The Vegan View
Isn't it a fact that some people just cannot be healthy on a vegan diet, that it poses a risk to people of certain ethnic backgrounds? I tried a vegetarian diet and veganism for almost a year. While I did fine for several months, I found my health slowly declined. My doctor felt my issues were due to the lack of animal protein in my diet. After much reading on the topic I've come to a conclusion that only a very small portion of people can thrive on a vegetarian diet. I have returned to eating animal foods and am much healthier and feel so much better.
VegFamily readers reply:
Most doctors are not well informed about complete protein. All you have to do is have a well-rounded vegan diet and you will get complete protein. Dr. John McDougall discusses this matter in detail. Eight essential amino acids protein) make the rest of the 20 amino acids much like 26 letters of the alphabet make all the words of the English language. It is not enough to be just vegan. You can eat French fries every day using potatoes and oil and be 100% vegan and be fat and sick. You want to eat as close to nature as possible eating fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, and seeds. Everyone in the Bible before Noah's ark was vegan and they lived an average of 912 years. After Noah's Ark, God lowered mans life to 120 years and allowed the killing of animals. It is not wrong to kill animals for food. But eating animal products and sweets all day long will make you fat and sick. In this Country, nearly all the meat and milk is contaminated with hormones and antibiotics and factory farming has created inhumane growing and killing practices. There are 10's of thousands of written testimonies of people that have gotten well by changing to eating a vegan diet. I personally changed my diet from SAD in 2004 to vegan and my angina went away within a week, my asthma of fifty years went away in six weeks and I lost 40 pounds. After elimination of all caffeine and chocolate; hay fever, sinus headaches, reflux disease went away and deputrens contracture is 90% cured. So, go vegan, go organic, and stay away from processed foods whether it is vegan or not.
Glad you feel healthier as an omnivore. You might also look forward to traditional omnivore conditions and diseases, like heart disease and certain types of cancers. Read The China Study! People can and do thrive on plant-based diets. Maybe you weren't eating enough healthy and whole foods and maybe you were eating too much junk food. Maybe that's why you didn't feel well? I've only been a vegan for a short while, but I eat mostly healthy foods and I feel FANTASTIC! Hope you give it another shot soon.
First, I must say I am not a doctor or licensed nutritionist. However, people following any kind of diet, especially when they do not understand about nutrition, don't like or know how to cook healthy veg foods or have aversions to fruits and vegetables can have a poor diet and therefore poor health as a result. Of course, many people might have food allergies or certain health conditions that if undiagnosed could get worse, like celiac disease. Say a person did not know they had celiac disease and then went veg. If this person chose seitan and other wheat-based foods (pasta, cereal, bread, etc,) as the staple of their diet to replace the meat they used to eat it would be no surprise their health would suffer. Now, if they went back to eating meat and decreased the wheat foods in their diet and felt an improvement they might inaccurately attribute that to the veg diet. Also, many people have what really are health problems that are not debilitating but because they have had them for so long they think they are normal - they might not know or realize that these things could be markedly improved or eliminated by changes in the diet sometimes that is through the food choices, sometimes by getting extra of certain vitamins or enzymes or probiotics to improve digestion.
You obviously weren't finding the right supplements. You have to find alternatives that are right for you.
Your conclusion is at odds with nutritional authorities, such as the American Dietetic Association. Clearly, something was not quite right with your vegetarian diet as practiced. Did you consult a vegetarian-friendly nutritionist before switching back to animal products?
Honestly I think everyone can eat a vegan diet and remain healthy. It seems to me that people who feel this way might actually not want to be vegan and find that anything that goes wrong with the body must be because they are vegan. I think what your problem might have been was inadequate nutrition and probably not to balanced in diet. Alot of people focus on processed "fake meats" etc which are not all that healthy except for the protein. If you are taking a good multi and eating properly for sound nutrition they should have no issues with the diet. *Note* Daily exercise can help greatly with how your body works and how well it uses nutrients. Good Luck.
I find that most people who are unsuccessful at maintaining a vegan/vegetarian diet simply don't understand proper nutrition and how to substitute vegan alternatives that offer the same nutritional value into their diets. It's easy to look at the food pyramid as a vegan and say "I can't eat anything in two of the four main food groups. What now?" It takes some time to learn how to substitute vegan foods for non-vegan ones in your diet. I think the biggest problem is that people focus on what they *can't* eat, versus all the things they *can* eat. Protein is a major culprit of making new vegans feel worse after they quit eating meat, because it's what builds, maintains, and repairs muscle. If you don't get enough, you'll probably feel tired and unwell. But protein is actually abundant in vegan foods, if you know where to look.
I would suggest taking out one thing in your diet that's not vegan at a time. Immediately find a vegan alternative (something that's nutritionally equivalent) and incorporate it into your regular diet. This made it quite easy for me to transition from vegetarianism into veganism.
As for your doctor telling you that you need animal protein in your diet, you have to keep in mind that he's probably not vegan. Most doctors seem to hold traditional views of foods, just like most other Americans. And a surprising number of doctors don't understand nutrition as well as you would think they should.
I'm afraid I don't believe it's a 'fact' nor have I seen any peer reviewed evidence to support this. Diets like the blood group diet are full of holes and have not been through the peer review system, as a biologist and a vegan I am very suspicious of the fact the author won't submit it for peer review. Also doctors have near to no nutritional training. Of course I would speak to a doctor about a medical condition and they rightly know the correct pharmaceuticals? or treatment for various medical conditions, but a doctor is the last person I would talk to for nutritional advice.
It is possible for people to go vegan and not manage their diet correctly, simply because people do not have the knowledge. A well balanced diet vegan diet will give you everything your body needs, in fact many people following a well balanced diet report an increase in energy levels and the number of endurance athletes who are vegan are testament to this, just look at Scott Jurek, ultra marathon runner (he has done runs in excess of 150 miles), multiple champion, record holder and - oh yes - vegan! The Vegan Fitness forum is full of other vegans involved in endurance sports. There is no evidence that some people cannot follow a vegan diet, though there are examples of people - vegan and non-vegans - following poor diets that are not good for their health. Diet related heart conditions, not vegan diets are the western world's biggest killers, ironically peer reviewed studies have shown that whole food vegan diets can reverse heart disease - not that your doctor will tell you anything about this!
I believe anybody can thrive on a vegetarian diet. I think a lot of people who try a vegetarian diet and then go back to meat, either didn't give it long enough (and the toxins from their carnivorous diet are coming out of their bodies, therefore they don't feel that well), or they aren't getting a well-balanced vegetarian diet. Many folks just aren't educated on the nutrients needed that they are getting by default on a carnivorous diet. On the other hand, maybe certain folks who try a vegetarian diet and don't feel well are relying too heavily on overly processed meat substitutes. Maybe allergies are involved? Everybody is different, true, so there are many factors to be considered. I think if you're heart's not all the way into a vegetarian diet, you will not be successful.
I have been Vegan since 15 years now. I am 41 years old. Recently, I had a stroke it was deficiency of vitamins B complex. But, I did not give up, still fighting it and I will be victorious.
My tendency when first going vegan was to eat a lot of sweet fruits because they were convenient, and neglecting to get other good nutrients in my diet. Therefore, I had headaches and acne all the time. Then I started learning more about what it takes to be healthy and I realized that while many focus on a vegan diet being healthy, we should just focus on a healthy diet being vegan. Today I include many green vegetables, soups, lots of Omega-3s, sea salt and green juices. I understand my own body so much more now that I listen to the nuances caused by certain foods as well. Health is an important reason for being vegan because the end result is abstention from causing unneeded suffering in the world.
You probably weren't eating right. The first time I tried to be a vegetarian my health also failed. So I slowly went back to eating meat. I thought I was healthier. But I was wrong. The next time I went veg, then vegan, I read a lot on how and what I should eat. This time I ate whole grains, fresh veggies, especially dark green ones, and fruits. Not just pastas and cheese. If I do eat pasta, I only eat whole wheat pasta. Rarely eat vegan cheese either. Try to stay away from too many processed fake meats also. Since then I am much healthier, slimmer, more energy and happier. So I think if you eat correctly and cut out the junk food, anyone can be a vegan and thrive. Plus the animals will thank you for it.
Having been in the medical field now for over five years I would have to say two things. First find a Registered Dietician (RD) that specializes in Vegan diets. He/She would be able to help you find out what you weren't getting in your diet that you need. I remember having almost the same complaint my first year of going vegan. I saw a RD. I found out that I wasn't doing so hot on the protein intake. Once I started including a loaded breakfast into the mix I felt worlds better! Second, most Primary Care doctors are what their names imply., generalist. They don't specialize in diet. Do this and some more homework on a proper diet and see how it works out! Good luck.
I'm 16 and have been vegan for 6 years and have had no problems but i have had family who has tried to go vegan and they could not keep up with their health because they did not have time so they where getting sick so they could not do it so i believed that if you really tried to you could but if you decide you still need to eat meat and still want to help with animal cruelty then you could just put your meat to a limit
Wow! I am not sure what you were eating, but it was obviously NOT a well balanced vegan/vegetarian diet. Humans are NOT carnivores by nature. Look no further than your teeth for that fact. No capability to truly shred meats for digestion purposes.
At any rate, I would give it another try and incorporate more proteins such as nuts, tofu broccoli and the like in your diet. Chances are, you were simply not eating enough.
I think with anything new you need to give your body time to adjust. I have been Vegan for nearly three years and am bringing up my twin girls the same way I was very concerned that my diet was balanced for my children sake. I brought books spoke to other vegans and invested in a cookbook as being a vegan does mean you have to cook a lot more meals from scratch. But to end this I have never felt healthy my children are glowing and rarely are ill so I am so happy I made change.
I think if you would have eaten protein bars then you wouldn't have those problems and also I think you might have just wanted a reason to go back to eat a poor hopeless animal. But it's your choice. I can't change it. Did you know that there are more health risks to eating meat than not eating meat?
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