When I think of a hero, I think of someone that dedicates their lives to helping other people. They put others before themselves at times, they do what is right, not what is popular. Of course, my all-time favorite hero is my mom. She is a soldier, rarely thinking of herself and living to help others. She is not vegan (yet) but understands my journey and respects my decisions. The following is a list of my current heroes, though the list grows daily. Hopefully some of the people, organizations, and films are new to you. They will be your heroes soon!
T. Colin Campbell
This adorable man has changed my life. He created the largest nutritional study to date and wrote a book about his findings: The China Study. It is ground breaking, earth shattering, hard science that leads us to the knowledge that the more animal protein you eat/drink, the higher your risk for cancer and other horrible diseases. Also, the more milk you consume, the higher your risk for osteoporosis. Countries with the least amount of milk and animal protein consumption have the least amount of cancers and osteoporosis. This is the opposite for countries with the highest consumption of milk and animal proteins. Makes you think differently about those milk mustache commercials, right? Read The China Study now. You can watch Campbell’s Ted Talk here.
I learned about Caldwell through The China Study. Along the same lines as Campbell, Caldwell is a man on a mission. His son, Rip, created the Engine 2 Diet after his journey helping his fellow fire fighters fight bad health with a plant based diet. Maybe you’ve seen Engine 2’s food in Whole Foods, like their hummus or plant based milk. Engine 2’s cereal is my all-time favorite cereal. Learn more about Caldwell here and Rip here.
Neal D. Barnard
You may have seen him on the “Ellen” show, you may have heard of his Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, you may have seen his numerous books. At any rate, this man is also attempting to revolutionize the nutrition industry. His most recent war: trying to urge the USDA to put a warning label on all chicken sold which would read “Warning! May Contain Feces”. You should be scared…according to a recent Consumer Reports study, 97 percent of all raw chicken sold in supermarkets is contaminated with bacteria that could make us sick. Check out his work here and here.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know who she is. She rocked it in “Clueless” as the dumb blonde. Now she is trying to help the world feel better through food. Her books “The Kind Diet” and “The Kind Mama” are must-reads for the vegan woman. “The Kind Diet” was one of the first vegan books I ever read (I rented it from the library!).
Gene Baur/Jenny Brown
UGH. I will never fully be able to express what I think of these two, and all of those that give their lives to animals (specifically farm animals). You all know by now that I hold a very special place in my heart for farm animals, and one day I WILL OWN A FARM. Or at the very least, I will volunteer my time and money to help them. These people have helped to make the movement public, and they have allowed for a safe place for these amazing animals.
Want to undo heart disease? Click here. Interested in the Preventive Medicine Research Institute? Peep it here. His research has shown that you can “turn on” and “turn off” disease-preventing genes and genes that promote cancer and heart disease. That is some amazing stuff, right?
A true warrior. She was diagnosed with Stage IV incurable epithelioid hemangioendothelioma cancer at the age of 31. MIND BLOWN. Instead of going the normal route of chemo and radiation, she decided to treat her body the natural way, from the inside out. She documented her journey in “Crazy Sexy Cancer”, which I bought and forced my mom to watch when she was diagnosed with kidney cancer. She is truly amazing.
Angela’s website Oh She Glows was one of the first vegan websites I stumbled upon 8 months ago, and I haven’t let since. I have made countless recipes that she has created, and I marvel at her creativity in the kitchen. Her recipes are easy, down to earth meals that nourish the body and soul. I am thankful I found her.
Isa Chandra Moskowitz
The original vegan punk! She recently opened her own vegan restaurant, but before that she was paving the way for all of us off-kilter vegans around the world. She is an endless wealth of rocking vegan knowledge. An edgy vegan, just how I like them.
Vegan Outreach, PETA, Mercy for Animals, Farm Animal Rights Movement, Compassion Over Killing, In Defense of Animals, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Tireless societies, too many to name. Aiming to help those that cannot help themselves, and also helping us understand that which is not shown. Ever wonder why factory farms have no windows and will not allow people to come visit? Think about it.
Films: Forks Over Knives; Earthlings; Meet your Meat; Fed Up; Vegucated; Food, Inc.; Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead; Cowspiracy (more on that one later!); May I Be Frank; Hungry For Change; Blackfish; Speciesism
There are too many to name nowadays. Personally, I have never seen “Earthlings” and don’t know that I ever will. I honestly don’t know if I can. You can watch some of the other ones for free online. If you’re just starting to try to eat healthy (more power to you!), start with “Forks Over Knives”. It is based on nutrition and diet, and less on the animal impact. I would also recommend “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” and “Vegucated” for those with their healthy eating training wheels still on. Some of the other movies can be tough to watch, even for me, and I know what goes on in a factory farm. But think about it: don’t you owe it to yourself, your friends, and your children to learn about the foods you eat and where they come from? The time to live in the dark is over. It is super duper cool to be informed.