72 Reasons to Be Vegan

Why Plant-Based. Why Now.


By Gene Stone

By Kathy Freston

Formats and Prices




$19.95 CAD


  1. Trade Paperback $14.95 $19.95 CAD
  2. ebook $9.99 $12.99 CAD
  3. Audiobook Download (Unabridged)

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around March 30, 2021. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

Better sex, glowing skin, and more money…by going vegan

Did you know that if you adopt a vegan diet you can enjoy better sex? Save money? Have glowing skin? You can ward off Alzheimer’s, Type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and other metabolic diseases. You can eat delicious burgers. Help save the planet. Join the cool kids, like Gandhi, Tolstoy, Leonardo—and Kyrie Irving, Kat Von D, and Joaquin Phoenix. Oh, and did we mention have better sex? (It’s about blood flow.)

Those are just some of the 72 reasons we should all be vegan, as compiled and persuasively argued by Gene Stone and Kathy Freston, two of the leading voices in the ever-growing movement to eat a plant-based diet. While plenty of books tell you how to go vegan, 72 Reasons to Be Vegan is the book that tells you why. And it does so in a way that emphasizes not what you’d be giving up, but what you’d be gaining.

“Bestselling vegan activist Kathy Freston and the movement’s best chronicler, Gene Stone, team up to give us 72 reasons to go plant based (and better sex is just one of them!) A must-read for anyone concerned about the future of our planet, their own health, or the moral ramifications of meat-eating.”
—Dan Buettner, National Geographic Fellow and author of The Blue Zones



Veganism Is Happening in a Very Major Way

If you're already vegan, you're a trailblazer for an international trend that's growing larger every year. Less than a generation ago, veganism (and vegetarianism, for that matter) was beyond the fringe, considered just a dietary choice of a bunch of freaks, hippies, and health nuts (and a small number of forward-thinking doctors). Vegan restaurants, much less dairy-free milks, nut-based cheeses, and meatless burgers, were few and far between. Even as recently as 2014, only 1 percent of Americans identified as vegan.

Flash forward to 2019, which The Economist called "The Year of the Vegan." In the previous five years, the number of self-reported vegans has skyrocketed by 600 percent.1 It has been mostly millennials leading the charge—about 15 percent say they're vegan (and even more say they're vegetarian). It's changing the way we eat, and even the way we celebrate. In mid-November 2018, according to Google Trends, "Vegan Thanksgiving" was the top diet-related search. And it's not just in the United States: Web searches in any language for vegan-related topics continue to reach all-time highs, with Australia, the UK, and New Zealand leading the way. If you seek an enchilada or pierogi on your next trip to Mexico or Poland, it may well be a bean or spinach version: 9 percent and 7 percent of these nations' population are vegan, respectively—at least fourteen million people combined.

The movement is putting its money where its mouth is: The Plant Based Foods Association reported 20 percent growth in US supermarket sales in 2018—the equivalent of more than $3 billion in containers of coconut milk yogurt, tempeh bacon, and the like. Michele Simon, the group's executive director, pointed out, "The plant-based foods industry has gone from being a relatively niche market to fully mainstream. . . . Plant-based meat and dairy alternatives are not just for vegetarians or vegans anymore." So, it's no surprise that traditional food giants worldwide have begun including their own plant-based options. Subway, Burger King, KFC, Taco Bell, Starbucks, and many others are now featuring vegan options that, in some cases, are outselling their meaty ones.2

In some countries, veganism isn't just becoming popular—it's becoming policy. The Canadian government's Food Guide emphasizes plant-based eating, favoring tofu and beans over meat. Health insurance giant Kaiser Permanente recommends a plant-based diet in its Nutritional Update for Physicians. Vegan meals are being served in cafeterias across Los Angeles's public school system.

There are many reasons for becoming vegan, but who wants to be left behind on the trail when the blazers are so far in front of you that you can barely see them anymore?


Cows Burp and Fart = Methane = Climate Change

Cows chew grass or grain. This makes them gassy, so they burp and fart. The gas they pass is called methane, which is a very powerful global warming gas with twenty-eight times the warming potential of carbon dioxide. While most people think that CO2 is the bad boy of greenhouse gases, methane is far more potent in the short term because it is extremely adept at trapping the sun's heat. The oil and gas industry is certainly the top offender when it comes to producing methane, but livestock is also a dangerous culprit.

Cows may look sweet and innocent; their farts are anything but.

Cows are ruminants, meaning the bacteria in their four stomachs digest food by fermenting it. This produces a lot of methane, most of which is expelled when a cow burps and, to a lesser extent, farts. Now, the average cow passes around 150 to 265 pounds of methane per year,3 so if you multiply that figure by about a billion and a half—that's the number of cows worldwide—you'll end up with . . . a lot of methane . . . and a lot of climate change.

If you eat less beef, that means fewer cows, which means less burping and farting, which means less methane, which means less climate change.


It's Cheaper and Better Than Buying a Tesla

Cool Tesla, bro! It feels pretty sweet to shift into Ludicrous Mode and tear down the highway powered by zero-emission battery bliss. And if you can afford one, a Tesla or other electric vehicle (EV) is the best way to reduce your carbon footprint . . . Kinda. Sorta. Maybe. Not really.

It's true that if you are going to drive, EVs are hands down the best option. If everyone drove an EV instead of a gasoline-powered car, the world would be a much cleaner place. Unfortunately, for the time being, they are also too expensive for most people. But while a Tesla may be out of reach for most consumers, there's good news: Driving an EV is nowhere near the most important way to reduce your carbon footprint. You can do far more for the environment right in your kitchen.

Researchers from the University of California, Riverside, have found that the total greenhouse gas emissions associated with a single charbroiled hamburger is equal to driving an eighteen-wheeler for 143 miles.4 Similarly, a study out of the University of Chicago confirmed that simply ditching the Standard American Diet is more effective at combating climate change than switching to a hybrid electric car.* All told, as a Loma Linda University study found, vegans generate about 42 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than meat-eaters.

Freeway Fact: If Americans switched from beef to plant-based patties, the effect would be the equivalent of taking twelve million cars off the road for a year.5

If you think the tailpipe in your neighbor's Hummer is dirty, it's got nothing on the tailpipes of the world's 1.4 billion cattle raised for meat and dairy. While adorable, these walking, mooing greenhouse-gas factories are farting out enormous amounts of methane every single day (see page 8). And when you consider all the diesel-guzzling trucks required to transport cows from feedlots to slaughter, and the countless more refrigerated trucks used to transport meat to grocery stores and restaurants, your sexy new EV isn't going to help the earth as long as it's still bringing you to the McDonald's drive-through.

If you want to be a true environmental superstar, you can be vegan and drive an EV. (Tesla has even eliminated leather interior options.) Or, better yet, take public transportation. EVs are certainly the future, so, if you must drive, don't pull the plug on that shiny new Model 3 just yet. But if your main concern is reducing your carbon footprint while not breaking the bank, forget your garage and take a hard look at your kitchen.

Going plant-based is a lot cheaper, too. Dried beans cost about $2 per pound. A base-level Toyota Prius costs $24,000—or 12,000 pounds of black beans. Mmmmm.


Soy Is Protective Against Breast Cancer (and Won't Give Guys Man Boobs)

If you believe the hype, you might think that soy, a common protein source for vegans and vegetarians, is the devil's dose of poison and that consuming it causes men to grow boobs and women to get breast cancer.

Do not fear for your chest. Sadly, soy is maligned in large part because it is such a good alternative to meat and dairy. It's brimming with protein and chock-full of calcium and iron—and it's been constantly and totally vilified by the meat and dairy industries. ("Kill the competition before people figure out how good and cheap it is," you might imagine hearing corporate executives say as they direct their marketing minions.)

Here's the truth: Soy has been a staple food and drink for thousands of years, mostly in Asia, where, until the Western diet was recently introduced, there was pretty much no breast cancer. Or man boobs. Contrary to what disinformation campaigns about soy might have told you, "Epidemiological studies have found that soy protein may reduce the risk for cancers including breast, colon, and prostate," the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine explains. "Studies show that women who include soy products in their routine are less likely to develop breast cancer, compared with other women."6

The bottom line? Regular consumption of soy (meaning, you aren't downing a couple hundred bottles of soy milk in one sitting) has no adverse effects on women or men.

Let's break it down: For women, the concern about soy in terms of breast cancer is estrogen. Estrogen is a growth hormone, and it makes cancer cells grow and proliferate, just like fertilizer makes weeds grow like crazy. Estrogen = fertilizer. (That's why dairy—which is naturally full of estrogen, since cow's milk is breast milk meant to make a baby cow grow to be two thousand pounds—is bad news if you're worried about cancer.)

But estrogen, which is made by mammals like humans and cows, is different from phytoestrogen, which is found in plants, like soy. (Phyto means plant.) Phytoestrogen is similar in structure to estrogen, but it's a much smaller compound; it sneaks its way out in front of mammal estrogen to attach to the estrogen receptor in our bodies, kind of like a small plane zipping in front of a jumbo jet and hooking up to the jetway before the jumbo ever had a chance to land.

Phytoestrogen = small plane. Estrogen = jumbo jet. Jetway = receptor/pathway into your body. Small plane blocks big plane, so the bad stuff has less opportunity to venture into your body. That wily little plane blocks the estrogen, thus making it cancer-protective! (The scientific words are anti- proliferative and anti-carcinogenic.) That's why you'll hear a lot of doctors actually recommend eating more soy after a breast cancer diagnosis, because the science shows that women who start consuming soy after diagnosis have a decreased risk of recurrence!7 Of course, the only thing better than to start eating soy after disease diagnosis is to eat it proactively early in life; studies show that early and generous soy consumption (like that of traditional Japanese diets) is protective and healthy. And the same mechanism that protects women from breast cancer also blocks estrogen from getting into a man's system; hence, less chance of man boobs than if he consumed no tofu at all.

There is debate about whether people with hypothyroidism should avoid soy products, as it may interfere with their medication. Here's what the Mayo Clinic has to say: "There's no evidence that people who have hypothyroidism should avoid soy completely. If you have hypothyroidism, take thyroid hormone replacement as directed by your doctor. Medication can be taken at any time that's best for you, and it's okay to take it on an empty stomach or with food—as long as you do the same thing every day. Generally, it's best to wait four hours after taking thyroid medication to consume any products that contain soy."8 (As always, you should consult your doctor to develop a meal system that works best for your unique needs.)

Now let's celebrate what soy does do! It's a very high-quality protein that is easily assimilated by the body and has the ideal composition of amino acids, meaning that you don't have to balance it out with grains to make a complete protein. It's already perfect. It contains lots of fiber and is also a great source of magnesium, potassium, and iron.

If possible, opt for organic soy, because then you're getting it free of glyphosate (the active ingredient in popular herbicides), GMOs, and whatever else crops are cultivated with when they come from big corporate farms. People who think they have allergies to soy may just be reacting to the chemicals it's been sprayed with, so eating organic can make a difference.

And by the way, we're not advocating that you should eat as much soy as possible, only that you need not be worried about eating it. There are plenty of other great protein-rich vegan foods you can enjoy, of which soy is just one healthy and delicious option!

Food Fact: First domesticated in China around 1100 bce, soybeans were not just for food. The Chinese have been using moldy soybean curds to treat skin infections for many thousands of years.


Cow's Milk Is Kind of Gross

Here's an idyllic scene: The kindly milkman deposits a carton of fresh milk in lovely glass bottles on your doorstep. The milk is from the local dairy farm, where the cows graze lazily in lush, green fields; it's creamy and delicious and is a product of only the happiest cows. Drinking this lovely product makes you strong and healthy. Everyone wins! It's a perfect picture of paradise.

Except it's not paradise, dairy milk isn't perfect, and it certainly doesn't come from the happiest cows. On modern dairy farms, cows are both genetically and chemically manipulated to produce a lot of milk. Like, a scary amount of milk. Thirty years ago, the average dairy cow produced a little over thirteen thousand pounds of milk per year. More recently, she squeezes out more than twenty-one thousand pounds—an increase of 61 percent.9 This is the result of the dairy industry selectively breeding cows to produce huge amounts of milk, all while injecting them with a cocktail of antibiotics and hormones to make them produce even more. This is true even for many smaller- scale farms. In order for dairy farmers to remain competitive in such a consolidated industry, their cows have to produce as much milk as chemically possible.

Plenty of people assume that female cows always produce milk, but like humans, cows only produce milk after they give birth. If she's not producing milk, the cow is not profitable for the farm. For this reason, the vast majority of dairy cows undergo artificial insemination soon after they stop producing milk. (Quite literally, a worker holding a load of bull sperm inserts their arm up a cow's vagina to impregnate her.) Female calves eventually become dairy cows, too, and because males can't produce milk, they are typically locked up in crates, slaughtered, and sold as veal.

The cows are milked relentlessly for ten months until their milk production decreases, and then they are artificially impregnated once again. Because of the stress associated with producing such extreme amounts of milk, dairy cows often suffer from a condition called mastitis, a painful and often fatal (for cows) inflammation of the mammary glands and udder tissue. In response, the cow's immune system pumps out somatic cells, which are composed largely of inflammatory immune cells that form pus. Mastitis is so common—the USDA reports that one in six dairy cows suffer from it—that there are approximately 1,120,000 somatic cells per spoonful of cow's milk.10 In case you missed it: That's pus that comes along with the milk.

Cows can normally live twenty years or longer. Dairy cows rarely reach their sixth birthday. (For more about the plight of dairy cows, see page 152.)

So, how about sticking to plant-based milks? There's nothing gross about an oat milk latte or coconut ice cream.


Your Skin Will Look Amazing

Don't you just love waking up the morning of a presentation, wedding, or hot date with a big beautiful pimple on your nose? And didn't you think that your acne would clear up after you graduated high school? Maybe after college? Certainly by age thirty??

It could be your diet's fault.

And you aren't alone.

It turns out that people who eat a lot of dairy (cheese, yogurt, milk, and so on) have a higher propensity to break out. In a study published in the Archives of Dermatology, researchers following 1,300 predominantly plant-based people in New Guinea and remote regions of Paraguay could not diagnose a single pimple over two years.11

What's going on here? The culprit can be dairy itself, yes, but it's also what goes into dairy products, too. Dairy cows are given artificial hormones and antibiotics that boost milk production—chemicals that can trigger acne breakouts when consumed by humans. Even the hormones naturally found in cow's milk can exacerbate acne, so while switching to organic dairy products may improve the situation, it won't make your skin glow.

More proof: Harvard University researchers followed six thousand girls ages nine to fifteen for several years to see if there was a link between diet and skin appearance. Sure enough, the study found a "positive association between intake of milk and acne,"12 and the results were confirmed in a subsequent study involving teenage boys. Other studies suggest that excess calories, added sugars, and meat can also affect protein signaling, making your body pump out more acne-causing oil and sebum.

So, say you'll cut out the animal products to clear up your acne—excellent, but don't stop there! Fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants, which decrease inflammation and neutralize harmful free radicals—unstable atoms that can damage cells, cause disease, and prematurely age the body inside and out. For the supplest, most wrinkle-free skin, eat the rainbow of naturally colorful plants. Think fresh plump tomatoes, sweet potatoes, yellow bell peppers, blueberries, spinach, and beets. Fruits and vegetables are also loaded with carotenoids, which have been proven to promote a glowing skin tone.

The conclusion? If you want better skin, spend some more time in the produce aisle!


Fiber Is Your Body's Bitch

Vegans, assuming they're not consuming mostly processed foods, eat high-fiber diets. Fiber is a kind of skeleton for plants, helping them maintain their shape and structure. When you eat unprocessed plant foods, you end up crunching down on a lot of it. The fiber from fruits, veggies, grains, nuts, and beans then mixes with the liquid in your gut to create a gel-like substance. As you digest your food, that gel slows the absorption of sugars and the subsequent release of insulin into the bloodstream. At the same time, it pushes against the stretch receptors in your stomach, telling your brain you've eaten enough. The result is that you feel full—and your energy remains steady and strong because of the slowed release of blood sugar.

Once in your body, fiber acts like a scrub brush pushing through your colon, grabbing stuff from inside the nooks and crannies in your 25-foot-long intestinal tract, and helping to usher it all out your back end, effectively getting rid of any old gunk, including carcinogens and other waste, that might otherwise cause a problem if left in your system. One thing fiber does leave behind: a healthy gut biome. It feeds the good bacteria in your belly that help regulate inflammation and immune function.

More and more research on fiber confirms that it has numerous other health benefits, such as lowering your cholesterol levels, as well as lowering your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and several types of cancer, meaning that the more fiber you eat, the more likely you are to live longer. Eating fiber is also one of the best ways to achieve a healthy weight. And, you'll have more regular, normal bowel movements, while reducing the risk of hemorrhoids.

So, eat fiber. As much as possible. For men, that means about 40 grams a day, and for women, about 25 grams (about 20 percent less if you're over 50). And remember to drink lots and lots of water—fiber works best when it absorbs water.

Only plants have fiber. Meat, dairy, and eggs have none.


Dairy Doesn't Do a Body Good



  • "Gene Stone and Kathy Freston put forth a persuasive argument for a plant-based lifestyle" —​USA Today 

    “Saving money. Better sex. A healthier heart. Beautiful skin. Those four reasons are enough for me, but there are 68 more in this magical journey through plant-based living.” —DOTSIE BAUSCH, Olympic medalist in cycling and founder of Switch4Good 

    “Through outstanding writing and research, Stone and Freston have made eating plant-based thoroughly compelling and enjoyable; read this book and get ready for some seriously positive changes.” —MICHAEL GREGER, author of How Not to Die and founder of NutritionFacts.org 

    There are so many reasons why people are choosing to leave animals off their plates, from saving the planet and helping animals to improving health and boosting athletic performance. 72 Reasons to Be Vegan—equal parts inspiring, eye-opening, fun, and informative—explores all these benefits and many more.” —NEAL D. BARNARD, MD, FACC, founding president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and author of Your Body in Balance 

    “If you’ve ever wondered how to convince someone to become vegan, here’s all the evidence and support you’ll ever need in one well-written, easy-to-read book.”  —GENE BAUR, cofounder of Farm Sanctuary 

    “I started on my plant-based journey for health reasons, but this excellent book makes it clear that there are so many other important reasons. Absolutely a must-read for all!” —ERIC ADAMS, former New York State Senator and author of Healthy at Last 
    “Just the right inspiration for anyone seeking smart, positively impactful life.” —BRIAN WENDEL, choices founder of Forks Over Knives 
    “Stone and Freston have brilliantly researched the most compelling reasons to be vegan, and they've made it a thoroughly enjoyable read!” —INGRID NEWKIRK,  president and cofounder of PETA 

    “A symphony of chapters which are succinct, cogent, and precise and define the nutritional literacy that is essential for long, healthy lives and a forgiving planet.” —CALDWELL B. ESSELSTYN, JR., M.D., author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease 




On Sale
Mar 30, 2021
Page Count
208 pages

Gene Stone

About the Author

Gene Stone (genestone.com) is a former Peace Corps volunteer, journalist, and book, magazine, and newspaper editor, and is a New York Times bestselling author. He has written, co-written, or ghostwritten more than 45 books on a wide variety of subjects, but for the last decade he has concentrated on plant-based diets and their relationship to health, animal protection, and the environment. Among these books are Forks Over Knives, How Not to Die, Animalkind, The Engine 2 Diet, Living the Farm Sanctuary Life, Rescue Dogs, Mercy for Animals, and Eat for the Planet.

Kathy Freston (kathyfreston.com) is a New York Times bestselling author of multiple health and wellness books, notably The Lean, Quantum Wellness, and Clean Protein. Her advocacy for a more healthy, sustainable, and just food system is inspired by her concern for human health as well as animal and environmental welfare. Kathy appears frequently on national TV, including Ellen, Dr. Oz, Good Morning America, The Talk, Extra, and Oprah, and her work has been featured in Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, Self, W, Fitness, and The Huffington Post. Kathy enjoys hiking and biking, will travel almost anywhere for a good plant-based meal, and is obsessed with her adopted mutt, Trixie.

Learn more about this author

Kathy Freston

About the Author

Kathy Freston is a food and wellness writer with a focus on a plant-based diet. Her advocacy to move away from eating animals spans concern for human health as well as animal and environmental welfare.

She is the author of eight books, four of them instant New York Times bestsellers; her works include The Lean, Veganist, and Quantum Wellness. A media favorite, Kathy has appeared frequently on national television, including Ellen, Dr. Oz, Charlie Rose, Good Morning America, The Talk, Extra and Oprah. Kathy’s work has been featured notably in Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, Self, W, and Fitness. She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post.

Learn more about this author