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Healthy vegan diet
Answer
9/14/15 12:28 AM
Hello,

there are many people telling me i get "not enough" energy and proteins by eating vegan (i live in central europe, everyone i know in person  consumes meat nearly everyday).

Is there a good resource for a healthy vegan diet, preferably written by someone who knows about the Dharma?

Greetings Tom

RE: Healthy vegan diet
Answer
9/14/15 12:44 AM as a reply to Tom.
My sister, brother-in-law, and neice are all vegan and are very healthy and smart about their diet, so I sent my sister an email to see what her thoughts were in terms of good resources. My neice is strong as an ox and very tall for her age and has been vegan since birth, so clearly meat is not needed. My mom is also vegan and very healthy at 74 years old.

RE: Healthy vegan diet
Answer
9/14/15 12:52 PM as a reply to Tom.
Tom:
Hello,

there are many people telling me i get "not enough" energy and proteins by eating vegan (i live in central europe, everyone i know in person  consumes meat nearly everyday).

Is there a good resource for a healthy vegan diet, preferably written by someone who knows about the Dharma?

Greetings Tom

It is a very common misconception that "vegans and vegetarians don't get enough protein" or that somewhoe folloing a vegetarian diet makes one 'weak.' My brother has been doing the vegetarian thing now for a year and has some resources he has advocated to me - I'll ask him to share again so I can post those here.

Metta, Jeff

RE: Healthy vegan diet
Answer
9/15/15 2:47 AM as a reply to Tom.
Thank you Daniel and Jeff! It is good to hear from the people you know who follow a vegetarian / vegan diet and are healthy :-)

RE: Healthy vegan diet
Answer
9/15/15 7:34 AM as a reply to Tom.
Hi Tom,

My brother recommended the group "Mercy For Animals." He says when he went to their website and signed up for the newsletter, they sent him a Vegetarian Starter Guide for free. It's a PDF and I have a copy if you'd like for me to send it to you...or you could just go to their site and sign up. They seem pretty big into animal advocacy (which is a good thing...if you have the stomach for it all).

Jeff

RE: Healthy vegan diet
Answer
9/15/15 10:07 AM as a reply to Tom.
Hi Tom

As Dr Daniel suggests, it is possible to be completely healthy on a vegan diet. I'm vegan (although I prefer 'whole foods plant-based' since 'vegan' is loose enough to include everything from crisps and crackers to chocolate, beer and french fries) and enjoy a steady BMI figure, and have had blood tests - all strong on the ones that meat-defenders are convinced we can't get enough of - iron, calcium, protein, etc. 

The real issue here is that you have to find your own source of confidence in your dietary choices because you live in a world still dominated by this 20th century industrial-food-production-era thinking that you must overdose on animal products to be healthy. And so you'll keep hearing this misinformation, and it eats away at your resolve, unless you surround yourself with a vegan Sangha!

Anyway, enough of my rant. To answer your question, check out the awesomely informative 'Becoming Vegan' by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina: http://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Vegan-Express-Edition-Plant-based/dp/1570672954/ It's packed with nutrition info on every aspect of diet, and lots of tables showing what's in just about every kind of plant food out there. Admittedly though it doesn't mention dharma ;-)

All the best with your choices! Just ask if you'd like more tips on books and documentary films. 

Peter

RE: Healthy vegan diet
Answer
9/15/15 5:42 PM as a reply to Tom.
One problem with some vegetarians and vegans is that they will only quote results in the literature that confirm their idea that their diets are healthy, and anecdotes to the same effect ("I have an uncle who was a vegetarian between ages 25 and 37 and he won the lottery once"). This is also known as confirmation bias. Here is a sample of findings to the contrary.


"92% of vegans have low B-12 status"
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12816782


"Protein, saturated fat and vitamin D intake were significantly lower in the vegetarians, particularly in the vegans."
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7956998


"The proportions of plasma EPA and DHA were lower in the vegetarians and in the vegans than in the meat-eaters."
http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/82/2/327.full.pdf+html


"Austrian adults who consume a vegetarian diet are less healthy (in terms of cancer, allergies, and mental health disorders), have a lower quality of life, and also require more medical treatment."
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3917888/

"Vegetarians displayed elevated prevalence rates for depressive disorders, anxiety disorders and somatoform disorders."
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3466124/


Also, since pro-vegetarian and pro-vegan books were suggested, I will suggest an anti-vegetarian book: The Vegetarian Myth.
http://library.uniteddiversity.coop/Food/The_Vegetarian_Myth.pdf

RE: Healthy vegan diet
Answer
9/15/15 12:34 PM as a reply to neko.
Thanks for your contribution neko. One should be open to every kind of information. Please forgive this kind of vegans / vegetarians you were talking about, they might just say what they consider as good for them and others :-) 

Greetings Tom

RE: Healthy vegan diet
Answer
9/15/15 12:50 PM as a reply to neko.
There are huge variations in food requirements and processing between individuals.  If you look historically, some populations ate mostly plant material, other populations ate almost exclusively meat and animal products, with most populations falling in the middle some place.  For millions of years, those populations adapted to their native diets.  Many of the current foods available, both plant and animal, probably did not exist in your ancestors' diet at all and are not well adapted for, how much that is the case will depend on your genetics.  (hormone laden meat, highly altered wheat, fruits bred to be mostly sugar with few nutrients, fake meat flavored with chemicals, etc).  With many of us also carrying a mix of genetics and living far from our original genetic origins, it's a bit of a crap shoot as to what diet may work best for which individual.  That's why you can find success and failure stories for almost any kind of diet. 

For instance, one person may have a body proficient at converting plant based beta carotene to vitamin A and so not suffer vitamin A deficiency as a vegan, while another that is not genetically well adapted to the conversion may become weak on the same diet.  Science has documented huge variations in genetic abilities like these.  Also, 'vegan' is not just one kind of diet, one vegan may eat tons of chemical laden fake meat, processed food, and various crap while another may work hard to balance proteins, eat whole fresh foods, find healthier natural fat sources (avocado, coconut oil, etc), chart potential vitamin deficiencies, etc.  Diet is not one size fits all.  One guy may be super healthy on a given diet and another may become weak on the exact same diet.  And each kind of diet has a huge variation in what exactly is actually eaten by a specific individual.   

My advice to anyone is go in realizing you are an individual with individual needs. And that the foods that are available now, both plant and animal, are mostly not super natural food sources for anyone, but that still the best we can try to is to eat the most natural we can find (ie not protein bars (vegan or not), extruded mush products that have had all nutrients destroyed by high heat and pressure (cereal), etc.)

Yes, as already mentioned, vegan diet promoters typically have their sense of identity and self wrapped into their eating regimen and so will sometimes protect and defend it in very unscientific and irrational ways.  ('this guy here was healthy and lived a long time, so therefore veganism in all it's forms is healthy!" etc) All the other diet programs have members that have similar self identity based diet ideas and have similar bias.  But all native tribes have always been omnivores to the best of any scientific knowledge, so IMO, it will take more studying and effort to do a healthy vegan diet plan than it would to be to develop a healthy omnivorous diet plan, you will probably want to be more conscientious about planning your diet, getting complete protein combinations of foods, etc, because your genetics were likely developed on an omnivorous diet.  
-Eva 

RE: Healthy vegan diet
Answer
9/15/15 8:16 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
"... vegan diet promoters typically have their sense of identity and self wrapped into their eating regimen and so will sometimes protect and defend it in very unscientific and irrational ways." Swap out 'vegan' for 'meat' and we get a beautifully clear picture on this ;-) 

It's so interesting to see the parallels between climate change denial and 'diet change denial' - obfuscation of terminology, appeals to the past and what is 'natural,' and sifting the internet for statistical anomalies. Firstly, no one who understands this issue considers vegetarian and vegan to be remotely similar or to offer remotely the same health benefits. Secondly, 'it's how it was before, so it should be now,' except no one applies that argument to the other barbaric practices of our early ancestors. Thirdly, just like with climate change, in order to deny the reality of diet change, one has to avert the eyes from a vast and exploding amount of data and lived experience unfolding out there. 

You see Tom, there's this human invention called the status quo, and when it's threatened by impermanence, we experience a deep stab of dukkha, forcing us to cast around in aversion for any way out - even if that means surrendering our intellect to our emotions. As it was with slavery, as it is with women's and LGBTQ rights, as it is fast coming to be with our relationship to the other sentient beings on the planet, and a myriad other matters. The resolve to roll on with that impermanence must come from within, as we dharma practitioners know all too well, but that first requires facing up to the mental habits inside us - confirmation bias, yes indeed, as well as projecting. This is where meditation practice dove-tails neatly with finding how we can best be in this world. 'To help, but at least, to do no harm.'

I wish you all the best in finding your path ...

Peter

RE: Healthy vegan diet
Answer
9/15/15 11:31 PM as a reply to Peter S.
Peter Stuckings:
"... vegan diet promoters typically have their sense of identity and self wrapped into their eating regimen and so will sometimes protect and defend it in very unscientific and irrational ways." Swap out 'vegan' for 'meat' and we get a beautifully clear picture on this ;-) 
Did you totally miss the next sentence where I said, "All the other diet programs have members that have similar self identity based diet ideas and have similar bias."  I already agreed it's not special to vegans, more like common to humans.   Perhaps you think you are not biased though?
-Eva

RE: Healthy vegan diet
Answer
9/16/15 12:31 AM as a reply to Tom.
Time to sum it up, there are:

  • examples of people who are healthy and / or sick on a vegan diet
  • the group Mercy for Animals with an useful Newsletter Starterguide for Vegan Newbies
  • the book Becoming Vegan by Brenda Davis
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for every single answer (not only those mentioned above).

Tom

RE: Healthy vegan diet
Answer
9/16/15 2:23 AM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Did you totally miss the next sentence where I said, "All the other diet programs have members that have similar self identity based diet ideas and have similar bias."  I already agreed it's not special to vegans, more like common to humans.   Perhaps you think you are not biased though?:
-Eva
Some diets come bundled up with huge self identity packages, others less so. One way to tell, is when somebody ties up their own diet to religion, climate change, LGBTQ rights and basically every bad thing that has ever been done by any human being in all of history, implying that those who eat steaks are homophobic transphobic scientifically irrational heathens.

I still haven't met anyone who will call me a nazi for eating lettuce.

Do whatever you want with your diet, do not be holier than thou about it.

RE: Healthy vegan diet
Answer
9/16/15 7:25 AM as a reply to neko.
This is a question of someone who wanted resources to help him eat a healthy vegan diet 

There is pleanty of protein in a vegan diet if you eat a normal vegan diet -   if you wrokout just like anyone who works out you need to give more thought to what you eat

 You can do an internet search on some vegan big guys names you might manage to find their diet plan    :

patrik-baboumian , avi leyni , Antjuane Sims , jim morris , jimi sitko , mike mahler , Alexey Voyevoda ,  jehina malik

though again - unless your in some strange diet and your eating enough food and your not on some wight lose diet you will get enough protein - if you lift weights ect you can get as much protein as you need :
 

thoguh i really agree with peter in his first comment  ----- the animal product indsutry is spending milions to influence the doctors  the media ect to say that animals based foods are healthy  

many researches are funded by the animal product industry - some times its direct funding known to the public and some times its unknown and hidden from the public and the funding is indirect  --    by the way this is not a conspiracy theory but a known fact

RE: Healthy vegan diet
Answer
9/16/15 8:43 AM as a reply to water drop.
water drop:

the animal product indsutry is spending milions to influence the doctors  the media ect to say that animals based foods are healthy  

many researches are funded by the animal product industry - some times its direct funding known to the public and some times its unknown and hidden from the public and the funding is indirect  --    by the way this is not a conspiracy theory but a known fact

That does sound like a conspiracy theory to me... emoticon

RE: Healthy vegan diet
Answer
9/16/15 10:50 AM as a reply to neko.
Of course it does - cause you replied to this thread where someone asked for advice on what to eat on a vegan diet with a bounch of researches on why veganism is bad

RE: Healthy vegan diet
Answer
9/16/15 12:35 PM as a reply to water drop.
water drop:
 a bounch of researches on why veganism is bad

That is not how I read those researches. They report on common adverse effects of a vegan diet as observed in the general population. By knowing what the most common nutrient deficiencies are, OP may be able to make a better informed choice not only on whether to adopt a vegan diet, but also on how.

The general population of omnivores also has a long list of common nutritional imbalances. However, since most omnivores do not have such a high emotional, ethical and/or religious investment in their diets, it is extremely rare for them to get angry when common problems associated to the food they eat are pointed out to them. Not to mention shouting "conspiracy!"

At least, this is from my personal experience, having spent many years of my life as a vegetarian and also many years as an omnivore. Bring me a handful of "integralist omnivores" and I will be sure to change my mind emoticon 

RE: Healthy vegan diet
Answer
9/16/15 4:48 PM as a reply to neko.
You  miss what i mean to say -   YOU choose a bounch of researches showing that veganism is bad - i didnt talk about the resarches themselvs -  which might also been influneced by animal industry money - i didnt check who founded them directly or indirectly - they might not have been influenced i commented on the fact you decided to look and post a number of resarches to make a claim against veganism instead of helping the OP find out how to eat healthy vegan food


you said i have a conspiracy theory - i just said these is the way the world works - animal food industry is spending lots of money on researches to change the results to something fitting

about getting angry - that can be both ways - might even be more to people who consume animal products "carnists"  are very attached to their foods taste - and they are willing to ignure reality of the suffering of the animals - and also ignore information about how un-healthy animal based food is  - and they are so attached to THEIR food their way of life their pleasure from taste  - that they will bend the truth to fut theur view 

they do have like you said an "ethical attachment" cause they belive they are the moral and they dont like the thought they are not moral  - so they try to justify their actions moraly 
thats also why they are emotianally attached to the meat, to the dairy   ---

and many carnists get angry when they talk about this issue and many of them look for ways to justify their diet - one of them is to find out how they MUST eat meat and dairy because if they dont they wont be healthy - but in reality its their addiction to the taste  - the attachment to it - greed 

But thats all i will write about this - cause this thread is about HOW to eat a healthy vegan diet and not IF he should be vegan - and i dont want to derail it more than it has been derailed


 

RE: Healthy vegan diet
Answer
9/17/15 8:54 PM as a reply to water drop.
It's an interesting tactic to assert that all data that goes against one's preheld beliefs is a conspiracy.  And that all data that support one's preheld beliefs is truth.  But to be realistic, you'd need to have a bit more evidence than nothing to assert that it's ALL just a big conspiracy against vegans and be taken seriously.  There are plenty of scientists with open minds about vegetarianism.  And as already stated, each type of diet has certain nutritional areas where it tends to be weak and that their members are more likely to have deficiencies.  From a health perspective, it's good to know what those areas are for whatever diet one chooses to be on.
-Eva

RE: Healthy vegan diet
Answer
9/18/15 2:16 AM as a reply to Eva Nie.
I never wrote that "all" resarches are anti-vegan  -   what i did  write is : that many of the scientists are influenced by the animal based food industry - some directly some indirectly - some of it is visable and some of it is harder to see  

If you read again what i wrote you can see i never said there arent open minded scientists about veganism - i just said that there is a lot of indfluance from the meat and dairy industry on many scientists


............ there are many researches  that say clear that veganism is a healthy diet  

before accusing me of something please check what i actually wrote  

- with this post i end addressing this subject and if i will comment it will only be to help find sources on how to be vegan - i hope others will do the same thing 

RE: Healthy vegan diet
Answer
9/18/15 8:24 AM as a reply to Tom.
Tom:
Hello,

there are many people telling me i get "not enough" energy and proteins by eating vegan (i live in central europe, everyone i know in person  consumes meat nearly everyday).

Is there a good resource for a healthy vegan diet, preferably written by someone who knows about the Dharma?

Greetings Tom

Late to the party, I know. The first thing that strikes me in your question is "many people telling me"  The best authority on whether you are getting enough energy and protein is you. Can you do the things you need to do? Do you feel good? When you travel away from home can you find foods to eat? If you have to eat animal protein, does it cause you digestive distress?

Like everyone else in this thread, I know people who thrive on vegan diets, and people who've found they don't function well on vegan diets. That shouldn't matter very much to you. Your own experience, and your own well-being are what should matter to you. 

RE: Healthy vegan diet
Answer
9/18/15 9:18 AM as a reply to Scott Kinney.
Scott Kinney:

Late to the party, I know. The first thing that strikes me in your question is "many people telling me"  The best authority on whether you are getting enough energy and protein is you.

...and your blood tests. If your serum levels of B12, D or whatnot and so on are low, take supplements. emoticon

RE: Healthy vegan diet
Answer
9/19/15 8:41 PM as a reply to neko.
neko:
Scott Kinney:

Late to the party, I know. The first thing that strikes me in your question is "many people telling me"  The best authority on whether you are getting enough energy and protein is you.

...and your blood tests. If your serum levels of B12, D or whatnot and so on are low, take supplements. emoticon
Both are useful indicators but the body works hard to keep blood levels up for some vitamins, sometimes at the expense of tissues, so blood tests are a crude indicator.  For how you feel, again, it's good to monitor it but it won't always show all problems.  Some deficiences don't directly affect energy levels.  And some people who are already on crappy diets may feel the same or slightly better on a new diet, especially at first, but that does not indicate the diet is optimal for that person, it only indicates energy levels in comparison to previous diets.  Also some deficiences do not reach a critical point for months and months, hence you may feel really really good on a new diet for 6 months, and then start to feel like crap after that and not know why.  B12 is famous for taking a long to deplete if stores were good previously.  Nutrition is very tricky that way.
-Eva

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