August 31, 2017
If you identify as a vegan, or simply wish to, you have likely caught wind of the plant-based debate. Here we are presented with two opposing viewpoints:
- Veganism will kill you.
- Veganism will revitalize you.
The contradiction is clear, and certainly startling, when assessing the long-term benefits, both health-oriented and moral, of doing no harm. But at which point does the contradiction begin (is there truth to its origins?), and where does it end (which side reigns supreme?)? Surely lack of evidence, as well as an ignorance to or misinterpretation of evidence that already exists, rationalizes one or both fronts. Experience may perpetuate opposing viewpoints (perhaps along with confirmation bias), in which parties on either side attain success in their practices, consequently dubbing their methods optimal and all others imperfect. Even further, the spectrum of individual evolution allows for fluidity in judgment; those that would rather feed into their egos than engage in honest self-reflection will undoubtedly devise justifications for their destructive behavior the soul simply cannot.*
The stigmatization of veganism as extremist and unnatural, when it could be anything but, by professionals with degrees in medicine and even nutrition bolsters the misconceptions those who have done little research on the matter love to perpetuate. Such professionals may lack proper education themselves due to the diet’s infancy, as well as the mal-intent stifling its furtherance–think meat lobbying and its trickle down effect–any “victims” they have come across have likely done veganism the wrong way and thus cannot speak to its efficacy, rather the method by which it has been adopted. Most vegans will be asked where they get their protein, how they stay full, and if they are sure their diet provides them with the micronutrients they need to subsist unhindered. Meanwhile, numerous studies highlight the propensity of plant-based regimentation to prevent and treat those diseases that the overconsumption of meat in fact perpetuates,** presumably because nature has bestowed us with the tools necessary to not only subsist, but thrive… In any event, scolding from doctors and loved ones who “just don’t think veganism is sustainable” cannot succeed the massive amount of anecdotal evidence backing it as a legitimate lifestyle, wherein blood tests, amongst other modalities uncharted by the average yearly checkup, prove otherwise.
For those who desire to marry their morality with their meal plan, anti-vegan sentiments regarding proper nutrition can be unsettling. Debates rooted in physical health (which invariably affect the mind) are highly contradictory due to credible assertions on both sides, which typically regard potential deficiencies. Those in opposition to the diet highlight its lack of B12 and vitamin D, usable forms of vitamin A and the omegas, and more; while such allegations are certainly valid, they neglect the ease with which common pitfalls can be avoided, and advantages of plant-based eating fully honed, when the lifestyle is assumed correctly. (Such advantages are unequivocally holistic.) The white-bread-and-daiya vegan may suffer due to poor nutrition, but so does the meat-and-cheese omnivore; in order to accurately compare the ramifications of each diet, we must utilize adaptations that are equitable in quality.
*Indeed, a universal morality does exist, and it is found within the soul, wherein objectivity (which allows one to “take a step back” from nir immediate conceptions) and subjectivity (at its highest, love) fuse together to formulate wisdom. Note that pure intellect, i.e. left-brained intelligence (objectivity), which Western philosophy holds to such high esteem, will not get one here, nor will selfish desire (subjectivity at its lowest). We need a mixture of both in their highest forms.
Only evolution, which endows one with the capacity to listen, to correctly intuit the soul–objectively and subjectively–leads to wisdom. Western academia is sorely lacking in this department, having traded dogmatic religion for dogmatic science, both of which stifle the individual’s capacity to learn about and from the innermost self, the soul.
A resolution to the recent uproar in demand of animal rights does exist, but all must uncover it in their own time–by getting in touch. Until we’re all evolved enough to “feel it” and “know it” (intuitively), an assurance that we can thrive physically and ultimately mentally/emotionally while negating suffering will quell any fears–or proclamations–that humans must dominate the animal kingdom in order to survive.
**Check out Dr. Esselstyn’s study Resolving the Coronary Artery Disease Epidemic through Plant-Based Nutrition or Dr. Michael Klaper’s A Diet For All Reasons
A few concepts need to be considered when assessing the legitimacy of veganism as an advantageous diet: the current bioavailability or concentration of nutrients in plant-based foods as a result of industrial farming practices, the ability of an individual to properly absorb and convert these nutrients into their usable forms (functional digestive disturbances may be present), the macronutrient content breakdown of an optimal meal plan (especially as it relates to protein), as well as the sheer volume of food one should consume in a typical day.
See this journal article for more information on how our crops have been stripped of their nutritional value over the past hundred years or so, specifically due to industrial farming practices (further research presents a variety of factors, such as a preference for breeding macronutrient-dense, but micronutrient-deficient, crops (2)). I recently saw a commercial for a vitamin supplement that gave figures regarding how many Americans desire to reach daily quotas and how many are actually able to through “food alone”. While the study this commercial quoted may have featured Standard American Dieters of varying degrees, it seems contradictory to, I don’t know, natural law that we should have to supplement in order to obtain all the essential nutrients we need, don’t you think? Whether we’re “supposed to” consume meat or not (my belief being that at the very least we can progress toward a vegan society with the succession of our spirituality and consequent desire to negate suffering), we should not have to contrive the means to our own proper functioning. Unfortunately, both vegans and omnivores have to supplement in order to thrive in the modern era, largely due to the effects of mass production (a premise that may be rectifiable in the future given that the horrors of factory farming become well-known, we stop consuming so much life, and the earth heals (20)), and in the case of vitamin D, because we don’t spend enough time in the sun. Plant-based foodies in particular must ensure they consume enough of the nutrients that require conversion within the body in order to be utilized effectively. This notion was far less applicable centuries ago when our foods were nutrient-abundant and thus we easily fulfilled requirements. Luckily, vegans tend to eat quite a bit more in volume than the average meat-eater (which those against the diet often neglect; think how full you get off of a bowl of broccoli versus a bowl of ground beef), giving us garden grazers a greater opportunity to fulfill daily quotas so long we consume enough food. The vegan with an eating disorder or functional digestive disturbance, like any omnivore, will struggle to thrive if deprivative conditions are allowed to exist.
Transitioning into veganism will not induce SIBO, nor pathogenic overgrowth. In fact, in The Essential Candida Cleanse and The Essential Parasite Cleanse, I argue gradually adopting a clean, plant-based diet will reduce inflammation in the majority by minimizing the intake of toxic foods (i.e. processed foods and even “whole”-food meat and dairy items) which contribute to improper levels of gut flora, perhaps even eradicating pathogenic overgrowth altogether if the body is given enough time to detoxify and de-stress, as evidenced by an increase in energy levels and clearer headspace, amongst other things. Veganism can potentially exacerbate gut issues, on the other hand, due to, for example, the infrequent secretion of stomach acid associated with high-carbohydrate diets (stomach acid specifically prevents the matriculation of dysbiosis in the small intestine, a condition known as SIBO), and ultimately, if one’s disordered constitution makes nem sensitive to high-FODMAP, high-carbohydrate foods, even with an appropriate transition; however, this exacerbation will only occur if homeostatic mechanisms have already been compromised. The body should thrive off of nutritious foods, beans and fruit included. It is only once trauma has disordered the GI tract that it cannot evoke the proper response even to healthful fare, nor can it, if depleted enough, heal itself in the absence of inflammatory foods. At this point the advice of a homeopath should be sought so that all whole vegan foods can be consumed (allopathic medicine tends to not be the best solution to SIBO, parasites, or Candida, if Western doctors diagnose these gut issues at all… they still do not recognize the rampant existence of gut flora imbalances within the population; they, in fact, overprescribe the antibiotics that cause it. Hence the additional rampant existence of The Altered Personality). Ultimately, if pathogenic overgrowth and SIBO are allowed to proliferate, and are not resolved by a clean, plant-based diet, improper assimilation will not just cease to exist. Malabsorption will continue to disturb the function of the body; for this, veganism cannot be blamed.
(Click the above link for more information on why one’s vegan diet is never the problem!)
If you attempt to remedy your digestive complaints with veganism alone, minimize the amount of stress placed on your body to detoxify* by transitioning. Doing so is essential to your well-being. You cannot and should not force anything on your body, including healthy living. Taking your time to adopt and acclimate to the diet will reduce your risk of actually hindering the healing process by creating too much stimulation, too much to detoxify from, which can result in permanently worsened symptoms–not just detox symptoms–a literal weakening of the vital force via a modality that would otherwise strengthen it with gentle encouragement. So is the case even with homeopathy: high doses of the wrong remedy have evinced illnesses that did not already exist, primarily in weak patients. Homeopathic remedies retain the properties of the original substance from which they are made; when potent (generally speaking, 200C and above), and improperly applied, they can do just as much damage to a susceptible individual, one incapable of effectuating the right response. The vital force must respond to, and attempt to regulate, stimulation of any kind. If it is rather powerless, acutely or chronically,** it may not be able to overcome and sustain intense provocation, even provocation in the right direction–a notion that, when developed, can help prove the existence of the vital force.
(Perhaps there are a few more premises in that “proof” which may be contended, but the exploration of stimulation is nonetheless a step in the right direction in the quest to legitimize homeopathy on the mass scale, ironically one of the most legitimate forms of healing out there.)
If revolutionary diet alterations are truly healing, truly eradicative of imbalance which lies within the vital force, at least to some degree,** they should be implemented at a pace that supports comfortable alleviation from symptoms. Of course some people have gone vegan overnight and experienced tremendous benefits; however, given my experiences and that of others who now believe veganism “just isn’t right for them”, I would argue your safest bet is to ease the detoxification and noted alteration of your gut flora because most people have such a long journey ahead (I’m talking to you, Standard American dieters). Notably, you will benefit from the time you have to observe and overcome the mentalities that correspond to your constantly changing, and constantly improving, physical state.
Ultimately, make sure veganism is what you really want–because you love animals, because you love the environment, because you do not want to contribute to suffering, even your own. Otherwise, it won’t be real because you are forcing it (oftentimes in search of control). Listen to your body and slowly reduce your intake of animal products; cut out meat first, then dairy products, then eggs, etc. Healing with veganism (and homeopathy, if necessary) should elevate you on all planes–mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual–not deplete you. There is no shame in growing slowly, if that is what you need. Likewise, there is no shame in acclimating to the vegan diet, just as you would any facet of your higher self.
*I don’t agree with claims that the vegan diet cannot incite a detox reaction “because the digestive organs do their job so well”. First of all, most people will notice, especially, I hope, those that transition into it, an alleviation of some mental, emotional, and physical symptoms upon going vegan, even those they didn’t realize existed. They certainly will with homeopathy. Most people are in a state of disorder, no doubt. They are at least a little less happy than they were as children, assuming they were blessed with a fine childhood, perhaps possessing at least minute physical symptoms of some kind accordingly. Is the lower self not toxic? Returning to a state of balance, of total health (as exemplified by, per the steadfast Western doctor’s preference, the alleviation of said physical symptoms, “concrete” signs of disease) inherently reduces the presence of the lower self, the shadow side. People who do not seek self-awareness may say something along the lines of “I feel better” or “I’m happier”. Well, what makes us happy? Self-love? Emotional wholeness? Overflowing love for others? Forgiveness? Freedom from past traumas and all the negative mental cycles they have incited? Happiness equates to the decline of inherently depressive, lower-self-driven, unevolved behavioral and mental characteristics, those that are negative and darkening, suppressive and blinding–as opposed to the enlivening, enlightening, obvious products of permanent growth. Learnings, the higher self, cannot be swayed; they make us feel oh, so whole.
Beyond the “detoxification” from the lower self veganism tends to incite, taking a look at the actual physical components which typify the transition from sick to better health should illuminate whether or not the body actually is improving the rate at which it detoxifies upon going plant-based. It must eradicate toxins on an everyday basis, maintaining homeostasis as best as it can; the question is whether or not veganism will induce a time period wherein the body must eradicate excess amounts before it settles into a more balanced state, characterized by an improved ability to function. It seems rather plausible that when an individual’s cystic acne heals as a result of nir going vegan, some toxins which the body had consistently attempted to allay by pushing them out through the pores no longer exist. Perhaps those toxins directly resulted from the foods (meat and dairy products) the individual consumed that did not agree with nem. Perhaps those toxins only became toxins when they entered the individual in question’s body. But it is also possible that the continued improvement of one’s symptoms, maybe not just within the digestive tract but the respiratory tract and so on, indicates that the food themselves, if not entirely toxic, hindered enough to prevent the matriculation of homeostasis in all areas. When foods that continually impede the body from detoxifying efficiently are no longer consumed, it may have time to tend to other needs, thus “freeing up space” for improved levels of homeostasis. But there must be a transition period, a cleansing period, a strengthening period, a re-balancing period. Because Western medicine does not tend to recognize or acknowledge the concept of balance and imbalance, rather “healthy” and sick (when so many states exist in between), it seems plausible that it might also not recognize medial states of toxicity which can be rectified through diet.
**An individual grappling with many traumatic circumstances at once may possess an acutely “powerless” vital force, whereas a sickly patient, obviously weakened, may be slow to mediate nir internal environment and the outside world, perhaps being near death. Both exemplify the types of people that need to be careful when adopting a plant-based diet to aid in their healing.
***I’m not sure veganism always eradicates the disorder that lies within the vital force. I chose this article because there is a clear distinction between healing with homeopathy and healing with diet alterations: you won’t need to do homeopathy again once you’ve finished with treatment unless you become sick with some other malady. Some people need to take their remedy one more time after their chronic treatment has ceased, but only for a short period of time–then the cure is solidified. Raw vegans who attempt to return to cooked vegan, and vegans who return to meat or dairy, sometimes experience the reappearance of old symptoms, suggesting that they have not actually eradicated the disorder that lies within the vital force. Furthermore, veganism often does not alleviate all of their symptoms, an obvious indication they have not fully healed.
OPTIMAL MACRONUTRIENT CONTENT BREAKDOWN
Scratch everything you’ve heard about the high-carb vegan diet, and remind yourself why you have likely desired to go vegan in the first place: for the welfare of all. Do not fret over how many bananas you can eat in one sitting or how much peanut butter you put on your toast in light of “keeping the fat low”. The reality is, you need fats in your diet to maintain proper hormone levels, to absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, and consequently to thrive. That’s why nuts taste so darned good! Fats and complex carbs also help your adrenals regulate your blood sugar levels; an all-fruit diet may exacerbate fatigue and associated conditions (brain fog, constipation, insomnia, etc.) if your adrenals are already stressed, if the disorder already exists. Diet can only save us from a disease process that has progressed so far, perhaps depending on where that disease process is concentrated… I personally love whole-fatty foods (including flax, an excellent source of vegan omegas) and include them in every major meal. I know my body likes the complexity; you will have to feel out what carb-fat-protein ratio helps you feel best (check out the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s food pyramid for tips). Indeed, your body does possess the wisdom to guide your mind in the right direction when the former is in a state of balance, or when you are at least working to find that balance… Making your way through any muck that might exist will open up the communication lines, the intuitive communication lines, that permit you to heal.
(If you come from a history of serious digestive distress, you may want to familiarize yourself with principles of food combining–the consumption of fruit on an empty stomach being uppermost–as well as the harder-to-digest foods, at least until your digestion improves. You can and should be utilizing homeopathy to mend these issues, however, which generally will allow you to eat all of the whole foods you want while you heal.)
In short, have fun with your diet and don’t restrict yourself to a certain lifestyle; restriction, when it does not give way to expansion, will only suffocate you further–beyond that initial suffering which in regulating other facets of your life you are avoiding no doubt. Again, listen to the desires of the body and mind. Grow by relaxing, living, relishing, not thinking. At least not too hard. Luckily the earth has made it easy to enjoy the magic of whole foods without much forethought.
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR PROTEIN?
This question acts as a microcosm of the sheer ignorance surrounding veganism and its health benefits. Protein is perhaps one of the most misunderstood nutrients, for which I offer you two perspectives:
- You do not need as much protein as you think you do (12).
- The vegan diet provides enough protein to fulfill the goals of both bodybuilders and their non-muscular counterparts.
keeping in mind we need less protein than generally purported…
1/2 cup of seitan = 31.5g of protein, while 1/2 cup of chicken= 19g of protein
1/2 of black beans= 19.5g of protein
1/2 cup of tempeh= 15.5g of protein
If you’re concerned about your protein intake, consider the numerous vegan protein shakes on the market, which many bodybuilders on YouTube (vegan haven) in fact advocate–although these shakes are certainly not necessary to sustain a healthy lifestyle. Major YouTubers such as ChelseaLifts and Brian Turner cite veganism as an enhancement to their body-building goals as opposed to a hindrance, based off of their “gains” (har-har) and how they feel when they exercise; this article in particular cites the health benefits of plant protein versus animal protein (whey is found in most animal-based protein powders).
YA MEAN TO TELL ME AMINO HARM??
Vegans need to be concerned about getting enough of the amino acid Lysine in their diet, which plant-based foods are not as abundant in as animal products. Remedy this complaint by consuming enough complete proteins; again, too many vegans fall prey to eating the same foods all the time and neglecting to incorporate the few specific nutrients they need in their diet in order to prosper. We may have to work a bit harder in a meat-filled, industrialized world to get what we need, if only because processed crap predominates supermarket shelves, but hey, we save a few lives in the process, am I right?!
The world will catch up with us soon enough.
VEGAN COMPLETE PROTEINS: quinoa, nutritional yeast, buckwheat, soy, brown rice and beans combo, sprouted breads, etc.
(I eat one of the above, and usually three of the above, every day without difficulty.)
NOT ALL SUGAR IS CREATED EQUAL
This one always baffle me; I hear it all the time: “I love [insert fruit], but I’m trying to limit my sugar intake, so I try not to eat too much.” We live in such a sugar-obsessed society that somehow the concept of restriction has, once again, extended to earth’s offerings. Do you think that Source has given us food items we have to limit the consumption of in order to be healthy, well-balanced, nourished, both in mind and body (so long as we vary our diets accordingly)? Let me tell you, you should not have to think that hard about what you eat. If it comes from the earth, and it hasn’t been tampered with, it should in most scenarios be fair game. I urge you to stop thinking about nutrition as some disjointed, isolated, narrow reflection of physical health. You are a mind and body, a totality of a being, with needs on both ends–needs that need to be nurtured with compassion for yourself, kindness for yourself, and the genuine desire to treat yourself with respect. If you want a cookie once in awhile, eat it. But I also urge you to consider that you can make some bomb sweets out of dates, oat flour, almond flour, and so on, despite what you have been led to believe by the Pillsbury Dough Boy, or your grandma…
As always, proper nutrition is compatible with enjoying your food, and enjoying your food is compatible with doing no harm. Essentially, it’s not that hard. Just like the “utopian” society we’re told is so difficult to attain (thereby hindering many facets of the evolutionary process before they are even implemented), with this and that excuse leading us to believe that some must suffer if the majority is to prosper (think war), that evil means are often necessary and even inevitable to effect good ends, veganism is as simple as refusing to contribute to suffering. We make the rules, people–me, you, humanity–and the ones that derive from our higher selves are always perfect unless they need to be reworked. In which case, while good, they are not totally high, but can certainly be made so with further insight.
HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU EAT?
This question strikes me as odd considering we all have stomachs, which ideally inform us when we are hungry and when we are satiated. Omnivorous diets may favor the “eat until 80% full” technique in order to minimize body fat, but the health-minded vegan will be able to maintain a lean physique whilst eating the way nature (and the body) intended (if you believe in that sort of thing). It is only those who eat less than their hunger calls for that fulfill the stereotype of the underweight vegan; thus, the plant-based diet itself will not lead to malnourishment despite some incredibly-misguided popular beliefs. If you fill yourself up with fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds, you will maintain a healthy body weight, unless other factors are at play (such as eating disorders or digestive inefficiencies like mine).
VEGANISM DONE RIGHT
An optimal life features optimal nutrition, which does not mean that the health-minded vegan can never consume junk food, oils, or refined sugars. You should absolutely eat all of the cruelty-free foods your heart desires; although, you will no longer crave toxic foods on a regular basis when you begin to nourish your body, your vital force consequently harmonizes, and is able to ask for exactly what it wants. The abovementioned “bread-and-daiya diet” should be avoided only because we want healthy, nutrient-dense vegans in our arsenal (strong vegans are more convincing). Eating vitamin-rich plant-based foods will induce this reality, boosting the benefits of your new lifestyle. You will not feel restricted when the majority of the foods you consume leave you feeling lighter and brighter, day in and day out; the realization that you no longer contribute to the widespread massacre of valuable life should sustain your soul-satisfying euphoria. Humans have decided animals are food. Once you alter your perception of what constitutes nourishment, the vegan diet no longer appears exclusionary.
One concept you should consider when comparing the micronutrient content breakdown of animal foods versus plant foods regards conversion. Certain vitamins require structural modification in order for the human body to utilize them; omega-3 fatty acids are very much the same. These conversion rates are not typically 1:1; certain sources cite provitamin A beta-carotene at a 6:1, or more recently 12:1, conversion ratio into retinol (see why the latter figure is unreliable below), which can be derived from animal-based products (20). This ratio varies drastically with the consumption of fats, even dwindling to 2:1 (3). Similarly, the only omega-3 fatty acids found in plant foods are in ALA form, which must be converted into EPA and DHA in order to ensure the brain and body function properly. We can obtain nutrients from animal-based products in their converted forms, but who’s to say that’s even optimal? Omnivores may eat less in volume to “gain” more of them, but what are they really gaining? The ramifications of animal-based foods exceed the ease with which some nutrients are obtained (while many others are found in abundance in plant foods, meat products being otherwise deficient). Rather than consume other lives to seemingly-benefit your own, concentrate on ensuring you get the most out of your cruelty-free diet. I provide plenty of examples below.
Vitamin A is incredibly prevalent in the vegan diet; however, the carotenoids found in plants must be converted into retinol before they can be used by the human body. Beta-carotene is the most common form of provitamin A found in plant foods, and has been shown to convert into retinol at a 6:1 ratio. This same article cites that the conversion ratio has now been modified to 12:1; however, it “must be regarded as temporary and could well change” (20). I don’t buy it, given that conversion ratios have fluctuated over the years and continue to do so. As always, please consult your thriving vegan friends for more answers. In any event, eating fat with plant-based sources of provitamin A dramatically improves absorption, perhaps reducing the ratio to 2:1 (3). And 1 cup of sweet potato provides nearly 800% of your daily vitamin A intake! A 1-cup serving of kale provides 206%. Considering most vegans can eat a few sweet potatoes or servings of leafy greens in one sitting, fulfilling this requirement isn’t that hard.
This journal article consolidates a variety of other journal articles centered on the efficacy of beta-carotene conversion, what factors influence bioavailability, whether fortified foods can compete with natural sources of vitamin A/carotenoids in terms of fulfilling dietary needs, etc. In particular, the section titled “Does Vitamin A Status or Other Metabolic Issues Influence B-Carotene Conversion?” mentions a few polymorphisms in the BCMO1 gene that hinder provitamin A absorption, especially in Caucasians whose ancestors notably ate higher volumes of meat than their Asian counterparts, who ate predominantly plant-based diets, and continue to do so (note the latter’s lower levels of heart disease, certain cancers, etc.; indeed, other factors lead to the manifestation of these afflictions, but being that diet is arguably the foremost physical lifestyle choice that contributes to disorder, it’s no wonder Americans are so sick).
Homeopathy can modify hereditary factors that contribute to malabsorption issues. These malabsorption issues are just part of a whole, the wide variety of defects all housed under one or more miasms inherent to each individual’s genetic fitness. Go to the “Proper Absorption” section of this article for more information.
VEGAN VITAMIN A-RICH FOODS: squash, pumpkin, sweet potato, kale, carrots, spinach, cantaloupe, broccoli, apricots
Let’s get this straight: everyone is deficient in vitamin D. Well, not everyone, but many of us are, vegan or not, especially in the winter. While it is true that more animal products contain this happy vitamin (although, aren’t all vitamins “happy” in the long run? A nourished vital force is a happy vital force), vegans can easily meet this requirement by drinking fortified products (generally plant-based milks), supplementing, and hopefully by basking in the sun. The majority of D3 supplements are animal-derived, while D2 is cruelty-free. Vitashine makes a vegan version of D3, which in this form may optimize low levels at a faster rate than a D2 supplement. Mushrooms do contain large amounts of vitamin D, and certainly contribute to adequate levels, but may not negate the need for supplementation. Vegans should ultimately consider the alternative methods mentioned to ensure they maintain healthy levels of D2 (16).
VEGAN VITAMIN D-RICH FOODS: mushrooms, fortified milks and yogurt
Do not ignore the serious ramifications of a B12 deficiency, which can permanently impede nerve function. If you didn’t eat that much meat prior to altering your diet, your levels may already run on the low side, again like many Americans (1). You must supplement with B12, either in pill/capsule form, under the tongue (sublingual-ly), via patches, nasal sprays, or injections. My digestive disturbances severely inhibited my body’s uptake of my daily B12 supplement, which invariably contributed to my anxiety before I began using homeopathy and receiving B12 injections. Injections or sublingual supplements are the best options for those that need to bypass the small intestine before they remedy their GI complaints.
Vitamin B12 is found in soil, which we no longer consume; plant-based foods, unfortunately, are likely not a reliable source. Nori in particular contains an analog that may block absorption of the vitamin, rendering it ineffective. Some nutritional yeasts have been fortified with B12 (they do not contain it naturally), while others have not. I do not generally rely on fortified foods for B12 since reading this post.
When choosing a B12 supplement, opt for one that contains methylcobalamin. Cyanocobalamin, the most common form of B12 found in supplements and injections (especially from Groupon deals…), is cheaper for manufacturers to synthesize, despite the fact that it is not a readily-available form, in fact requiring conversion into methylcobalamin, which ultimately leaves you with a remaining cyanide molecule, a toxic substance to humans. The FDA allows this crap in our supplements. Why? Because profit trumps morality (and small amounts of toxicity prove “ineffectual” in controlled studies, yet we are constantly bombarded by a multitude of toxic substances in everyday life). Might as well provide your body with the best.
Don’t try and cheat the system… your digestive system, that is!!
OMEGA’D, ARE YOU SURE YOU’RE GETTING YOUR OMEGAS?!
Omega-3’s are extremely important to brain development, and as a building block to bile, ensure you process fats correctly. As per usual, many Americans are lacking, including omnivores. You can absolutely meet your omega-3 requirements as a vegan (omega-6’s are everywhere) given your digestive tract is functioning optimally, given your body utilizes the nutrients you provide it with optimally; you just need to consume enough to convert the ALA’s found in plant-based foods into DHA and EPA forms. Many plants actually contain a solid ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids (think brussel sprouts, spinach, cauliflower, soybeans, tofu, broccoli, most greens), so fear not. I personally eat Mary’s Gone Crackers (not sponsored… p.s. nobody knows this website exists right now) most days to ensure I’m fulfilling my quotas.
VEGAN OMEGA-3-RICH FOODS: flax, chia, soy (tempeh, tofu, edamame, milk, yogurt), walnuts, hemp, winter squash
- Iron. Contrary to popular belief, vegans tend to run high in iron due to minute amounts found in nearly all plant-based foods (15). It’s the vegetarians who should be concerned, given that most animal byproducts contain virtually no iron and in fact inhibit its absorption.
- Iodine. If you eat seaweed multiple times per week or regularly use iodized salt, you should be fine. If you do not use iodized salt because you adhere to a salt-free raw vegan diet or use pink salt, you should supplement. Too low or high intakes of iodine can contribute to thyroid dysfunction (14).
- Calcium. Adequate leafy green consumption should more than cover this requirement; many plant-based milks are also fortified to ensure you cover daily quotas.
- Selenium. Brazil nuts, sprouted breads, shiitake mushrooms, pinto beans, chia seeds, brown rice.
As you can see, you don’t even have to be that mindful of your diet as a vegan in order to ensure you consume the nutrients you need. It’s more-so about ensuring you cover the few biggies. Vary your diet, focus on eating whole foods, remedy any digestive complaints with homeopathy if they don’t dissipate with your diet alteration, and you will succeed. Go vegan for the right reasons, and be honest with yourself about your reasons. If you struggle to find the passion within to adopt this diet, I suggest watching any of the many documentaries detailing the horrors of the meat and dairy industries. Your intuition will guide you in the right direction if you are ready.
IS THE VEGAN DIET RIGHT FOR YOU?
Is the grass green? Is the sky blue?
If you witnessed your beloved pet being slaughtered right in front of you, would you be OK with that, even if it was done “humanely” (by a human)?
Amongst the on-the-fence opposers that believe the vegan diet may pose some capacity to nourish those that adopt it, a phantom “maybe it just doesn’t work for everyone” overshadows its legitimacy as a sustainable lifestyle. But if plant-based eating doesn’t work for everyone, how are we ever going to alter a morally-unjust system centered on massacring valuable life in favor of harmonization? We have to feed our people, and no one expects our nation’s leaders to sacrifice our welfare in order to emancipate those considered lesser (not that our well-being drives most legislation). I don’t believe in forcing veganism on the population; I merely hope that over time everyone will desire to negate harm. But what if I told you we don’t have to sacrifice our health in order to do no harm? That within the context of the creation of the world respect to all life was made compatible with nourishment to all life? When conducted properly, the vegan diet can prevent disease by optimizing immune function in all of humankind because it eliminates undesirable facets of former diets as well as those of the industrialized now, lifting the burden of constant detoxification and minimizing the intake of inflammatory foods; mental clarity, increased energy levels, and a better quality of life will naturally follow suit.
.If you are still concerned about the legitimacy of plant-based eating, consider that, like herbalism, homeopathy, or any form of natural medicine [veganism is preventative medicine] that deviates from the accepted norm, the government does not fund a lot of studies centered on holistic healing, nor does it promote those that prove it superior. Corporate America, Big Pharma, and the meat and dairy industries are, in effect, the same thing, and they all have their hands dirty. Research is funded by government grants and non-profit foundations such as the Breast Cancer Research Foundation; considering we have a cure for cancer, it seems contrary to progression–and awareness–that we trust these institutions to have our best interest in mind. Veganism fortunately has begun to infiltrate mainstream media; as more people awaken to its health benefits, funding for studies proving its ability to prevent and in fact reverse disease will follow [the truth can be veiled no longer]. Until knowledge regarding its efficacy becomes widespread, personal testimony will have to do. Anecdotal information is always discredited, yet studies themselves are based on anecdotal information–just that which has been derived from a controlled setting (and may in fact be skewed by malintent (!)). Any quick search on YouTube will unearth a vast enterprise of vegan health journeys maintained by people whose sole intention is to spread the truth of their stories. In this case, social media is, in fact, an asset; knowledge cannot be kept from the people when the people directly purport it..
Allen, Lindsay H. “How common is vitamin B-12 deficiency?” The American journal of clinical nutrition 89.2 (2009): 693S-696S.
- Robinson, Jo. “Breeding the Nutrition Out of Our Food.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 25 May 2013. Web. 17 Aug. 2017.
- “Carotenoids.” Linus Pauling Institute. Oregon State University, 13 Feb. 2017. Web. 15 Aug. 2017.
- Craig, Winston J. “Health effects of vegan diets.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 89.5 (2009): 1627S-1633S.
- Davis, Brenda, and Vesanto Melina. Becoming Vegan: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy Plant-based Diet. Summertown, TN: Book Pub., 2000. Print.
- Davis, Donald R. “Declining fruit and vegetable nutrient composition: What is the evidence?” HortScience 44.2 (2009): 15-19.
- Grune, Tilman et al. “β-Carotene Is an Important Vitamin A Source for Humans.” The Journal of Nutrition 140.12 (2010): 2268S–2285S. PMC. Web. 23 Dec. 2017.
- “Halt Heart Disease with a Plant-based, Oil-free Diet – Harvard Health.” Harvard Health. Harvard Health Publishing, Oct. 2014. Web. 15 Aug. 2017.
Holick, Michael F., and Tai C. Chen. “Vitamin D deficiency: a worldwide problem with health consequences.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 87.4 (2008): 1080S-1086S.
- Kmiec, Michelle, Dr. “Can Vitamin B12 Be Toxic?” Online Holistic Health. N.p., 5 Jan. 2013. Web. 13 Aug. 2017.
- Knapton, Sarah. “Red Meat Triggers Toxic Immune Reaction Which Causes Cancer, Scientists Find.” The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 29 Dec. 2014. Web. 10 Aug. 2017.
Levine, Morgan E., et al. “Low protein intake is associated with a major reduction in IGF-1, cancer, and overall mortality in the 65 and younger but not older population.” Cell metabolism 19.3 (2014): 407-417.
- Mangels, Reed. “Protein in the vegan diet.” The Vegetarian Resource Group. The Vegetarian Resource Group, 2010. Web. 15 Aug. 2017.
- Norris, Jack. “Iodine.” Veganhealth.org. Vegan Outreach, 2003-2017. Web. 12 Aug. 2017.
- Norris, Jack. “Iron.” Veganhealth.org. Vegan Outreach, 2003-2017. Web. 12 Aug. 2017.
- Norris, Jack. “Vitamin D.” Veganhealth.org. Vegan Outreach, 2003-2017. Web. 11 Aug. 2017.
- Sabaté, Joan. “The contribution of vegetarian diets to health and disease: a paradigm shift?.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 78.3 (2003): 502S-507S.
- Sircus, Mark. “Iodine and Chelation, Heavy Metals and Halogens.” Iodine and Chelation, Heavy Metals and Halogens | Real Raw Food. Real Raw Food, n.d. Web. 20 Aug. 2017.
- Schepper, Luc, Dr. “Homeopathy: More Than Three Miasms?” Hpathy. N.p., 06 Dec. 2012. Web. 23 Dec. 2017.
- “The Sustainability Secret.” COWSPIRACY. N.p., 2014. Web. 02 Jan. 2019.
- Tang, Guangwen. “Bioconversion of Dietary Provitamin A Carotenoids to Vitamin A in Humans.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 91.5 (2010): 1468S–1473S.