I do not believe there is an argument with anyone who decides to be a vegan for philosophical, spiritual or ethical reasons, I do believe it’s important to consider and address the risks if considering veganism for its purported health benefits alone. Over 7-M Americans follow a vegan diet.
Surveys show ethical considerations are the primary reason people convert to vegetarianism/veganism.
Mara Kahn, author of “Vegan Betrayal: Love, Lies, and Hunger in a Plants-Only World,” delves deep into the history and science of veganism, revealing many often ignored facts about this strictly plant-based diet.
But as Ms. Kahn tells us in her book, veganism is not the only ethical diet. She also presents compelling arguments that it’s not a historically validated diet.
Mara Kahn became a vegetarian at age 19, while traveling in Europe. She became an overnight convert after meeting a young vegan woman who she refers to as “a beautiful specimen of humanity” and “extremely healthy” not realizing this same woman would return to eating meat just 5 years later due to fading energy.
Up to that time, she had eaten a meat-based American-style diet, including bacon and hamburgers. At that time, in the 1970’s, veganism was largely unheard of. It did not get a strong hold in the US until the 1980’s.
Ms. Kahn’s investigation reveals there does not appear to be a single cultural group in the history of the world who actually survived long-term on an exclusively plant-based diet.
So, from a health perspective, there is little historical support for the strict veganism idealized today.
“I did a thorough research of the history of vegetarianism. In fact, I spent almost six years researching this book. I’m a journalist … I love to dig deep,” Ms. Kahn says.
“At this point, it’s really important that we distinguish between vegetarianism and veganism. Vegetarianism has a very long and honorable history. It goes back at least 2,500 years to Greece, and much further than that in the Indus Valley, India and that part of the world.
It has proven itself to be a viable diet … [Yet even] in the Northern parts of India, the Kashmir regions, they eat meat because the climate is so different in the mountainous regions of North India.
Vegetarianism has a very long and noble history with verified health results. However, veganism … is a non-historical diet … Its health benefits are not verified.
There were scattered enclaves of religious people that lived cloistered lives who probably did follow a vegan diet … but these were very, very tiny populations, and we have no idea if they were healthy and how long they lived.”
From a historical perspective, veganism is a recent development.
The roots of veganism go back to England, when in Y 1944, Donald Watson coined the term “vegan.” Mr. Watson’s primary argument for veganism was one of ethics. At the age of 14, he had witnessed the slaughter of a pig, he was horrified.
So, he decided to stop eating meat and wanted the whole world to follow suit, despite having no training in nutrition. Veganism is based on ideology, not human physiology, Ms. Kahn says in her book.
Part of the confusion is that many vegans appear quite healthy in the earlier stages. This is not so surprising when you consider the fact that many switch from processed foods to a mostly raw plant-based diet. The influx of live foods will undoubtedly improve one’s health.
But, in the long term, the absence of all animal-based foods can take a toll, as certain nutrients cannot be obtained from the plant kingdom. Carnosine, carnitine, taurine, retinol, vitamin D3, conjugated linoleic acid and long-chained omega-3 fats are examples. B12 deficiency is also very common among vegans.
After 6 or 7 years, the B12 stored in the liver will be exhausted, at which point vegans may start to experience serious neurodegenerative diseases. There are many documented cases of blindness from B12 deficiency, as well as other neurological disorders.
Vegetarianism typically allows both dairy and eggs.
Back in Pythagoras’ days, early Western vegetarians also ate fish. Today, this “branch” of vegetarianism is sometimes separated out and referred to as pescetarianism.
Pescetarianism is great, because I am convinced that seafood is one of the healthiest foods that there is, primarily because of its docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) content, a 22-carbonOmega 3 fat that is essential for good health, as it is a structural component of human cell membranes.
If one has low DHA levels, it’s almost physiologically impossible to be healthy because it is an important part of energy generation at the molecular level. We need DHA, which is only found in fatty fish and certain other marine animals like krill.
I have read that there is quantum physics happening with respect to its ability to capture light and integrate it into your system.
For example, DHA in your retinal pigmented epithelium is responsible for converting Sunlight into vital DC electric current the human body needs. If deficient, the ability to generate energy by your mitochondria will be impaired.
Anchovies, sardines, herring, wild Alaskan Salmon, fish roe and krill are all good choices as they are high in Omega 3s they are low in pollutants.
By Pythagoras’ definition, I am a vegetarian.
I eat small amounts of animal protein; mostly fish. And occasionally, I qill have some Organic grass-fed meat or free-range pastured chicken. But meats are not a Cornerstone staple in my diet, and I believe most people could benefit from lowering their meat consumption because of the way the vast majority is grown and prepared for cooking . Meat should not be excluded because animal foods do contain very valuable nutrients our body needs for optimal health.
Organic pastured eggs are another source of incredibly healthy nutrients, same for raw butter.
If ethics and animal welfare are your concerns, I encourage you to investigate and educate yourself on humanely-raised animal foods.
Looking at the Mediterranean diet, a diet where the benefits are so strong, it is mostly plants, limited fish, limited red meat, limited dairy, all the carni-nutrients one needs. It is a complete diet.
It has been named one of the best diets in the world, historically validated for thousands of years and many generations that this diet confers long lasting health and long life.
On my “bucket list” write that cookbook!
On the other hand the vegan diet is not validated, so…
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively
Latest posts by Paul Ebeling (see all)
- Anti-Trump Demonstrators Camp Out at Goldman Sachs (NYSE GS) - January 17, 2017
- 2017 Arizona Concours d’Elegance Winners - January 17, 2017
- LTN’s Feature Stock of the Day: Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (NYSE:BK) - January 17, 2017