Pork Farmer Shifts to Plant-Based Diet for Health and Animal Advocacy

Mother Cow and Baby Calf

For years, cattle rancher Howard Lyman was a fourth-generation farmer experienced in producing pork, veal and chicken. And then it happened: Howard suddenly became partly paralyzed as the result of a spinal tumor. Recognizing the danger of farming with chemicals, Howard transformed his life and enhanced his health, from going on a plant-based diet to becoming an animal advocate, reported Pasado Safe Haven on July 2. Learn about his journey in this article.

Animal Advocate
In 1996, Howard appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show to share his story about how and why he chose a plant-based lifestyle. Two years later, he co-authored a book entitled "Mad Cowboy," following it up in 2005 with the book "No More Bull." His dramatic story has been featured in two documentaries: “Mad Cowboy” and “Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home.” Particularly effective is "Peaceable Kingdom," showing just how some who follow a traditional farming lifestyle begin to ponder the fact that animals are living creatures who have their own emotional lives. That philosophy can be summed up with Howard's deceptively simple statement to Pasado: "“The happiest day of my life was when I realized that no animal needed to die for me to live.”

Animals Have Feelings
Explaining why he abandoned his production of animal products, Howard said, “My life experience has given me a better understanding of what is happening, and what a mistake it is to believe there is anything called ‘humane’ slaughter. Animals have families and feelings, and to think that kindness before killing them is an answer is totally wrong." And emphasizing why he changed to a plant-based diet, Howard added, "Humans have no need for animal products. And when we consume animal products, we’re not just killing the animals. In the long run, we’re killing the planet and ourselves.”

Sample Plant-Based Meal Plan
His book "NO MORE BULL! The Mad Cowboy Targets America's Worst Enemy: Our Diet" provides guidance for those who want to try a plant-based diet for themselves.Here is a sample menu:

  • Breakfast: Soy yogurt (plain or any fruit flavor) with as many fruits as possible. Add small handful of granola, walnuts, and/or sunflower seeds if desired.
  • Lunch: A vegan hot dog on whole grain bread or bun, with mustard, lettuce, and sauerkraut. Try adding canned artichoke hearts. Have a salad or baked potato on the side.
  • Dinner: Organic pasta (Jerusalem artichoke, wheat, or spinach) with a white wine/olive oil/garlic sauce. Add steamed green beans, broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, and sautéed portobello mushrooms.

Plant-Based Recipe
Think that a plant-based diet has to be boring? Here is a recipe from Carb-Conscious Vegetarian, by Robin Robertson.


Recipe: Lettuce-Wrapped Vegetable Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce
Yield: 4 servings

Spicy Peanut Sauce

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup water

Spring Rolls

  • 6 large soft lettuce leaves (Boston or leaf lettuces are good choices)
  • 1 cup finely shredded Napa cabbage
  • 1 small red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup fresh bean sprouts, blanched
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a blender or food processor, combine tamari, lime juice, peanut butter, garlic, ginger, and crushed red pepper flakes. Add 4 tablespoons of water and blend until smooth, adding up to 1 tablespoon additional water if the sauce is too thick. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Place a lettuce leaf on a sheet of plastic wrap placed on a flat work surface. Arrange a small amount of the cabbage, bell pepper, bean sprouts, and cilantro on the bottom third of the leaf. Bring the bottom edge over the filling and fold in the sides tightly. Roll up gently but tightly, using the plastic wrap to help you roll it up. Place the roll seam side down on a serving platter. Repeat with remaining ingredients. When all of the rolls have been assembled, serve them with the reserved sauce.

From: Carb-Conscious Vegetarian, by Robin Robertson