3

votes

Is it possible to be a very healthy vegan?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 26, 2010 at 4:21 AM

Out of curiosity, I was browsing the bios here at the vegan body building site: http://www.veganbodybuilding.com/?page=bios and noticed a huge variation on nutritional regimes between the individuals. Certainly some things said are things we in the paleo community would disagree with, but other things in some of the bios sounded familiarly paleo, like avoiding processed foods, sugars, and starches, eating healthy fats like coconut and avocado, keeping carb intake low, etc. All of this got me to thinking, given a good understanding of what the body really needs and with a lot of planning and discipline, would it be possible to be a very healthy athletic vegan? Maybe vegans have problems at least in part because of lack of understanding about the necesity for saturated fat and the dangers of high carb and high grain intake. Or perhaps is there something special about meat that really can't be replicated no matter how much planning and brain power goes into the attempt? What do you all think?

A994080d499afca98cdc9de896701ebd

(1281)

on November 16, 2011
at 07:58 PM

Oh you got to be kidding me. a vegan bodybuilder but no starch? What a miserable life.

0bf4aaa16b8532ca8fb773d86900d153

(203)

on November 16, 2011
at 07:28 PM

Im on your side EVA. What i learned from surival classes is you can go without water two weeks maximum in good environment. Actually water is more important. Greens are also your frindcause they show where water is! And probably there are many other reasons beside.

9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

(3690)

on August 08, 2010
at 03:43 AM

I'd also like to add that it's one of the basic human needs to have our suspicion confirmed. This is why we want our friends to agree with us. In this sense, it's absolutely legitimate that Eva asked something where she already more or less knew what kind of answers she would get.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on July 29, 2010
at 03:41 AM

You are right. But my main point is mostly that "is it possible to be a very healthy vegan?" is kinda like asking "is it possible to smoke every day and never get lung cancer?" Yes, it's possible for certain people. But that odds are small that YOU are one of those people. Another way to put it: it is unlikely that any given population of long-term vegans will be very healthy, even if you can find individuals in that group that seem perfectly fine.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 29, 2010
at 03:15 AM

Good point, but the major diff for the bodybuilding site and other vegans seems mostly to only be the addition for some of more protein powders.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 28, 2010
at 05:22 AM

Mike, I think that depends a lot of what specifically the vegan is eating. Look at the site I mentioned. SOme of them are very organized and scientific. THose tend to be the ones that look the most fit. Others seems rather disorganized about eating plans and don't have much to say in the nutrition part of the bios. And some of those diets vary wildly from others.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 28, 2010
at 05:19 AM

Under no stretch of the imagination did I claim this was an unbiased survey of unbiased random people on the street, so that complaint makes no sense whatsoever. If I represented a commercial survey company, it would be different, but instead I am simply asking some of my peeps what they think. I guess you didn't care much for their answers if you are complaining even about the question itself!

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 28, 2010
at 12:20 AM

Agreed, generally veganism is foolish, but like everything can probably be twisted to be pretty good.

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 28, 2010
at 12:19 AM

Patrick I am aware that cholesterol is the basis of almost all the steroid hormones. I've just not seen any evidence consuming < the RDA of 300mg/day has the effects you describe, please link some supporting evidence. Cholesterol can be synthesized from HMG-CoA. http://rpi.edu/dept/bcbp/molbiochem/MBWeb/mb2/part1/cholesterol.htm

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on July 27, 2010
at 08:17 PM

"And thinking an animal is tasty is NOT just cause." Says who? Remember justice is a concept made up by humans...presumably for humans.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 27, 2010
at 07:21 PM

I think if we all grew up hunting and trapping in an area with rich and healthy animal life and knew our environment intimately and already had our tools and traps and skills perfectly honed, as would likely be the case if we were ancient tribespeople, then the success and reliablity of meat acquisition would be much higher. But lets face it, these days, even survivalist are going to be quite unskilled compared to most natives.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 27, 2010
at 07:16 PM

I should be more specific. Greens are your friend because in many locations, they are always there and easy to get with minimal to no tools and they do not bite or run away. It might take you 3 days or a week to catch some meat. Meanwhile, you will have food the entire time if you eat greens. Not to say that I wouldn't prefer meat. But surviving often means eating greens and things that keep my alive are my friends.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on July 27, 2010
at 05:47 PM

@Chris -- bottom line: Veganism is madness.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on July 27, 2010
at 05:47 PM

@Chris - it is vital that human ingest cholesterol from animal sources, whatever trace amounts may exist in seed oils, are insufficient. If humans do not eat enough cholesterol, all sorts of suboptimal things happen like one's liver starts producing cholesterol etc etc cholesterol is also needed for proper brain function, functioning of serotonin receptors, generation of bile salts, vitamin D production etc etc

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on July 27, 2010
at 03:30 PM

sometimes I wonder if we should even give vegans ground on the fact that they are healthier than people on SAD... you can be a 'healthy' SAD eater and get access to way more nutrients than a vegan I would bet.

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 27, 2010
at 05:58 AM

Adam, no doubt, and that is why I eat paleo and not (raw) vegan.

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 27, 2010
at 05:54 AM

Partrick, most of the seed oils have a small amount of cholesterol. I am unconvinced that a high saturated fat diet (coconut) in the absence of dietary cholesterol would induce problems. If you have evidence otherwise, please share.

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 27, 2010
at 05:47 AM

Patrick, using a food processor to increase the surface area available to the various enzymes your digestive system is an interesting approach to increasing bioavailability. Cooking is probably better.

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 27, 2010
at 05:45 AM

Patrick, I tried to recommend the Kitavan's diet with algae/krill as a substitute for fish.

70d9359a2086e890a4c3bccb2ba8a8cb

(2254)

on July 27, 2010
at 01:30 AM

Fascinating insights and experiences, and makes a lot of sense. Thanks

A68f24168bc0de414a038037e287b581

(4896)

on July 26, 2010
at 11:08 PM

Exactly, Eva. Almost every diet - even fad diet - works in the beginning, people lose weight (if that was the goal), seem to feel better and the positive reinforcement help them commit even harder, especially when the hardships hit. Then they feel they are not trying hard enough, guilt comes back (as unfortunately it's extremely difficult nowadays to eat without guilt), and any failure is considered personal and not fault of the fad diet...

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on July 26, 2010
at 10:08 PM

I think your suggestion is a way to be healthy for a vegan, but that people with a wider range of foodstuffs can be even healthier than that!

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on July 26, 2010
at 08:50 PM

WHAT? Greens have almost no calories. I've gathered wild plant foods for years now and attempted to live off wild plant foods as a vegan. Greens= starvation. Berries = can tide you over for awhile, but also have very little calories. If you are a vegan lost, just hope you are lost in an area with coconuts + heavy rocks.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 26, 2010
at 08:39 PM

I didn't ask if people here thought paleo was better than vegan because I figured the answers would be obvious and monotonous. Obviously, we think paleo is better or we would be over on some veganhacks site instead! ;-)

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on July 26, 2010
at 08:15 PM

@Chris -- plus, since when is krill vegan?

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on July 26, 2010
at 08:14 PM

@Chris -- Looking at the diet you outlined,no way is that healthy. Real quick: 1) "Raw" is insanity. Cooking food is pre-digestion-digestion. 2) No cholesterol in diet is a bad, bad thing. 3) Plenty of other reasons.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on July 26, 2010
at 07:25 PM

I find it interesting that a vegan who eats sushi once a month is not really "vegan" but we Paleos can "cheat" every so often. Why is that?

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 26, 2010
at 07:04 PM

Maybe that is part of the prob, almost everything is better than SAD and the minute people start to feel better, they then assume their new diet is the best and will not consider anything else. And on the flip side, anything bad that happens on a new diet is immediately blamed on the diet as well, even if it might not be so simple. Makes it harder to figure out what is really going on!

15d23403fb836f2b506f4f3ad2c03356

(1219)

on July 26, 2010
at 07:03 PM

Is krill vegan? I wouldn't have thought so. Otherwise, I agree that a coconut-based diet is probably the way to go for vegans.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 26, 2010
at 07:01 PM

I noticed one of those guys actually really did eat 32 bananas in ONE DAY! Can you imagine!!! I mean, I like bananas just fine but no way do I want to have to consume that many. That kind of eating would also quickly get more expensive than standard paleo.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 26, 2010
at 06:56 PM

Actually, greens are your friend when lost in the wilderness. They are much easier to catch than wild game. The problem is that few people know which are edible and which are poison.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 26, 2010
at 06:12 PM

It's interesting how many vegans sneak in a little bit of meat now and then, which in my opinion, means they are not really vegans.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 26, 2010
at 06:09 PM

I think the ideal source for D will always be the sun. But the other vitamins might not be so easy.

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on July 26, 2010
at 03:44 PM

hehe, such a complicated way to live.

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 26, 2010
at 02:53 PM

Garymar, exactly!

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 26, 2010
at 02:53 PM

MikeD, perhaps there are nutrients that you may miss on the staples I listed, but I imagine you could track down some plants to provide them.

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 26, 2010
at 02:46 PM

Diet I outlined seemed to make it fairly likely. Have reasoning behind your opinion?

499f188c87c6980742b9ba98caa6f563

(683)

on July 26, 2010
at 01:52 PM

While if your friend was "vegan" and going out for sushi once a month, then the purists would say she wasn't really vegan. But the fish probably helped her stay healthy.

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on July 26, 2010
at 12:27 PM

i think your post points out the underlying problem with Vegan-style eating that probably is widespread, you can not get all the vital nutrients from your diet and you will need to live on certain vitamin supplements. B-12 is the obvious, but I bet there are other nutrients that are also deficient on the diet.

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on July 26, 2010
at 12:24 PM

i think Vegans share some similar goals to the Paleo community in that many focus on avoiding processed crap and eating real food. they just miss the mark by accepting the party line that saturated fat should be vilified even tho that info is coming from the same people pushing processed foods. my diet could be considered a meaty version of the vegan diet. meganism perhaps?

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 26, 2010
at 05:31 AM

Hm, I think I might like to try me some of that cashew coconut icecream!

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17 Answers

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11
23fc48e05305e0ca91a92c2cd446ca50

(311)

on July 26, 2010
at 05:53 PM

Is it possible to be a very healthy vegan?

In a word: No.

You can certainly be healthiER as a vegan than you can following the Standard American Diet. But that's not saying much. I could eat nothing but steak, butter, cod liver oil, and water for the next 2 weeks and be healthier than someone on SAD.

Of course, I would also not be deficient in saturated fats, vitamins A, D, and K, B12, and heme iron at the end of those two weeks, either.

You can't get vitamin A from plant foods. You can only get beta carotene, and not everybody can convert that well enough. You can't get the right form of B12. You have to consume tropical oils to get saturated fats from plants, and that's not always an ideal solution. The plant form of vitamin K is not as bioavailable. I'm not sure where you would ever find D in the plant kingdom, either. [checks real quick] Mushrooms. That's it. You can get vitamin D from mushrooms. (Which aren't even technically plants!) Fine, unless you're allergic to fungus, and it seems like every other vegan I run into is allergic to something.

The trouble with being vegan in terms of how healthy you feel is that you don't suffer from these shortages immediately. It's not like going without food and water. Your body builds up mineral and fat-soluble vitamin stores wherever and whenever it can, so a lot of people live off their stores for a period of time before they begin feeling the not-so-healthy effects of a vegan diet. B12 can also be stored in the body, and eventually runs out--again, a problem that will have to be addressed at some point.

I would never tell someone that being vegan is the ideal way to be healthy. We're not meant to be herbivores. Only a species-appropriate diet is going to help us thrive in the long run. Primates are an insectivorous class, and if you're not going to eat bugs then get the closest that you can to that nutrient profile.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 26, 2010
at 06:09 PM

I think the ideal source for D will always be the sun. But the other vitamins might not be so easy.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 28, 2010
at 05:22 AM

Mike, I think that depends a lot of what specifically the vegan is eating. Look at the site I mentioned. SOme of them are very organized and scientific. THose tend to be the ones that look the most fit. Others seems rather disorganized about eating plans and don't have much to say in the nutrition part of the bios. And some of those diets vary wildly from others.

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on July 27, 2010
at 03:30 PM

sometimes I wonder if we should even give vegans ground on the fact that they are healthier than people on SAD... you can be a 'healthy' SAD eater and get access to way more nutrients than a vegan I would bet.

9
C1ea79115a062250a7263764797faa30

(851)

on July 27, 2010
at 12:16 AM

So this is very unscientific reasoning, but anyway: I've done several survival trips, and one of the very first things I learn every time is that conserving (personal) energy is of supreme importance. The necessary tasks involved in staying alive don't use up energy in the same way that a crossfit workout does, but in a survival situation everything you do (including doing nothing) depletes your energy reserves and it all has to be made up somehow. In practice this means that out of your initial energy "budget" must come actions specifically to feed you. What actions you choose to take to feed yourself has a very real relation to whether you live or die over the long term.

In the short term, eating vegetation is nice and easy, using up little of your energy, but it gets you little energy back. It feels initially satisfying, but after about a day, I have to force myself to consume any more vegetation, because just looking at it makes me feel sick. It just doesn't abate the hunger or weakness (although certain plants do actually abate hunger or stimulate energy as part of their medicinal effects). I find the same holds true of mushrooms.

Eating plant roots is satisfying for maybe one or two more days at most. It takes more energy to get them, and often takes some cooking to make them digestible, and they give you some much needed energy. But this is not a lasting boost of energy and after a while this hits the point of diminishing returns as well, and my body makes me not want to eat any of it.

The most energetically expensive food to get is animal food (although collecting certain shellfish and seafood items can be pretty easy). It's also often dangerous (especially in a survival situation) whether you're making impromptu weapons or setting up traps. However, on day three of any survival trip, it is pretty much the only wild food source which remains desirable. One tiny little snail has meant more to me than five pounds of leaves and stalks or roots and berries. I've been on trips with other people where we have actually shared a snail between us, and it was still more satisfying than all the plant foods we had collected.

Now hunting and trapping - especially with primitive and improvised tools - is very tiring and very much a gamble. It seems to me that if it were possible to healthfully feed yourself from nothing but plants, then that would have been the most successful strategy in our evolutionary history. If it were possible to be a healthy vegan, we should see virtually every pre-agricultural tribe being vegan. Instead, what we actually see, to the best of my knowledge, is that none of them were. Because of this, I cannot but believe that it is not possible to be a healthy vegan.

70d9359a2086e890a4c3bccb2ba8a8cb

(2254)

on July 27, 2010
at 01:30 AM

Fascinating insights and experiences, and makes a lot of sense. Thanks

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 27, 2010
at 07:21 PM

I think if we all grew up hunting and trapping in an area with rich and healthy animal life and knew our environment intimately and already had our tools and traps and skills perfectly honed, as would likely be the case if we were ancient tribespeople, then the success and reliablity of meat acquisition would be much higher. But lets face it, these days, even survivalist are going to be quite unskilled compared to most natives.

5
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on July 27, 2010
at 08:16 PM

This is the wrong question. Is it possible for otherwise-healthy adult individuals to be vegan and healthy? Numerous scientific studies support that with proper supplementation it probably is. I have a relative who has been vegan for 30 years and is just as healthy as my other relatives.

Where it's murkier is:

  • Whether it's possible for unsupplemented vegans to be healthy (probably not according to most research)
  • Whether this diet works for everyone
  • Whether this diet is appropriate across generations

What I'd suggest to vegans is

  • Take your b-12, DHA, retinol, and taurine supplements
  • Don't be afraid of fat
  • Consider not having children. The environmental impact and total net animals killed is greater from having children that from eating meat and the diet isn't really proved in that area.

5
77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on July 26, 2010
at 08:13 PM

I think Patrik is right. It is unlikely. I do think it is possible, but it depends on what you mean by "healthy." Are you talking "better than average?" or "Optimal?" [Edit: Also, to make a long story short: I think a more interesting question is not whether it is possible for a vegan to be very healthy -- of course! -- but rather whether a large group of vegans will be healthy relative to the SAD (yes) or relative to Paleo (I don't think so).]

There are genetic freaks out there. Some of them can eat nothing but rancid Doritos and Diet Coke, smoke unfiltered cigarettes, watch soap operas all day, and still live to be 100 years old. Some of them can walk into the gym after being sedentary for a few months and still lift more weight, run faster and longer, jump higher than you can.

These people will outlive and outperform many of us, even those of us who work pretty hard at it.

That doesn't mean that their diet or lifestyle or training regimen is optimal.

Perhaps if these freaks switched to a Paleo-ish diet, they would live even longer and experience an even higher quality of life. Maybe they would become even better at their sport. Maybe their sex lives would get better, they'd be happier, their energy levels would be higher. Who knows.

Ultimately, it is pretty hard to prove what is "optimal". It also probably depends on your definition of optimal (do you want to favor athletic performance, or longevity and long-term health?). Any self-evaluation of your diet and lifestyle choices is necessarily subjective and prone to distortion.

Vegans can have have reasonable or even excellent health outcomes, whether they follow (what we would consider) healthy diets or not -- at the individual level.

You also need to consider what "vegan" really means. Vegan diets can range from wheat + soybean + soybean oil, to soaked/sprouted lentils, no wheat, coconut oil only. You can bet the farm that there will be a LARGE difference in health outcomes there.

Now, at the group level, take hardcore 1000 vegans vs. 1000 hardcore Paleo/Primal eaters and let's compare health outcomes over the next 50-75 years.

To be fair, let's assume the vegans all supplement B12, zinc, omega-3 algae oil, etc. religiously and get lots of sunlight. (I don't know all the main things that vegans need to supplement, but you get the idea.) They eat local organic produce. They soak, sprout, ferment, grind their beans and lentils, and avoid wheat. They cook everything in organic, unrefined coconut oil, avoiding vegetable oils of all kinds. The only stipulation is that they eat no fish, no meat, no animal products whatsoever. Honey is fine.

Let's also assume the Paleo group eats exclusively grass-fed meats and lots of fresh, healthy seafood, eats local organic produce, supplements anything necessary, etc. etc. etc.

Basically, let's compare the healthiest possible vegan diet to the healthiest possible Paleo diet.

My money is still on the Paleo group in terms of longevity, quality of life, and health outcomes. I can't prove it in a court of law, but I think the observational evidence is suggestive, from studies of ethnic and religious groups that are mostly vegetarian or ostensibly vegan, compared to studies of hunter-gatherer groups.

I do think the vegan group would still have improved health outcomes vs. a control SAD group.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on July 29, 2010
at 03:41 AM

You are right. But my main point is mostly that "is it possible to be a very healthy vegan?" is kinda like asking "is it possible to smoke every day and never get lung cancer?" Yes, it's possible for certain people. But that odds are small that YOU are one of those people. Another way to put it: it is unlikely that any given population of long-term vegans will be very healthy, even if you can find individuals in that group that seem perfectly fine.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 26, 2010
at 08:39 PM

I didn't ask if people here thought paleo was better than vegan because I figured the answers would be obvious and monotonous. Obviously, we think paleo is better or we would be over on some veganhacks site instead! ;-)

5
93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on July 26, 2010
at 05:50 AM

Short answer: Unlikely.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on July 27, 2010
at 05:47 PM

@Chris -- bottom line: Veganism is madness.

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 27, 2010
at 05:54 AM

Partrick, most of the seed oils have a small amount of cholesterol. I am unconvinced that a high saturated fat diet (coconut) in the absence of dietary cholesterol would induce problems. If you have evidence otherwise, please share.

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 28, 2010
at 12:19 AM

Patrick I am aware that cholesterol is the basis of almost all the steroid hormones. I've just not seen any evidence consuming < the RDA of 300mg/day has the effects you describe, please link some supporting evidence. Cholesterol can be synthesized from HMG-CoA. http://rpi.edu/dept/bcbp/molbiochem/MBWeb/mb2/part1/cholesterol.htm

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 26, 2010
at 02:46 PM

Diet I outlined seemed to make it fairly likely. Have reasoning behind your opinion?

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on July 26, 2010
at 08:15 PM

@Chris -- plus, since when is krill vegan?

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on July 26, 2010
at 08:14 PM

@Chris -- Looking at the diet you outlined,no way is that healthy. Real quick: 1) "Raw" is insanity. Cooking food is pre-digestion-digestion. 2) No cholesterol in diet is a bad, bad thing. 3) Plenty of other reasons.

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 28, 2010
at 12:20 AM

Agreed, generally veganism is foolish, but like everything can probably be twisted to be pretty good.

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 27, 2010
at 05:45 AM

Patrick, I tried to recommend the Kitavan's diet with algae/krill as a substitute for fish.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on July 27, 2010
at 05:47 PM

@Chris - it is vital that human ingest cholesterol from animal sources, whatever trace amounts may exist in seed oils, are insufficient. If humans do not eat enough cholesterol, all sorts of suboptimal things happen like one's liver starts producing cholesterol etc etc cholesterol is also needed for proper brain function, functioning of serotonin receptors, generation of bile salts, vitamin D production etc etc

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 27, 2010
at 05:47 AM

Patrick, using a food processor to increase the surface area available to the various enzymes your digestive system is an interesting approach to increasing bioavailability. Cooking is probably better.

3
0fb8b3d6dcfb279b0f7e050d2d22510f

(4645)

on July 28, 2010
at 07:17 AM

Perhaps off topic but.... diets designed for athletes- in this case body builders- are NOT a healthy diet for the average person. Too many people, most of them dietitians beeive that if a diet is good for an athlete, it should be great for us. IT AIN"T. In fact, it can be very very wrong. Many body builders become diabetic when they retire because of the massive demands they put on their diet to fuel their body and sport. Maybe a vegan approach is better to those body building- maybe not but in either case, what is good for a competitive athlete id NOT for us

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 29, 2010
at 03:15 AM

Good point, but the major diff for the bodybuilding site and other vegans seems mostly to only be the addition for some of more protein powders.

3
4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

on July 26, 2010
at 02:56 PM

Why would you take supplements instead of eating tasty food?

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 26, 2010
at 07:01 PM

I noticed one of those guys actually really did eat 32 bananas in ONE DAY! Can you imagine!!! I mean, I like bananas just fine but no way do I want to have to consume that many. That kind of eating would also quickly get more expensive than standard paleo.

3
1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 26, 2010
at 05:21 AM

Sure.

Consume most of your calories from coconut, low w-6 nuts and starchy vegetables; supplement with b-12 and krill or algae oil as needed.

I had a raw vegan roommate a while back who I thought was surprisingly healthy. Her staples included soups made from pureed plants (leeks, tomato and squash usually), whole coconuts and ice cream made from cashew & coconut.

She also had a weakness for sushi, so we got her out for fish maybe once or twice a month.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 26, 2010
at 05:31 AM

Hm, I think I might like to try me some of that cashew coconut icecream!

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 26, 2010
at 06:12 PM

It's interesting how many vegans sneak in a little bit of meat now and then, which in my opinion, means they are not really vegans.

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on July 26, 2010
at 10:08 PM

I think your suggestion is a way to be healthy for a vegan, but that people with a wider range of foodstuffs can be even healthier than that!

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 26, 2010
at 02:53 PM

MikeD, perhaps there are nutrients that you may miss on the staples I listed, but I imagine you could track down some plants to provide them.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on July 26, 2010
at 07:25 PM

I find it interesting that a vegan who eats sushi once a month is not really "vegan" but we Paleos can "cheat" every so often. Why is that?

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 26, 2010
at 02:53 PM

Garymar, exactly!

15d23403fb836f2b506f4f3ad2c03356

(1219)

on July 26, 2010
at 07:03 PM

Is krill vegan? I wouldn't have thought so. Otherwise, I agree that a coconut-based diet is probably the way to go for vegans.

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on July 26, 2010
at 12:27 PM

i think your post points out the underlying problem with Vegan-style eating that probably is widespread, you can not get all the vital nutrients from your diet and you will need to live on certain vitamin supplements. B-12 is the obvious, but I bet there are other nutrients that are also deficient on the diet.

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on July 26, 2010
at 03:44 PM

hehe, such a complicated way to live.

499f188c87c6980742b9ba98caa6f563

(683)

on July 26, 2010
at 01:52 PM

While if your friend was "vegan" and going out for sushi once a month, then the purists would say she wasn't really vegan. But the fish probably helped her stay healthy.

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 27, 2010
at 05:58 AM

Adam, no doubt, and that is why I eat paleo and not (raw) vegan.

2
8287c6ddae0d78eae0a09fdd5999617c

(2581)

on July 26, 2010
at 10:58 PM

Yes. But I wasn't a healthy vegan. You have to be careful to avoid nutritional deficiencies. Most people even on SAD still get a lot of certain nutrients that many vegans (especially raw or unsupplemented) don't. I also think that it takes time for the effects to get worse in most people.

But the bottom line is.....if a hunter-gatherer tribe went vegan, their health would suffer greatly, without supplementation, fortified foods, and the modern conveniences that vegans enjoy today...

B12 is the vitamin vegans have to worry about but there is also iron and zinc and stuff like that. Supplementation might take that out of the question (assuming that works as well as getting the vitamins and minerals from food).

Although I admire the consistency of veganism over the self-righteous absurdity of "pescatarian" or other meat-loving "vegetarians". If you want to eat meat , eat meat but don't make yourself out to be something you're not.

Certainly there are some healthy, happy looking vegans. But I think the risk is there with all kinds of vegans, because you have the ethics vegans who don't care about health or nutrition, just animals, and the health vegans that want to believe veganism is the healthiest thing naturally for humans (so they avoid supplements).

2
A68f24168bc0de414a038037e287b581

on July 26, 2010
at 04:13 PM

I am not sure about the "very" healthy, but for sure a vegan can be much healthier than the general population just from cutting all the processed foods, franken-foods, chemical additives and what not... Unless it's the, very dangerous in my opinion, low-fat vegan (no added fats whatsoever) the person might be quite ok for a long time... I still think that supplementation would be necessary though. And probably a lot of hard cardio.

A68f24168bc0de414a038037e287b581

(4896)

on July 26, 2010
at 11:08 PM

Exactly, Eva. Almost every diet - even fad diet - works in the beginning, people lose weight (if that was the goal), seem to feel better and the positive reinforcement help them commit even harder, especially when the hardships hit. Then they feel they are not trying hard enough, guilt comes back (as unfortunately it's extremely difficult nowadays to eat without guilt), and any failure is considered personal and not fault of the fad diet...

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 26, 2010
at 07:04 PM

Maybe that is part of the prob, almost everything is better than SAD and the minute people start to feel better, they then assume their new diet is the best and will not consider anything else. And on the flip side, anything bad that happens on a new diet is immediately blamed on the diet as well, even if it might not be so simple. Makes it harder to figure out what is really going on!

2
691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on July 26, 2010
at 02:29 PM

I find it interesting that most of these vegan 'bodybuilders' were bodybuilders who became vegan after they had built their bodies up. Most of them built all their muscle as meat eaters and then found the vegan calling. I bet it's very hard to maintain and impossible to look like them starting out as a vegan. They are probably just using vegan eating to stay lean but probably have made no gains since adopting the diet.

The one puzzler is the guy who founded the site. He claims to have been vegan since the age of 15 and body building since like 17. He claims to have never used steroids. He also isn't huge like many bodybuilders.

2
100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on July 26, 2010
at 02:19 PM

I think it is essentially impossible to be very healthy without including animal products in your diet, because of the essential fats, proteins, and other nutrients they provide. Nonetheless, there are certainly more and less healthy ways to be vegan. A grain and fruit-based vegan diet, for example, would be worse than one than was based on plant sources of saturated and mono-unsaturated fats, with careful supplementation of known deficiencies.

2
Fd0633a7758ad83a5fa785e88a0cc00f

(281)

on July 26, 2010
at 04:53 AM

Eva...great question. I have never been a vege but have enjoyed expanding my vege palette through paleo. We have adopted a small measure of compromise by joining the Meatless Monday bunch. I heard about it on Gavan Murphy's blog "The Healthy Irishman". It sounded reasonable and worth a try...

http://gavanmurphy.com/blog/

I truly thing meat is a part of what our bodies need to remain in good health...but with some creative cooking and planning it does not have to be an everyday necessity. Our paleo ancestors certainly had bad days when their luck didn't "bring home the bacon"!

1
Medium avatar

on November 16, 2011
at 05:39 PM

Since N=1 is a frequent topic here, allow me this observation, disguised as a question.

Have you ever met Dean Ornish in person? Cadaverous, pale, fidgety. Have met him at social gatherings. Not my picture of health.

I offer the above playfully, not by any means "scientifically." Still, anecdotes can be instructive.

As for a larger sample: Ancestral Health Symposium. My, my. What a healthy, robust, vital, energetic, glowing bunch of non-vegans.

0
740523f7279dd6467a5bb092a4bb227b

(0)

on November 16, 2011
at 05:14 PM

The question isn't whether or not it's possible to be a healthy vegan... it's simply impossible to be a vegan. Those that claim they are are just lying to themselves. Yeah, perhaps it's a noble ideal (one I personally don't agree with but that is neither here nor there), but in practice it is inevitable you are not only using animal products in daily life even though the product may be listed as animal free but you are certainly consuming animals products everyday. Sugar, flour, peanut butter and any nut butter, soy product, soy milk...the list goes on and on. If "vegans" would actually spend the time to research the realities of the lifestyle they are living they would also see they are lying to themselves. Maybe then they would stop the band-wagonning with PETA and spreading ill informed propaganda to those they encounter and perhaps see the error in the thinking.

0
9f8111d9ecaa64ea098a0860b47300e0

on July 26, 2010
at 06:33 PM

No! How come people lost in the woods or grassy plains starve to death ? You are not a herbivore .

Where's the beef ! LOL

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 27, 2010
at 07:16 PM

I should be more specific. Greens are your friend because in many locations, they are always there and easy to get with minimal to no tools and they do not bite or run away. It might take you 3 days or a week to catch some meat. Meanwhile, you will have food the entire time if you eat greens. Not to say that I wouldn't prefer meat. But surviving often means eating greens and things that keep my alive are my friends.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on July 26, 2010
at 08:50 PM

WHAT? Greens have almost no calories. I've gathered wild plant foods for years now and attempted to live off wild plant foods as a vegan. Greens= starvation. Berries = can tide you over for awhile, but also have very little calories. If you are a vegan lost, just hope you are lost in an area with coconuts + heavy rocks.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 26, 2010
at 06:56 PM

Actually, greens are your friend when lost in the wilderness. They are much easier to catch than wild game. The problem is that few people know which are edible and which are poison.

0bf4aaa16b8532ca8fb773d86900d153

(203)

on November 16, 2011
at 07:28 PM

Im on your side EVA. What i learned from surival classes is you can go without water two weeks maximum in good environment. Actually water is more important. Greens are also your frindcause they show where water is! And probably there are many other reasons beside.

-3
236fbd187a8147ac061906b771442565

(26)

on July 27, 2010
at 08:06 PM

I haven't eaten meat in 10 years and am very healthy, thank you. Think about the question you asked and to whom you asked it. If I stood outside a Crossfit box and asked everyone that walked by if they enjoyed exercise and if they thought it was important then based my survey on those results would I have a reasonable statistical average of what people think about exercise? Of course not, that's absurd. You are asking a Paleo group what they think of a Vegan diet. You may as well have saved the time and effort unless you are polling in many diverse areas. And to answer your question, yes, you CAN have a complete healthy diet without killing animals. Many vegans are not opposed to saturated fats (as suggested by someone with NO clue), they are opposed to killing animals without just cause. And thinking an animal is tasty is NOT just cause.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on July 27, 2010
at 08:17 PM

"And thinking an animal is tasty is NOT just cause." Says who? Remember justice is a concept made up by humans...presumably for humans.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 28, 2010
at 05:19 AM

Under no stretch of the imagination did I claim this was an unbiased survey of unbiased random people on the street, so that complaint makes no sense whatsoever. If I represented a commercial survey company, it would be different, but instead I am simply asking some of my peeps what they think. I guess you didn't care much for their answers if you are complaining even about the question itself!

9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

(3690)

on August 08, 2010
at 03:43 AM

I'd also like to add that it's one of the basic human needs to have our suspicion confirmed. This is why we want our friends to agree with us. In this sense, it's absolutely legitimate that Eva asked something where she already more or less knew what kind of answers she would get.

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