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  • I could go without chicken, I think, and hamburgers. But bacon… that would be tough! Good luck to him!

  • If one southern grandfather of the scotch-drinking variety could ditch alcohol am betting this father/grandfather can go vegetarian.

  • I could live without bacon, but I would miss fried chicken.

  • I applaud your dad. I try to be careful not to go off on the animal welfare agenda, but I maintain that if people had to actually do themselves all of the cruel and sadistic things that are done to our food animals, we’d all forego the meat. Even–especially–the bacon. On a lighter, happier note, be sure to check out Juniper Moon Farm for yarn that has been made from happy sheep (What is a happy sheep? One that is allowed to live a sheep life.) Happy knitting, you must be buried in snow–we are in New England!

  • I applaud your dad. I try to be careful not to go off on the animal welfare agenda, but I maintain that if people had to actually do themselves all of the cruel and sadistic things that are done to our food animals, we’d all forego the meat. Even–especially–the bacon. On a lighter, happier note, be sure to check out Juniper Moon Farm for yarn that has been made from happy sheep (What is a happy sheep? One that is allowed to live a sheep life.) Happy knitting, you must be buried in snow–we are in New England!

  • My husband and I decided to try going vegetarian for the month of March. With one exception, it has gone fine and I have not missed meat (can’t speak for the mister). The exception….I could not forego corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day, but I’m back on track now.

  • I just finished reading your book last night…I hope there are more! I could not put it down! It read like a great novel and with humor and down to earth projects that I can use in my life. I’m a new knitter for my age…I’m probably your Father’s generation and it’s so funny because I’ve thought of going vegetarian many times but then there’s “the bacon issue”…I can’t give it up so to ease my conscientous I go whole-hog (excuse the pun) into helping promote and support humane treatment of farm animals. It helps…a little. I can’t wait to read your blog and archives and check out all the resources you listed in the back of your book. You gals are GREAT!!!! And talented too! Thank you!

  • P.S. conscience…..I misspelled it above….I haven’t had enough coffee yet…sorry.

  • interesting these days that many life-long meat eaters have suddenly gone vegetarian. a dear friend has done so, one day speaking about how badly animals are treated, and now wishes to go vegan. just an observation, no judgement. i think her reasons are quite on the mark and wish icould do it myself for the long haul (i seldom cook meat at home, but will order it consistently when out).
    more power to your daddy and all who are on this leg of the journey.
    lovediane

  • Some argue that a plant-based diet is less “green” than eating pasture-raised meat because tilling the soil causes top soil depletion and other bad things. Personally, I like the *idea* of going vegan or vegetarian, but when I try it, I gain weight because I feel unsatisfied/hungry all the time and overeat. Also, fat is not that bad for you and soy is not that good for you.

  • My husband and I went vegan after seeing that movie. I had been a vegetarian for years and did not expect to see a big difference but I have never felt better and have not taken a sick day all year. Both of us have lost weight and our doctors are amazed at the change in our blood pressure and cholesterol. Good luck to your dad! Thank you for the book recommendation.

  • Vegetarian for Lent this year. It’s been an interesting experiment/reminder. We used to cook veggie at home, and between work lunches and other eating out, we never missed meat. Fast forward: children, 2 working parents, we never eat out and meat and meat-based dishes are so easy. Quick. Yummy to children.
    I am so looking forward to my post-Lent hamburger/hot wings/ham.
    My mantra is “more green things” – the more veg and fruit I eat, the less I fill in with carbs and fat and junk. My brain does NOT like to be told “No ____” so I just try to redirect it to “More ____”

  • There are so many reasons to go vegetarian and vegan: personal health, animal welfare, the environment, but people really don’t like to be preached at about this, so I keep quiet unless asked. I’m a half-ass vegan–eggs but almost no dairy. I think it’s best to take it slow, so you don’t miss too many foods at once.

  • I can live without meat, easily, but I could not be vegan. I cannot believe it is a good diet, especially for women, far too hard to get all the dietary iron you need. But I would far rather eat meat once a week and make sure it is the best possible quality, ‘happy meat’ there is, even if it cost the entire week’s budget for meat for that one meal than eat sad, tortured meat. Or a life of soy.
    Having said that, I must say ‘Ottolenghi Plenty’ and ‘Black Pepper Tofu’. Ask Kay…

  • Dear Ann,
    Thank you for the book suggestion!
    Where’s Kay?

  • Dear Ann,
    Thank you for the book suggestion!
    Where’s Kay?

  • Dear Ann,
    Thank you for the book suggestion!
    Where’s Kay?

  • Dear Ann,
    Thank you for the book suggestion!
    Where’s Kay?

  • I’ve been vegetarian since 1992. I cannot imagine going back to eating meat. I do cook things like bacon (for stuffed burgers and bacon ice cream) when I throw a party, but it is firmly in the “I don’t eat any, so there is more for you” category of foods.

  • I was buying beer and Benton’s bacon within an hour of getting off the plane last time I went home to Tennessee. I think my family is going to be giving me a hard time about that for a long time…

  • I’m allergic to bacon now (well, some of it). Can you believe that? Just the bacon that has brown sugar in it. Because, for some reason, I’m allergic to brown sugar. Arrrgh. (In the interest of full disclosure, I do own the =Forks Over Knives= cookbook.)

  • My DH and I watched that documentary just a couple nights ago. I was impressed with how muscular the vegan firefighter and prizefighter (?) were. We have been reconsidering our animal product consumption for the past year and after watching that, are reducing even further. Good luck to your dad on changing the habits of his lifetime. And thanks for the book recommend – I’ll look it out :0)

  • My husband and I have been vegetarians (not vegans)for over 15 years now. Don’t miss any meat any more. Can’t even stand the smell of red meat.
    Tell your Dad that Morning Star Farms has a really good ‘fake bacon’ as we call it. Plus we use a lot of these products http://www.quorn.us/ in place of meat.
    I don’t honestly think I could go vegan all the way!

  • As Kay, I, and the other Jewish knitters know. Pomegranate molasses is dead easy to make. I admire the Vegans & Vegetarians. Alas, I have digestive issues that make those diets out for me soy & dairy are NOT every day foods. That said when I can choose veggie I do. I hope your Dad can make it work.

  • We cut down on meat consumption, but not eliminated it completely. When we eat veggie, it’s almost always adapted from traditional meat-based recipes, not from vegan or vegetarian recipes. Veggie based chilis and sloppy joes are delicious and the recipes are easy to convert. Homemade marinara is vegan. Veggie shepherd’s pie topped with whipped sweet potatoes is our favorite. All kinds of well-seasoned roasted, grilled, or sauteed veggies make great taco, enchilada, and fajita fillings. And almost every culture has a hearty vegetable soup that’s good for the mouth, body, and soul.
    After buying then tossing several veggie cookbooks because they were so bad, the realization dawned that too many vegans and vegetarians seem to consider herbs, spices, and other traditional flavorings as evil as ground chuck. So they either add no flavoring or things that just taste extremely odd to non-veggie palates. It’s not more spiritually pure if it tastes bad; it just tastes bad.
    The only one of that useless parade of veggie cookbooks that was worth keeping is Indian. This is a culture that really understands flavor is an important component of food. Eggplant bhartha is the bomb.
    I’m curious to browse your friend’s book to see whether she successfully avoids that trap so many other vegetarian cookbook writers fall into.
    BTW, my Dad gave up red meat in his later years, when his doctor advised him to do so. He did it by ordering his steaks well done instead of medium rare. Sigh.

  • Such an interesting post. And for me, timely! I rarely eat meat, only because I want to feel comfortable about the way the meat has arrived on my plate. I do live in an area where there are options for grassfed beef, organic pork, etc., raised on local farms and sold at roadside stands or from coolers at the Saturday farmers’ market. And I do like to support those businesses, but it is, for me, an occasional extravagance; maybe every month or six weeks I’ll buy a couple of pounds of something and make a few meals to eat or freeze or share.
    And I rarely miss meat, but occasionally I feel a real craving, just like I might feel a real craving for kale, or carrots, or Bart’s ginger ice cream. And if the craving for meat sticks around for a week or two, I go out in search of a few pork chops or something.
    But last weekend, I quite suddenly went a bit crazy for meat! When I had lunch with a friend, I ordered a burger. Grocery shopping? Homemade chourico. And a pound of burgers! Last night I had a burger at 11 PM. I had another for breakfast this morning!
    What this is, I do not know…unless it is…could it be…a hungry ghost? If it’s a Buddhist ghost, it’s apparently making up for time lost to vegetarianism!

  • Yes, Indian food (& Ethiopian food, since they have a long history of trade with India) could almost make me give up meat. So rich with spices and butter…
    Having said that, today is my third meat-free day. I didn’t plan it this way. We just happen to be out of meat and I haven’t been to the store. But we have plenty of beans!

  • I live in an area rich with vegetarian and vegan converts and evangelists. My vegetarian physician tries annually to get me to go veggie. I finally said, in the nicest possible way, “I grew up in cattle country with ranching/farming family, eating meat at every meal. I now have red meat only 1 or 2 times A WEEK. That’s it, that’s my limit, but you’re free to do your duty and mention it each time we meet.” I am in the Julia Child camp, “All things in moderation, including moderation.”

  • Ack! Don’t do it! Going vegetarian ruined my health and destroyed my teeth. It really played havoc with my hormones, too. It has the appearance of being healthy, which is why I once fell for it, but I spent years trying to recover afterward and regret it more than most any other decision I’ve made.
    I switched to a traditional diet, with plenty of real grass-fed(not feedlot) meat, and eggs from chickens on pasture. We try to buy directly from farmers whenever possible. My health has improved drastically over the past near-decade.
    Meat is healthy, provided it is from a healthy source. If you’re curious about this, check out the Weston A. Price Foundation for lots more info.

  • I haven’t eaten meat for more than 30 years. My meat loving-chef-husband heard a news report about the RAVE diet (vegan) a few years back and tried that for a while, adding meat when he craved it. Now, we both eat more vegan meals, he eats meat or seafood and I fish or seafood when we see something we really want thatis sustainable. When vegan, he ate a ton of food and lost a ton of weight and felt great. Maybe because (a) I have been a long term vegetarian, (b) I wasn’t that strict, and (c) I’m female, I didn’t see as much of a difference, but I never felt hungry either.
    Get your dad Deborah Madison’s vegetarian cooking for everyone, basically along the Bittman lines-sorted by ingredient, lots of ideas, and meat is easily added for those who want it.

  • A fully vegetarian or vegan diet can take awhile to achieve, and there’s nothing wrong with doing it in stages. Maybe the change starts with eating meat once a day rather than twice, or twice a week instead of every day. Or with a snack of nuts rather than a hunk of cheese. You don’t have to go at it…um…whole hog, which seems like a big set-up for failure. Good luck to your dad in his quest to take care of his health, wherever it takes him.

  • Oh good for him!!! Have been vegetarian for yrs. Last 2 years mostly 98 % vegan. I’m in better shape than ever since I made the switch and getting younger all the time. Seriously! My scale that estimates my age says so.
    I suggest the documentary Vegucated–on Netflix streaming to follow up Forks Over Knives. I also suggest the books The China Study in parts it reads like a thriller–if you find science thrilling.And the Engine 2 diet and to get really health Dr, Fuhrman’s Eat to Live. Meat is so hard on our external and internal environments…I see so many of these chronic diseases in my line of work. They used to be called “diseases of affluence” and only the King would get such things but now even the poor have affluent diseases. We need a major change.

  • I have been a vegetarian pretty much my whole life – literally cannot stomach red meat, which decides you pretty quick! Eating without meat isn’t hard, it isn’t time consuming, and the diversity and flavor of all the other foods is so great that sacrifice is not a concept I can associate with it. My husband eats what he likes and that includes the occasional burger or sausage, but he has largely lost interest in meat over the past three decades of dining with me as he got to enjoy other things. Maybe it’s the idea that one is not permitted something that makes being vegetarian so difficult for some? Really, vegetarian eating is incredibly tasty, as well as cheaper and greener, particularly if you find local organic sources for stuff that is in season. And BTW, I rarely eat tofu or seitan or other psuedo-meats – being meat free doesn’t have to mean eating pretend meat!

  • Even one heart-breaking photo of the sadistic way our society raises and kills animals is a wake-up call. Look into your dog’s eyes, listen to a bird sing or a cat purr and imagine treating them with such hate. I’ve been a vegetarian for many years. I am truly never sick.
    Thanks for sometimes going beyond knitting with your writing. Women can save the world!

  • Meat-eating husband casts another vote for Ottolenghi’s “Black Pepper Tofu,” for your polls.
    A vegetarian diet works for some, but people vary. If I may suggest reading from another point of view, there’s Lierre Keith’s “The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability.” It tackles it all, but remains readable.

  • Adorable dad! Trying something new, whatever it is, helps us stay fluid in our thinking.

  • Thank you for sharing these – I’ve been meaning to watch Forks Over Knives for awhile, but ended up watching Vegucated first, and while it was interesting, I found the ratio of “thoughtful discussion” to “we show you animals being harmed so you can have a BLT” pretty low.

  • Funny coincidence: the other day as I was down in the rabbit hole of the Internet, I re-watched Steve Jobs give the Standford commencement address. He quoted the final Whole Earth catalog, and this may have been on the last back cover, “stay hungry.” Thought of it right away with the Tao and still hungry ghosts.
    Circles, life is all circles coming round.

  • Such a timely post, thank you! Hub and I just watched Forks Over Knives this week. We talked over a lot of the information and each said it would’ve been nice if they’d given a reading list or recommended a cookbook or two at the end. Thanks everyone, I’ve written down several titles found here!

  • Rabbit hole of the Internet… isn’t that the truth? I sit down to do one or two things and forget what they are as I check email, read blogs, visit Ravelry and the next thing I know two hours have gone by!

  • Just wanted to say that I love hearing what you have to say and I love the way you say it. That’s what keeps me reading. Thanks for continuing to blog.

  • Went to Amazon, perused the Forks over Knives book and cookbook and hit the “buy” button. Looking forward to diving into the books. BTW, you can pull the chunky monkey smoothie from the page views on Amazon……YUM! If this is an indication of the quality of the recipes, we gonna have some fun times!!

  • Gave up meat years ago when my son became vegetarian. Truthfully, I don’t miss the meat at all. Now there are loads of good recipes in books and online. We feel better too. Martha Stewart posted in the new year about this same idea. Bill Clinton seems to have done well as a vegan!

  • My husband & I are near your Dad’s age, and became plant-based eaters 1 1/2 yrs. ago thanks to Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s special “The Last Heart Attack”, “Forks Over Knives” and Drs. Caldwell Esselystn and John McDougall’s books “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease” and “The Starch Solution” respectively. Eye-opening for sure! The “Happy Herbivore” has a wonderful website with delicious recipes, meal plans, etc. to help your Dad on his new journey. I so wish I knew this information 40 years ago. I have drastically reduced my total cholesterol from 214 to 134 in MONTHS, and returned to my high school weight by simply changing from a low-fat Western diet (based on the American Heart Association guidelines) to nonfat plant based.
    I applaud him (loudly & enthusiastically!) in his decision to become a vegetarian. Not only is he reducing his carbon foot print, but he’s now not contributing to animal cruelty by consuming them.

  • Baaaaacooooon (said in long low lustful tones)

  • Ann. This your Vegan Dad. Good comments. I ask myself “what is man’s natural diet? ” I reasoned that we are the third chimpanzee by DNA studies. Chimps are vegetarian except for a few bugs and their own family fleas. Also our daily protein requirement is actually quite low compared to earlier estimates. Finally. The Norway experience is convincing for dropping meat. I am 2 weeks into total vegan and feel great. Love Dad

  • Ann. This your Vegan Dad. Good comments. I ask myself “what is man’s natural diet? ” I reasoned that we are the third chimpanzee by DNA studies. Chimps are vegetarian except for a few bugs and their own family fleas. Also our daily protein requirement is actually quite low compared to earlier estimates. Finally. The Norway experience is convincing for dropping meat. I am 2 weeks into total vegan and feel great. Love Dad

  • Been there. Done that. Went back to eating animal products and feel much better and labs are better than ever. What I gave up was processed foods.
    Michael Pollan wrote that when you eliminate one thing — like meat — you naturally increase other things — like plant foods. Additionally. many (most?) people who give up animal products also give up processed and junk foods. So, exactly what is responsible for improvements in health and weight loss? Hard to say.
    It’s been written that the planet can’t support a population of meat eaters. True enough. It also can’t support a population eating nothing but plants. It takes balance for a healthy planet and a healthy body.

  • Been there. Done that. Went back to eating animal products and feel much better and labs are better than ever. What I gave up was processed foods.
    Michael Pollan wrote that when you eliminate one thing — like meat — you naturally increase other things — like plant foods. Additionally. many (most?) people who give up animal products also give up processed and junk foods. So, exactly what is responsible for improvements in health and weight loss? Hard to say.
    It’s been written that the planet can’t support a population of meat eaters. True enough. It also can’t support a population eating nothing but plants. It takes balance for a healthy planet and a healthy body.

  • Thanks for the book recommendation! We feel wonderful when we stick to vegan foods, especially raw and preferably organic.
    We’re pushing 70 and running marathons.

  • It’s wonderful to hear your dad so willing to take responsibility for his health. We’ve been lulled into thinking we can outsource it to the pharmaceutical companies, but of course in our hearts (ahem) we know the truth.

    As a vegan for 10+ years, I can say I’m in better health at 60 than I was at 40, and any time before. My husband finally joined me in a whole foods plant-based lifestyle, lost over 50 lbs., and completely normalized his blood sugars, after two decades of diabetes. He is a new man, empowered, and grateful the change in his plate brought him what no medicine could.

    Before I became a vegan, I thought it was a lot of hooey when plant eaters would declare their heightened sense of the sorry state of our fellow creatures we doom to miserable lives and subsequent death in our mistaken assumption they are food. But it’s true. Now I find it impossible to separate the two. Incredible to me, my health, and in fact the larger experience of my life, is far richer for it.

    May your dad enjoy all the benefits brought by eating what our healthy bodies have needed all along.

Travel Alert:

Join us for a festive dinner at Vogue Knitting Live Chicago featuring Clara Parkes and us! Friday, March 9. Details here.