I just read an article about some parents who fed their infant a vegan diet. The child died of serious malnutrition and they are being charged for negligent manslaughter. The results of the autopsy were quite sad.
There also seems to be a large number of statistics stating that although vegetarian and vegan diets are effective in reducing the rate of chronic diseases in adults, babies born from mothers on vegan diets are more likely to have birth defects, poor weight gain, and impaired mental ability. My nutrition book says that babies need at least 50% of their calories to come from fat. How can a vegan diet provide this?
I also found this article:
"Long-term vegans commonly have low tissue levels of highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFA) of the omega-3 family ....
Deficiencies in these fatty molecules can lead to dry skin and low energy levels, as well as increased risk for: cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, neurological/behavioural disorders such as Alzheimer?s disease, depression, (possibly) ADHD, schizophrenia, immune/inflammatory disorders such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, inflammatory bowel diseases, psoriasis, and atopic dermatitis. Also, deficiencies of EPA and DHA can lead to sub-optimal infant development with compromised brain function and reduced visual acuity."
I found this at a website that supports veganism...
Doesn't this seem to just lead the diet right back to the rest of the US's health problems?
Is it perhaps possible that it is not actually the absence of animal fat from the diet that makes vegans appear so much healthier, but perhaps their dire need to adhere to a very highly nutritive diet to avoid becoming deficient in something?
I am not saying there is anything wrong with vegan or vegetarian diets, be they very well planned. I am merely saying, are they really all that superior in and of themselves?
I chose a vegan diet in order to lower my cholesterol, and because I have serious problems with the meat/egg/dairy industry. Believe me, if you had read what I did about the conditions at the slaughterhouses and meat packing plants, you would have had a difficult time eating meat again, too. My 7 year old chose to become vegetarian (I consulted her doctor, and he had no problem with it, as long as she had a good source of iron and Vitamin D). She has grown more in the last 6 months, eating a vegetarian diet, than in the previous 2 years. My children (I have two) both eat eggs and dairy products. My son loves vegetables and beans; my daughter not so much, but I have found ways to make sure she gets at least one or two servings of veggies and/or beans every day. They love tofu. They eat a ton of fruit. We never drink soda or eat candy bars. We exercise a lot. In fact, my son (age 3) has had some problems with pollen allergies in the last few days. He was pretty miserable, but insisted on going to his dance class, AND walking there. His argument: "I haven't had any exercise today, Mommy!"
Any diet can be deficient in vital nutrients if it is not well planned.
Sorry-I decided to rewrite my post and thought I had deleted the first one. Anyway, I wanted to mention something I read in one of the nutrition books my daughter checked out at the library last year. I was really astonished by it. On any given day in this country, the average adult doesn't eat ONE SINGLE VEGETABLE. Most of the vegetables that are consumed in the US on any day are potatoes, eaten as french fries.
Please remember I am only talking about nutrients, not ethics.
For example, the native eskimos which have been the focus of numerous anthropological studies are impressively healthy and robust people, with low incidence of overweight and disease. They were recorded eating a diet consisting of ONLY fresh fish and water (fish would be eaten plain, either boiled, raw, or rotten). They can ingest vitamin C from eating the fish raw, and calcium from chewing the bones. Their carbohydrate intake is practically nil, challenging the modern opinion about the necessity of grains and other starchy foods in the diet, as well as the opinion that animal fats are unhealthy or cause chronic diseases.
I agree any diet can be deficient in nutrients if not well planned. Certainly studies have shown that certain high meat diets can be deficient if not planned properly as well. So show me a vegan who has lived their whole lives a vegan with few or no health problems and who does NOT take nutritional supplements, and I would be convinced that it is a NATURAL route to health. As yet I haven't seen any.
Eating a diet very high in fruit is not good as it is very very high in fiber and sugar. Fiber is good but too much can be very bad for the intestines, and large amounts of sugar is bad for blood glucose levels. The thing is, fruits grown today have been bred to be higher in sugar than their wild counterparts. Wild fruits are very healthy in moderate quantities as they are smaller and much much lower in sugar.
The sad thing is, in the U.S. everything is so commercialized and processed that you are very rarely going to find any food -whether it be fresh produce, eggs, dairy or meat- in its natural state. Animals for meat eggs and dairy are fed unnatural diets high in grain, and given hormones and other supplements that change the nutritional quality of the foods they produce, and vegetables and fruits are bred against nature and picked before they are ripe enough to yield anything close to what they would in nature as far as nutrients are concerned. It is probably for this reason that the guidelines for nutrition is far from what would be required if we had to live in our own "natural human habitat", needing to fish and hunt and farm to be able to feed ourselves.
I would guess that the Inuit people in Alaska have probably evolved to eat a diet low in carbohydrates, since it is difficult/impossible to grow much of anything in that environment. The Inuit who couldn't handle a low carbohydrate diet died out, and those who COULD lived to pass their genes on to the next generation. My daughter is a diabetic, so I know all about what happens when the body is starved of carbohydrates. It isn't pretty, let me tell you.
For children who dislike most veggies (i.e., my 7 year old), fruit is a pretty good substitute. I get what vegetables I can into her; I know eventually she will like them.
As far as vitamin supplements, I take them as insurance. I believe most people take them for the same reason. Maybe vegans tend to be more health-conscious in general. I've heard many times that researchers can't tell whether vitamins help us stay healthy or not. Wealthier people are more likely to take vitamins, and wealthier people tend to have better health (more access to healthcare, more likely to exercise). I took vitamins as a meat-eater, and I take them as a vegan.
Cool subject. I had a cancer scare a little over 2 years ago. I had watched a couple friend of mine go from 6 months to live from prostate cancer to cancer free in only a few months. I watched how they changed their diet drastically. I knew that is what I would do if... I ever had a problem. Not knowing that all my minor problems would also be effected if I did the same as my friend. Anyway, 2 years later, I had my own crisis. Had to decide- taste buds or life. I had been researching very diligently those 2 years. I went from a S.A.D. to a 100% plant based raw diet. I eat lots of colors in my diet. Variety has been key for me. Let's see, my 32 years of menstrual cramps- GONE, 23 years of adult acne- GONE, 30 pounds of stubborn fat- GONE, ache in my knees while running- GONE, 15 years of yearly bronchitis- GONE, oh yea, cancer- GONE! I wouldn't have believed it... I was my own lab rat study. I look the best & feel the best I have in years. Many years. I have added a few cooked plant items to my diet. Still no meat, dairy, eggs, etc. No flesh or animal of any kind in my lifestyle of eating. I read "The China Study". WOW! Explains the why. The best book yet! I read "The Hallelujah Diet". WOW! Explains the how! I read "You're not sick you're thirsty". WOW! Explains the body's need for more water! I read "Senior Fitness" another great book that gives the athlete the why & how. I love it! I will never go back because I don't want any of my old symptoms back in my life... EVER! Life is exciting. I don't have to be sick. I didn't know that. I thought the stuff in the grocery store was good for me... not killing me... or giving me disease. I didn't realize the companies that were selling products were all about the bottom line- PROFIT. How silly was I? Wow! What a wake up call for me & my family. Life is good! My current goals are to be "Pill free, Pain free, & Disease Free" the rest of my long healthy life! So far so good! I actual look forward to turning 50 in 4 years! Now that is a miracle! ;o) Glad I was able to turn my life around from disease making to more LIFE! Thanks for listening to this veggie eatin' girl!
Love God, Eat Raw, Live Strong!
Good for you Chari! I have been vegan for about 8 months, and I feel terrific. I have lost 46 pounds and I recently ran the best 5K I've ever done. I've become much more adventurous about trying new foods-and the best part is that my children have, too. I have been making homemade vegetable soup, which I then puree and slip into my kids' meals (French Toast, rice, pasta, etc.). They know it's in there, and they love it.
I was vegetarian for about two weeks. At the time, it was the best thing I ever did for myself. Prior to those two weeks, I wasn't consuming any fat. I "went Vegetarian" and added a lot of nuts, avocados, olive oil, etc. to my diet. It helped practically overnight. So then I went vegan for about two weeks, and saw a drastic reduction in the quality of my health. It simply didn't work for me; some people need more protein. My body responds very positively to fish and red meat.
But I have two friends who describe themselves as "hard core vegans," neither of whom look like you might think. They're not skinny -- they're muscular and fit. One is an avid cyclist that can beat the shammy off anyone else I know. That friend "went vegan" for health reasons. My other friend "went vegan" for ethical reasons. Either way, the diet seems to be working for them.
If it works for you, makes you feel better and keeps you fit and healthy, that's great. It just doesn't really work for me, personally.
Sorry to hear the vegan diet didn't work for you, but I applaud you for giving it a try. I didn't feel terrific after going vegan, either. It took a few months for me to figure out my diet, but I've got a pretty good handle on it now.