Marin Vegetarian Education Group
May, 2016

Change is the only thing we can count on.

This summer will mark the 25th anniversary of the Marin Vegetarian Education Group! Founded in 1991, we started out as Vegetarians In Marin, then became a chapter of EarthSave for a few years, and then returned as MarinVEG.  In 1991 if you wanted vegan milk on your cereal, most likely you blanched almonds, popped off their skins, blended them with water and strained them through cheese cloth. Who could have imagined that shelves would be filled with almond, rice, soy, and nut milks, ready to use out of the package?  The variety of  vegan accomplishments today is a dream come true.  Miyoko's cheeses and butter, VegNews magazine, vegan meal delivery to your door, vegan meet-ups and retreats are all causes to celebrate.  Nevertheless, there is still  much to grieve.

Back in the day if you didn't want to support slaughter or factory farms, you became a vegan. Today, people are fooled into thinking that small, family owned farms are kind to animals, despite the routine mutilation, breeding to maximize profits, separating cows from their offspring, and slaughter that are part and parcel of animal agriculture on any scale.

This reminiscing and reflection have led me to a decision that will affect you, I hope for the better.

Given our fast paced world, a monthly newsletter no longer seems to be the best way to share news. Instead of saving stories I hear about throughout the month to send all at once,  I am going to share them throughout the month.  This means that you will receive more emails than just one a month, but it will also mean that I can present more timely information about events and news as they happen.  I will certainly respect your (presumed) fear of too many emails by trying not to overwhelm you.   This will also alleviate the need for me to plan my travel around always being around at the end of the month, a scheduling challenge I had been struggling with of late. I hope you will not be shy in telling me if you want to get off the list if you are receiving too many emails. I understand and will not be hurt!

So thank you for your patience, for your interest over all these years, and for all you do to reduce harm and model compassion.

More on Food Revolution Summit

I recently sent you news about The Food Revolution Summit that John and Ocean Robbins are organizing again this year.  One reader wrote back to say that she was disappointed that the summit included some speakers who are not only not vegan, but are promoting non scientific, non vegan diet advice.  I shared that concern with John Robbins, and his response is below.  He gave me permission to share this with you. Whether you agree with his strategy or not, maybe you will find it refreshing, as I did,  to see someone who doesn't make an enemy of those who do not share his view.  I continue to learn from and admire John Robbins.   If you click on the link at the bottom of his message to read his views on grass fed beef, be sure to read to the end of that essay.

Hi Patti,

Out of my deep respect and appreciation for you, I’m going to answer in some depth.

What, I’ve asked myself, are the chances that, in ten years, half the people in the country will be vegans?
Regrettably, I believe the odds of that happening, realistically, are very low, and quite possibly zero.
But, then, what are the chances that, in ten years, half the meals eaten in the country will be vegan?
I think we have a really good shot at that, and may well surpass it.

With that in mind, we are working to bring the message of plant-strong whole foods eating to as wide an audience as possible. One of our central goals is to greatly reduce the amount of meat and other foods derived from animals eaten worldwide.

That is admittedly a little different goal than to convert as many people as possible to becoming vegans.  If someone cuts down their meat consumption by 90%, we are pleased, even though that doesn’t make them vegans.  Would we like to see them reduce further?  Yes.  

But we are trying to achieve something in this world, we are trying to activate a worldwide movement, and I don’t think we can succeed if we make the perfect the enemy of the good.  

Is it true that I have invited a few speakers to speak in our summits who aren’t vegan oriented?  Yes. This year, that includes the physicians David Perlmutter, Mark Hyman and Daniel Amen.  But I can absolutely assure you that nothing they say in their conversations with me that are part of our Summits is ever in any way anti-vegan. 

I am looking for common ground with these very well known physician/authors, and focusing on what we do agree about.  This brings a lot of people into the Summit who would not engage with us if we were “pure vegans.”  We want to reach a wide audience, and I think we are making some headway.  Last year, our summit had 165,000 participants.  This year, we will have over 200,000, and I would not be surprised if we reach 250,000.  

Last year, we had over a million hours of people listening to our interviews, at no cost to them.  

While we do have a few speakers this year, the physicians mentioned above, who aren’t entirely on the same page as we are, the vast majority of the speakers and physicians are.  For example, this year, the physicians we have include Michael Greger, Neal Barnard, Michael Klaper, Joel Fuhrman, Dean Ornish, David Katz, and Mimi Guarneri — all of whom are either vegans, or extremely vegan-friendly.  And almost all of our other speakers are also either vegan or extremely vegan-friendly — including people such as Gene Baur, and Senator Cory Booker.   In past years, we’ve repeatedly had Caldwell Esselstyn, T. Colin Campbell, Kathy Freston, Nathan Runkle, Rory Freedman, and many other of the luminaries in the vegan movement.

It is true, Patti, that we don’t present ourselves as a vegan organization.  There are many other organizations who do present themselves that way, and more power to each and every one of them.  But we are taking a different approach, with which we hope to reach people we wouldn’t if we were an exclusively vegan organization.  

By the way, I absolutely did not say, in Healthy At 100, that “happy meat” was okay.  

If you (or anyone else) would like to know my views on grass-fed beef, here they are:

I hope what I’ve written here is helpful to you, Patti.  If you have any further questions, or simply want to discuss these issues further with me, I’d always be happy to do that with you.  In fact, I’m always happy to talk with you about just about anything.

I think of you with great respect and appreciation.


And in a follow up email he wrote:

After I wrote you, I had one more thought.  I realize that some folks in the vegan community may get a mis-impression, when they see we have a few speakers whose views are not at all vegan, that we are using the summit to promote their views on this topic when in fact, that is not what is happening in the slightest.

Plant Based Transformation Summit
Already in progress, another on line summit is featuring Miyoko Schinner, Will Tuttle, Rip Esselstyn, Cathy Fisher, Brenda Davis, RD, Dr. Gabriel Cousins and many other plant based health advocates.  These experts will talk about healing and health from a vegan perspective.  The host is Margot Freitag, and listening is free.   To learn more and to sign up go to

VegNews Magazine Named Niche Magazine of the Decade
Congratulations to publisher Colleen Holland and VegNews Magzine!  VegNews was named Magazine of the Decade in the Niche Magazine Awards, having already won honors as Best Lifestyle Magazine, Best Niche Lifestyle Magazine, and Best Website in the past.  This marvelous magazine continues to dazzle, and Colleen is the bright spark that deserves every honor the magazine earns. Well done!

Nekter Juice Bar
Last month I wrote about the Nekter Juice Bar in Mill Valley's Strawberry Shopping Center. Linda K. wrote to tell me that there is also a Nekter Juice Bar on Nave Drive near Hamilton in Novaton. 5800 Nave Drive.  Thanks, Linda.  Good to know!

Cafe Gratitude Betrayal
With gratitude to for telling me, I am saddened to learn that the owners of Cafe Gratitude are now raising and killing cows for beef.   Here is their "announcement" of this news, tucked inside a newsletter from them:

Vegan chef Jason Wrobel wrote a thoughtful, heartfelt blog post about his reaction to how he learned this and what it means to him.    When this news came to be known among patrons of Cafe Gratitude, some protesters threatened the owners.  CBS news in Southern California ran this story:     While I find it heartbreaking that these former vegans are now eating cow flesh and promoting the myth of "humane" meat, I also find it sad that disappointed vegans would turn to harsh and threatening speech.  If nothing else, a vegan ethic calls for compassion for all beings, even those whose choices cause harm.    To learn more about the myth of humane animal agriculture, take a look at Hope Bohanec's book The Ultimate Betrayal.      Vegan Food Start Up is Hiring  Healing Meals is a start up offering "delicious plant based meals, ready when you're ready." They are looking to hire a motivated assistant for two months, possibly permanently. The candidate should be from the vegan community and would help the owner identify and reach influential people in the veg world to taste and promote this vegan meal box company.  Salary based on experience.  The company is also looking to hire a web developer for landing pages and sale funnel as soon as possible.  If you understand what that means, and if you're good at it, maybe this is the job for you.  To apply for either job, contact    Dharma Voices for Animals Launches   Bay Area Chapter - Wednesday May 11   6:30 PM in Berkeley  On Wednesday, May 11 at 6:30 PM Dharma Voices for Animals Bay Area will hold its first meeting at the Lumbini Buddhist Art Gallery, 2177 Bancroft Way in Berkeley.  This will begin with a vegan potluck, and then we will have a short meditation and discussion led by Ashley Sharp.  Everyone is welcome, and the meetings are free.  You can join Dharma Voices for Animals (it's free) at and you can learn more about the new Bay Area chapter at  Amy Lynn and I are co-leaders of this new chapter, and I'm very excited about it.  Dharma means the teachings of the Buddha, and Dharma Voices for Animals is an international not for profit that is raising awareness of how animals are being harmed in Dharma centers and in the Dharma community.      Curvy Vegans Retreat  Saturday, June 4  A private, half day retreat for vegan womyn and LGBTQ vegans of all ages will be hosted by Bee Uytiepo and Jasmin Singer on Saturday, June 4 in a comfortable cottage surrounded by garden and trees in the hills of Marin County. The day will include guided meditation;  a talk about Jasmin's new book, Always Too Much, Never Enough; nourishing, organic juices and lunch; yoga for every body and more.  The cost is $65 per person. Space is limited and this is likely to fill up soon. To learn more and to sign up go to       What Else Is Going On?  As always, be sure to look at  and  to find out what's happening in the coming month. Also, get to know Compassionate Living in Sonoma County. Their web site is    The Doctors Respond     Last month a report was widely circulated stating that vegetarians had higher risk of cancer from changes in their DNA. This was the story:        I asked three respected vegan MDs "Can this be true?"  I am grateful for their detailed answers which are below. This may be too much information for your taste, so   just know that they all said NO and blamed the media for trying to attract readers with sensational, non scientific headlines.  In his answer Dr. Klaper includes links to sites for oil free salad dressing recipes.            This is what Dr. Michael Greger had to say in response: Here’s the study. As you can see it says nothing of the sort. They compared a genetic marker in a population in India (most of which ate meat) to a U.S. population and found higher rates of a gene variant that facilitates the elongation of omega 6 fatty acids. They found higher rates in India, which they speculated may have come from natural selection over generations of a population which historically has been about 40% vegetarian. Says nothing about the health of U.S. vegetarians   (or Indian vegetarians for that matter). Even if you have this gene variant, you’d just avoid omega 6 rich oils like sunflower, safflower, and cottonseed oil, which is a good idea anyway. Classic man bites dog story media nonsense. Here’s Dr. Katz’s take:            And here is the response from Dr. John McDougall: A better presentation of the research is here: is simply the food industry’s pr people bending the truth. They are unbeatable.
Here is my general comment a couple of days ago when the scare vegan propaganda went out:
Why would such an article make worldwide headlines?
It is a very complex (genetic discussion) article. But to me it says that populations of lacto-ovo-vegetarians, people from India, who now, over the past 35 years, eat more toxic vegetable oils (and more dairy), and as a result, are getting sicker with Western diseases.
My viewpoint confirmed: “Food poisons are: animal foods and vegetable oils.

Go to and enter “meat and colon cancer: - I got 750 articles and I bet almost all make a causative connection.

This is more propaganda from the food industries.

And Dr. Michael Klaper had this to say:
This is what happens when people try to make science out of a newspaper reporter's ideas of what he read - and he seems to have an anti-vegetarian bent, as he says, "Many vegetarians also struggle to get enough iron, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and calcium which are essential for health.” None of which is true, except the last phrase. 

Vegetarians do NOT “struggle” to get enough iron (it is the flesh-eaters that suffer the self-induced oxidative damage from iron overload) vitamin D (EVERYONE who spends most of their hours indoors will become vitamin D deficient, flesh eaters and vegans alike (1), B-12 (easily and widely available in fortified foods and supplements) and calcium (osteoporosis is NOT a disease of calcium deficiency - it is largely disuse atrophy of the bones from a sedentary lifestyle aggravated by bone-dissolving agents like excessive dietary salt, sugar, acids from soft drinks and acid-forming foods, etc. Plant-based diets have been shown NOT to increase the risk of osteoporosis (2.) 

The study said that plant-based diets may up regulate genes that facilitate the production of omega-6 oils (the junky corn, safflower, etc.) into pro-inflammatory arachidonic acid.

Whether this actually has any clinical relevance is dubious, given the widely-recognized anti-inflammatory effects of plant-based diets - so it likely is a genetic oddity noticed on some chromosome readouts, but probably is far outweighed by all the other anti-inflammatory mechanisms enabled by adoption of a vegan diet.

Actually, this anti-veg writer is giving sound nutritional advice to the plant-based community with which I totally agree - don’t be using refined vegetable oils! They can promote inflammation (witness the above study,) cause dysfunction in the artery walls, interfere with blood clotting, make the blood more viscous, and contribute to hormone imbalances. 

Outside of a few drops of sesame oil for flavoring, there is really no need to be pouring oil on our food - there are many no-oil salad dressing recipes one can make in 30 seconds in the blender

and anything from vegetable broth to a few tablespoons of last night’s vegetable soup can be used to stir-fry vegetables instead of oils.

Theories derived from lab findings (like the above study) are just that and the opposite of what is implied by this man’s article; the proof is in the now-well-established clinical pudding: plant-based diets are anti-inflammatory in nature and lower the incidence of most every cancer. (3) The  slightly elevated risk of GI cancers noted in vegetarians noted in one study (cited) included people eating dairy products and eggs, and, likely (as we see from the above study,) consuming omega-6 vegetable oils.


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