Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you would have heard the term “Vegan” or “Vegetarian” at least once this past month. Especially if you know one. Vegans and Vegetarians seem to be slowly taking over pop culture. What even is a vegan? What is this sudden trend, and why is it so popular?
Being a vegan or vegetarian is a type of diet people choose to live by. Vegetarians choose to cut out all forms of meat from their diets. When I say meat, I mean meat. That’s red meat, white meat, seafood and any other form of food that comes from eating something with eyes and a beating heart. Vegans also don’t eat meat, but additionally cut out any form of food that has been derived from an animal. Their diet is wholly plant based. Many vegans make a lifestyle out of their choice to eat a plant based diet, but we’ll talk about this in the upcoming blog posts.
Nowadays in society, if you mention that you’re vegan it’s either well received with interest and a good conversation, or you’re shut down and stereotyped. Consider this; why would the food that humans are supposed to eat, have to be so processed and refined to be edible, and when it is made edible, be likely to cause health problems?
Health problems you say? That’s right. There are a range of issues that stem from eating a diet rich in meat (besides the main lifestyle diseases of course, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol and obesity). A study in the New England journal of Medicine looked into the effects of the methyl mercury content in fish. It was found that a high level of mercury may counteract the cardioprotective benefits of fish intake. If fish with toxic levels of mercury are consumed, people may be exposed to neurological and renal damage, as well as planting a predisposition to atherosclerosis. This is a disease characterized by the build up of plaque inside one’s arteries. It can be the cause of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes.
Another major health problem that stems from eating meat is the strong correlation between a high intake of protein, and cancer. A recent press release from the World Health Organization, declares red meat as carcinogenic to humans. Their findings show that “each 50-gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.”
We have been taught that protein is the strongest building block for the human body. People center their diets around protein. They eat large portions of meat daily, in order to build muscle. Yes, the body does benefit from protein, but what people don’t know is that with the amount of protein gained from eating meat, their bodies are mostly storing this, as it is not a primary energy source, and the build up is causing harmful effects such as cancerous diseases.
A letter to the editor published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition explains the results of an experiment by biochemist Thomas M. Campbell. In this, it was found that diets with low protein content inhibited the initiation of cancer growth. They had discovered that it was possible to turn on and off the cancer growth by changing the level of protein consumed. Furthermore, it was found that Caesin, a protein that makes up 87% of cow’s milk, consistently promoted all stages of cancer growth. However, it was found that there were safe sources of protein. These were derived from plant based foods such as wheat and soy.
Now let’s not forget about eggs. A study in the journal, Atherosclerosis, found that eating 3 eggs or more per week is associated with a significant increase in artery and plaque build up in the arteries going to the brain. They found that the effect of consuming this amount of egg yolk appears to have the same effect as approximately 2/3 that of smoking.
It seems to be that everything we’ve been taught to be nutritionally sound is actually proving to be more harmful than good. Don’t fret just yet. It’s not all bad news, there’s still hope for us to regain our health and live with an abundance of food and energy.
Eating a primary vegetarian or vegan diet has been proven to work wonders for people of all ages, and has a proven track record of reversing disease. Dr. John McDougall is a well known physician that has been practicing medicine for over 40 years, with countless published articles, numerous best selling books and a message that is as true today as when he first discovered it. That is the vegan message. An experiment conducted by Dr. John McDougall and his team involved 1615 people taking part in his McDougall Program which is a low fat vegan diet, for simply 7 days. The results from this speak for themselves. In this short time period, the average weight loss was 1.8kg and the average decrease in cholesterol was 29mg/dL. For patients whose risk of a cardiovascular event within 10 years was greater than 7.5% at the beginning of the experiment, the risk dropped to 5.5% at day 7. Another experiment observing the effects of a low fat vegan diet, published in the The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, found that patients with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis can experience significant decreases in their symptoms by simply switching their dietary choices to being plant based.
Imagine a life with minimal health issues. A life with no pills, no need for medication and an abundance of energy. It’s not breaking news that the world is the sickest it’s ever been in terms of lifestyle factors. According to the World Health Organization, “Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980”. It doesn’t take a genius to realize it’s not from eating fruits and vegetables. What sounds better; eating meat and dairy for the calcium and protein along with the cholesterol, fat and hormones? Or eating plant based foods with starches like rice and potatoes at the center of the diet. Enjoying all the same benefits as eating animal products, but without the harmful consequences to the body?
There are numerous articles, journals, real life examples and evidence that proves to us, a plant based diet is the best way to true health. People that eat a vegan diet are passionate about it because they’ve been exposed to the truth, and want the whole world to know what they know. So next time your crazy vegan friend starts rambling on about the meat and dairy industry, maybe tune in to listen. The evidence is clear, and the choice is yours.
There is no way I could teach you everything about the vegan diet, and truthfully I don’t know everything there is to know. So do yourself some research and I can guarantee you won’t regret it.
Vegan YouTube Channels:
Timothy J Key, Paul N Appleby, Magdalena S. Roswell, TK PA MR 2006, Health Effects of vegetarian and vegan diets, ProCon, 2/5/16, http://vegetarian.procon.org/sourcefiles/health_effects_of_vegetarian_and_vegan_diets.pdf
Winston J Craig, WC 2009, Health Effects of vegan diets, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 13/4/16, http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/89/5/1627S.full
Eliseo Guallar, M. Inmaculada Sanz-Gallardo, Pieter Van’t Veer, Peter Bode, Antti Aro, Jorge Gómez-Aracena, Jeremy D. Kark, Rudolph A. Riemersma, José M. Martín-Moreno, Frans J. Kok, 2002, The New England Journal of Medicine, 13/4/16, http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMoa020157
2015, IARC Monographs evaluate consumption of red meat and processed meat, International Agency for Research on Cancer – World Health Organisation, 13/4/16, https://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2015/pdfs/pr240_E.pdf
T Colin Campbell, TC 2007, Dietary protein, growth factors, and cancer, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/85/6/1667.full
Hugh Harris, Ingrid Pickering, Graham George, The chemical form of mercury in fish, Seafood network information centre, 13/4/16, http://seafood.oregonstate.edu/.pdf%20Links/The%20Chemical%20Form%20of%20Mercury%20in%20Fish.pdf