😀A 🌎World🌎 Made More Beautiful!😀

This amazing real Thai Life Insurance commercial demonstrates the many ways we all will benefit when we create interactions so everyone and everything benefits! It is a tear jerker. Enjoy.

I look forward to experiencing the benefits from all of us acting to make the world more beautiful!


Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Our Vegan Diet Almost Killed Us

My brother-in-law sent me this story and I thought it was worth sharing – Enjoy!

Our Vegan Diet Almost Killed Us – No, Really

Craig and I before our vegan lifestyle almost killed us. Don't let our healthy, happy, normal appearance fool you!  

Craig and I before our vegan lifestyle almost killed us. Don’t let our healthy, happy, normal appearance fool you!

Our Vegan Diet Almost Killed Us – No, Really

Okay, vegans. I know what you’re thinking. There have been many articles with similar titles circulating around the internet for years, and after you read the article you realize the person, although technically vegan, also had a serious eating disorder like anorexia or even the lesser-known “orthorexia,” or was on a restricted calorie cleanse consisting of lettuce water, or they were homicidal parents feeding their baby one carrot a day – or something like that. Somehow, people like this even manage to wind up on the Today show with book deals, as we saw earlier this week.

Well, this is not one of those stories. For me and my fiancĂ©, our regular vegan diet actually almost killed us. If you’re thinking about veganism, you’ll want to read this – and vegans, please hear us out.

Examples of the 100% livestock-free food we were regularly eating – but was our own death lurking on our plate?

Examples of the 100% livestock-free food we were regularly eating – but was our own death lurking on our plate?

The Best of Intentions

I believe people are vegan for really, really good reasons. In a nutshell, they’ve learned that we make the choice every day to either pay people to breed and intentionally kill vulnerable animals for our pleasure – or to just not do that. After all, these animals value their lives as much as our pets do and are just as worthy of love.

Then they learn that dairy and eggs are as bad as animal meat, because newborn males are an unfortunate byproduct of egg and dairy production and are typically killed – while their sisters and mothers are forced into production before being butchered once “spent” a mere fraction into their lifetime. And they learn that this is part of the typical process even if the farms are “humane,” small, local, organic, pastured, cage-free, or free-range.

They learn about the many scientific and academic sources showing that vegan diets represent perhaps the most significant environmental effort one can make, requiring about half the water and emissions to produce compared to typical Western diets. This is starting to become more mainstream information, especially since Cowspiracy hit Netflix.

Oh – and this is not a small point – vegans learn that plant-based diets feed far more human beings. As a recent Chemical and Engineering News cover story explains, producing meat and animal products “requires a lot of animals raised on huge, unsustainable amounts of plant protein,” adding, “A switch to plant proteins by those who can afford meat would go a long way to feeding the growing global population while using fewer of the planet’s resources.”

So how could we just sit by and continue to opt in to this human-created nightmare called animal agriculture when we could just make a very simple, doable lifestyle change to create less harm?

With that background, hopefully you can understand why we chose to go vegan. Our hearts were in the right places. I’d been totally vegan for about 3 years after dabbling in varying degrees of vegetarianism throughout my life. My now-fiancĂ© Craig made the shift after we’d been together for a few months, which you can read about here.

Is plant-based food like this actually killing you?

Is plant-based food like this actually killing you?

What We Ate

Unlike the typical negative stories of vegans eating very restrictive diets, we basically ate everything under the sun other than animal products, of course. Craig’s an amazing cook and I’m not so bad myself. Since there are 20,000+ edible plant species on planet Earth to choose from and tons of ways to enjoy fresh, frozen, and prepared fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, mushrooms, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds, it wasn’t hard. We made rich cheeses, sausages, ice creams, gravies and more, all without animals. It’s not like we were stranded on a desert island without a plentiful supply of food. And when we got lazy, there were plenty of yummy pre-made vegan meats and cheeses to choose from at the store, even after we moved from an urban to a rural area.

We stuffed our faces full of delicious, nutritious food basically every day with few exceptions – say, that time on a business trip I was stuck with omnivores who looked pityingly at my wilted salad and plain baked potato at the restrictive omni restaurant they took me to. (I snuck out after for a real meal at Native Foods.) But generally everywhere we went, we could get satisfying vegan meals, even from popular chains like Subway to Taco Bell to Chipotle.

Whenever I used an app to see if I was getting enough protein, I’d usually had more than enough even just by lunch! I’d always tried to take a daily multi-vitamin even when I was omni, and that didn’t change, but I now took a vegan-friendly version when I remembered to (and I admit I often forgot). Like my old supplement – and like those given to livestock themselves – it included vitamin B12. Salt is iodized, folic acid is added to many packaged goods, and vitamin D is added to cows’ milk, so we didn’t find it weird to be getting a nutrient obtained from bacteria in isolation rather than from the flesh and fluids of animals.

It looks healthy enough...but is it?

It looks healthy enough…but is it?

So What Went Wrong?

We were getting all our nutrients like everyone else and were totally healthy. I hadn’t wasted away, my hair wasn’t falling out, etc. When I gave blood at a blood drive, the nurse commented on my high iron levels. At my annual physical checkups, my physician never mentioned anything was remotely amiss. And despite working in offices where colds and flus regularly made the rounds, neither of us had gotten the flu since going vegan, or even much of the sniffles.

Yes, sometimes it was hard socially, like when my uncle asked me why vegans don’t care more about people. I told him we don’t kill and eat people, either. That shut him up. (I could direct those with further objections here or give them the handy  anti-vegan bullsh*t mix n’ match for fun.) And that time when the waiter accidentally put dairy milk in my oatmeal, instead of throwing a tantrum, I politely requested another bowl. The struggle is… real?

I should add that Craig is a molecular biologist and I have an MBA in environmental science, so we know better than to intentionally harm ourselves to avoid harming others – or so we thought. After all, despite lots of anecdotal confirmation bias-affirming claims to the contrary, the American Dietetic Association / Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (and all its international counterparts) declare a vegan diet is healthful and appropriate for all stages of life, with not one medical association claiming otherwise or that the flesh or fluid of any animal is somehow necessary to cure, treat, or prevent any deficiency, disease, or twinge of discomfort. Not only that, but a growing body of evidence shows that animal products don’t do a body good after all.

Our lives were almost ruined by this clearly extreme and fanatical idea of "sustenance."

Our lives were almost ruined by this clearly extreme and fanatical idea of “sustenance.”

So how did our vegan diet almost kill us? Well, it was a couple of months ago when we ran out of cashew milk (one of many tasty non-animal milks) and bananas. I really, really like to make shakes every day around midafternoon – peanut butter, dates, vanilla, chocolate, berries, whatever ­– with a frozen banana for a creamy base. I swear it tastes like soft serve ice cream, but healthy. You can add hemp, chia, and/or flax seeds and a few Brazil nuts for an extra boost of sustenance too, if you’re into that sort of thing.

So we ended up going to the grocery store to get more milk and bananas, and as we were crossing the street to the store after parking… wait for it… a car totally came out of nowhere and almost hit us! It was seriously a really close call. We could have been killed. We almost died!

If we hadn’t been vegan, we wouldn’t have run out of cashew milk, and we probably wouldn’t have been drinking a midafternoon shake because we probably would have still been in a food coma from eating severed birds’ wings or someone’s ribcage with mammary secretion dip or whatever the hell it is omnis eat these days. Am I right?

What a relief to find out this food is actually delicious AND healthy!

What a relief to find out this food is actually delicious AND healthy!

The Aftermath

Ever since that fateful day, even though our vegan diet almost killed us, we’re actually both
 still vegan. You heard me right.

We decided that we’d still rather not pay people to do things like fire bolts into sweet animals’ brains and slit their throats, grind up newborn male chicks in macerators, place “spent” hens in gassing chamber units, force females to lactate by impregnating them and then removing and either killing their babies or forcing them into the same servitude based on their gender, turn “spent” mothers into hamburger meat, remove fishes from the rapidly depleting oceans to become “seafood” no one needs (or feed for filthy fish farms for more manufactured seafood no one needs), or heck, even to steal honey we also don’t need that bees produce for their own personal use and whom we have to sedate in order to take. That would be like, I don’t know, aliens breeding humans for our ear wax.

In fact, seeing as the global population is now seven billion humans and SEVENTY billion farmed animals, we’d rather not pay people to artificially inseminate animals at all! And if we want to talk about our diets almost killing us, perhaps the focus should be on the many pervasive lifestyle diseases either directly caused or greatly exacerbated by animal-derived foods, many of which actually kill people. In fact, heart disease, which vegans rarely get, is the number one thing that actually kills people!

So yes, even after our frightening ordeal, Craig and I are still eating delicious, nutritious food every day, even though we almost died from doing so. That’s how dedicated we are.

We're still doing our part and we hope you will join us.

We’re still doing our part and we hope you will join us.

After all, we have somehow managed to peel back multiple, complicated layers of confusion and cognitive dissonance we’d picked up from a lifetime of sensationalist articles like the one you thought you were about to read. Like you, we had constant exposure to the same repeated myths and misinformation about where nutrients must come from, had been told the same fairy tales about farming animals for their flesh and fluids, and we also operated in a social context that reduced our natural wisdom and empathy for animals; animals whose individuality and cuteness we would have otherwise gone gaga over – or whom we would have at least respected enough to just leave the hell alone and eaten or worn something else.

We didn’t come this far to turn back now, careless drivers and annoying lifestyle bloggers be damned.

I now eat a more balanced diet... than I did when I was omni. Here I am in NYC "listening to my body" by enjoying ice cream that doesn't contain baby calf growth fluid. 

I now eat a more balanced diet… than I did when I was omni. Here I am in NYC “listening to my body” by enjoying ice cream that doesn’t contain baby calf growth fluid.

Now, nothing is off limits. We eat grass-fed horse milk and humanely raised dogs. There is no label for that. Just kidding, we're still vegan.

Now, nothing is off limits. We eat grass-fed horse milk and humanely raised dogs. There is no label for that. Just kidding, we’re still vegan.

Article by Lorelei Plotczyk

Read about us

This post has gone kinda viral. Holy sh*t. This article was long enough as is (as many have pointed out!), but there’s obviously a lot to say about this issue, as many have done far more eloquently than me, and I’ve barely scratched the surface. Yes, my article was a satirical response to the press surrounding the “Breaking Vegan” gal, which propelled my newfound sense of urgency to come up with a creative attempt to get people to read urgent information the media is overlooking. Although I would address every comment if I wasn’t lucky enough to have a full-time job, here’s probably the most important thing to add:

 Veganism isn’t about making a random personal choice, and it’s not about elitism, judgments, superiority, etc. It’s about being a conscientious objector to mind-boggling social injustice that is the product of the exploitative mindset we are born into and accept as normal (as I did for most of my life and as many of those dear to me still do), and there are many, many hurdles to overcome. Yet compassion always makes sense. As Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” This is why his oldest son Dexter Scott King has been vegan for more than 20 years, as was his wife Coretta Scott King for the last 10 years of her life, making it quite conceivable that Dr. King himself would have explored veganism had he lived longer. Vegan 80-year-old Holocaust survivor Dr. Alex Hershaft, who survived the Warsaw Ghetto, started the Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM) and the annual Fast Against Slaughter, because he had first-hand farming experience and “noted the many similarities between how the Nazis treated us and how we treat animals, especially those raised for food.” Addressing fellow vegans at the World Vegan Summit 2015 and referencing Rosa Parks, Milton Mills, M.D. said: “Take your metaphorical seat on the bus.” 

Check out “Circles of Compassion: Connecting Issues of Justice” or “The World Peace Diet” by Dr. Will Tuttle.

There are many angry comments below, and some very kind ones as well. But I’ve gotta speak the truth without being attached to how that truth will affect another person or how we will be perceived. All we can do is speak the truth. This is needless violence and ecocide on the most epic scale imaginable. These practices and their consequences, when made visible, are so horrifying most have to look away. But as long as farm animals are considered generic farm production units, people will continue to deny those traits suppressed by farming practices that we share and relate to, that endear them to us, that make us want to help and not hurt them, and that clearly make animals our friends, not our food. When you treat an animal as an individual and show him or her your instinctive compassion and love rather than anonymous exploitation and death, nothing about the animal has actually changed. It’s you that has changed.

The more “livestock” products we eat, the more crops must be be grown and sold – which is why livestock products are pushed on us and subsidized so heavily – yet the fewer people can actually be fed. That’s so wrong. Why use meat eating for survival – and cherry-pick behaviors from our ancestors and native cultures – to justify modern-day meat-eating for gluttony and preference? As noted in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the majority of the planet actually lives on a plant-based diet out of necessity due to resource scarcity, with only 2 billion eating a meat-based diet. 91% of the world’s resource consumption is done by the top 1/3 of humanity (per the UN Human Development Report), the majority of whom eat a resource-intensive meat-based diet. 

I’m not perfect by any means. But I can embrace compassion, health, and resource abundance. I can reject bloodshed, lifestyle diseases, and resource scarcity. That’s my “positive no.” A million thanks for taking the time to read this long-ass article… and postscript. 😉

Beyond Order and Status Quo

“Maintaining order rather than correcting disorder is the ultimate principle of wisdom. To cure disease after it has appeared is like digging a well when one feels thirsty or forging weapons after the war has already begun.” – Nei Jing

Is order the ultimate principle of wisdom? Is order better or is it just easier? Is what we see the whole story? Order is another way of saying keep things as they are. Of course curing a disease after it is experienced is like digging a well after feeling thirsty or building weapons after the war has begun. Is that the best we can do, just maintain order? Should we attempt to cure it before? (which would be prevention), how would we know if worked if what was prevented never happened? If prevention works, nothing happens – we can do better.

We can do better than just maintain the status quo. Anything that attempts to keep things as they are is impeding progress. Beyond efforts to prevent problems, evidence from Dr. Wilde’s Risk Homeostasis Theory indicate we never actually prevent problems, they are just moved.517J05w6c1L._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_

Additional information in “FoolProof” suggests not only don’t prevention efforts work because they just move risk and problems, but these these well-intentioned efforts actually create a backlash with unintended problems. One example of many is when well-intentioned people in the NFL created helmets to prevent head, teeth and eye injuries. While many of those injuries subsided, without accounting for delayed head trauma,  other injuries increased. Injuries were moved. Other injuries such as those to the neck and spine increased because a helmet protected head helped players feel safe enough to use their head when tackling (see video).

Of course the hidden problem of CTE or Chronic Traumatic Encepholapthy famously discussed in the movie “Concussion” with Will Smith is another example of a backlash from attempts to improve safety.

A different approach is possible, one that looks forward toward what is being created instead of backward in an attempt to avoid or prevent. Instead of just trying to make it less bad, we should focus on how to create more good (see), from a systems perspective. This approach about a better future has many benefits and is what Dr. Wilde calls expectationism. He also explains why this approach would be more effective as it also improves overall well-being.

After all, the focus on the future is what has helped us realize all progress. Figure what you want, clarify that picture  – determine that idealized outcome, determine what will demonstrate progress, not outcome measures, then work at creating it. As you continually measure progress, you will understand how to correct and improve the path of creating that idealized outcome. Don’t be frustrated if you get off path, they say the rocket to the moon was off course 96% of the time but with continued process improvements, the desired outcome was achieved.

Remember the desired  idealized outcome should be measurable so you will know something was accomplished. Nassim Taleb described in his 2008 book the Black Swan an instance when a rider enters a taxi cab and tells the driver, “Don’t take me to the airport.” Of course this leaves the driver confused because he doesn’t know what to do or how to act because not going to the airpot is not measurable. It is simply a nonevent. Determine a measurable outcome so you can document and measure what you achieve!

Build on the idea of expectationism by creating more good, not just less bad (also see here, here, here, here).  Efforts to decrease undesirable effects don’t work. Rather than just maintain order, lets make it better by focusing on and work on creating what is desired and what could be.

I look forward to hearing about the progress you create.


Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

A Clear Message about Climate Change

Amazingly, it has become necessary to go to “Fake” News to get scientifically valid statements about Climate Change. I encourage you to watch John Oliver, and these post, post, post, post, post post or the many of the other posts this site.

Remember making helpful climate choices helps you and everyone and everything benefit because you generate comprehensive improvements. I look forward to hearing how you make your contribution toward making this a better world for all of us to enjoy.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker