It’s often difficult to convince our loved ones to make changes that we know they desperately need to make to improve their health.
It’s even more difficult to see someone you love experience health problems in spite of knowing all of the right information and even accepting its validity!
I became a vegetarian at the age of 18 because of my mom, who at the time took an interest in healthier eating.
At the time, she was accumulating all sorts of great vegetarian and vegan recipe books and really tried to change her diet.
This is how I started my interest in vegetarianism. Soon after, I became a raw foodist! And over the years, I’ve never stopped my interest in healthy eating and natural health.
Even though my mom had me as an example and knew all of this information about healthy eating, she kept gaining weight every year!
Her weight kept going up and up to the point where she became obese.
I kept pushing her to make changes — and she even knew what changes to make — but a few things were holding her back:
* She always used food as gratification and therefore delayed changing her diet. “Oh, I have a vacation next week so I can’t really do it now, but right after I come back from the vacation I’ll get started!”
* She became confused about what to eat. Even though she started with the best intentions, conflicting dietary advice eventually got to her. She didn’t eat terribly bad, but the few mistakes she made were enough to tip the balance scale in the wrong direction!
* She felt powerless. Even though I kept trying to help her, she told me, “You know what Frederic, don’t beat yourself up if you can’t change me. This is my problem… I know you’re trying hard. It’s not your fault, it’s mine.”
Over the years, I kept trying to help her.
One time, she even agreed to go 100% raw for a month. This had mostly positive results but she couldn’t stick to it.
She kept telling me that I did “everything I could” to try to help her and really the ball was in her camp now to change.
But deep inside, I felt like I hadn’t done everything I could. I didn’t give up.
When my dad died last year, it was a big shock to my mom. How could someone so young pass away so suddenly?
It was a wake up call. Here’s my mom in 2010.
Shortly after, she visited me in Vancouver and spent a week there. During that time, I told her:
This week, you’re going to eat like us! I want to show you how easy it can be to eat healthy. And when you go back home to Montreal, I’ll put you on a program that will really make a difference.
Initially, she was reluctant. “I’m on vacation!” she complained.
But because she liked the food, it wasn’t so much of a struggle.
Between that and a few intense conversations, I managed to convince her to try a new approach.
When she got back home in September, she was on the program.
Every week, she would call me and tell me how much weight she lost! 10 pounds, 12, 15, 20… the weight just kept falling off effortlessly.
When I saw her in June, she was a transformed woman!
* She lost 55 pounds
* She went from a pre-diabetic condition to totally normal blood sugar
* All of her other markers (like cholesterol, etc.) are healthy now
* Instead of being tired walking long distances or hills, she now walks every day and has more energy than ever before
When you say that you can “totally transform your life,” it may sound a little cliché.
But lose 55 pounds, and I guarantee you that you’ll transform your life. Nothing will ever be the same. You’re not the same person anymore!
How Did My Mom Lose 55 pounds?
In the past, I tried to get her to eat more raw foods, try smoothies, and even go raw at times. But it didn’t work.
The raw food diet is great for a lot of people, but totally unrealistic for many.
So I gave my plan a simple plan that worked. In essence, here’s what she did.
I gave her a list of foods to “avoid.” this included:
Dairy products (including yogurt, milk, cheese, etc.)
Anything made with flour (except pasta)
Nuts, seeds, nut butters
Avocados, coconuts, olives
Foods to Eat
Then I gave her a list of foods to eat in unlimited quantities.
And that’s it! Of course, more went into this, but this is the basic program.
My Mom’s Diet
My mom learned a few tricks of her own to make it work. One was to eat a late dinner, that way she would avoid late-night snacks. Her diet looks something like this:
Oatmeal with a ton of fruit
Salad or nothing.
Dinner (around 7 or 8 p.m.)
A big starch+vegetable dinner, such as low fat vegan chili, morroccan couscous, and other recipes from the Low Fat Vegan Chef.
After Dinner: After dinner, she generally has another big bowl of oatmeal with fruit, or just fruit, or sometimes low-fat cereal with almond milk
The Learning Curve
At first, it was a learning curve for her. She had to learn how to avoid the fat in most recipes. For example, she discovered how to make hummus without the usual tahini, and made it taste pretty good.
She eventually learned to create recipes of her own.
My Mom’s Tips
My mom, who speaks only French, wanted to share a few tips for success with you.
1) Keep it simple. Make a big batch of something and eat it throughout the week. Variety is often the enemy of success when it comes to weight loss. Find something you like and eat a lot of it.
2) Eat the same thing for breakfast, every day.
3) Always have in the fridge a big fruit salad.
3) Always have in a fridge cut vegetables and green salads.
4) You can use spinach leaves instead of “rice” as to eat under a recipe like vegan chili.
5) Don’t be afraid to eat a lot. You’ll lose weight anyway following this program.
6) Always put more vegetables than the recipe calls for!
I knew my mom wouldn’t follow this diet 100%, and she didn’t. But she succeeded anyway. The difference was that when she “cheated,” it was truly when she had no choice in some social situations, and she made the best choice she could in the moment. Food was no longer about “reward.” If she wanted to have something forbidden, she waited for a time when she could truly enjoy it.
The Keys to Success
One key to success to my mom’s weight loss program was its simplicity. I just gave her a list of foods to eat and a list of foods to avoid.
I told her to walk more often, but did not bother her with exercise guidelines.
One key was the absolute avoidance of fat. She had enough essential fatty acids stored up for a lifetime, so I did not have her supplement with unnecessary essential “oils.”
Fat is an impediment to weight loss, much more so than sugar. Fat is concentrated calories that add almost nothing to your feeling of fullness, and can just as easily be skipped in most recipes. One tablespoon of white sugar is only 50 calories, compared to 120 in a tablespoon of any oil!
When someone needs to lose a lot of weight, they don’t need to consume any concentrated calories. That’s why I eliminated all nuts, seeds, avocados, olives, durian, and any other fatty food.
When she reaches her ideal weight (she still has 15 pounds to lose), then she may be allowed to have some fatty foods on occasion.
Unless you’re active and at your ideal weight, eating more fat is NOT the answer. Cutting it out completely may just be what you need.
From Obese to Healthy Weight in less than 8 months
I was shocked to discover that my mom went from being “obese” to only slightly overweight according to BMI guidelines in just eight months! In fact, she only has 6 pounds to lose at this point to be considered at a “normal weight” according to the BMI guidelines.
A healthy weight is one of the many rewards of a healthy lifestyle.
Raw food is one path to health, but it’s not the only path. Whatever you do, choose low fat plant foods. Optimize the amount of raw foods to your liking. Many people thrive on a 100% raw food diet, but it is unrealistic to expect everybody to be able to follow such a program. Others are happy with 80% raw, while many can do extremely well on even less raw food.
The key is to follow a low-fat, vegan diet free of refined and processed foods.
In this article I gave you a quick overview of my mom’s program for losing weight. Would you be interested in finding out everything else that went into it?
As part of my Raw Vegan Mastery Program, I’ll be releasing a video called “How to Lose Weight on a Plant Based Diet” — This video will teach you not only exactly what you need to know, but will also show you practical recipes to get started. If you’re a member of Raw Vegan Mastery, you’ll get access. If you’re not yet a member, click the ad below to find out more.
Filed under Vegetarian & Vegan Nutrition by Frederic Patenaude
Almost everybody I know has a friend who allegedly went vegan or vegetarian, but then suffered some sort of health problem or deficiency, went back to meat and now feels “much better.”
These stories, along with famous or semi-famous ex-vegans that come out of the closet, are enough to scare most newbies and convince them to give up the diet for good.
Recently, the actress Ginnifer Goodwin gave up her vegan diet after years of outspoken animal activism, for “health reasons.” Other famous actresses like Natalie Portman and Zooey Deschanel have also given up the vegan diet as well.
A young raw foodist from Turkey, Erim Bilgim, that I had a chance to meet during my travels last year, also went off the raw vegan diet and started eating meat again in addition to his 80/10/10 style diet. He attracted some attention in the raw food community after being interviewed by the website www.letthemeatmeat.com, a site that interviews ex-vegans.
These stories are enough to scare away some vegans, but also give some ammunition to your friends and family who don’t approve of your lifestyle.
Why Vegans Crash and Burn
First of all, I have to state that I am not one of those judgmental vegans. If a person decides to give up a diet for whatever reason, I am not here to criticize their decision. After all, it’s their lives and they can do whatever they want.
I also don’t consider myself to be a true “vegan,” because on rare occasions, a few times a year, I might have some animal products. I don’t do it out of fear of deficiency, but simply on some social occasions, or just to prove that I’m not a vegan.
For example, while I was traveling around the world last year for 8 months, there were a few occasions were being a 100% vegan was just too difficult. So I slipped a few times during the trip, but mostly because there were very few options available.
Overall, my diet is 99.5% vegan/plant based by definition.
What I want to emphasize is that just being vegan is really not a health choice, but more an ethical choice.
The vegan diet, in itself, can be healthy or unhealthy. It is not by definition a healthy diet, because a vegan could choose to eat unhealthy foods and still call herself a pure “vegan.”
Here are some of the common mistakes that vegans and raw vegans make:
1) Too much fat, especially omega 6 fats
Vegans cut out saturated fats, but often replace it with vegetable oils and other fat sources, which means that their diet is not only high in fat, but also very high in omega-6 fats.
For example, many plant foods contain a lot of omega 6 but very little omega 3.
Take a look at the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in some common plant foods. The first number is the omega-6:
As you can tell, many plant foods are too rich in omega-6 and not rich enough in omega-3.
Many ex-vegans have blamed the vegan diet for being too low in omega-3. But research has shown that the real problem is that we get too much added omega-6 fat! We’re told to eat healthy fats, like the foods above, but in fact they are throwing our ratios way off.
Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats promote inflammation in the body. When you eat too much of it, it competes with your absorption of omega-3 fats, which are anti-inflammatory.
The ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is between 1:1 and 4:1.
Fruits and vegetables, as well as other low-fat plant foods, have a natural ratio of 1:1.
If most of your calories come from these foods, then adding a bit of higher fat plant foods with lots of omega-6 will not overthrow your balance. However, if a significant proportion of your calories come from these plant foods and oils, you are in trouble.
We can see that most vegans and raw vegans not only get too much fat but also promote omega-3 deficiencies through an overconsumption of omega-6 fats.
2) Too much fat in general
Vegans eliminate unhealthy animal protein, but often replace it with foods that are very high in fat, even higher than animal foods. Raw foodists do the same with an overreliance on nuts, seeds and avocados.
Too much fat in the diet now only promotes heart disease and cancer, but it also affects every aspect of your health negatively. It’s also much easier to gain weight eating fatty foods rather than eating low-fat, carbohydrate-rich foods.
Too much fat does the following and more to your body:
- Negatively affects insulin sensitivity and promotes diabetes and high-blood sugar
– Is easily converted into body fat and promotes weight gain
– Negatively affects energy levels and athletic performance due to lower oxygen uptake
– Promotes inflammation and omega-3 deficiencies
– Negatively affects digestion and nutrient absorption
– Promotes heart disease and high cholesterol, as even vegetable fats contain appreciable quantities of saturated fats (like coconut and palm oil)
Some raw food recipes especially, but also vegan “junk” food, can be especially rich in fat and calories. Compare for example:
Big Mac w/ Large Fries
Raw Vegan Taco*
*For the Raw Taco recipe, I used a recipe found at: http://www.live-green-smoothie-diet. com/2009/04/genuinely-meaty-raw-taco-meat with-chunky-guacamole-and-fresh- cherry-tomato-jalapeno-salsa/. It is made with mushrooms, walnuts, olive oil, raw cacao, tomatoes, avocado, pine nuts, and a few other seasonings.
As I discovered while writing my book Raw Food Controversies, a raw food recipe like “Raw Tacos” can contain more calories, more fat, and more sodium that an order of a Big Mac with large fries at McDonalds!
For raw vegans, sources of fats include olive oil, coconut oil, flax oil, avocado, nuts and seeds — all of which are often used in large quantities in every recipe.
For cooked vegans, fat sources that pile up include: all oils, fried foods like fries, chips, donuts, crackers, “Earth Balance” products, coconut milk, vegan cheeses, “sour creams”, and fake meat products like Tofurkey.
Vegans should make the center of their meals low-fat, high-carbohydrate foods like fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains, and only use higher-fat foods as condiments for flavour, if they are to be used at all.
Raw vegans need to make the center of each meal fruit, and eat plenty of it to meet their caloric needs. Greens should be consumed for minerals, and fatty foods should be used as condiments, not as the main ingredient in a dish like raw tacos or burgers.
3) Vegans could be deficient in Vitamin b12
Vitamin B12 deficiencies are common in vegans, especially raw vegans who don’t take any supplement. Many symptoms can be attributed to a B12 deficiency, including fatigue and failure to thrive.
The standard recommendation is to take a B12 supplement containing 25 to 100 mcg every day, or one containing at least 1000 mcg three times a week. If you’ve been on a vegan diet for a while, you might start with some B12 injections, as low B12 levels can actually prevent absorption from dietary or supplemental B12. Taking an oral supplement later, can be too little too late, so get tested for deficiencies if you are concerned.
Vegans who don’t make these mistakes
Some vegans and raw foodists say that they don’t make these mistakes, but yet still don’t feel right and think they should go back to meat in order to feel better. In many cases, cleaning up your diet, eating whole foods, getting enough calories without too much fat is enough to make a difference. In other cases, more complex factors may be at play.
For example, some vegans, especially raw foodists, overly restrict their diet by eating only a few types of food. This type of nutritional narrowness can lead to some deficiencies, overtime.
How Can You Be a Healthier Vegan?
Vegans and raw vegans can make some simple changes to immediately improve their diet and their health.
1) Get rid of all oil in your house. Avoid drizzling oil on your salads, instead, use low-fat salad dressings. homemade is best.
2) Whenever you make a recipe, just omit the oil and usually it will taste just as good without it!
3) Avoid using nuts, seeds or avocados as a main ingredient in any recipe.
4) Vegans beware of vegan products that are often too rich in fat, such as “Earth Balance” “Toffutti” products, “Daiya Cheese,” “Gimme Leans” “Gardein” products and other dairy or meat replacement.
5) Raw vegans: learn to eat fruit as the center piece of your meal, instead of raw recipes that are high in fat, or salads that will leave you hungry 30 minutes later.
6) Minimize the use of all processed plant foods, including ALL oils, sugar, agave, white flours, etc.
To discover how to make delicious, SAVORY, and OIL-FREE raw food recipes that taste great for dinner time, check out the recently launched product Savory Raw Dinner Recipes! We have a special bonus and more, offered during the launch only. Go to:
Filed under Vegetarian & Vegan Nutrition by Frederic Patenaude
Most raw foodists I meet want to know whether or not I would feed my (potential) kids a pure raw vegan diet.
Today I’m giving you my answer.
First, I want to emphasize the fact that I’ve never recommended a 100% raw vegan diet for children.
Although I believe that this type of diet can be successfully implemented with a lot of planning — the risks outweigh the benefits, especially when there are much better, practical and safer alternatives.
Let’s start with a little bit of anecdotal evidence.
Over the 14+ years that I’ve been involved in this field, I’ve met my share of raw food families and raw children.
I would say that the vast majority of people that I’ve met that were themselves following a raw vegan diet were not able to keep their children on a 100% raw vegan diet, for simple practical reasons.
Although most of these children ate a great deal of raw foods, the parents were forced to introduce some cooked foods in the diet, due to the social circumstances with family and friends and sometimes out of sheer fear of deficiencies.
In some rare cases, motivated parents were able to successfully shelter their children from the “cooked” influences of society and managed to raise them on a 100% raw food diet. That usually lasted until the kids themselves, usually between the age of 7 and 12, requested to try cooked foods, out of curiosity or social pressure.
Some of these children were able to follow a raw diet for even longer, but almost all of them (I would say 95%) abandoned it past their teenage years, when they left for the big world and realized that this marginal diet did not fit in completely with the rest of society. However, what we eat in our childhood really shapes our taste buds for life. So all of these children, even after they stopped being raw foodist, seemed to love their fruits and vegetables, and many choose to at least remain vegan or vegetarian.
Most parents that I’ve met did not let their ideology or belief system get in the way of what they thought would be a more rational compromise in modern society.
On the other hand, some of the families that I’ve met really insisted in feeding their children a 100% raw food diet.
In some cases, the children managed to be healthy and grow healthfully. I already told the story of a French Canadian family who ate a 100% raw diet all the way until the children were about 17, but I lost touch with them after that. (You can read my full interview with the mother at: http://www.fredericpatenaude.com/articles/interview-solange.html)
The children grew a little slower than “normal” but ended up reaching above-average height. However, this family was not vegan and used some raw dairy products, but no eggs or meat.
I’ve also met other raw families that did not seem to be successful in raising raw children. The most troublesome symptom I noticed was malnutrition, when children had big bloated bellies, but skinny arms and legs — almost like the poor malnourished African children we’ve all seen on TV.
Other children were hyperactive, always seeking food and stuffing it down their throat, as if it were their last meal they were allowed to eat for a week. They seem to be constantly hungry and asking for food, even though they seemed to be eating up to 12 times a day.
It saddens me that some parents let some half-baked, unproven ideology get in the way of their precious children’s future and health.
I’ve often said that the raw vegan diet is an experiment. I was willing to undergo that experiment as an adult, and I made many mistakes that cost me my health. I told these experiences in my books The Raw Secrets and Raw Food Controversies, hoping that others wishing to follow a raw vegan diet could learn from my experience and not make the same mistakes.
We adults have the luxury of experimenting with different diets and health programs, but we also get to face the consequences as adults.
Children are in the hands of their parents and must suffer the consequences of their parents’ decisions — even though they have not made the choices themselves, and oftentimes rebelled against them. That is not fair and no parent should use their children as a laboratory to try out different diets that frankly, have never really been proven to work for children.
These children must then face the consequences of their parents’ folly for the rest of their lives. And that makes me mad.
Before we go any further, let’s consider an important fact:
No society in the world has ever lived and raised children on a 100% raw vegan diet — at any point in recorded history. And as far as we know, no society or tribe of humans anywhere on the planet has ever lived on a raw vegan diet as long as homo sapiens, our species, has ever roamed this earth, for over 200,000 years!
If we look at the long history of our species, as far as all archeological evidence can tell us, there’s actually never been a time that any human society has ever lived on a pure raw vegan diet, as long as we’ve been around on this earth!
To go back to our raw food eating days, we have to turn the clock back a lot more than 200,000 years. In fact, we have to go back to the days when we were not even humans — that is our pre-human ancestors. That would probably set us back a few million years, if not between 4 and 6 million years, which is the last time that paleontologists say that a common ancestor to both modern humans and chimpanzees existed.
So let’s make it very clear that the raw food diet is an experiment. It is not a diet that has been proven to have sustained human populations throughout the ages.
On the other hands, millions of people throughout the world have lived on vegetarian diets, so we know that meat is not necessary in the human diet. In many cases, these vegetarians were pretty close to be vegans, and for the past 100 years there have been many vegan families that have successfully raised children on a 100% vegan diet.
Here are the main problems with raising children on a 100% raw vegan diet:
1) Fruits and vegetables are not calorie-dense enough.
People tend to think that what a raw vegan diet is missing is certain minerals and vitamins. So they obsessed over getting a ton of greens in their kid’s diet, or truckloads of slimy seaweed.
But what really matters are the macro-nutrients — the calories! Calories only come from fat, protein and carbohydrates. This turns out to be perfect for adults who need to lose a few pounds, but not so great for children who are growing and need a lot of calories.
Fruits and vegetables are just too low in macro-nutrients (calories) to form the basis of the diet of growing children, who have tiny bodies and great caloric needs for growth. The reason raw food children eat all the time is that they just can’t fit enough raw produce in their tiny stomachs at any one time to get the calories they need.
Some raw foodists who follow a low-fat diet say that the solution to this is to give these children large amounts of fatty foods like avocados, nuts and seeds. Even though these experts ban or severely restrict these items for adults, they claim that in nature, children would be breast-fed up to the age of seven, therefore it would be natural for humans to eat a high-fat diet up to that age, as the fat content of breast milk is around 50% by calories.
While it is true that in many cultures, children are breast-fed up to an age that would be considered improper in Western societies, these children do not only drink breast-milk up to the age of 5 or sometimes 7. Breast milk is critically important for the first 2 years of life, but after that, even in primitive societies, children eat other foods than just breast milk.
What children really need are enough calories to grow. That means enough carbohydrates for energy, and enough protein to grow and build their bodies. Fat also plays an important part because of its concentrated energy, but there is no evidence that children must eat a very high-fat diet in order to grow properly. It’s just easier to get enough calories and proper nutrition if you include high fat items such as nuts, seeds and avocados.
However, nuts and seeds are not as rich in nutrients as we think, if we analyze their nutrients per calorie, compared to cooked potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans and even some whole grains.
Children would be better off having access to a variety of foods — raw and cooked — as they are growing up, instead of relying solely on low-calorie fruits and vegetables and high fat raw foods.
2) The unsupplemented raw vegan diet doesn’t provide critical vitamin B12
I won’t expand too much on that point, but it goes without saying that a B12 supplement is mandatory for both children and pregnant or nursing mother. Every single doctor who promotes a plant-based diet recommends a B12 supplement, especially for young children.
3) Grazing on fruit and nuts all day long can create dental problems.
The issue that I’ve seen with 100% raw children has usually been the same: they eat constantly, all day long, and they are never satisfied.
Children have a tiny stomach, yet need a ton of calories and nutrients to grow. It’s normal that they may need to eat more often than adults, so food in general should not be restricted.
The problem is that in a purely raw food diet, many children are not fundamentally satisfied and are not getting the necessary nutrients they need. Their carbohydrate intake may be too low, as they are instinctively looking for more concentrated foods to give them the calories they need, but are restricted to fatty foods like avocados and nuts.
One unfortunate side effect of this constant grazing is an increased occurrence of dental decay, which I’ve seen quite often in raw vegan children. Every dentist knows that the more often you eat in the day — especially sugary foods — the more likely it is you’re going to suffer from dental decay. Eating constantly never brings the oral environment to an alkaline state, and the constant supply of sugar is feeding the bacteria that cause dental decay.
Can a raw vegan diet provide enough protein for growing children?
Human breast milk is composed (by calories) of 52% fat, 6% protein and 42% carbohydrates.
Cow’s milk, on the other hand, is 19% protein, 52% fat, 29% carbohydrates.
The main difference between the milk of these two species is not the fat content, but the carbohydrate and protein content. Human milk is significantly sweeter and less concentrated in protein.
The reason behind this difference is that humans are supposed to grow over a slow period of time, gradually, while cows must grow quickly. But human milk is still concentrated in fat, as babies need those extra calories.
So can a raw vegan diet provide enough protein for growing children? Quite possibly, as human beings grow over a long period of time and do not need that much protein, unlike cows and other animals that grow very quickly.
But remember that babies who drink breast milk also start eating other foods after just 1 or 2 years of age, and that over time, in all cultures, breast milk becomes more a supplement than the main staple of the diet.
So it would be safe to assume that protein needs of growing children should be a little higher than the 6% content of mother’s milk. To be safe, a few percentage points should be added.
The big problem is when children are not getting the calories they need, they are also not getting the protein they need for proper growth. A diet deficient in total energy will also be deficient in protein, which is not so much a problem for adults who don’t need that much protein, but may be a huge issue for growing children.
A fruit-based diet may also be inadequate in protein as many fruits are lower in protein than even breast milk. For example:
Bananas — 4% protein
Apples — 2% protein
Grapes — 4% protein
Honeydew Melon — 5% protein
Dates — 2% protein
On average, fruits are only 4-5% protein, with some fruits being as low as only 2%. I suspect that a big percentage of the protein content of fruits is actually found in the seeds and hard peels of fruits, that are then analyzed in the process but not usually digested when we eat those foods.
Fruits are also low in minerals, compared to vegetables or even cooked starchy plants. Analyzing the data, I can only come to the conclusion that a fruitarian diet is far from adequate for growing children.
I won’t expand on specific nutrients, which rely on common sense more than anything. Green vegetables are extremely important for their calcium content, but most raw foodists are aware of that.
Vitamin D can be an issue if sun exposure is not adequate, so sometimes a supplement may be advised if children are not consuming any fortified foods like soy milk.
“Pregnancies From Hell”
Food aversions are very common in pregnant women, including those following a raw food diet.
The vast majority of women that I’ve met who were raw foodists when they got pregnant were not able to maintain that diet 100% during pregnancy, simply because they suddenly couldn’t eat most greens and sometimes most fruits.
Why would healthy women suddenly be unable to eat fruits and vegetables when they get pregnant, when they have been living on essentially fruits and vegetables for years prior to pregnancy?
A recent article published in Science Daily sheds light on this mysterious process. According to two Cornell university researchers, “the nausea and vomiting of “morning sickness” experienced by two-thirds of pregnant women is Mother Nature’s way of protecting mothers and fetuses from food-borne illness and also shielding the fetus from chemicals that can deform fetal organs at the most critical time in development.”
Quoting from the article:
“By creating food aversion, NVP (nausea + vomiting during pregnancy — Frederic) also protects against toxins from microorganisms and other teratogenic (fetal organ-deforming) chemicals, Sherman says. “At that same time, in the first trimester of pregnancy, the cells of the tiny embryo are differentiating and starting to form structures. Those developing structures and organ systems — such as arms and legs, eyes and the central nervous system — at this critical stage of a new life could be adversely affected by the teratogenic phytochemicals in some food plants,” Sherman says. These chemicals are secondary compounds that plants make to defend themselves against disease and insects.
Although phytochemicals have no known nutritive function for humans, most people tolerate their presence in food. (Small amounts of these chemicals might even be beneficial because of their antioxidant properties and trace elements.) But during pregnancy, according to the Cornell biologists, women with morning sickness are shielding the developing unborn from the harsh chemicals by vomiting and by learning to avoid certain foods altogether until the fetus develops beyond the most susceptible stage.”
You can read the full article here:
Many raw vegan women that I’ve met could not stand the sight of raw green vegetables, but were able to eat some cooked vegetables during pregnancy. Eating cooked vegetables was undoubtedly better than eating no vegetables at all, which is what they would have to do if they had stayed 100% raw.
Many also could not eat many fruits and even found themselves completely repulsed by them. Yet they craved simple “comfort” foods like potatoes, in addition to unhealthy foods like fried chicken and ice cream.
Most women were wise enough to listen to their bodies and make some serious modifications in their diet during pregnancy.
Others stoically stuck to the raw vegan diet, often with disastrous results. I’ve heard of women who ended up completely depleted after a difficult pregnancy when she could only eat a few types of fruit, because she tried to stay 100% raw no matter what. In the end, she was harming her body by starving and more importantly, her unborn child.
Animal Foods and Raw Vegan Children
Many raw vegan families have recognized the nutritional issues that I brought up, yet remained committed to the idea of eating raw. So they instead choose to introduce some animal products to their family’s diet, the most common ones being eggs and some form of raw dairy products.
Although these animal foods can certainly improve on a deficient raw vegan program for children, a body of scientific evidence shows that they are not necessary for the needs of growing children, on a well balanced, low-fat (or lower-fat, in the case of children) vegan diet with B12 supplementation.
There are very serious issues related to drinking cow’s milk, whether it’s raw or not, and a lot of evidence points to dairy products as a culprit in the incidence of diabetes and certain auto-immune disease, and to the prevalence of these foods in children’s diet. (For more information, read: http://www.nealhendrickson.com/mcdougall/020700puthepancreas.htm)
I personally wouldn’t include dairy products in my children’s diet as I see no reason to do so, although I realize that occasional treats will be hard to avoid in today’s world. But, as long as the rest of the diet is clean and optimized for human nutrition, children will grow healthy and without long-term health problems, many of which can be caused by dairy products in the human diet.
Certainly children can get all the nutrition they need from plant foods and mother’s milk, and some selected supplements.
So if I wouldn’t feed my children a pure, 100% raw vegan diet, what would I do instead?
1) The basis of the diet would remain fruits and vegetables, along with cooked starchy vegetables like potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, etc.
2) I would include some cooked legumes and beans
3) I would include some whole grains, focusing on the non-gluten containing ones like brown rice, quinoa and buckwheat.
4) I would include various kinds of cooked vegetables, especially green vegetables.
5) Nuts and seeds, as well as avocados would be on the menu. I’m not sure what the fat content of the diet would be. I suspect it would be somewhat higher than an adult diet (which should be no more than 15% for adults, ideally less than 10%), but certainly a lot less than a pure raw food diet, which often has a fat content of over 50% of total calories.
6) I would include a B12 supplement (because I’m not naïve).
So I’m essentially I’m talking about a healthy, whole foods, plant-based diet, with very few refined products and lots of fruits and vegetables. That’s what I think is healthy for children.
I know some people will say: but cooked foods and especially grains are so bad for you… why would you ever give your children foods that have been destroyed by fire?
I’m sorry, but even though I think a raw food diet can do wonders for adults, mainly because of it’s such a great cleansing diet that eliminates almost 100% of the foods that can ever make you sick, after 15 years of experience in the field I have seen how a lot of “raw food science” is completely bogus and does not stand up to honest scrutiny and research.
If you pay attention to all the nutritional factors I’ve covered in this article (and a few others I didn’t have time to cover), you could technically design a raw vegan diet that contains everything children need. But, it would be complicated, and likely not as practical. A good plant-based diet will accomplish all of the benefits in a much simpler way.
Of course, this is what I would personally do based on many years of thinking over the subject, the body of scientific research and my personal experience with other raw vegan families. I would be interested in hearing what my readers think.
The following is an excerpt of my Raw Vegan Mentor Club newsletter. Every month, I write an in-depth newsletter that is printed and mailed to all of my Mentor Club members all over the world. The newsletter covers important raw vegan topics that you need to know about. The Raw Vegan Mentor Club also includes monthly recipe planners, a ton of recipe books, videos, and more! Sign up now and get over $1200 worth of bonus gifts, yours to keep. You’ll also get to download the full issue I did on the Vegan Debate, which is quoted below.
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Ex-Vegans Speak Out
One phenomenon we’ve been noticing lately, probably more notably due to social media technologies like blogs and Facebook, is how many ex-vegans are coming out to share their experience on why they stopped being vegan after many years, often due to health problems that occurred on a vegan diet that were quickly resolved with the re-introduction of animal foods.
There’s even a website, www.letthemeatmeat.com, that interviews these ex-vegans.
In addition to the casual experience of these ex-vegans, we also have many raw food authors who used to be vegan for a number of years, but now include some animal products in their diet.
By reviewing the stories of ex-vegans, I have identified a few common problems that some people have run into.
Sometimes, they were able to solve these problems with proper supplementation or a chance for another raw vegan diet (such as a low-fat one), but the problems I will list below are strictly limited to the people who did not find any improvement in supplementation or (for some who have tried it) low fat veganism.
Of course, this is purely anecdotal and it’s impossible to accurately decide what actually happened in every case (versus what they said happened). However, I believe it would be a little close-minded to totally dismiss these stories as arising from “anorexic” people who “didn’t do the diet properly.”
This is mostly common in raw-foodists, who tend to have more dental problems than the general population. I discussed the reasons in my book Raw Food Controversies.
Essentially, the low-caloric density of the diet encourages frequent snacking on sugary foods (like fruit), which promotes decay. Eliminating snacking and eating actual meals is a key element in preventing dental problems on a raw food diet. Strict dental hygiene is required as well.
Some vegans report an increase in dental decay on a vegan diet, but I suspect that’s simply because they’re eating more refined carbohydrates like flour, cookies and vegan junk foods.
Low Sex Drive
This symptom is not common, but happens to some men who go raw. Most vegan men don’t complain about low sex drive. In my opinion, that’s mostly limited to men who follow a fat-free diet (with no overt fats), undereat calories, and exercise too much and too often. This is completely preventable.
Lack of Energy
I’ve met a lot of “tired vegans,” and I used to be one of them, although I experienced this symptom on a high-fat, raw vegan diet. People complained about feeling exhausted and needing to have frequent naps to recover.
In vegans, I attribute this mostly to the overconsumption of grains (especially refined grains and flower-based products) and oils, under consumption of fruit and underconsumption of total calories.
In raw vegans, it’s caused by a high-fat diet and the underconsumption of fruit or a calorie restrictive diet.
Lack of Stamina
Many ex-vegans report that when they were on a vegan diet, often after a few years, they lost stamina to exercise. For example, in the past they could work out for 60 minutes on the treadmill, and before they broke their vegan diet, they were finding it hard to do more than 20 minutes, and often needed all day to recover.
I would attribute this in most cases to the same causes for lack of energy, but also possibly to a vitamin B12 deficiency.
This symptom is common in vegans but even worse in raw foodists. It’s easily explained by the fact that plant foods are not as calorie-dense as animal foods, and also carbohydrates don’t satiate as much as protein-based foods.
Vegans and raw foodists need to eat more, but also fill their sweet tooth with fruit, which tends to eliminate most of the cravings by providing the simple carbohydrates the body desperately needs.
Hair Falling Out
This is a symptom that tends to happen mostly to raw vegan women who go on a very low fat diet or tend to drop weight rapidly. To avoid this issue, I would encourage an increased consumption of omega-3 rich foods such as flax, walnuts and hemp seeds, even if this brings you above 15% fat. Lower the fat content in the diet progressively, not overnight.
This is probably the most common extreme symptom that vegans experience that lead them to change their diets. As we’ll see below, it could simply be caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Ice Cold Extremities
Some vegans and many raw foodists experience cold feet and end and often attribute it to poorer circulation on this diet. I don’t know that it’s the case, but I’ve found that as long as I exercise daily, my body stays very warm.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency
This deficiency is common in long-term vegans, but also common in the meat-eating population.
Besides severe nervous system degeneration problems, a B12 deficiency can cause fatigue, depression and “brain fog,” which could explain many of the failures of the ex-vegans who tend to feel instantly better when they start eating meat again.
A good supplement is the best way to prevent a B12 deficiency, but perhaps some individuals cannot absorb the supplement optimally and therefore feel the best results when they get their B12 from animal foods.
Eggs and dairy products are generally a poor source of B12, which would explain why the ex-vegans feel so much better when they start eating meat or fish again (just a few ounces of fish provides enough B12 for about two days). (NOTE: I recommend the B12 supplement over animal-source B12).
This is a more rare symptom that could be caused by a diet rich in raw cruciferous vegetables (like cabbage, broccoli, etc.) that contain thyroid inhibitors known as goitrogens. In some sensitive individuals, consuming a lot of these vegetables can cause thyroid problems.
The simple solution for those with a pre-existing hypothyroid condition is to avoid these raw cruciferous vegetables, or steaming them instead.
This was just a short excerpt of the March issue of the Raw Vegan Mentor Club Newsletter! I’m looking forward to hearing from you on this!
To download the full issue, as well as the April one, go to:
You’ll also get over $1200 worth of bonuses, yours to keep.
- Frederic’s Update: We’re in Kauai!
- Feature Article: Why Animal Foods and Raw Meat Are Not the Answer to Health
My new book “The Raw Vegan Coach” has been a little delayed, and is supposed to come out next week if all goes well.
I’m really excited about because this is the first book that features over 147 questions and answers on the raw food diet and related topics. This is truly going to be a little “raw encyclopedia” for your reference!
When I said that there’s a state of mass confusion in the raw food movement, I was not exaggerating.
You have some authors who will tell you that fruit is bad for you and should be avoided, while others will praise fruit as the ultimate food and tell you that’s all you should be eating.
Who should you believe?
The only way to clear the confusion and design a program that works for you and gives you the health and energy you’ve always been after is to get carefully-researched and tested information.
The Raw Vegan Coach will answer all of your questions on this lifestyle and will put you on the right path to success. Stay tuned!
Why Animal Foods and Raw Meat Are Not the Answer to Health
Recently, a book was published called “The Vegetarian Myth” by Lierre Keith, a former vegan who attempts to make a case against the vegetarian diet. After over a decade on a vegan diet, she’s fallen off the wagon and is back on meat, but not because she was craving a juicy steak, but because she’s now convinced that the vegan diet destroyed her health.
Another former raw vegan who enjoys a certain popularity recently published a pamphlet on why he’s now eating meat, and was seen recently up North in my home country converting other vegans into eating meat.
If you’ve been mostly vegetarian or vegan for long enough, I’m sure you’ve stumbled into former vegans who are back on meat because they think it’s part of the answer to their health problems. You may even meet many former veggie-heads who also, like the author of “Vegetarian Myth”, think that the vegan diet made them sick and weak.
I’ve been around long enough in this movement, having bought and read with enthusiasm Diet for a New America (the “Bible” for many vegetarians) in 1995, when I was just 19.
Since then, I’ve seen all kinds of vegans and raw vegans not only fall off the wagon but go back to meat as if it’s the answer to all of their health problems.
When I was roaming California in search of some answers in my early 20s, I met many former raw vegans who were now eating raw animal products because they felt they were not thriving on a pure raw vegan diet. They felt something was missing, and were claiming that they felt so much better eating all this raw meat.
In my first years of raw veganism — I was a typical motivated raw-foodist.
I ate nothing but 100% raw vegan foods for over 4 years, and even at such a young age my health was starting to fail.
I had no energy.
My blood sugar was going crazy.
And I definitely was not experiencing the life-changing results all the raw-food books were telling me I should be experiencing by eating this way.
But I resisted stoically for many years and let my health fail while I remained staunchly raw vegan, thinking it was just a matter a time before my health turned around, once I would finally detox all these cooked food cells that were making me sick.
But at some point, after hearing all these “testimonials” from these former vegans who went back to meat, I felt some forbidden carnivorous thoughts creep into my sub-conscious.
Even after I had stopped being 100% raw, I stayed vegan because I did not want to eat animals.
But like many other people, I ended up trying to incorporate some animal foods into my diet to see what would happen and hoping that it might be the missing part to the puzzle.
Unfortunately for me (but fortunately for the cows), as I hope most former vegans will one day realize when they see their health decline in a completely different way, I found out that animal products were not the answer at all.
I tried raw eggs. I tried raw fish. I couldn’t do raw meat, even though I had considered it for a while.
I even went back to organic chicken and eggs and of course fish in all its forms, and nothing quite did the trick.
One day, I woke up and decided that I was going to eat a burger. Not a little veggie burger for “weaklings”, but a real burger as MAN must eat it — I’m talking about a real beef burger.
I also had steak on a few occasions, and other types of exotic meats.
I was sane enough not to eat it all at once, as some former vegans have done (one person I know told me once they went off the vegan diet, they started eating one pound of beef a day!).
Instead, I ate small quantities of animal products on and off for a couple years.
Did I feel better than on a 100% “eat anything as long as it’s raw” diet?
I sure did.
But was it because these animal products were providing any nutrients that my body was missing?
What most failing vegans have in common is that they are calorie-deprived.
When you’re not consuming enough total calories, it also means you’re not getting all the vitamins, minerals and even protein that your body requires.
Put an undereating vegan on a plan with some meat and they’ll instantly feel better, because meat is a very rich food, full of protein, fat and calories, and even some critical vitamins and minerals.
It’s also full in a lot of the stuff that will eventually make you sick, and I was smart enough to do more research before announcing to the world that I was now a meat eater.
If you read my books and blog posts, you know that I eventually got back on track and restored my health through the plan that I present in my programs and on this website. (High raw, sometimes all raw low fat raw vegan)
But one question remains:
Why are so many vegans unhealthy?
Before I answer this question, I must clarify that I no longer consider myself a “vegan” in the true sense of the word.
The typical vegan is primarily motivated by the welfare of animals and obsessed with only one aspect of healthful living: not eating animal products.
In that sense, I don’t consider myself a vegan.
I have no problem with other people eating meat, if that’s their choice. I don’t complain of the “horrible smell of dead carcasses” when my neighbors barbecue some steak, but I know a lot of vegans who are very vocal about these things.
I also don’t try to make my lifestyle completely vegan. The best underwear I have ever found are made from wool (from ethically raised sheep), and I wouldn’t consider wearing anything else.
I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy a leather jacket, but I wouldn’t also throw away a perfectly good pair of jeans if it has a bit of leather on a tag.
Occasionally and when traveling only, I might eat some animal products, such as raw honey or some ceviche (a common dish in south america made with raw fish marinated in lemon juice), as a delicacy but it’s not something I would eat every day or every week or month. I never eat any dairy products (raw or cooked).
I focus on my overall lifestyle and not just one aspect of my health. I remain convinced that animal products are NOT the answer.
Why are Vegans So Sick?
When I was reading “The Vegetarian Myth”, I was surprised at how not convincing the book was at making a case against the vegan diet.
At best, you could consider that book to be a painful therapy session for a tortured author who thinks that the vegan diet destroyed her life. At worst it’s the least convincing “meat” manifesto you’ll ever read.
The author of the Vegetarian Myth thinks the vegan diet was the cause of her health problems, yet she also admits that she’s still not healthy on her meat based diet.
“Six weeks into veganism I had my first experience of hypoglycemia, though I wouldn’t know that’s what it was called until eighteen years had gone by and it had become my life. Three months into it I stopped menstruating, which should have been a clue that maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. The exhaustion began around then too, and it only got worse, along with the ever-present cold. My skin was so dry it flaked, and in the winter it itched so badly it kept me up at night. At twenty-four, I developed gastroparesis, which, again, wasn’t diagnosed or treated until I was thirty-eight and found a doctor who worked with recovering vegans. That was fourteen years of constant nausea, and I still can’t eat after 5 PM.”
She goes on and on in the book with all the illnesses she had and blames it on the vegan diet, including depression and anxiety.
In spite of eating meat, she’s still not healthy
“Between my spiritual practice and my nutrient-dense diet, I am now depressing-free, and I am thankful every day. But the cold and the exhaustion are permanent. Some days breathing takes more energy than I have”.
Obviously, she was doing something wrong and is still doing something very wrong.
Success leaves clues, and so does failure. The alleged hypoglycemia she experienced when she first went vegan was a clear sign she was on the wrong diet.
But it’s not the vegan diet that made her sick, but the type of vegan diet she was on.
I found it very strange that she wrote an entire book bashing the vegan diet, while never once describing what she ate. But I was able to gather enough clues, from her symptoms to her references to eating a lot of soy, to realize she was another unhealthy vegan biting the dust.
The Vegetarian Myth is a very poor argument against the vegan diet. Yet, it’s written with a lot of zeal and anger, and unfortunately seems to be converting many vegan back to meat.
“I’m also writing this book as a cautionary tale. A vegetarian diet—especially a low-fat version, and most especially a vegan one—is not sufficient nutrition for the human body. To put it bluntly: it will damage you”
Now that’s a quote that deserves to be demolished, especially considering the fact that she makes absolutely no real solid argument to support those claims.
In my experience, these are the following most common mistakes people make on a vegan diet that bring them to a low state of health and give such bad rap to the vegan diet.
1. Not enough calories.
A healthy vegan diet is easily explained: eat enough fruits, vegetables and starch-based foods to maintain your weight and energy, and minimize concentrated foods such as nuts and seeds or oils.
Vegan foods, especially fruits and vegetables, are very nutrient dense, but not calorie-dense. That means you need to eat a lot more of these foods to give you enough energy and maintain your weight and your health.
Many vegans are “weak” and scrawny simply because they don’t eat enough. Not getting enough calories will also mean that you’re not getting enough vitamins, minerals and protein.
If someone is not thriving on their diet and has little energy, the first thing to do is to increase the total amount of calories consumed. But there’s a caveat: these calories must come from whole foods such as fruits and vegetables, and not from oil and fatty foods. Which brings me to my next point.
2. Not enough carbs.
It’s funny because most ex-vegans specifically blame the carbs for their health problems, when it’s actually one type of food they were under-eating.
Under-eating carbs means that you’ll eat too much fat, too much protein and that you won’t get enough energy to function.
That is why so many vegans feel tired all the time. It’s important to get enough calories, but also to eat enough calories in the right proportion.
In spite of what is incorrectly claimed in many anti-vegetarian books, carbohydrates are the preferred food for the human body.
How do you know that? The actual research behind this point is very extensive, but you only need to look at one thing: top athletes.
Every single winning marathon runner or Tour de France athlete thrives on a high-carb diet. Why? Because it works, and carbs are the preferred foods for the human body. Top athletes don’t eat a lot of carbs because they are philosophical vegans (most of them are not), but because that’s what they need to eat to win.
For optimal health and energy, your diet should be composed of at least 70% carbohydrates by total calories. Which leaves less than 30% for protein and fat.
Most vegans use unhealthy amounts of plant oils and fat. This is the primary reason why some vegans suffer from hypoglycemia and other blood sugar issues. It’s well documented that a high-fat diet has a negative impact on insulin sensitivity.
For optimal health, ALL oils should be avoided. That includes all olive oil, hemp seed oils, and even so-called healthy oils such as flax seed oil.
Instead, you should get all of your fat from whole foods such as nuts, seeds and avocados in minimal quantities. For most people who are not very athletic, a very small handful of nuts OR half an avocado is about the maximum you should eat in one day.
This is the number one way to improve a vegan diet. Get rid of all the fat and learn to prepare foods without fat. At the same time, eat more of the “good” stuff such as fruits and vegetables. Remember that green vegetables have no calories, so as a vegan you will have to get your calories from the following foods:
Root vegetables (potatoes, yams, etc.)
Starches (whole grains, beans, etc.
If you follow a raw approach like I do most of the time, then the majority of your calories will come from fruit.
Getting a significant proportion of your calories from fatty foods such as oils is a big mistake and one that will quickly destroy your health. (A lot of people make large salads every day drenched in olive oil and believe this is part of a healthy diet.)
If you have any weight to lose, you should consider avoiding all fatty foods temporarily until you lose the desired weight.
Why? Fats are stored by the body very easily, requiring less than 3% of the calories consumed to store. On the other hand, carbohydrates need an average of 30% of calories consumed to be turned into body fat.
As author John McDougall likes to say, “The fat you eat is the fat you wear”. So if you don’t want to “wear” any more fat, avoid it.
It’s fairly easy to get used to a low fat diet and it takes 30 to 60 days for your taste buds to fully adapt.
4. Too much soy.
Many vegans consume massive quantities of soy products, which is also a mistake.
First of all, there’s one category of soy products that can be avoided completely for optimal health, and that’s textured vegetable protein, which is often used to make fake-meat products such as veggie burgers, veggie lunch meats, sausages etc.
It’s been found that this type of protein can create some of the same problems as meat in the human body, by being very acidic like meat. Consuming textured vegetable protein can also raise growth hormones in your body, which can accelerate aging, and can also cause cancer to grow.
Traditional soy products such as tempeh, tofu and soy milk are not as bad as they are reputed to be, but they should be viewed in the same category as nuts, seeds and avocados.
These soy products are rich foods (with tofu containing a significant amount of fat), so they should be used sparingly as a delicacy to flavor a recipe, if you’re going to use them at all.
5. Too much junk food.
Many vegans also eat too much junk food, and you know what I’m talking about. French fries and potato chips may be vegan, but they are not healthy. Essentially if it comes from a restaurant or a factory, it should be seen as “fun” food and
not as healthy sustenance for the human body. So use your judgement and base your diet on fruits and vegetables, not on junk foods.
6. Too much wheat.
A lot of people in general, but especially vegans and vegetarians base their diet around wheat and bread products. Sandwiches, burgers, wraps, pizzas, pastas, muffins, cereals, are not necessary for health and are often highly processed with artificial vitamins added which can make it hard for the body to absorb real vitamins from whole fruits and vegetables.
Many people also have a wheat sensitivity or are allergic and can develop celiac disease. If you have frequent colds, breathing problems, stuffy nose, asthma, IBS, digestion issues etc., you could have a gluten sensitivity or intolerance. Cutting wheat out of your diet is fairly easy to do when you eat a diet of fruits and vegetables and non glutenous carbohydrates like potatoes and rice.
7. Too much of allergenic foods.
Other foods that are consumed by vegans that are highly allergenic are peanuts and by vegetarians various milk products. Both can cause serious problems when eaten in small quantities by those who have food allergies and are often eaten in significant quantities by those who have food sensitivities and intolerances.
Meat is NOT the Answer
It must be a strange fact of human nature that we tend to make the wrong associations based on what we perceive to be a direct cause-reaction relationship.
If you go vegan and your health declines, you’ll naturally believe that the vegan diet was to blame. Because a vegan diet is a diet that excludes animal products, you might be led to believe that not eating them is what caused you to be sick in the first place.
But in reality, a vegan diet can be anything. It can be a diet of fake meat products and oil and french fries, or it can be a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables consumed in sufficient quantity to make you thrive.
The fact that many vegans get sick does NOT mean that animal products are the answer. Some raw foodists are now including raw meat and
raw dairy into their diets and claiming these are the sole reasons they are surviving on a raw diet, because raw plant food alone are not
enough to thrive on. This is simply not true. They may be thriving in spite of the raw animal products they are eating.
Animal products are inherently bad for the human body, for very specific reasons:
1- They are very acidic and will drain your calcium reserves as the body uses calcium in your bones to balance the pH of the food in your digestive tract.
2- They contain too much protein. All excess protein has to be eliminated by the body which will wear down your kidneys and liver over time and accelerate the aging process. A diet rich in animal protein is also the number one dietary factor for cancer (see The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell).
3- Most animal products are high in fat. Excess fat is stored as body fat and results in surpluses in the body, leading to insulin-related products and everything related to overweight.
4- Animal products are rich in cholesterol, which accumulates in the body and contributes to vascular diseases.
5- Animal products are a concentrated source of toxins. Being high on the food chain, animals accumulate much more toxins, hormones and pesticides in their tissues. This is not mentioning the possible bacteria-related issues with factory produced animal products and cross contamination in the facilities.
Are some vegans unhealthy? Yes! But animal products are not the answer.
What do you think?
NOTE: Some of my research for this article comes from the informative newsletters published by Dr. John McDougall. Check it out at: http://www.drmcdougall.com/
I was recently reading the story of a vegetable-eating dog who lived to the ripe age of 27, in dog years, or 189 in human years!
The dog “Bramble”, a Chocolate Labrador, lived in the UK and held the Guinness World Record for being the oldest living dog.
What’s most amazing about this story is that the dog actually lived on an exclusively vegetarian diet of rice, lentils and organic vegetables.
He ate once a day this vegetarian meal, and exercised a lot.
The owner of the dog was a vegan herself, and she just fed Bramble that big bowl of vegan fare every evening.
In my book “The Raw Secrets”, I also published the story of another woman in San Diego, Karen Schechet, who fed her dogs a vegan, mostly raw diet that consisted of:
Breakfast: ripe fruits
Lunch: apple pieces mixed with dates
Dinner: cooked potatoes mashed with avocado and salad
Karen’s dog lived to the age of 20, which is still 140 years in human years!
You might be wondering… aren’t dogs carnivores?
They are indeed. But you should also know that carnivores are the shortest-lived animals in nature. Frugivores are the longest-lived ones.
When I was 20, I briefly worked for a company that sold high-end dog food.
One thing I learned there is that they knew of only one way to influence dog’s longevity.
Can you guess what it was?
It’s not just caloric restriction, as many people think, but it’s mostly about lowering the protein content in the dog’s diet, especially as they get older.
You could feed your dogs a low-protein diet and see them live a long time.
But this “dog diet” also works for humans! In fact, it works great for humans because we are not natural carnivores.
If you eat lots of protein, you might experience fast growth. But the downside is that you’ll live a short life.
Just look at all the protein-guzzling body-builders. Ever heard of any of them reaching a venerable age?
Mike Mentzer, the famous body-builder, died at the age of 50 of heart disease. He was supposed to be an advocate of “healthy” living. Two days after his death, his brother Ray also died in his sleep.
Today children are fed a lot more protein then used to be natural for humans. They grow tall; they mature earlier, and die early.
A slow growth gives you the potential for a long-life. The later the onset of adolescence, the healthier and longer your life can be.
But still, every “expert” in the world will tell you not to feed your dogs a vegan diet, and certainly not to attempt to live on a low-fat, raw vegan diet yourself.
They also think that 45 is “old” and that if you live to be 70, you lived a long life.
But if you look at the model in nature, pretty much every animal lives around 5 to 7 times their growth period.
For humans, the normal growth period is 21 years (after that age, you generally won’t grow any taller). According to this model, the normal lifespan of human beings should be between 105 and 147 years.
If a dog can live 189 years in human years, what makes you think we can’t?
Yours for health and success,
PS: By the way, if you want the full story on protein but also know exactly how avoid deficiencies on the raw food diet, check out the Raw Health Starter Kit. It includes all of my most important books, tools, and planners to make the raw food diet work. Check it out here:
I read an article recently that I thought you’d like. Dr. Fuhrman wrote about Tim Russert’s passing. It’s an interesting article that talks about how someone could pass a stress test and still have a heart attack. It’s also great because he highlights the importance of a high-nutrient, plant-based diet as more effective in reducing cholesterol levels than medications. I can’t think of a more important reason for us all to increase our intake of fresh fruits and vegetables (whether raw or cooked) than the obvious health benefits.
Read on for the full article.
By now you probably already know, but the much beloved host of NBC’s Meet the Press, Tim Russert, has died. He collapsed from a heart attack at the NBC News studio in Washington, D.C. on Friday. News reports claim that Mr. Russert had passed a stress test on April 29 and had even worked out on a treadmill the morning of his death. This was also reported in the news . . .
“Russert, age 58, was known to have asymptomatic coronary artery disease (atherosclerosis), which resulted in hardening of his coronary arteries,” Newman said. “The autopsy revealed an enlarged heart and significant atherosclerosis of the left anterior descending coronary artery with (a) fresh clot which caused a heart attack resulting in a fatal ventricular arrhythmia…”
…Dr. Cyril Wecht, a nationally renowned forensic pathologist, said Newman’s description of why Russert died makes sense. “The left anterior descending artery is well known among pathologists as the widow-maker,” he tells PEOPLE. “That tells you a lot, doesn’t it? It’s a classical situation that one encounters with great frequency in sudden unexpected death where you get a blood clot, or a thrombosis, or bleeding and if he had an enlarged heart, that adds to it.”
So, he PASSED his stress test, how could that be? If he checked out okay, how could he be dead a couple of months later?
A stress test is not an accurate test for determining the risk of a heart attack. A stress test only identifies obstructions, it doesn’t identify vulnerable plaque–the plaque that is likely to trigger a clot. A stress test can only detect a blockage of more than 80% and the propensity of plaque to rupture has nothing to do with the amount of obstruction. You could have a completely normal stress test and then have a heart attack the next day.1 Juvenile plaque, which is thinly laid down, has a higher propensity to rupture then the old plaque that is more obstructive.
Cardiologist’s attempt to intervene with cholesterol-lowering drugs hoping that cholesterol-lowering will reduce the thickness of the lipid pool within the plaque, but it only partially reduces risk. Over fifty percent of Americans still die of heart attacks and strokes. About 70 percent of the clots that cause death are formed in areas of the heart with non-obstructing lesions, not visible to cardiac testing and not treatable with stenting or bypass. These softer plaques with a thinner (younger calcified cap) are more likely to rupture and promote a clot, especially if the body is inflammatory-prone from low intake of phytochemicals from produce.
Stress tests are big money-makers for doctors. They identify those people with large blockages who qualify as candidates for costly angioplasty or bypass surgery. However, drugs and medical procedures reduce risk only slightly. There is a more effective option. People who normalize their weight, blood pressure and cholesterol through nutritional excellence and exercise don’t have heart attacks.
It’s pretty clear that protection against cardiovascular disease will not be found by a scalpel or in a bottle of pills. The best way to prevent heart disease is through aggressive dietary intervention; specifically a nutrient-dense vegetable-based diet.
A high nutrient, plant-based diet is more effective at lowering cholesterol than drugs, but also the weight loss, blood pressure lowering and reduction of oxidative stress from the high levels of micronutrients are all important factors in dramatically lowering one’s risk of heart disease.2 Their have been numerous medical studies to document that dietary intervention is more effective than drugs, and that heart disease is preventable and reversible.3,4 That’s why my patients with advanced heart disease get well and never have heart disease again.
My goal in my medical practice and on my website has always been to educate the public about the benefits of nutrition as medicine and how unnecessary some of these medical procedures – that only promote a false sense of security – can be. If, as a nation, we had a better understanding of these things, millions of Americans, like Tim Russert, wouldn’t die needlessly each year.
2. Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Popovich DG, et al. Effect of a very-high-fiber vegetable, fruit, and nut diet on serum lipids and colonic function. Metabolism 2001 Apr;50(4):494-503.
3. Hu FB. Plant-based foods and prevention of cardiovascular disease: an overview. Am J Clin Nutr 2003 Sep;78(3 Suppl):544S-551S.
4. Esselstyn CB. In cholesterol lowering, moderation kills. Cleve Clin J Med 2000 Aug;67(8):560-564. Esselstyn CB. Updating a 12-year experience with arrest and reversal therapy for coronary heart disease (an overdue requiem for palliative cardiology). Am J Cardiol 1999 Aug 1;84(3):339-341, A8.
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