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Gene and I were first introduced through mutual friends. (Thanks Karen and Josh!)
I’d heard about Gene before and his farm sanctuary, but what impressed me most was how positive he is.
Despite all the cruel ugliness he has witnessed (rescued animals tend to come to the farm in bad shape), and being on the forefront of the vegan movement for more than 20 years, he’s still a blissful optimist.
AND he believes wholeheartedly in the HH mantra “progress not perfection”.
In fact, when I had Gene on the podcast, he said:
“Don’t let perfection get in the way of the good” which I just LOVED.
He also defines veganism and plant-based as an ASPIRATION explaining because life is never black and white.
Anyway, Gene’s new book, Living the Farm Sanctuary Life: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Mindfully, Living Longer, and Feeling Better Every Day, is all about living compassionately -- leading with love in your heart.
I hesitate to call it a vegan book, even though it’s the heart center of veganism, because the word vegan tends to conjure up angst and a punk rock in-your-face attitude, and Gene’s book is none of those things.
It’s caring and kind, gentle and non-preachy. He’s teaching compassion with compassion.
For those who are highly motivated to live a gentler life, or the no harm aspect of the plant-based diet is inspiring to you, I highly recommend this book.
Gene does talk about the health benefits too (excerpt below) but this book is by and large about living with more awareness and tapping into your conscience.
His book reminds me a lot of The Happy Herbivore Guide to Plant-Based Living (which is out in paperback with enhanced features May 5!) because it’s very practical and upbeat, but comes from a focus on doing no harm and leading with love.
Reading it got me thinking, what more can I do? There’s always more.
Gene’s also graciously given me three copies to giveaway!!!!! (details below)
For now, an EXCLUSIVE excerpt from Living the Farm Sanctuary Life.
Eight Reasons Why a Plant-Based Diet Is the Most Healthful by Gene Baur
I admire cardiologist Robert Ostfeld because he understands how important a plant-based diet is to overall health and preventive medicine. [His] diet was not always plant-based, but he made the switch after reading Dr. T. Colin Campbell's best-selling book The China Study.
Then Rob decided to create a wellness program at Montefiore, where he counsels his patients to eat an exclusively plant-based diet. The program's success has been phenomenal. So far, more than 150 patients have joined the program, and many have seen extraordinary results in as little as 3 months. Some have lost more than 70 pounds; others have seen their LDL, or bad cholesterol, drop by up to 120 points.
I asked Rob to share his thoughts on the benefits of eating all plants, all the time. Here's his list.
A plant-based diet:
1. Protects your heart. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for adult men and women in the United States. In fact, nearly two heart attacks occur each minute. By reducing and potentially reversing multiple risk factors for heart disease, a plant-based diet can profoundly lower your risk of having a heart attack. It may even shrink the cholesterol blockages already present in your blood vessels.
2. Lowers blood pressure. High blood pressure has been labeled the silent killer because, although you don't feel it, it can kill you. If you are a 55-year-old living in the United States, your lifetime risk of developing high blood pressure is about 90 percent. But a diet rich in vegetables and fruits can improve blood vessel health, make your arteries more flexible, and, in the process, may lower both your blood pressure and your risk of developing hypertension!
3. Reduces your risk of developing diabetes. Unfortunately, diabetes is common and increases your risk for a heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, erectile dysfunction, blindness, and other things you do not want. A plant-based diet can reduce your risk of developing diabetes and may even reduce or reverse it if you already have it.
4. Reduces cancer risk. Populations eating a plant-based diet have a reduced risk for a variety of cancers. Best-selling author and pioneering cardiac disease specialist Dr. Dean Ornish has published many studies that demonstrate a healthier diet can improve the prognosis for those with early prostate cancer. Other studies have demonstrated that animal protein can increase the spread of liver cancer.
5. Protects your brain. Alzheimer's disease and stroke can be devastating. By improving vascular function and reducing inflammation, a plant-based diet may reduce your risk for both.
6. Improves bone health. Animal products, including milk, may actually increase your risk for developing osteoporosis. Such products acidify the blood, which can leech minerals, including calcium, from your bones as your body tries to buffer that acid. A plant-based diet is more alkaline. Accordingly, studies demonstrate that plant-eaters have a decreased risk for osteoporosis.
7. Lowers cholesterol. Elevated cholesterol has been called the key risk factor for heart disease. Our body needs cholesterol to function, but we make all we need ourselves. Animal products have cholesterol, and plants have essentially none. Hence, when you eat a plant-based diet, you absorb less cholesterol (and excrete more--thank you, fiber!). That can substantially lower your cholesterol level, even without medications.
8. Encourages weight loss. Obesity is obscenely common, and it is associated with multiple health risks. With its lower caloric density, a whole foods, plant-based diet can lead to substantial weight loss, especially when you limit oils.
We should also acknowledge that raising animals by the billions on factory farms creates a breeding ground for disease. The vast majority of antibiotics used in the United States are fed to farm animals to keep them alive and growing in these filthy, stressful conditions. This has led to the development of new diseases and virulent pathogens that are resistant to formerly life-saving drugs. Still, animals get sick, and yet surprisingly the USDA allows diseased animals to be killed and sold for human food.
A whole foods, plant-based diet is simply and clearly the healthiest way to eat. If I were to list all the advantages here, there wouldn't be room for anything else in this book. That's how much information medical science has uncovered about the benefits of a vegan diet. And yet many people still believe that life-threatening diseases are simply a roll of the genetic dice--despite the fact that study after study has proven that consuming animal fats and proteins increases the risk of falling prey to diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer.
Reprinted from Living the Farm Sanctuary Life by Gene Baur with Gene Stone. (c) 2015 by Gene Baur. By permission of Rodale Books. Available wherever books are sold.
For a chance to win a copy of Gene’s new book Living the Farm Sanctuary Life, leave a comment sharing which one of Gene’s 5 tenets most resonates with you!
The Five Tenets of Farm Sanctuary
This giveaway is open to residents of the US & Canada.