Monday, November 29, 2010

Another Ex-Vegan: Is the Vegan Diet the Best?

I am an ex-vegan. (I was when I wrote this.)

If you are 100% vegan, you may think: "I love animals so much; I cry about their scared, sad faces and their violent deaths. The rape of dairy cows and the removing and killing of calves for veal is so evil. Not to mention the horror of how egg laying hens are treated. Laying their own uterus! What did pigs do? Were they Hitler in their last life? It's violent and it's specisim. I want no part of it."

I get it. Is anything less than 100% here worth doing for the animals? Step outside of the passion and the ethics and the righteousness of it for a moment and think: What if some people just can’t hack it at 100%?

Can they still help end factory farming?

I say: Yes, they can!

It's very, very horrible, what we do to other beings and to the earth. I want all creatures to never, ever suffer.

But truth be known: I love people more than cows, chickens, pigs, lamb and fish and all the rest of the creatures out there. I love truth and honesty too.

Why do I love people more?

Humans have forks.

Yes! The fork wielding humans are the only ones to make a difference in the lives of other, non-human animals.

Here, as much as we should be compassionate towards non-human animals, we also must be compassionate toward humans. Do we love the lion less because she eats gazelles? The lion has no choice, you say? Yes, some humans have no choice either.

Read on.

This is not an erudite essay so I'm going to just go with the flow. Transitions might not be smooth. Fair warning.

I am an ex-vegan. I was a vegan for nearly 6 years and a vegetarian before that since 1986. (I had 87 in here incorrectly. I went to India in 87, but I stopped eating animals in 86.) At the time of this writing, I ate two eggs so now I'm not a vegan. Right!

Up to now, and currently, I have not experienced any major health issues being vegan or vegetarian, personally. When I went vegan 6 years ago, I didn’t lose weight. I gained. Instead of becoming a skinny bitch, I was fat and friendly. I’m still friendly, just not as chubby. I hardly ever see the doctor (knock on wood) and my teeth are fine.

I ate the eggs earlier today to prove a point and to be able to write from that special place of so-called authority that ex-vegans have.

Is the vegan diet the best diet for all humans and is it the most natural?

The vegan diet, or a plant only diet, is not the best or most natural diet for all humans. Although, at some point, it very well could be.

Some humans thrive on it and some don't. Some notice no difference. Some people’s health improves. Mine did. I used to have very lumpy and painful breasts; that is gone. I used have a fair amount of acne and also I’d get colds more frequently. That has improved. However, that is me.

Some people and their children get sick on it. Tooth decay, brain fog, IBS, fatigue, depression and other issues which my previous self (just a week or two ago) thought could be fixed with a supplement or two or three. That is not always true or best.

If I hadn't met a family just yesterday at the vegan Thanksgiving pot luck, 2010 in Santa Rosa, CA, with two children gestated, nursed and raised on a pure, vegan diet with supplements, I doubt I would be writing this now. I might have, but it was literally as if the Universe begged me to write this after meeting this family.

Both children were small but their parents were small too, short, so that didn’t set off any red flags. The oldest, at approximately 9 years old, had a lot of her permanent teeth capped due to tooth decay. Tooth decay! This is what is highly disturbing.

I was wrong. Wrong to believe and to previously assert that a vegan diet is good for everyone.

And so is Dr. McDougall, MD when he says:

In order to minimize your risk of any health problems, I recommend you and your family follow a diet based on starches, vegetables, and fruits. To avoid the extremely rare chance of becoming a national headline, add a reliable B12 supplement. By making this addition to a healthy diet you can’t go wrong, nor will you suffer from any justifiable criticism of your McDougall Diet delivered by well-meaning family and friends. Source here.

From what I understand, this plant based diet he advocates, and has staked his life’s work on and invested his very soul into was “discovered” when he put the sick Polynesians back on their traditional diet and saw their heart disease and diabetes go away. Their traditional diet of starches, vegetables, and fruits healed them.

To think that it’s a diet for all climes and times and all people is misguided.

Yes, I am well aware that he has helped so many people. I'm using him as a device to illustrate a point, so bear with me.

What if he had met some Inuits who were eating the Standard American Diet (franken food) and they had the same diseases (hypertension, heart disease, diabetes), and he found that by eating their traditional diet of marine animal flesh, some tubers, seaweed, and grasses, they reversed their heart disease and other problems? Inuits eating their traditional high cholesterol high saturated fat diet, have very little, if any, heart disease. http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2001/09/21/inuit_diet010921.html

Then, let’s postulate, he went down to Northern California and set up shop advocating eating seal seal meat, whale meat, and seaweed. Wouldn’t that be misguided?

Yes.

Here’s another one: Let’s say he met some Nanoran villagers, in the West African nation of Burkina Faso, who were eating the franken food crap diet and found that by putting them back on their traditional diet of millet grain, sorghum wheat, legumes and vegetables with a little meat protein and some termites, their health returned. Then he set up shop in NorCal and stated: Sorghum wheat and termites are the answer!

That would be misguided too.

Let’s get back to the tooth decay. First of all, how did I know what questions to ask the vegan mom? I've been reading about a few failed vegans lately and instead of being pissed (well, a little pissed) or holding on to my beliefs like some kind of religion, I mostly wanted to deeply understand. Deeply understand.

Love and understanding never condemn, but seek to help and encourage.
— Meher Baba

I’m only interested in the health issues the ex-vegans experienced. I'm not going to discuss any of the aspects of the psyche that gets wrapped up in the "ism" or religion of it. Essentially the disillusionment and the underlying philosophy when it doesn't meet individual expectations. In fact, I want to state: we don't need another religion.

I learned there is a good amount of tooth decay with children raised on some vegan diets. It happens with some adults, too, after they adopt a vegan diet. Particularly, a mostly raw diet. This is a vitamin D deficiency from what I could gather. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium for teeth.

So take a pill, right? Wrong.

Perhaps that works for some, maybe a lot of people, but not everyone. We are adaptable, but we all have different physiology. And it might not be just D, it might be that cholesterol is needed and saturated fat — yes, I said saturated fat — is needed for some people to absorb nutrients in their food.

Did you know that there is a whole host of health problems when your cholesterol is too low. Suicide, depression. Look it up.

Yes, I know Donald Watson, the father of veganism, was a healthy, British man who lived along time. He’s Donald Watson, not me or you.

Some people need saturated fat and cholesterol to keep their intestines operating properly so that they can get the micro-nutrients and vitamins from the plants. I highly doubt they need a massive load of saturated fat and cholesterol, but they do need some. If their own intestines are not operating optimally, they can get these vitamins from animals. Beta carotene, for example, is what we use to form vitamin A. If you are a healthy bugger (or your guts are), eating some foods, like yams or carrots, will work for you. You will turn the beta carotene into the actual vitamin. If your intestines are not working so optimally OR your culture has relied on getting A from animal sources, then it’s highly probable that you will not thrive on a pure plant based diet. You can adapt, but 100% will not work for you. Yes, there is vitamin A palmitate, from palm oil, I was just providing an example of how conversion works.

Some people can’t utilize vitamin K from veggies. Liver is the answer for them.

How did I elicit this tooth decay information from the mom at the vegan gathering? She invited my daughter to the vegan play group. (My daughter is not vegan, she’s ovo lacto vegetarian.) So I asked her how long her children have been vegan, (since birth), she’s nursed while being vegan. How is their health, I asked. They have very few colds, no ear infections, generally healthy. They looked really small to me and waif like, but I know omnivorous kids who are like that too, so it didn’t mean too much to me. Ahh, yes, no ear infections and none of the typical stuff found with kids eating a diet based on junk. I could relate to that. Then I asked about their teeth. Well, her daughter, whom she nursed, had a lot of her teeth rot out. Her second child, her son is much better. They started taking more D3 (not D2) and B12, from what I could gather, during her second pregnancy. Her son still had a fair amount of tooth decay. It was much better after more supplements.

(Incidentally, supplements were not invented for the microscopic proportion of vegans on this earth, omnivorous eaters are also deficient in vitamins too, even though they eat meat, eggs, and dairy.)

I had some tooth decay when I was a kid and adult. I ate liver and onions, meatloaf, steak, chicken, and pork chops as a child. I had meat every night and eggs a lot and cheese, cheese, cheese, and I ate refined sugars and steakums and Oscar Myer baloney. I did not have a lot, just some, tooth decay. Having that much tooth decay to require capping many of her front teeth is a huge thing.

While taking the vitamins (actually D is a hormone) helped the second, nursed child, that is not the answer for all people.

I've seen healthy vegan kids, I don't know if they were nursed or gestated vegan. One was the daughter of a registered dietitian in Florida and she looked half or completely Asian. The other vegan kids were on a hippie commune in Summertown, TN in the late 70s. I lived there briefly. They played outside (D3), ate Nutritional Yeast with B12 in it, and looked strong. The adult males worked in construction all day and the kids were, by appearances and my 12 year old eyes, healthy. I don’t know much more about this commune now, but they have a great cookbook.

Other vegan friends with no reason to lie or to exaggerate have seen entire families healthy and thriving on a vegan diet. However, some are not at all thriving. Their stories are written off and sometimes deleted from the forums. Is this a religion, folks? No!

There are healthy vegans. Quite a lot of them. I am a member of the veganbodybuidling.com forum and I’ve met vegan body builders, so I know vegans can be very healthy and muscular. Above all, the healthiest vegans I know came from the approach of love for animals, seeing themselves in those other beings, and they are not holier-than-thou food police veganazis.

You might be thinking, this woman with the dentally challenged children was doing it all wrong. But the thing is, she and her husband were doing everything “right” on paper. On paper. On paper, communism looks pretty good too.

From my research, I saw with alarming frequency, that most reported health problems occurred with some variations of raw food vegan diets. However, a very low fat vegan diet (with cooked food) also is one that popped up with a good bit of frequency. One raw diet that I noticed was not healthy was long term adherence to the Hallelujah Diet. One raw diet, or almost raw diet, that is NOT nutritionally deficient and is good for Olympic athletes is the Thrive Diet by Brendan Brazier. There is a variety of vegan diets and some are exceedingly better than others. The ones with fat are best and most healthful from what I could gather. Brendan’s uses hemp protein and hemp fat.

Some folks think, that just because the Bible says, and therefore God says, that in Genesis 1:29 to eat plants and nuts and seeds that it’s good enough to be healthy now.

Wrong.

A little information about adaptation explains why. Humans are currently omnivores with lots of herbivorous biological traits. Since the beginning of us, we eat what's around, basically. There was no shipping, fast food, or eating blueberries out of season.

If we could catch it and/or gather it, it was eaten. Inuits eat marine animals, which/who contain lots of fat and cholesterol. Inuits also eat seaweed, berries and tubers and some grasses. This is what is around them. In their environment, the Inuits fatty diet keeps them healthy. It is extremely rare for the Inuit people, who eat a high cholesterol diet and a high saturated fat diet, to have heart disease! This flies in face of the demonized cholesterol stuff we hear about. Last I checked, the Inuits are human beings.

Now let's take an Asian living in a warm climate who eats a diet mostly of veggies, starch and a little protein from fish, perhaps. They are healthy and it is extremely rare to have heart disease.

The Asians would likely have a heart attack or a gall bladder attack if they even ate one Inuit meal.

Both Inuits and Asians are human beings and on paper a balanced, whole foods vegan diet, with b12 supplements, should do the trick.

But it won't.

Humans are not machines.

I would also bet that the Inuits need the dietary cholesterol. What? They need cholesterol? Yes, they need it. It's an essential nutrient for some people.

It’s all about adaptation.

For successful, fast adaptation to a vegan diet, my bet would be on the humans whose ancestry was largely plant based: the Asians. (Like me!) They would fare the best with little supplementation provided they stay in a warm climate. The Inuits would suffer a whole host of health problems with a switch to a diet for which they are not adapted genetically. They would have to do it very slowly. Very slow. But they would adapt, if they moved South.

We are mixtures of DNA from all over the place. We are all different. This little bit of common sense gets lost in the myriad of diet information out there.

That difference extends to how we absorb nutrients and which ones we absorb. By the way, the ability to absorb or convert certain nutrients can be improved drastically through the addition of lots of good flora, or probiotics, from a variety of strains.

What is not a traditional diet for any civilization is a diet based on eating genetically modified, hormone pumped chicken and turkey, cows eating corn and chicken shit and feathers, fish grown in concrete cesspools, and pigs (my favorite) and all the other animals filled with antibiotics and hormones to get them big, fast. Most of these animals don’t see the light of day, can’t play or express their natural behaviors, they are in total misery in their concrete, nasty shit filled, crowded, stressed out, diseased environment. This doesn’t even begin to describe how factory farming is atrocious, systemic evil for the animals and the people who eat the animals.

Also is what is not a traditional diet for any civilization is eating processed crap like processed cheese, deli meat sausage and hot dogs with nitrites, and GMO soy everywhere. And corn. My God, there’s GMO corn all over the place. This stuff is not traditional in any culture, it’s a science experiment gone horribly wrong. This is what I call Franken Food. Let’s not forget, lots of sugar and, far, far worse: sweet poison neurotoxic substances like aspartame. I could go on and on about aspartame’s nastiness.

I forgot to add, that it’s not traditional to consume franken-dairy morning, noon, and night. Some cultures don’t consume much, if any, dairy at all. However, it’s not the lack of dairy or the inclusion of dairy that causes health issues. Remember the termites. That is to say, the inclusion of termites keeps the people in the village in Africa healthy. The termites, by the way, have B12. The inclusion of high amounts of marine animal blubber keeps the Inuits healthy. It's highly probably that the inclusion of clean, natural dairy in a peoples accustomed to it, will derive health benefits from it. The removal of dairy helped me, but its inclusion might help another. There's no cookie cutter diet for everyone.

Whether someone is healthy or not on a vegan diet, I suppose, is a mixture of physiology and attitude, and good intestinal health.

Are your ancestors Inuit? Are they Asian? Before Factory Farmed meat and Franken Food, what did they eat to be healthy and work in the fields? Do you work in the fields? Do you exercise a lot? Are you in doors a lot? Get any sunlight?

People are, by and large, I’m sad to say, herd animals. Sheeple is the term I use. This country outsources jobs but many of us outsource thinking.

Instead of using common sense, looking at what our individual, particular ancestors ate and more importantly what we optimally feel good and thrive eating in our current environment and mode of life, we go running after this diet and that diet as the "perfect diet".

Or we are so appalled at how this world treats animals, we want zero part of that holocaust*.

Or we want to be a skinny beeatch.

What I’ve attempted to address, so far, is that humans are adaptable and the optimum diet for each individual is likely to be a traditional one that their particular ancestors ate taking into consideration current occupation, exercise, and outdoor time as well as locale. Of course this traditional diet didn’t include include factory farmed animal meat or high fructose corn syrup, for example.

Even if your ancestors ate meat, eggs, and dairy, you can still be healthy on a vegan diet. Adaptation is the key to why. While we won’t adapt to factory farmed meat and franken food, we can adapt to eating a mostly plant based diet and be perfectly healthy, by doing it very, very slowly.

Here’s an analogy: Cow’s milk is not something that Asians consume very much. In fact many people are intolerant to it. It’s something we have adapted to eating and we can also un-adapt to it.

If you want to see the end of factory farming, you have to vote with your dollars. You can support your local farmers and get meat, eggs, and dairy from them, hunt, raise your own animals, keep some chickens for eggs, or you can start eating a plant based diet.

If you are not doing well on your current vegan diet, stop and start over again more slowly. Do this over the course of a few years, perhaps longer or shorter depending on how you feel. Another option is just use the minimum animal products that you need to have good health.

My mother, who is Caucasian, is doing fine with a little fish, a little dairy, and some 7 bucks a dozen eggs here and there. She did this over time, not immediately. She is appalled by factory farming.

If your ancestors ate a lot of meat, they likely worked hard all day long outside in the fields. Do you?

Just because you are not in the pure vegan club, doesn’t mean you’re not any less important to the animals. You can make a HUGE difference. Perhaps even more of a difference than a pure, holier-than-thou vegan. Yes, you do make more of a difference than them. They can keep their religion, let’s help animals!

If your goal is to become vegan or quasi-vegan and you feel tons better eating meat, eat it from pasture raised animals fed their natural diets and sunshine and fresh air. And cut back a little per month over the course of a few years. Then you can experience that your own body can adapt to fewer and fewer and eventually no animal products without harmful side effects. And take probiotics too. I think they are under recognized for their amazing health benefits. You need to also make sure that essential nutrients are being eaten and absorbed. So even if you can’t become 100% and only 70% (for example), don’t worry.

That is: even if you have to keep eating a little meat or eggs your entire life, you don’t have to be perfect to seriously stick it to factory farming.

And stick to factory farming we must!

I have adapted to not eating dairy. I stopped producing lactase, I am now lactose intolerant after 6 years as a vegan. I had some cream in some Chai by accident and I got the classic symptoms. My body lost this adaptation because it wasn't necessary. I can get it back too. Your body will adapt to what you want to do: which I hope is eating fewer and fewer animals and their products.

Just because in the West the traditional diet includes pastured animals, butter, cream, and eggs this doesn't mean it will always be that way.

We adapt.

I hope and pray that some day everyone won't eat animals and use them as slaves anymore. Gene Roddenberry of Star Trek hoped so too. And, before him, H.G. Wells wrote:

"In all the round world of utopia there is no meat. There used to be. But now we cannot stand the thought of slaughterhouses. And in a population that is all educated and at about the same level of physical refinement, it is practically impossible to find anyone who will hew a dead ox or pig. We never settled the hygienic aspect of meat-eating at all. This other aspect decided us. I can still remember as a boy the rejoicings over the closing of the last slaughterhouse." — H.G. Wells

Since we are highly adaptable animals, we humans with the forks, we can adapt to veganism or a modified version of it. We won’t ever adapt to franken food and factory farmed meat. It’s prevalence is one reason why there’s so much more dietary related disease. Stress is another factor contributing to the explosion of a number of diseases. That is another topic.

My point is that we can adapt to eating a plant based diet or a mostly plant based diet. It is not wise or healthy to ignore our individual differences and simply drop meat and all animal products without consideration for our individual genetic constitutions. We can adapt to eating mostly plants. Faster for some, slower for others.

I want healthy vegans and partial vegans and meat eaters who don’t eat meat from factory farms!

In closing I want to say:

THINK FOR YOURSELF!

I might be a great person and all, but you must think for yourself. Research all the stuff I’ve written.

*The word "holocaust" is defined as "destruction or slaughter on a mass scale." In modern times, the word is applied most often to the plight of European Jews at the hands of Hitler, but the word was not invented for this event.

Even so, to compare the slaughter of non-human animals to the slaughter of humans is not to degrade the deaths of humans but to dignify the deaths of non humans.

This is a was said by Dan Piraro in his blog comments. Dan is the absolutely brilliant cartoonist behind Bizarro. He’s a vegan who has not suffered from brain fog or any diminished neuron activity, the man is a genius.

22 comments:

  1. I found parts of this article interesting and others misguided.
    In particular, you need to provide academic, peer-reviewed sources for some of your claims. Your hypothesis that nutritional needs are highly dependent on ethnic and genetic background sounds interesting, but where are your sources? I know that some studies have shown that African Americans don't produce vitamin D as efficiently from sunlight as people with a European background, but I haven't heard of anything beyond that. Where is your source that Inuits on a traditional Inuit diet have "very little, if any, heart disease"? If their heart disease rates are in fact lower, I would suspect it is due to a better omega 6-to-omega 3 ratio since they eat so much fish, but that is true for anyone, not just Inuit people, and there's no reason why vegans can't achieve a good omega 6-to-omega 3 ratio as well, if they put their minds to it.

    I find your point "They can keep their religion, let's help animals!" to be a good one, but I hope people don't read this article and use it to justify eating animal products by the fact their ancestors ate them, because that makes no sense, or at least, the your article doesn't provide any evidence for it.

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  2. Traditional Inuit Diet:

    http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2001/09/21/inuit_diet010921.html

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  3. Some of the links used for my hypothesis are now a blog post and I will add more as time allows. I have a lot of regular work this week, so we'll see. Research yourself and come up with your own. Look at the "enemy's" forums for ex-vegans see their health issues, ignore the stuff about their religion (the one on Nourishing Traditions that is recommended by the Weston Price folks). They may have a point. The thing is that everyone really digs being right, so finding information devoid of agenda and staying right is pretty difficult. Once that is possible, then maybe some improvements will happen. My theory is based on reading a whole bunch, common sense and a separation of the ism from the vegan. And adaptation is possible for all, so it's not like those who are genetically are predisposed to requiring animal sources, can't adapt slowly. I hope they do because of love of animals, but not for some purity or religion. But even if they still eat meat, they can still make a HUGE difference in ending factory farming. Perhaps much, much more of a difference than righteous vegans.

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  4. I just emerged from nanowrimo a couple days ago, and discovered all this ex-vegan stuff when catching up with the blogs I read. Very interesting. Like you, I'm keeping a critical but also open mind while reading it all.

    I agree that if the goal is to reduce (or even eradicate) animal suffering, then we've got to attack the issue from every angle possible. Fundamentalist-vegans aren't doing a very effective job at this, in my opinion. I get where they're coming from, but I just don't think there are very many people on the planet who will make the switch. I think reduced-meat-eating has the potential to do more good.

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  5. Really with the fundies, there are people not going vegan just because they don't want to be associated with a sort of cult or religion. So yes, reduction and encouraging empathy and just focusing on factory farming issues has more potential. It won't hurt since hardly anyone goes vegan.

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  7. Hey Christina,

    I'm on veganbodybuilding as well. I'm vegimator. What's your screen name on there if you don't mind my asking?

    I'm interested in this blog partly because my brother is an ex-vegan who has seemingly made it his life's work to attack veganism (he is the author of the letthemeatmeat blog and a manuscript he's currently shopping around).

    One thing about the traditional Inuit diet - it results in low LDL and high HDL but high incidence of stroke and heart failure regardless.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19800772

    It's surely better than a modern SAD full of refined grains and sugar though.

    I do agree though that attacking people for making changes that they think they need to make for their health is wrong and not helping animals.

    Keep exploring. This is the kind of ex-vegan blog I wish my brother wrote.

    Miles

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  8. Hey Miles,

    Did you check out the link that I provided in the study. We have no idea what the controls were for the ncbi study you provided, but further research for me was that when the Inuits started incorporating modern foods along with their traditional foods, then things got really horrible. I like Rhys, he has a lot of insight. Don't worry, he's got a good heart and he's really, really funny.

    Check out the other links on this site regarding the need for balanced Aminos. A lot of what your brother went through could be linked to improper amino balance. But what do I know?

    I was taking just the brown rice powder and that is low in l-lysine compared to l-arginine, NO WONDER Brendan Brazier's blend is a mixture of pea, rice, and hemp to get complete profile that is balanced. I'm dropSoul on the boards, haven't been there in a while (just lurking). I saw Robert at the World Veg Fest! So cool! I saw Brendan last week or the week before last.

    I met a woman at that talk who craves meat all the time and she has some of the physical attributes to that SLOS genetic disorder which requires dietary cholesterol.

    Peace!

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  9. Oof, I just wrote a really really long reply Christina but it got lost when I hit submit. Anyway, here's the short version.

    I think you could be onto something about low cholesterol and depression but SLOS only affects 1 in 20,000-40,000 people and

    "This condition is characterized by distinctive facial features, small head size (microcephaly), mental retardation or learning disabilities, and behavioral problems. Malformations of the heart, lungs, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, and genitalia, hypocholesterolemia, and paleness are also common. Infants with Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome have weak muscle tone (hypotonia), experience feeding difficulties, and tend to grow more slowly than other infants. Most affected individuals have fused second and third toes (syndactyly), and some have extra fingers or toes (polydactyly)."

    I feel like these people would be pretty easy to spot and don't pose much of a threat to veganism's generally sound nutrition.

    About the inuit news article you linked to. It's only about the positive blood markers associated with a high omega 3 inuit diet (which is a well known correlation). Here's the study.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11566644

    Despite the good cholesterol numbers, heart disease mortality is as high or higher in the inuits as in populations consuming Westernized diets.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20548980
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19800772
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16277122

    Finally, the amino acid thing strikes me as unlikely since people always have and always will have rather different amino acid consumption ratios even if they eat meat. It depends how much meat they eat, what type and the same is of course true of vegans. Pumpkin seed protein for instance is very close to the amino acid composition of whey protein. Closer than the protein from most cuts of beef actually.

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  10. Yes, but there's an estimated 1 in 30 people who are carriers, so I bet there's varying degrees of this in certain people. Plus there are varying degrees of intestinal health and genetics too.

    That was just a guess on the amino acid consumption re: Rhys. I was just taking a swing at it. But it could have been just a part of it, too many grains not enough legumes. I just re-read his story fully yesterday. Eczema can be exacerbated by vegan staples such a soy and wheat/seitan. Excema could also be a symptom of leaky gut syndrome where one can't absorb nutrients from his food well enough as well as other health issues. I think he was also limiting fat, you need fat to absorb nutrients. His tooth decay is indicative of being on a low fat diet. He was literally starving for nutrition. He needed a really nutrient dense source of protein and other vitamins and minerals that wasn't an allergen, alas meat. Plus, his hair loss was likely an iodine depletion, eating certain raw veggies and soy deplete iodine and you're sleepy, lose hair, and have some restless leg too (though I got to look that up again). And the nose bleeds indicate that he wasn't able to get the K from veggies, and absorbing this pro-vitamin and turning it into K in his own body, no wonder he is drawn to liver.

    Plus, there may be other reasons, but this is what I have seen so far as basic pitfalls of listening to the vegan guru MDs but he does have that eczema which could mean that he would have a very, very, very hard time being a vegan. Which he did.

    You can read the latest posts on tooth decay and see why it's so important to eat fat with your veggies to absorb the nutrients. Why there's gray teeth and rotten teeth (vitamin D shortage). If I hadn't moved from FL where the vegans are freaking healthy as hell, and seen the dried skin, tooth decayed, lot here, I would have been in my little bubble. Remember MacDougall is the God here in Santa Rosa and he's all low fat and all we need is starch. WTF?

    Check this one out:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18774134

    My assumption is that not only are they eating their tradition food, they're also incorporating some Western food. But even if they were just eating their traditional diet, the amount of pollutants in the animals they consume has skyrocketed and so they might be seeing the effects of nutritional stress, which Brazier discusses, which contributes to cortisol and inflammation and then CVD.

    Plus, after 1920, traditional living Inuit became harder to find, so I don't know who they were testing on or basing their study on. Stressed out people with Inuit ancestry but with sugar, wheat, and other modern Western foods?

    http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2008/07/cancer-among-inuit.html
    Field physicians in the arctic noted that the Inuit were a remarkably healthy people. While they suffered from a tragic susceptibility to European communicable diseases, they did not develop the chronic diseases we now view as part of being human: tooth decay, overweight, heart attacks, appendicitis, constipation, diabetes and cancer. When word reached American and European physicians that the Inuit did not develop cancer, a number of them decided to mount an active search for it. This search began in the 1850s and tapered off in the 1920s, as traditionally-living Inuit became difficult to find.

    Actually, I hope in the near future, it will be found that sugar causes heart disease and, most especially, high fructose corn syrup. But for now, the everyone can be brainwashed.

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  11. Yes, but there's an estimated 1 in 30 people who are carriers, so I bet there's varying degrees of this, just as there's varying degrees of people with tendencies toward high cholesterol.

    That was just a guess on the amino acid consumption re: Rhys. I was just taking a swing at it. But it could have been just a part of it, too many grains not enough legumes. I just re-read his story fully. Eczema can be exacerbated by vegan staples such a soy and wheat/seitan. Eczema could also be a symptom of leaky gut syndrome where one can't absorb nutrients from his food. I think he was also limiting fat, you need fat to absorb nutrients. His tooth decay is indicative of being on a low fat diet, not getting enough D, and not being able to get calcium from veggies. He was literally starving for nutrition. He needed a really nutrient dense source that wasn't an allergen, alas meat. Plus, his hair loss was likely to an iodine depletion, eating certain raw veggies and soy depletes iodine stores and you're sleepy, lose hair, and have some restless leg too. And the nose bleeds indicate that he wasn't able to get the K from veggies. No wonder he's drawn to liver, he was really messed up on the vegan diet.

    Plus, there may be other reasons, but this is what I have gathered so far.

    You can read the latest posts on tooth decay and see why it's so important to eat fat with your veggies to absorb the nutrients. Why there's gray teeth and rotten teeth (vitamin D shortage among other things). If I hadn't moved from FL where the vegans are freaking healthy as hell, and seen the dried skin, tooth decayed, lot here, I would have been in my little bubble. Remember MacDougall is the God here in Santa Rosa and he's all low fat and all we need is starch. WTF?

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  12. Check this one out:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18774134

    My assumption is that not only are they eating their tradition food, their also incorporating some Western food. But even if they were eating their traditional diet, the amount of pollutants in the animals they consume has skyrocketed and so they might be seeing the effects of nutritional stress, which Brazier discusses, which contributes to cortisol and inflammation and then CVD.

    Plus, after 1920, traditional living Inuit became harder to find, so I don't know who they were testing on or basing their study on. Stressed out people with Inuit ancestry but with sugar, wheat, and other modern Western foods?

    http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2008/07/cancer-among-inuit.html
    Field physicians in the arctic noted that the Inuit were a remarkably healthy people. While they suffered from a tragic susceptibility to European communicable diseases, they did not develop the chronic diseases we now view as part of being human: tooth decay, overweight, heart attacks, appendicitis, constipation, diabetes and cancer. When word reached American and European physicians that the Inuit did not develop cancer, a number of them decided to mount an active search for it. This search began in the 1850s and tapered off in the 1920s, as traditionally-living Inuit became difficult to find.

    Actually, I hope in the near future, it will be found that sugar causes heart disease and, most especially, high fructose corn syrup. But for now, the everyone can be brainwashed.

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  13. And other forms of sugar, such as too much bread. Bread bread everywhere. Might as well drink beer and get some fun out of it ;-)

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  14. Too tired now and my writing is riddled with erros, but you get the gist of it.

    Have a happy night.

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  15. I just realized that a comment posted that was the original one, which I thought I lost and the edited version. Anyway, both are pretty much the same. Sorry for the repeats. I took a shower and that woke me up a bit. I usually type in a word processor save and then paste as sometimes I come up with gems this way.

    I have been rushed to get the stuff on this blog out before I am pressed to do "real" work, starting tomorrow. I pushed it back one week. This week I have the wonderful task of calling or emailing the family with the tooth decay to tell them the truth, no it's not genetics that caused your pinched faced daughter to need most of her permanent teeth capped due to excessive tooth decay, it was your diet.

    The vegan diet is could be sound, but not necessarily, if you listen to Jack Norris, but even there people have many allergies to common staples. Zooey Deschanel stopped her vegan diet due to soy and wheat allergies, and she's allergic to dairy. So she eats meat now. Her sister is vegan and is healthy as far as I know. I bet they are still friends.

    It's super confusing when the vegan GuruMDs highjack the diet and prescribe something for heart patients for the rest of us AND the China Study is touted as the Bible. I used to make nearly all the food in my home, my mother couldn't swing it all the way, I did. Here's a famous doctor with money on his mind, as well as helping others, where as you have someone like Jack Norris, RD at who has empathy and compassion on his mind and and he's got WAY better nutrition advice than an MD.

    But to sort through it all is a pain in the ass.

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  16. Rhys wasn't having dental problems as a vegan. He went 7 years without going to a dentist as a vegan and when he finally went, he had no cavities.

    He never mentioned having nosebleeds when he was vegan and I never saw him with one but I guess it's possible he was having them. I remember when he lost a bit of hair but that was when he went on the master cleanse for two weeks.

    It is possible that he wasn't getting enough calories or good fats since he obviously wasn't feeling well by the end, or maybe he wasn't getting enough nutrition because he avoided soy, or maybe it's because he didn't get any vitamin D or maybe it's because he only took vitamin B12 in small amounts after several years without it. We'll never know though because he never bothered to have a blood test.

    Still, the reason Rhys and I aren't friends anymore isn't because he isn't vegan anymore, it's because he has a blog where he's trying "to attack veganism" (his own words). He kept it a secret from me for months. Until I found out about his anti-vegan web site, we were still friends.

    He had a section of his website called "sickly vegans" full of photos which he took at vegan festivals across the country. Yes, as an ex-vegan, Rhys went to vegan festivals in Toronto, SF, DC, and NYC expressly to seek out anyone who looked unhealthy and take pictures of them and mock them on his site. He's since taken down the sickly vegan section but many of the photos are still there as far as I know.

    I wouldn't mind if he had a site where he legitimately was trying to find why he failed to thrive as a vegan or discussed veganism in a fair way but the only balance I've noticed on the site comes from the rare interview with current vegans like Jack Norris and Jed Gillen which is not enough to make up for the thinly disguised animosity that bleeds through his writing.

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  17. He wrote up his old diet on his site along with many of the health issues, so that's what I was writing about. I thought he had cavities, 8 if I remember in his first visit. That's a high amount. Some have 15 or one between every tooth!

    I've got a lot of animosity too towards the China Study, MacDougall, and others because it has been sold as the healthiest diet for all, and it's clearly a healthy diet for some, but not all. One woman on one of these blog posts here failed miserably, her brother or sister has been fine for 15 years.

    Most of all people who were duped are mad at themselves for not seeing it before or not accepting it and that messes you up. It's hard to deal with. See what happened to Lierre Keith after 20 years? She wrote a fantasy novel of sorts. She had to do something to channel her anger so it didn't rebound on herself.

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  18. Well, he told me in person at the time that the dentist found no cavities upon his first visit 7 or more years without a dentist visit as a vegan. So either that was on a subsequent visit or he was lying either then or now.

    Did the woman who posted here get a blood test and make sure she wasn't experiencing any deficiencies? If Rhys had done that (or even mentioned that he was struggling with the diet to me, his still vegan brother, I would have paid for an appointment) and his problems weren't the result of an easily correctable deficiency, I would say there's some justification to what he's doing. But he didn't.

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  19. I don't know what the woman did, it was from a blog 2 years ago and I posted it here for posterity.

    You see what Rhys did or didn't do is now besides the point because it's his perspective is what matters and what motivates him. His perspective might be completely wacked to you. But to himself, it matters a lot.

    Let him be happy, it's good that I read his story. Since Tumblr has been down for nearly a day now, I can't check on if he had dental issues or not. His story might be mixed up with other stories. Today I met yet another person who stopped being vegetarian, run down. They need to know how to tweak their diet without hearing stuff like:

    "I'm fine on the diet, what are you doing wrong?"

    "Well it's the perfect, most ethical, moral diet in the universe and if you don't follow it you're supporting rape, murder, etc.,"

    Can you see how it can make you very unwilling to speak about it? My God you're hurting the ISM that will save the world. Well, it won't.

    Ghandi had it right when he said, "Be the change..."

    You can't make people be the change, all you can do is foster empathy for our fellow beings. You can't jump into their body, mind, and force them.

    When someone feels horrible, sleepy, low libido, etc., they need to find a site or resource who understands them and helps them stay vegan by showing them ways of boosting their sex drive (with saturated fat from coconuts), getting their hair back (with iodized sea salt, for example), fixing their nose bleeds (with K2 supplements from Pangea), addressing their eczema (by adding zinc to their diet). That kind of thing.

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  20. Kristina, does eating eggs every now and then really qualify you as an "ex-vegan", anymore so than wearing leather? That seems like a very narrow definition of veganism-- I think maybe too narrow. As long as you scrutinize the source of your eggs (or any other animal foods you feel comfortable eating) very carefully, and only eat them very infrequently, I don't see how that really makes you any less vegan, since it's fairly consistent with vegan values. The definition of veganism, as I understand it, doesn't necessarily have anything to do with never letting animal foods pass through your lips, just striving to reduce suffering as far as practicable. And for some people, never eating animal foods ever is just not practicable. You're just vegan for reasons based less on dogma and more on the practical ethical aspects of not buying into industrial animal farming, which makes a business out of making animals suffer. And, to distinguish yourself from the "ethical omnivore", you're not making eggs or other animal foods something anywhere close to part of your regular diet, and only eat them very occasionally, and from carefully examined sources when you do.

    A lot of vegans are against the exploitation of animals for any reason, regardless of how they are treated, either while alive (for egg production for example) or dead (for chicken soup for example), or for our use (like an ox tilling a field for example-- appropriate technology for the type of small farm most people advocate for). But that doesn't fit your worldview, nor does it fit mine. To me, "mostly vegan" or "quasi vegan" conjures up someone who might occasionally eat a Big Mac, and that's not you or me. Your diet is in line with your moral compass, and you only eat in a way that respects your values. Is there a word for someone in that category? Maybe just call yourself vegan, and let the purists work out their unease with how other people self-identify? I'm grappling with the same dilemma myself. I if I had to give myself an accurate label, I'd have a very tough time doing it, but for the most part, "vegan" comes closest. Some people have more carnivorous diets, and some have more herbivorous diets-- and some have only carnivorous or only herbivorous diets. But every single person on the planet is an omnivore, whether or not they eat animal foods. So sure, I guess we're highly conscientious omnivore, who eats little to no animal products. To reduce animal suffering, we have to get rid of factory farming, and in order to do that, we all have to reduce our consumption of animal foods by like 90%. Seen through that lens, I don't see how your or my approach is any less vegan than someone who never under any circumstances will eat animal foods. In order for it to be successful, veganism needs to build a bigger tent, or at least create an acceptable term that's not seen as any less righteous than a "vegan". The alternative is that there are going to be a whole lot of ex-vegans.

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    1. Sorry I spelled your name wrong-- Christina!

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