A part of me would love to convince people to go vegan for the health, ethical, and environmental benefits. But fuck that. It's easier to just lead by example. People can't believe I'm 55, in awesome health, and have a slim, athletic body, all because of eating a plant based diet. It can't all be genes, because my family (not vegan) is not especially healthy. They eat fairly healthy and thus they are fairly healthy, but not ideally healthy like me. The secret is no secret at all. Eat vegan and exercise daily. That's it. I mean...yes, avoid excessive smoking, drugs, and alcohol too. That seems obvious to me though. Toxins are, by definition, toxic.

Of course, people could just watch "The Game Changers" documentary too.

The End.


Vegan Tour of Madison WI

For $50 per person, I will gladly take (a minimum of two and a maximum of four) people on a vegan tour of Madison WI.

That price does not include the food, only the transportation in my hybrid electric vehicle (max. occupancy is four people plus driver - me!) and my expertise as a vegan connoisseur and guide.

Let me know.

Punk Rock Joe


Own It

In this increasingly ideologically divided world, it's hard to have constructive dialogues that encourage positive change in people's behavior. I have started to reach the conclusion that it's virtually impossible to motivate people toward change, because people have stopped owning their own problems. They are in a stage of change that we mental health therapists call "Pre-Contemplation" - essentially a complete lack of awareness that there is any problem with their own beliefs and behavior, and everyone else is the problem. Most people today are problem focused and believe that the solution to the perceived problems lies in other people changing their beliefs and behaviors. That's never going to happen, of course. The only person you have control of is YOU. Own that, and quit worrying what shenanigans everyone else is up to. In short, become the change agent for yourself and lead by example.

For example, it would be great if other people and government leaders would accept that man-made climate change is real and do something about it. But they ain't gonna (without some kind of miracle). So, my wife and I have chosen to live more sustainably ourselves, to shrink our ecological footprint. One important change we have made - that has a big positive impact on the planet relative to the small investment of time and effort - is going vegan. We've been vegan for over five years now, so at this point it's effortless and second nature for us. But even when we started out eating vegan, it was not all that hard to do. The biggest challenge was not even ours to bear...some people around us had a hard time with our choice, but we didn't.

The Standard American Diet already averages about 70% plant based foods, albeit comprising a lot of refined and processed caloric junk food, which is bad for one's health. So, we just transitioned the 30% of meat, eggs, and dairy in our pre-2018 omnivorous diet to all vegan meat substitutes. There are many of these nowadays, and many are quite palatable. While these "vegan meats" are not super healthy (many are high in salt and fat and sugar), they are slightly better for health (zero cholesterol, for example) and very much better for the planet (since plant based foods require about one tenth of the water, fossil fuels, and other resources to manufacture, compared with animal based foods) than meat, eggs, and dairy [SOURCE]. A vegan diet is a very manageable way of eating, and it has a huge positive impact ecologically. A whole food plant based (wfpb) vegan diet is even better, because it contains minimal refined and processed foods like corn syrup and refined oil and salt, focusing more on whole fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and raw nuts/seeds (more like a Mediterranean of Blue Zone diet). After our first year of being 100% vegan, we began to shift to eating a more health- and Earth-friendly whole food plant based vegan diet, reducing the vegan junk food as much as possible (though we still treat ourselves to it here and there).

I cannot tell you exactly how much of a positive impact eating a wfpb vegan diet has on the environment, but it's significant [SOURCE]. What's more important to understand is that the relative return on investment (ROI) from eating this way is super high. That is to say, the positive impacts are big and the amount of change needed is fairly small. A little bit of change in dietary habits has a relatively big positive effect on the Earth's environment. The ROI of going vegan is definitely greater than, say, owning an electric vehicle or bike commuting - both of which are also helpful, but have lower ROIs. The wfpb vegan diet is also better for human health too, so that's a win-win.

That being said, some people may not be able to transition to a vegan diet, even if they really love the Earth. There can be obstacles, including many socio-cultural factors (your meat eating friends may laugh at you!*). I'm lucky that my wife and I chose to transition to veganism together, after reading "The China Study," by TC Campbell (it's about the many health benefits of eating plants vs animals), and also we don't have kids (well known natural resource hogs). So, we can maintain a 100% wfpb vegan household fairly easily. We also live in a progressive, vegan friendly town, where we can find vegan food at many restaurants. Not everyone does. Some people are just rigidly set in their meat eating ways.

But not everyone has to become a vegan to save the Earth. If just 10% of people went vegan, it would have a large impact on greenhouse gas emissions. Plus, that many vegans would force some institutional changes too, like more restaurants offering plant based options. Also, not everyone has to go 100% vegan. Reducing meat and dairy consumption by like 10%-25% ("Meatless Mondays") would have a significant impact too [SOURCE].

Anyway, do whatever you want (it is the punk rock way). But if you are open to trying a vegan diet and love the planet too, consider doing a one month vegan challenge. For one month, try to eat only plant based foods. You don't even have to be perfect about it. If you hit obstacles and get derailed, that's OK. Just get right back to it as soon as you can until the month ends. After about two weeks, you'll notice some health benefits (stronger body, clearer mind), which is motivating to keep it going. If you discover it's not that hard to eat vegan, as we did, you might want to continue it indefinitely. If you hate it, that's OK too. It's not for everyone. Maybe you can just make healthier choices and try to reduce beef and dairy (the biggest climate killers).

Thanks for reading!

*Note: The jokes on your meat eating friends, because they are going to die before you do, if you go vegan.