A Vegan No More
    By Hank Campbell | November 19th 2010 03:19 PM | 21 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    A dedicated vegan has to make a difficult choice.  

    She realizes, as most culturally neutral people knew, that nutrition is a shockingly inexact science and that the human body may react to a strict vegan style for one person but moralizing and posturing that therefore everyone else is unethical if they aren't vegan is not an evidence-based claim, it is simply one of good fortune that they don't get sick.

    She isn't going all Texas barbecue about it, just eating a small bit of fish or an egg each day to achieve a little more balance than she had before, but says both her spirits and her physical health are better.

    It's a cautionary tale.    By all means, try it, but if it is not working for you don't suffer 3.5 years under the artificial notion that's it's 'wrong' to eat animals.  Humans evolved to process nutrients a certain way and, sure, there is variation among individuals, but anyone insisting their way is the only way is probably selling you something.

    Comments

    the meat and dairy lobby are very powerful
    the lengths they will go to
    what a joke

    Hank
    You think they planted a shill for Big Dairy in the vegan community for 3.5 years and had her blog all that time so that today she could say it hurt her personal health so she had to stop?
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2628696/

    An egg a day increases women's chance of Type 2 diabetes 77% - men's by 56%.

    http://www.eatright.org/about/content.aspx?id=8357

    "It is the position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada that...Well-planned vegan and other types of vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence.

    Hank
    Well-planned vegan and other types of vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence.
    No one disagrees but they are not appropriate for all people.   That has been made clear in every study not done by advocates who are mapping data to the cultural topology they want to create.   I have zero issue with vegans and obviously neither did she, being one for 3.5 years.    But attacking her over a health issue - it isn't like she suddenly starting bathing in cow blood, she ate an egg - seems to feel like detractors hate fellow humans more than they love animals.
    Actually they are appropriate for all people. Your notion that "every" study has shown it is utterly false, and you know it. (I say this because, if you did see "every" study, you would've known about The China Study, Walter Willett's Harvard study, etc.)

    The woman is drawing ire because her own carelessness gives every person looking for an excuse to continue helping to kill animals to have just what they need. Sure, there are no facts to support her decision since all necessary nutrition can be derived as a vegan, but people looking for excuses not to change their ways don't need to do any more investigating as their conscience has been satisfied. She chose to make her decision a political one by posting it on the internet.

    Hank
    T. Colin Campbell, author of the China Study, is a guest columnist here, and you would know that if you weren't a fundamentalist kook looking for reasons to hate other people, so you focus on the ones who don't choose your lifestyle or who can't do it for health reasons.  It's bigotry in the simplest form.
    The woman is drawing ire because her own carelessness 
    I bet you blame rape victims too.
    Natasha had an iron deficiency/absorption problem that could have been resolved by altering her vegan diet to include foods that encourage absorption and taking supplements at different times. She did not detail her attempts to increase her iron intake and absorption through diet changes, because she did not try this. Why didn't she try a vegetarian diet that included eggs and dairy first before thinking she needed to eat meat?

    A Holiday Thought...

    Aren't humans amazing? They kill wildlife - birds, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice and foxes by the million in order to protect their domestic animals and their feed.

    Then they kill domestic animals by the billion and eat them. This in turn kills people by the million, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative - and fatal - health conditions like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and cancer.

    So then humans spend billions of dollars torturing and killing millions more animals to look for cures for these diseases.

    Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals.

    Meanwhile, few people recognize the absurdity of humans, who kill so easily and violently, and once a year send out cards praying for "Peace on Earth."

    ~Revised Preface to Old MacDonald's Factory Farm by C. David Coates~

    _____________

    Anyone can break this cycle of violence! Everyone has the power to choose compassion! Please visit these websites to align your core values with life affirming choices: veganvideo.org & tryveg.com

    "Any great change must expect opposition because it shakes the very foundation of privilege."
    Lucretia Coffin Mott, 1793-1880, minister, women's rights leader, abolitionist, peace activist, humanitarian

    I thought her post was incredibly sincere and well-written, definitely moving. Even though vegan diets serve many people well (including me), it's not for everyone, including an animal lover like Tasha. However, if she eats a predominantly plant-based diet with little bits of animal products, and it's what her body needs, then I think we need to just leave her alone, if not just outright support her. She's still doing so much good, and probably more now that she's got energy again!

    Hank
    That is the reason I touched on it here, since I am obviously not a part of the vegan community.   Any time someone runs into a health issue that forces them to make a difficult choice and expresses it all so poignantly, it deserves to be a broader conversation topic.
    not sure where you're getting the part about her only eating an egg or a small amount of fish each day - the first thing she ate was a steak.

    Hank
    You got my point.  She is not eating steak every day and that is what I meant about her actual dietary change, it is instead minor protein.   She is not a scientist but she got one thing correct - there is very little evidence-based decision making in nutrition because there is little science in nutrition.  Instead, it is primarily people selling something - ideology or products - producing data that reaffirms their beliefs. 

    Again, she is healthier not being vegan but she leads a darn healthy lifestyle.   This does not make her evil or a hypocrite, she isn't out there shooting cows from a helicopter and bathing in blood.   But a number of people regard any deviation, medical necessity or not, as a betrayal, which makes them fundamentalists and not people who actually care about health, society or animals.
    i find veganism and vegetarianism intriguing, being such interesting subcultures. But the fact that the first has born in the US and that both are really radicated in anglo-american countries explains a lot, to me. I am Italian, and my diet is -well- Italian. I do not feel the urge to change my diet nor for health nor for ethic reasons. I trust my butcher getting a good animal from the farms around my place (which is turin, the last seat of winter olympics), this beef is really good, doesnt leaks any water when cooked, no hormons are injected, so it's good to me. i hav a pretty little round belly, and i know its due to sweets and to the quantity of things i eat, but my blood tests are exemplar. I know a few vegetarians, and only one vegan: they are such only for moral reasons, they dont like seeing animal suffering.

    I wonder what would have been of these movements if americans and english culture included a proper food culture like those of mediterranean and other countries like india, japan, china or even erithrean. If the "bigger is better" motto would have sneered at as it has been in those countries like the above mentioned. If your diet had been eggs and beacon in the morning, double hamburger w/cheese at noon and pizza in the evening (eaten along with sodas and beers) for until your teens, no wonder that eating greens only for a long while will improve your health, you already stocked up all the meat nutrients for a lifetime, threefold, along with some unneeded things.

    My hubmel partial view would be to go back to the basics of feeding, following the examples of people like Jamie Olivier or movements like the Slow Food movement. This going from one excess to the other is noisier and solves most of nothing.

    Hank
    As I have said before, there was once a day when only the rich could afford to be fat and the goal of an advanced civilization was that food would be cheap for all - and now that has happened and one has to be wealthier to be thin.

    I think society balances these things out over time - if not, we have given birth to the first generation in recorded history that has a lower life expectancy than its parents because of the health issues obesity brings.    I hope it becomes common sense and individual initiative rather than something government does.
    As I have said before, there was once a day when only the rich could afford to be fat and the goal of an advanced civilization was that food would be cheap for all - and now that has happened and one has to be wealthier to be thin.

    also in europe and in the mediterranean surely there has been much more meat consuption from the WWII on, but this has nothing to do with having or not a food culture. following jamie oliver's shows, and my own personal experiences and those of friends living in the yorkshire, angloamerican kids are not able to properly use cutlery as the only things they eat is fingerfood. i wont go over the fact primary school kids are not able to recognise a potato from a tomato, or a district school bureocrat that states that french fries counts as vegetables for a school balanced menu. In the few months i have been in the US i gained 10 kilos, i found out sodas and beers were sold at the same price or cheaper than plain water, and then i found out a salad bar that sold their stuff at prices i usually pay meals in fair restaurants in town, and where sodas and beers were way cheaper than plain water.

    in my point of view veganism is just the opposite of the scale where the american standard diet is. Its a reaction to the lack of food culture that parents should teach their kids day by day. I wouldnt dream of eating my meal with a soda beverage, or doing breakfast with a fried egg and bacon. This has nothing to do with america or england as countries in themself, it is just a thought of the reaction this lack of culture has spun.

    This is rubbish. It isn't a news article, it's a made-up piece by the meat industry. Lucky it's so transparent!

    Hank
    If Big Meat would like to sponsor the site, I am all for it.  I can use the money to buy a big trampoline for my house.

    But, seriously, is that your only response?   Anyone who disagrees with you must be a shill for the meat industry?    Even religious mullahs think you are a little too fundamentalist in your devout persecution of unbelievers,  I suspect.
    Let's base our opinions on facts and science, shall we?

    The American Medical Association has stated repeatedly that a well-planned vegan diet is healthy for all people at all stages in the life cycle, as all of the necessary nutrients can be derived from non-animal sources. This is a fact, not an opinion.

    If you'd like more information I suggest looking at 'The China Study' as well as the largest diet study ever undertaken by Walter Willett of Harvard University.

    The science is very clear on this, and there has been no credible refutation of it. Dissenters are people who have only anecdotal or apocryphal information, and who in most cases are just looking for an excuse to continue eating meat despite the obvious ethical issue of paying someone to keep pigs in crates so small they cannot turn around, and scalding chickens alive in defeathering tanks. (Check out www.meat.org to see these standard industry practices for yourself.)

    Someone eating a vegan diet and then getting sick is their own fault for not eating properly. It's understandable to stumble when following a new diet, but it's also very arrogant to think that the problem must be not eating animal products, as opposed to simply eating different foods, when it contradicts all the available science.

    Since you're eating another individual, they have all of the nutrients in their corpse that is used to sustain an animal. So when you adopt a plant-based diet, you get your nutrition from a varied number of sources (or a multivitamin) and you get to ditch all the saturated fat and cholesterol found in meat, milk, and eggs.

    In summation, the only people who cannot thrive on a vegan diet are people who do not understand basic nutrition, either through carelessness or lack of will to find out, just so they can have a good excuse to go back to paying people to do to pigs, cows, and chickens what would be a felony cruelty to animals charge if dogs or cats were the victims. :( It's understandable to want to revert to the way you were brought up, and the way prevailing society works, so every possible fault is magnified by the status quo seeking to justify itself, but even a quick look at the facts and the science makes it very clear: everyone can be vegan.

    And where are vegans supposed to get their B12 exactly?

    There is nothing wrong with saturated fat, cholesterol. You claim that people who fail vegan diets are because they don't understand "basic nutrition". The funny thing is you obviously don't understand human nutrition and metabolism. Saturated fats and cholesterol are very important components of the cell membrane. And when you stop eating them, your body soon starts to make tons of them.

    If saturated fat and cholesterol were actually bad, and not a vital part of human metabolism, then your body wouldn't need to make them when you don't get them in your diet.

    You clearly don't understand science, citing a single study as "fact". I do research in biochemistry, and your understanding of science, and nutrition, is abyssal.

    You have been tricked by a ideological movement, not convinced by nutritional facts.

    A mammal, like a cow, contains pretty much everything a human needs to survive. If you eat all the organs and marrow, you are getting every single thing you need to survive. You can live off of pemmican (JUST rendered animal fat mixed with extremely lean meat) for years. try to survive on a single vegetable food.

    I really wish people would stop blaming "veganism" for Natasha "Voracious Vegan" Burge's declining health. Do you know what she ate exactly? What if she had been a vegan who drank a breakfast of chard and bananas each morning before spending an hour doing hard cardio in a gym? Did she add any protein powder to that green smoothie? Did she consume enough calories to make up for all that working out? What did she eat every day? How much ice cream, how many cookies? Soy or otherwise, what was she consuming? Veganism has nothing to do with this story. Instead, it's a very publicly played experiment in poor nutrition. It's only a shame that veganism ends up with a bad rap because of this woman. Recommended reading is her Twitter account. And especially note how now she feels terrific on a diet of bacon, cheese and eggs. Let's see how long this lasts.

    As a semi vegan vegetarian I do believe that as the nutritional professional associations have concluded in peer reviewed position papers, that a well planned vegan diet is healthy. You do need to supplement with B12 and pay attention to omega 3s and some minerals. That is part of what well planned means. I don't know what the lady in question's problem was that animal based food has solved. Perhaps she failed on the well planned part. An amazing number of vegans ignore the B12 issue due to some sort of fluffy naturalism. However, we all have different bodies and genetics and I would accept that someone might need a high level of protein or fat or something that may be difficult to get from a plant based diet.

    Most people I know eat meat. We vegetarians are the exception. I really appreciate the acceptance I receive for my peculiar dietary habits. It was not so easy back in the '70. Lots of people try out vegetarianism (or other diet styles for that matter) and go back to a more standard diet. Why criticise? I say let people eat what they want (Hannibal excepted of course). Traitors get an emotional response. In this case the militant carnivores celebrate her and the militant vegans condemn her. Beyond these blips, the trend is a slow but steady increase in the number and proportion of vegetarians and vegans in the population and an increase our acceptance and even respect by the population at large. And the ethics of meat, both environmental and in terms of animal welfare / rights is becoming more legitimate as a topic of discussion.