I am always curious to know why people end up becoming a “vegan”. The most common answers I hear are:
- I am against animal cruelty
- I don’t want to expose myself to all the hormones and antibiotics
- I heard its healthier
- I want to lose weight
- Eating too much meat is bad for my heart
- I heard it will balance my hormones
I would love to elaborate upon some of these comments to clarify how to be a bad vegan vs. a balanced vegan.
1 & 2: “I am against animal cruelty” and “I don’t want to expose myself to all the hormones and antibiotics”
Eating plant based is great but you also have to consider the quality of your produce. If you are consuming conventional NON-organic produce you are still contributing to animal cruelty in addition to getting hormones and antibiotics into your system. Most non-organic produce is being fertilized by manure from these caged sick animals which exposes you to the same harmful products in non-organic grain fed meats. Also, the pesticides and herbicides used in industrial and non-organic farming will run-off into the water supply affecting the wild animals drinking from that water supply.
3 & 4: “I heard it’s healthier” and “I want to lose weight”
There is no diet that is necessarily healthier than the other. We should be eating a balanced array of non-processed foods from nature. We also should be evaluating our current state of health, our ancestry, and our genetic makeup before deciding on any particular diet. Plant based veganism can be a great diet for the right person. A plant based vegan would eat mainly fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds. They would eliminate dairy, animal based protein, and other animal based products. Veganism has a tendency to sway toward a soy-based diet compensating for the lack of animal based protein. It commonly includes soy based condiments, soy based meats, soy-based cheese, increased sugar, breads, and pastas. 96% of soy grown in the US is from a genetically modified source. Let’s clarify, GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. The seed for a specific crop is being engineered in a lab to have an in-born genetic pesticide. In layman terms, a pest/bug takes a bite of the plant and dies. They have also made the seeds “Round-Up Ready” which means they can douse the crops with as much TOXIC round-up weed killer as they want and the crop will not be effected. These toxins deplete the soil resulting in produce that is much less nutritious. When the label says vegan that surely does not indicate that it is healthy. In reality, it is probably the complete opposite since there were so many substitutions made for the animal derived ingredients.
5: “Eating too much meat is bad for my heart”
The American diet is extremely protein heavy. Most Americans are consuming about 10x more protein than were designed to consume. And Yes, I have heard of Paleo. Paleo can be a great diet if you actually know what the true Paleolithic people consumed. They consumed nuts, seeds, berries, fruits, and veggies that they could gather from the land in the most abundance. They consumed meat, chicken, and fish a few times per month because it wasn’t as readily available. So too much of poor quality non-organic grain fed meat will cause a whole lot of health issues. But high quality pasture raised/grass-fed & grass-finished meats are great in moderation. Protein should be consumed 3-4x per week not per day! Our bodies cannot break down an overabundance of animal based protein regardless if you are weight lifting. There are certain nutrients that you can gain from quality meat consumption that are not available in strictly a plant based diet.
6: “I heard it will balance my hormones”
The answer is NO if you are consuming soy based foods. Soy products contain phytoestrogens which will increase the levels of estrogen in the body. An overabundance of estrogen in a male’s body will decrease libido, cause weight gain, and create fatty deposits near the breast area aka “man boobs”. Most females are already in estrogen dominance (too much estrogen in the body) which creates a variety of issues including PMS symptoms, endometriosis, heavy periods, adrenal fatigue, and hypothyroid to name a few. The female body needs a balance of estrogen and progesterone to have a healthy endocrine system. Stay tuned for my future blog called “Can anything be done about your horrible PMS?”