Long-term vegan turned vegetarian - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 11-21-2013, 03:17 AM
 
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Hi,

I was strictly vegan for over a decade, until about a week ago. I need to talk about some of the issues this raises for me, but my vegan friends can only give pro-vegan arguments and the only vegetarian I know is too busy atm. You seem like a nice bunch of people. I hope I can contribute something positive to these forums, and chat about of these issues. I look forward to meeting you.

:)

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#2 Old 11-21-2013, 03:45 AM
 
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Welcome Hann.

What changed?
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#3 Old 11-21-2013, 05:04 AM
 
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Hi ponyboy85. Thanks.

 

Basically, I found that I had a hormonal imbalance, eliminated soy from my diet, this helped but not entirely, and suspected that the amino acid profile of plant foods may also be a problem - not a deficiency. For ex. too much tryptophan rather than phenylalanine among others. I tried a supplement containing milk protein -- the first time I'd knowingly consumed any animal product in over 10 years, and it seemed to help a lot. I was very healthy as a vegan, it wasn't hard, I didn't want animal products. The supplement was really revolting - like drinking a cup of any body fluid would be. I hadn't been eating well lately as a vegan, and I've been under a lot of stress this year. There may have been a vegan solution but I didn't know it, and my health concerns were serious. I didn't want to be a martyr, and thought I could do more good in the world healthy. But there were are other changes too.

 

I had noticed some characteristics of other vegans I may have had myself which I was beginning to question. For example, there's a notion, either explicit or implicit, that being free from all animal products gives a sense of purity. Also being proportionate. Why was I so strict about reading labels all of those years? Did it really matter? Was I making life unnecessarily difficult for myself? There's also the thought of conforming to the concept of "vegan" for its own sake rather than judging the ethics of each situation individually. For example, I've had rescued battery hens live with me, but never ate their eggs, because I was a vegan. I gave them to neighbours instead. Should this sense of purity of one's body from animal products, or identifying as "vegan", be sufficient reason in itself not to eat these eggs? I decided that these influences shouldn't carry weight.

 

Oh and there's more, such as avoiding dogmatism... Too much to explain right here and now. I don't think I've explained myself adequately, and I've surely raised many more questions. Maybe I should break it down in other threads. It may become a bit confusing all at once here.

 

Btw, I like the way this forum includes both vegans and vegetarians.

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#4 Old 11-21-2013, 07:45 AM
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Hormone imbalance from soy and plants? Never heard of that; were you diagnosed?

It seems more risky to drink hormone-filled cow's milk (and chock full o hormone meat, if course) if we are concerned about our hormone levels.
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#5 Old 11-21-2013, 09:13 AM
 
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My best friend is thinking about going back to being vegetarian after a year of being vegan. He knows how the dairy cows are treated but simply does not care anymore. 

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#6 Old 11-21-2013, 11:17 AM
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Maybe a Mod would consider moving this post to the vegetarian support forum?


The sky is purple and things are right every day

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#7 Old 11-21-2013, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Hann View Post

 

I had noticed some characteristics of other vegans I may have had myself which I was beginning to question. For example, there's a notion, either explicit or implicit, that being free from all animal products gives a sense of purity. Also being proportionate. Why was I so strict about reading labels all of those years? Did it really matter? Was I making life unnecessarily difficult for myself? There's also the thought of conforming to the concept of "vegan" for its own sake rather than judging the ethics of each situation individually. For example, I've had rescued battery hens live with me, but never ate their eggs, because I was a vegan. I gave them to neighbours instead. Should this sense of purity of one's body from animal products, or identifying as "vegan", be sufficient reason in itself not to eat these eggs? I decided that these influences shouldn't carry weight.

 

Oh and there's more, such as avoiding dogmatism... Too much to explain right here and now. I don't think I've explained myself adequately, and I've surely raised many more questions. Maybe I should break it down in other threads. It may become a bit confusing all at once here.

 

I'm not sure about your health issue with soy and such, as I'm not a doctor, but as for the other stuff in your head, only you can answer those questions. 

 

Can I ask why you went vegan in the first place? 10 years is a long time to be vegan and be wondering about all of the above. Most people I know who are vegan now,started out vegetarian, then the idea of vegan become more clear not more muddled. 


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#8 Old 11-21-2013, 12:49 PM
 
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Maybe a Mod would consider moving this post to the vegetarian support forum?

 

I really just wanted to say hello and mention some of the things that led me here.

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#9 Old 11-21-2013, 12:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Jennifer C View Post
 

 

I'm not sure about your health issue with soy and such, as I'm not a doctor, but as for the other stuff in your head, only you can answer those questions. 

 

Can I ask why you went vegan in the first place? 10 years is a long time to be vegan and be wondering about all of the above. Most people I know who are vegan now,started out vegetarian, then the idea of vegan become more clear not more muddled. 

 

I was vegetarian for about 4 years before I went vegan. Ethics was my reason. I still hold the same values. My post above was muddled because it was written while I was tired last night and I was trying to say too many things at once. I knew when I wrote it that I hadn't explained myself properly. I'll try to break it down elsewhere.

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#10 Old 11-21-2013, 01:02 PM
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Maybe a Mod would consider moving this post to the vegetarian support forum?
Since it is the OP's introductory post it should be fine unless things take a turn.
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I really just wanted to say hello and mention some of the things that led me here.

Welcome to the community smiley.gif
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#11 Old 11-21-2013, 02:07 PM
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Hi Hann and welcome to VeggieBoards.:up:

 

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#12 Old 11-21-2013, 04:41 PM
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Hey Hann!

Welcome! Not often we get a 'vegan turned vegetarian' in the welcome part of the board, but you're still welcome!

I'm sure the Mods can give you an idea of the best place to put any of your questions on the boards. I'm assuming 'transitioning to vegan' might be a good place because there seems to be questions that the vegan curious peeps might want to know the answer to?

Anyway, wherever you settle in the boards WELCOME! You've found the right place.



.

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#13 Old 11-22-2013, 06:05 AM
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Hiya Hann,

 

Welcome to Veggie Boards :rockon:

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#14 Old 11-23-2013, 02:12 PM
 
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Hello! :)
Welcome!
And I'm glad to have these discussion points raised as have been mulling over similar ones lately :)

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#15 Old 11-23-2013, 05:58 PM
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I hear you on the dogmatism and negative connotations associated with calling yourself "vegan." I have hesitated to call myself "vegan" for similar reasons. However, I decided on using the word "vegan" for practical reasons. It does not necessarily perfectly define my personal philosophy but does convey my desire to avoid animals products. I do eat some potentially nonvegan items from time to time - bread products, veggie burgers, etc. I prefer to make choices that do the greatest good or least harm without fussing too much over the tiny details that likely have negligible impact on animal suffering.

There are lots of gradations to try without necessarily eating copious amounts of dairy and eggs - for about 6 months before I became vegan, I would eat vegan at home and lacto-ovo veg socially. It made my life a lot easier at that time. I was lacto-ovo veg for a long time before becoming vegan, so it would be very natural for me to revert back to that diet at some point. I would not feel guilty about going back to eating small amounts of eggs and dairy during a stressful time, hopefully briefly. Luckily, I haven't had such a time in the couple of years I've been vegan.

Regarding your health/nutrition concerns, I would definitely recommend talking with a doctor or registered dietitian if you haven't already. While we certainly shouldn't be ignorant of the potential for illness to be caused by diet, it is important to consider your complete medical history possibly with a physical exam and laboratory testing before assuming you have a diet-related problem and everything else is ok.
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#16 Old 11-23-2013, 07:14 PM
 
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Thanks RV. Yours very much seems a smooth, gradual transitioning story, a matter of adjusting. Once well into the swing of it, as I'm sure you well know by now, it's easy to be vegan.

 

For me, it's not a matter of thinking that even a small wrong is ok. It's more a matter of what the best choice is in every case, to do the most good. Competing interests, to reduce as much suffering as possible, or to achieve the greatest good. For example, whether to accept a health solution dependent on animal products so that I can function and literally improve and save lives in a very real, significant and direct way (in my professional life), or remain debilitated and unable to because I've been dogmatic about being purely vegan. Temptation was never an issue, because I'm naturally revolted by animal products. I take them plain, with a reluctant cringe, as medicine.

 

I have been diagnosed at length and spoken with some highly qualified medical professionals, one of whom advised me years ago to try see whether animal products help. I hadn't listened until recently. I don't want to disclose further than that. I'm optimistic that a vegan solution can be found to my medical problems.

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#17 Old 11-24-2013, 11:34 AM
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Basically, I found that I had a hormonal imbalance, eliminated soy from my diet, this helped but not entirely, and suspected that the amino acid profile of plant foods may also be a problem - not a deficiency. For ex. too much tryptophan rather than phenylalanine among others.
Plants have a variety of different protein profiles so the overall profile of the protein you consume is going to be highly dependent on the types of plant-foods you choose, not so much that you're choosing plant foods over animal foods. If you're having an issue with protein, its far more likely to be due to chronically low consumption of one or more essential amino acids which can easily dealt with.

In any case, other than eliminate soy how else have you tried to change and/or improve your diet?
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Why was I so strict about reading labels all of those years? Did it really matter? Was I making life unnecessarily difficult for myself?
Though I never cook with dairy and eggs, I make little effort to avoid small amounts of dairy and eggs in commercially prepared foods. I consider it, as you say, unnecessarily difficult.
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. Should this sense of purity of one's body from animal products, or identifying as "vegan", be sufficient reason in itself not to eat these eggs? I decided that these influences shouldn't carry weight.
I don't think so, personally the main reason I would avoid eggs in this situation is that they aren't healthful.
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#18 Old 11-24-2013, 06:59 PM
 
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^ Regarding nutrition, yes I've thought of that, and maybe it's possible to combine plant foods to get the right balance, but it's really much more complicated than just that alone. I'm not going to debate my personal medical issues on this site. As I've said before, there may be a vegan solution, and I'm hopeful that there is. 

 

I used to see it as better to be more strictly vegan, but I realise now that for me it would be healthier psychologically not to be so absolutely stringent and inflexible. If I do go vegan again I will choose to be more balanced as in your approach.

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#19 Old 11-25-2013, 08:39 PM
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^ Regarding nutrition, yes I've thought of that, and maybe it's possible to combine plant foods to get the right balance, but it's really much more complicated than just that alone. I'm not going to debate my personal medical issues on this site. As I've said before...
You don't have to discuss anything you don't want to discuss, but there are a number of ex-vegans that claim that they need animal foods to be healthy and these sorts of claims are always dubious.
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#20 Old 11-26-2013, 03:32 AM
 
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I'm not here to convince anyone of anything, but I do expect basic good manners on an introductory thread, in accord with the fundamental ethical principle of

 

in dubio pro reo

 

Benefit of the doubt. Assume the best of others. You cut my sentence off before an important relevant point. I said:

 

"As I've said before, there may be a vegan solution, and I'm hopeful that there is."

 

I'd like to meet  these other ex-vegans re your "dubious" claim. Can you link to their posts? I suspect that like me, others would be reluctant to openly share and argue about personal health details online, so their cases wouldn't be convincingly presented. I wonder whether they'd be accepted on this site even if they were.

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#21 Old 11-27-2013, 07:26 AM
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You don't have to discuss anything you don't want to discuss, but there are a number of ex-vegans that claim that they need animal foods to be healthy and these sorts of claims are always dubious.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hann View Post
 

I'm not here to convince anyone of anything, but I do expect basic good manners on an introductory thread, in accord with the fundamental ethical principle of

 

in dubio pro reo

 

Benefit of the doubt. Assume the best of others. You cut my sentence off before an important relevant point. I said:

 

"As I've said before, there may be a vegan solution, and I'm hopeful that there is."

 

I'd like to meet  these other ex-vegans re your "dubious" claim. Can you link to their posts? I suspect that like me, others would be reluctant to openly share and argue about personal health details online, so their cases wouldn't be convincingly presented. I wonder whether they'd be accepted on this site even if they were.

 

I didn't feel Logic was using bad manners in his post - in fact, if anything he was being pretty honest noting, "Though I never cook with dairy and eggs, I make little effort to avoid small amounts of dairy and eggs in commercially prepared foods. I consider it, as you say, unnecessarily difficult."

 

I'm not sure I've seen ex-vegans making health claims about having to eat animal foods so much on VB, but I have met ex-vegans in real life and read many a blog post by an ex-vegan where this comes up. I'm not sure it's entirely dubious, but I've for sure seen the whole, "I needed meat/eggs/dairy to feel better" argument pop up more than once in a while. 

 

In fact, that's a claim I made at one time - on VB actually. I've told this story so many times here, so I'll keep it short, but I was vegetarian for some, I don't know 16 or 17 years then started feeling tired, felt like maybe meat would be helpful - went back to eating poultry and fish for a while, realized it didn't help and only made stuff worse for me personally, so I quit again. At the time I really felt like meat might make me healthier - it was actually other stuff going on though. 

 

Not all vegetarians or vegans are reluctant to share openly about their meat/animal product issues. I had some once. It happens. I think people are freaked about being accepted here at VB if they're honest, but I feel excepted here, even though I've had some veg fails. I think so far this thread has been a great example of people getting along (for the most part) even though not all of us agree with everything that's been said. 

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#22 Old 11-27-2013, 05:54 PM
 
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Yes, Logic's personal example was useful, as was yours Jennifer C. It would have been so much nicer to leave it at just that.

 

I'm not speaking for or defending every ex-vegan, but we should assume the best of everyone, and treat each other accordingly. It's an unfounded absolutist blanket statement. Directed at me in an introductory thread, such accusations only highlight the gap between how uninformed others are and what I know and have experienced. If I was to take the pains to try to educate one person about my personal medical issues on a forum, how much argument, opposition and conflict would that involve? How long before someone else jumps into the thread without reading or understanding what I've already taken pains to explain, and throws about their own ignorance as a weapon? I know that I'm being rather sensitive to Logic's very gently-placed accusation, but it's after much of the same on other threads, usually in cruder form. I actually prefer direct, explicit attacks rather than those that hide as indirect implication.

 

I'm not here to argue, and by nature I avoid conflict. I regret having opened up and shared too much too soon on VB before having sussed out the culture specific to this site. It's the nature of the internet generally, but I expected better on a veg* site, having previously found a higher standard on veg* forums elsewhere. I thought we could have some meaningful conversations here. I'm challenging my own vegan beliefs for the purpose of reaching a higher understanding. I'm not an opponent of veganism as I have been treated; vegan values and culture are my own values, people and culture, much much more than race, religion, or nationality. It hurts to be treated like an outsider or an opponent. There are so many here who seem to think they have to immediately jump on everything said that may be interpreted as anti-vegan, as though there are people so uninformed or unable to think the same thoughts themselves that they might be persuaded unless someone saved the day by pointing it out to them. Geez, give people some space. It's counter-productive to be so evangelical.

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#23 Old 11-27-2013, 06:22 PM
 
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Ok, well, now that that's off of my chest...

 

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I was vegetarian for some, I don't know 16 or 17 years then started feeling tired, felt like maybe meat would be helpful - went back to eating poultry and fish for a while, realized it didn't help and only made stuff worse for me personally, so I quit again. At the time I really felt like meat might make me healthier - it was actually other stuff going on though. 

 

 

That's a long time to be veg before going back to eating meat. It must have been traumatic.

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#24 Old 11-27-2013, 06:51 PM
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Ok, well, now that that's off of my chest...

 

That's a long time to be veg before going back to eating meat. It must have been traumatic.

You don't even know! It was NUTS times about one million. 

 

I was in this crazy space at the time and had this whole, "Damn, meat might be good for you" thing stuck in my head. All it did was make me feel so bad though.

 

In some ways it's good it happened though, because I feel more like I can relate when people ask for help saying they've fallen of the wagon or can't decide what to do - i.e. stay veg or not. In that way it was a good experience, plus it really made me reevaluate my choices in a logical (outsider) kind of way. It also made me think more outside the box when it came to my meals. I used to be so boring about food - same food all the time - which I think was part of my problem. This experience pushed me to make some adventurous food changes that are benefiting me even now.

 

Lastly, as I noted above, I like that this happened and yet, I still can feel like I belong here and people are cool with me. This shows me that VB is a good place to be, even when you don't fit in perfectly. 

 

Still, overall I don't suggest people fall as weirdly as I did. It was very traumatic there for a while. 

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#25 Old 11-27-2013, 08:45 PM
 
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I've been thinking the same thing lately -- that when I do go back to vegan I'll be wiser from the experience. It also gave me a better idea of who my real friends are - who I could turn to, and who were there when I needed them.

 

As for VB, well, this post confused me at the time:

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...it should be fine unless things take a turn.

 

I thought: What did River mean by "take a turn"? ... Now I know.

 

I can see that VB has its good side too.

 

 

 

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#26 Old 11-28-2013, 01:52 AM
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I  have known people like that who were vegetarian for many years, and then decided to go back to meat, because she said she  felt healthier eating meat and and she needs it. Me Personally, I will never do anything like that, and I dont agree with who ever does, but in the end, its there choice, and not going to judge the person.

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#27 Old 11-28-2013, 02:19 AM
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I  have known people like that who were vegetarian for many years, and then decided to go back to meat, because she said she  felt healthier eating meat and and she needs it. Me Personally, I will never do anything like that, and I dont agree with who ever does, but in the end, its there choice, and not going to judge the person.
We must always be conscious that people defacto look to us as judgemental. Nothing irks the **** eater more than a seemingly judgey veg*n. Even when we're not judging.
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#28 Old 11-28-2013, 03:57 AM
 
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As a vegan, I always said pretty much the same thing as is being said here in response to questions of nutrition. There are problems that can arise from an unbalanced vegan diet, just as any other diet, but usually they're easily corrected. According to NutritionFacts.org, vegans tend to be deficient in calcium, iodine and B12, while omnis tend to be deficient in calcium, fibre, folate, iodine, magnesium, vit. C and vit. E. http://nutritionfacts.org/video/omnivore-vs-vegan-nutrient-deficiencies-2/ Of course, a balanced diet can solve those problems. But it's not implausible that a vegan deficient in some nutrients, by not eating well as they should, may find an easy solution in animal products and then feel better. B12 has to be taken as a supplement, and according to NutritionFacts.org there's a serious problem among vegans of B12 deficiency -- including a breastfed baby dying because their mother was a B12 deficient vegan.

 

 

Some people have a genetic disorder which results in certain non-essential amino acids not being made by their body as they normally are in vegans, and which are available ready-made in animal proteins. It's a rare condition, but needs to be diagnosed, and the missing amino acid can be taken as a supplement so the person can survive as a vegan.

 

I know from experience that most vegans don't usually have such problems, and they're mostly the healthiest people I've known. But if someone makes such claims Khadijah, for all we know they may be right. Nobody's infallible or omniscient. Not that it's impossible for them to go vegan; maybe it's just a matter of identifying the deficiency or imbalance and finding vegan foods or supplements which meet their particular needs.

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#29 Old 11-29-2013, 02:47 AM
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Some people do have problems with how their body works. You can go to a good vegan doctor and get it checked out. For example this woman learned that she had a problem that is not common. How do vegans get vitamin A if they are not in plants? Plant foods contain beta-caroteens that the body can change into vitamin A. This woman's body could not do that so she needed to take vitamin A since she did not eat meat.

 

If you have a vitamin B-12 deficiency and take tons of vitamin B-12, it may not help if you have certain problems with your flora (good bacteria in your colon). So then you would need injections or a sub-lingual kind that goes into your blood from under your tongue. Wikipedia say that there is a pandemic (widespread epidemic) of deficiency of a certain vitamin that you did not mention. How can there be a vitamin deficiency so widespread with people eating all this food?

 

Food contains very little vitamin D and most do not get enough sunlight. So did the supplement that you take contain vitamin D that is in lots of milk products. Do you get lots of sunlight or 8,000 IU of vitamin D daily.

 

I was at Thanksgiving dinner and I knew most of the people there. They did a meditation. Now this one woman there I did not know said that she had pernicious anemia and also had a broken toe. That type of anemia can come from not enough vitamin B complex or a compromised ability to assimilate it. So I asked her if she did the meditation that we did and the reason that I was curious was because of her health problems. She said that she did not do the meditation that we do. The others asked if I thought the problems were caused by lack of meditation.

 

I said not directly but the worst thing for health is stress. Stress is probably the reason why most Americans have trouble sleeping (I sleep like a baby). They now know that sleeping is when the brain cleans out most of the toxins. Now if you are fine with no problems then you can worry about animals. But if you have problems then focus on that first. So it sounds like you have trouble with stress and if it is because you are trying to be the Jesus or savior of animals, then you need to die to be a martyr. So here is an article about being happy since if you are not happy, then the sooner that you die, the sooner you escape that misery. Is the Key to Happiness Being in the Present Moment.


Here is an article on LinkedIn, the 10th biggest website in the country. It has on it the CDC, Harvard School of Public Health and American Heart Association saying to eat more fruits and vegetables. It is called

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#30 Old 11-29-2013, 02:58 AM
 
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Thanks neo77. These are some good examples. I've definitely had problems with stress in recent times, and I've found meditation to be very beneficial in many ways.

 

 

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Originally Posted by neo77 View Post
 

Some people do have problems with how their body works. You can go to a good vegan doctor and get it checked out. For example this woman learned that she had a problem that is not common. How do vegans get vitamin A if they are not in plants? Plant foods contain beta-caroteens that the body can change into vitamin A. This woman's body could not do that so she needed to take vitamin A since she did not eat meat.

 

A good vegan doctor? That's an interesting suggestion. I haven't heard of any locally, but I'll start looking into how to find one.

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