top of page


CH's 21 Hot Topics

Repeatedly, these 21 topics tend to show up in my research rabbit holes among discussions, articles, videos, and/or passionate debates. So, I decided to add a third cheat sheet to the education party. This simplified, A-to-Z overview highlights important aspects of foods, beverages, and food systems. It can be used as a baseline for beginners or to help navigate the over-abundance of data, information, and recommendations. Need support? LMK.


  • Animals + Earth

  • Beverages + Caffeine

  • Cheese + Casomorphins

  • Cultural Realities

  • Disease Reversal

  • Fitness + Sleep

  • Five Food Myths

  • Five-Part Symphony

  • Food Addiction

  • Imitation Vegan Foods

  • I Say Potato...

  • Marketing + Behavior

  • Medical Schools + Co

  • Protein

  • Research Bias + Intersectionality

  • Salt + Iodine

  • Supplements

  • Taste Buds

  • Twenty Tricksters + Co

  • Waste + Compost + Gardens

  • Weight Loss + WPF

1)  ANIMALS + EARTH - About 90%+ of food animals worldwide are raised in CAFO's - Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. Also known as animal factory farms, this horrific practice includes dangerous over-antibiotic use, poop-infested and over-packed environments, and visceral cruelty. Mother Earth is seriously suffering too, as food-animal agriculture, pesticides, herbicides, and subsidized mono-cropping are wreaking havoc on unstable eco-systems. On the flip side, effective farming methods like cover crops, no-till farming, and drip irrigation, as well as initiatives like Project Drawdown are achievable solutions that are happening now (see link at bottom). Another smart solution? Cooking and eating an abundance of whole plants positively contribute to food animals and eco-systems.

2)  BEVERAGES + CAFFEINE - The best beverages for human consumption are water and tea. A general guideline is 60 oz to 64 oz of water daily (1.8 liters to 1.9 liters). The healthiest teas are hibiscus and green. Caffeine in general is debated; however, coffee and caffeinated teas are consumed by many in the plant community and both have clinically shown to have positive benefits for some people. This all depends on whether you can metabolize caffeine easily... or not.

3)  CHEESE + CASOMORPHINS - According to a vast majority of plant eaters, cheese is noted as the most difficult food to finally give up (my nemesis was Greek yoghurt). This is primarily due to an opioid compound called casomorphins found in casein, which is the protein in mammal’s milk. Cheese (dairy) is a Gold medalist for human, animal, and eco-system hazards. BTW: class-one carcinogenic processed meats win the Silver and inflammation-causing/processed foods share the Bronze. Egg-yolks and high-fructose corn syrup share 4th place.

4)  CULTURAL REALITIES - Reality is how we do things around here. Sound familiar? Us humans seem gorilla-glued to what we were told and fed as children. Comfort zones created by friends + family traditions, community gatherings, religious practices, and possible addictions play a significant role. Other influences include: click-bait media, twisted marketing campaigns, and Big Medicine, Food, Beverage, Agriculture, Marketing, Law, Public Policy, and Education. Absorbing new truths about foods, beverages, and food systems takes profound courage and effort, critical thinking, experiential education, and an open mind. In short, this can all be quite the challenge (and worth the effort ten-fold). 

5)  DISEASE REVERSAL - A whole plant foods (WPF) diet and lifestyle is the only approach shown to reverse many chronic ailments including (but not limited to): heart disease, type-2 diabetes, obesity, dementia, a slew of autoimmune conditions, arthritis, chronic pain, allergies, hypertension, skin rashes, sexual dysfunction, and some cancers. This would then make a WPF diet and lifestyle the optimal health standard from which to measure all other approaches.


6)  FITNESS + SLEEP - There are three fitness and longevity recommendations I’ve seen within the plant community: 40 minutes of mid-higher intensity movement; 60 to 90 minutes of brisk movement; 30 to 45 minutes of brisk movement. I’ve also seen: daily; every other day; five times a week; 250 to 500 minutes a week. Fitness supports healthy sleep as well. Best is getting seven plus hours a night in an uncluttered, cool, dark space. More consistent bedtime and morning routines also have positive effects on healthy sleep patterns, as well as putting away electronics an hour before bedtime in order to shut off the stimulating effects of blue light. Both fitness and sleep are VITAL for health and longevity.

7)  FIVE FOOD MYTHS - Among the numerous mis/disinformation reports, five topics seem to crop up everywhere: protein, carbohydrates, dietary fats, calories, and supplements. Check out Cookhouse Hero’s Top Five Food Myths HERE.

8)  FIVE-PART SYMPHONY - A WPF diet and lifestyle focuses on a five-part symphony of life, symbiotically and literally connected like fungi + plants, dogs + humans, and carbon dioxide + oxygen: 1) whole plant foods and beverages (water + tea), 2) fitness, 3) sleep, 4) unplugging, and 5) love and support. It’s like music singing to our happy body and brain.

9)  FOOD ADDICTION - According to conventional psychology, food addiction isn’t real yet five primary, clinical signs of addiction are expressed: cravings, withdrawals, obsessive thoughts, not feeling satiated, and uncontrolled behaviors. BTW: through a nutrient-dense, fiber-rich, life-promoting whole plants diet, I'm now a mostly recovered food junkie. 

10)  IMITATION VEGAN FOODS * - Manufactured and highly processed vegan ‘faux-foods’ such as Beyond, Quorn,  Impossible, Tofurky, etc are positively contributing to food-animal welfare and more stable/sustainable eco-systems. However, due to toxic chemicals including heme as well as high amounts of salt, sugar, and fat, the health benefits for humans aren’t positive and, in most cases, can be rather harmful. Some vegans and vegetarians eat a nutrient-deficient, fiber-poor diet, too.

11)  I SAY POTATO... - Within the plant-focused community, there are several variations on how to go about eating, drinking, exercising, shopping, cooking, supplementing, etc. Occasionally, various opinions and approaches are dismissed, although everyone is generally sailing towards the same horizon. Please keep in mind that the noise is simply humans being human, and this doesn’t reflect the rapidly-expanding community as a whole. Cookhouse Hero focuses on ALL solutions, from tiny to tremendous, as well as a positive PRO-PLANTS message. Fun factoid: one-third of the global population eats plant nutrition as their primary food group.

12)  MARKETING + BEHAVIOR - Although it’s known to most populations that manipulative marketing campaigns are rampant and express misinformation and disinformation, most of us still seem to succumb to the irresistible lure of food-porn images plastered everywhere. We're lured in by inexpensive take-out, sexy restaurants and bartenders, and clever marketing tactics that ignite unhealthy choices and behaviors. Heads up: looks like Truth in Advertising has finally died.

13)  MEDICAL SCHOOLS + CO - Only about 25% to 30% of medical schools require nutrition studies, with only 10 to 25 hours total of instruction. Public policy for dietary guidelines is directly connected to special interest groups and political pressure. And harmful fiber-poor, nutrient-deficient fad diets offer a quick fix via sexy celebrity endorsements and so-called medical experts in starched white jackets. My best advice? Tell your confused and possibly food-addicted brain to take a holiday on Mars while you figure this stuff out for yourself. Mine is already there, so it'll have company.

original (33).jfif
original (34).jfif
original (35).jfif

14)  PROTEIN - Every single plant on the planet has protein. Broccoli has more protein per calorie than steak. Spinach has about the same amount per calorie as chicken and fish. Even celery has protein! The medical term for protein deficiency is kwashiorkor. Except among malnourished populations, the fact that the public and doctors haven’t heard of this speaks volumes. The Center for Nutrition Studies at Cornell University recommends 8%-15% protein daily. The WHO - World Health Organization - suggests 5% daily. The current protein catastrophe involves being sold protein deficiency as a way to sell protein-based products. Thus, clinical studies are showing that we believe the deficiency hype, and so we're eating too much protein, which is harming our body and brain. Buyer beware.

15)  RESEARCH BIAS + INTERSECTIONALITY - Much of the research for both researchers and study subjects is focused on men (Viagra is a classic example). This is changing, as more diverse groups come forward and openly discuss and share ideas about topical issues such as medical gaslighting, institutional lending and funding bias, and intersectionality, which includes thoughtful considerations that have an effect on health outcomes. These factors can include: gender, race, identity, economics, age, geography, education, language, fitness level, weight, and disabilities. One more factor to consider: research outcomes can be quite biased/false when funded by special interests and corporations. 

16)  SALT + IODINE - Sodium intake is a loud hot topic. Miso is clinically shown to have some benefits, as does iodized salt in smaller amounts. Bragg’s aminos, low-salt tamari, and sea salt are also consumed. Other practitioners have cut out salt completely, as stomach cancer and hypertension are concerns. In some cases, iodine supplementation has been recommended if it’s not being consumed via iodized salt. Of course, people with hypertension would need to avoid all sodium variations, until they control this preventable and reversible condition (through a WPF diet and lifestyle!).

17)  SUPPLEMENTS - The mostly unregulated supplement industry sells some harmful products because pills and powders are made with active ingredients. In the plant-based/vegan communities, this topic is fiercely debated, although most agree that B12 and D3 are needed. Also frequently discussed are: amla (Indian gooseberries), DHA + EPA (along with ALA, these are in omega 3’s), K2, CoQ10, pre-biotics, pro-biotics, magnesium, and mushrooms. On a personal note: I take B12, D3, and amla powder. I'm considering K2, chlorella, omegas EPA and DHA, and mycelium (from fungi). However, some are rather expensive and some research is still relatively new, though some credible plant-based advocates recommend these as well. Today, I take a limited amount of supplements, and I eat WPF to consume almost all of my vitamins, minerals, and other compounds via whole plants.


18)  TASTE BUDS - It physiologically takes two to four months to wake up our dulled taste buds so that actual flavor profiles of foods can be recognized and savored. A peach is sweet, but not for a mouth that experiences sweet processed foods on a regular basis. When we eat junk again, our taste buds quickly get dulled again too.

19)  TWENTY  TRICKSTERS + CO - Antitrust laws appear to be skipping special interest groups and corporations. These are tricksters who wave magic wands and make their negative contributions to human health, food-animal welfare, and unstable eco-systems go away. Poof. From receiving tax subsidies for growing GMO mono-crops (and selling low-cost products for consumers at a high profit), to controlling seeds, hawking petrochemicals, and engaging in unfair practices harmful to farmers and ranchers... in the end, we ALL pay. More info via Cookhouse Hero HERE.

20)  WASTE + COMPOST + GARDENS - Turns out, Americans and other cultures are contributing 20% to 40% of their food to toxic land-fills. A low-waste kitchen - where (almost) everything is eaten and re-purposed into other meals - is a vital DAILY step we can all take. If possible, compost is a smart idea for food scraps which helps reduce methane gas created within garbage dumps. If space is available, consider planting a food garden or food planters. Or, join (or create) a community garden. Factoid: in about 60 years, the world's soil will not be fertile. What does this actually mean for us humans? Learning how to stop wasting food, and diving into composting and growing food have become crucial for all.

21)  WEIGHT LOSS + WPF - A whole plant foods diet with limited plant-based fats doesn’t include counting carbs or calories. Also, it’s the only approach clinically shown to last long-term (more than six to twenty-four months… and beyond). There are many ways to eat plants, from flexitarian and vegetarian to raw vegan and whole plant foods.

* As a treat... Miyoko’s Creamery is my delish ‘faux’ exception, as it’s the only brand that doesn’t upset my stomach and intestines. Miyoko Schinner is also a badass chef, philanthropist, animal advocate, entrepreneur, and food pioneer.

NOTE: Project Drawdown's Table of Solutions is an initiative for reducing greenhouse gases and drawing carbon back down to the earth… where it then nourishes our rapidly depleting soil. Solutions rock.

bottom of page