WXXI AM News

vegan

When you think about the effects of climate change, perhaps your mind goes to drastic weather events, air pollution, or rising sea levels, but what about threats to human health and nutrition?

Research shows that increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are decreasing the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables. This research isn't new. In fact, a small, but growing group of scientists has been stressing how CO2 can significantly impact plant growth and nutrition since the 1990s, but no one seemed to be listening. That’s all changing as more evidence becomes available.

We dive into some of the research, and discuss how climate change can affect our food supply and our health, both in the short and long term. Our guests:

  • Jane Andrews, nutrition and labeling manager for Wegmans Food Markets
  • Dr. Ted Barnett, M.D., founder and medical director of Rochester Lifestyle Medicine; founder and board chair of the Rochester Lifestyle Medicine Institute; and co-coordinator of the Rochester Area Vegan Society
  • Sue Hughes-Smith, member of the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition
  • Walter Nelson, horticulture program leader at Cornell Cooperative Extension 
  • Bob King, certified crop advisor with the American Society of Agronomy, and senior agriculture specialist in the Agriculture and Life Sciences Institute at Monroe Community College
  • Ruth Blackwell, owner of Mud Creek Farm

What is all this buzz about "clean meat?" The idea is to eat meat that is grown in a lab, from stem cells -- no animal slaughter; no animal confinement; no carbon footprint associated with animal-based agriculture.

Memphis Meats showed off a meatball made from cultured meat, and they have Bill Gates and Richard Branson investing millions. So if this is the future of meat, why are so many people pushing back? Our guests explain:

Our Summer of Food series continues with Sarah Goodenough, owner of Kitchen Verde.

As a college student in Boston, Goodenough fell into a pattern that’s familiar to many students -- eating Ramen Noodles and ordering from restaurants because it’s convenient. When she moved back to Rochester to begin nursing school, she weighed nearly 300 pounds and was experiencing a number of health issues, including the early stages of fatty liver disease. She was only 22 years old and was struggling to keep up with physical demands of her job in the critical care unit. That’s when Goodenough decided it was time for a lifestyle change. She read The China Study by T. Colin Campbell and adopted a whole food, plant-based diet.  She lost 125 pounds in a year.

Goodenough is using her story and love of cooking to help other people in the community change their diets. In 2016, she opened Kitchen Verde, a whole foods, plant-based, oil-free and vegan meal delivery service. This hour, we talk to Goodenough about her journey, her business, and her goals for the future.

It's being called one of the most promising breakthroughs in medicine, and researchers say understanding it better could transform how we treat a number of diseases. We’re talking about the microbiome. Maybe you’ve heard the term used in various health-related discussions, but what does it really mean?

We discuss how the bacteria in our bodies help us digest food, fight off infection, and affect our mood.  Our guests:

  • Dr. Kirsi Jarvinen-Seppo, M.D., Ph.D., chief of pediatric allergy and immunology at Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong
  • Dr. Antti Seppo, Ph.D., research associate professor in pediatric allergy/immunology at the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Dr. Helena Boersma, Ed.D., executive clinical director at the Ranch at Bethel

One of the forefathers of veganism does not like the term "vegan." T. Colin Campbell is the author of the seminal China Study, and over the decades, he's become a leading voice, challenging "nutritionism." Campbell has written a new manuscript that offers a new way to define nutrition.

Campbell is back in Rochester for a sold out event titled Nutritionism vs. Wholism: The Case for a New Medical Paradigm. We get a preview. Our guests:

  • T. Colin Campbell, professor emeritus of nutritional biochemistry at Cornell University and co-author of The China Study
  • Ted Barnett, head of the Rochester Area Vegan Society

The chief of cardiology for Highland Hospital decided to change to a vegan lifestyle this past spring. Since then, Dr. Chad Teeters says he has lost 57 pounds.

He's getting ready to make a public presentation about how the change has impacted his own life, and whether he's fully on board for his patients. We discuss his story.

Are environmental groups denying the real leading cause of the destruction of the planet? The makers of the film Cowspiracy say yes.

The local chapter of the Sierra Club is bringing in filmmaker Keegan Kuhn of Cowspiracy to talk about the role of animal agriculture in climate change. We talk to Kuhn, and we hear from others who are participating in a local event to focus on food, access, cost, and more. Our guests:

  • Keegan Kuhn, filmmaker
  • Peter Debes, chair of the Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club
  • Carly Fox, worker rights advocate

How Not to Die: the answer is probably to eat more plants, right? Actually, that's at the center of Dr. Michael Greger's new book. He's in Rochester on Monday night, speaking at the Rochester Academy of Medicine.

First, he visits Connections to discuss the dangers of moderation; the evidence for veganism; and his concerns with profit motives in the current health system. Our guests:

Last week, a cardiologist on the show remarked that even though studies show going vegan can help cut childhood obesity, he didn't think that was a realistic option. Is he right? The local vegan society was not pleased with what they heard from the doctor on Connections. This is their rebuttal: it includes a look at nutritional guidelines, as well as new higher end dining options in Rochester. But what about socioeconomics? What about kids in poverty? We'll hit that, too. 

Our guests:

So you want to go Vegan? What does it entail? We look at the options. Can you dine Vegan at local restaurants? Can you cook at home? Is it affordable? Will you go insane?