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« Painless Calorie Restriction for People Who Love to Eat - Lessons for Health, Longevity, and Disease Prevention from the NIH CALERIE Study | Main | The Healthy Librarian's Favorite Chili, Fries, Chowder, and Tortilla Casserole - from Veganomicon, Engine 2 & Dr. Neal Barnard's "Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook" »

September 25, 2010



Thank you (again!) for another wonderful, encouraging, positive and informative post. I agree with you about this way of eating *not* being a deprivation diet - when I opened the fridge late this afternoon (hungry because I hadn't eaten lunch and my big green smoothie had been eaten too early this morning) and saw leftover salad from last night, I was delighted. :) And when my 8-year-old asks for seconds and thirds on salad, and my 11-year-old daughter, who used to hate green food, begs for salad in her school lunches, my heart sings. (I am also so thankful for the beautiful, healthy food we can afford, and have access to. When Earthbound Farms Baby Spinach is available at Walmart for so little, how can you not be thankful?)


Why aren't we calling this a vegan diet or being vegan? Are they not the same? Does the word vegan freak people out?


Great summary! Nice work.

I've been following Essy's diet since I interviewed him, and it's been over three and a half years. I feel marvelous, don't miss the oil at all.

Here's a resource I put together awhile back that you might find useful:

Chris G.

Great to see the Drs getting a national platform for their diet. Clinton will be a great spokesman for going vegan, particularly if he can keep it up and be vocal about it.

And I couldn't agree more that Yoda said it best regarding going vegan: Try Not. Do. Or Do Not. There is no Try.

Love it!

mary cotter

In response to John:

1) Yes, many people are freaked out at the prospect of a "vegan" diet, which they often associate with "new agers," animal rights activists, et al.; for this reason, top-notch researchers (such as Esselstyn, Campbell, et al.) can avoid provoking pointless controversy by referring instead to a "whole-foods, plant-based diet."

2) A "vegan diet" is IN NO WAY synonymous with a healthy diet. Vegans focus on removing all animal-based foods from the diet, but many vegans eat large quantities of refined carbohydrates, simple sugars, extracted oils, and other substances that pave the way to poor health.

The term "whole-foods, plant-based diet" really nails it, while "vegan" is at best a distractor, and at worst simply inaccurate.


Great article. Was glad to find your blog. I myself still haven't made the shift away from olive oil, but maybe some day!

Healthy Librarian

Hi John,

I think Mary hit the nail on the head with her explanation of why Plant-Based is used instead of Vegan to describe this diet. "Plant-based" removes any political, philosophical, ethical meanings from this diet lifestyle. It's used to describe a diet that is nutrient dense & based on eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, & legumes--for their health benefits.

And yes, vegan doesn't necessarily equate to healthy--it can include lots of sweeteners, oils, coconut oil, faux meats, faux cheese that's high in oil, or may contain casein, cashew cream, vegan cakes, etc.


Thanks for posting this very informative post about the Wolf Blizter Ornish/Esselstyn interview. I HATED Blitzer's repeated skepticism and negative comments about the diet. After talking to Clinton you'd think he'd have a better understanding of the power of food to heal. "The pleasures of life" shouldn't be chocolate cake and fries! So much for subjective journalism. I wish he gave them more time to speak!


Why does eating what's beneficial for your health have to be called diet?I purchased the book a week ago and have started eating veggies and fruit which I was already doing,learning to eat without the oils and dairy. I want to live a long time.Heart disease runs in my family. Thank you Dr. Esselstyn

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