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-   -   Is a plant based diet the best diet for everyone? (https://www.veggieboards.com/forum/60-vegan-support-forum/120552-plant-based-diet-best-diet-everyone.html)

tomasm 01-05-2011 12:42 AM

This is the question that I have begun to ask myself recently as I approach my 9th year on a vegan diet. I follow a strict vegan lifestyle for all the reasons given by countless others that anyone on this website probably knows very well, so I will not explain again. In the rare instances where I have questioned why I should adhere to this lifestyle, I always come to the conclusion that I would rather continue to follow the "rules" than to worry about if what I did was right or wrong after the fact. For example, I do not consume honey not simply because the people who write the vegan rulebook told me not to, but because I don't need to consume honey, and it is easier for me to avoid it than question myself or try to justify why I should consume honey. In the end, any arguments I have for the vegan diet, whatever that may be, I conclude with the statement that I don't need animal products, and rather than debate with myself over making any exceptions no matter how small, I choose to separate myself completely (or as much as possible) from using animals as a resource for food and other materials.

But now I am seriously asking myself if my theory is right, that is, can everyone truly thrive on a plant only diet? The key word here is "everyone" because I know that many people can and do thrive on plant diets, but can everyone?

The reason I am having these thoughts after 8 years is due to a number of health problems that I have developed. I have changed my eating patterns numerous times trying to find one that is best for me, but so far I feel like I have failed.

My main issue is my digestive system. Two years into my vegan diet I developed a horrible pain in my left side that the doctor and myself decided was irritable bowel syndrome. Eventually the pain went away but it does come back sometimes although not as intense. Worse than the pain though is the major gas, cramping, and loose stools that I have daily year after year. I've always had stomach pains even before turning vegan, and was known to generate some lethal flatulence, but after switching to a plant-only diet it became chronic. The constant uncomfortable bowel movements are becoming a real problem for me.

I also struggle to improve my strength. I have always been tall and thin, but after years of daily training I would expect to be able to do more than 50 push-ups without killing myself in the process. After training myself hard, not only have I failed to become much stronger, but in the process I damaged my shoulder to the extent that I required surgery last summer that I still haven't fully recovered from.

I am also getting sick easier and over the last few years I seem to get a cold or some type of sinus problem every few months. I feel exhausted regularly and have intense seasonal allergies, or at least the symptoms of seasonal allergies. In November I finally went to a doctor. Blood tests show that I am as healthy as can be. The doctor said my tonsils were fine (despite looking awful to me and getting bigger). He suggested that I take allergy and stomach acid medication for my ailments. I regrettably took the pills (not vegan, by the way) for a few weeks and had no noticeable change.

So now you're probably thinking that my vegan diet is not good enough and I am missing nutrients. Well, as I said earlier I am always trying different foods and eating patterns which means that I am always obsessing over what I eat. In general, my diet over the years has included a wide variety of organic whole grains, raw and cooked vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds. I eat between 2500 and 3000 calories per day at 6'2" 175 lbs. I began taking a multivitamin last year which I think has made me feel a little better, possibly from the added iron, and I have always supplemented with B12 in various forms.

So I'm left now wondering where to turn next. I can't handle the stomach and bowel issues anymore (and yes I have tried pro-biotics and beano type things). I can completely remove legumes from my diet and that will (and has) helped but doesn't solve the problem completely. I feel like I am lacking nutrients without eating legumes, and protein powders cause the same problems, sometimes worse (I have tried them all). I could try raw foods again, and I really wish I could just eat fruit and leafy greens all day. But that hasn't worked for me either. I end up spending more time on the toilet than eating. I want to eat just leafy greens and nuts with a small amount of fruit but I fear that a daily intake of 500 calories is not going to cut it. Maybe I'm wrong. Or I could just not be vegan anymore....

I know this probably sounds like I want to eat a cow and am trying to make an excuse to do so, but really I have no plans on eating any animals or their by-products. What I want is to know is how other people out there feel about the topic of whether a plant diet is best for everyone and how others have handled situations similar to mine. I appreciate any comments, positive or negative and please ask any questions if you would like more details. Thanks for reading!

nogardsram 01-05-2011 01:11 AM

"Is a plant based diet the best diet for everyone?"

I don't know what 'best' means in this context. I'd say it's complicated, if we're going solely what makes an individual healthy. Can a person have improved health on an omnivorous diet vs a plant based one? Possibly, depending on their version of those diets. I think my biggest question with these kinds of discussions (in general, not specifically referring to your situation) is "what nutrient (vitamin, mineral, carbohydrate, protein, etc) can be found in an omnivorous diet that can't be found in a plant based one?"

Now this doesn't cover some people who have allergies or sensitivities to many plant foods, which would limit their options (to an extent at least, there are a lot more plant foods out there than are found even in most food stores in our modern lives). I suppose for those with severe allergies to many plant foods, an omnivorous diet would be 'better' in terms solely of their health and ease. I don't think it's the 'best' diet for the animals that are being consumed or the animals that are being used to consume their by-products.

For your specific situation, maybe you do have some plant sensitivities or allergies. I don't know. I don't know your life, habits, or details. I know there are some VB members who have IBS, maybe they can give some helpful tips on that topic. You have my sympathies.

I can understand the frustration of physical issues and wanting to do something to not have them any more. I get migraines and they adversely affect my life. At times I feel I'd do anything not to have them. I had them before I became vegan and they haven't really changed since my veganism. Had the two started at about the same time, I might have correlated them, but hopefully I could remind myself that correlation doesn't equal causation (in other words it's possible that two correlated things are causally related, but not necessary).

I'm a vegan for animal rights, because I don't want to use or exploit other sentient beings for my own personal gain, any more than I want someone or some being to use me for their own personal gain (whether they're suffering or simply for their palate).

(the last two paragraphs were not preaching in any way, just relating my position and point of view)

I think there have been some threads on IBS before, and maybe searching for those and posting in them might lead to some other options and advice.

Discobanditt 01-05-2011 05:42 AM

I'm so sorry you have been experiencing these symptoms.. you can really tell that you genuinely want to be vegan.

I myself was actually diagnosed with IBS last week, and had a lot of the same symptoms. Mostly horrible gas and cramping. You mentioned that you eat lots of raw foods... this could be a source of your problem. I know when I eat raw veggies or nuts, I get HORRIBLE gas and cramps. I usually steam my veggies a little before eating them, and you can bottle up the "veggie water" and use it later as vegetable stock.

As for strength, I would track my daily meals on a website like sparkpeople to make sure you're getting enough of all your nutrients. There are loads of vegan body builders, triathalon runners, etc out there, so your strength really shouldn't suffer as a result of a vegan diet as long as you're getting enough of everything. I've known people who added a B-complex vitamin and that seems to help a lot with energy. Have you considered the possibility that there may be something else with you body going on? Maybe Celiac or a sucrose sensitivity?

Lastly, do I think a vegan diet is for everyone? I don't know. I know a girl who is literally allergic to like, EVERYTHING, so her food options are very limited. People with certain allergies and sensitivities may not prosper as well as others on a vegan diet. It could be that you are having trouble because vegan diets tend to be higher in bulk, which could upset your IBS. It might be a good idea to eat foods that have a higher nutrient density and plenty of healthy fats.

Sorry for the long post... I hope things work out for you!

Nishani 01-05-2011 05:58 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomasm View Post

My main issue is my digestive system. Two years into my vegan diet I developed a horrible pain in my left side that the doctor and myself decided was irritable bowel syndrome. Eventually the pain went away but it does come back sometimes although not as intense. Worse than the pain though is the major gas, cramping, and loose stools that I have daily year after year. I've always had stomach pains even before turning vegan, and was known to generate some lethal flatulence, but after switching to a plant-only diet it became chronic. The constant uncomfortable bowel movements are becoming a real problem for me.

What makes you think this is linked to your vegan diet? Maybe you were already well on the way to developing IBS before you made the switch? Have you taken a look at the stress and anxiety levels in your life? Do you think it's possible that stress could be responsible for the problems in your gastrointestinal tract?

luvourmother 01-05-2011 06:36 AM

Sorry to hear of your struggles
Have you been tested (or done elimination diet on your own) for celiac/gluten intolerance?
IBS to me is a blanket diagnoses that Dr's slap on people when they don't feel like digging deeper into their digestive health and overall diet. I work with several clients that have IBS, Crohn's, and colitis, and the main factor for all 3 of these digestive ailments is stress. I am a massage therapist and help these clients by relieving stress and therefore relieving their digestive symptoms. Do you have a high stress life, job, living situation or are hypersensitive to stress?
Have you seen or consulted with a Registered Dietician to try to figure out what to eat that doesn't upset your digestion?
Lastly, it always helps to give a run down of a typical days meals and snacks.

Envy 01-05-2011 07:40 AM

No, everyone is different.

Sevenseas 01-05-2011 07:45 AM

Not for everyone: for Tom Cruise, a diet rich in mercury is the best.

Fatman 01-05-2011 08:26 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevenseas View Post

Not for everyone: for Tom Cruise, a diet rich in mercury is the best.

So you think Tom Cruise should eat more fish/shellfish?

Sevenseas 01-05-2011 08:29 AM

No reason to kill fish even for such a worthy goal as Tom Cruise's elimination. Nah, just offer him mercury straight up, but tell him that it's this new miracle food with L. Ron Hubbard's blessing that will help him in fighting against psychiatry. That ****er will buy that immediately, no questions asked.

ElaineV 01-05-2011 08:36 AM

I think veganism is appropriate for everyone however I think people who go vegan later in life can have more troubles than people who change when they are younger. And people with allergies or strong food preferences have more trouble (example: if you dislike beans or if you're allergic to lots of fruits, veganism is more tricky). And I think people who avoid mainstream vegan nutritional advice are more likely to have trouble, too.

Basic meal planning: everyday eat legumes or soy products, fruits and veggies, grains, and consume some fortified foods or supplements for B12, D, calcium etc. to cover your bases.

All that said, if I became convinced that my body required animal products then I would try to consume products that caused the least amount of animal suffering. I wouldvisit the farm where the animal products came from and I would learn all I can about the process.

Josh James xVx 01-05-2011 03:23 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevenseas View Post

Not for everyone: for Tom Cruise, a diet rich in mercury is the best.




Shall I don the appropriate attire and do the deed?

Doktormartini 01-05-2011 05:12 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Envy View Post

No, everyone is different.

This and there is no best anything for everyone.
"There is no one right way to live." - Daniel Quinn

nogardsram 01-05-2011 07:43 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doktormartini View Post

This and there is no best anything for everyone.
"There is no one right way to live." - Daniel Quinn

I think it's probably best if everyone avoid consuming mercury and probably radioactive particles. I suspect people can come up with quite a bit that are probably 'best' for everyone to do (or not do).

SomebodyElse 01-05-2011 08:00 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by nogardsram View Post

I think it's probably best if everyone avoid consuming mercury and probably radioactive particles. I suspect people can come up with quite a bit that are probably 'best' for everyone to do (or not do).



Since my notion of "everyone" actually includes EVERYONE ie. all my fellow sentient animals, I think a plant based diet for humans is indeed the best diet for everyone.

Sevenseas 01-05-2011 09:37 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh James xVx View Post



Shall I don the appropriate attire and do the deed?


tomasm 01-05-2011 11:20 PM

Thanks for the responses. Truly appreciated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nogardsram View Post

I don't know what 'best' means in this context. I'd say it's complicated, if we're going solely what makes an individual healthy. Can a person have improved health on an omnivorous diet vs a plant based one? Possibly, depending on their version of those diets. I think my biggest question with these kinds of discussions (in general, not specifically referring to your situation) is "what nutrient (vitamin, mineral, carbohydrate, protein, etc) can be found in an omnivorous diet that can't be found in a plant based one?"

I knew when I wrote "best" I was not being specific enough but my post was too long already. To clarify, "best" refers not only to what provides optimum health, but to what diet should humans eat; what diet are we designed to eat, and what diet is best for the planet as a whole. I came to strongly believe that humans are not equipped to feed off of animals and have evolved to thrive as herbivores. On top of that, factory farming is inefficient, cruel, damaging to our environment, and produces low quality, harmful food products. This I still believe; it's the first part that I am questioning. I myself am shocked that this thought has come to my mind, but I can't ignore it now. Some arguments for human omnivore diets are quite reasonable, but I will refrain from going into that for now. In response to your biggest question, my answer is that every nutrient in omnivore diets can be obtained in a herbivore diet (save the B12 debate for later please). Of course this knowledge is based only from what the "experts" have told me in their books. They could be wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nogardsram View Post

I suppose for those with severe allergies to many plant foods, an omnivorous diet would be 'better' in terms solely of their health and ease. I don't think it's the 'best' diet for the animals that are being consumed or the animals that are being used to consume their by-products.

I agree that the best diet should not include animal products from factory farming. However, I have always felt, even as a vegan, that there is nothing wrong with killing a wild animal with your own hands and consuming all of it for sustenance. I am sure that many of you will disagree with me on this point because killing is wrong and cruel. Without going too much further on this sub-debate, I will say that I still wouldn't eat animals even if freshly slaughtered by my own hands because a) I have no desire to kill and/or eat an animal, b) I am surrounded by an abundance of plant foods already, and c) I believe that humans are strictly herbivores.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Discobanditt View Post

As for strength, I would track my daily meals on a website like sparkpeople to make sure you're getting enough of all your nutrients. There are loads of vegan body builders, triathalon runners, etc out there, so your strength really shouldn't suffer as a result of a vegan diet as long as you're getting enough of everything. I've known people who added a B-complex vitamin and that seems to help a lot with energy. Have you considered the possibility that there may be something else with you body going on? Maybe Celiac or a sucrose sensitivity?

I have tracked my daily meals waaaayyyy too much and quite honestly, I am done. I have spent so much time focusing on food that it's probably causing my health problems! Now that I think about it, I am probably making myself sound like a pale, sickly wimp, but the truth is I can keep up just fine with the other athletes out there. And I am certainly in much better condition than a lot of the meat eaters I know. I am pretty sure that I am putting all the necessary nutrients in my mouth every day (whether or not my body absorbs them is unknown), and as I mentioned I started taking a multivitamin last year so I should be covered with the B vitamins.

Yes I have thought that I could have a disease, and for some time now I have considered seeking help through alternative medicine.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nishani View Post

What makes you think this is linked to your vegan diet? Maybe you were already well on the way to developing IBS before you made the switch? Have you taken a look at the stress and anxiety levels in your life? Do you think it's possible that stress could be responsible for the problems in your gastrointestinal tract?

Excellent point. My diet may have NOTHING to do with my health. I had tremendous stress and anxiety through college. That ended 2 years ago and maybe I am still suffering from that. I don't know. But I cannot shake the belief that food intake dictates health more than anything. I know this is wrong, because environment and emotions play just as big of a role. But I still feel that I could feel much better if I could figure out the right diet for myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by luvourmother View Post

Sorry to hear of your struggles
Have you been tested (or done elimination diet on your own) for celiac/gluten intolerance?
IBS to me is a blanket diagnoses that Dr's slap on people when they don't feel like digging deeper into their digestive health and overall diet. I work with several clients that have IBS, Crohn's, and colitis, and the main factor for all 3 of these digestive ailments is stress. I am a massage therapist and help these clients by relieving stress and therefore relieving their digestive symptoms. Do you have a high stress life, job, living situation or are hypersensitive to stress?
Have you seen or consulted with a Registered Dietician to try to figure out what to eat that doesn't upset your digestion?
Lastly, it always helps to give a run down of a typical days meals and snacks.

Many times I have considered a wheat intolerance, but it doesn't seem to matter if I eat wheat. I hardly eat it much anymore but if I do I don't get any worse. I don't know if I've ever gone more than a few weeks completely wheat free so if it takes longer to clean the wheat out of the system then I might try it again. I could post a list of foods I eat but I don't think that would be informative because I add and remove foods every month or two so my diet is quite inconsistent. I do eat regular meals, 3 or 4 per day, rarely from restaurants or processed, and I almost always enjoy my food.

Yes, I do suppose my life is stressful. I dislike my job and am quite unhappy. I had intended on posting on the internet asking for advise on my health issues, but then I suddenly started questioning my vegan diet and thus my initial post was focused on the diet and not my whole health. I welcome any suggestions for improving my health, even if they aren't diet related, even though this post was initially about diet. I am interested in so-called alternative medicine, and I keep thinking about seeking a professional in alternative medicine such as an acupuncturist, but haven't followed through.




Quote:
Originally Posted by SomebodyElse View Post



Since my notion of "everyone" actually includes EVERYONE ie. all my fellow sentient animals, I think a plant based diet for humans is indeed the best diet for everyone.

What if you discovered that you absolutely had to eat an animal to maintain your health, meaning that your body was designed/evolved to be omnivorous/carnivorous? I'm sure some vegans won't even consider this question, or will say that they would rather risk their own health than kill animals. But I think this is a very important question to think about. Life feeds on life, we can't change that. (If someone can teach me how to photosynthesize I am all for it. Not joking.)

nogardsram 01-06-2011 12:37 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomasm View Post

To clarify, "best" refers not only to what provides optimum health, but to what diet should humans eat; what diet are we designed to eat, and what diet is best for the planet as a whole.

I don't think there is such a thing as 'what diet should humans eat' nor do I think there is a 'diet we are designed to eat.' We're opportunistic, and I'd say most life eats what it can. There is no 'should' nor is there a 'designed.' Diets change and evolve based on available options for every life on the planet. Those that do not adapt, die out.

If the panda bear ancestors had language that could articulate these kinds of concepts, it's possible they might well have rejected that it was possible to subsist off an almost exclusive diet of bamboo, but it seemed to have worked out for them even though their ancestors were carnivorous. *shrug*

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomasm View Post

I came to strongly believe that humans are not equipped to feed off of animals and have evolved to thrive as herbivores.

I disagree, humans have evolved as omnivores, luckily we're not obligate omnivores though. There are no nutrients that our bodies cannot find in non-animal sources (in general, so like I stated about some with allergies or sensitives might have issues).

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomasm View Post

Some arguments for human omnivore diets are quite reasonable,

Sure, it entirely depends on one's premises. We can have 'reasonable' arguments for slavery, murder, etc too (depending on what premises we start from). The main feature I keep coming back to is that I want to have a 'good' life and a life in and of itself, I can't feel justified in taking another sentient life, if I also hold my own to be of any importance (then again, if I don't hold my own to any importance, the issue of heath or 'best' diet is moot as well).

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomasm View Post

However, I have always felt, even as a vegan, that there is nothing wrong with killing a wild animal with your own hands and consuming all of it for sustenance.

That's odd. I don't think human life is necessarily more important than any other sentient life (in other words that simply being human makes a creature more important than any other creature in terms of being alive). I don't condone killing people any more than I would keeping people in cages and then killing them (or accepting other people to keep them in cages and kill them for me).


Quote:
Originally Posted by tomasm View Post

What if you discovered that you absolutely had to eat an animal to maintain your health, meaning that your body was designed/evolved to be omnivorous/carnivorous? I'm sure some vegans won't even consider this question, or will say that they would rather risk their own health than kill animals. But I think this is a very important question to think about. Life feeds on life, we can't change that. (If someone can teach me how to photosynthesize I am all for it. Not joking.)

Fortunately people do survive and thrive on a plant based diet, so the question becomes purely hypothetical. It is then in a class similar to so many other hypotheticals that are a bit removed from our experiences. We can conjecture and hypothesize about our actions and while we might do a decent job at predicting, it's difficult to say, because the world would have to be very different than it is now.

I try to refrain from using the word 'designed' simply because of connotations associated with that word. I guess what you're asking is if we were obligate omnivores. If this were the case, there would already be many problems with people. We do know that at least some people survive on non-animal based diets, but unfortunately we can't say with certainty that all people can then survive on non-animal based diets. Though, I still come back to the question of 'what can be found in animals that can't be found in other sources?'

Even if there is an issue (for some or in your hypothetical), I still think that if we're really serious about morality and that there are things that are wrong to do to some people (like take their life, abuse, exploit, etc), that basing this morality on species is as inconsistent as it is to base it on race or gender (or whatever silly difference people can make). I think that if we're really serious about morality (and that taking a life, or abusing another, or exploiting another is 'wrong') we should base it on our ability to have a point of view, that we're sentient, and not base it on species any more than we would base it on race, gender, worldview, etc.

luvourmother 01-06-2011 06:03 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomasm View Post



Many times I have considered a wheat intolerance, but it doesn't seem to matter if I eat wheat. I hardly eat it much anymore but if I do I don't get any worse. I don't know if I've ever gone more than a few weeks completely wheat free so if it takes longer to clean the wheat out of the system then I might try it again. I could post a list of foods I eat but I don't think that would be informative because I add and remove foods every month or two so my diet is quite inconsistent. I do eat regular meals, 3 or 4 per day, rarely from restaurants or processed, and I almost always enjoy my food.

Yes it does take more time without consuming wheat to get relief from celiac symptoms, depending on how old you are and how progressed it has gotten. Also you may not be considering all of the other foods that have wheat or can cause symptoms like barley and oats. It is also a good idea to ask your doctor to run tests, if they diagnosed u for IBS they should have considered celiac if they didn't u need to ask why not?

As for tracking your food intake, you say you eat different foods every few months, maybe this is your main problem, not sticking to a regular diet?

From my experience with people with IBS the best thing you can do to relieve symptoms is stress reduction. Massage, yoga, meditation, quiet walks, reading peaceful books, tai chi, exercise in general...will all help your IBS probably more than changing your diet (if you are not celiac that is)

Sevenseas 01-06-2011 06:44 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomasm View Post

I knew when I wrote "best" I was not being specific enough but my post was too long already. To clarify, "best" refers not only to what provides optimum health, but to what diet should humans eat; what diet are we designed to eat, and what diet is best for the planet as a whole. I came to strongly believe that humans are not equipped to feed off of animals and have evolved to thrive as herbivores. On top of that, factory farming is inefficient, cruel, damaging to our environment, and produces low quality, harmful food products. This I still believe; it's the first part that I am questioning. I myself am shocked that this thought has come to my mind, but I can't ignore it now. Some arguments for human omnivore diets are quite reasonable, but I will refrain from going into that for now. In response to your biggest question, my answer is that every nutrient in omnivore diets can be obtained in a herbivore diet (save the B12 debate for later please). Of course this knowledge is based only from what the "experts" have told me in their books. They could be wrong.

I agree that the best diet should not include animal products from factory farming. However, I have always felt, even as a vegan, that there is nothing wrong with killing a wild animal with your own hands and consuming all of it for sustenance. I am sure that many of you will disagree with me on this point because killing is wrong and cruel. Without going too much further on this sub-debate, I will say that I still wouldn't eat animals even if freshly slaughtered by my own hands because a) I have no desire to kill and/or eat an animal, b) I am surrounded by an abundance of plant foods already, and c) I believe that humans are strictly herbivores.

It seems like you have based your lifestyle choices a lot on considerations about "nature", "natural", "designed to" etc. I think that's ultimately not the most rational approach, as Sir Nogardsram argued.

Is homo sapiens designed to be a natural herbivore or a natural omnivore? I do not care, and I think the question presupposes that nature as a whole has some kind of intentions about what you should eat, or that in biological facts there would lie hidden evaluations of your choices as good or bad. When omnivores argue that human being is meant to be omnivorous, and when vegans argue that humans are natural herbivores, they are committing the same flaw of thinking: projecting values and ideals from the realm of human culture into the realm of physiology and nature -- even though the latter realm has no intention, no design, no purpose or plan.

With this latter realization comes the understanding of your own freedom as someone who, while constrained by biological limitations and cultural circumstances, has no "Mother Nature" issuing prescriptions about what to eat.

Homo sapiens
is an animal who, as a matter of present fact, can sustain herself with a wide variety of sources of nutrients. But most importantly, homo sapiens is an animal who can entertain wide-ranging ethical, political or spiritual considerations bearing upon which of those sources of nutrients she chooses. Homo sapiens is an animal who can decide what kind of a person she wants to be, what kind of a life she wants to lead, what kind of a relationship she wishes to have with other species. Does she want to embody in her life issues of justice that go beyond the boundary of species, and does she want to criticize and object to the prevalent, contingent cultural tendency to view non-humans primarily as things to be used -- or does she prefer convenience, no matter the cost, and taking prevalent norms as a given, disguising them with stories like "circle of life" or "on top of the food chain".

Nutritional science and biology are very important, but when we talk about them in terms of "natural" and "design", we put our own twist on them without realizing it.

tomasm 01-06-2011 11:24 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevenseas View Post

It seems like you have based your lifestyle choices a lot on considerations about "nature", "natural", "designed to" etc. I think that's ultimately not the most rational approach, as Sir Nogardsram argued.

Yes, you are right. My change to a vegan life happened partially because I realized that I didn't need to use animals to sustain my own life. I realized that I could get every nutrient that my body needed from plants. I concluded that humans are not designed to eat animals. A shark or lion is designed to eat animals, or at least better equipped than myself. True, nature does not have a purpose or plan but each species evolves to thrive on specific foods. So I still think my question about whether or not humans are designed to be herbivores is valid and important to consider. Some people are fine on plant diets but maybe other people would be better eating animal products. So maybe we are omnivores? I don't know. That's what is on my mind these days. I don't want to kill animals or cause suffering, and I don't. I separated myself from that years ago as much as possible. But if I needed to kill and eat an animal to survive I think I would. Am I guilty of specie-ism? I suppose I am. I would probably starve to death than murder and eat a human. But I would eat some bugs or a fish if that's all I could get my hands on to survive.

If I start thinking about why I am vegan, and I ignore all of the reasons except for my not wanting to kill, I think I end up in a fuzzy area. If I eat plants I am certainly killing plants. I kill and eat bugs too without knowing sometimes, or I eat bits of bugs that were already killed. The people who provide my plants have killed many bugs and perhaps even rodents and birds. So now where do I draw the line? I don't eat honey, or use silk or wool. Why? Because I want to separate myself from using animals as much as possible. Well, I'm sure when my plants are harvested plenty of worms are killed, so why should I worry about the silk worms and honey bees? So once again I conclude that I don't eat animals or their byproducts or wear silk or eat honey or wear wool because I don't need to. If my lifestyle choices were based strictly on morality I would have a tough time making a solid proof for my argument.

Sevenseas 01-07-2011 01:57 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomasm View Post

True, nature does not have a purpose or plan but each species evolves to thrive on specific foods. So I still think my question about whether or not humans are designed to be herbivores is valid and important to consider.

I disagree. The questions "how healthy are various sources of nutrients for me?" and "what are the health consequences of such-and-such a diet?" are valid concerns that deal with real facts of nutritional science. I don't think you have presented any reason why one would need to turn those valid concerns into the questionably teleological version of "what diet are humans designed to have?"

Quote:
If I eat plants I am certainly killing plants.

Plants don't have the physiology to be sentient. I'm not vegan out of some concern for life as such, but out of concern for sentient life.

Quote:
I kill and eat bugs too without knowing sometimes, or I eat bits of bugs that were already killed. The people who provide my plants have killed many bugs and perhaps even rodents and birds. So now where do I draw the line? I don't eat honey, or use silk or wool. Why? Because I want to separate myself from using animals as much as possible. Well, I'm sure when my plants are harvested plenty of worms are killed, so why should I worry about the silk worms and honey bees? So once again I conclude that I don't eat animals or their byproducts or wear silk or eat honey or wear wool because I don't need to. If my lifestyle choices were based strictly on morality I would have a tough time making a solid proof for my argument.

If you're an American, by paying taxes you end up supporting various shady dealings by the US government, and you're financing wars and maybe the killing of civilians. By participating in modern Western consumer society, you are benefiting from the oppression of the third world. By participating in modern Western society, you are supporting environmentally damaging practices that may result in harm and suffering for all of us, including humans.

What are the moral conclusions to draw from this? Is it that maybe sweatshop labor, or the sex trade, or violence against women, or racism, or environmental destruction, are not really tenable moral concerns, since we end up harming humans in many ways anyway, so who can draw the line?

tomasm 01-07-2011 09:09 PM

Thanks for the responses. However, I am still not completely satisfied with the responses from both myself and everyone who has replied to my initial question, "is a plant based diet the best diet for everyone?". Actually, I don't even have an answer at this point. I found an old thread here that covers the question of whether or not humans are herbivores quite extensively. After reading that thread I have nothing more to say about the topic, but it is something I will keep thinking about.

I still haven't decided on what I should do to improve my health. I don't want to eat legumes anymore in any form, at least for now. That should help my stomach but I don't know if that will help the other problems. A change in job and environment might do more than any diet change. Who knows?

Lastly, I found myself this week browsing some anti-vegan and anti-raw food sites like this and this. I think some of the information is well worth reading for anyone on a vegan diet. Even if you don't agree with everything that is written I think reading things like what I found on these sites has opened my mind up. I think it is important to understand different perspectives as much as possible.

nogardsram 01-08-2011 01:31 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomasm View Post

Thanks for the responses. However, I am still not completely satisfied with the responses from both myself and everyone who has replied to my initial question, "is a plant based diet the best diet for everyone?".

Why? Were you expecting either everyone to refuse or to agree or what? Were you looking for reasons to support your suspicions? What? Are you looking for a magic bullet or an argument or something else?


Quote:
Originally Posted by tomasm View Post

I still haven't decided on what I should do to improve my health. I don't want to eat legumes anymore in any form, at least for now. That should help my stomach but I don't know if that will help the other problems. A change in job and environment might do more than any diet change. Who knows?

I hope things work out for you. Health issues are frustrating.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomasm View Post

Lastly, I found myself this week browsing some anti-vegan and anti-raw food sites like this and this. I think some of the information is well worth reading for anyone on a vegan diet. Even if you don't agree with everything that is written I think reading things like what I found on these sites has opened my mind up. I think it is important to understand different perspectives as much as possible.

Yeah, sometimes I read a variety of information on given subjects that I find interesting (like veganism...). I attempt to read both pro and con, but more importantly I try to research footnotes and references and attempt to understand their reasoning as best I can.

I read a bunch of beyondveg a number of years ago, as well as the Weston A Price foundation site and I found them to be really frustrating. Bold claims were made with little to no referencing or the research was simply taken out of context. Perhaps if there's something new there now and they can make a claim without resorting to fallacies or direct lying, then I might reconsider a follow up. *shrug*

As for the letthemeatmeat site, he does make some valid points in terms of his criticism of what some vegans state. I don't necessarily agree with some of his premises though.

I find two benefits from different perspectives. One being to be able to understand another point of view (even if it doesn't make sense) in order to relate to that person or to people with that worldview, the other benefit, is for criticism and understanding of one's own worldview [so long as at least two conditions (that I can think of at the moment) are met a) the criticism is rational and based on accurate understanding and research and b) you can validate that criticism]. Too many people play the "I heard..." or "I read..." instead of reading/researching for themselves (and I'm talking about footnotes and reading the actual research paper neglecting claims simply referencing news articles or random websites with no valid footnotes/references, etc).

Comrade 01-08-2011 05:57 AM

You might be intolerant of gluten. That can cause digestive problems, quite serious ones in some people. Or the grains and legumes you eat might not be cooked properly. They might need to be soaked longer and cooked longer. Some legumes might need fermenting instead of boiling.

I know a lot of people extol the virtues of eating raw vegetables but they are very hard on the digestion. Make sure they are cooked.

You say you have tried different eating patterns but have you tried eliminating certain foods? Make a list of all the foods you eat regularly and then eliminate each one for a month or so to see if that makes any difference. You could eliminate whole groups to speed up the process. All legumes one month. All grains the next. All root vegetables. All nuts, etc. If one group seems to be the culprit, reintroduce each type of that group one at a time, each week.

Some people have found relief with worm therapy. I'm not sure what happens to the worms but I suppose they go on living happily in the gut.

I do believe a plant-based diet is the best for every human. But, as there are always going to be some plants that some people can't eat, it can't be said that all the varieties of plant foods will suit everyone.

As for your lack of progress in strength development, you probably need to change the way you train. Fifty press ups are too much to build strength. Fewer reps with more resistance would be better. And, depending on how much resistance exercise you do, you might need more calories. You might need more rest days, too.

You would do well to get a proper diagnosis as to whether it is IBS or IBD.

Gut. 2004 October; 53(10): 1399–1401
Diet and relapsing ulcerative colitis: take off the meat?
H Tilg and A Kaser

Mentions that a high fat intake was associated with an increased risk for Ulcerative Colitis whereas a negative correlation with vitamin C and fruit consumption was found. Also that resistant fibre increases the population of Bifidobacillus and Lactobacillus in the colon and an increase in faecal butyrate concentrations.

And:
Quote:
Another important study in the area of prebiotic and dietary fibre has been performed by a Spanish collaborative group.27 In this large study, Plantago ovata seeds (dietary fibre 20 g/day) was compared with mesalamine in the maintenance of remission in patients with UC (n=105). Treatment failure rate was 40% in the Plantago ovata seed group, 35% in the mesalamine group, and 30% in the Plantaga ovata plus mesalamine group. A significant increase in faecal butyrate levels was observed after Plantago ovata seed administration.

----------------

Medscape General Medicine. 2007 Mar 27;9(1):60.
Dietary Factors in the Modulation of Inflammatory Bowel Disease Activity
Shah S.

This study says that those with IBD have been found to have a higher intake of sucrose and refined carbohydrates. But fructose and lactose are not associated with IBD.

Quote:
Epidemiologic studies have indicated that the prevalence of IBD is directly correlated to consumption of fried potato products.

Quote:
A randomized controlled trial of wheatgrass juice in the management of ulcerative colitis has demonstrated some efficacy.

It mentions a meta-analysis which concluded that long-chain triglycerides have an adverse effect on IBD. Medium-chain triglycerides don't. It says long-chain triglycerides are found in safflower and soybean oil, and medium-chain in coconut oil. It also says other studies show that low-fat diets with medium-chain triglycerides are superior to high-fat diets for this problem.

It says other things about fibre, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It says ulcerative colitis may be associated with increased intakes of mono- and polyunsaturated fats. It says high fibre diets decrease the relative risk for Chron's disease.

Boswellia serrata has shown promise in Chron's disease.

tomasm 01-08-2011 10:51 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by nogardsram View Post

Why? Were you expecting either everyone to refuse or to agree or what? Were you looking for reasons to support your suspicions? What? Are you looking for a magic bullet or an argument or something else?

I guess "satisfied" was the wrong word to use. I should have said I haven't found a definite answer to my question. In other words, I still don't know if a vegan diet is best for me. And this time I'm using "best" to refer to my health only, setting aside the other reasons why I am vegan, and ignoring the whole "designed for" discussion earlier.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nogardsram View Post

As for the letthemeatmeat site, he does make some valid points in terms of his criticism of what some vegans state. I don't necessarily agree with some of his premises though.

I don't agree with everything on his site either, but his articles really have me thinking about my choices in life way more this week than I have since I first turned vegan. His story about going vegan and then turning into a carnivore is good to read. He went through some rough times and tried very hard for years to be healthy on a plant based diet and failed. Maybe this story has a big impact on me because I am also suffering similar problems. I think it's a little odd that he eats raw bloody cow hearts now. I can appreciate why he is eating the whole cow but does he need to be that extreme? I wonder if he has considered the health risks that he potentially will face that could be much worse than his vegan health problems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Comrade View Post

You might be intolerant of gluten. That can cause digestive problems, quite serious ones in some people. Or the grains and legumes you eat might not be cooked properly. They might need to be soaked longer and cooked longer. Some legumes might need fermenting instead of boiling.

Yes, I often think about the gluten thing, which is why I don't eat fake meat stuff because it usually has gluten (and is gross anyway). The only gluten I eat is bread, and I don't buy it every week. For now I'm cutting out legumes and I'll see how that goes. I'm going to eat wheat in the meantime because I am starving (really, I am too thin) and I am going crazy with all the diet restrictions. I'm feeling like an anorexic freak sometimes.

Haven't thought about my food not being cooked properly. For my rice, 1 hour slow cook in the rice cooker. Quinoa, I just press the "regular" button on the rice cooker. For beans, rinse, overnight soak, rinse, boil, then simmer for an hour, more or less depending on type, or all day in slow cooker. Or canned beans, rinsed, then heated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Comrade View Post

Some people have found relief with worm therapy. I'm not sure what happens to the worms but I suppose they go on living happily in the gut.

Are you talking about the hook worm? I heard about that on radiolab.org as a treatment for allergies, but the guy selling it asks for a ludicrous amount of money for something that no one but him seems to know about. If it was cheaper I might try it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Comrade View Post

As for your lack of progress in strength development, you probably need to change the way you train. Fifty press ups are too much to build strength. Fewer reps with more resistance would be better. And, depending on how much resistance exercise you do, you might need more calories. You might need more rest days, too.

Fewer reps with more resistance would be better if I want to look big and strong, or be able to lift more. I'd rather be able to do 100 push-ups. And after 10 years of doing push-ups I don't think I ever got above 60. Sadly, since my shoulder surgery I haven't been able to do push-ups because it feels like my clavicle will break. I am doing pull ups again, maxing out at only 8 but I could only do 10 or 11 before the surgery. Also doing 5x5 sets of curls with weights. STRUGGLE to do 5 reps with only 35lbs. Weak! Oh well I don't care about weight lifting anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Comrade View Post

It says other things about fibre, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

From the research info that you posted, the one thing that stood out was about the omega fat. The fat in my diet mostly comes from almonds, peanuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, and tofu. Not much omega-3 I suppose. I could try flax oil again but it's expensive and I don't remember if it had any effects on me when I used to eat a few spoonfuls every day. Like I said, I've tried many things over the years to be super healthy.

One eating pattern that I like sometimes is what I call the monk diet: rice and steamed greens. Eating this keeps me relaxed and I feel full. I should go back to that again. One thing about it is that after eating tons of rice and bitter/bland greens I crave sweets like juice so maybe it's not such a great food plan.

Comrade 01-09-2011 06:17 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomasm View Post

Yes, I often think about the gluten thing, which is why I don't eat fake meat stuff because it usually has gluten (and is gross anyway). The only gluten I eat is bread, and I don't buy it every week. For now I'm cutting out legumes and I'll see how that goes. I'm going to eat wheat in the meantime because I am starving (really, I am too thin) and I am going crazy with all the diet restrictions. I'm feeling like an anorexic freak sometimes.

If you want to avoid gluten but also want something that is bulky and filling you could choose grains that have no gluten. I think all rice is gluten free. So are millet, quinoa, maize ( I think), sorghum, and buckwheat. But always check that nothing else is mixed with them, especially if they are flours.

Quote:
Are you talking about the hook worm? I heard about that on radiolab.org as a treatment for allergies, but the guy selling it asks for a ludicrous amount of money for something that no one but him seems to know about. If it was cheaper I might try it.

Science Translational Medcine 1 December 2010
IL-22 CD4 T Cells Are Associated with Therapeutic Trichuris trichiura Infection in an Ulcerative Colitis Patient.

Genes involved in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism were up-regulated in helminth-colonized tissue, whereas tissues with active colitis showed up-regulation of proinflammatory genes such as IL-17, IL-13RA2, and CHI3L1. Therefore, T. trichiura colonization of the intestine may reduce symptomatic colitis by promoting goblet cell hyperplasia and mucus production through TH2 cytokines and IL-22. Improved understanding of the physiological effects of helminth infection may lead to new therapies for inflammatory bowel diseases.
----------------

And there's this:

Quote:
The most provocative data in support of pursuing helminth infection as a therapeutic option for human inflammatory bowel disease have been provided by Weinstock and colleagues. In their initial investigation three patients with active, steroid-refractory Crohn's disease were given an oral dose of 2500 viable eggs of the pig whipworm, Trichuris suis. The patients showed no adverse reactions to the helminth treatment, and remarkably all three experienced substantial improvement in their disease as quantified by the Crohn's disease activity score (CDAI) and the inflammatory bowel disease quality-of-life questionnaire.45 Follow-up studies currently being conducted by the same team appear to be repeating these findings,46 although it must be emphasized that the data are preliminary, involve a very small number of patients, and will require verification in a controlled, large-scale randomized clinical trial.

Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Volume 19, Issue 2, pages 167177, January 2004
Helminths as therapeutic agents for inflammatory bowel disease.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/1...4.01803.x/full

There's also a study into worm therapy for cealic disease.

Incidently, that bloke who eats raw meat and says his digestion has improved - I think it's possible that he has acquired worms from the raw meat and they are responsible for his improved health. Many farmed and wild animals have worms which can be passed on to those who eat their flesh raw or undercooked.



Quote:
Fewer reps with more resistance would be better if I want to look big and strong, or be able to lift more. I'd rather be able to do 100 push-ups. And after 10 years of doing push-ups I don't think I ever got above 60. Sadly, since my shoulder surgery I haven't been able to do push-ups because it feels like my clavicle will break. I am doing pull ups again, maxing out at only 8 but I could only do 10 or 11 before the surgery. Also doing 5x5 sets of curls with weights. STRUGGLE to do 5 reps with only 35lbs. Weak! Oh well I don't care about weight lifting anyway.

A good way to get past sticking points when you want to increase the number of reps, or even to increase strength, is to use grease the groove or synaptic facilitation training. Pavel Tsatsouline writes a lot about it. I have found that using reps of 1/3 or 1/2 of maximum reps, 6 or more times a day, 3 or 4 days a week, has helped me.

Static holds for a few seconds at the point where you fail to complete a rep can also help. But for people who have high blood pressure or glaucoma, isometric exercises of that type can be harmful as they can can cause an increase in blood pressure. And normal breathing must be maintained during the hold.


Quote:
From the research info that you posted, the one thing that stood out was about the omega fat. The fat in my diet mostly comes from almonds, peanuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, and tofu. Not much omega-3 I suppose. I could try flax oil again but it's expensive and I don't remember if it had any effects on me when I used to eat a few spoonfuls every day. Like I said, I've tried many things over the years to be super healthy.

There's some research - I believe - that says omega-6 can have anti-inflammatory effects as well as inflammatory. Have you thought about algae capsules for DHA and EPA? There are some suitable for vegans. I don't know how much they cost.

Quote:
One eating pattern that I like sometimes is what I call the monk diet: rice and steamed greens. Eating this keeps me relaxed and I feel full. I should go back to that again. One thing about it is that after eating tons of rice and bitter/bland greens I crave sweets like juice so maybe it's not such a great food plan.

How about having a few raisins or other dried fruit after the meal?

nogardsram 01-09-2011 08:23 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomasm View Post

I guess "satisfied" was the wrong word to use. I should have said I haven't found a definite answer to my question. In other words, I still don't know if a vegan diet is best for me. And this time I'm using "best" to refer to my health only, setting aside the other reasons why I am vegan, and ignoring the whole "designed for" discussion earlier.

Ahh, I see.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomasm View Post

I don't agree with everything on his site either, but his articles really have me thinking about my choices in life way more this week than I have since I first turned vegan. His story about going vegan and then turning into a carnivore is good to read. He went through some rough times and tried very hard for years to be healthy on a plant based diet and failed. Maybe this story has a big impact on me because I am also suffering similar problems. I think it's a little odd that he eats raw bloody cow hearts now. I can appreciate why he is eating the whole cow but does he need to be that extreme? I wonder if he has considered the health risks that he potentially will face that could be much worse than his vegan health problems.

One thing that I have thought about in relation to the health quest of diets, is the issue of 'correlation does not equal causation.' Many people, especially in health dieting do equate this, and completely neglect other life factors. While I admit that diet will have some pretty profound effects on one's body, I'm skeptical of anecdotal claims. Even in changing diets (like say from an omnivorous to vegan or vegan to omnivorous) it goes beyond just adding or subtracting animal products, to a fundamental shift in eating patterns, quantities, etc.

As a hypothetical, let's take someone who ate animal products and was fine. They decided to go vegan, they wanted to be healthy so they started to drink soymilk, eat tofu, tempeh, etc (as a 'protein' source). They get all sorts of stomach pains, feel terrible and after months or years, go back to consuming animal products (and of course cut out soy products), they again feel fine. Unknown to them, they're allergic to soy however, so of course it's clear what was going on, but it had nothing to do with a vegan vs omnivorous diet.

However, add on top of that all the environmental factors and changes. This goes for those becoming vegan as well.

I read his change (going vegan and then going back) and while it may sound compelling, I just caution (as I try to do with those claiming veganism cures all) that correlation does not equal causation. There's a lot more to the story than simply what people tell, even telling (like in my hypothetical above) can make it seem like that hypothetical person really did have an issue with not eating animal products (when one leaves out the whole issue of soy).



I can't remember if you stated this already, but have you been tested for allergies or food sensitivities?

Salad 01-10-2011 08:02 AM

This is going to be an unpopular opinion, but I don't see how you'll be able to be vegan without eating legumes and grains. And you clearly can't eat those. I don't think it's incredibly useful to muse on whether this is issue is stress or all in your head or if massage or a herbal supplement could fix it for you. The most practical (and likely successful) solution is to quit eating what's making you sick and make up for the nutrients and calories your missing with something else.

Veganism is a fine diet provided that one is able to eat a wide variety of plant foods, with minimal allergies (Eating vegan with a gluten or nut allergy seems do-able).

It sounds like your primary reasons for being vegan are an opposition to cruel factory farms and a necessity arguement. If you feel like you're starving and you can't eat legumes, then animal food may indeed be a necessity for you. Tis doesn't mean supporting factory farming is your only option. You can get boutique free range organic eggs-- check out a farmer's market. You may even have a neighbor with back yard chickens, given the recent surge in their popularity.

You can eat bivalves (mussels, clams, ect.) without much worry about their suffering (they have no central nervous system), and you can eat wild caught seafood without supporting any factory farm. Though you say you wouldn't hunt yourself, you could cultivate some friends who hunt and get game meat from them.

I hope things work out for you.

tomasm 01-11-2011 01:11 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Comrade View Post

Incidently, that bloke who eats raw meat and says his digestion has improved - I think it's possible that he has acquired worms from the raw meat and they are responsible for his improved health. Many farmed and wild animals have worms which can be passed on to those who eat their flesh raw or undercooked.

Yes, there are many possible reasons why the letthemeatmeat.com guy has improved health changing from herbivore to omnivore, which is why I still doubt that eating flesh was the ONLY solution to his problems.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Comrade View Post

A good way to get past sticking points when you want to increase the number of reps, or even to increase strength, is to use grease the groove or synaptic facilitation training. Pavel Tsatsouline writes a lot about it. I have found that using reps of 1/3 or 1/2 of maximum reps, 6 or more times a day, 3 or 4 days a week, has helped me.

This does help, and I have tried. But I think I'm just a wimp Either that or I have a nutritional deficiency. I tried for YEARS to do hand-stand pushups. In 2009 I finally was able to do ONE but eventually destroyed the end of my clavicle in the process. It's been 6 months since surgery but I couldn't even imagine trying that again. I'm even afraid to do regular pushups now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nogardsram View Post

I read his change (going vegan and then going back) and while it may sound compelling, I just caution (as I try to do with those claiming veganism cures all) that correlation does not equal causation. There's a lot more to the story than simply what people tell, even telling (like in my hypothetical above) can make it seem like that hypothetical person really did have an issue with not eating animal products (when one leaves out the whole issue of soy).

Yes, very true. And again, this is why I still doubt that flesh eating was his only possible cure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nogardsram View Post

I can't remember if you stated this already, but have you been tested for allergies or food sensitivities?

Tested for allergies at age 15 (13 years ago). The test was done by pricking my back dozens of times and applying allergens to the skin. When tested for non-food allergies, the entire surface of my back was covered with blisters so apparently I'm severely allergic to the entire planet. But for food, I was only slightly allergic to peaches, some type of shellfish, and brewer's yeast. I never bothered to go for the allergy shots and I question how reliable those tests are anyway...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Salad View Post

This is going to be an unpopular opinion, but I don't see how you'll be able to be vegan without eating legumes and grains. And you clearly can't eat those. I don't think it's incredibly useful to muse on whether this is issue is stress or all in your head or if massage or a herbal supplement could fix it for you. The most practical (and likely successful) solution is to quit eating what's making you sick and make up for the nutrients and calories your missing with something else.

Veganism is a fine diet provided that one is able to eat a wide variety of plant foods, with minimal allergies (Eating vegan with a gluten or nut allergy seems do-able).

It sounds like your primary reasons for being vegan are an opposition to cruel factory farms and a necessity arguement. If you feel like you're starving and you can't eat legumes, then animal food may indeed be a necessity for you. Tis doesn't mean supporting factory farming is your only option. You can get boutique free range organic eggs-- check out a farmer's market. You may even have a neighbor with back yard chickens, given the recent surge in their popularity.

You can eat bivalves (mussels, clams, ect.) without much worry about their suffering (they have no central nervous system), and you can eat wild caught seafood without supporting any factory farm. Though you say you wouldn't hunt yourself, you could cultivate some friends who hunt and get game meat from them.

I hope things work out for you.

Your opinion is definitely unpopular; however, it is the same opinion that I have unfortunately been leaning towards myself. I appreciate your advice and it seems to be a more rational solution. I've spent the last week obsessing over this issue and I can't ignore the thought that I may be healthier as an omnivore. Reading the beyondveg and letthemeatmeat sites have really had an impact on me. But I prefer eating plants. I ate animal products for the first 20 years of my life and I have no desire to go back to that. I could become "vegetarian". As strange as it seems to me to eat eggs, if it is better for me than I will do what I need to do. But I don't think I could ever consume dairy again. I don't care if I had my own cow in the backyard. Cow's milk is for baby cows, not adult humans.

A few days ago I decided to eat some animal products as a test. I didn't want to, but I felt that I had to find out if I could even tolerate it. I ate raw tuna, raw salmon eggs, and raw chicken eggs. I ate them raw as a way to test my question of whether or not I am "designed" to eat animals. I wanted to find out if I could put a freshly killed fish in my mouth and digest it without vomiting or having some other problem. I have read online and heard directly from ex-vegetarians that when they first eat meat again they get sick and throw up for for a few weeks (so why do they keep eating it!) Well, for me, everything was easily digested and I felt fine. I can't say I felt better or worse then I do after my normal meals, and I certainly can't say I enjoyed it. I would much rather have tofu and salad. But I did not have any digestive problems.

So I guess I'll be banned now for eating tuna. Oh well. It was something I felt that I needed to do. As for now I'm still 100 % vegan and I'd like to keep it that way.

Sevenseas 01-11-2011 01:36 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomasm View Post

I ate them raw as a way to test my question of whether or not I am "designed" to eat animals.



Well, did you find out? Did a conscious, intentional entity present itself who talked about the kind of designing they had done?

tomasm 01-11-2011 08:54 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevenseas View Post

Well, did you find out? Did a conscious, intentional entity present itself who talked about the kind of designing they had done?

I thought I was clear in previous posts about what I meant by "design" in this context, but maybe not. I'll try again...

For years now I've been absolutely certain that humans have evolved as herbivores. I was always aware that fossil records indicate that humans have consumed flesh for tens of thousands of years. I was always aware that there is no record of a society that has existed as 100% herbivore. I've also read claims several times that the human brain was able to grow and evolve due to increased animal protein intake. The list goes on, but I simply dismissed this evidence and continued to believe that humans have always been omnivores by choice, not by design (yes, I just wrote "design" again. I don't know what other word to use). Backing up this belief is the nutritional information found in books showing that all nutrients required by humans are available in plants.

So what did I find out? Are humans designed to be omnivores or herbivores? Well, my test certainly can't prove either way. What I did find out, however, is that I am perfectly capable of using animals for food. You might be thinking, "well of course you can". But I wasn't so sure. Too many times have I heard or read stories about ex-vegetarians who get terribly ill when they first start eating flesh. I have personally talked with a few people who have experienced this and they all say that they vomit after eating meat for the first few days and for the first few weeks can only eat small portions at a time without getting sick. This fact solidified my belief that humans are not designed to be omnivores.

But now I'm reading stories from people who claim to feel instant health improvements from eating meat just once after years on a vegan diet. Sure, there may have been something else going on, but I had to find out myself. I haven't had any animal products for 8 years and I certainly have never ate any raw. I felt that if I couldn't eat it raw then I shouldn't be eating it. I was able to eat it raw, and I didn't have any illness. But I didn't have any sudden health improvements either. So what's the conclusion? I don't know. I still have some thinking to do.

nogardsram 01-11-2011 11:25 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomasm View Post

I was always aware that there is no record of a society that has existed as 100% herbivore.

Let's be honest, is this important or even relevant? Many people push this as evidence, but is there a record of a civilization with no murder or rape or what have you? I find this point (which my point is not to critique you, but this type of argument) irrelevant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomasm View Post

I've also read claims several times that the human brain was able to grow and evolve due to increased animal protein intake.

Again, this is a correlation, not necessarily a causation. My understanding, is that there is not a causal link (in that meat eating caused the human brain growth), but it's commonly put forward as a cause by people being disingenuous.

Sevenseas 01-11-2011 11:29 PM

It doesn't matter whether you say 'designed' or 'evolved to', they both reflect the wrong approach, the approach of evaluating diet on the basis of "natural" vs. "unnatural", instead of evaluating diet based on nutritional facts.

Why make this an evolutionary concern instead of a nutritional concern? Because you think mother Nature has a "plan" for you that you need to find out.

vegan_foodie 01-13-2011 04:24 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomasm View Post

I also struggle to improve my strength. I have always been tall and thin, but after years of daily training I would expect to be able to do more than 50 push-ups without killing myself in the process. After training myself hard, not only have I failed to become much stronger, but in the process I damaged my shoulder to the extent that I required surgery last summer that I still haven't fully recovered from.

Tomas, while there are a number of issues one could address, I wanted to address this. You must realize that your complaint of "years of daily training" not producing results is the complaint of many an omnivore. When I went vegan, I had no problems whatsoever maintaining my strength training regimen and continued to see the same results and actually retained my muscle mass better, so the diet in and of itself isn't causing you problems. Your problems are from your training regimen, food choices, overall calories, sleep amount, and genetics. If you want, you can shoot me a personal message and I can evaluate that for you...or you can post it here (but I think it would derail the thread).

Is a vegan diet best for everyone? Maybe. Biology is a mystical thing and it seems that no one answer is right for everyone, but a vegan diet stands to reason. Why? If you believe we're omnivores, it means we can leech nutrients from animal and plant forms. Considering that all our nutrition, from protein to iron to, yes, even B12 can be found from plant sources, it just seems like a waste of time to consume animal products, which cannot offer things like complex carbohydrates or vitamin C (among other nutrients).


And there are people who go on about having allergies, but if they ate meat they'd still have those same allergies anyway, so it's not like veganism ruins you, you know?

For the IBS, I have the same thing and I take digestive enzymes to aid in digestion. These are not the same as probiotics or bean-o, so give it a shot. Ask if you want to know what I'm taking specifically.

SomebodyElse 01-13-2011 08:41 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomasm View Post

What if you discovered that you absolutely had to eat an animal to maintain your health, meaning that your body was designed/evolved to be omnivorous/carnivorous? I'm sure some vegans won't even consider this question, or will say that they would rather risk their own health than kill animals. But I think this is a very important question to think about. Life feeds on life, we can't change that. (If someone can teach me how to photosynthesize I am all for it. Not joking.)

It wouldn't matter, and I do not say that lightly. I've weathered elevated blood sugar, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, systemic candida, migraines, agonizing gall bladder attacks, and am currently dealing with a very perplexing fatigue disorder, all as a vegan. So while I can't - and wouldn't anyway - say that a plant based diet is a panacea, I will not consider adding animal foods to my diet. Plenty of people who do eat animals have the same problems I have struggled with, and end up on drugs or in surgery, and I have overcome everything, with the exception of the current problem, without drugs or surgery, and without adding animal foods to my diet.

What I am dealing with right now is supposed to be quite difficult to deal with on a plant based diet, and for a few moments today, as I drove past a neighbor who keeps her own chickens and sells the eggs, I wondered what it would be like to eat eggs again, if I really couldn't get over this problem without adding animal protein to my diet. But as I envisioned myself cooking and eating eggs again, the idea alone made me ill. Dairy is contraindicated, and there is no way I would be able to eat flesh, if I can't even stomach the idea of eating eggs. It is pretty much out of my hands at this point. I'd probably be just as likely to eat feces as eggs. I've been vegan way too long for anything else to ever be an option, even if it does mean I have a long hard road to recovery, or don't really recover at all.

tomasm 01-13-2011 09:42 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by vegan_foodie View Post

Tomas, while there are a number of issues one could address, I wanted to address this. You must realize that your complaint of "years of daily training" not producing results is the complaint of many an omnivore. When I went vegan, I had no problems whatsoever maintaining my strength training regimen and continued to see the same results and actually retained my muscle mass better, so the diet in and of itself isn't causing you problems. Your problems are from your training regimen, food choices, overall calories, sleep amount, and genetics. If you want, you can shoot me a personal message and I can evaluate that for you...or you can post it here (but I think it would derail the thread).

You make a good point here, and I sometimes need to remind myself that I am at least as strong if not stronger now than I was as an omnivore. And yes I would like to know what digestive aids you use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SomebodyElse View Post

It wouldn't matter, and I do not say that lightly. I've weathered elevated blood sugar, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, systemic candida, migraines, agonizing gall bladder attacks, and am currently dealing with a very perplexing fatigue disorder, all as a vegan. So while I can't - and wouldn't anyway - say that a plant based diet is a panacea, I will not consider adding animal foods to my diet. Plenty of people who do eat animals have the same problems I have struggled with, and end up on drugs or in surgery, and I have overcome everything, with the exception of the current problem, without drugs or surgery, and without adding animal foods to my diet.

What I am dealing with right now is supposed to be quite difficult to deal with on a plant based diet, and for a few moments today, as I drove past a neighbor who keeps her own chickens and sells the eggs, I wondered what it would be like to eat eggs again, if I really couldn't get over this problem without adding animal protein to my diet. But as I envisioned myself cooking and eating eggs again, the idea alone made me ill. Dairy is contraindicated, and there is no way I would be able to eat flesh, if I can't even stomach the idea of eating eggs. It is pretty much out of my hands at this point. I'd probably be just as likely to eat feces as eggs. I've been vegan way too long for anything else to ever be an option, even if it does mean I have a long hard road to recovery, or don't really recover at all.

Apparently many people recover their health after eating animal products again, but could they have the same results from an alternative solution? That's the big question.

Don't worry about eating eggs again because I can tell you from firsthand experience that it is a very unpleasant experience! I ate two more raw eggs this morning, and while I didn't have any problems eating them last week, now I feel like vomiting just thinking about it. I suppose I would need to eat them for a few weeks to know if eggs can make me feel better but it's not worth it.

SomebodyElse 01-13-2011 10:26 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomasm View Post

Apparently many people recover their health after eating animal products again, but could they have the same results from an alternative solution? That's the big question.

No one, not even the smartest doctors, understands how the body heals. I've come to the conclusion that the less you do to interfere with the body's healing process, the better off you are. I do think a plant based diet is the best way to get out of the body's way while it heals, because plants do not give the body more to deal with on top of what is disrupting its health.

I'm not even sure people really understand what makes us ill either. Lots of people like to think diet has a lot to do with it, but I think genetic pre-dispositions are a big factor, along with how we deal with severe stress. I think animal foods are more likely to hinder the body's healing process than plant foods, and I think some plant foods can actually support the body while it heals. I am content to make myself a guinea pig and test my ideas on myself, because the alternative really isn't an alternative for me any longer, if it ever was.

vegan_foodie 01-14-2011 12:59 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomasm View Post

You make a good point here, and I sometimes need to remind myself that I am at least as strong if not stronger now than I was as an omnivore. And yes I would like to know what digestive aids you use.

A lot of trouble happens when we also feel like we're not reaching our goals "fast enough." Strength is built over many years. Even the professional bodybuilders taking designer steroids, eating a perfect diet and exercising for hours a day still have been working out for at least a decade to look the way they do, and they're the guys with the good genetics (prone to muscle building)!

The enzyme I take:

I buy mine from Whole Foods but I'm sure you can get them online easily and they're pretty cheap, usually under 20 USD. You take them before a meal you feel will upset your stomach...they say to take it with the first bite but you can take it a minute or so prior. They are completely vegan and I find them to be effective. You can take one or two at a time, and again it depends on how you expect to respond to a meal based on your past experiences. For example, if a meal has gluten in it, I will take two because I know gluten and I don't always get along but is sometimes okay (if I feel bad to begin with, I just avoid gluten entirely). If you have a sensitive stomach and feel nauseated, you can try taking aloe vera juice (or gel, gel is better but is thick and tart...tastes like plain, unsweetened yogurt...I take the gel) with the pill. Aloe is great for coating and soothing your stomach, and you just need a gulp of it.



Quote:
Apparently many people recover their health after eating animal products again, but could they have the same results from an alternative solution? That's the big question.

The question is what happened to "recover" their health. If they were unhealthy/deficient, then it's because their diet was lacking, not because their diet was lacking meat. If you're not getting enough iron, for example, there's no reason to jump on the beef wagon when there are many, many iron-rich plant sources, you know?



Quote:
Originally Posted by SomebodyElse View Post

I'm not even sure people really understand what makes us ill either. Lots of people like to think diet has a lot to do with it, but I think genetic pre-dispositions are a big factor, along with how we deal with severe stress. I think animal foods are more likely to hinder the body's healing process than plant foods, and I think some plant foods can actually support the body while it heals. I am content to make myself a guinea pig and test my ideas on myself, because the alternative really isn't an alternative for me any longer, if it ever was.

It's always good to listen to your body because, as you know, everyone is different. Studies do show that a plant-based diet does encourage health more so than an omnivorous one, usually due to the inflammatory response we have.

You're also right about stress. I recently watched a National Geographic documentary on stress (it's on Netflix available via Instant Queue if anyone's interested) that shows we can actually measure the damage stress does to the body. The reason? When we are stressed, we send out two hormones: adrenaline and one I can't remember the name of (it's long and I think starts with Gugglio or Gluto). When the body receives that message (the hormones), it shuts down non-essential processes. Essential processes to responding to a stressful situation as a biological creature are increased oxygen to muscles (via faster breathing) and a faster heartbeat, among others. That's because biological organisms encountering stress encounter it in a life-or-death situation...but we have psychological stress (deadlines, kids crying, homework, job searches, etc.) and still respond in that same fashion. This shuts down stuff that isn't essential to survival, like ovulation, forming new memories, remembering old memories, your immune system and others. That's because a stressful situation should only last a few minutes: you run away from a lion, and when you're far enough away, you stop being stressed and your body goes back to normal. But now, we're constantly stressed. Wake up late, rush to work, battle traffic, your boss breathing down your neck, your co-workers suck, you think your spouse is losing interest (or you worry because you can't find a significant other), you didn't bring food to work so you have to battle lunch hour traffic to eat, you come back to work, you battle traffic on the way home, you worry about deadlines, you wonder what's for dinner, and then you just worry some more while you watch television or try to read a book or go online. If online, you're stressed yelling at someone or you read something in the news that upsets you...if you watch a movie that is suspenseful or scary, that can induce a stress response, too. Then you go to bed but you may not sleep right away, letting your mind worry and stress you further. The constant stress means those non-essential functions don't get a chance to work, so you do end up getting sicker, feeling tired (your body is amped up and primed to run at all hours, so you're just exhausted when you wake up), and everything else we're familiar with in our modern society.

We don't know everything, but we're slowly learning

tomasm 01-15-2011 11:07 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by vegan_foodie View Post

The enzyme I take:

Thanks. I tried those 2 years ago. Went through two bottles actually. Still had trouble so I didn't bother to buy anymore. But since I have nothing to lose (except for $20) I bought another bottle. So I'll start taking them again before every meal. Previously I don't think I was taking more than 1 or 2 per day, so this time I'll take several.

I'm feeling much better now. I haven't been eating legumes much and my stomach is fine. I'll probably be okay and I feel like my "crisis" is coming to an end. I am no longer questioning my vegan lifestyle and that alone makes me feel much better. The last 2 weeks have been quite difficult for me, but if I have to look at the positive, I had the opportunity to examine very closely the reasons why I choose to be vegan. I was able to see different perspectives on vegan-ism and understand why some people feel that vegan-ism is wrong without immediately dismissing their viewpoints. Now I am more comfortable and confident with my decision to be vegan than I was when I first became vegan.

mrsschu2u 01-16-2011 01:39 PM

"Now I am more comfortable and confident with my decision to be vegan than I was when I first became vegan."

That's what matters! That and the fact that you are feeling better.


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