Why being vegan isn’t always healthy

Switching over to the vegan side of eating certainly has its benefits. You generally eat more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, and discover countless ways of cooking tofu and tempeh (actually, that might be a downfall, since I really hate tofu). I’m not a vegan, and I don’t know quite yet if it’s truly the best way to eat, but I do know that I’ve had the impression for a long time that vegans, in general, eat healthier and are healthier than a lot of people.

Once I see an interesting idea or a possible new way of being healthier, I research the crap out of it. It is both a blessing and a curse, for it not only makes me more knowledgeable, but also consumes a lot of my time. So, when I ventured into the world of vegan foods, I found out that actually, much of what the American diet consists of is, in fact, vegan. In general, it probably is healthier, but it’s not always peace, love, hippie foods, and health.

Oreos are a vegan food. Cocoa Puffs are vegan (in fact, many sugary, processed cereals are also vegan). Red Bull is vegan. Apparently a “7-Eleven 7 Select Apple Snack Pie” is vegan. You could literally live off of Reese’s Peanut Butter Puffs, Red Bulls, Unfrosted Pop-Tarts, and Boca Burgers (which are highly processed and most likely contain GMOs) and call yourself a vegan.

This might please you or it may disturb you, but either way, consider yourself informed. I’m just plain confused, and a little grossed out. So, instead of focusing on eating things that don’t contain meat or dairy, I think I’ll just focus on the whole-foods, plant-based diet thing. I prefer my food to actually look like food—like it came from a plant or even an animal.

What are your thoughts on this? What does your “food” look like?


Forks Over Knives: No Need for Animal Protein

Invest in your health now, don’t pay for it later.

I recently saw a life-changing movie called “Forks Over Knives”. This film is about the surprising research that has been done on the health benefits of a whole food, plant-based diet. If you’ve ever heard of the China Study, which was a huge 20-year long research endeavor, you know that this research is pretty incredible. The research shows that switching from an animal protein-based diet (meat, milk, seafood, eggs, etc.) to a plant-based diet, helps prevent disease and aids in the proper function of our cells and organs. The Chinese have historically lived off of a plant-based diet, with meat (mostly seafood) in very small portions (think of how much fish is actually in sushi) and certainly not as often as our Western diet now contains. We know that vegetables, fruits, and whole grains (actual food) is good for us, but it likely isn’t as simple as eating 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day.

It sounds like a lot of naturopathic crap, really, it does. I was a skeptic before I watched the movie, hoping there would be actual science, biology and rigorous, peer-reviewed research cited. Turns out, there was all of that. I already know the whole myth about needing to eat meat to get all the protein you need (there is plenty in beans, legumes, nuts, whole grains AND vegetables), but what is it that we get out of dairy products? I bet you just said “calcium”.

Osteoporosis is not really about not having strong bones or not being able to build strong bones. Osteoporosis is actually a premature degeneration of the bones. Not only does our acidic diet help cause this but there is also some implication that too much calcium could contribute as well. If you are eating a plant-based whole foods diet, you probably don’t need much more calcium, if any at all.

See this list of vegetables that have calcium (there are a lot more than I even thought there were!)

There are also many fruits that have calcium.

Oh yeah, whole grains also have calcium.

Have I convinced you that we don’t need dairy yet? No? Ok well, many nuts and seeds also have calcium.

Plus, eating these foods gives you all of the other health benefits and nutrients they have. Dairy products don’t give you much more than calcium (remember, these calcium-rich foods also have plenty of protein and omega-3, so don’t even go there!).

If you’re still skeptical, beans and legumes also have a lot of calcium.

No, I’m not calling myself a vegan. I won’t avoid cheese, fish, or eggs completely, but I will treat these things as though they are delicacies, meant for special occasions and in small portions.

I encourage you to see Forks Over Knives if it’s playing in your area.