Dear Ms. Ansel:

I read your article, “Feel-Good Foods”, in the February 2014 issue of Yoga Journal. As someone who leads a healthy gluten-free vegan life, I loved the plant-based recipes you included. True, the arugula salad called for honey, but an easy switch could be made. I found it odd that the recipes weren’t listed as vegan or vegetarian, and that your text contradicted the healthy benefits of the recipes. How? By advocating eating complete proteins like “milk, Greek yogurt, eggs, and tofu” to get the “essential amino acids the body needs.” (p. 41)

How could a nutritionist and registered dietician promote dairy products, especially milk? It’s consistently listed as one of the top ten food allergens and studies have shown it should be listed as a carcinogen. Eggs are also a common food allergen and produced at great cost—to air quality, water and soil pollution, and rampant cruelty, neglect, pain, suffering and death of billions of chickens per year.

Cows fare no better in today’s factory farming industry. Restrained, continuously impregnated against their will—they are sentient beings (raped)–giving birth to calves taken from them to face their own hell on veal farms, and milked for human consumption, mother’s milk laced with antibiotics and growth hormones—it’s a travesty. “Organic,” “grass-fed” cows endure equally inhumane treatment, vastly shortened lives, and the same fate with a stun gun and the slaughterhouse.

On page 40, when writing about the importance of B12, you mention the lack of it in foods eaten if you “are vegan or eat a strict plant-based diet.” Vegan and plant-based mean the same thing; that you’ve linked both as “strict” is troubling. It’s strict (making it sound difficult to maintain and lacking in more than B12) because it doesn’t include animal products? The same could be said (and would be true) of the Atkins or Paleo diet, the former I know has been recommended by medical doctors and cardiologists to patients before and after bypass surgery.

I find it extraordinary that cardiologists would advocate an animal product-heavy diet, especially to those with heart disease. I find your use of “strict” in describing a plant-based diet (many adopt a vegan lifestyle, the foods being a part of it and not some diet) deliberate in its negative connotation.

It’s when I learn you were a spokesperson and continue to be an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) that it becomes clear. The Academy has many sponsors: “According to its 2011 annual report, its generous ‘partners’ include Aramark; The Coca-Cola Company; the Hershey Center for Health & Nutrition; and the National Dairy Council. ‘Premier’ sponsors are Abbott Nutrition; Coro-Wise (a supplement-making arm of Cargill); General Mills; Kellogg; Mars, Incorporated; McNeil Nutritionals; PepsiCo; Soyjoy; Truvia (marketer of a sweetener manufactured by Cargill and Coca-Cola); and Unilever. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Dairy Council…were specially thanked in the report for donating at least $10,000 each to the AND.” (Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition. T. Colin Campbell, PhD, Howard Jacobson, PhD. 2013, 2014. p.271)

As former spokesperson for and active member for AND you know this, of course. Unfortunately it’s not mentioned within or at the end of your article.



She’s considered a leading nutrition expert, her articles and expertise seen in countless health magazines and heard on national news programs.




    1. Cheese was the hardest for me; once I did and tried vegan cheese in dishes at my favorite vegan joint, I don’t miss the dairy version at all. I don’t buy it for home use, either, or vegan “meats” anymore, either, except occasionally when eating out if the dish is highly recommended. Endangered Species (I believe is its name) 72% dark chocolate bars with tasty cream fillings are very good. I bought a tub of Earth Balance vegan “buttery spread” recently after going a couple years without it (had a carb craving and bread and “butter” fit the bill). Just do the best you can; every little bit helps 🙂

Lack of communication is unhealthy.

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