Monday, October 18, 2021

Help Wanted: Vegans need not apply

By Jeff Popick

Dear Jeff,

I really enjoyed your article, “The Secret Non-Diet Diet” in Coastal Breeze. I am very new to a plant-based diet, but it has changed my life. After being told that my cholesterol was very high and being encouraged by the doctor to eat a low fat diet, I made a serious step change in my life. I figured if I didn’t change, I would be forever taking cholesterol drugs and spending too much time at doctors’ offices.

In the two months that I have followed an almost vegan lifestyle, I have lost a quick 10 pounds, feel great and know in my heart that this is the right way to live. I’ve given up most dairy products, all meat, and most sugar. The doctor also suggested eliminating alcohol and caffeine. I had a tough week adjusting to that! I can’t be completely good so my treat is a bit of dark chocolate after lunch.

I’d like to be fully vegan, but I’m on hormone therapy for breast cancer. To be vegan involves eating soy products which contain estrogen. My cancer drug is an anti-estrogen hormone so I don’t want to confuse my body! Once I’m off this drug, I will be able to eat soy. For now I eat a bit of fish or chicken once a day for the protein, so I am truly the gradual vegetarian.

This month I’ve done a lot of reading on vegetarianism. The best books I’ve found are Alicia Silverstone’s THE KIND DIET, books by Dr. Dean Ornish, and an oldie THE GRADUAL VEGETARIAN by Lisa Tracy – a book I read years ago. I have also heard that THE CHINA STUDY is excellent. Are there any others that you would suggest or mention in your column?

There is so much support for a vegan diet as a way to fight cancer. If I had only known this years ago! I look forward to your next articles. I look at all the women lined up at the weight loss centers on the island, and want to tell them that there is a better way to get that weight off. Maybe they will listen to you!

I didn’t intend to make this such a long email, but I am just so enthusiastic about what you wrote.

Thank you, Candy

Thank you, Candy, for sharing your terrific experience. I didn’t decide to publish this letter for self-praise. Rather, I felt it was important to demonstrate that the weight and health benefits of switching to a plant-based diet are largely typical.

Dr. Dean Ornish has scientifically proven that heart disease can be prevented and reversed using a plant-based diet. T. Colin Campbell, a Cornell researcher, has proven many diseases and even cancer can be “turned off” with a plant-based diet. He published these findings in his New York Time’s bestselling book, “The China Study” which I highly recommend reading.

So here’s my request for help … an outright plea to EVERYONE reading this article (except vegans):

For the moment, let’s assume that a vegan, plant-based diet can:

  • “Automatically” help you lose weight without any dieting, calorie counting or gimmicks.
  • “Cure” mostly anything that ails you.
  • Drastically reduce or completely eliminate your need for daily medications.
  • Slash your cholesterol levels.
  • Normalize blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
  • Reduce your need for doctor visits.
  • Increase your energy levels – manifold.
  • Boost libido and ability.
  • Slow the aging process.
  • Increase your life span expectancy.
  • Provide MORE delicious and satisfying food options.
  • Save you money.
  • Increase your inner happiness.
  • Provide deeper spirituality.
  • Help the planet’s sustainability.
  • Save animals.

So here’s my question and I seriously would appreciate your answers via email:

Why wouldn’t you try it for, say, thirty or sixty days?

I’ve asked countless sociologists, psychologists and other behavior “experts” this question and they have no good answer. Even if they did, they’d still be assuming. So I am reaching out to all of you – You who are the real deal. You, who are the men, women and even the children of Marco Island, and beyond, who eat the “Standard American Diet, why wouldn’t you try a plant-based diet for thirty days?

Maybe you think I’m crazy. Maybe you think the “laundry list” of benefits sound too good to be true. Maybe you think I’m a modern-day snake oil salesman. Maybe you think you wouldn’t be satisfied eating plants. Maybe your doctor advises against it. Maybe you wouldn’t know where to get the food or how to prepare it. Maybe you think it’s not nutritious. Maybe you don’t like the word “vegan.” Maybe, Maybe, Maybe.

But I really don’t want to write my own list of “Maybe’s.” I’d love to hear from you. You can tell me anything, using any words you like – even four letter words – you won’t offend me, I swear … my wife tells me I’m crazy all the time and I still love her!

All I ask is for your truthful answer, brutal as it may be, to the question: Why wouldn’t you try a plant-based vegan diet for thirty days?

C’mon, fill up my inbox at I’m waiting…

Jeff Popick is a 17 year resident of Marco Island. He holds a real estate license and general contractor’s license, and his true passion is bettering humanity through our food choices. Though not conventionally licensed in the fields of health and nutrition, he is widely considered a top expert in the field and has written three books and countless articles. He also enjoys public speaking and has hosted radio shows on the subjects as well. Question or comments you’d like addressed? Write to


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *