A Vegan Diet Can Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible brain disorder that leads to memory loss and a general decline in cognitive function. The disease is marked by an unnatural breakdown of connections between damaged brain cells and by eventual brain-cell death. Alzheimer’s disease kills nearly 54,000 people every year in the U.S. alone and affects millions more. It has affected my family directly and perhaps yours as well.

What is the cause of this deadly and frightening affliction? Recent research suggests that Alzheimer’s disease, like heart disease and strokes, is linked to the saturated fat, cholesterol, and toxins found in our diet. Studies have shown that people with diets full of meat and dairy products have a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than do those whose diet is more generally plant based. The protective properties of chemicals commonly found in plants—such as antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals—have been shown to help substantially lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

It has long been established that saturated fats from animal products increase blood cholesterol levels. In a 21-year aging study, investigators examined the association of total cholesterol with brain plaques and tangles in deceased study participants. The investigators found a strong correlation between increased cholesterol levels and increases in the number of plaques and tangles in the brain. These plaques and tangles are the two main characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease. Lowering one’s cholesterol can help prevent and even reverse the buildup of deadly arterial plaques and reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

The bottom line is that a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables provides an abundance of antioxidants that can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. These antioxidants, including vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, and selenium, can counteract the damaging effects of free radicals in the brain and throughout the body as well as help lower your cholesterol.

Alzheimer’s disease is devastating not just to the sufferer but to entire families. Wouldn’t it be compassionate and wise to do all you can do to prevent it?

Peace to ALL of the animals with whom we share this planet.

Seven Great Vegan Apps

Last weekend I posted about three great smartphone apps for cruelty-free shopping. This week I’ll tell you about some great apps for hungry vegans. Whether you’re a longtime vegan or just starting out, from restaurant finders to delicious recipes, these apps are hard to beat.

21-Day Vegan Kickstart

Aspiring and new vegans, this one is for you. Created by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, of which I was a longtime member, 21-Day Vegan Kickstart guides you through the transition into vegan eating. The tool not only includes an easy-to-follow menu, but tips and recipes from nutrition experts, too. For iPhone and Android; cost: free.


If you’re transitioning to a vegan or vegetarian diet, you likely spend a lot of time reading ingredient labels at the grocery store. However, with the ShopWell app, you can easily determine what’s in your food. First, you make a “Food Profile” with your dietary restrictions, allergies, and dislikes — then scan barcodes on products. The app will tell you how well the product suits your needs, along with potential alternatives. For iPhone and Android; cost: free.

Oh She Glows

Oh She Glows, created by bestselling cookbook author Angela Liddon, is known for its beautiful photos and delicious recipes. It’s no surprise, then, that Angela’s app is just as pleasant to look at as it is to use. It features a library of 160+ vegan recipes, allows you to filter recipes by dietary needs and create a favorites list. For iPhone and Android; cost: $1.99+.

Happy Cow

There’s nothing worse than finally getting to a restaurant you’ve been eager to try, only to find no vegan or vegetarian dishes on the menu. Instead of endlessly scrolling through online menus, use the Happy Cow app to find a vegan restaurant near you. With more than 7,300 listings in 100+ countries, this handy tool is especially perfect for road trips and vacations. For iPhone and Android; cost: $3.99.


Surprise – Alcohol isn’t always vegan- or vegetarian-friendly. Some wines are made with gelatin or animal proteins such as egg, while some brands of beers are filtered with fish bladders. Blecch! Use the BevVeg app to make sure your favorite libation is 100% cruelty-free. For iPhone and Android; cost: free.

Veggie Alternatives

With Veggie Alternatives, you can find vegan store-bought alternatives to practically any food. It’s especially useful if you’re new to plant-based eating, as it can help you discover new brands and products. The app also offers recipes to please your inner chef. For iPhone and Android; cost: free.

Food Monster

Food Monster was created by One Green Planet, and features more than 15,000 plant-based, gluten-free, vegan, and meatless recipes. There’s a monthly subscription fee, but if cooking is your thing, this app will pay for itself In culinary pleasure. For iPhone only; cost: free trial, $1.99/month subscription.

There will be more cruelty-free and vegan app recommendations to come, but these seven are available right now and well worth checking out. Start downloading!

Peace to ALL the animals with whom we share this planet!

Make 2021 the Year You Go Vegan

2020, most of us will agree, was a terrible year. Who knows what awaits us in 2021? We hope for the best, but we can be proactive about some aspects of life, like our health. Let’s do what we can to improve our health while making the world a more compassionate place. Let’s make this the year you go vegan.

A vegan diet is best for your heart. The leading cause of death of both men and women in the United States is heart disease. Every day, nearly 2,600 Americans die of some type of heart disease, the most common form being coronary heart disease, also known as coronary artery disease or atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis occurs when hard layers of plaque, usually cholesterol deposits, accumulate in major arteries and begin constricting flow of blood and oxygen to the heart. Arterial plaque is also a leading cause of stroke, the fourth greatest killer of Americans each year.

While other factors can affect cholesterol levels and heart disease (including smoking, exercise, blood pressure, and body weight) one of the single most significant causes of heart disease is dietary cholesterol. Our bodies make all the cholesterol we need, so consuming animal products contributes excessive levels. Animal products are also loaded with saturated fats, which, unlike unsaturated fats, cause the liver to produce more cholesterol.

Fortunately, for most people, preventing coronary heart disease is as simple as eliminating animal products, eating a healthy plant-based diet, exercising, and avoiding cigarette smoking. But beyond prevention, a plant-based diet is the only treatment that has been scientifically proven to reverse heart disease. There is no cholesterol in plant foods.

Vegan diets have also repeatedly shown to reduce levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. According to a study published in the American Journal of Cardiology, a low-fat vegetarian diet reduces LDL by 16 percent, but a high-nutrient vegan diet reduces LDL cholesterol by 33 percent. The high fiber content of plant-based foods also helps to slow the absorption of cholesterol. Animal products contain no fiber.


In addition to providing for a healthy heart, a whole foods, plant-based diet can prevent and in some cases even reverse many of the worst diseases. Leading U.S. health care provider Kaiser Permanente, published an article in its medical science journal recommending that physicians consider recommending a plant-based diet for all their patients. The article notes, “Healthy eating may be best achieved with a plant-based diet, which we define as a regimen that encourages whole, plant-based foods and discourages meats, dairy products, and eggs as well as all refined and processed foods … Physicians should consider recommending a plant-based diet to all their patients, especially those with high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or obesity.”

Oh, but the naysayers insist that humans are “meant to eat meat.” “Humans,” they will tell you, “have a carnivore’s or omnivore’s teeth.” No, we don’t. Check this chart and see where your teeth are in relation to the rest of the world’s mammals.



“Consider again the anatomy of the carnivore and the omnivore, including an enormous mouth opening, a jaw joint that operates as a hinge, dagger-like teeth, and sharp claws. Each of these traits enables the lion or bear to use her body to kill prey. Herbivorous animals, by contrast, have fleshy lips, a small mouth opening, a thick and muscular tongue, and a far less stable, mobile jaw joint that facilitates chewing, crushing, and grinding. Herbivores also generally lack sharp claws. These qualities are well-adapted to the eating of plants, which provide nutrients when their cell walls are broken, a process that requires crushing food with side-to-side motion rather than simply swallowing it in large chunks the way that a carnivore or omnivore swallows flesh.

Herbivores have digestive systems in which the stomach is not nearly as spacious as the carnivore’s or omnivore’s, a feature that is suitable for the more regular eating of smaller portions permitted with a diet of plants (which stay in place and are therefore much easier to chase down), rather than the sporadic gorging of a predator on his prey. The herbivore’s stomach also has a higher pH (which means that it is less acidic) than the carnivore’s or omnivore’s, perhaps in part because plants ordinarily do not carry the dangerous bacteria associated with rotting flesh.

The small intestines of herbivores are quite long and permit the time-consuming and complex breakdown of the carbohydrates present in plants. In virtually every respect, the human anatomy resembles that of herbivorous animals (such as the gorilla and the elephant) more than that of carnivorous and omnivorous species. Our mouths’ openings are small; our teeth are not extremely sharp (even our “canines”); and our lips and tongues are muscular. Our jaws are not very stable (and would therefore be easy to dislocate in a battle with prey), but they are quite mobile and allow the side-to-side motion that facilitates the crushing and grinding of plants.” — Read the full excerpt on comparative anatomy by Sherry F. Colb, from her book, Mind if I Order the Cheeseburger? and Other Questions People Ask Vegans

It has been estimated that 98% of our harm to animals comes from our food choices. Yet science has irrefutably demonstrated that humans do not need meat, dairy or eggs to thrive. Once we understand that eating animals is not a requirement for good health, and if we have access to nutritious plant-based foods, then the choice to continue consuming animal products anyway is a choice for animals to be harmed and killed for our pleasure — simply because we like the taste. But harming animals for pleasure goes against core values we hold in common.

The only way for our values to mean anything — the only way for our values to actually be our values — is if they are reflected in the choices we freely make. And every day, we have the opportunity to live our values through our food choices. If we value kindness over violence, if we value being compassionate over causing unnecessary harm, and if we have access to plant-based alternatives, then veganism is the only consistent expression of our values.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2021, and Peace to ALL the animals with whom we share this planet.