Tag Archives: going vegan

How Not to Die-It’s Never Too Late

how-not-to-die

Does a book entitled “How Not to Die” make a good present? Of course! Will your loved ones read it? Who cares? If they don’t, you can borrow it and read it yourself! You deserve it, don’t you?

When I first heard the title, I thought it might be off-putting to those who were not familiar with Dr. Greger’s work. Some of my family and friends thought it was not in good taste when I presented it to my mother (who is approaching 90) last Christmas.

I was disappointed—but should not have been surprised—that Mom has read little of it, and I will try to find someone more excited about improving the quality of their remaining years.

As someone who has binge-watched Dr. Greger’s NutritionFacts.Org videos for fun, and has attended his lectures in person on 3 occasions, I understood right away why he titled his book “How Not to Die.”

For the past several years, Dr. Greger has been around the country (even circling the globe!) lecturing about the role of a plant-based diet in prevention, treatment and even reversal of the top 15 killers, or contributors to premature death.

When “How Not to Die” came out a year ago, it became an instant New York Times Best Seller. Incidentally, 100 percent of all proceeds Dr. Greger receives from his books, DVDs, and speaking engagements are donated to charity.

Recently, I set out to read the book for myself. Although 562 pages appeared intimidating, thankfully the last 150 pages contain references to Greger’s research. No surprise for someone whose life’s work is poring over fact-based nutrition research.

I expected “How Not to Die” to rehash everything I learned from having followed Dr. Greger since he lit up the internet by publishing a new nutrition video everyday beginning in 2011.

Part 1 of the book covers the 15 “killers” Dr. Greger enumerated:

  • Heart Disease
  • Lung Disease
  • Brain Disease
  • Digestive Cancers
  • Infections
  • Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Kidney Disease
  • Breast Cancer
  • Suicidal Depression
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Iatrogenic Causes

While a lot of Part 1 did have a familiar ring, it was interesting and informative nonetheless, thanks to Dr. Greger’s tongue-in-cheek delivery. However, Part 2 added a few bonuses that made “How Not to Die” as entertaining and practical as I’ve come to expect from Dr. Greger.

Part 2 addresses the most common question Greger hears: “What do you eat everyday?” For this, he created two simple tools to help you integrate everything he learned into your own daily life:

1. Traffic Light system to quickly identify the healthiest options:

  • Green-light foods: unprocessed plant foods that should be maximized
  • Yellow-light foods: processed plant-foods and unprocessed animal foods that should be minimized
  • Red-light foods: ultra-processed plant foods and processed animal foods that should be avoided

2. Daily Dozen checklist to help you incorporate the foods Dr. Greger considers essential to the optimum diet

Eating is a zero sum game,” Dr. Greger says. “When you choose to eat one thing, you are generally choosing not to eat another….So everything we choose to eat has opportunity cost.”

The “Daily Dozen” checklist (which Dr. Greger began as a game played with his family on their refrigerator white-board) consists of:

  • Beans (3)
  • Berries (1)
  • Other Fruits (3)
  • Cruciferous Vegetables (1)
  • Greens (2)
  • Other Vegetables (2)
  • Flaxseeds (1)
  • Nuts (1)
  • Spices (1)
  • Whole Grains (3)
  • Beverages (5)
  • Exercise (1)

Note: Numbers in parentheses indicate the “number of servings” of each.

Dr. Greger concludes “How Not to Die,” by saying he hopes to persuade readers that “nutrition is not the state, lifeless subject your middle school home-economics class may have led you to believe. It’s vibrant and overflowing with opportunity for the betterment of your life.”

As I mentioned in my 2012 post “Who Do You Trust for Nutrition Facts?”, with the never-ending explosion of conflicting information from so many so-called nutrition experts, we have to place our trust in someone. Dr. Greger’s unbiased perspective has persuaded me time and time again.

Consider giving “How Not to Die” to someone you love. For a last-minute Christmas present, birithday, or for no reason but to show someone you care. In the worst case, you’ll get it back, and share it again, until it resonates.

Note: This article contains links to Amazon products for which I receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site!

Is HPP Juice Worth Your Gold?

Evolution Fresh Hits HonoluluJust a year after receiving my Starbucks Gold Card, recently the  company emailed me that my Gold rewards status had fallen back to green and I had “lost all my Stars.” Dear Me! 

A life-long coffee lover, I stopped drinking coffee around the time I began practicing a mostly raw vegan diet, though I still enjoy the aroma and the occasional sip of coffee while borrowing Starbucks’ internet.

Recently, when Evolution Fresh juices arrived on Starbucks’ shelves in Honolulu, I thought I had found a new way to restore my coveted “Gold” status: Juice!

I wrote about Starbucks acquiring Evolution Fresh a couple years ago for its Cold-Pressed and High Pressure Processing (HPP) juice technologies. In addition to Evolution Fresh, there are many other national brands using HPP, such as Suja Juice (carried by Whole Foods), and more to come!

What is Pascalization?

At first I thought “HPP” was something new, but when I learned that another term for HPP was “Pascalization” (named after 17th century French scientist Blaise Pascal) I knew it must be pretty old!  Continue reading

Soak Your Nuts-All In Good Taste!

Soak Your Nuts: Karyn's Conscious Comfort FoodsAfter perusing “Soak Your Nuts: Karyn’s Conscious Comfort Foods” you will understand why people travel hundreds of miles to eat at Karyn Calabrese’s restaurants in Chicago: TASTE!

With a provocative title that no man could get away with, this book is actually two books in one: One half contains raw vegan recipes (95 pages) and the other cooked vegan recipes (77 pages).  Karyn’s first book in the series was entitled Soak Your Nuts: Cleansing With Karyn: Detox Secrets for Inner Healing and Outer Beauty (2011). She explains on her blog that the attention-grabbing title came to her while meditating.

Though Karyn, an accomplished entrepreneur, has practiced a raw vegan diet for over 40 years, her book’s aim is to help people transition to healthier plant-based eating-whether cooked or raw. Judging from the 100‘s of approachable easy-to-follow and tasty mostly one-page recipes, her aim has been achieved.

Continue reading

A Vegan World-Imagine That!

Healthy Vegan Breakfast of Chia Seeds and Colorful FruitsI recall when the “Imagine a Vegan World” Support Group began meeting last year in Honolulu. I loved the ‘Vegan World’ part but I’d been vegan 8 years and didn’t feel like I needed support as such.

“Why attend?” I thought! It’s held during supper time but nowhere near any vegan eateries! Whose brilliant idea was that?! Looking back, I realize I was being selfish.

Imagine a Vegan World was started by Terry Bear in early 2013. The group’s founder and visionary went vegan 3 years ago influenced by her vegan daughter.

Terry considers everyone a vegan or on the way to becoming one.  “First I was vegan for “the health of it,” says Terry, “but after reading Will Tuttle’s ‘The World Peace Diet,’ I was completely transformed to a passionately compassionate, ethical vegan.”

Continue reading

Soup Beats Raw Food-Even in Honolulu

Pho Vietnamese Soup Loving Hut HonoluluAs I’ve discovered over this past winter especially–even in Hawaii–soup is not only a great pleasure but an absolute necessity for me. And I’m so grateful whenever I can guide others toward healthier vegan alternatives for their favorite comfort foods, too.

Recently, I received a request from a reader in Honolulu: “My roommate wants to eat healthy tonight,” she said, “and I seem to remember passing a vegan restaurant on Kapiolani. Can you recommend a good place to eat and also what to order?”

Obviously, she was referring to Greens and Vines (909 Kapiolani Blvd.), but with the weather in Honolulu as cold as it was (OK–cold is relative), I didn’t think raw vegan food would exactly win them over to plant-based eating. Continue reading

Gratitude for Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Hana, Maui

DSC_0222 Hana is a charming town on the northeast tip of Maui famous for its curvy highway, pristine beaches, and utter lack of vegan restaurants.

OK, it’s not so famous for that last one–in fact, Hana has only a handful of restaurants to begin with. But–unless you enjoy staying in and cooking while on vacation, you’ve got to appreciate any restaurant that makes an effort to accommodate those of us on plant-based diets.

Continue reading

For Whom the Dinner Bell Tolls

DSC_0125Imagine brushing your teeth after eating your lunch and not having another bite of food until tomorrow’s breakfast. Sounds impossible? Take it from a guy who used to enjoy devouring banana splits at midnight: you truly can do anything you put your mind to.

I’ve posted before about how staying at a rejuvenation or detox center is one of the best ways for you to be introduced to a raw vegan diet, because these facilities serve up delicious healthy raw organic plant-based meals and are supervised by naturopathic physicians. Oh, if you don’t know what naturopathic medicine is, don’t worry–I just learned about it last year.

Another way to be exposed to a vegan diet is to visit a meditation center for a meditation course or “sitting.” Continue reading

Crazy Sexy Kitchen Makes Plant-Based Excitement

Several years ago, there were only a handful of vegan cookbooks. Today, there are dozens, and I recently learned there are 200 new vegan cookbooks on the way!

Great news, unless you are deciding which cookbook to add to your library. Fortunately for me, I did not have to choose, as I received a hardcopy version of Crazy Sexy Kitchen as a gift.

Continue reading

Vida Vegan What? Just Don’t Miss the Next One!

image-5

Two years ago, by the time I learned about the first Vida Vegan Conference, it was already too late to sign up. I was living in Tokyo at the time–shortly after the “3-11” (Fukushima) disaster–and was feeling pretty uneasy.

I didn’t know how it would happen, but I was determined to make it to the next VVC bloggers conference, to be held 2 years later.

Continue reading

B12 Deficiency Not Just a Vegan Concern

Often-cited as a shortcoming of a plant-based diet is deficiency of Vitamin B12, an essential nutrient made by bacteria in the intestines of animals (including humans). For many omnivores, this is reason enough to continue eating animal products.

You may be surprised that the most common cause of B12 deficiency is not lack of B12 containing-foods but intestinal disease, and the prevalence of B12 deficiency among vegans is not much different than in the overall population. Continue reading