MeatLESS Book Review

“MEATLESS: Transform the Way You Eat and Live – One Meal at a Time” by Kristie Middleton, Senior Director of Food Policy for the Humane Society of the United States, is a fantastic book to help you get started on your meat-less journey.

Amelia and I had the great pleasure of meeting Kristie at the annual Humane League Gala here in Denver, and also the following day at her book signing at the Tattered Cover. Kristie’s passion for her own vegan lifestyle and for helping others reduce meat in their diets shines through in her public speaking and in her book.

MeatLess is loaded with concrete rationale for reducing or eliminating meat from your diet. And it shows you how to make the transition easier. Kristie provides substitutes for common animal ingredients as well as dozens of plant-based recipes that will tease the tastebuds of any standard American food eater.

I particularly enjoyed the stories from people who have reduced or completely removed meat and animal products from their diets. Some, like me, flipped the switch cold-tofurkey. Others transitioned slowly. One family bounced back and forth until they hit the right balance for them, eating Meatless Mondays, as well as one meat-free meal per day.

While we at LottaVeg recommend you transition completely to a whole-food, plant-based (WFPB) diet for your own health, the health of the environment and especially for the welfare of animals, any reduction in animal product consumption is beneficial. If you’re not sure you want to go full-vegan, this book can help you find the right balance.

The second half of the book is loaded with delicious vegan recipes. We’ve already made a few, including the Vegan Summer Peach Cobbler (p. 199) and the Souper Easy Split Pea Soup (p. 147). While not all of the recipes can be considered “healthy” by WFPB standards, they are delicious, none-the-less. And if your primary goal is to eat less meat without sacrificing flavor, that may be just fine with you.

Whether you want to go full vegan or just reduce the amount of meat and other animal products in your diet, this book is a great resource to have in your kitchen.

MeatLess by Kristie Middleton

Kristie-Middleton-Meatless_cover_lo A great resource to have in every transitioning vegan kitchen!

This book is loaded with concrete rationale for reducing or eliminating meat from your diet, as well as showing you how to make the transition easier. Kristie provides substitutes for common animal ingredients and dozens of plant-based recipes that will tease the tastebuds of any standard American food eater.

You don't have to sacrifice flavor for compassion. You can have both!

What the Health Documentary Review

Yesterday, Amelia and I watched “What the Health” from the creators of “Cowspiracy.” Much like Cowspiracy and the other documentaries we’ve watched, it was infuriating.

The level of corruption between the food industry, the government, hospitals, doctors, health associations and pharmaceutical companies is truly mind boggling. They’re unapologetically working together to keep us just sick enough to extract every penny we have to cover healthcare costs, but not too sick that we die before we’re completely bankrupt.

What the Health

However, thanks to people like Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn, the creators of What the Health, as well as doctors like Dr. Michael Gregor, Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. T. Colin Campbell and many others, we don’t have to remain victims of their corruption anymore.

Netflix, YouTube and social media have leveled the playing field for information dissemination. We’re no longer limited to the information (or propaganda) produced by our government and corporations. We can finally learn the truth about a variety of subjects from sources other than those that generate billions of dollars in profits by keeping us sick, ignorant and obedient.

What the Health exposes how deep the corruption goes by interviewing (or attempting to interview) leaders in several health organizations such as the American Diabetes Association, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the USDA and others.

We have been brainwashed to believe that these types of organizations are trying to help us. Every year, they collect millions of dollars in donations from hard-working people to “race for the cure.” Meanwhile, they’re also accepting millions of dollars in donations and sponsorships from corporations that are causing our most harmful diseases in the first place.

Susan G. Komen Foundation

Did you know dairy consumption may increase a woman’s chance of getting breast cancer as well as dying from it?

According to several studies, whole milk is the worst culprit [source], followed by milk from cows who are pregnant at the time of milking [source]. However, in studies that compare the dairy consumption of different countries around the world, it appears there is a correlation between increased dairy consumption and both breast and prostate cancer [source]. This is most likely due to the high amount of hormones and a potentially carcinogenic protein called casein that’s in milk and it’s derivative products like cheese and yogurt [source].

Some of these studies are a couple years old, but others are over a decade old. Why, then, do we see pink ribbons on dairy products? Shouldn’t an organization committed to finding a cure, also be committed to preventing the disease? Could the millions of dollars given to the Susan G. Komen Foundation by dairy product corporations be clouding their judgement? If they prevent the disease or find a cure, wouldn’t they all be out of a job?

The American Diabetes Association

We’ve known since the 1930’s that a high complex-carb, low fat diet is the best treatment and prevention for diabetes. In fact, animal products and fat are the primary cause of Type 2 diabetes, despite what we’ve been told by countless marketing messages and ill-informed doctors for decades.

Sugar makes the condition worse, but only if the conditional is already present. Think of it like this: Animal products and fat cause the fire while eating sugar is like throwing gasoline on the fire. Without fire, gasoline doesn’t do much. Without diabetes, sugar doesn’t do much.

With a growing mountain of evidence showing the link between diabetes and animal products, why does the American Diabetes Association list meat, even processed carcinogenic meats like bacon, as part of a healthy diet for diabetics? Shouldn’t this organization be equally interested in preventing this growing epidemic instead of just treating it? Could the millions of dollars given to the association by meat product corporations be clouding their judgment? If they prevent the disease or find a cure, wouldn’t they all be out of a job?


We all know that greasy fast food like stuffed crust pizzas and hamburgers are bad for us, right? In fact, they’re more than bad for us, they’re killing us. Fried foods dripping with cheese are loaded with carcinogens and saturated fats that lead to cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other chronic diseases [source].

To get a better idea of just how bad fast food is for our bodies, we recommend watching Super Size Me. Don’t try this at home, though. The guy almost died after eating it for 30 days straight.

If the harmful effect of eating fast food is common sense, why does the USDA spend millions of dollars a year promoting it through the Federal Commodity Checkoff Program using your tax dollars? Why did they fund the creation of Pizza Hut cheese stuffed pizza crusts, McDonald’s angus cheeseburgers, Starbucks smoothies, Taco Bell quesadillas and countless others? [source] [source] Could it be the revolving door between the USDA and the animal agriculture industry? Or the millions of dollars in lobbying the animal ag industry spends each year to pass public policy? If our elected officials or USDA employees go against the powerful animal ag lobby, would they be out of a job?

These stories are repeated in every interview shown in What the Health. The corruption isn’t limited to these three organizations; it’s pervasive throughout our entire food and health system.

Now, It’s Your Choice

Ignorance isn’t bliss; it’s killing people. But you don’t have to accept it anymore. Educate yourself by watching documentaries like What the Health, Cowspiracy and others. Read books like How Not To Die by Dr. Michael Greger, The Starch Solution by Dr. John McDougall and others.

It’s entirely your choice to consume these unhealthy products and to support these organizations. The best, most effective and easiest way to change this corrupt, dystopian system is by how you spend your money. If you don’t buy it, they won’t make it. If you don’t donate to it, they’ll change their mission. A cure is great, but prevention is better.

Protest the corruption every…single…day by eating a healthy diet with mostly whole-food plant-based ingredients. Cook at home more. Eat at restaurants with delicious plant-based dishes, not just boring salads. Totally skip the unhealthy fast food…FOREVER!

Checkout our Vegan Recipes for inspiration or signup for our Vegan Meal Plan Service and let us do the hard work for you. We want you to live a long, healthy and happy life. It won’t make us rich, but it’ll unimaginably enrich our lives.

And remember to go watch What the Health. Then channel your anger into making positive changes in your diet and your life.

Please share this to help educate your friends and family so they live a long and healthy life with you.

The Vegetarian Myth Debunked

A paleo friend suggested I read “The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability” for an alternative perspective to the vegan/vegetarian diet. The book was written by someone who was vegan for 20 years, but decided to start eating animal products again for a variety of reasons.

Our friend was genuinely concerned about our health, and it never hurts to hear other perspectives, but I must admit my skepticism prior to checking it out. After watching several documentaries and reading several books from reputable, qualified sources, I felt pretty confident in my decision to go vegan and eat a Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB) diet.

With that said, I did try to read the book with an open mind, while fact-checking the claims and citations. However, as I suspected, the author’s perspective is more unsubstantiated opinion based on her interpretation of personal experience, rather than factual information based on legitimate, unbiased science.

I would need to write an entire book to refute all of the misleading, misrepresented and misunderstood claims and the citations she used to support them, so I’ll just address the first chapter, which is a pretty thorough preview of the rest of the book.

Here’s the first chapter of The Vegetarian Myth debunked…

Degenerative Disc Disease Caused by Vegan Diet: False

The author attributes her Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) to being vegan for 20 years. In fact, the unbiased evidence suggests just the opposite.

After eating meat for 44 years, I was diagnosed with severe DDD and congenital spinal stenosis, which required two major spinal surgeries. This makes me more familiar than most with this condition. Here’s a picture of my back after 44 years of a meat-heavy diet.

After speaking to my doctor and doing considerable research, I found that this condition is most often caused by injury, aging and/or bad genes. In my case, the congenital spinal stenosis was either due to bad genes or environmental factors. DDD isn’t actually a disease. It “refers to a condition in which pain is caused from a disc that loses integrity.”

Contrary to the author’s unfounded belief, a diet high in antioxidants (mostly found in fruits, vegetables and spices) and low in inflammatory agents (mostly found in meat, dairy, eggs and processed foods) can actually help treat the condition. “We’ve known for 14 years that a single meal of meat, dairy, and eggs triggers an inflammatory reaction inside the body within hours of consumption.” [source]

More recent evidence suggests DDD may be caused by a lack of blood flow to the areas surrounding the discs. Lack of blood flow can be caused by inflammation or cardiovascular blockages. Considering I had high cholesterol for at least 15 years eating a meat-heavy diet, there’s a good chance my non-vegan diet significantly contributed to my DDD. Now that I’ve been eating the WFPB diet for over two years and recently cut out oil, my cholesterol is under 200 without drugs for the first time since I found out it was high.

That means a vegan diet may benefit the condition, not harm it, and certainly not cause it. The author’s attribution of her DDD to her vegan diet is anecdotal with ample, unbiased science to dismiss it.

A vegan diet may benefit Degenerative Disc Disease, not harm it, and certainly not cause it. #vegan Click To Tweet

Humans Can’t Eat Grass So That Makes Us Meat Eaters: False

Edible Types of Animals and PlantsThis one is hard to refute with a straight face because it’s so absurd. True, we can’t digest grass like cows and horses. We also can’t digest tree bark or other plants made predominantly of cellulose.

However, our digestive system is optimized to digest over 7,000 other plants while we eat only about 35 different types of animals. Lacking a four-chamber stomach doesn’t, by default, make us meat eaters. It simply means we can’t eat certain types of plants.

The term “herbivore” refers to an animal that survives primarily on a plant-based diet. It’s not specific about the type of plants. Some herbivores eat grass, others eat bark, others eat 7,000 different types of plants.

For me, the smoking gun that humans are biological herbivores, not carnivores or even omnivores, is that only herbivores develop heart disease.

“Atherosclerosis affects only herbivores. Dogs, cats, tigers, and lions can be saturated with fat and cholesterol, and atherosclerotic plaques do not develop (1, 2). The only way to produce atherosclerosis in a carnivore is to take out the thyroid gland; then, for some reason, saturated fat and cholesterol have the same effect as in herbivores.” [source]

Our bodies are not designed to eat meat. That’s a provable, biological fact.

Some herbivores eat grass, others eat bark, others eat 7,000 different types of plants. #vegan Click To Tweet

Our inability to eat grass does not make us meat eaters. This is a logical fallacy.

The Human Digestive System is the Same as a Lion’s: False

The author states, “Lions and hyenas and humans don’t have a ruminant’s digestive system. Literally from our teeth to our rectums, we are designed for meat.”

This statement is false for a number of reasons. Here’s a short list of how our digestive systems are different from true carnivores and omnivores: [source]

  • Jaw Structure – Carnivores have a much wider mouth opening than humans allowing them to seize prey and bite through thick skin and muscle with enormous force.
  • Teeth – Carnivores have razor sharp, serrated molars for slicing through flesh. Humans have flat molars for grinding plants.
  • Saliva – Human saliva contains carbohydrate-digesting enzymes which begin breaking down food molecules while the food is still in the mouth. Carnivores lack these enzymes and typically swallow their food in large chunks.
  • Throat – Carnivores have large throats, allowing them to swallow large chunks of food without choking.
  • Stomach – Carnivores have a large stomach with high acidity. The high acidity kills bacteria an organisms like salmonella and listeria, which make humans sick. Humans have a much smaller stomach with less acidity than carnivores, and process food quickly into the small intestine where bacteria gets processed into the bloodstream and can kill us.
  • Small Intestine – Carnivores have short small intestines, roughly 3 to 5 times their body length. Human small intestines are roughly 10 times body length. A shorter intestine allows carnivores to process the putrefying meat out of their systems quickly.
  • Large Intestine – Carnivores also have a short and narrow large intestine whose only purpose is to absorb salt and water. The large intestine in humans is very long and wider than the small intestine. It also absorbs important vitamins, electrolytes and water, as well as helps with the digestion of fibrous plant materials.
  • Cholesterol – Carnivores have a very efficient system for processing the cholesterol they consume from meat. Cholesterol doesn’t form plaque in their arteries like it does in humans.

Unlike humans, true omnivores like bears and raccoons have retained most of the carnivorous traits listed here, and have not developed herbivorous traits characteristic of humans.

The biggest difference between carnivores, omnivores and humans is how we process cholesterol. You can feed a lion or a bear 4 pounds of butter a day for the rest of their lives and they will never form plaque in their arteries. Humans only need to consume small amounts of cholesterol to form plaque in our arteries.

In reality, our digestive systems are most similar to apes and chimpanzees who eat a mostly vegan diet. Apes sometimes eat termites and chimpanzees sometimes eat insects and smaller monkeys, but overall they eat predominantly plants. They certainly don’t eat animal products at every meal. So if the author wants to compare us to other animals, the animals should be those with similar digestive systems, not radically different systems.

It’s also important to note that heart disease is the leading cause of death in western societies that consume large amounts of animal products (meat, dairy and eggs). And we’ve known for over a hundred years that one of the leading causes of heart disease is consuming too much cholesterol (only found in meat, dairy and eggs). The recent studies funded by the egg industry that suggest cholesterol is not the cause of arterial plaque had seriously flawed methodologies.

From a purely biological perspective, the human digestive system is designed to eat plants, not animals. The fact that early hominids figured out how to eat meat is most likely a sign of environmental or cultural adaptation and the need for short-term survival, not long-term survival or biological evolution.

Monocrops of Annual Grains to Feed Humans are Destroying the Environment: False

Monocrop Consumption by LivestockWhile it’s true that monocrops are contributing to environmental destruction, the majority of these crops aren’t being fed to humans.

In fact, “The 7 billion livestock animals in the United States consume five times as much grain as is consumed directly by the entire American population.” [source]

That means for every acre of grain that’s grown for human consumption, 5 acres are grown for animal feed. If we stopped eating animal products, we would reduce the need for monocrops considerably while making polyculture on the large scale more viable and feasible.

For every acre of grain that's grown for human consumption, 5 acres are grown for animal feed. #vegan Click To Tweet

Again, the author draws false conclusions from available evidence to justify her dietary choices.

Vegans Want to Build a Fence Down the Middle of the Serengeti: False

The author shares an experience she had on a vegan forum where a small group of misguided and uneducated vegans proposed building a wall down the middle of the Serengeti to prevent the carnivores from eating the herbivores.

It’s important to note that this exchange can’t be verified, and those involved may not have been serious. This may have been sarcasm that escaped the author.

Although some vegans do believe we should protect all life at any cost, the true vegan philosophy is to “do the least amount of harm.” If we prevent carnivores from eating in their natural habitat, that goes against the true vegan values. It’s doing more harm than good. It would cause the carnivores to starve by depriving them of their food source. And by removing the natural predators from the environment, the herbivore population would explode, leading to disease and starvation.

The real issue here is that rational vegans believe humans were never meant to be part of the carnivorous food cycle. Our ancestors took us out of our place in the middle of the food chain and put us on top of it, which has thrown the whole system out of balance.

Returning to our rightful place in the food chain will restore a little balance to our ecosystem. Click To Tweet

I don’t think many vegans would advocate going back to our old spot in the food chain and allow carnivores to eat a few of us on a daily basis, but that doesn’t mean we need to continue eating animals on a daily basis, either. By returning to our rightful place in the food chain, we’ll be restoring at least a little balance to our ecosystem.

A Vegan Diet Is Not Sufficient Nutrition for the Human Body: False

The author writes, “A Vegetarian diet – especially a low-fat version, and most especially a vegan one – is not sufficient nutrition for long-term maintenance and repair of the human body.”

She supports this claim with anecdotal evidence from her own health issues, which she has misattributed to her past vegan diet. In fact, decades of science support a whole-foods plant-based diet (WFPB), which is another name for a healthy vegan diet.

In countries that consume a high animal, low unrefined plant diet, the rates of heart disease and cancer increase predictably and consistently. Regions of the world that have yet to adopt the western diet of affluence don’t experience the same levels of these preventable diseases. [source]

If you consume the junk food vegan diet of highly processed foods with lots of added sugars, you won’t get enough nutrition to maintain your body. But if you eat a healthy, balanced, WFPB vegan diet, you’ll not only get enough nutrients, your body will thrive and your chance of dying early from a number of diseases including heart disease and cancer goes down dramatically.

Veganism Causes Depression Due to a Lack of Tryptophan: False

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that we must get from the food we eat; our bodies can’t produce it. It’s linked to the production of serotonin in the brain, and many people believe that low serotonin levels may lead to depression. However, “This is a myth because countless scientific studies have specifically examined this theory and have come back universally rejecting it.” [source] Low serotonin levels have not been proven to cause depression.

Furthermore, the author states, “there are no good plant sources of tryptophan.” This is patently untrue. Here is a short list of just some plants that contain tryptophan: spirulina, soybeans (tofu), sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, oats, chickpeas, wheat flower, chocolate, rice, quinoa, potatoes, tamarind and banana. [source]

While egg whites sit atop this list and meat does contain it, by no means can you say there are “no good plant sources of tryptophan.” This statement is completely false.

The cause of depression in some vegans is the mental issues they bring to their diet. #vegan Click To Tweet

Finally, some research suggests that it’s not a vegan or vegetarian diet that causes depression. According to a German study, “The researchers concluded that being vegetarian did not cause people to be depressed. Rather depressed people—for whatever reason—were more likely to choose a vegetarian diet.” [source]

In other words, the cause of depression in some vegetarians and vegans isn’t the food they eat, it’s the mental issues they bring to their diet. It’s not surprising that some compassionate people develop mental health issues while living in a largely uncompassionate society.

The Vegetarian Myth Debunked Conclusion

I honestly feel sorry for the author. She most likely didn’t eat a healthy vegan diet and suffered the consequences with diminished health. However, I don’t accept that all of her physical ailments were caused by her vegan diet. Instead, they were more likely due to her heredity, environmental conditions, upbringing, depression and addictive personality.

As one Amazon reviewer wrote, “Keith is just oh so sure of it all. Utter certainty of her earlier food-religion. Utter certainty of her new food-religion. From one fanatical spiritual obsession with food to another.”

I’m sure the author believes she’s doing the right thing, but she is actually doing more harm than good. She believes she’s helping “save lives” when in reality, she’s helping people justify their poor dietary choices by ignoring decades of legitimate science and assisting them in a slow death by food.

She feels like she’s had an epiphany and discovered what she calls “adult knowledge,” but her condescension is just a cover allowing her to blame something other than herself for her poor food choices and the mental issues that afflict her. Rather than writing a book on this topic, she would be better served by working with a qualified psychotherapist.

You can continue to believe these comfortable lies told by the author and the animal ag industry while knowing full well the uncomfortable truths that make them necessary, but that doesn’t change reality.

Your choice to eat an animal-based diet is destroying your long-term health, it’s destroying the environment, it’s destroying the health of the people who work in and live near farms and meat processing plants, and it’s destroying the lives of thousands of innocent animals throughout the course of your life.

Make the healthy, environmentally friendly and compassionate choice. Go vegan and eat a healthy, WFPB diet.