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Nancy G

I am a member of several of the yahoo forums and blogs and I see nothing wrong with what you said. Some people may feel fine with the "vegan" desserts and stuff that is loaded with oil or Earth Balance but not me. In fact we went out camping this weekend at Vulture Mine in Arizona and I missed most of the tour since I had to go find a portapotti after eating a piece of swiss cheese. My system can't handle that stuff anymore and I will not take part in potlucks and such with clueless people. wish I could get my other half onboard with this...but no matter what he does, I have to do it or get sick. Keep speaking your mind!!!! :)

[Thanks, Nancy. Appreciate the encouragement. It's sometimes an uphill battle. Wish my father would get on board, but he just doesn't have the determination or discipline. StepMom, despite the research links I've sent her, still thinks olive oil is healthy.

But, every so often I get notes like yours (and others noting what's happened to their health since going no added fat vegan, low sugar, low salt), the makes me feel it's all worthwhile.

As to your hubby: Yup, hard to watch someone you love not "get it." Not much you can do but try to set a good example. I remember when I realized, with a former girlfriend many years ago, that telling her "smoking was death" didn't really accomplish anything. She knew, and would deal with it in her own time and way (she eventually quit).

I do take liberty in being a bit "sensationalist" with language some times ("DOA"), but I'm trying to make a point. People KNOW smoking isn't healthy, but have failed to understand or examine the plentiful evidence that added non-food oil isn't healthy either (even in moderation).

But, it's getting better. I hope to finish my cookbook in a few months and help push the issue forward, inviting people to help themselves get healthier.

Again, appreciate your note! I'm not reading the List in question for a few days. Need a break.

Best regards, Mark]

Susan Civic

I must say that the discussions on Vegan Crockpot have gotten very interesting! But to add another dimension to the discussion, I think that your viewpoints are quite correct concerning how bad nutritionally some vegan foods are. It never ceases to amaze me how some people think that if it's vegan it must be healthy. OK, it may be healthIER than a steak with french fries, but that doesn't make it the best choice, nutritionally, for you. On the other hand, many people come to veganism for different reasons. I have been vegan for 18 years and my choice was motivated by ethics - not wanting to support an industry that tortured and killed animals. Do I not care also about my own health (possibly a hypocritical perspective)? Of course I care about my health. And every day I make choices about what I put in my body - starting with reading labels - choosing lower fat, lower salt, lower sugar products. But yeah, I do like cupcakes, vegan ice cream, and other treats. Just like you point out how you may rely too much on tofu/seitan. I think it's great that you are pointing out how unhealthy some vegan foods are. We need to be reminded because informed choice is the true goal and you can't force people to change only educate. Baby steps are important too. And Jessica makes an excellent point about mental attitude and other healthy lifestyle choices not related to food.

[Thanks for your feedback... I haven't read Jessica's comment(s) as I get the daily "Vegan Crockpot" digest. I agree with pretty much all of what you've written.

I never intended to appear to proselytize on the Vegan Crockpot list, and of course, never thought that responding to some issues raised on the list, OFF LIST, would be a problem. I believe in a free exchange of information and ideas. Last thing I wanted to do was to foment discussions of issues not related to vegan crockpot cooking. That's why I took my response "off list."

As a vegan for 9 years, a vegetarian for some 20 years before that, I consider a critical eye on what we eat most important. And, in view of the research of Esselstyn, Ornish, et. al, and understanding that we can be vegan and still kill ourselves with fat, salt, and sugar addictions, vital. I sometimes lose my temper over the "oh, once in awhile won't hurt me" cannard. It's got to stop.

Perhaps I'm colored by watching my father go through heart disease issues now, and it's hard to understand why he can't muster the discipline to eat right, and potentially reverse his condition. Perhaps this is one of the reasons I disdain Daiya Cheese. The product fosters the addiction to fat taste and contribute to the potential to acquire a host of deleterious health disorders, most likely heart disease. Seeing all the praise for this odius and nutritionally useful food-like product ticks me off.

As to the List, I just couldn't let someone, well, "slandering" me go on with out a response. Ticked me off as I had no alternative to responding on list. Ridiculous.

I don't know the fallout of this morning's post, and I do hope that people just move on and focus on the List's goals.

That being said, your measured and interesting comment was well received. Yup. We need to examine what we eat beyond "it's Vegan! it's OKAY!" and show some descrimination in what we consume.

Appreciate your considerably thoughtful comment.... Best regards, Mark


Hi Mark,
I have recently launched a website www.goodfoodproject.net to help people with the "why" and the "how" of healthy low-fat, whole foods, plant-based eating. The site has several recipes, with new ones being added frequently.

[Excellent work and a fine start... I'll be delighted to promote your website in the Mad Cowboy newsletter (it certainly philosophically fits with what Howard believes in from a dietary standpoint).

Great stuff... will add a link to my blog later next week. Quite busy at the moment.

Thanks so much for your comment! Best regards, Mark]

Jessica Alvarado

I was just talking to my mom about how i hated that vegan cookbooks often included so much added oil and butter substitute. I am fat and working hard to become healthier, and am really annoyed that so many vegan recipes aren't as good for you as you might think. Being vegan does not automatically indicate good for you. Don't get me wrong some cookbooks are great but others are just as bad as their omnivore counterparts.

[Thanks for your note, Jessica. I agree totally with you that many vegan recipes aren't healthy. The trick is to understand that it's important to reduce added fat, sugar, and salt in recipes.

Yeah, it takes a few weeks to get over the cravings, but then... you are free from the taste addictions and your taste sensations will be even better.

I admire your ability to recognize that many vegan cookbooks contain unhealthy recipes. It'll take time for the community to catch on.

If you haven't already, check out:


Susan's put together an amazing array of fine recipes, resources, and creative ideas.... would that it was all compiled in a cookbook! Just amazing, and a good step forward.

I hope all goes well for you. Point your mother to Susan's website as a fine example of "vegan done right."

As to "fat" issues, I was a bit strong in my post, but I did lose over 70 lbs of weight back in 1995 from a concerted effort to lower the amount of consumed fat in my diet.

Ain't easy, takes some time. Move forward carefully and with determination, and it will work, if you truly want it to.

Best regards, Mark]


After a 100mile bike race, Daiya cheese pizza will make me quite happy. And why should I care? Or more specifically, you care? How many vegans have made that choice solely for ethical purposes?
Health is not just food choices - fitness, genetics, and most importantly a positive mental attitude determine overall wellbeing. Sometimes consuming copious amounts of alchohol or enjoying a homemade dessert adds to the quality of life. Maybe mine, not yours, but don't worry about that.
Eat to live, not vice versa ya know.

[You consume added fat, it's like "Russian Roulette." As Caldwell Esselstyn put it, "genetics loads the gun, and lifestyle pulls the trigger."

"Quality" of life is subjective. Consuming "copious amounts of alcohol" is somewhat different than screwing with your cardiovascular system by a high fat meal. The former can be fun and probably not a long-term issue, unless done daily.

The latter can be a distinct killer, on the spot, no matter how "positive" one's mental attitude. It's dietary physics.

Thanks for your feedback, though. I enjoy the interaction.

Best regards, Mark]

Anna Down Under

Hi Mark. I'd be very interested to hear what a typical day's diet is for you. Have you shared that in a previous post, or would you do so now? For me it's not that I don't WANT to eat that way, I just have no idea WHAT to eat if I eliminate all the stuff that's bad for me. I don't have too much problems eating vegan, but if I also try to eliminate fat, sugar, salt, etc. I'm not sure what to make. I can't imagine just sitting down and eating vegetables on their own -- maybe I would enjoy that once I've gotten rid of my taste for those things, but if I can't find something healthy and delicious to eat NOW, I don't think I'd last for the long haul. I'm not into salads or fruits very much, so I tend to make a lot of casserole type things -- rice or pasta, vegetables, beans, sauces, etc. Thanks.

[Hey Anna, thanks for your comment. I wish I could describe a typical day's diet for me, but I just don't think/work that way. The season, availability of fresh produce locally (mostly in the backyard), and what I've been doing physically, emotionally, and mentally, are all criteria that quickly decides what to "eat."

On a broad level, I try to have fresh fruit for breakfast (most of the time), fresh salad with veggies for lunch, and whatever the hell I feel like (given known constraints) for dinner. I admit that I need to make myself eat a dinner entree with beans every three or so days because I often lean too much on tofu or seitan.

My recommendation is that you check out the following superb website:


Susan's got a ton of incredible recipes, ideas, and resource that should help you out.

...and, hang in there... it's worth it!

Best regards, Mark

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