Health, Animals, eartH

This site was created in an effort to share potentially life saving, and game changing information with regards to our food system, and how it impacts our health, animal welfare, and our planet.

Why Go Plant Based?

Because we said so! Just kidding. Well, the data is pretty much overwhelming at this point that demonstrates how replacing animal products, added oils, and processed foods in your diet with health promoting whole plant based foods can significantly decrease your chances of getting sick, or worse. It is pretty much a slam dunk. As Dr. T. Colin Campbell says, "the closer one approaches a total plant based diet, the greater the health benefit." And going vegan for a year will also save nearly 200 animal lives. Think about that for a second, we can each save close to 200 animals every year, simply by choosing to not eat animal products. Wow. Lastly, our planet. Going vegan is the single, most powerful thing that anyone can do to fight climate change. So, what do you say future life saving, game changer?

Love & Intelligence

An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.

– Martin Buber

Young & Thriving

Setting aside personal preferences for the taste of eating animals and the huge profits for the food and medical businesses, the scientific truth is that your child will thrive on a starch-based, animal product-free diet and avoid diseases now commonly found among his or her peers and classmates.  
– John McDougall, MD


a voice for the voiceless 

the beasts and singing birds

guarding with tenderness

small things that have no words


– Margaret Wise Brown

Plant Based Diets Rock!

Hello, my name is Mike McGowan. I am an educator with a Plant Based Nutrition Certificate from eCornell, and a certification as a Food Over Medicine instructor through Wellness Forum Health. I am a former NYC public school teacher, and I also serve as a plant-based diet advocate who routinely gives presentations in non-profit, corporate, and educational settings on the topic of our food system, and how it impacts our health, animal welfare and our planet. Jeez, say that 5 times fast. If you are interested in having me speak at your next event, please head on over to my “Contact” page. 

Martin Luther King, Jr., once said that injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere. Our food system is broken, and unjust, on many levels. Millions of people are suffering unnecessarily, and dying prematurely due to the corrupt food & health care industries (our healthcare or sick-care system, spends over $3.6 trillion per year and it is big business). In addition, over 10 billion animals in the US are slaughtered each year (75 billion worldwide), and live lives of complete misery in order to support this very same food system that also happens to be destroying our only planet. 

My oldest brother was my hero, and he died of an autoimmune disease when I was ten years old. I was recently reading personal stories of people who had not only slowed the progression of their respective illnesses through diet and lifestyle changes, but often reversed their diseases as well. I suddenly realized that my brother didn’t have to die. If he had known about the power of plant based nutrition, I am convinced that he would have at least been able to manage his disease, if not completely reverse it with diet and lifestyle changes (he ate the Standard American Diet (SAD), and was a smoker). Like everyone who has lost someone who means the world to them, a day has not gone by that I haven’t thought about him. I have other family members and friends who have been diagnosed with chronic diseases as well, such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, obesity and guess what? They all ate, and continue to eat (except one or two), various versions of the Standard American Diet (SAD). 

So, what to do? 

I have known that diet and lifestyle factors can lower our risk of developing diseases, but I didn’t know until the last few years that a whole food plant based diet and a healthy lifestyle can often treat diseases far more effectively than traditional drugs and procedures. Of course there are no guarantees for any of us, but who wouldn’t want to lower the risk of developing a chronic disease by close to 80%, simply by adopting a plant based diet, not smoking, maintaining a healthy body weight, and exercising?As Dr. Kim Williams says, “There are two kinds of cardiologists: vegans, and those who haven’t read the data.” Mic drop?

Vegans: we are not crazy, we are just from the future. I used to love that slogan until I remembered that the human body was never designed to eat animals, and that healthy diets, and not harming animals has been a way of life for countless inspiring people for millennia. I am thinking of the Brokpa tribe of Ladakh, India that has been eating a plant based diet for more than 5,000 years, and of the Jain and Buddhist principles of non violence towards animals that have been practiced for over 1,000 years as well. I am also heartened by the many Adventists who have chosen to not eat animal products, and by individuals like Leo Tolstoy, who was born in the 19th century, and was, from all accounts, a fierce animal rights advocate. Of late, I am recalling one of his lesser known quotes, “Kindness is incompatible with steak.”  And of course, I am mindful of the millions of equally inspiring non-famous people too, who throughout history have chosen kindness as well. They had far fewer choices than we do today, yet wellness and compassion still triumphed. Pretty cool, and energizing, but is it enough? Can we learn from history? 

 “Oh no, not a speech on history.” – Anonymous

I am reminded of the many abolitionists who died in their efforts to end American slavery. Despite what has been obvious or learned by so many over the last 150+ years, organizations like Black Lives Matter are still necessary in order to raise awareness and combat racism. And although, as Ferris Bueller noted, most isms are not good (think racism, sexism, speciesism), veganism does stand alongside optimism, and altruism (I always thought romanticism was overrated, which might explain in part, why I was always free on date nights). I also recently learned of the Massacre at Whitestone Hill where the US Army attacked a peaceful Native American encampment in 1863. Fast forward 155 years to the day, and bulldozers (hired by energy companies behind the Dakota Access Pipeline) were desecrating the graves of Native American ancestors, while white men using attack dogs, sprayed women and children water protectors with a chemical that burns the skin, eyes, and throats, and can cause blindness. When will we learn? Can we learn? If our species survives another 100 years, will most people continue to eat animal products despite what the science and our hearts tell us with regards to the Standard Western Diet, and its destructive impact on our health, animals, and our only planet? And how many will cling to the belief that non human animals exist for the sole purpose of serving humans?  

Imagine what it would be like to have an unbroken political system in place that prioritized compassion, equality, and wellness for all beings. One that truly thought about not just the next generation, but the next 1,000 generations, and our only planet. Such stewardship may never arrive, and we can’t afford to wait. Howard Zinn said that knowledge without action is insufficient. We can all be agents of change, and I hope that each person who visits this site, will consider a healthier, plant based diet. 

None of us are perfect, and I remain a constant work in progress (despite what you may think due to my extraordinary weigh with words). Thankfully, being vegan is not about perfection. So, whether it’s baby steps, or simply needing time to adjust, please don’t wait too long. Toni Morrison once wrote, “If you wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.” The good news is that there is nothing to give up by adopting a plant based diet, except the food that devastates our health, the lives of countless animals, and our only home, Earth. Boom, mic drop again! Btw, can you have two mic drops in the same testimonial? I have been a vegan for nine years, and I have never delighted in eating like I do now. In many respects, veganism is nothing new, but perhaps its time has finally come for an entire culture, and planet. Not everyone will change, and there will be much resistance, but we can do this. We have to do this. So, c’mon, give a plant-based diet a try, and let’s be on the right side of history together! 

Mike McGowan