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Vibrant health means you can live life to the fullest. Empower yourself with the steps I used to free my life of chronic disease and medications.

Reader Interactions


  1. Though I follow a mostly paleo diet, there are several raw vegans that I enjoy watching on youtube for their creative produce recipes. Several of them, fullyrawkristina in particular, have had great blood test results after being raw vegans for years, and have recovered from severe illnesses by following a raw vegan diet. I think perhaps the human body is much more versatile than most people think. What are your thoughts on this?

    • Bacteria, populating our human bodies, produce a vast range of vitamins, minerals and enzymes, that the human body is then able to utilise. Most vitamin deficiencies are not due to dietary inadequacies, but rather – absorption difficulties and bacterial imbalances. Bacteria that live on our skin, in our mouths and in our digestive tract and are affected, pretty quickly, by what (also when and how) we eat/drink. And they, in turn, affect what and how we absorb from the food we eat.
      Providing the person starts off with a “good mix” of digestive bacteria, they can eat a strict vegan diet (providing it’s “real” food they eat and not processes vegan impersonations of “normal” food) with more-or-less no consequences … for a good many years. Though in my personal experience, even the “best” vegans, with the best of vegan diets, eventually find themselves with some chronic condition, usually by the time they reach their 40s … Interestingly more-or-less the amount of time it would take for natural liver reserves of B12 to become depleted …

    • I agree with Anna, after awhile your stores of necessary nutrients will run out and eventually your health will start declining. And everyone should do their research before doing a raw diet and consuming copious amounts of raw fruits and vegetables. All you’re doing is getting a crap ton of fiber and maybe even some enzymes that are actually inhibiting absorption of valuable nutrients. We do not have the digestive systems that herbivores do with their rumens or cecums full of bacteria that can digest and break down cellulose and plant products for us. We do not have the ability, in any way, shape, or form, to digest cellulose. Only some bacteria possess that ability, and we do not have the digestive systems to support them like herbivores do. Therefore, you don’t get as many nutrients from raw foods as you think you do because they’re all tied up in cellulose and our digestive systems can’t reach them. While having some raw food is good, you should really be cooking a lot of your plant sources to break down most of that cellulose and make the nutrients bioavailable to you and your digestive system. You should also be consuming some sort of fat with these too, so that you can absorb the fat soluble vitamins as well as the water soluble ones!

    • In my research, I also see a lot of evidence that the real risk to eating Vegan is not particularly you, though that happens. You kids and their kids will be affected by it.

  2. I am a young teen who has not reached my full height, and a fear my growth may be stunted. I am currently consuming about 120 grams of protien a day, coming mostly from animal products. After going vegetarian for over 6 months, I was startled to learn I hadn’t grown an inch during that time, and I also lost significant and unhealthy weight, which i have regained. It has been a year since I resumed eating meat, and I might have grown 1/2 an inch. While I am not unusually short, my younger sister, who has always eaten meat, is a full inch taller than me. I have not gotten my period yet. Is there anything I can do to promote growth?

    • Relax and enjoy your food 🙂 If you feel healthy otherwise, follow a Weston A Price diet. Within that framework, eat what you want, when you want, and until you feel full. The rest will come.

    • You need more fat than you do protein. Fat is crucial for brains to function properly. A healthy diet is high in fat with moderate amounts of protein and vegetables, with smaller amounts of fruit, organic and made from scratch rather than processed. The proportions differ somewhat for various activity levels and individual details. Too much protein causes problems, too.

      Here is Dr. Mercola’s recommendation for protein consumption (like Lauren, he is an advocate of protein, and also avoids grains, sugar, processed and conventional foods in his recommendations).

      “…it is the rare person who really needs more than one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass. Those that are aggressively exercising or competing and pregnant women should have about 25% more, but most people rarely need more than 40-70 grams of protein a day.

      To determine your lean body mass, find out your percent body fat and subtract from 100. So if you are 20% body fat you would have 80% lean body mass. Just multiply that by your current weight to get lean body mass. For most people, this means restricting protein intake from 35 to 75 grams a day. As mentioned, pregnant women and those working out extensively need about 25% more protein though. ”


      • Most North American’s eat way too much protein and it is not healthy. Dr Mercola actually eats a mostly raw diet with just a small portion of fish a few times a week! He doesn’t eat red meat, poultry, pork, dairy or eggs 🙂 Go Joe!!

    • Hi, hun.
      Just wanted to let you know.. Don’t worry about your height! And starting your period does not mean that you stop growing. I started my period when I was 8 years old and doctors told me that I’d be lucky to make 5′. Now, here I stand a whoppin’ 5’3(not tall, sure, but taller than they said!). Females typically finish growing at around 16-18 years old, whereas males typically finish growing in their early twenties. If you have not started your period, yet, then I’m assuming that you’re under 15 or 16 years old, so don’t worry! Plus.. Shorties are cute! “Fun-sized”, right? It’s pretty funny when you’re a shorty and some guy tries to mess with you, then gets surprised when you pack a pretty good punch. Have fun with it! And embrace yourself, love yourself. You’re perfect as you are(as is everybody).

      In addition, the protein that you’re eating is likely not going to have a huge effect on your growth. Unless you are malnourished, what you eat will have little to do with development. Try to cut out sugars and salts, though. I know that they hamper development in smaller children, so they may do so in older children and teens, as well, plus they’re not very good for you, anyway. But keep your chin up, buttercup; there’s nothing wrong with you!

      • I cannot decide if it is humorous or just down right sad that someone has to be so ugly to make their point.
        Seriously, when people talk the way you do, you totally negate anything you have to say, and in no way can be taken seriously.

      • The human body is an astoundingly complex system, just about anyone can agree on that. Saying you know the secret to human nutrition because you have good blood work is like assuming you don’t have cancer because you eat fruit loops. Maybe your natural body chemistry just provides good results for the kinds of tests we run. Anecdotal evidence by itself is useless. So are generalizations like “Asians eat soy allllllll the time and we’re just fine, thank you!”

        Bashing on people for being set their differing opinions just shows how trapped you are in your opinions. Keep an open mind. There are pros and cons to EVERYTHING. Except your comment, that was just awful.

  3. Great article and I love the points you’ve made! I know quite a few of vegetarians and vegans who simply do not listen to scientific reason when it comes to their nutrition and think they know best just because they “aren’t contributing to factory farming and/or the killing of animals.” It’s a shame, really, that many people (including ones on omnivorous diets) just don’t take the time to learn about what is and isn’t good for their body, both on an evolutionary and personal basis.

    One small problem I did have with this article was the following statement (I promise it really is a small thing, I wrote a lot because I’m passionate but seriously it’s such a small piece of your article, please don’t take it personally in any way!):

    “Our ecosystem relies on a self-regulating balance of predators and prey. This system worked well with humans and their prey until we began inhumane farming practices that compromise the wellbeing of animals, the health of humans, and the health of the planet.”

    There was noooo “self-regulating balance of predators and prey” back in the day (with humans), and this system did not work well with humans and their prey, even before farming. Pre-farming humans were just as, if not more, destructive than we are today. Many people have this sort of romantic notion about native cultures having this spiritual relationship with their environment, but aside from the physical act of worshiping those many gods and goddesses, this was certainly not the case. Almost all of these cultures burned entire areas of ecosystem just so the ash would be nutritious for new growth to occur, which would attract different types of ungulates, and then they would hunt them all to or nearly to extinction at least in the area, because they could. There was no sense of being resourceful so the next generation could survive just as well. Look no further than Easter Island for an example of a collapsed ecosystem due to the human inhabitants. What was once a forested island with astounding diverse plant species and diverse wildlife species is now a barren landscape with nothing but migrating shorebirds and the remnants of statues erected from a previous culture. This is one of the most extreme examples because it takes place on a small, isolated island which makes it unique from those from larger land masses, however it is still relevant to many other native cultures around the world. There are an overwhelming number of extinctions of land mammals almost solely due to over-hunting by historic human species (some of the many previous climate changes probably played a small role, but almost insignificantly compared to the humans).

    I could also go off on a tangent about your phrasing of “inhumane farming practices that compromise the wellbeing of animals,” but I’ll try to keep it as short and simple as possible. Now, I haven’t learned much about farming practices in the past, so I’m sure many of these notions about how bad animal farms are come from the those, but many of my college courses have discussed current farming situations (I am an Animal Sciences major. I also got that other info from a course I’m taking now called Global Environmental History). Let me be clear when I say that farming practices in the United States (and some other countries) are NOT inhumane. There are rules, regulations, standards, laws, etc. that make sure of that. For example, one of the most common standards of animal welfare is called the Five Freedoms. For an animal to be considered in “good welfare” state, it must have these five things: Freedom from hunger and thirst, Freedom from discomfort, Freedom from pain, injury, and disease, Freedom from fear and distress, and Freedom to express normal behavior. While these things are difficult to measure, there are ways to get hard data in this area. Farms are continuously improving their standards so that their animals can be in the best welfare state possible. But why would they do this? Does it even matter to them? All they care about is the meat after all, right? RIGHT. Do you know what affects meat quality? Stress levels, hormones, and many other biological factors. So even if a farmer doesn’t actually care if the animals are “happy” or not, they’re going to care about the welfare state because it’s the difference between getting a higher or lower quality grade, or more or less money per pound of their meat. And also maybe because they don’t want PETA to come around (just a joke!). I encourage everyone to do some research about why there are certain farming practices in place because, I PROMISE YOU, there are good reasons! I’ll just throw out an example right now. Farrowing crates. There’s this thing called a farrowing crate which is what a mamma pig, sow, is put into after she has her piglets. She can’t turn around, so she faces one direction while all of her little piglets run around and nurse all day long. What?? WHY? Sounds miserable right? Well, if the sow and piglets were left alone in an open area and they could all run around and the little piglets can nurse as they please, many of the piglets would die. Literally. I’m not joking. The sow will accidentally lay on and crush to death any piglet that isn’t fast enough to move out of her way. So pick your poison I guess. The few for the many, maybe? And as long as the sow has the Five Freedoms, she will be in a good welfare state in the farrowing crate.

    Anyway, I know I made quite the post for two little sentences. I really did enjoy the rest of your article! You made such excellent points about what is wrong with vegan and some vegetarian diets. And I love that you made the point of no cultures have survived solely on plants. The history class I mentioned earlier talked about a study someone did where they put people on completely vegan diets and none of them could stay healthy. They all declined in health and it was determined that humans simply cannot survive on such a diet and that animal products are absolutely necessary. But we need look no further than human dentition and digestive systems to know that!

  4. Hi Lauren,

    Great post, I recently switched from vegan to paleo about 3 months ago. I would say your blog was my main inspiration to going paleo. I became B12 deficient on a vegan diet that resulted in heart palpitations. These heart palpitations have gone away since taking B12 supplement and going paleo. I’ve learned so much about nutrition on your website and I appreciate all the hard work you put into your website.

    I feel I need to make a comment on Megan’s post. Good post and you bring up some interesting points. I’m a veterinary technician so I’m am quite familiar with conventionally raised large animals. I wanted to comment on your farrowing pen point. I recently asked a local farmer who raises her piglets in the barn and than puts them off to pasture when they are older why she doesn’t use farrowing crates? She says industrial raised sows and piglets are put in farrowing crates because they use breeds of pigs that are bred to produce a large number of piglets per litter and they don’t breed pigs to be good mothers. This is why they are likely to accidentally crush the piglets by laying or stepping on them. The farmer I buy my meat from breeds pigs that are good mothers and does not focus on litter size. She said due to this she has NEVER had a piglet injured by their mother and NEVER uses any type of farrowing crate. My personal opinion is that a heavily confined animal (like in a farrowing crate) is not a happy animal. Food for thought on industrial farming.



    • Madeline,

      That’s awesome! Animal behavior is so interesting to me, so that’s fantastic to hear that you can breed that behavior out of the pigs. I will have to share that with some of my professors that specialize with swine; who knows, maybe one will want to do a study on it. Obviously it would take many, many years for industrial farms to breed that behavior out of all of their pigs while still maintaining large litter sizes to meet demands, but maybe that is something that could start happening in the near future. Especially with all of the controversy coming up with things like farrowing crates, companies are starting to look for alternatives that will please the public.

      I like to stick with the welfare state of the animal, not “happiness.” It sounds heartless, but scientifically speaking, many animals may not be able to feel emotions such as happiness. They can certainly feel pain, stress, and pleasure (which may or may not translate to “happiness” depending on how you look at it, but this has more to do with the release of pleasure hormones and not the realization of being “happy”), but it is still being looked at if happiness can be felt by most animals. It may be too complex of an emotion, like guilt, which cannot be comprehended by animals that lack higher thinking capabilities and a sense of self awareness. So far, I believe the only animals known to have a self awareness are humans, elephants, dolphins, some of the great apes, and perhaps a couple others. So as long as the animal is not suffering in the sense of the Five Freedoms and is considered to be in a good welfare state, I think that is the best we can do at this point in time. It is not correct to anthropomorphize our animals and treat them as if they are smaller, furrier versions of ourselves.

      Anyway, on a lighter note, thank you for the information on your local farmer! It’s great to hear of people taking advantage of selective breeding to fix problems permanently rather than temporarily. While I do not think that industrial farming is bad, I do think there are better ways to do things – even if the way we do them now is up to our own standards. Always room for improvement!


      • Hey Meghan,

        Yeah, I am very interested in alternative farming techniques to improve environmental impact and animal welfare. In school we were always taught that farrowing crates were necessary for piglet survival so when I went to this farm and saw she didn’t use farrowing crates I was curious. In hindsight that totally makes sense. Many traits can be bred for so breeding for good motherhood makes sense. When you learn something over and over again sometimes it is hard to think out of the box and question what you have been taught. That was definitely the case with me when I went to the farm at least. I agree, I’m sure it it a long way away until something like this could become mainstream in industrial farming but definitely an interesting topic.

        I agree it would be hard to evaluate whether an animal feels ‘happiness’ at least to say if they felt it in the same way we perceive it. I went to an interesting lecture last spring. The speaker at the lecture was speaking in regard to lab animals but I think it can be applied to farm animals (at least in principal). He talked about how we should try to not only focus on achieving animal welfare pertaining to the points you mentioned in your original post but go beyond that and keep animals in an environment that would most closely resemble how they would live in the wild. For pigs for example this might include things like a sheltered area, area to dig, burrow, water, environmental enrichment, etc. Obviously this would be extremely costly, time consuming, require more space requirements etc. and is not practical on a large scale. Maybe more research is needed to look into this area to make it more practical (at least in part) on a large scale. How every you classify it, to me the best way I can describe it is happiness, I believe an animal acts extraordinarily different when raised in a conventional way vs. on a farm with open space and environmental enrichment.

        Thanks for the discussion.



        • Madeline,

          I completely agree with everything you’ve said. I’m more interested in working with wildlife than farm or companion animals, so I’m definitely interested in learning about natural behaviors and how to replicate the environments needed for them in things like zoos, wildlife preserves, and even wildlife rehabilitation areas. It would be neat to be able to apply that same perspective to farm animals too, although it could be difficult due to the domestication factor and the fact that they have since separated from their wild counterparts. Creative minds are definitely needed!

          Thanks to you too for the discussion; I thoroughly enjoy hearing others’ opinions and stories because I’m constantly reshaping my own ideas.


          • I keep vietnamese pigs on several acres of my smallholding and they like to collect brash and leaves to make nests. They literally look like giant birds nests on the ground. In the winter sometimes they build them up and over and burrow inside them and we’ve dubbed these their “pigloos”! I can’t help but feel that if these little guys couldn’t nest they wouldn’t be as content. The idea of a pig stuck in a crate, all be it temporarily, just doesn’t sit right with me.

    • They still get their throats slit just for your pleasure! Dress it up as much as you want, we don’t have the right to exploit them!

      • Yep, I am in agreement with you. The earth produces so abundantly, with so much variety and delicious creations to be enjoyed, why are we exploiting animal lives for our enjoyment!? Its a personal decision and I don’t hold that against anyone, but for me, I value the life of all creatures too much to support unnecessarily killing them.

  5. Historically those cultures you cite had relatively shorter lifespans. You ignore thousands of years of Jains, Buddhists, and Hindus eating vegetarians and even some subsets have wholly vegan diets. You ignore the fact that omnivores are also highly likely to be deficient in many vitamins and overly nourished in omega 6s, which is why our foods are highly fortified in the west. Almost no one in this world and (probably including you) eats a diet that is entirely free of added vitamins and nutrients. A paleo diet is just as likely to be nutritionally deficient as a vegan diet. Do you not see the irony in claiming veganism as inherently bad for you and promoting a gluten-free book? Westerners have been eating bread for thousands of years too. Don’t blame wheat for your faulty genes.

    • As you mention, there are traditional vegetarian diets such as Hindus but any traditional vegan peoples were primarily vegan for religious reasons – such as monks – and chose to remain chaste. Yes, omnivores are frequently deficient in nutrients, but as you can see from the research I presented, we know that those eating animal products are vastly less likely to suffer from certain nutrient deficiencies than vegans.

      • Vegans are not always healthier than omnivores, nor omnivores are always healthier than vegans. I find this article way to polarized, as you ignore a variety of things (like vitamin a being found on sweet potatoes, vitamin d being produced by your own body thanks to the sunlight, or vitamin b12 being produced by bacteria, and the fact that a meat-only diet COULD -I’m not ensuring anything here- also produce other problems on your health). Each person is different and live in a different medium, and so one diet can be more suitable for him/her than another. I agree in the ethical omnivorism, though,

  6. I’ve been a vegan for 36 1/2 years and no problems except the B12 and since i started taking b12 pillls I”m fine. many meat eaters don’t get b12 either. Vitamin D comes from sun and dried mushrooms. Calcium and other nutrients cannot be absorbed from acidic foods like dairy and butter. People fracture their hips and break their bones because all the calcium had to be withdrawn from their bones because it came from acidic foods and the body is trying to neutralize the blood and more. Acidic foods are the root of most diseases. Soy is not the basis of all vegan diets, but fermented soy is very healthy Tempeh , miso and tamari are all healthy to have. I could go on and on but don’t have the time.

    • Einstein said the smartest thing humans can do is become vegetarians it takes 20 times as much land to make a meal for a meat eater as for a vegetarian. There is not enough land on our planet earth to create that much meat to fee 7 billion people. THat would take almost three planet earths all stripped 100% of all their forests. WE could not live here if we removed all forests from the planet earth.

  7. Interesting topic, and one where there are no true scientific evidence for one or another type of diet in humans to follow. You will read so many articles and scientific data that is contrary, till you just throw your hands up and say, what is it that will make me healthy? So you experiment with food. I believe a diverse intake of food is best for me. In biblical times you had meat as part of the food chain. This is concrete evidence that people were not just vegetarians. But we must also look at the soil where your food is coming from. This is where the nutrients come from. If the soil is depleted of nutrients, then whatever diet you choose, it will not matter. You will not receive an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals to keep you well.. So, I will choose a farmer that is treating his soil with utmost care, so that I can receive those nutrients vital for my body. Do not split hairs on vegetarianism or meatism, but eating a variety of food grown in enriched composted soils is what to look for.

    • i agree, which is the exact reason vegans need to supliment b12, its a bacteria that in earlier times would have come from the soil vegetables were grown in. That vegans now have to suppliment with b12 doesnt prove the vegan diet faulty, it just proves that our growth soils have become alarmingly sterilised 🙁

  8. 1. I would rather trust “The China Study” than a study from the 1930’s. And by the way, African cultures eat bush meat, this causes Ebola outbreaks (eating animals that carry this virus): Tradition doesn’t mean it’s good for you.
    2. Sounds like the egg industry tricked you into believing the benefits of egg yolks, check this out: Vitamin D is obtained from the sun, most western cultures don’t get enough sun. That’s why it’s a great idea to take D supplements. One egg yolk contains more cholesterol than the daily recommended amount. I’d rather take a daily supplement than raise my bad cholesterol level for some vitamin A and D which I can get from other sources.
    3. You would rather play it safe than sorry? In that case you should definitely go vegan. Milk contains estrogen’s, steroids and IGF-1, yes even organic grass fed cows. That’s because calfs have to grow into a 2000 pound animal in merely two years. What do you think these naturally occurring hormones do to a human body? Soy has never been proven to damage health, but if you don’t want to eat it, you don’t have to. Going vegan doesn’t mean going soy.
    4. Antibiotics reduce the production of vitamin K in the body. So if you want to be safe, go vegan. The benefits of vitamin K2 are that they can break down proteins in the body that can clot blood, so yes K2 is supposedly good for the heart and blood vessels. A plant based, whole foods diet is even better: Cheese contains a lot of salt and saturated fat, which is not the best for heart and blood vessels. The book you are referring to is not even written by an M.D. or a registered dietician.
    5. Do you honestly believe small farmers can provide 7 billion people with animal products? Predators eat the week, old and sick animals. I don’t see humans doing that. Since we are omnivores we don’t even need to, unless we are in an extremely remote area, like the Inuit are. Other than that, eating animal products is never ethical. Animals can nourish stripped soil? Tropical forests are being stripped as we speak for grains, soy, corn and palm seeds to feed to cattle. We need 25 kilo’s of grain for 1 kilo of beef. We could feed 10 billion people with the current agriculture if it wasn’t for the 50 billion animals that are bred, fed, captured and slaughtered each year. We need forests to reverse climate change, not meadows full of grass fed methane and nitrous oxide producing grass fed cows.
    6. Butter is saturated fat. The only fats we need (with the right Omega 3/Omega 6 ratio) come from whole plant foods. We don’t need fake/ processed products. Going vegan doesn’t necessarily mean processed food. That is the second assumption you are making about a diet you maybe never even tried.
    7. You provide no substantiation why animal products are needed to address autoimmunity. Your condition could have been caused by many factors such as stress and not enough fiber intake. There are also indications that a high milk intake can relieve the symptoms of ulcerative colitis: A plant based whole food diet can actually address autoimmune diseases because of the higher intake of fiber and potassium:
    8. Fruits actually need us to eat their flesh and spread what’s left: their seeds. Some seeds even need to pass trough a stomach before they are able to sprout. If we cut leafs from plants, we enable them to grow at new. Think about it: a tree even let’s go of it’s own leaves to survive the winter. Luckily, plants do not have brains and a nerve system and therefore won’t process pain and experience it.
    9. We all know B12 has to come from a supplement. Still, no need to eat animal products.
    10. Plant foods offer unique nutrients! It’s true that meat eaters tend to have a better Omega 3/ Omega 6 ratio because they eat less sunflower oil and such (processed “fake” products to blame here), but eating solely whole plant foods (together with B12 and D supplements) gives the body everything it needs and more! Check out this lecture and you’ll understand: Furthermore the paleo diet that is so widely promoted right now doesn’t even represent the way our ancestors ate:

    • …. than a study from the 1930’s.

      That “1930’s study” just so happened to be conducted by a doctor as well and his research spanned ten years, while living among these groups of people from all over the world. At a time when tuberculosis was at its worst, these groups did not suffer from it, nor cancer, nor any other common disease at that time. There was a group in the study that mainly subsisted on vegetables and though they were free from disease, they had the highest amount of tooth decay. Last year I came down with a severe toothache and under my dentist’s supervision, I followed these 1930 diets. And it worked! It took 3 months but I healed the tooth, along with a few other ailments as well. Animal protein and all. I’m not paleo, just someone who can’t ignore “that study from the 1930’s.”

    • The argument that it takes vastly more food to feed animals in order to feed people is entirely flawed – it assumes that all animals eaten by people are eating human edible food grown on land able to grow human edible food. The reality is that the vast majority of animals eaten by humans grazes feed which people can’t eat (grass) grown on land that has never been cultivated and will never be able to be cultivated due to contour, fertility, climate or availability of water. Aquiring high grade protein from arid zones, mountainous country or simply the vast pastures of uncultivated land growing grass isn’t reducing the food grown for humans by a single kilo. In many areas in fact the only source of fertiliser for food crops comes from the animals eating the inedibleparts of the crop. Take away the animals and you can say goodbye to any hope of farming in many parts of the world.

  9. Thank you for your well-thought-out article. I think a lot of great points are brought up here, AND a lot of great contradictory points are brought up in the comments, too! I also think that each human body is unique, and what works for one won’t necessarily work for another. Our mindset also has a huge amount to do with our health, too. While we can try to be as educated as possible, obviously even studies and doctors don’t always reveal an absolute truth. Ultimately, we must learn to listen to our bodies. I have tried being everything from full-on-eat-anything-omnivore to mostly-raw-organic-vegan, and now I’ve settled somewhere in the middle – mostly vegetarian, very little cow dairy, wheat or meat and as much organic, whole foods as possible. My #1 rule now is that I eat what I feel is right & don’t have any strict rules, because being too strict was causing me stress that was doing as much or more damage than letting myself eat what I want. That said, I have to be very careful of eating too much sugar (especially refined), which I think is one of the biggest things most of us need to watch out for (not that the chemical sweeteners are better!!).

  10. I would like to ask you if someone has no problem with eating natto would you advice to eat dispite soy fact.
    I mean I wan tto be sure I have enough K2 cause I am breastfeeding I eat egg yolk butter raw sheep kefir high vitamin butter oil daily but also little teasponn of natto

    Thanks a lot for answer

    • That’s fantastic that you can stomach the natto! I think that a teaspoon of natto is helpful, plus it is fermented which reduces many of the anti-nutrients.

      • Thanks a lot

        I guess we have different natto here cause it has no taste at all and when you put to soup it takes soup taste or garlic or whatever it is like squash:-) no smell no taste it looks bad even that sticky is ……but I have no problem with taste since it has neutral taste

  11. Thank for this post! I mean, to each their own, but I agree that a vegan diet is no where near as healthy as a “regular” food diet. There are so many things about being vegan that are UNnatural. It’s important to eat a well rounded diet!

    • You slaughter your own meats, good for you. At least you don’t pay someone to do it all day without a break from the blood stink & guts.

    • can you please give examples Nicole? what about the vegan diet is unnatural? and no where near as healthy as a normal diet,..and what then is a ‘normal’ diet? and where do you get this idea from? something you read? someone you know? personal experience? Im interested to know where this misperception is coming from !? Ive been vegan for 12 years, i own and run a vegan restaurant and living in my little bubble i sometimes forget that theres people out there who believe something completly different to what i ‘know to be true’ .I work probably an 80 hour week i also run ultra marathons in my spare time and ive been to the doctor 5 times in the last 12 years. id like to know how as a vegan im so much less healthy that someone eating a ‘normal’ diet. !?.

    • Nicole, from your comment, I infer that there is an imagine of vegan diets being extreme diets. Truly that is not the case. A vegan diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts mainly. Did you know, you can be considered vegan if you eat only french fries? Vegan diets consist of “real” foods. Today the food industry has grown dramatically and that is why there are so many processed vegan products. However, keep in mind not all vegans buy those things.

      What is extreme is having heart bypass surgery that involves removing a blood vessel from one’s leg and sewing it to the heart to restore blood flow to the heart. Vegans eat real wholesome food. People are malnourished on a vegan diet because they do not invest in educating themselves (nutritional needs, cooking, etc) and are not eating whole foods.

  12. As for using a study from the 1930’s as a guide for “health”….
    Um you might want to take a look at the crazy and damaging medical practices that were also “studied” by prominent doctors in the 1930s… For one, lobotomies were introduced in 1935 and had a ton of prized research involved… The guy who invented them, and studied them, António Egas Moniz, was even awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1949. We now know what a douche canoe he was… His practices ruined thousand of lives for decades. Doctors are often wrong, especially during that time period. They we trying to SELL books, ideas, and theories. And if the way Sally Fallon looks right NOW does not change your mind on what true health is, you are completely nuts. She is your spokes person and she looks like hell just ran her over.

    • You have not presented any facts or research to refute my article, instead you have only used numerous logical fallacies in your argument including an ad hominem attack against Sally Fallon.

      • Isn’t your culture argument just two logical fallacies strung together, a quantifier shift and an argument from ingorance? You argument is essentially, “a few culters were not vegan according to this study, therefore no cultures were vegan ever,” and “I can’t think of any vegan cultures therefore none exist.” It’s laughable that you are asking us to inform your article and your dissmissal when we bring up Asian and African vegan cultures are even more laughable. You are completely unaware of your western bias, as if God gave cavemen the standard American diet and humans have eaten it heathfully until today.

        You shouldn’t call yourself a “nutritionist” either. Vitamin A an iron aborbsion from plants are variable in response to the body’s need. Our bodies have evolved mechanisms to change the rate of absorbtion for these vitamins. That suggests we’re better suited to get these vitamins from plant sources, despite the sometimes low absorbtion. It also explains the danger of getting Vitamin A and iron from animal sources, overdose/arterial damage, which is common (only) in omnivorous humans.

  13. Of course ” you can’t get vitamin A from carrots. But dark leafy greens, orange fruits and veggies such as carrots provide sufficient provitamin A carotenoids that the body converts quite effectively into vitamin A . That conversion is not “insignificant” as you assert. A 150 gram piece of sweet potato can provide a 5 year old child with her full daily vitamin A needs. And yes you do need fats to absorb beta-carotene and convert it to vitamin A etc but there are vegetable oils and fats that work just fine. Lastly, no matter how much beta-carotene you ingest the body will just convert the amount it needs into vitamin A and harmlessly excrete the rest. But if you get too much preformed Vitamin A from animal products or supplements (what you refer to as “true” Vitamin A) guess what? it accumulates in your live and could reach toxic levels if you overdo it.

    • Please check out the sources in this article for research backing up the claims I made about vitamin A: As discussed in that article, supplemental forms (synthetic forms) of vitamin A does create toxicity at moderate doses but natural forms of vitamin A from food, such as liver, is toxic only in very high amounts because natural vitamin A is metabolized differently than synthetic vitamin A.

      • But liver inhernetly has high amounts of vitamin A, and it’s one of the few animal sources of vitamin A.

        It’s shocking that you gloss over the fact that almost no animal products have vitamin A.

  14. I found your article to be interesting, although I do tend to disagree with a fair amount that was said. I see many comments already that are what I would have said, so I won’t repeat. But I do want to say that I have been a vegetarian (and very close to vegan) my entire life. I am 51 years old, have never eaten meat in my entire life, and I am very healthy (healthier than most people, and definitely healthier than most people my age!). I take very few supplements and managed to grow to 5’11” (I am a female). I believe a healthy diet is the key, because even as a vegetarian, you can manage to eat some very unhealthy things. I have been trying to find a nice way to say that it does not seem sensible to say that since there is inadvertent killing of animals, intentional killing is therefore okay?! And I am weary of the argument about plants and the life in them – we know.. To compare that to an animals life, well it just doesn’t seem to make sense at all…

    To healthy, balanced, sensible lives!

    • I think your comment is the best of all (this article.. not so much!).. I won’t say anything else because it’s just a waste of my time but what I will say is that if you don’t like to follow a vegan lifestyle, at least don’t make up a bunch of excuses so that others can rely on. I have been vegan for almost two years now and have felt better than my previous 50 years!.. And now there’s another good reason: SUSTAINABILITY… For all of you paleo, omnivores.. I have one question.. you disagree with factory farming… so how much land do you think would be needed to grass-feed all the cows and pigs? How much? There wouldn’t be enough land to feed all 7 Billion people.. Does that not concern anyone out there? There is shortage of water in CA… Why? What about climate change?… Just do your research before you post against vegans…

  15. Love this lauren – really helpful post . I have been think a lot about veganism and I think you are right there is so much good stuff it promotes – like vegetables and building a healthy connection to the food and our planet – but lots of vegan i know arent actually that healthy. I suppose a lot of it comes down to listening to our own bodies and veganism is healthier than a SAD maybe? Hope your enjoying college!

    • yes you are right, like ALL diets there is a danger that people arent follwing them correctly, as a meateater moderation is probably very important, and as a vegan i think balance is very important, i think a lot of people start with the right intention but dont inform themselves properly. Which doesnt mean the vegan diet should be shelved all together, it just means that there needs to be more information and articles (unlike this one) educating people about food and diet choices.

  16. This was fascinating, Lauren. I couldn’t agree more. After spending years going through extremes regarding my diet, I’ve finally found a place of peace (and thereby good health) in the middle. Veganism was one of those unhealthy extremes for me. All the proof I needed to stop was the fact that there is not a single native community in the world that is vegan. Not even buddhists (or BUDDHA, for that matter) – who are the pinnacle of consideration for all beings – preach veganism, let alone vegetarianism. Perhaps, someday, we will evolve in such a way that our bodies no longer need animal products to be healthy. However, that day has not yet come.
    Thanks, again!

  17. Oh my goodness. THANK YOU SO MUCH, Lauren, for writing this!! I call myself a compassionate carnivore, but ethical omnivore sounds good, too!!

    I LOVE how you started out the post with what we all have in common. You have a talent for writing.

    Now I am going to go share this post with everyone.

    • There is absolutely no such thing as a “compassionate carnivore.” It’s in fact an oxymoron. I challenge you to step foot in a slaughterhouse for 10 minutes and then come back with the same support for that insulting term.

      Your conscience is in there and you know what’s truly right. You’re just suppressing it rather than facing the hard truth. Using cute phrases doesn’t give you a pass from the reality of your actions. Same goes for the author of this hack piece.

  18. Unfortunately life IS NOT black and white. And all these arguments just don’t hold water. I am in my 60s and have always had high cholesterol. My weight had also crept up over the years and I needed to lose 25 lbs and was finding it impossible. No matter how I ate (small portions, low fat, lots of vegetables and a huge salad for lunch, etc.) along with walking 3 to 5 miles a day I just could never lose weight. I decided to follow the 30-day vegan challenge and followed it religiously with good portion control. Much to my surprise I did not lose any weight, my high cholesterol did not budge and my triglycerides went from 125 to over 200! Carbohydrates just don’t work for me unless they are squash, parsnips, etc. I have to also eat fruit in small portions once or twice a day…. much like a diabetic eats and I do not have diabetes….. But it runs in my family. I have been following this way of eating and have lost 18 lbs and have kept it off for a couple of years. My cholesterol numbers lowered and my triglycerides went down into the 20s! We are all science projects and there is not one way to eat that works for everyone.

  19. I have long term experience with macrobiotics (which I taught), vegetarianism, and veganism, over the course of 40 years. I’m now paleo. I thought I was doing the best I could do for myself and my family for all those years but I came to realize (I won’t bore you with the details) that red meat (grass fed) is just as much a health food as the organic veggies that I’ve eaten my whole adult life. It turned out that this was the best thing for me. My health is now, at 65, better than it’s been since childhood! I was always a “delicate flower” and thought the level of health I’d attained through eschewing meats, was the best I could hope for. I was so wrong! I wish I’d known sooner. The grains that I’d clung to for so many years turned out to be the problem, as were the legumes and the dairy. I had to flip my diet to get well. My “lupus” which was diagnosed by a eminent doctor in the field, is gone! I take no meds and need none. I do take quite a few supplements but it’s a small price to pay for the renewed health I now enjoy. If I were a vegan today, I would have the faith to take a break from it and try paleo to see how it makes you feel. It may not be right for everyone but it could bring an incredible benefit to many.

  20. I don’t have any argument for or against this information, but I am curious what you should do if you are gluten and dairy intolerant? I have no choice but to use the earth balance butter if I want butter. What products can I use instead if I am medically unable to consume dairy?
    Thank you.

    • Jessica, you do have a choice, and that is to look into coconut milk. You do not say what your actual problem is, but if it is your colon, then you need to get rid of certain foods that cause it. From what I gather, you can get rid of grains and sugar. Grains are hard to digest and high in sugar. You can get raw honey, high in vitamins and minerals. Hook up with a local farmer to purchase real raw butter. Make sure the farmer is is ethical in practicing organically.

    • Coconut oil is the easiest, most widely available go to in healthy oils that are dairy-free. Ghee, while originating from dairy, is clarified and removes the part that most are allergic to (so it works for some people). Then you have grassfed tallow and lard.

      Usually have to get tallow/lard direct from a farmer, but even from the highest quality animals, you can get it free or nearly free. And that’s because using animal fats hasn’t caught on in the mainstream, so the prices might go up someday.

  21. This is such a beautifully written, well thought out and researched article with a very honest and loving tone – – I’ve yet to come across an article on this subject that presents it in this way. Thank you so much for sharing:)

  22. NATTO is a plant and is the highest source of k2 in any food, please correct your article, it is inaccurate.

  23. Great post , Lauren. I totally agree.
    People that say that Hindus and Buddhists are vegan for centuries – not so much since they consumed bugs that live in the plants unknowingly. These days, the vegetarian Hindus are not so healthy anymore because pesticides elliminate the bugs.
    Read ” the great cholesterol myth” by Dr. Sinatra.
    I also believe that there are few levels od diet – therapeutic diet, maintenance diet, experimental diet and performance enhancing diet. Many people confuse therapeutic diet for a maintenance diet. As vegan can be a great therapeutic diet for many, it might not be the best maintenance diet. For some, vegan can be a maintenance diet.
    People, listen to your bodies and your minds and do what is in alignment with both. Stop hammering people that had a different opinion – especially, you, vegans. If it works for you, great, enjoy it but you cannot hate and blame people into following your lifestyle.

  24. While every one is entitled to their own opinion, it is fair to say you can use data/references to back up almost any side.

    Weston Price was a dentist, not a nutritionist or medical doctor. Yes, certain groups of people had healthier teeth. It is less important that they were drinking raw milk or eating meat and more important that weren’t eating the SAD diet which has lots of sugar and refined foods. Less sugar, means better teeth. I hope I don’t need a study to back that up.

    Lots of folks have debunked what the Weston Price Foundation touts (with links to studies and facts). Here’s one site which also includes some valid concerns for people who are vegan (at the end)

    While no/little B12 or DHA is in a vegan diet by default, you can get it from other sources. Omnivores can be B12 deficient as well. As a vegan for 10+ years, I’ve never tested low for B12 levels. I do eat fortified nutritional yeast and non dairy milks or cereals are fortified when I have them.

    I’m healthier than many of peers.

    If you choose to eat meat, do so in moderation for your own health and for the planet. There are many studies showing both animal protein and dairy have negative health benefits.

    T Colin Campbell is 80 (born in 1934) and seems to be doing quite well since going vegan in 1990. That is surprising with all those deficiencies he is subjecting himself to. (Cough, cough)

    I could start a similar article and cite studies like this one:
    Eggs limit the absorption of iron.—-Why I will never eat eggs… This is also true of dairy, beets, walnuts, wow if I keep reading studies I won’t be able to eat anything along with my steak if I want to get iron.

    Any diet can be considered unhealthy if it isn’t balanced. Fortunately, it is possible to balance a vegan diet with minimal if any supplementation..

    As far as field mice being killed to grow corn or whatever that argument was… That is quite different than factory farmed animals that are grown for the soul purpose of food, not allowed to roam free, fed garbage, pumped full of antibiotics, treated inhumanely and often not killed in a swift manner. The folks that work in the slaughterhouses are doing awful jobs and are subject to illness and work hazards that are quite disturbing. According to the Department of Labor, nearly one in three slaughterhouse workers suffers from illness or injury every year; in other manufacturing jobs, the rate is one in 10. Statistics aren’t even kept about the deaths of workers. (Likely because many are undocumented, low paid and considered disposable.)

    If you can grow/kill your own animals then more power to you. If not, you are implicitly part of this terrible system where humans are treated just as badly as the animals.

    Unfortunately, I found this article so bothersome that I unsubscribed from your newsletter.

    • Well said!
      “…mice being killed to grow corn…”
      What these people think farm animals eat?
      70% of the corn and soy fields in the world are to feed farm animals!

    • Dear Lauren,

      I’m curious why you didn’t reply to this post by TTB, which is backed with data, but chose to respond to later posts without data, where you state there is no research? I would think, looking around this site, that you would welcome the opportunity to expand your knowledge of dietary studies and theories, and to engage in a thoughtful discussion. Isn’t healthy eating less about “Never Being Vegan” or “Being Committed to Veganism”, and more about being willing to learn from the many, many practices and studies that exist, and to make informed decisions–not inflexible rules?


  25. I am an ex-vegan. I agree that we can be ethical omnivores and that death is part of life, and I’m personally healthier sustaining on pastured animal products than on sprouted organic soy and kale. But, I still get really irritated when people use the “plants are living, too” argument. It really looks bad to use that. Really. A potato or a flower is Not At All Comparable to a chicken or a puppy. It’s seriously ridiculous to compare the two and I’d feel silly trying to explain the obvious reasons why. To stand by your argument, just say something always dies. Mice and rabbits being killed by the billions in crops that support soy- and grain-heavy diets is an acceptable argument and could stop there. Throw in that if we do it right instead with torment, cruelty, CAFOs etc, death is a natural part of life but should not be inhumane. But to compare to plants… I’d recommend editing that joke of a “reason” out.

  26. Also in response to #1… Denise Minger is not a doctor or a scientist. She is in fact an English major. Though every intelligent, I’m not sure I’d take her ideas over someone who is trained in statistics, nutrition, medicine etc…

    T Colin Campbell wrote a long response to her which was republished here:

    If you read it, you’ll find she often refers to one chapter of the book and ignores the facts and studies in the other 17 chapters.

  27. I just want to point out that this article is titled, “Why I’ll Never Be Vegan,” not “Why You Should Never Be Vegan.” Everyone is free to find their own path to health. If it’s working for you, great – stick with it. If not, find articles like these, find articles titled, “Why I’ll Never Eat Meat,” make a change, and see if it works for you.

    Also, a note on the pig discussion: I’m a vet student at a school that raises hundred of pigs inside in farrowing crates to avoid crushing the piglets, but they also raise a handful of heirloom breeds outside in a large, muddy pen – and they don’t require farrowing crates and they don’t crush their piglets. They’re the same size pigs, but either breeding for good mothers works, or it works to just have more space in general.

    And to comment on feeding 7 billion with small farm practices – well, I don’t know about the whole world. But according to Joel Salatin, it IS possible to feed the entire US (and then some) based on rotated, pastured farming. Granted, to all you non-meat-eaters out there, I did learn this in a documentary called “American Meat.”

    There’s hardly an unbiased science out there and nothing is ever hard and fast. Figure out what works for you and be open to new and different opinions, should you ever need to make a change or make a friend 🙂

  28. Dear
    We are guessing about what would be ideal in terms of nutrition of a physical body without considering that these speculations are being made by biological bodies composed of various energy levels already proven by quantum science, who insist on seeing only a superficial physical and Newtonian classical mechanics. All the speculation knowledge, alleged to be the most advanced in certain subjects, are extremely limited and conducted by dominant systems that seek by all means keep us really oblivious to our true origins … The harmonic vibrations like a musical orchestra, maintain Balance in nature, and apparent catastrophes with dramatic changes and natural exterminations are stronger notes of harmonica seeking to restore a frequency that is not governed only in the scenario .. land. The laws of harmonic Cosmic manifest among humans with the noble attitudes we call virtues, and these originate from teachings coming from Cosmos, to be inherent in all vibrating, animate or inanimate beings apparently alone or in groups, existing living on the Planet. The levels of these teachings designations of the Divine Laws or Laws of Nature that were taught by symbols were given., Who came to us as the Holy Books are writings or words of elders. All truly Sacred Books warn us to be read spiritually. And why? We always refer to the wonder of quantum science, where everything is possible. So before we discuss any subject, let us based on a Sacred benchmark for us to achieve the real purpose of our existence discussed.
        To conclude the subject of true biological Nutrition, Sacred books warn us that we should be vegetarians and fruit eaters and also and most importantly, we have to be raw food because the heat of cooking is high heat radiation which takes us from the subtle and powerful frequencies of Mother nature, giving the agrssões to our physical corpor … giving origins to patients because the disease does not exist ….

  29. This is a great post. I agree with all of your reasons. I’ve known vegans that do have good health in the beginning of the vegan journey but run into a lot of problems years down the road…..

    • This is silly.. I’ve known lots of meat eaters with bad health, chronic diseases, etc. Do what works for your body… This article does not define what has happened to your vegan friends. I know vegans in good health and some in bad health.

  30. Really, really interesting article and a great read. I am vegetarian, but I guess I use that term tentatively as I do source out grass-fed, holistically farmed meat about once every two months. I absolutely LOVE full fat organic grass-fed butter and ghee, and since I started eating it in large quantities, and ditched the low fat / veg oil options, my health has improved immensely.

    Really interesting reading all the comments on this topic. It’s trial and error for your body. I am a MASSIVE animal rights advocate, and source all my animal products very very carefully.

  31. Many vegans avoid animal products because they have a genuine love for animals and don’t believe in using them for profit, not because it will improve their ‘bone structure’. Also, using the ‘junk food vegan’ as your example of a vegan diet only shows how pointed this article is. As is your right, I just think it’s sad that we feel the need to attack the diets we choose to follow, especially since many vegans choose the lifestyle out of love and respect.

    • This is my biggest problem with this article. Using junk food vegans as an argument against veganism is extremely biased and disingenuous. This is the exact same sort of debate structure that is used against meat eaters quite often. Often meat eaters who are studied have unhealthy diet practices overall (don’t eat vegetables, load up on refined carbs, etc.), but the meat consumption is what takes the blame for poor health. I would have liked to see a more well rounded article where the bias does not taint the credibility of the argument

      • Sadly this is common practice, to contrast a highly organic, natural, locally harvested balanced omnivorous diet with a highly processed poorly balanced vegan diet (except when comparing certain nutrients, then they assume the vegan diet doesn’t include any supplements.) The author both bashes vegans for not getting enough natural nutrients, and then claims they eat copious amounts of unnatural products. This article and many like it cherry pick the best aspects of an omnivorous diet and the worst possible choices for a vegan diet and call it good science.

  32. Bwahaha. “Number 8: You must take life to have life.” That’s the alarm bell. That’s the red flag right there. That’s the “Uh-oh, your blind date is cool-and-all except for just suggesting you beat up that jock in the bar for her” part right there. LOL. A fairly reasonable list of arguments, all of which are easily addressed and refuted (elsewhere in these comments, I’m sure) but are still fair and reasonable questions to raise all the same, and then all of a sudden it’s NUMBER 8: KILL OR BE KILLED!!! BECAUSE SHARKS!!! I ONCE ATE A RAW SQUIRREL!!! LIVE AND LET DIE!!!

  33. I have to disagree with the the author. I respect her choice of food. I do eat meat but limit it.
    The only use I got from this article is the deficiencies of nutrients from following a Vegan diet without supplementing for these nutrients. So if one can get these deficient nutrients by adding other food sources(If possible Vegan), one can be on par with Non Vegans. Example: One can get Cholesterol from Coconuts rather than from meat
    Does the author know that?

    Mahatma Gandhi is a Vegan and lived till age 78 or 79 and dies due to a gun shot, not ill health. There are Brahmins in India who do not eat meat and are healthy. They get the proteins from Lentils. In the good old days, let us say 100 years back, people did not eat as much meat as they do now. It was eaten probably once or twice a week.

    All the modern food issues like Gluten, Dairy, Lactose intolerance surfaced in the past 2 or 3 decades.
    We have to question why? Grains, Meat and food in general has become adulterated due to the use of chemicals and preservatives. Since each of us are different, out bodies react differently. One who had negative effects due to chemicals in dairy may have given up dairy and felt better. Another person who had negative effects due to chemicals in meat may have given up meat and felt better.

    So there is no hard and fast rule about whether Vegan is better or not or bad. One has to chose wisely based on their needs and nourishment.

  34. Correction tomy earlier comment-
    She did not respond to Armanda’s comment who refuted her 10 points in this article, point by point with evidence.

  35. Yeah, to number 8: milk products, eggs, blood (like the Masai) and fruit. Not vegan, and I’m not sure whether one could live on it long-term, but that diet would not require that you take life.

  36. There’s no such thing as sustainable meat production. Local and free range, grass fed whatever – the feed inputs are still enormous.

  37. I think your missing the most important reason as to why some of us go vegan in the first place…..the horrible, disgusting , rape, torture , and murder humans cause to animals! I’m ashamed of the human race after all the barbaric things that are done to innocent animals…..I’d be more than happy to see humans willingly kill each other for sport or fun!

    FYI, I’ve been veggie for 2 1/2 years and vegan for 6 months now and I feel amazing every single day! I used to eat dead animal flesh everyday….all the BS I was told for 37 years… I haven’t been sick or even had a cold in 3 years now! This is the absolute best and healthiest choice I have ever made in my entire life!! VEGAN FOR LIFE!

  38. Have you ever heard of Dr Joel Fuhrman, Dr John McDougall, Dr Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr Neal Barnard or Dr Will Tuttle? Those are just a few of the famous ones I can think of at the moment that promote a plant based diet. Several of them also grew up on dairy or cattle farms!
    Ever heard of Jim Morris, Mac Danzig, Carl Lewis, Rich Roll, Brendan Brazier, Fiona Oakes, Georges Laraque, Michael Zigomanis, Robert Cheeke (my personal friend)? Well each one of them are strong, healthy vegan athletes! I’m sure each and everyone of the doctors and athletes I’ve listed have had blood tests done (as have I) and wouldn’t be eating a vegan diet if they thought it was unhealthy. At 54 yrs old after having blood work recently done my doctor has told me I have the cholesterol level of a healthy 12 year old, she was impressed to say the least! And my iron and B12 are good as well!

  39. I think paleo is great ..but we really need to evolve into more of a cannibal based diet 4o solve the world overpopulation. The paleo is a good start though….good to offer ones meat to a demomic deity before consuming

  40. one thing i disagree about with you lauren is about organic food. so far no scientific study has shown any health benefits from organic food compared to “regular” foods.

  41. Could not have said this better ~ Jeff Novick, “To single out one class of foods (plants) over one group of nutrients (essential amino acids) is not science but very old mythology and bias based on a flawed and misleading perspective.

    For the record, over 97% of Americans, including vegetarians, exceed the RDA for protein with the average intake being double the RDA. However, 97% of Americans fall short of the recommended intake of fiber, with the average intake being about 1/2 the RDA. Considering animal foods contain no fiber, I would consider that a serious and important health issue.

    Clearly the current perspective with its emphasis on protein and on plant foods being incomplete proteins, is misguided and potentially dangerous for the health of Americans.”

  42. Completely wrong.

    I’m always very suspicious of people who claim no culture was “ever a vegan”. First of all, all indication of early human, were frugivores. Much like our closest genetic relatives are now.

    We also naturally die of cholera and typhoid, should we have carried on with that?

    Yes it’s important Vegans eat some fortified foods for B12, which you claim “aren’t natural”. Well, B12 used to be in abundance in the water we drank from streams and rivers. Modern filtration ended that. It also ended cholera, so it really isn’t Veganism that’s unnatural. It’s the modern world! But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

    “Vegans rely on Soy” not true at all. I drink soy milk in my tea instead of cows milk (please tell me how that’s natural, by the way…).

    I know loads of Vegans, all of whom don’t actually consume that much soy. Not that there’s anything wrong with soy, before start talking about oestrogen. The oestrogen in soy only affects plants…

    “Vitamin D only found in animals”, last time I checked, it was from the sun. Else how else did those animals get vitamin D.

    “China study” – if you find the China stoody shakey, that’s fair enough. Why not check any of the more recent studies?

    “Omega 3’s” – Oils, lindseeds, certain types of nuts and grains. We’re fine for Omega 3’s etc, also.

    “Real food is better” – I eat mostly organic fruits, veg, grains, beans, pulses, nuts, seeds etc, etc. It doesn’t get anymore real than that. Are you really telling me processed meat? Dairy? Butter? Factory farmed meats? All ‘real foods’?

    “Take life to have life” – well this is meaningless, it’s not true and it’s unsubstantial. We create millions of lives through unnatural factory farming processes, which is scientifically proven to be literally poisoning the earth. This really isn’t some natural process or cycle of life.

  43. Vegetarian since I was 10. Vegan for more than 12 years now and I’ve never felt healthier before (so says my doctor ;))

  44. I totally agree with you on point #6. That’s one of my reasons why I never want to be vegan. I guess it’s not for all – some definitely gained important benefits when they became vegan; but I cannot imagine myself as one. As stated, a balanced diet from all food groups is essential (unless you have allergies). Otherwise, live life and enjoy!

  45. My problem with this is the scientific source itself. Most of these studies are produced by the dairy industry itself, and even if we put aside possible bias in research, we all know that scientific journals only publish positive results. So, depending on the amount of studies made with a certain intent, this might be relevant. Also, the journal’s impact is relevant on the liability of the information, and even major sci journals like Nature and Science have had fraud scandals unveiled.
    This doesn’t prove that vegan is healthy, but it does indicate bias in research in a world dominated by dairy and meat industries.

    Something really important, though, that you also didnt take into considerarion is that organic food is damn expensive. And non organic meat and dairy are damn unhealthy and full of hormones. So what can we do if we live in a 3rd world country and have little money to survive, and must live in a big city so we can find an informal job that hires dykes, like me and my girlfriend?

    Also, vitamin D can be produced by going into the sun.

    And also, it’s not just about food, it is about politics. The fact that you don’t want to see the politics in it doesnt change that, and even you gave a political statement about ethical omnivorism, so…

  46. And what about the Dieteticians of Canada and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services who both officially agree that a vegan diet is safe and healthy at every stage of life? This article do the same cherry picking for its arguments and the studies cited that it denounced.

  47. What an absolute load of utter garbage this article is. It is well known in the nutritional field and medical field now that a carefully balanced vegan diet is absolutely healthy and beneficial to a healthy life. This article is dangerous. Instead of telling vegans their diet is unhealthy, why not turn your efforts to the McDonalds, Kentucky’s and chips eating population. vegans are much more informed about food and nutrition than the vast majority of any weatern nation so try preaching to people that are actually doing their health harm.

  48. 1. Dr. Weston Price checked today’s coltures which exist only for a few thousand’s years and doesn’t realy reflect the way we where evolutioned in the last milion years.
    A lot of older coltures did live on a mainly herble diet eating meat only when they where “lucky”.
    2. That is just not true. vitamin A can be found in many many fruits and vegetables
    And vitamin D can be recieved quite easly from our body that manufactures it by himself!! ONLY A FEW MINUTES OF HARD SUN FOR A COUPLES TIMES A WEEK IN ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!
    3. Not necessarily. Saying that is just being a demagog.
    4.Vitamin K usualy comes from jerms inside our body! When you get from a cow that’s only becouse the same jerms make it also for her. So if you have deficiance in vitamin K there is a problem with your body i would not run off to eat becouse that will only solve the simptom and not the problem.
    5. Not everybody can consume meat from small farms so you need to make a choise here, meat with antibiotics and shit or no meat at all(except some fish)!?
    6.”Fake Food” is not necessary in any diet! But for example fake cheese can be done from cashew butter with is real food and healthy in small amounts(just because of all the fat in ti).
    7.Again this is not true. I know personaly people that where cured from cancer. and here is just one example out of many
    8.Not a reason to eat meat! let alone sustain the diary industry.
    9.Some processes in the meat and diary industry like pastorisation reduses the amounts B12 so it is added artificialy to the meat and diary in the same way that it is added to cornflakes or granula bar or same like taking a B12 pill.
    10. Baisicly all the problems you mention comes from unbalced unhealthy diet! A vegan that eat well from all groups of food and all fresh and not syntetic should have no deficiency in any vitamin or mineral and for sure will be in excellent health.
    Of course doing sport is also a factor in that

  49. Einstein said, “The theory decides what can be observed.” Quantum physicists are now seeing this as true.

    We will find what we are looking for. We will typically agree with what already makes sense. We can actually create what we believe we’ll see – though typically on small levels, but what if many are focusing on the same thing? What if a survey is affected by those doing the research? Unless it’s all done double blind, it’s hard for me to give in to another’s (though well intentioned!) findings.

    People can and will argue what is best for all without challenging diversity, environment, gene expressions, and so much more. If I believe that killing an animal is wrong, my stress about eating meat will lessen any positive effects. Likewise, my fear of illness leading to going raw and vegan can manifest in poor digestion and more unnecessary stress. I think we can all agree that stress doesn’t help digestion or elimination!

    I’m one of the healthiest 50 year olds I know and am vegan — mostly for ethical reasons: Why SHOULD a CONSCIOUS being have to suffer and die for me to live? Am I really that important? Because it’s natural in the animal world does it mean I have to bend to that? What about conscious choice? (I’m gluten free strictly for health reasons. If I eat gluten, I get a belly and inflammation, skin dryness, etc.)

    What if we all used intuitive listening? Can that guide each person as an individual? No, it’s not very scientific, but not everything can be quantified. If I had to eat animal products, I would consume from small farms, but just seeing how even ‘humane’ killing is done churns (pun intended) my stomach.

    If all things are ultimately energy, why not consume what has higher amounts? If energy comes form the sun, is absorbed by the plant, why not eat the plant rather than the cow that eats the plant? I say, eliminate the middlecow!

    Many other factors, including climate change and soil problems and so much more also need to be accounted for. Ultimately, eat what agrees with you and gives you less stress. And take a supplement if you’re low on a vitamin; that’s just common (or is it?) sense!

    Okay, I’m done. Thanks for letting me vent.

  50. Vitamin B12 is not available in an absorbable form as a supplement either. It is invariably Cyanocobalamin, which is easy to OD on without addressing the underlying B12 deficiency. Primary symptom of this is heart palpitations and arythmias.

  51. Thanks Lauren for providing your thoughts on this subject. You’ve clearly hit a nerve of those who, for some reason, think that eating animals is unnatural or unsustainable. Should we attempt to convert lions, tigers and bears into vegans? Are there prey free from suffering? For humans, at least, we have the option to implement a more humane way of slaughtering animals, we have to pressure the industry. I’ve seen the videos depicting appalling conditions the animals are subject to in these conventional factories, it’s not right. But, we will never be a vegan society, so this idea of all or nothing will never pan-out. If a Vegan is depriving themselves of essential nutrients, you should have the option of eating a juicy piece of steak (with the extra fat of course.) Conversely, an overweight diabetic might benefit from going vegan for four or five months to clean themselves out!

    I’ve known people who went on vegan diets, they were perfectly healthy to begin with. After three or so years they were not fairing very well. They looked deprived and had an “out-of-it” look to them. I think a truly healthy vegan is an exception and not the rule. As for myself, I tried the vegetarian route for eight years and I truly felt great but only for a short while. I developed dysbiosis (for other reasons not related to diet) and a host of other gut issues that made my life a living hell. I thought plants would heal me, they didn’t. I’ve been following the GAPS protocol and it has proved to be a life saver. The animal fats and bone broths, in my experience, have been the most beneficial in my recovery. My anxiety is starting to go away to0!

    Keep up the good work!

  52. Many moons ago, the “health food” movement leftover from the hippie movement became the starting point of my going vegan/vegetarian. I played around with both for over a year, maybe longer. Fat was bad, so I went low to no fat for a period of time. Whole Wheat, whole grains were popping into the scene, so I relied heavily on grains, veg & fruit, beans, and when vegetarian, some cheese to get a “complete” protein. It came to a point that nuts/avocados were fat taboo, so dropped eating those.
    I read books, listened to health food speakers, etc. this was before the internet.
    I felt I was way ahead on true nutrition, no one in my world was eating like this, and I kept telling them fat was bad. Meat was unhealthy.
    This info came from the “healthy food” people before it hit mainstream America,

    I did this off and on for a period of years, but the last time I went full vegan, I had major teeth problems. I had to have 5 crowns in less than a years time, because my teeth kept breaking. I did not in any way attribute this to the lack of dairy, meat or even fat in my diet. That info just wasn’t out there, fat & meat & dairy were bad. Other symptoms – I was tired all the time, and moody. When I went off vegan/veg I would only use the new great low-fat oil, canola. It was a wonder and all the “health food” stores were gaga over it. Safflower, sunflower, or canola, that was the only fat in my home. I remember the first time I ate butter after all of this, I had to talk myself through that I was NOT clogging my arteries, that I was not going to have a stroke or high cholesterol which would give me a heart attack (I may have those things, but, my God in heaven is in charge of my life, food no is longer my god!). I also think the low-fat, high grain lends itself to high glycemic without protein or fat to minimize its spikes.

    I do think we can do a short time run on vegan, as a cleanse (cancer seems to halt with vegan) but as a lifestyle it definitely takes it toll on the body.

    Today, I do what I can to follow the guidelines mentioned in your article. I can’t eat modern wheat because it gives me joint pain. I can do Einkorn without that symptom, so I eat it as a treat, not even every week. Having been through what I have, I don’t always “listen” to the latests greatest “health food” wonder or “this is bad” food. Why?
    I have stopped grains in the recent past and went low carb (Paleo) to see if it would help in some gut issues I was having. I crashed, no energy with major constipation. I was using coconut flour, almond flour, Paleo this and that. I just got sick of it. So I began adding more carbs, some grains and I feel better.
    I’m coming back around to the way my mom cooked for us when I was a girl – veg/fruit//grain/meat with smaller portions. I don’t eat grains everyday and I don’t measure how much of this and that, I rarely eat out, so I’m learning to just eat and not sweat over after all these wasted years on spending so much time and energy (mental & emotional) on food choices.

    Great article!

    Lauren, I’m interested in knowing what you eat, what it looks like in a weeks time for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner. Thanks.

  53. 1. A vegan diet never sustained any traditional culture
    To which I would reply: so what? The computer you’re reading this post on right now never existed in a traditional culture either.
    This bullet point seems to be a direct appeal to tradition (and/or possible nature). This is considered a fallacy, because of course traditional things aren’t invariably good (and unnatural things aren’t invariably bad) and the appeal to tradition assumes this is the case. Ebola, malaria, dying of starvation are all about as natural as one c an get. Slavery, patriarchy, discrimination based on sexual orientation certainly are traditional. Any takers to argue in favor of those things?
    2. Vegan diets do not provide fat-soluble vitamins A and D
    Without a study demonstrating that vegans end up deficient, this is just an appeal to your emotions. Vitamin D3 actually isn’t only found in animal products, you can get a vegan D3 supplement if you’d like. If you’re tempted to say “hey, supplements aren’t natural!”, please refer to my previous point about appeals to nature/tradition.
    It’s true that you do need more D2 or veggy vitamin A precursors than retinyl palmitate, this article substantially overstates the difficulty of reaching your daily requirements. Refer to:
    3. Vegan diets often rely heavily on soy: Soy, soy, the magical fruit. The more you eat, the more… your hormones go berserk!
    No, no they don’t.
    There isn’t really any credible scientific evidence to back up the author’s doom-and-gloom claims here. Phytoestrogens aren’t the same as actual estrogen, and the effect is quite weak. At normal levels of consumption, issues are pretty unlikely. Soy foods can actually have beneficial health effects too. (For example, a reduction in the risk of prostate cancer for me.)
    And of course there’s no *requirement* that vegans consume soy. So arguing against soy, even if the article met a reasonable burden of proof to demonstrate that soy is harmful is *not* equivalent to an argument against veganism.
    4. Vegan diets do not provide vitamin K2
    You can take a vitamin K2 supplement if you want. However, your body can synthesize K2 from precursors like K1, you also absorb some from intestinal bacteria. Vitamin K deficiency is considered rare.
    5. Ethical omnivorism supports a healthy planet
    Each time you go up a link in the food chain, you lose roughly 90% of energy from the previous level. Eating high on the food chain is inherently inefficient. Scale that inefficiency up to 7 billion people and the environmental effects are very significant, even if the individual contribution is small.
    Producing animal based foods also require much more water, animals produce large amounts of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.
    Our ecosystem relies on a self-regulating balance of predators and prey.
    Hard to tell what the author is advocating here. Clearly 7 billion hunter gathers isn’t feasible, though.
    Vegan diets ten to demand a higher quantity of cereal grains and soy, crops which wreak havoc on our ecosystem due to mass farming techniques.
    The top three crops produced in the US are soy, corn, and alfalfa. Of those, 80% or more are fed to animals.
    6. Real Food > Fake Food
    Appeal to nature fallacy here.
    7. Vegan isn’t the answer to autoimmune disease
    Um, okay? Going vegan certainly isn’t a panacea. It’s a method by which you can reduce the harm you cause, both environmental and to other individuals.
    8. You must take life to have life
    Not all life is equivalent. A plant isn’t sentient: it cannot suffer, it cannot be deprived of its happiness, it doesn’t establish preferences, is incapable of emotional states, does not form social bonds.
    Many people choose veganism because they think it cruel to take a life, but something dies no matter what you eat. For example, field mice were demolished in order to grow the corn for a box of vegan cereal.
    Going vegan is about reducing the harm you cause. Eliminating it entirely is the ideal, but generally not practical to reach. Since the majority of many plant-based crops are fed to animals, eating that animal therefore compounds your harm since all the same criticisms apply.
    Further, plants are living beings, capable of communicating with each other and the world around them.
    Plants are more complex than many people give them credit for, they can signal to each other and react to stimuli. This doesn’t imply that they are capable of feeling in the way that humans and many animals are, though.
    Controversial but intriguing research, discussed in this documentary, indicates that plants can even sense and respond to human emotions!
    The linked documentary is based on The Secret Life of Plants, which in pure bunk. It’s pseudoscience:
    The author here does themselves a serious disservice. Any critical reader should have serious doubts at this point. When such an unreliable source is cited without blinking, one has to wonder about the veracity of the author’s other references.
    Finally, even if plants were exactly as sentient as animals, what do you think any animal you contemplate eating ate itself? It ate either other animals or it ate plants. Due to the inefficiency of trophic levels (90%, remember) eating any animal is indirectly eating far more plants than if you simply ate some plants directly. So again: harm reduction.
    9. Vegan diets are deficient in vitamin B12 and iron
    First, B12 doesn’t actually come from animal foods. It’s produced by bacteria exclusively. Vegans definitely do need to supplement B12. Many common foods like soy/almond/coconut milk are fortified.
    Testing with the most up-to-date methods show that 83% of vegans are B12 deficient, compared to 5% of omnivores.
    This is the actual study that was indirectly referenced:
    The results are substantially more nuanced and ambiguous than the other here implies. The total number of vegans in the study was 29. Of those, only 59% actually supplemented their diet with B vitamins. It doesn’t seem like the authors of the study knew exactly which B vitamins were supplemented or what doses the test subjects were taking. Without controlling for those variables, and given the pretty small sample size it doesn’t seem reasonable to draw a definitive conclusion here.
    There also seems to be abiguity in the markers the researchers used. There are other possible causes for changes in those markers. Additionally:
    “The incidence of pathologically abnormal indexes of vitamin B-12 status was clearly related to the type of diet, because it was considerably higher in the vegans than in the other 2 groups. It was not clear in the current study whether the slightly better vitamin B-12 status in the LV-LOV subjects taking vitamins was attributable to vitamin B supplements or to the weak statistical power resulting from the small number of subjects in this group (Table 1⇑). Therefore, subjects taking vitamins were excluded from further analysis.”
    It’s not completely clear exactly which results this applies to, but the researchers said that they specifically *excluded* test subjects that took vitamins in some cases.
    Chris also discusses iron in his post. While plants such as lentils and leafy greens do provide some iron, it is not as well-absorbed as animal-based iron.This only matters if you aren’t getting sufficient iron to meet your nutritional needs.
    10. Animal fats offer unique nutrients: Have you heard that flax seeds, walnuts, hemp seeds and chia seeds are all excellent sources of omega-3? That may be true, but these plant sources provide a form of omega-3 that is not well absorbed by the body.
    Again, this only matters if you don’t get an adequate amount. It is also possible to supplement with algae-derived omega3 if you think your intake is inadquate for some reason.
    Yes, the body can produce cholesterol, but dietary cholesterol is a key part of wellness including memory, liver health, and digestion.
    The author seems to have neglected to back up this claim with any reputable scientific evidence.
    Read more, studies and sources: 5 Reasons Why Butter is a Superfood, Cholesterol and Heart Disease, 2010 meta-analysis on saturated fat consumption, 2014 meta-analysis on saturated fat consumption, study on ALA conversion, Nourishing Traditions, Why You Should Think Twice About Vegetarian and Vegan Diets.
    There are a number of links, here, but they are primarily to other blogs. That doesn’t really meet the required standard. Given the titles, it seems like bias is rather likely.

    • It appears that my post here was edited. The current edited version makes it very difficult to decipher which sections I quoted from the initial blog post and which constitute my rebuttals. I humbly request that the blog author undo their change, or if the use of the greater than symbol in my quotes was causing issues to use some other character. At the least, add the line breaks back.

  54. The health argument for veganism is what activists use to appeal to people who are too selfish to change their diet for ethical reasons. Veganism is not about self-absorption, it’s about not wanting to participate in cruelty when we don’t have to. There are many, MANY, people out there who have been vegan for decades and are very healthy, including athletes, but that is totally besides the point.

  55. Whom is the Vegan?
    Technically a vegan is everyone who do not eat organisms who at some stage could breath. Therefore one does not need to live healthy in order to be a vegan. However one does not need to live healthy to be a vegetarian, a meat eater.
    Assuming now, there are quite some million vegans in the world, living in different cultures being vegans for different reasons. It might seem a bit odd that this article manage to fit all into one and that a very belittled and stupefied group of people.
    To me, as a vegan, it is my perception (and I know many with me) that one should not put anything into the mouth which does not have a nutritional value. Therefore from time to time I create maps. Mapping my general dietary patterns to analyses the nutritional value making sure I got the vitamins and minerals I need. Every year I do blood tests checking the status and it not normal that they come up wrong. In fact I have found that I because I eat food in its natural state, no modifiers, e-numbers or altered, I need much less calcium for my bone health than the average milk drinking citizen. I also found that I can have lower levels of d-vitamin in my body but utilize this d-vitamin better. I have read a study about this, a Swedish one I believe and also consulted a friend which is doctor of medicine. The countries with populations consuming most milk have the highest number of cases with osteoporosis. I understand that a high consumption of animal protein disturb the d-vitamin/calcium connection in the blood. When it comes to amino acids this is really simple seeing that if one eat legumes, grains and fruit/vegetables every day one tend to get all the amino acids.
    Then the article state one does not get the right sort of vitamins. Here one has to remember that the body consists of interconnected processes. Our body consists in fact of different interconnected production facilities. Different organs produce based upon the input given and the availability of substances already produced which in the end depend on the availability of the necessary raw material. Today many has adopted what I would call a pharmaceutics point of view. Firstly because of the thoughts within the medicine industry that we have to feed each organ with the substance in case there is a failure. As a consequence one tends to miss out failures caused by disturbance in other organs, eventually then the patient end up multi medicating living a retarded life. Secondly because one tends to think within what is named the health food industry that one has to take supplements in the form which does not require the body to do anything. However by giving our body these supplements we are disturbing processes, as one production facility might give feedback to another one saying there is enough of this substance in the blood, leaving surplus material and disrupted processes. This in itself can cause disturbances.
    One can also see this limited perspective in the nutrition industry. Colin Cambell which is mentioned in this article spent three years (1958-1961) doing his PhD research trying to improve the supply of high-quality protein. He did this with the belief that high quality protein was far superior the simple protein one could get from plants. Some years later just after 1965 he joined a project named “mother craft” on the Philippines. The aim of the project was to enable mothers on the Philippines to feed their children high quality protein and benefit as western children from this. However Dr. Cambell found that the children getting the most milk protein developed liver cancer. Based upon this research and other findings he conducted his own research and found that when we eat animal protein our body cannot neutralize environmental toxins like Alfa toxin but instead we get cancer. ( See the China study) Think about it dr. Cambell survived a dioxin poisoning he should have died from is 80 years and still going strong.
    As happy and vegan I have also noticed that the perception of what is natural and beneficial for human beings have been messed up so that it is very hard to know what is good for us. However I have found that I am in better shape than I have been for years. By eating my carrots and swallowing my chlorella powder I am actually doing pretty well.
    As happy and vegan and with a degree in environmental law I have also noticed that the hormones of the normal population is pretty much un-normal based upon all those synthetic pesticides and also hormones which we tend to spew out into the atmosphere. I have also found that I as a vegan technically must have a much lower amount of synthetic hormones and chemicals within my body seeing I am pretty much at the bottom of the food chain. Ref. Bio accumulation.
    As happy and vegan I eat soy, but wholefood soy and not only soy and believe it or not. One can eat soy and get healthy. The research done on just soy is pretty complex and not much is trustable seeing the way it has been conducted. In the light of what has already been said, and with the knowledge that I have raised two children on diet which was close to vegan, two kids without one single hole in a teeth and no bone fractures. Knowing I am not the only one.
    I understand without being a mathematic genie that it takes more cows to feed a person than vegetables. I am happy and vegan among else because I went from heavily medication to living without any medications at all, from being allergic and relying on medicine to needing none. Thus a reason for being happy and vegan is the understanding of the God given power of reversing diseases through a wholefood vegan diet by sustaining our body processes. I am also happy and vegan is that I weight the same as I did in my twenties. I have more energy than in my thirties and I am in better shape than for years.
    I have taken the liberty to rewrite my comment firstly because I wanted to say something about what a vegan is. Secondly I wanted to put forward a message which has a potential to be a blessing and healing for the reader. The mind is incredible complex and one must be very careful to not allow it to do its exercise on patterns which stimulate and increase polarization and overgeneralizations seeing one then tend to move in circles just confirming the own belief system. Looking to promotion of diet one is bound to face consequences as decreased life quality and health both self and for family members. More than that one creates patters for the family and others which can negatively affect the future. Kind Berit

  56. I appreciate the constructive discussion shared in the comment section. I’ve had to close the comments on this post, however, due to commenters who choose to use foul language and very hateful speech.

Lauren Geertsen, NTP

I’m an author, entrepreneur, and nutritional therapy practitioner (NTP). I began this website at 19, to share the steps that freed my life of chronic disease and medication. Now, Empowered Sustenance has reached 30 million readers with healthy recipes and holistic resources.

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