PlantPure Magazine - Apr 2016

Page 1

Volume 1, Issue 1

plantpure M A G A Z I N E

Whole Food

for people and planet

Benji Kurtz Shares His PlantPure Story Dr. T. Colin Campbell Talks Nuts

~what we eat matters~

from the publisher



elcome to the premier issue of PlantPure Magazine! This magazine will serve as an important voice for the PlantPure movement, helping to educate and inspire people to make change in their communities. As some of you may know, we are joining with others to launch a grassroots movement around the empowering health message of plant-based nutrition. Science has demonstrated that a whole-food, plantbased diet is optimal for health, not just for preventing disease, but also for reversing serious chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. This is an idea that also affects our economy, the fiscal state of our government, the condition of our environment, and the animals who share this planet with us. In our documentary film, PlantPure Nation, we show all these connections, and we tell a dramatic story that explains how this life-changing health message was suppressed for decades. This film has often played to sold-out or nearly sold-out audiences across North America, and it is this enthusiasm for change that we are leveraging to launch a movement. In towns and cities around the world, we are launching local networks called Pods. Using a webbased platform, education, food products, and this new magazine, we are connecting and supporting independent groups into a more unified force to make transformative change in local communities around the message of plant-based nutrition. Our goal is to see friends and families coming together around healthy meals; wholesome foods in school cafeterias, worksites, and hospitals; physicians who are prescribing “food as medicine� to their patients; access to fruits and vegetables in low-income, food-desert communities; and people everywhere who are empowered to share this health message with those around them.

We believe in bottom-up change, driven by impassioned people joining hands in a common cause. For too long, we have sat back and watched through the glowing screens of our smartphones, computers, and TVs a world spinning out of control. It is time for us to come together to take control of our communities. This magazine will include content on health, food, the environment, politics, farming, and anything else connected to our mission. And it will include updates that help to inform and connect our Pods, including feature articles that highlight best practices so that we can create a massive cycle of social invention and learning within our Pod network. Millions of people working together, experimenting and learning from one another, are more powerful as an agent of compassionate change than all of the governments of our world combined. Governments may have the power to suppress information and people, but they are poorly equipped to build a more connected and compassionate world: Compassion flows through the hearts of people and connection happens best within local communities. I see this PlantPure movement as being about health, but also about so much more. Fundamentally, this is an effort to create a new paradigm for broadbased social change. We invite you to join us and to support your local Pod by helping spread the PlantPure messages throughout your community. If you would like to learn more, please visit us at To your health and happiness,

Nelson Campbell CEO & Publisher

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from the editor in chief

Planting a Seed


ur team is delighted to bring you a magazine designed to educate and inspire you to join us as we work together to make the world a healthier and kinder place. Plant-based eating styles are at the core of our activism. The PlantPure movement is a call to action—a call to encourage us to work together for positive change. Inside you’ll find news of the Pod networks and read about the ways that others in the PlantPure community are effecting healthy, meaningful change for themselves and others. To illustrate in part why PlantPure Magazine is an idea whose time has come, I offer a brief story. As a nutritionist and educator (and gardener), I had the pleasure of sitting on a panel of keynote speakers at the second Plant-based Prevention of Disease (PPOD) conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, last fall. After listening to the evidence presented over two days, a registered dietitian acknowledged that plant-based nutrition would help many of her patients and asked, “What can I really do to help the people I see in the hospital? I only have one 15-minute visit with them as they are recovering from an illness or surgery.” When it was my turn to speak, I responded, “In 15 minutes, you can plant a seed. You can offer your professional perspective that a wholefood, plant-based diet would support their recovery and help keep them

out of the hospital in the future. And you can provide the resources that would help them choose this path if they are ready and willing to do so.” Then I recommended keeping a list of those resources on hand (a referral to a nutritionist, websites, favorite books) to inform others on the “whys” and “hows” needed to make this healthgiving shift. Our commitment to you is to just this. We pledge to bring you well-supported information on the “whys” and “hows” of choosing a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle. Building your meals from fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes means making a choice with every bite to improve your chances of realizing great health throughout your life. It also means choosing to live more lightly on the Earth so that its plentiful but finite resources can be shared with all who need them. Know that your voice is important to us. This magazine has been created for you, so please write to if you have a question you’d like addressed or a suggestion for a topic or story. It is important to us that our content reflects what you need and want to hear, wherever you are on your plantbased path in this journey called life. What can we do in 15 minutes? We can plant a seed, tend a seedling, water and wait, harvest the fruits of our labors, or replenish the soil in preparation for planting another seed. We can sow the seeds needed to grow the movement, one person and one garden at a time. Yours in hope,

Amy Joy Lanou Editor in Chief

table of contents Publisher Nelson Campbell Editor in Chief Amy Joy Lanou

6 Whole Food for People and Planet

Think not of eating animals and highly processed foods: Amy Joy Lanou discusses the benefits of a whole-food, plant-based diet.

8 Oasis in the Desert

Meet Betty Rae, who’s busy growing some great ideas with her Arizona group.

Editor Whitney Campbell Health Editor/Writer Jo Gustafson Food Editor Kim Campbell

10 Oh, Nuts!

T. Colin Campbell weighs in on the controversy about nuts and the role of healthy fat.

12 Uncompromised Compassion

Copy Editor/Designer Amy E. Bissinger

4 My PlantPure Story

PlantPure Magazine sits down with Food = Medicine Conference founder Benji Kurtz.

14 Pod News

Happenings from PlantPure Nation Pods

15 Kim’s Kitchen

Your monthly serving of culinary inspiration from Food Editor Kim Campbell

Brother Wolf Animal Rescue staff care for homeless animals and embrace a plant-based diet.

on our cover In addition to being a great source of vitamin C, citrus fruit contains compounds called flavinoids, which may help fight cancer and heart disease. Photo: iStock/pilipphoto

The information presented in PlantPure Magazine is meant to be informational, educational, and inspirational, and is not intended as a substitute for personal advice or instruction by your health care professionals. Do not ignore advice from your health care professionals because of something you have read in this magazine. All opinions expressed are solely those of the writer(s), submitter(s), or quoted source(s), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the magazine, its staff, its sponsors, its advertisers, and/or PlantPure Inc. PlantPure Magazine is not responsible for unsubstantiated claims made by recognized authorities. Although the information within is carefully checked for accuracy, PlantPure Magazine, PlantPure Inc., the writers, contributors, advisors, sponsors, and any agents otherwise attached to the publication shall not be held responsible or in any way liable for any errors, omissions, or inaccuracies, either written or implied, for any reason whatsoever, including negligence. Unless otherwise stated, all information included is the property of PlantPure Magazine and cannot be used, copied, or reprinted without express written permission. PlantPure Magazine is a publication of PlantPure Inc. and is published monthly. PlantPure Magazine, 101 E. Clay St., Mebane, NC 27302 USA. ©2016 PlantPure Inc.

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my PlantPure story

Losing a Body, but Gaining a Life by Jo Gustafson

W Photo: Julie Cundiff

e first met Benji Kurtz at the Food = Medicine Conference he hosted in Atlanta, where some of the top plant-based experts in the world gave inspirational presentations. An inspiration himself, Kurtz lost 150 pounds and completely changed his life after adopting a whole-food, plantbased diet. We were impressed by his enthusiasm and vitality, as well as everything he has accomplished in such a short time after becoming plant-based. We sat down with him to learn some of his secrets. PlantPure Magazine: What was the turning point in your life that made you decide you wanted to try a plant-based diet? Kurtz: It was truly random. Although I’ve been overweight my entire adult life, my seasonal ‘low-carb-ing’ was my preferred way to lose weight. After all, we all know that carbs are bad, right? Just hard to stick to! It never had occurred to me that what an overwhelming number of Americans feel is ‘healthy eating’ is the furthest thing from it. Over Memorial Day weekend 2013, my wife and I were browsing through the documentaries on Amazon on Demand and came across a film called Forks Over Knives. Looked interesting, so we gave it a look. Life was never the same afterward. PlantPure Magazine: We love Forks Over Knives, too. Our documentary PlantPure Nation had the same writer and producer as Forks Over Knives, so we understand the impact it’s had on millions of people around the world. What is your life like now compared to before? Kurtz: I feel fantastic, and life is radically different. Not only am I physically a different person—not prone to staying in the house for days on end—but I am physically active, I am more comfortable and confident in front of people, and a good amount of my time is dedicated to plant-based projects, including our nonprofit Remedy Food Project. The change physically and mentally has been nothing short of life-altering. PlantPure Magazine: Any other specific changes you’ve seen in your health? Kurtz: I lost 130 lbs. consecutively (from 258 to 124 at my very lowest), but from my highest recorded

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weight (278), over 150 lbs. I hadn’t had my blood pressure measured much while obese (I was very fortunate in that I had not yet experienced any serious health issues), but my current blood pressure hovers around 110/70. I have not yet gotten my cholesterol below 150, as I still do enjoy nuts and other higher-fat plant foods, but over the last couple years, [it’s been] 165–175. Needless to say, all those numbers were much worse pre-weight-loss. PlantPure Magazine: So, for you, what was the hardest part of your transition? Kurtz: Buying new clothes every couple months! But seriously, I truly did not experience a hard part. My family and friends were supportive, my wife has been on the journey along with me every step of the way, and I miss no foods with the exception of cheese, and there are plenty of delicious (though not healthy) vegan cheeses to choose from should the mood strike. Having familiarized myself with the animal agriculture industry, I would no sooner put meat, dairy, or eggs in my mouth as I would an exhaust pipe. That’s not human food, and knowing where it comes from and how these animals are treated has permanently turned me off to every bit of it. PlantPure Magazine: It’s great that your wife, Claire, has been with you on every step of this journey— support like that can make such a difference. Did she have any health changes herself? Kurtz: Absolutely—she has enjoyed great success as well. Besides losing weight, her cholesterol dropped from 210 to 135. She no longer gets sick regularly, her sinus allergies have disappeared, and her gastrointestinal distress has cleared up as well.

healthy options at nearly every grocery store. We have made delicious plant-based meals in a hotel room out of a baked potato and salsa from a convenience store. Great meal, too! PlantPure Magazine: Great tips. Aside from changing your diet, do you have an exercise routine you follow that you think has been helpful? Kurtz: I do swim for a very short period (15 minutes) five to six days a week at a local pool. I go a very short distance (550 meters) because it’s a duration that I know I can motivate myself to do regularly. If I went longer than that, I wouldn’t go as often as I do. I don’t know how important that has been to weight loss, but I do know that it keeps my heart rate up for a while most days, and I’m sure that it keeps the metabolism at a decent rate as well. Strictly in terms of calories burned, I don’t know that it makes a tremendous impact. It does make sure I get out of the house and see the world nearly every day though, which is important in and of itself. PlantPure Magazine: What projects are you currently working on? Kurtz: Our Remedy Food Project will encompass live events and a 21-day program, which is very similar to the Jumpstart program explored in the film PlantPure Nation. We have big plans and are seeking support for our 501(c)(3) organization—information about the entire project can be found at the website. Also, I’ve just released my book on Amazon, The Plant Advantage: How I Lost Half My Weight on the Fuel Plus Fortification Diet, with co-author Glen Merzer (Off the Reservation, Mad Cowboy, Food Over Medicine).

PlantPure Magazine: Fantastic! So what was the easiest part of your transition? Kurtz: Watching the pounds drop away and receiving compliments on my appearance. Those never get old!

PlantPure Magazine: Great book! It condenses a lot of useful information from many of the top plant-based doctors and experts. Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us, Benji, and we wish you lots of success in all of your projects!

PlantPure Magazine: Have you discovered any tricks for making it easier to eat plant-based? Kurtz: Honestly, we have found it exceedingly easy to eat plant-based wherever we are, in cities large and small nationwide (and overseas). Not only are there vegetarian/plant-based restaurants wherever you turn (not that they are often all that healthy, mind you), but we can eat at pretty much any restaurant that serves pasta, or vegetables, or baked potatoes, or salads. There are baked potatoes at about a trillion Wendy’s restaurants all over this country, not to mention

Jo Gustafson has over 25 years of experience in the health and fitness field as a wellness director, consultant, author, and trainer. She has developed and conducted programs for community colleges, companies, and community organizations in areas such as fitness, nutrition, stress, and weight management, and she was AOL’s first online health and fitness instructor. After becoming completely plant-based six years ago, Jo overcame a major health challenge and is now passionate about sharing her experience. She holds a Master of Education degree in health promotion from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, as well as numerous health and fitness certifications.

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Whole Food for People and Planet by Amy Joy Lanou

Think not of eating animals and highly processed foods


lant-based nutrition is newsworthy for what it does not do. For our bodies, it does not cause or increase the risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes, or coronary artery disease. To choose beans and grains as protein sources does not require anywhere near as much water, land, or fuel, and does not produce as much waste as choosing to eat cows, pigs, or chickens and the milk and eggs they make. For these reasons, plant-based eating styles do not contribute to global warming anywhere near as much as dietary patterns with animal products at the center of the plate. To choose a plant-based eating style means we do not harm or kill animals to nourish ourselves. No need to feel a pang in the heart each time a bite of food is taken. Nourishing Bodies After years of research into the dietary patterns that are most supportive of disease-free living throughout the life span, we can now describe the healthiest dietary pattern with conviction. It is simple to understand, straightforward to do, and worth giving a try. Dr. T. Colin Campbell states it clearly in his book Whole1: Consume plant-based foods in forms as close to their natural state as possible (“whole” foods). Eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, raw nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, and whole grains. Avoid heavily

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processed foods and animal products. Stay away from added salt, oil, and sugar. The focus on “whole” is important for multiple reasons. Whole foods across the food groups have more nutrients compared with calories (higher nutrient density) than highly processed ones. Multiple processing steps, such as those needed to turn a shiny red new potato into a sour-cream-and-onion-flavored potato chip or whole oats into granola cereal, remove fiber, vitamins, and minerals from the whole food and usually add fat, sugar, and salt. Processing often adds nonfood ingredients, such as flavorings or preservatives, to the processed food as well. Choosing whole plant foods means that you receive all the nutritious goodness put into the plants by Nature. The importance of building your diet from plant foods is borne out in the research on dietary patterns. Through the work of renowned doctors and scientists (several of whom are on the PlantPure Nation board of advisors), we now know that diets built from plant foods reduce the risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, among other major causes of disability and disease. Whole-food, plant-based nutrition has also successfully been used to treat and in some cases reverse heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Even individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer have in many cases been able to slow the

progression of or significantly reduce the likelihood of recurrence of their cancers. In the news of late, evidence is pointing to longer lifespans for people consuming plant-based diets compared to omnivorous ones. In a recent report on Seventh-day Adventists, researchers demonstrated that vegetarians experienced a 20 percent lower mortality rate than non-vegetarians.2 And conversely, diets that include meat and dairy products have been shown to increase the risk of chronic disease.2 For example, red meat (beef, pork, lamb, etc.) and processed meat (bacon, hot dogs, lunch meat, etc.) have been in the news recently because of the World Health Organization report naming them as major contributors to colon cancer risk.3 Sustaining the Planet Nearly a decade ago, the United Nations report Livestock’s Long Shadow brought home how damaging raising livestock is to the environment. UN scientists reported that raising animals for food generates more greenhouse gases than all the cars, trucks, trains, buses, ships, and airplanes in the world combined.4 Shortly thereafter, scientists at the University of Chicago calculated that switching from the standard American diet to a vegetarian diet does more to combat global warming than switching from a gas-guzzling SUV to a Toyota Prius. A person choosing plant-based nutrition would combat global warming even more— perhaps as much as switching from driving to walking or biking for transportation. Researchers and policy experts Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang support the importance of this by stating that a shift to vegetarian protein sources “… will not only slow climate change but also help ease the global food crisis, as it takes a much smaller quantity of crops to produce any given number of calories in the form of an analog [veggie meat product] than a livestock product.” They add that this shift would also alleviate the global water crisis and improve health outcomes.5 The evidence keeps mounting that plant-based eating will go a long way toward sustaining the planet and conserving natural resources. A recent report from Joan Sabate’s group at Loma Linda University calculated that it took 18 times more land, 10 times more water, 12 times more fertilizer, 10 times more pesticides, and nine times more fuel to produce one kilogram of protein from beef than a kilogram of protein from kidney beans. Beef production also resulted in five to six times more manure than chicken and egg production to generate an equivalent amount of protein. These authors conclude that “the substitution of beef with beans in meal patterns will significantly

reduce the environmental footprint worldwide.”6 So one can see how not eating protein from animal products might do a world of good. Eating Matters To compassionately and responsibly nourish your body, your heart, and our planet, think not milk, not meat, not eggs, and not highly processed. Consider instead following the straightforward dietary advice given above. It’s as easy as making a bowl of whole-grain oatmeal topped with berries and a sprinkling of nuts for breakfast. Then stop at your favorite salad bar for lunch and pile your plate high with fresh whole greens, other cut veggies, fruit, and beans dressed with vinegar, lemon juice, or a creamy tahini dressing. When you get home in the evening, enjoy a big bowl of vegetable and bean chili over brown rice with your loved ones for dinner. Do this and repeat a similar pattern daily, and you’ll soon be impressed by how great you feel. Dr. Amy Joy Lanou is professor of nutrition and chair of the Department of Health and Wellness at the University of North Carolina Asheville. Dr. Lanou currently teaches courses on nutrition, food politics and nutrition policy, and health communication, among others, and her current research focuses on the role of nutrition in preventing chronic disease. She publishes regularly on topics such as vegetarian diets and health, dairy-free eating and bone health, and interdisciplinary efforts to support student learning about nutrition and the food system. Dr. Lanou received her B.S. in nutritional sciences from the University of California at Davis and her Ph.D. in human nutrition from Cornell University. She is the author of Healthy Eating for Life for Children (Wiley, 2002) and Building Bone Vitality (McGraw Hill, 2009). 1. Campbell, T. Colin, and Jacobson, Howard. Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition, Benbella Books, 2014. 2. S. Soret, A. Mejia, M. Batech, K. Jaceldo-Siegl, H. Harwatt, J. Sabate. “Climate change mitigation and health effects of varied dietary patterns in real-life settings throughout North America.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2014; 100 (Supplement_1): 490S DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.113.071589.

3. International Agency for Research on Cancer, World Health Organization, Press Release. pdfs/pr240_E.pdf.

4. Livestock’s Long Shadow—Environmental Issues and Options. Food and Agriculture Organisation. 2006. ISBN 92-5-105571-8. 5. Goodland, Robert, and Anhang, Jeff. “Livestock and Climate Change: What if the Key Actors are Cows, Pigs and Chickens?” Worldwatch, Nov/Dec 2009.

6. Sabaté, Joan, Sranacharoenpong, Kitti, Harwatt, Helen, Wien, Michelle, Soret Samuel. “The environmental cost of protein food choices.” Public Health Nutrition 2015:18(11):2067-74.

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in the Desert by Laura Dietrich

Betty Rae quietly creates community change by teaching classes and distributing fresh produce


fter viewing the PlantPure Nation film, many people have asked, “How do I get my group involved in my community?� Well, Betty Rae, group leader for the Mojave Desert Plant-Based Whole Foodist Initiative and assistant group leader with the Colorado River Plant-Based Vegan Society, has the answer! Betty and her husband, Dan Miller, have been quietly creating change within their community for years. After reading The China Study and watching Forks Over Knives, they both changed their eating styles and experienced dramatic improvements in their health. This motivated them to continue their education and enhance their career path with certificates in plantbased nutrition from Cornell University and pursue accreditation as wholistic nutrition and lifestyle medicine educators, consultants, and plant-based lifestyle transition counselors. Betty also received training in plant-based cooking from, and Dan is a certified Health Rhythms Empowerment facilitator. This training has allowed them to confidently educate and facilitate the plant-based message within their community. Getting Started Betty began by starting a lifestyle program and found that they were getting international interest. Her multiple Facebook groups now have over 8,000 followers.

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But she felt the need to impact people locally, so she started offering free educational classes at the library, conducting free grocery shopping tours, and showing plant-based documentaries, with all proceeds going to local food banks and food and nutrition community outreach programs. The classes have outgrown the library, and Betty has just recently opened the Mojave Desert Nutri- Sixty pounds tion & Lifestyle Initiative— of POWWOW a 501(c)(3) Community Outproduce. reach Nutrition Education and Lifestyle Science Wellness Studio. Everything will be under one roof, utilizing an old elementary school turned community center, with future plans for a community garden.

Additionally, her group also offers free and nominally priced cooking classes for those interested in a plant-based lifestyle transition and for the lowincome/food-insecure community and seniors on fixed incomes. They focus on how people can eat nutritiously on affordable, plant-based foods. All in the Community Betty and Dan are currently partnering with several nonprofits and the Borderlands Food Bank, out of Nogales, Arizona, to bring the Produce On Wheels— Without Waste pop-up farmers’ market program to their remote northwest Arizona location. This effort focuses on rescuing produce coming across the Mexican border that would normally be dumped into landfills due to not meeting certain criteria (e.g., size, blemishes, bruising, etc.). Borderlands “rescues” the produce and then redistributes it through host nonprofits that receive benefits with a nominal participant contribution (up to 60 lbs. for $15). And the produce market accepts food stamps. Reaching Out Betty is a licensed Complete Health Improvement Project (CHIP) facilitator, offering eight-week nutrition and lifestyle interventions geared toward creating an optimum plantbased lifestyle. She and Dan also appear regularly as monthly resident experts on plant-based transition with the radio show (also available as a podcast), which focuses on bridging the gap between conventional medicine and plantbased lifestyle approaches. An exciting opportunity Betty has been discussing with Dr. Hans Diehl, founder of the Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP), is the concept of utilizing the PlantPure Jumpstart program with the CHIP classes. CHIP was developed by Dr. Diehl and focuses on reducing disease risk factors through lifestyle modifications. The Lifestyle Medicine Institute,

Students from one of Betty Rae’s cooking classes show off their meals. Photos courtesy of Betty Rae

which owns CHIP, has been calling its first week of the CHIP intervention program a Jumpstart Challenge to help transition folks to new food choices and achieve some immediate results. Recipes and cooking demos are included during these first few class sessions, but PlantPure Jumpstart frozen meals are also being considered as an option for those who prefer to have foods prepared for them. Betty is planning on offering this new CHIP/ Jumpstart opportunity, which could become a model for future consideration by other CHIP communities, to her students this year. Betty will also encourage her CHIP graduates to join the PlantPure Pod group she leads, providing these graduates with long-term support and community. Betty is always happy to share her ideas or answer questions, and she can be contacted through the Mojave Desert AZ-NV-CA Pod, at podsdirect/mojave-desert-ca-colorado-river-plantbased-vegan-society-group. For more information about Produce On Wheels—Without Waste, go to To read more about CHIP, go to Laura Dietrich is the PlantPure Nation Jumpstart director, based in Louisville, Kentucky. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in exercise physiology from Michigan State, is a certified professional ergonomist (CPE), and is also certified through eCornell in plant-based nutrition. In addition, she has worked through the YMCA coaching youths targeted by their pediatricians for being at a high risk for chronic disease. Laura also coaches individuals and group classes on transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle (PlantPower Coaching). Laura assisted with the rollout of the PlantPure Nation rally in Louisville in 2014.

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Oh, Nuts! by T. Colin Campbell

Dr. Campbell explores the bad reputation nuts have gotten and explains why nuts (and other fatty plant foods) are necessary for a healthy diet


n the whole-food, plant-based food community, there is a tempest in the teapot and it’s a pretty nutty tempest. By no means am I an expert on nuts—the foods, that is. My views on this topic are entirely based on the scientific research evidence, after professionally being in the field of nutrition for more than a half century. Are Nuts Healthy? So let’s start with the evidence on nut consumption and human health. It’s easy for me. I suggest reading Michael Greger’s summary of the evidence in his new book, How Not To Die (2015)1. It’s the best recent review, in my opinion. Greger summarizes several studies of recent years that now suggest nuts are beneficial in reducing cardiovascular and other diseases. For women who are at high risk for heart disease, one study showed that those who ate either nuts or a tablespoon of peanut butter five or more days a week cut their risk of a heart attack nearly in half compared to those eating one serving or less per week (p. 345). Another long-term study of over 7,000 men and women at high risk for cardiovascular disease found that one group who doubled their intake of nuts to about an ounce (a handful) every day cut their risk of stroke in half. And in general, those in the study who ate more nuts every day “had a significantly lower risk of dying prematurely overall” (p. 344–345). Walnuts seem to have extra health benefits—those who ate more than three servings of walnuts a week cut their risk of dying from cancer in half (p. 345). Why We Need Nuts Nuts are one of the most nutrient dense of all plantbased foods. I recall many years ago teaching nutrition and pointing out that nuts are an especially good source of the fat-soluble antioxidant vitamin E. I imagined that this made sense because the purpose of nuts (and seeds) is to store the nutrients necessary for startup growth

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of the new tree offspring. My thought process at that time (probably not original) was that nuts might have to remain viable for long periods of time, until conditions become suitable for the nut to sprout new growth. This needs a good source of energy, and what better nutrient than fat, the most concentrated source. But, as I thought more about it, fats stored for many years might become rancid through oxidation of the fat, especially the more susceptible polyunsaturated fats. Nature solved this potential problem by adding a rich source of the antioxidant vitamin E (a group of antioxidant tocopherols and related isomers). And it chose the fat-soluble vitamin E, instead of the many water-soluble antioxidants found in other parts of the plant. A second condition to be met for new growth is the inclusion of a rich supply of many other nutrients—vitamins and trace minerals. So, without belaboring the point, fat-soluble antioxidants such as vitamin E and unsaturated fats go together. So, too, do they work together in our bodies, and when we eat nuts, we are getting a good deal, including the addition of some interesting nut flavors to our culinary toolkit. Putting Nuts in Context I know well the position of my colleague Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and his enormously impressive accomplishments with his patients. He counsels these patients against the consumption of fatty foods, even those containing fats in their natural form, as in nuts and avocados. I have always felt it would be interesting someday to do a clinical trial, to see if the same or even more beneficial results could be obtained with a whole-food, plant-based diet containing modest amounts of natural fats. But I understand the cautionary stance of Dr. Esselstyn. It is true that many nuts are sold in bags, already shelled, making them easy to over-consume. Eating too much of any rich food, even in

Photo: iStock/nikitos77

whole form, may not be a good idea for people with heart disease. Dr. Esselstyn’s impressive results were obtained without nuts. But fat content aside, I am impressed with the findings now showing health benefits for most nuts. And when we judge a food by one nutrient, in this case only because of nuts’ fat content, we may be falling into the same trap that has caused so much past misinformation. Investigating nutrients in isolation, i.e., reductionism, is fine when we are exploring the mechanisms by which they work. But for an understanding of a food’s nutritional properties, we must seek and understand context, i.e., wholism. I am distressed by too much unnecessary confusion in this field called nutrition, most of which comes from interpretations based solely on reductionist research findings, a practice great for pharmaceutical firms and other financial interests.2 We should remember that the dairy industry argued for years that we should consume milk and cheese because these products contain calcium, and calcium is important to bone health. This is a reductionist argument focused narrowly on consumption of calcium. As it turns out, foods high in animal protein such as cheese and milk cause a net calcium loss by causing a condition in the body called acidosis, which results in a leaching of calcium from the bones. So whatever calcium you take in when consuming milk or cheese is likely to be more than offset by the loss of 1. Greger, M. How Not To Die. 562 pp. (Flatiron Books, Inc., 2015). 2. Campbell, T.C. Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition. 352 pp. (Benbella Books, 2014).

calcium from the bones, excreted through the urine. When we argue that nuts and avocados are unhealthy, we are using the same reductionist logic used by those promoting dairy consumption. And if we eliminate a whole category of foods abundantly available in most natural settings in temperate to tropical climates, a kind of food our ancestors would undoubtedly have found flavorful, then we are undermining the very rationale for a whole-food, plant-based diet, which is rooted in Nature and in our evolution over eons. Even some of our primate cousins use stone tools to crack nuts, which they seem to relish. This is a story with deep roots. I would never suggest people eat nuts and other fatty plant foods to excess, because these foods are not available in nature in excessive amounts. They should be consumed in moderation, and, if eaten this way, I believe they provide important beneficial health effects. Dr. T. Colin Campbell is the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of nutritional biochemistry at Cornell University and is best known for authoring the bestselling book T​he China Study​ with his son Thomas Campbell, M.D. He is the founder of the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and the online Plant­-Based Nutrition Certificate offered by the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies in partnership with eCornell. Dr. Campbell’s expertise and scientific interests encompass relationships between diet and diseases, particularly the causation of cancer. He was trained at Cornell University (M.S., Ph.D.) and MIT (research associate) in nutrition, biochemistry, and toxicology, and has authored over 300 research papers. His legacy, the China Project, is the most comprehensive study of health and nutrition ever conducted.

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Compassion by Denise Bitz


ased in Asheville, North Carolina, Brother Wolf Animal Rescue (BWAR) started saving and rehoming dogs in 2007. In 2009, we expanded our scope to include rescuing and helping cats. Over the years, we have taken in more and more animals—guinea pigs, rats, snakes, chinchillas, you name it. In 2015, BWAR rescued over 6,000 animals and provided food, medical care (including spays and neuters), and other services to hundreds more. Our mission is to provide the necessary resources and lifesaving programs to help build a no-kill community. Our vision is even broader—to support our community in embracing our core ethic of uncompromised compassion. While we have some staff, our organization runs on the time, expertise, and energy of our incredible volunteers. More than 2,000 strong, our volunteers do everything from walking dogs, socializing cats, and participating in fundraisers to grant writing, helping with feral cat trap-neuterreturn programs, and more. Our adoption center is unusual in that we are open to the public seven days a week, 365 days a year—making it very easy for people to adopt, volunteer, foster, or donate. We have been a vegetarian organization from the start, meaning that we never served meat at any of our events. As the founder of BWAR, I thought it would be hypocritical of us to serve meat at fundraisers to ask for donations to help dogs and cats. When we evolved from being a vegetarian organization to a plant-based organization, it happened at the same time that I was personally moving from a vegetarian diet to an entirely plant-based one. And it didn’t take weeks, or months, or even days. It happened overnight. BWAR’s executive director, and my friend and mentor, Paul Berry, explained to me why he was vegan. And I went home that day and started doing my own research into the dairy and egg industries. What I learned made it clear to me that I needed to avoid products from these industries, and I could no longer allow my organization (our core ethic is uncompromised compassion) to be a part of that either. And then I had this wonderful opportunity to take a trip with Paul to Farm Sanctuary up in New York, and

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got to take a tour there with Susy Coston. She introduced us to all of the animals. We spent time with the cows, pigs, turkeys, chickens, and rabbits, and it was clear as day. These animals were all sentient beings capable of feeling the same emotions our dogs and cats feel. They feel sadness, joy, pain, loss, anticipation, and excitement. I thought in that moment: Who was I to take anything from them that would cause them to suffer? They deserved to Left: Caitlin, a BWAR staff member, loves on a dog recently rescued from live long, happy lives, and flooding in South Carolina. Above: Writer Denise Bitz spends time with a I would no longer particsenior dog recently rescued from flooding in South Carolina. ipate in doing anything Photos: Diana Lynn Gottlieb to hurt them—quite the opposite, actually. We would work as hard for them as course offering the information and support needed to we do for our dogs and cats, because they are equal. Not choose a whole-food, low-fat, plant-pure dietary pattern. the same, but equal. To bring home the benefits, we asked the 30 people who We have realized several benefits since making the took the challenge to get their biomarkers (blood sugar, shift. We care deeply about this planet, our environment, cholesterol, triglycerides, weight, and blood pressure) and our health. We acknowledge that animal agriculture tested by our local hospital before and after the chalis the No. 1 factor in deforestation, and that animal agrilenge. We were impressed with our team’s results! culture is not only terrible for this planet, but it is not We have had a few staff members protest our organizational vegan policy, and a few donors leave, but that’s OK. Paul and I choose We believe deep down that most people are good and to lead this organization from a place of integrity and from compassion. And kind. We trust that if they truly understood that they kindness. We won’t give in to the preshave a choice every single day to make a difference in sures of the few because we have our the life of an animal and to ‘do no harm,’ then they eye on the horizon—the big picture. Our next step is to build a sanctuary would choose that kind act. that will be a place where farmed animals will rehabilitate alongside dogs sustainable. And while I chose to do this for the animals, and cats. We hope that many more people will come I have personally benefited health-wise from adopting a visit our sanctuary and have life-changing experiences, whole-food, plant-based diet. By building my diet from like the one I had at Farm Sanctuary. whole-plant foods, I have lost nearly 100 pounds and We believe deep down that most people are good and have improved all of my blood values dramatically. I have kind. We trust that if they truly understood that they lowered my glucose and cholesterol levels and normalhave a choice every single day to make a difference in the ized my blood pressure. And I am pleased to report that life of an animal and to “do no harm,” then they would at the age of 40 last year, I ran my first half marathon. choose that kind act. The beautiful thing is that in so To support our staff and volunteers in making this doing, they live healthier lives and support the planet at shift personally, we teamed up with local businessperson the same time. John Sinnott to offer our employees and volunteers the 14-Day Health Challenge, a web-based employee wellDenise Bitz is founder and president of Brother Wolf Animal ness program. The 14-Day Health Challenge is a short Rescue. For more information, please visit

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Pod news or cooking program is a great way to get members. • Go beyond potlucks. Potlucks are great initial group activities, but people also like to have gatherings where food is provided for free or for a fee—then you can also control what’s in the food (Middlesworth requires that all dishes be whole-food, plant-based, and oil-free). • Use PlantPure Nation resources to save time, such as marketing templates, presentations, and collaboration tools. Photo: Robert Vaught

Grassroots Goodness Plant-Based WNC is a relatively new volunteer group, located in the southern mountains of western North Carolina. Their passionate mission is to spread the message about the amazing benefits of a whole-food, plant-based (WFPB) diet through outreach, education, support, and advocacy. The group gained 80 members after a screening of PlantPure Nation in November 2015. Since the screening, the group has spread the message through events, and it conducted a 14-Day Health Challenge, the only online, plant-based jumpstart program of its kind, in February. Plant-Based WNC wants to leave no stone unturned in its outreach efforts, and plans to develop partnerships by reaching out to churches, schools, businesses, clubs, associations, and anyone who will let them get a foot in their doors to talk about the many benefits of plant-based eating. The group is seeking like-minded advocates to help develop and implement their action plan for spreading the plant-based message. For more information or to join Plant-Based WNC, visit the PlantPure Pods website at —Lauren Vaught and Jane Champion, Plant-Based WNC co-leaders Growing a Successful Plant-Based Support Group Linda Middlesworth started the Sacramento Vegan Society six years ago with only 15 people, but her group is now over 2,100 strong. Middlesworth shared some of the things she has learned in growing her group: • Be patient. Even if you grow slowly at first, hang in there. Her first two years were slow, but then things really picked up over the last four years. If she had gotten too discouraged in the first two years, she could easily have given up. • Offer lots of interesting events. If you have regular activities, and speakers, word will get out and people will join. • Use other programs to build membership. A health

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Visit the Sacramento Vegan Society online at www. Middlesworth can be contacted at —Jo Gustafson A Pioneer of Plant-Based Eating in Alaska Delisa Renideo grew up in Alaska eating moose, fish, and canned vegetables. But over the years she read some amazing books that told the story of how eating animal products was not only bad for your health, but for the environment and the animals she loved. Renideo bePhoto: Charlie Renideo came plant-based 26 years ago, and at first, was the only plant-based eater she knew. She then converted her husband, Charlie; he became vegan when they married. He jokes that it was a prenuptial agreement! Renideo’s nonprofit organization, Rays of Hope, formed in 2002 with the help of like-minded individuals, offers humane education to fourth graders, a service for homeless pets, and online resources. As Renideo began teaching plant-based nutrition and cooking classes through the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s Food for Life Program, the group gained members. The majority of the group’s members have joined through the cooking classes, so there is an emphasis on healthy and delicious food. But they also have members who have found the group through its compassion for animals and commitment to the environment. Planning is underway for the third annual Alaska VegFest, Sept. 10. You can visit the Alaska Vegan Society at, and you can contact Renideo at delisa@ —Jo Gustafson

Kim’s kitchen Aromatic Roasted Mediterranean Potatoes

Submitted by Shana Brannon; Manchaca, Texas Serves 6–8 Ingredients 4–5 medium Yukon gold potatoes (or any thin-skinned potato) 1 fennel bulb 1 can of artichoke heart quarters in brine 5–6 cloves of garlic 1 C butter beans 8–10 Kalamata olives 3 fresh rosemary stems (or 1 T dried)

10–12 small tomatoes 1 C dry white wine (optional) 1 C low sodium vegetable broth 1 t ground black pepper 1 lemon, juice and zest Optional garnishes include toasted pine nuts or a drizzle of tahini.

Directions Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces. Halve, core, and thinly slice the fennel bulb, reserving the fronds. Drain and rinse the artichoke hearts. Rinse the olives to reduce sodium, then cut into halves. Lay rosemary stems in the bottom of a 9-inch by 13-inch casserole dish. Add the potatoes, fennel, artichoke hearts, beans, garlic, and olives. Pour the wine and broth over the top (use more broth if eliminating wine). Sprinkle with black pepper and cover with aluminum foil. Bake covered for 20–25 minutes. Uncover, toss in the tomatoes, and continue baking for another 20 minutes, or until the top begins to brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with fresh lemon juice, zest, and fennel fronds. Enjoy over a bed of your favorite greens.

Mexican Cornbread Casserole

Submitted by Amy Johnson; Frisco, Texas Serves 4

Photo: iStock/Romariolen

Ingredients 1 large onion, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 28 oz. can or 2 15 oz. cans of fire-roasted, chopped tomatoes, including the liquid 1 T lime juice 2 15 oz. cans of black beans, rinsed and drained 2 cups of frozen corn 1 4.5 oz. can of green chiles, including the liquid 3 handfuls of fresh baby spinach 1 1/2 t cumin

1/2–1 t chili powder (or chipotle chile powder) 3/4 t salt 3 dashes of Liquid Smoke Cornbread layer 1 C of whole-wheat pastry or spelt flour 1 C of cornmeal (fine ground) 1 T baking powder pinch of salt 1 C unsweetened, non-dairy milk 1/4 C maple syrup 1/4 C unsweetened applesauce

Directions Steam-fry onions in pressure cooker using the Sauté or Brown feature for about 5 minutes or until tender. Add a bit of water if the onions begin to stick to the pot. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Turn pressure cooker off. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the tomatoes, black beans, lime juice, corn, green chiles, spinach, cumin, chili powder, salt, and Liquid Smoke. Stir into the onions and garlic in the pot. Whisk together the dry ingredients for the cornbread in a medium-sized bowl. Add in the non-dairy milk, maple syrup, and applesauce. Stir together to combine. Pour the cornbread mixture over the other mixture in the pressure cooker, spreading level. Cook on high pressure for 8 minutes with quick release (slowly turning the valve so the liquid doesn’t spray out). Turn off the pressure cooker and leave the top on for 10 minutes. Open the top and serve.

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Kim’s kitchen

Sweet Potato and Apple Bisque with Cashew Milk Submitted by Mark Zedella; Columbus, Ohio Serves 6–8 For the cashew milk 1 C raw cashews, soaked 2 hours or overnight 6 C water Ingredients 1 large sweet onion, cut into eighths 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped 1 large Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped

2 garlic cloves, sliced 1 C water or vegetable broth 1/4 C dry white wine or vegetable broth 2 no- or low-sodium vegetable bouillon cubes (Rapunzel is a good brand) 1 T ground cumin 1 T fresh ginger, peeled and minced Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions Make cashew milk by placing cashews and water in a blender. Blend on high for 2–3 minutes, until water is white and opaque. Strain into a bowl through a fine mesh strainer or nut milk bag; if large pieces remain, put mixture back into blender and repeat until no large pieces remain. Set cashew milk aside. Heat a large soup pot on medium-high. Sauté onion until soft and translucent. Add water or broth, 1–2 tablespoons at a time, if onions stick to pot. Add sweet potatoes, apple, and garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add water or broth 1–2 tablespoons at a time to keep vegetables from sticking to the pot. Add white wine, stirring until most of the wine evaporates (this will deglaze the pot, removing the residue from sautéeing the onions). Add the cashew milk, bouillon cubes, cumin, and ginger; stir to combine. If necessary, add water or vegetable stock until the vegetables are covered by 1–2 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Blend the soup using an immersion blender, or in small batches in a standard blender. Use extreme caution when blending hot liquids in a blender! Add salt and pepper to taste and more water or broth if thinner soup is desired. Serve the soup garnished with toasted pumpkin seeds, cashew crème, or croutons.

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Photo: iStock/Romariolen

Kim Campbell is the author of The PlantPure Nation Cookbook, which features over 150 of her whole-food, plant-based recipes. Kim has been a plant-based cook for 25 years and is gifted at creating plant-based dishes with flavors from traditional American cuisine, an effective approach for both new and veteran plant-based eaters. Kim has a Bachelor of Science degree in human service studies, with a concentration in nutrition and child development, from Cornell University. Kim has taught cooking classes in her local community and now through PlantPure Nation. She is currently the director of culinary education and head of recipe development at PlantPure Inc. Her educational videos are online at In addition, Kim is creating a second cookbook to be published this year.

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