family and thus… I ate meat. I learned what was good and what was bad, and the upside of this is that if we can teach children to eat animal products, we can also teach them not to eat them.
  • “In America, millions of dogs and cats euthanized in animal shelters every year become the food for our food” (27).

    • WHOA. I didn’t know this. How did I not know this? This completely challenges the idea that dogs and cats are not to be eaten because they are of a different level than cows/pigs (which is asinine, I know), but this proves further that, that is just something we tell ourselves to make ourselves feel better.
  • “No reader of this book would tolerate someone swinging a pickax at a dog’s face. Nothing could be more obvious or less in need of explanation. Is such concern morally out of place when applied to fish, or are we silly to have such unquestioning concern about dogs? Is the suffering of a drawn out death something that is cruel to inflict on any animal that can experience it, or just some animals” (31).

    • I think this speaks for itself. When is it appropriate to dispense a drawn out or merciless death on an animal without concern?
  • “There is something about eating animals that tends to polarize: never eat them or never sincerely question eating them; become an activist or disdain activists. These opposing positions– and the closely related unwillingness to take a position– converge suggesting that eating animals matters. If and how we eat animals cuts to something deep” (32)

    • THIS. I think for a long time I pretended like what was happening to animals was not actually happening because I was cowardly and afraid of what people might say. Just like so many other things in this world, standing up for what you believe in takes guts, especially because people will look at you and judge you without understanding the full topic that is the basis of their judgement.
  •  “Ultimately the controversy around PETA may have less to do with the organization than those of us who stand in judgement of it– that is, with the unpleasant realization that “those PETA people”have stood up for the values we have been to cowardly or forgetful to defend ourselves” (72).

    • Cowardly, forgetful.
  • “Two friends are ordering lunch. One says, ‘I’m in the mood for a burger,’ and orders it. The other says, ‘I’m in the mood for a burger,’ but remembers that there are things more important to him than what he is in the mood for at any given moment, and orders something else. Who is the sentimentalist?” (74).

    • I love this, because people are so quick to say, “you’re too sensitive” or the whole “bleeding heart vegan” idea, but the truth is that vegans are often informed about farming practices that others are not and make the more difficult choice to abstain in a culture where animal products are incredibly prevalent.

That is what I’ve collected so far. Interested to hear any of your thoughts. I feel like I am on a journey of sorts right now. Everywhere I look I see articles about animal treatment and the environment as it relates to veganism, and I am glad. I am glad to be spending my time learning about something, and not turning my back anymore.