Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Should YOU 'go vegan' as well?

It seems to be the latest craze: go vegan! Avoid meats, eggs, dairy products, etc! Everyone is doing it - the news if full of stories about celebrities and popular figures who have reportedly dedicated their minds and lives to the vegan diet. Here's a simple example: http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20762485,00.html.

What IS the 'vegan' diet? As stated before, it is simply abstaining from all animal products or anything associated with animals. This is the definition in its strictest terms, although today, many people call themselves vegan even if they don't follow these particular restrictions. Anyhow, why the hype about this way of eating? What makes it so special and amazing?

Let's talk about the nutritional evidence. Studies have shown that vegans have lower risks of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, kidney stones, obesity, cancer, and more. NOTE however that this is an association, which means that the vegan diet did NOT cause the lower risk of adverse health events. Why does this association occur? Is it because vegans avoid meat and dairy products? The answer is complex, but simply put, the vegan diet is mainly made of fruits and vegetables, which are known to be healthy and have many benefits. However, I want to challenge you with some questions regarding the vegan diet and its supposedly 'miraculous' health effects:

1) What is I follow the vegan diet and eat fried veggies? Also, fruit with chocolate sauce? Is this still the so called 'extremely healthy' diet, as purposed?
2) What if I avoid meats as stated? And, I replace this with jelly beans, chocolate, and beer? Will this diet decrease my risk of cancer and all other health illnesses?
3) What are the reasons for going vegan? Is it religious? Is it because I think that it is the 'cool' thing to do, and everyone else is doing it?

I think the points above do a modest job of illustrating that the vegan diet is not all its made to be in the media and news. Religiously, some people may adopt this lifestyle - and that is perfectly fine. Others may decide to be vegan because they want to show their support and love for animals. I am not saying that any reason for following the vegan lifestyle is incorrect. What I AM saying is that you must now fall pretty into what the media says simply because 'everyone is doing it'.

You need to realize that the vegan diet, if followed by its truest nature, can be very healthy. But this is assuming that you focus on fruits and veggies that are natural (ex. not fried, cooked in butter, etc), and include many whole grains and fibre. But, really, is meat and dairy bad? No. Meat provides iron, zinc, vitamin B 12, and more. Dairy products are excellent sources of calcium and vitamin D, and also provide many other nutrients. What is the lesson to learn? Mainly, that a well-balanced diet is the best way to go. You need not eliminate certain foods just to be 'healthy'. If you eat everything in moderation (yes, including desserts), you will be healthy. If you exercise, reduce stress, and make time to relax, you can reduce your risk for many illnesses. You need not go 'vegan' simply because the media says that this is the best thing to do for weight loss and health. In fact, there are many ways to lose weight, all of which can include eating all foods in moderation.

What I also want you to be aware of is the influence of the news and media on our views. See how the media made veganism seem so wonderful? Each time a celebrity announces that they will eat a vegan diet, they are featured on the front cover of a magazine. Why? Who really cares what the president is eating for lunch? Does it matter what BeyoncĂ© decides to drink for breakfast? No. But the media KNOWS that this will catch our attention, and that doing so will attract viewers. Studies may show that veganism is healthy, but you need to remember that these studies are associations - they cannot prove (nor do they) that veganism alone causes decreased health problems. Remember that we also have to think of genetics, exercise, stress, smoking, alcohol, medications, health history, and more. A healthy diet that includes all foods from all food groups can be balanced and healthy.  If you are vegan by choice, remember to include foods that will provide you with enough nutrients and vitamins. If you aren't vegan and were thinking about it, reflect on this post and think about how the media may be influencing your choice. I am not purposing that one way of living is better than the rest. What I AM saying is that we all need to eat healthy foods in moderation and to enjoy food...and we need to be aware of how the media and others may skew our perceptions and beliefs. As always, my message to you is this: be informed before you make a decision, and look for credible sources of information that give you the full picture, not just what the messenger WANTS you to hear.

39 comments:

  1. What a lovely picture

    Larisa

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  2. Neither ED survivors or normal population can restrict their intake of meat ,fish and eggs as this impose severe health risk.
    I agree moderation and enjoy all food items are the best gurantee to happy healthy life

    Recovered ED survivor with no relapse for 7 years this XMAS

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  3. I appreciate your honsty in sending any health message .
    I do believe that despite all the media talk,avaible internet that may make you feel able to self diagnose and treat but this will never replace the best advise from your doctor and knowledegble nurse like you.

    Sally

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  4. when you restrict animal foods you will have severe nurtional definecy basiccaly low vit B12 that cause numbess,tingling,depression,lack of sharp memory and anemia .Also leads to iron deficiecy that cause fatigue and cognitive decline.
    Never forget animal foods gives us antioxidant ,trace element supply as copper,zinc and phosphorus that is helpful to pretct our immune systems and our nerve cells

    CJ
    RN and RDE

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  5. I believe this media hype came from a notion saying meditterinian are at low risk of heart disease and cancer because they are poor and can not afford meat,daily and fish and so eat only beans and bread .
    They are confused between the high risk of cancer and heart disease in rich industrial world is beause of stress and polution and so risk is higher but not lower in middle east.

    Hamza

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  6. I do not like the extreme veggie or meat

    Solomon

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  7. Believe me if I tell you I hate veggie and I eat meat daily and I am healthy.

    Gangji

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  8. I think Western society now in the hype of vegan because for centuries have been meat eaters and believed veggie is only for animals not for human and now just want change
    Instead of going to moderation, They just going to extreme .
    I do believe this hype is media motivated and ridiculous and domed to fail

    Kelly W

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  9. I urge every body to eat what you like in moderations

    Hellary

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  10. There is no one medical association recommending people to be vegan .All medical association, Health Canada and FDA recommend balanced diet with 7 serving fruits and grains and protein from animal source as contain high biological values.
    What the vegan hype come from??? media for sure

    With my humble respect

    Muhammad

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  11. I agree with you completely

    Mary
    Mississauga

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  12. I think this is a religious move and I agree that is fine if because of a religious factor but you can not claim it is healthy diet than moderation.

    Jack

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  13. I am presenting next months about Canada food guide and so I am doing some searching.
    I agree with you eating 7 serving healthy natural fruits,salads,grains and dairy is healthy as long as you take your needs of meat, fish and dairy products
    If pure vegan, you will have low iron,Zinc,vit D and b 12 that can affect CNS function

    Penny
    Med student

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  14. Yes
    To feel and keep healthy eat in moderation all food items, lower stress, relaxation techniques and fake the smile to make it.

    Lenus

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  15. The media making money by following the lead of celebrities .So if one celebrity wears his shoes one on and one off or wear a tie without a shirt, the media will make like hype every body should follow

    Mays

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  16. You know the media wish to take a picture of a celerity when pees and poops !!

    Carlos

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  17. While I was sick,my brain was telling me all fords are bad and was pushing me not only restrict fats and sugars but to restrict and even stop all foods.
    Now after my recovery I believe all foods are healthy and I enjoy eating all kinds of foods in moderation.
    I was hard at first but getting much better.
    Thanks To Marina


    Anne

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  18. I had many stresses in my life and I learnt how not to let any stress affect my body .I can now deal with the issue as good as I can but I will stop short before this making me restless,nervous or angry.
    I agree with you eating every thing moderation and lower stresss or if you can not avoid stress ,just deal with ot without let it affct your health


    Magaly

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  19. Running after the fans sucks.
    Eating all foods and stress reduction is my goal for health.

    Shishgeri

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  20. I agree with You and Anne .
    When I was ill I thought food is a poison to my body.
    Since I have recovered ,my view changed and I am almost normal in my eating and above all my thinking.
    I do believe ALL foods are good and blessing from good given to us to be healthy.
    I learnt how to relax and calm and trying not let stress affect my health.
    All thanks to Marina

    Nanaraj

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  21. I heard about a friend who born in India and was strict vegan and after few years felt very weak and not able to finish duties and flunk courses and lately was diagnosed with severe malnutrition and was given vitamins and iron by injection till recovered.
    I lately heard he changed to eat healthy normal balanced diet after his recovery


    Clorado

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  22. You are right Marina
    One has to be careful between healthy life, which include moderation in consumptions of all foods items ,reasonable servings ,moderate exercise ,stress management and relaxation and use laughter in your life.
    Media hype to the extreme vegan is not healthy advise and no t recommended

    Sandra D

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  23. So true...you are so smart Marina! Thanks for sharing this information with us and opening people's eyes. You are such an inspiration and everyone loves you! Keep these blogs coming.

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  24. Even though I am so busy with my daughter having test after test and her nasty friends are very mean and rude to her and I have to support her and also have to do my Christmas shopping and cleaning but I will not forget to visit your wonderful helpful blog.
    Marina you helped me and my daughter a lot and I have to thank you and wish you all the best in this Christmas .
    Please take care of your self and have a wonderful Christmas holidays.
    You are so loving and caring person ,not only to those who know you but to those are you never see or know and I am one of them.

    May God bless you

    From JP a very thankful mother

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  25. Hey Marina
    I love you healthy advise not only eating all foods in moderation and not running after media hype but also what you mentioned about stress reduction and relaxation

    Hend

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  26. I also endorse healthy eating of all food items.
    Thank you Marina for your healthy tips.
    Excellent job and amazing personilty.

    Kapoor

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  27. Well written post with good views on healthy eating for every body/.
    I admire you Marina for taking your precious time to write this blog.

    Gerry

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  28. I love all your blog especially this post.
    I do not like veggie and I eat them as moderation

    Sarosh

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  29. I love you Marina
    Keep up the good job

    Yara

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  30. Oswaldo is sending you the best greetings

    ReplyDelete
  31. I think We should not go vegan and should eat normal foods whether We had ED or not.

    I appreciate your blog so much. Excellent work and please take pride in your compassion ,love and care for others you do not know

    Sasha

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  32. um wow i didn even kno that n i was thinkin of goin vegan but like heeell noooo now, i might as well eat what i like . thx for that

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  33. I eat what I like and I wear what people like .

    Hamza

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  34. Happy Holiday Marina
    We all wish you a very Merry XMAS

    Fernandez

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  35. You are such a wonderful person who cares for others even those whom you never known as your readers

    Azadi

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  36. You are a gem

    Lilian

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  37. I love Marina
    This post is full of nutrition info but I will not go vegan at all

    Sorina

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  38. Thank you for your perseverance to continue doing amazing job.
    One can not deny the uniqueness and hard work.
    I am concerned that this may make your peers (Those with evil eyes and Satan heart) feel jealous .

    Congratulations for maintaining the success .

    Rodica

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  39. Reading your blog gives me hope and knowledge .When I visit and no new postI just read the old ones and each time I learn something new.
    I want thank you Marina

    Maritza

    ReplyDelete