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Is Your Vegan Diet Healthy?


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BeforeWisdom posted this in another thread and I think it's important enough to post again. There are healthy vegan diets and there are unhealthy ones. Unfortunately, you don't feel the effects of eating unhealthy for decades. Please listen to this talk by Michael Greger, MD here.

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I could use a whole lot more fruits, greens, nuts, berries and such. My diet consists of potatoes, spinach and the ocasional fruit like strawberry, grape and watermelon. But those fruits are really a luxury right now and are consumed at least one a week or once every two weeks.

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Yeah. Potatoes and Spinach make up my primary group. I get beans maybe every couple of days and try hard to eat nuts( Peanuts mixed with Raisins ) and I also try hard to get as much water as I can. But for the most part it's Potato and Spinach. I tend to add Tomato and Broccoli to the mix when I can too.

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The other day I was at work eating an apple on my breaktime, when my boss said : "that's all you have?". I showed her my energy bar, thinking she would change the expression on her face, but she didn't say anything and was looking at me like at some undernourished kid in Africa. WTF ?? Does she knows I'm eating all day long, or how many calories there was in that energy bar? Of course she doesn't know that it was full of almonds and vitamins and oligo-elements, etc.

The problem is, do you know what she eats ? a coffee and a cigarette. That's her meals most of the times. And she dares thinking MY nutrition is deficient because she knows I'm vegan. She wouldn't have say nothing if I had a double-cheeseburger and a big slice of pizza because in her mind that is what a body needs in order to work properly. Some people are sick!

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And she dares thinking MY nutrition is deficient because she knows I'm vegan. She wouldn't have say nothing if I had a double-cheeseburger and a big slice of pizza because in her mind that is what a body needs in order to work properly. Some people are sick!

 

This is definitely the prevailing attitude. People cling to their belief in the magical health properties of meat instead of just using their own eyes to see who's healthy and who isn't.

 

I work with a guy who's quite curious about my diet. He doesn't eat well, but he enjoys asking me what I eat, how I get my protein (of course), etc. The other day he said something that pleasantly surprised me: "Well, you're obviously doing something right."

 

That's the kind of statement that suggests an openness to new ideas, a willingness to see what's in front of you. The next step, of course, is to have that eureka moment where you realize: "I could do that, too."

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Can somebody post a summary? What is it that's unhealthy?

 

Katabatic, it's difficult to summarize a one hour talk but I'll try to do so. Be advised that I will be leaving out some important parts.

 

Dr. Greger has found that the numbers show vegans DO get heart disease and cancer (amongst other diseases) and DO die from them - just like omnivores. We may enjoy a bit more health until the point of death but our diets are lacking in some nutrients. The good news is that this can be fixed.

 

First, we have no source of vit B12 in our diets unless it's via supplementation. The B12 analogues in sea algae, etc. are NOT equivalent, despite what those trying to sell them tell you. Second, our ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids is even worse than the average omnivore. Additionally, most of us don't take a direct source of DHA or EPA. We need to decrease the amount of omega 6s and increase our 3s with ground flax seed (2 T per day) or oil (1 tsp per day) and possibly the addition of algae based DHA or DHA/EPA.

 

If you don't do the above 2 things then you may set yourself up for an inflammatory response (measured via lab studies by your homocysteine levels and c-reactive protein) which may lead to heart disease and others.

 

He also talks about calcium and vit D. Listen to the talk. Don't just go by my summary.

 

No one is looking out for your health except you. You owe it to yourself to become educated on how to keep your body working optimally. I work in healthcare and can tell you that NOTHING can replace health - no therapy, pharmaceutical, herb, operation, nothing. Some chronic illness cannot be avoided but most can. We make ourselves ill by our choices of activity level, nutritional intake and risk exposure. Don't be a victim.

 

I shall now step down from my soapbox.

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Second, our ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids is even worse than the average omnivore.

 

I don't really believe that is a correct generalization. Depends on the person I suppose.

 

I know that my omega 3:6 ratio is never more than 1:4 at the worst, closer to 1:3 or so.

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The other day I was at work eating an apple on my breaktime, when my boss said : "that's all you have?". I showed her my energy bar, thinking she would change the expression on her face, but she didn't say anything and was looking at me like at some undernourished kid in Africa. WTF ?? Does she knows I'm eating all day long, or how many calories there was in that energy bar? Of course she doesn't know that it was full of almonds and vitamins and oligo-elements, etc.

The problem is, do you know what she eats ? a coffee and a cigarette. That's her meals most of the times. And she dares thinking MY nutrition is deficient because she knows I'm vegan. She wouldn't have say nothing if I had a double-cheeseburger and a big slice of pizza because in her mind that is what a body needs in order to work properly. Some people are sick!

Thats just like my parents treat me. I think anyone who claims that vegans need b12 or calcium is a idiot.Its just a growing trend for people to criticize vegans.Because they don't want to feel bad,because we're healthier than them
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The other day I was at work eating an apple on my breaktime, when my boss said : "that's all you have?". I showed her my energy bar, thinking she would change the expression on her face, but she didn't say anything and was looking at me like at some undernourished kid in Africa. WTF ?? Does she knows I'm eating all day long, or how many calories there was in that energy bar? Of course she doesn't know that it was full of almonds and vitamins and oligo-elements, etc.

The problem is, do you know what she eats ? a coffee and a cigarette. That's her meals most of the times. And she dares thinking MY nutrition is deficient because she knows I'm vegan. She wouldn't have say nothing if I had a double-cheeseburger and a big slice of pizza because in her mind that is what a body needs in order to work properly. Some people are sick!

Thats just like my parents treat me. I think anyone who claims that vegans need b12 or calcium is a idiot.Its just a growing trend for people to criticize vegans.Because they don't want to feel bad,because we're healthier than them

 

They're jealous because they look like THAT and we look like THIS!!

 

(drop dead sexy)

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Thats just like my parents treat me. I think anyone who claims that vegans need b12 or calcium is a idiot.Its just a growing trend for people to criticize vegans.Because they don't want to feel bad,because we're healthier than them

 

I will pass that along to the vegan medical professionals, including myself. Glad to know that I'm an idiot. I am also happy to know that although all other humans have an essential need for calcium and B12 it appears that vegans do not.

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Second, our ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids is even worse than the average omnivore.

 

I don't really believe that is a correct generalization. Depends on the person I suppose.

 

I know that my omega 3:6 ratio is never more than 1:4 at the worst, closer to 1:3 or so.

 

Zack, this was a generalization pulled from research on vegans, vegetarians and omnivores. For someone who is a nutritionally educated vegan, I would not expect that your ratio would be bad. If you ate exceptionally well as an omni then you certainly could have had a healthy ratio then.

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Whadda ya mean? He's from New York already! It's not like Boston or Texas or some other ungodly accented place. (I'm originally from Philly so no busting on the Keystone state).

 

 

Texas is a biiiiiiiiiggg state, the accent only really shines in certain places

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