Neal Barnard, MD, on Not Eating, Testing, or Exploiting Animals in Pursuit of Health: PYP 291

Neal Barnard, MD, is the president and founder of the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) - an organization far too large and influential to still be called a "committee," but who among us hasn't outgrown our childhood name? - and the founder of the Barnard Medical Center in the DC area. He's also the author of a crazy number of books, including the recent The Cheese Trap - which you should give to all your vegetarian dairy-loving friends just to gross them out and blow their minds. Read more »

From Butcher to Vegan Nutritionist with Fraser Bayley: PYP 266

Fraser Bayley's arc of transformation is long and inspiring. Growing up in Auckland, New Zealand, Fraser was a poor student who struggled in school despite putting in the effort. He felt stupid, like something was wrong with him. His social anxiety was so severe, he dropped out of college but managed to keep a crushing load of student debt. When an after school job at a local supermarket offered him a chance to learn about butchery, Fraser jumped on the opportunity to apprentice himself in the grueling trade. It didn't require smarts, or much reading, or sitting still. Butchery was (and still is) a male-dominated field, where toxic masculinity is both a prerequisite and outcome of the brutal, repetitive, soul-numbing work. Fraser suffered from bipolar episodes, which he self-medicated through alcohol, drugs, and the company of other alienated, emotionally scarred, alpha males. Read more »

Matthew Prescott on Solving Our Biggest Problems Through Plant-Forward Eating: PYP 260

When Matthew Prescott was 12, his older sister came home from school one day and announced that she had decided to become a "vegetarian," whatever that was. In the grand tradition of little brothers everywhere, Matthew made sure to stick his forkful of beef under nose at the dinner table while making mooing sounds. But he also tried her bean burritos, veggie burgers, and other plant-based alternatives to meat, and found that they were actually pretty good. And when he looked at her reasons for ditching meat, he had to admit that they made a lot of sense. Read more »

Fooling Meat Eaters with Plant-based Replacements with Rody Hawkins: PYP 257

I personally wouldn't have been able to predict that the guy behind Lunchables an Slim Jim jerky sticks would be the one who might save the planet. But Rody Hawkins, muscle physiologist, consultant to the meat industry for decades, nutrition wonk, and pioneer in shelf-stable food technology, has just launched a plant-based meat replacement company that's getting global attention for the quality and environmental benefits of its product. In case you missed it: Rody is no vegan. He supports animal agriculture. He thinks that animal protein is a healthy food for humans, much more so than carbs (yes, I will be sending him copies of Proteinaholic and Whole and The Low Carb Fraud, which he promised to read).  Read more »

Carl Safina on Sharing Emotions with Animals: PYP 256

Carl Safina is the author of, most recently, Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel. I consumed it on Audible a couple of years ago, and was utterly mesmerized and transformed by the listening. I think it was one of the sneaky factors that pushed me, somewhat against my better judgment, into the Animal Welfare camp of the plant-based movement.  The book describes the author's encounters with three fascinating and endangered animal populations - the elephants of East Africa, the wolves of Yellowstone, and the Orcas of the Pacific Northwest - and the humans who have devoted their lives to studying, documenting, and understanding these magnificent creatures.  Read more »

Becoming a Health Mechanic with Phil Green: PYP 248

Phil Green is a heavy equipment mechanic for the military. Which is to say, he can fix things that people rely on for their lives. And yet his own body was in a terrible state of disrepair. As a red, white, and blue son of Texas, Phil's diet was (in his own words) "fried everything." Except for the barbecued meat. A baseball player in his younger days, Phil abandoned any pretense of fitness or health when he gave up sports and started a busy career. Eating out all the time expanded his waistline and led to profoundly ill health. Read more »

Diet for a Living Planet with Michael Klaper, MD: PYP 246

Michael Klaper, MD, is one of the world's most eloquent, convincing, passionate, and persistent advocates of a plant-based diet. He's studied the health effects, the environmental ramifications, and the psychological aspects of eating meat and junk food, and can put the most complex science in totally accessible terms. Here's how he explains the vast majority of chronic disease in the Western world: "We're putting diesel fuel in a gas engine." Read more »

Nathan Runkle on Showing Mercy to the Animals in Our Care: PYP 235

Nathan Runkle is the founder of Mercy For Animals, an organization that focuses on the prevention of cruelty to the billions of farm animals raised for food in the United States. Nathan's just written an amazing memoir, titled Mercy For Animals, with friend-of-the-podcast Gene Stone. The book is part coming of age story, part exposé of the animal agriculture industry, and part gripping tale of adventure and risk and strategy as a few passionate, committed young people go undercover to expose the abuses that are a regular and normal and accepted part of our meat-based food chain. Read more »