Sunday, March 24, 2019

How to Stop Eating Vegan Junk Food

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I should explain why I decided to really tackle the healthy vegan thing. In the past few months I have had an alarming amount of e-mails from vegans, some vegan for a LONG time who were telling me that they have gained a lot of weight, they are pre-diabetic or T2 diabetic, now have heart problems, high blood pressure and other health issues. Most of these people have been completely devastated, and a few went back to eating animals, because they were convinced it was the vegan diet that did them in.

This is not a good scenario. Like it or not, our society in large part thinks of being vegan in one or two ways.

  • They think it will make you sick.
  • They think it will make you a health nut.

We have also in the past couple of years seen a lot of people giving up their vegan diet because they say they became ill.

This is another problem.

The thing for most people, is that despite their desire to not cause the abuse and needless death of animals, they themselves do not want to become sick. For many years I thought that participating in the slaughter of animals was sad, but there was no other answer, if I wanted to be healthy I needed to eat animals.

And for most, people will not sacrifice their own health or the health of their family if they thought that eliminating animals would do them more harm.

The trouble is that the people getting sick from a vegan diet, are not getting sick because they are vegan, it is because they are unhealthy. As I’ve said before EVERY study that we vegans like to refer to (China Study, Dr.Barnard, Dr.Esselstyn) do NOT simply say go on a vegan diet, they say go on a low fat, unprocessed diet that is completely plant-based.

If you ask Dr. Campbell, Dr.Esselstyn, Dr.Furhman, Dr.Popper and the other plant-based scientific Doctors what we should be eating? They will tell you a low fat, unprocessed plant-based diet. You will not find dayia or tofurkey in their suggestion list, not even in moderation.

Why is this? Because all of the data that they have and all of the studies they have conducted do not take into account junk food. And as much as we want to believe that consuming the vegan version of our old favorite junk foods is healthier, it is really not that much healthier. (except of course, it is healthier for the animals).

But what message does it send to our friends, family and close circle if we as vegans start to get the very diseases that we keep saying that vegans don’t get? And what if our doctors see this in us and tell us it is the vegan diet that is making us sick?

And many of you will say that at the end of the day it is all about the animals. And I agree, I just think that unhealthy vegans do not help animals. First and foremost, just from an animal rights perspective, if we (as vegans) are getting the standard American diseases that are completely preventable like type 2 diabetes, MOST heart issues, obesity, a lot of cancers and we have to go on preventable drugs for those preventable diseases, we cause a LOT of animal abuse, suffering and torture in the way of animal testing. Every single drug on the market is tested on 2 species of animals. While there might be ways for animal testing to end, it is not happening anytime soon, and we can make a difference NOW in not getting the diseases that cause animal testing.

Even as vegans, I think we have been brainwashed into thinking that we can eat whatever we want, whenever we want, and if we get a preventable disease it must be genes or we can just pop a pill. What we don’t think is that by getting a preventable disease we unnecessarily contribute to the business of prescription drugs and the business of animal testing.

We would never buy a product that said “tested on animals”. And if you are in the situation where you are needing to take preventable drugs for a preventable problem, you have a choice in weather you want to participate in such a cruel industry. The choice is making sure that your vegan diet is a healthy vegan diet (no processed foods, no extracted oils, no extracted sugar)

Don’t get me wrong. I love food, I love vegan junk food just like I loved non vegan junk food. But it does not mean that I should be eating it, and it doesn’t mean that just because it has the word “Vegan” on it, that it is healthy.

I know, more than probably most how hard it is to give up foods. I have battled food addictions nearly my entire life. And my addiction to food did not go away when I became vegan, my addictions were slightly more ethical, but they were still addictions.

I think as vegans, often we think that we have already given up SO much just by going vegan. And it is true, we have given up a lot. But at the same time, I don’t think we should see being vegan as a sacrifice, but more as something that set us free from a horrible industry. Giving up junk food should be seen in the same light. It is not a sacrifice, it is not a punishment, rather, something that sets us free from some pretty awful industries.

We simply do not NEED junk food. And no matter if it is vegan or not, junk food will make you sick. Foods that are extracted (like oil, sugar and high salt foods) cause issues in our body, that make us sick. They do not have any of the good stuff – like vitamins, phytochemicals, fiber, antioxidants and the other good stuff that whole unprocessed foods have. The reason why all of those studies proved that being ‘vegan’ was healthy was because all of the foods the participants were consuming were whole unprocessed foods that have all of those great things (vitamins, phytochemicals, fiber, antioxidants) in them. The power of a vegan diet is not found in processed junk food, it is found in unprocessed whole plant foods that are not compromised with salt, oil or sugar.

I’m not saying all of this to be a crazy health nut, or to make your adventures in vegan eating end. I’m saying this because I think that we owe it to ourselves, to animals and to our families to focus on being healthy vegans.

We are in a position right now to change a lot about how the world thinks about vegans. We are seeing more and more vegan books, movies and celebrities coming out and speaking about veganism. It is not a crazy word anymore, it is not a word that people have as much fear around. And the more people ask us, the more our co-workers start to pay attention, or our family and friends – the more we need to move away from some of the vegan junk food explosion that has happened in the past few years.

So give up the junk food. Trust that your body will adjust and your hunger drive will be restored to where it should be. Trust that you will start to love whole unprocessed vegan food. Get back to the basics, make your life more simple. We don’t need specialty vegan products, in fact I’d say we flat out shouldn’t use them. Being a healthy vegan is the easiest and most simple way we can go about eating. We don’t need a specialty market, or a special place to eat out. We just need the basics: vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, intact whole grains. Just that message will do wonders for helping others become vegan. If they simply know how incredibly easy it all really is.

Try to not complicate the food aspect of veganism. Try it for a few weeks – a whole, unprocessed vegan way of eating that is the void of cruelty to animals and to yourself.

43 COMMENTS

  1. Alicia

    Raises hand in the corner, I’ve been vegan for 5 years and was just diagnosed with diabetes, and I’m sure I’m one of the e-mails you are talking about.
    I fell into the unhealthy vegan trap. I live in a city where vegan food is abundant, and I thought I was lucky! I started out eating healthy, but soon was introduced to vegan cupcakes and cookies and vegan pizza! My weight started creeping up, but I am a proud sexy woman, even if I’m bigger. I never thought that my weight gain would cause diabetes.
    It’s kind of funny because I recommend all the books you mentioned, and even dragged my friends to Forks Over Knives when it was here! But I never ever paid attention to the message not just being to go vegan, but it was to be a healthy vegan?! no way!
    I’ve cut out my vegan junk food for a couple of weeks, after e-mailing you and I’m already seeing results, my blood sugar has come down a lot. Don’t get me wrong, I miss my organic vegan cupcakes a lot! But I also can’t be diabetic right now.
    You bring up a lot of good points, and I totally agree, especially since I became one of the sick vegans, which totally sucks.
    Keep it up girl!

  2. Will

    I hate that you are right about this, I hope you don’t find that offensive, but I’ve been vegan for a long time and in the past few years I’ve gotten myself hooked on junk food. I’ve realized that I fight so hard to end animal slavery and I fight against the corporate machine, but by eating junk food I am a slave to the junk food industry and you are right, I’ve started to have some health problems because I got away from eating the vegan diet that is actually healthy. I gave up eating animals overnight and I was fine, it wasn’t a big deal, so now I will do the same with the shit foods I’ve been eating. It was fun while it lasted.

  3. vegan gurl

    damn it. I guess it can’t hurt to try for a few weeks and see what happens, I’m like Will, I gotten myself hooked as well, totally sucks. The pathetic thing is that I studied nutrition, so I should of all people know that eating junk food is always bad. I also just realized I don’t eat many whole foods like vegetables, I eat a lot of tofu, gardein, dayia, earth balance, it’s pretty sad.

  4. Pauline

    This post really hits home.
    We are vegan as well but I would say were somewhere in the mid-way point of eating well all the time and eating junk. We go out to eat and will eat Daiya filled calzones. Maybe once every few months I’d eat some oreos. I don’t really like Tofurkey but we will get stuff like Smart Ground for tacos.

    The challenge we have is sugar and oil. The stuff we add when we cook at home. We cook a lot and eat out a fair bit (where I can’t control what’s in the food as easily) and I think that is where I am going to face the biggest challenge. It was easy to adapt the foods that I made before to being vegan. But we were big “gourmet foodies” and used lots of rich ingredients. Now I’m just doing that same thing with different vegean options that are possibly just as “junky” in their own way.

    I’ve been a good cook and known how to cook my whole life. Now I need to scrap that and start over. It feels like we made a big change and now we need to do another whole overhaul. It’s kind of exhausting to think about and being a busy couple who works long long hours, its daunting. And, of course, no one likes change.

    That said, I know this is more the direction we should go in. I just need to find a way and time to clear my head and preconceived notions of how and what to cook and add in some new meals that are even better for us than what we are doing now.

  5. Diana

    True story: I was in a conference and Novick was a presenter and he was talking all about how bad olive oil was. I was half paying attention, because in my head I kept thinking I was so much better than all of the other people in the room because I was vegan! Then it hit me! He’s not talking about being vegan, he’s talking about my most favorite way to eat vegetables, by frying them in olive oil! I was fuming. Like totally really mad, because I went from thinking I was so much healthier than everyone in the room to thinking that he was talking directly to me and telling me I was wrong. THE NERVE of him!

    I left the talk and called my girlfriend who is also vegan and told her how much I hated the talk because he didn’t even mention not eating animals, just not eating oil. She said “So you are mad that he told you to not eat crappy food?”

    Later on I actually ordered Jeff’s videos because I was too mad to listen to him the first time. Also, I did my own research in finding actual studies that were not total bullshit, and found out that Jeff was right, I was wrong.

    It took me about 2 months to stop craving all the junk and especially the oil, but it’s worth it, I’ve never been healthier.

    All of that to say, if this post pissed you off, give it some time. lol.

  6. green

    This is a great message. A healthy diet is so important, and no amount of Daiya or Tofurkey can take the place of whole, unprocessed, low-fat foods.

    Thanks for the good reminder!

  7. Terri

    Thank you so much for posting this. It’s such an important message, by eating a lowfat plant-based vegan diet we can keep ourselves healthy which spreads the message that a vegan diet is good for us, good for animals, and good for the planet — those vegan processed foods can’t be too great for the environment. I live overseas where vegan junk food isn’t as readily available as in the US, but even so I am tempted too often.

  8. Jen

    why did you have to make me think today???? I was very happy eating my oreos for breakfast!

  9. Amy

    Sigh… You are right. But, darn it! I wish you weren’t!

  10. Cristy

    Thank you for this post! I love (and needed badly) these true words, though it scares me. Why should it scare me? I’m a creature of habit and struggle every day with eating less junk and more veggies, when really the key is to not eat ANY junk and only eat veggies and fruits and whole grains and beans.

    Time to clean out the house, get rid of the vegan junk, and prepare meals that are whole-foods based that I will actually eat. This starts the challenge. *looks around for a whole-foods vegan community to join* 😉

  11. Glenn

    Here (http://www.pcrm.org/health/veginfo/snacks.html) PCRM, Dr. Barnard’s organization, recommends tofu hot dogs and other “processed” vegan foods. Processed vegan foods, especially fortified ones, can play an important role in meeting nutritional needs – while being healthy at the same time. I’d also have to question what exactly is meant by “processed” and how much “processed” food is actually “junk” food. Daiya, for instance, is quite minimally processed and has only a handful of ingredients – making it immensely more healthy than cheese. Foods like tofu and soy milk, which we may think of as being processed foods, have been made for thousands of years, longer than our civilization has been around, and really shouldn’t be categorized with what you are referring to as junk food.

  12. Nat

    I think the Dr.Barnard would be the first to tell you that those foods should be limited, and that we don’t NEED them in order to be healthy at all. For many, they might feel the need to eat those foods when they are transitioning, because they really feel the need to substitute as much as possible.

    When I say processed I am referring to foods that have high amounts of salt, oil, sugar that have extracted ingredients.

    The truth is we just don’t need those foods to get our nutritional needs met. If someone did not have access to fat free tofu dogs, we would never tell them they could not be vegan.

    And I’m not against minimally processed tofu or non dairy milk at all. I’m against tofu products that are processed to include a lot of sodium, fat and other junk food and same thing with non dairy milks – as long as they do not add lots of sugar.

    The whole point is just to eat a lot more whole foods that have one ingredient, to make things a lot more simple and to eat foods that are bursting with as much good as possible 🙂

  13. Linda

    I am a vegan nutritionist and see this all the time! Dayia is tasty BUT it is JUNK FOOD. It is like deep frying a vegetable, sure the vegetable is there, but you ruin it when you fry it. There are some okay ingredients in dayia, but there is also more bad than good, and when given a choice, going with out it, is always the healthier way to go.

  14. mary

    Just a note, that link that Glenn posted was specifically for kids. Kids often have a hard time transitioning, and so some foods that they used to like (icecream and hotdogs) would be much better in the vegan forms, until they can get on board with eating even more healthy. As adults, I don’t really think we need to have the transition foods as much, because we can learn why eating whole foods is best for us.

    My kids are 11&9 and when we all went vegan they definitely needed foods that looked, felt and tasted like the old food they were eating. The longer they have been vegan, the more veggies, nuts, beans, whole grains and fruit they eat.

    yes, dayia is healthier than cheese, but I don’t think that was the point of this post, more that we need to get away from relying on packaged/processed foods for any of our nutriton. Dayia does not contain the healthy benefits of vegetbales at all, nor do tofu dogs.

  15. Susan

    I am also one of the people who e-mailed you! I went vegan 10 years ago, and I was really healthy, lots of veggies, hardly any oil, no sugars, they didn’t have vegan sugar available as much back then. But then in the past couple of years things like vegan cookies, cakes, sugar, dayia, teese, tofurkey, gardein started to show up and I started to try things, thinking they were still healthier than the crap most people eat. It is true, gardein is a lot healthier than beef, but it still doesn’t have all of the health benefits of actual vegetables. I started to gain weight the more these foods became a staple in my diet. I got hooked on vegan cheese and fake meats! Well, 60 pounds later and now pre-diabetic I learned my lesson the hard way. We can get all of our nutrition needs met easily with whole foods (which to me, means ONE ingredient!) and we don’t need the vegan speciality products to eat. I’m headed back the other direction now, and my blood sugar seems to be getting better. I justified my unhealthy addictions a lot, but it cost me a lot in the end as well.

  16. danny

    I couldn’t agree more. Nearly two years ago I decided to start respecting my body. I quit smoking, began exercising and removed all processed foods from my diet. Shortly thereafter my partner and I took the leap into veganism. Since that time I’ve shed nearly 100 pounds and have never felt better in my life, both from a health perspective and from a standpoint of compassionate living.

    Eating healthily, and I tend to fall into the low-fat, plant-based whole foods diet side of the road, isn’t difficult. What is difficult is coming to the realization that what you eat is probably the most important decision of your lifetime and that the effort required to prepare food is an investment into your well being.

    My partner and I started a food blog, Soundly Vegan, a little over a year ago in order to share beautiful vegan whole foods with anyone craving that experience. There really isn’t anything more satisfying to me than to show people that vegan food can be exciting, delicious and make you feel better than you ever have.

    Thank you for a post that made me smile.

    Regards,

    danny

  17. Antoinette

    Hi there, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’ve been vegan less than a year and would also like to hear more about how you define processed vegan food vs. junk vegan food, whether you would consider my cooking whole ingredients in my kitchen the act of creating processed/ junk vegan food, and if there’s any room in this discussion for eating processed/ junk in moderation.

    I did go into 2018 realizing that I want to cut back on oil usage for cooking, and that I need to eat less chips (which is super-hard for me because I love my chips!), so I think I get the gist of this post. But still want to wrestle with this a bit more, if you want to elaborate. Thank you!

  18. Christy

    Great post Nat! We gotta get these vegans eating healthier. Good, Better, Best…even if someone can’t go completely junk-food free/sugar-free at least there are better choices. I like the 80/20 or 90/10 rule myself, so if I have vegan junk food occasionally it’s ok, but many vegans have a diet that is 80% processed foods and they don’t cook. How can you help the animals if you are sick all the time? I’m appalled at how sick my vegan friends are when I haven’t been sick in ages. But even I could make better choices, I could always do better and feel better. Junk food tastes so damn good! But is it really worth your health and vitality for that cupcake?

  19. Nat

    @Antoinette – making food from whole unprocessed foods is not junk food. When I say processed I mean foods that have ingredients that you would not eat on their own, and foods that have added oil, salt and sugar.

    As for moderation – I think it is a very dangerous territory for most people, most people have some pretty bad addictions and just eating bad food every so often can be like torture for someone who is prone to addiction to food (like myself).

    My general rule is – if you don’t think you COULD give it up, you probably should give it up… And just try it for a few weeks, your health will not suffer, and you might find out that you actually like this way of eating a lot more.

    I know we all have our crutches, butI promise it’s worth it – to just try going with out.

    Here is a simple list to pick from:
    All vegetables.
    All fruit.
    All beans (that are not packaged with lots of sodium)
    All intact whole grains – meaning brown rice is the ONLY ingredient or another whole grain like Oatmeal.
    Nuts/Seeds with out going overboard -especially for people with T2 diabetes, heart disease or who are obese.
    No salt added spices.

    You can combine any of those things to make some really awesome meals. Like I made lentil burgers just using flax seed (ground), brown rice and lentils. I have also made “icecream” just using frozen banana and frozen cherries. (frozen by me) 🙂

    To me this is more about simplifying than anything else, making it less complicated, and getting our hunger drive back to a healthy place and changing our taste buds.

    It’s worth a shot, in my opinion.

  20. Nat

    Christy – it is sad to see more vegans who are unhealthy – totally. I think some have to be careful with even 90/10, just because some of us have pretty bad food addictions. But there are some people who can do that – I say try to eliminate it ALL for a few weeks to see if you might be addicted and go from there. (just in general) 🙂

    Vegan Chef – I don’t think your cookbook could come at a better time 🙂 I for one am very excited. Let’s get back to the basics of healthy nutrition!

  21. Don

    I was a vegetarian back in the 70′s, and there was no option for eating unhealthy vegan food. I much preferred it that way to be honest with you. When I became vegan in the 80′s, it was the same thing, if you wanted to be vegan you pretty much had to eat healthy, there were just not a lot of vegan foods on the market, so you had to rely on beans, vegetables, fruits, grains and nuts. I was always very healthy as a vegetarian and then as a vegan, but fast forward to the past few years, I slowly started to gain weight, I started to eat more and more processed (meaning foods with unhealthy ingredients) foods, I would go through a couple of bags of Dayia or packages of vegan gourmet cheese in a week, I started to get hooked on the pre-packed tofu’s that come in different flavors and I started to love fake meats like Boca and Gardein.
    I gained about 50 pounds. But the more alarming thing was that the more vegan processed foods I consumed the more I wanted to eat meat and dairy again. It was like I re-triggered all of my desires to consume animals again. I don’t know if it was addiction or if it was because I missed the flavors and textures, but being reminded of what I was “missing” did me no favors.
    I recently went to a Forks Over Knives screening and one of the panel doctors was talking about what type of diet the film was promoting, and that is when it hit me, I was not following a plant-based diet. I was not eating many plants!
    Since then, I’ve been focusing on a lot of plants, and it has made a big difference. While I miss a lot of the packaged foods, I want to do what is best for my body and mind.

  22. Amy

    I have found that I cannot do moderation; because, what does that mean? I let my family have pizza night once a week (yes, with cheese; I don’t partake) and it becomes Pizza weekend with the leftovers because my dear, dear husband orders too much. That doesn’t seem like moderation to me and it makes my kids whine for more pizza at other times. Sigh… I really wish he’d go all the way with me 🙂 …

    Anyway…If there is a box of vegan cookies in the house, you’d better believe there will be a box of vegan cookies in my belly before very long. If I could eat one or two a day, it would be fine, but, I can’t.

    But, I do know people that can do that. And if you can, good for you! I wish I could!

  23. Brigitte

    We are an addicted world, for sure. I’ve been cautioned not to get too cerebral about my eating after I mentioned that I felt sick all evening after some oven-fried (as I say) potatoes. I’ve been given spiritual reasons as to why I shouldn’t limit myself (was NOT expecting that one!), been told that I will be unhealthy if I don’t eat salt and oil when I crave it (bc it’s my body telling me I need it), it’s been strongly inferred that I’m harming my children by not letting them be omnivores…and so forth. Of course all those comments are projections of each person’s own struggles, but it’s hard not to take it personally sometimes. Thankfully my husband is supportive, despite the occasional need for pizza,fish and eggs (which will soon be cut back further as my youngest seems to have developed an allergy to milk–woohoo!) It sure makes it less difficult to stay focused and reject all my previous conceptions about food and health.

    As for junk, I’m totally with you! I really don’t like daiya, tofu, et al. Don’t like the flavor and don’t like the processing! Salt and oil on the other hand… Recently I’ve severely cut back on salt in our meals (using 1 tsp at most for a pot of soup, for example). Last night, though, I splurged and used some soy sauce in our meal (less than called for, but more than 1 tsp!) and the rest of the night our mouths burned and we both had the munchies–and my husband is not at all the snack-loving kind. I also still use a tiny bit of oil to cook onions, but I think I’ll be able to get away from it soon. My husband, actually, is the one who had us stop using any kind of oil or salad dressing for our salads quite a while back, so that’s one thing we’ve mastered 🙂 It feels like a long road, but it’s only been less than a year since we’ve been plant-based and have had less junk, so I guess there’s still hope that in a year or so we will be eating totally clean.

    Thanks for the good post!

  24. Mary

    I became a HEALTHY vegan 5 years ago. Gave up all the cookies, cakes and candies. Never missed them because I was so stoked on my new hobby: running. I didn’t need sweets for that psychological joy. When my dentist recommended that I come in only once a year instead of twice (because there wasn’t anything on my teeth to grind off), and my grocery bill went down, down, down, it was then that I realized the pay-off. You don’t have to be sick to want to be well.

  25. veg

    The key here is to have an intimate relationship with the source of your food, vegan or otherwise.

    Stepping away from processed “food” is the first step. The next step is to know where your food comes from, and to know who grew it or raised it, if you are not yet doing that yourself.

    Support small-scale farmers and gardeners, and not the agribusinesses and monoculture that are destroying ecosystems.

    Raising, foraging, and preserving at least some of our own food ourselves is an ultimate goal to strive for in order to stop being alienated and disconnected from what nourishes.

  26. Jess

    I’ll just jump in the junk food boat. I went Vegan after watching Earthlings, OVER NIGHT. I didn’t want to participate in animal abuse any longer. But the day after my friend, who I love dearly took me out to celebrate, she’s been vegan for a while now. We went and got vegan donuts, had a vegan reuben, vegan french fries, vegan mac and cheese. I didn’t even eat that unhealthy when I was not vegan! I was so happy cause I thought I can eat ALL of this and be healthy? I struck the jackpot!
    Well, not too long after my friend was diagnosed with high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, she had been gaining weight on a vegan diet, and her levels for different vitamins were all jacked up. How could this be?? And then I realized what many other people here realized, WE WERE NOT EATING VEGETABLES! We were vegans with out the veggies!
    Both of us decided to get serious and to break our junk food habit, which was hard. We both got hooked on stuff. And when we did eat veggies it was with oil and salt. Like we were hooked on kale chips and then I read the package and noticed they were loaded with salt and oil! What’s the point??
    When she got sick she was convinced for a few days that she would have to stop being vegan, and then we started to break it all down and realized, it wasn’t being vegan that made her sick, it was eating all of that processed foods.

  27. Debby

    Wow what a timely post for me! I’m on my 3rd day of eliminating animal products from my diet, so have been surfing the internet for food ideas and inspiration. I’ve noticed lots of dessert replacement recipes and fake foods. While shopping the other day it did occur to me that there are a lot of processed foods available, which was contrary to what I thought was an advantage to vegan eating. I also noticed lots of vegan sweets and was surprised at the high carbohydrate count of some..as much as one or two meals (I’m type 2 and keep my eye on the carb counts). Over the past 3 days I’ve had some junk/processed foods and some raw and clean foods, and I definitely felt more satisfied with the raw and clean foods. It is about the animals for me, and about health. For me, I’m learning it’s a mindset of changing the way I eat, and learning about new foods to enjoy, not finding “good” substitutes for the bad habits.

  28. Liz

    Thanks, Nat. I sincerely appreciate your response.

  29. Nat

    Hi Liz,

    I am so sorry that you were hurt and offended by my post and by any comment. That was not my intent to hurt or judge anyone. Instead I want to encourage people to move toward a healthier way of eating. Eating junk food and processed foods has very severe consequences for most people, sadly, so many people do not realize that eating unhealthy foods can not just cause death – but can cause a life time of suffering. This is not in every case, but in a lot. It’s not that you get type 2 diabetes, it’s that you get nerve damage causing blindness or you get amputations (like what I had to go through and many more type 2 diabetics). I simply do not want to see the suffering of humans or animals for really any reason at all, to me it’s sad and devastating.

    I’m sorry that you took this all very personally, just know that what I posted about was not intended for someone such as yourself, but for people truly seeking to break their addictions to food. It is not a judgement, I do not judge anyone who has a hard time giving up dangerous foods, because I was and still struggle with the very same addictions to foods. And I do believe like you that is a personal choice, just as smoking is. But I think that people deserve to know what choice they are actually making, so many are unaware of the dangers and ill health caused by certain foods, everyone has a right to know information so they can make informed choices. At which point, if they choose to eat foods that can cause harm to themselves, that is up to them.

    No one is promising miraculous health, just better health and health that does not include proven preventable diseases.

    Thanks for your thoughts, I really appreciate it.

    Nat

  30. Liz

    @Nat It may not have been intended that way, but statements like “I just think that unhealthy vegans do not help animals.” do hurt those of us who are unhealthy — for whatever reason. The author should choose her words more carefully and not insult large groups of people because we don’t fit her ideal of what vegan ambassadors should be.

    And, again, I think that is still a nasty thing to say even to those vegans who do eat junk food and get sick. Are we really supposed to say that only health food vegans make a positive difference? I think we’ll have a lot fewer vegans if we tell people, “Oh, you can’t be a junk food vegan because that hurts animals, too! Either eat perfectly or don’t bother.” Why not we just teach people that yes, you can be as healthy or healthier as a vegan, but yes you can be unhealthy — instead of trying to hide the fact by putting everyone on a perfect diet. If people care about the animals, they don’t need promises of miraculous health. And if they’re just doing it for the health, they are not going to be consistent vegans and they are probably going to be disappointed.

    There’s a lot of judgment in the post above. That sentence is just one bit. I do eat very well because I don’t want to get sicker with other problems. That would just be too much to handle. But, I’m not about to judge someone if they believe that eating the way they do is worth a few years of their life or a 5% greater risk of this or that or whatever. There’s more to life than how long you life or healthy you are. People get a lot of enjoyment out of what they eat and, heck, vegan cupcakes have done a lot for convincing people that veganism isn’t martyrdom. Adults can choose for themselves what to eat and so long as they are eating vegan, I do think it is a personal decision.

  31. Nat

    @Liz I think what the comment was saying was in particular people who are consuming junk foods and getting preventable diseases known to be only caused in large part by food choice. In the post i was specifically talking about preventable disease that are well documented to be.

    Not all disease is preventable, and I’m guessing the comment was not intended to take aim at those battling diseases in which they have no control over.

    Everyone is able to help animals. And those who can prevent a disease caused by poor eating should definitely make that a goal.

  32. Liz
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    “I just think that unhealthy vegans do not help animals.”

    I hope you realize how very ableist and hurtful that is to vegans who do struggle with health problems — whether or not they are diet related. I’m a vegan who suffers from chronic health problems that started long before I went vegan and have continued despite eating a very whole-foods based vegan diet (no, it’s not a miracle cure for everything — but I don’t think it should matter even if I was eating junk and my diseases were diet related). And, yes, I know some ignorant people might believe that I’m sick because I’m a vegan, despite my best efforts to educate them.

    But does that really mean that I don’t help animals? That all the time I put into advocating veganism and all the other vegan choices I make — all the much harder because of my disabilities — really amount to zero help for the animals? It’s stuff like this that make vegans sound so judgmental and close-minded. So, please, have some compassion for your fellow human beings instead of being so judgmental.

  33. Laura
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    I’m someone with a disease that can not be helped through diet, though I’ve tried, believe me. I guess some would say I’m unhealthy. But the thing is, I’m not getting any preventable diseases ON TOP OF the disease I already have. So the person who was upset about the other comment was missing the bigger picture. The goal, I think is to be as healthy as we can through diet and not eat in a way that causes unnecessary disease and suffering.
    So while I suffer from one disease, does not mean that I should add any other preventable diseases because I eat poorly.
    Part of the reason I eat so healthy, is that while what I suffer from can not be cured, it also can’t hurt to eat a very healthy unprocessed diet, who knows how much worse my condition would be if I were eating crap!
    Just my two cents.

  34. Benny

    Well, I thought I was going to hate this article, and turns out, despite that I really love junk food, I actually agree with you. I’ve been vegan for a while, but my weight and some heart problems have not really become much better. I’ve never even looked into how to be a healthy vegan, I just thought if I wasn’t eating animals that was enough. I guess people will say that it is better to not eat animals for health, but that is probably a slippery slope, like we all know that drinking soda is bad, just because it doesn’t have animals doesn’t make it healthier than something that does have animals.

    I don’t know if I want to stop eating junk food, and come on, we all know what is junk and what isn’t. I’m willing to admit that I know that vegan tofurkey pizza is junk and kale is not, it’s kinda simple. I think that people might be upset with this post because what you are saying for health beiing vegan is not enough, and a lot of us thought that. And I really didn’t think about the preventable medication thing. I want to learn more about this for sure.

    Thanks for sticking your neck out there on this one, a lot of my vegan friends kind of take pride in their unhealthy eating, I mean we’ve had waffle parties with 100 kinds of vegan icecreams. maybe we need to be throwing salad parties instead!

  35. Vegan dude
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    Someone mentioned above craving meat and dairy after they started eating the vegan substitutes, I never wanted to admit it, but that happened to me, and I felt so guilty for it! I started out healthy, but then started adding some substitutes like faux meats, and then I noticed I was really wanting animal products, craving things I never craved. One day I gave in and had some real cheese pizza, I felt awful, not just physically, but emotionally. I’m curious if anyone else has gone though this. I decided I’d stop eating anything that resembled animal products, and the cravings went away. Maybe it is just a mental thing, but I’d be curious to know if there is a scientific reason behind something like that.

  36. Nat
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    Jess – if you have not done so, read the book “The Pleasure Trap”.. I have struggled with the very same issue for years.

  37. virtual.Jess

    I wish junk food were my problem. Somehow I just manage to over-eat… on anything. It could be raw kale tossed in lemon and tahini, or grapes, or celery. I just don;t feel satisfied til I’m too full. It’s been two years of veganism. I want this to stop.

  38. May
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    Very good topic. I’ve been eating healthy plant based for about a year now. But when my grown kids come for a visit once in a while, it’s time for me to go ahead and buy the Trader Joe’s meatless meatballs and put together a lasagna with tofu that I season, etc. For myself I would leave out the “meatless meatballs”, but since they do not eat a like me, I compromise once in a great while. And I do make them the “icecream” using frozen bananas, etc. and always have even when they were little. So they eat plant based in my house, with a little touch of processed. I think that’s ok, don’t you?

    Let me know how you handle “company meals”? ok?

  39. Nat
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    If we have company over – we have a few things. First – we have an all vegan house, and people know that going in, if they don’t like the all vegan house rule, we are okay with that, and help them find a nice hotel nearby. So far, we haven’t had anyone complain at all.

    We have our food and we make a lot of it so there are left overs, I think we project our bad eating desires onto other people, thinking that is exactly what they will want. Generally – I’ve found that people are much more adaptable than we give them credit for 🙂

    You don’t have to have bad food in the house, and if company wants bad food – there are always lots of places to eat out.

  40. Vegan Chef
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    To virtual.Jess (and anyone who struggles with emotional overeating of any kind). I highly recommend the works of http://www.geneenroth.com, especially “When Food is Love” and “Women, Food and God” (even if you are male). While I don’t agree with everything she says about eating anything you want, there is much value in her work. I especially like where she said “if they invited a pill that we all could take and eat antthing we wanted and be thin, we would all have to go out and find another addiction”.

    For those who really need health, consider going on a medically supervised water or juice fast at True North (www.healthpromoting.com). You will get to hear the authors of the brilliant book, “The Pleasure Trap” in person!

    Hey Nat, my book is out on Amazon today!

    Love & Kale,
    Vegan Chef

  41. Nat
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    Thanks so much for writing 🙂 Let me know if you need any help – I’m glad to answer questions. Definitely pick up “The Pleasure Trap” it is a great book!
    Just start increasing the amount of meals you consume to healthy vegan meals, and go from there, it can be a gradual process if you’d like. It is awesome that you are eating lots of vegetables, that is a great way to start the transition back to being 100% vegan if that is what you want to do.

  42. formervegan
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    I saw this post on the let them eat meat blog. Honestly, after reading this, I’m starting to see maybe why vegan didn’t work for me, I was eating a lot of processed foods. I now eat meat, fish a very small amount of dairy, but I also do not eat junk food, I eat a lot of vegetables. I guess what I’m wondering now, is if I tried a healthy vegan diet, I would be better off, I was eating a lot of processed foods before, very little vegetables. Some of the health issues I have currently were not helped by a vegan or non vegan diet, and the truth is I know a lot more unhealthy omnivores than unhealthy vegans. I’m interested in the pleasure trap book you mentioned, and will pick it up. Thanks for the inspiring post and for being kind in your response on LTEM.

  43. chance
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    I’m also coming over from “Let Them Eat Meat”, I saw your comment there, and I 100% agree, no matter what diet someone chooses, eating junk food is a bad idea! That is pretty universal. This is a great post, good for you for speaking out against junk food and processed foods, we are a country of addicts when it comes to food, and I think all of us, omnivore, paleo, vegan and otherwise can agree on that. I just finished “Eat to Live” and I am now sticking with a 90/10 way of eating. I eat about 10% of my food from animal products, the rest is all vegetables, some whole grains, beans, fruits and nuts.

  44. Nat
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    Hi Deb 🙂
    You are right, animal proteins/fat/cholesterol are dangerous for people with type 2 diabetes – or people who don’t want to get type 2 diabetes. I also ate a very healthy omnivore diet, and still had out of control diabetes. It wasn’t until I switched to a completely healthy plant based diet that things changed drastically for me.
    I eat a very simple, very whole unprocessed diet. Beans, vegetables, some nuts/seeds, some intact grains (i’m gluten free) and some fruit. Since going healthy vegan my diabetes is gone, and all of the other health issues I had when I was an omnivore – no more high cholesterol, high BP, arthritis and nerve damage. But the key was eating a plant based diet that is outlined in all of the medical studies saying that plant-based nutrition can reverse so many diseases – a diet that is free of processed junk foods as well as being plant-based.
    As for being tired, I’d say to make sure you are taking a b12 supplement – it is interesting to note though, omnivores have very now b12 levels as well now, which is mostly because of our very sanitized soils, get sunshine when you can, get some walking or cardio in and get rest. Sometimes the body has a hard time adjusting, but give it time, it will eventually adjust. Also, because of the diabetes, remember that high blood sugar can cause issues in energy levels, when you feel tired, even when you switch to a healthy vegan diet – be sure to test your blood sugar to make sure it is not spiking for some reason.

  45. Deb

    I could really use your help. I was vegan for a while, and actually reversed my Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. I started to read some other blogs about people who were vegan and how they felt so much better not being vegan anymore, and so I thought that maybe some of my issues like feeling tired would go away if I started eating meat and dairy again. Well, now I have diabetes and my cholesterol is over 200 again, I thought I was eating a healthy omnivore diet, very low carbs, I guess kind of like paleo? I don’t want to have diabetes or high cholesterol, I’ve read “Reversing Diabetes” so I know that animal protein is mostly what causes it, but I also didn’t feel great when I was vegan, on the other hand, I don’t know if what I was eating as a vegan would be considered healthy. I read that you reversed your diabetes, and I’m just wondering what kind of diet you stick to and what will get rid of the diabetes with out making me feel tired. Thank you.

  46. Nat
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    That’s awesome 🙂 Please let me know if you need any help. I’ve met so many former vegans turned vegan again, once they figured out that they simply needed to choose healthier food options (being lots of veggies and whole foods!) It’s definitely the best diet if you love animals 🙂

  47. Foodie
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    Totally relate to what @formervegan said! Reading this gives me hope that it wasn’t that I was vegan that made me feel crappy, it was because I was eating way too much processed food, I had a bad french fry addiction! I want to get back into being vegan, I love animals a lot, I just don’t think I was ever doing it in a healthy way. Thanks for the post, I’ll let you know how it all goes!

  48. me

    I just wanted to thank you for being a nice vegan, I’ve run into a lot of mean vegans, especially after I gave up on being vegan. I didn’t want to post over on Let Them Eat Meat because I was afraid of getting flamed or something, but I am actually considering the way I was vegan before. My doctor told me that I shouldn’t be vegan after I was having some health problems, but I’ve been what I think is a healthy meat eater for a year now, and I still have the same health problems, so eating meat again did not make me feel any better. I ethically agree with being vegan, but I just couldn’t make it work at the time, but now reading this and all of the comments, a clear picture is being painted what I could have been doing wrong. I was not eating junk food all the time, but I was not eating a lot of fresh food like produce, I ate a lot of pasta. I’m going to give veganism another try, and maybe this time I can figure out a way to do it in a healthy way! You definitely live up to your blog name.
    Do you have a book that you recommend to get me started? When I went vegan before, I didn’t do it for health reasons, and just stopped eating meat and dairy with out really thinking through what I’d eat instead, so I don’t know where to start. Thanks again for being a nice vegan.

  49. Nat

    Hi 🙂
    That is really great. And I’m so sorry you have run into mean vegans, that is really a shame.

    I think that like you so many people who try vegan and don’t feel their best, often have made the mistake of substituting meat/dairy/eggs with unhealthy foods. It’s not your fault at all, there is a lot of mixed messages out there, and sometimes it is hard to know what is right and wrong.

    I really like “Engine” which is a pretty good introduction and slowly helps you to change your diet, while giving you the actual scientific evidence for sticking to a plant-based diet.

    Please keep in touch and let me know if you need anything. I’m glad to help.

  50. Nat

    Hi Dana! 🙂

    Engine is kind of for anyone on a time crunch, probably good for you and your little one!

    As for kids, I definitely would say get the book “Disease Proof Your Child” by Dr.Furhman.

    And as for the diabetes, just know that it can and will go away – by making some pretty easy diet changes.

    I say – start with breakfast and go from there 🙂

    Let me know if you need any help,

    Nat

  51. Dana

    I read this on an ex vegan blog today like some other commenters. I’m also an ex vegan, I was vegan for about 2 years and when I got pregnant started eating meat again, and then really didn’t stop, and thought I felt better for it, because I could eat so many more things, so long as they were organic.

    I’m pretty healthy about the way I eat, but I also was diagnosed with pre-diabetes, so obviously what I’m doing is not working. This post was perfectly timed, because I was thinking about being vegan again, but I also wasn’t completely sure how to do so in a way that avoided processed fake meats. But it sounds like you are saying that you don’t need processed fake meats and that is the better way to thrive on a vegan diet.

    I am also going to give it a try again. I think I’ll pick up the Pleasure book you mention and maybe Engine 2, but I don’t know if that is a book for men? Also, do you have resources for feeding kids?

    I want to live a more compassionate life with out eating animals , organic or not, but I want to make sure that I don’t fall into the same mistakes as so many other ex vegans.

    Thanks, this has been such a helpful post, I’m glad I read it this morning, I don’t read vegan blogs, but often take a peak at some of the ex vegan ones.

  52. Anonymous

    Just a note – I really want to thank those who have emailed and commented coming over from the blog called “Let them Eat Meat”.
    I just want you to know that if you are interested in transitioning back to a vegan life after reading this, I’m glad to help in anyway that I can, and I will support you in anyway that I can.

    I think what is clear is that there are unhealthy ways to eat, in any diet, including a vegan diet. By far, a plant-based diet has been proven over and over again to reverse and prevent disease, however this has been proven with a healthy unprocessed plant-based diet, not a processed junk food (vegan) diet.

    I also think it is a good thing to separate the word vegan from plant based. Being vegan to me is a lifestyle, it means I don’t wear leather or buy things tested on animals. My diet is the void of animal products for ethical reasons.

    However, my diet is healthy and plant based for health reasons. I also do not consume animals, because it has been proven to cause the many health issues I had while eating animals (like T2 diabetes and more). But the key was doing this all in a very healthy unprocessed, non junk way. So if you are a former vegan who believes they got sick from being vegan, just know that it was more than likely not the vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds and fruit that caused you to be sick.

    I can’t speak for every single case, but in most cases a healthy plant-based (vegan) diet is the best way of eating that someone can choose.

    Thank you so much for being kind in your responses, I think it does the world so much good to be open but considerate and kind.

    Just know I’ll always be kind and not judging – because I’ve been where a lot of you have been, I’ve struggled so much with food addiction, so I know it is NOT easy.

    If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me, I’d be glad to help in anyway that I can.

    <3
    Nat

  53. denverVegan

    I’m sending you a PM but wanted to publicly say thank you for writing what you did. I was vegan for about 6 months and then started eating meat and thought I felt better for it, but now have some health problems, which I will tell you more about in a PM. I like a lot of people am realizing that the vegan diet I was on was not really healthy, so I want to do it all over, and right this time. I think I might have met or seen you at a Denver Vegan meetup, did you ever go to any? I wish I had talked to you then, might have done me some good. Peace.

  54. Sharon
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    I have never heard of Daiya cheese and decided to look it up to see what it’s made from, here are the ingredients:

    Filtered water, tapioca and/or arrowroot flours, non-GMO expeller pressed canola and /or non-GMO expeller pressed safflower oil, coconut oil, pea protein, salt, inactive yeast, vegan natural flavours, vegetable glycerin, xanthan gum, citric acid (for flavor), annatto.

    Plus it is 6 grams of fat per serving.

    I don’t know if this is much better than dairy cheese to be honest. Your body would be trying to assimilate multiple ingredients, many which has already been processed before being processed into the cheese. Dairy cheese is essentially cow’s milk and salt with a binding agent. (not to say that milk or cheese is healthy!)

    I found this discussion through the Dr.McDougall forum, it speaks volumes. I don’t eat a lot of animal subs, but sometimes I do snack on not such healthy “vegan” or “vegetarian” items. I’ve really been cutting back and it’s great to see so many other plant eaters doing the same. I think people are finally realizing that lots of fats, oils and refined foods are not going to promote health.

  55. Kathryn
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    This is just awesome. I love this post, obviously others do too. I love me some dayia, coconut milk ice cream, and dandies, but I know it is not going to help me shed any of the weight I’ve got hanging on my hips.

    I’ve also got to remember that the green smoothie for breakfast doesn’t justify a vegan doughnut for dessert!

    Great post, love love love it.

  56. bea
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    There have been tons of comments on this! I just want to say, that I agree, and I agree with the person who said that eating a whole lot of fake meat could possibly lead you to meat and animal products. I was vegan for months in 2010 and then tried some quiorn on ‘accident’ assuming there was no animals (contains egg whites), then I started incorporating more and more flavored baked tofu, and smoked “sausages”, I think a lot of it was because my husband became vegetarian and he had requests for substitutes. It lead me to eating cheese again. I am mildly lactose intolerant. I’m eating out more. I even tried a shrimp tempura sushi bite my husband had (EWWW it was GROSS I don’t know what I was THINKING!!). I’ve gained ten pounds. Although still at a healthy weight and working out regularly after reading your post I think I’m going vegan again.

    Thanks

  57. Cinderella
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    I’ve been a vegan for 13 years. In the last 3 years, since I got married and started using meat and dairy substitutes for making meals for my omnivore husband, I’ve gained almost 50 lbs! I used to be 110 and now I’m 160 lbs. My ideal weight is around (according to US weight charts) 120-130, but according to Dr.Furhman, I was fine at 110.

    Anyway, that’s when I started gaining weight! My cholesterol is still way low and my sugar is great, despite eating a diet of vegan junk food and a cupcake a week. I don’t get enough exercise or enough phytochemicals.

    I did Eat to Live by Dr.Fuhrman for a month and lost 12 lbs! I didn’t deprive myself at all but did eat only whole foods that I prepared myself. I got lazy after that, went back to Daiya, and regained more than what I had lost. Sad, huh?

    I never realized what was causing the weight gain. I thought it was bad willpower or too many calories. I’m not really eating too many calories according to my best efforts to keep track of calories, so what is it? It must be the junk food.

    I resolve to kick out junk food. If I’m not energetic enough to cook it then I’ll eat a raw vegetable or fruit, but I’m not eating any more junk.

    One of the country’s best vegan restaurants is near me. They serve a lot of fake vegan meat and cheese. No more for me. Cinderella’s kitchen is now home to the best vegan eatery in the USA! Woohoo!!!

  58. cindarella
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    I also got the book “An Appetite For Reduction”. It’s a vegan cookbook by an author who also authored a book about vegan cupcakes, gained weight, and then wrote this diet book for herself. I think that’s great! She came up with some great ideas in this Appetite For Reduction book. I can’t wait to try them, because I got the book in the mail today and I’m excited about trying it.

  59. pauline
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    Wow there are a lot of comments! I actually only saw a small quote of this article on another page that normally bashes vegans, I’m not vegan now, but I’ve tried in the past and failed miserably. But I also pretty much ate all meat substitutes, lots of breads, I got hooked on dandies vegan marshmallows – because you are healthy, you probably don’t know what they are, but basically little bites of heaven made from sugar. I got back to eating meat and dairy, my cholesterol is high, I’m still fat, and I’m still miserable. I got to see a screening of the movie Forks Over Knives and once I again learned all of the reasons why I really should not eat meat, but I kept thinking aback to the time when I tried being vegan and was not healthy. After reading this post, I am starting to understand what the movie was saying and what eating a “plant-centered” diet is really about. I’m picking up Engine 2 Diet, the screening I was at talked about that book, and I see you like it. Maybe they should have a Forks Over Knives diet book or something. I do live near a Whole Foods, but even Whole Foods has a lot of vegan junk food, like my darling little dandies!
    Thanks for writing this, I’m glad I came over and read the whole post and a lot of the comments. Hopefully you’ve helped me on the path to healthy veganism.
    PEACE!

  60. jacky
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    I have noticed too, that a lot of animal-rights vegans have total disdain for those of us who are vegan because of health reasons. I’m a vegan for both reasons, animal rights and health. Although I would say foremost it’s for health reasons. It is very ignorant for animal rights activist to behave this way towards those they should be with standing with instead of against. It’s time we stand together against ALL suffering. It’s time to get our heads out of the sand and put down the fried isolated soy protein wings. Can I get an amen up in here?

  61. vegan junk-fooder
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    I cried when I read this post, because I suffer from really severe food addictions, and in my vegan community, which is pretty big, junk food is kind of celebrated. Every meetup is a lot of desserts, fried foods and other things that I can not say no to. If I talk about wanting to be healthier I feel like an outcast, if I don’t eat food people tell me not to be a health nut, yes even vegan people. But they don’t know how hard it is for me, sometimes they put the “health vegans” down and talk about how wishy-washy they are, but it doesn’t sound like you are wishy-washy at all, maybe there can be both ways, a vegan because eating animals is not just unethical it is also unhealthy. I agree with you that it is even better for the animals to be as healthy as we can, I don’t want to be a part of drug companies profits if I don’t need to be.
    Somewhere you said a book about pleasure or addictions, can you link to it? I feel out of control with my eating, I honestly don’t know the last time I ate a salad, even my green smoothies are unhealthy.
    Thanks for writing this, it was probably hard, but I’m glad to see a lot of positive comments. Also, I didn’t know you were the same person in Veganist. I saw your story about diabetes and I really loved it! Good for you. Will you be on any TV shows with Kathy?

  62. Martha
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    In the words of the late Jack LaLanne: “If man made it, don’t eat it.”
    I am obese with a terrible family history of heart disease and stroke. Borderline diabetic as well. August of 2010 I had a heart scare that really did scare me.
    I saw Bill Clinton in an interview talking about his plant based diet and The China Study. I read The China Study and 2 of Dean Ornish’s books. In September 2010 I decided to give it a try.
    I have lost 20 pounds with some (but woefully not really enough) exercise. I am off all medication except thyroid and HRT. I use only about a tablespoon of canola oil a day in my cooking.
    My blood pressure at last check was 122/68.
    My A1c dropped from 6.9 to 6.4 in 3 months. My triglycerides and total cholesterol however went way up. I am not sure why. I will get rechecked in a month and see how it goes.
    I have never felt better really. No more GERD. I was tempted to try all the fake food substitutes but decided to do this the right way and see what happens.
    I don’t really miss the meat, cheese,eggs or dairy. I drink only filtered tap water and low sodium V8 juice.
    I agree that processed foods are the bain of good health whether vegan or not.

  63. Lisa
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    Sadly, it’s now entirely possible to be vegan, and not eat vegetables! I became a vegan already free of processed sugars, artificial sweeteners, and most processed foods, and yet, I managed to fall for all the vegan faux meats, cheeses and other goodies available.

    This year, I’m focusing on eliminating all of them from my diet. I am no longer simulating eating an omnivorous diet. I’m a vegan, dammit—I’m eating vegetables!

  64. Melissa
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    I follow the 80/20 rule, personally.

    I eat 80% (or higher) good stuff – fresh fruit, whole grains, produce in extremely giant amounts (dinner includes a half a pound of roasted veggies each night, for instance), no added oils, legumes/pulses, etc. and I eat 20% other things. The occasional protein bar, slice of cake (that I don’t make at home – when I bake, which is often, I use stevia, no oil/added fat and ww flour), ice cream. I do like Gardein and some mock meats – I don’t eat them every day (usually, I have occasional bad weeks) thought. I use Daiya sparingly – bag lasts us 2-3 months in the freezer.

    Honestly, I’m a marathon runner. I need calories and sometimes the best way to get calories without loads of bulk is processed food. I can only eat so much nut butter/nuts/seeds before the high fat makes me feel icky. I eat lots of fresh fruit, since it’s carby and more calorific than veg, but again there’s only so much I can eat. Ditto whole grains – high calories and carbs but super bulky. My fiber is already through the roof (50+ grams a day, even eating processed stuff) and too much can affect nutrient absorption.

    I track my food and my macros/micros are good. My bloodwork comes back seriously epically good each time I have it done. I think I’ve managed to find some balance. However, your mileage may vary. Not everyone runs like I do so my stuff is likely not typical to most vegans out there! I’m just proud of myself for cutting all added oils out of my cooking/baking and using stevia where I’d usually use sugar! That seems pretty good for me (a sugar addict. Hah.)

  65. amy
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    Great post. I am a whole foods vegan and agree with your post. As a movement we have to put our best face forward. Let’s not forget about the human animal and the pain and suffering diseases from a poor diet bring. Let’s end all suffering.

  66. Anni

    This is very pertinent to me right now. I’ve been vegetarian for a year or so and vegan for the last 5 months. My doc has classed me as obese for the last 6 years = i’m in my 50′s. I exercise regularly, but still felt tired and awful. From 1 Jan I’ve been eating low fat vegan – including eliminating soy based products as a mainstay, as these too are high in fats. And guess what? I’ve lost 5 kilos! Even better I feel fantastic, have so much more energy which inspires me to exercise a bit more. I don’t feel hungry as I keep all the whole grain starches up and prepare most things from scratch. Dr.McDougall has done a lot of research and publishing in this area and I used his info from https://www.drmcdougall.com/health/education/free-mcdougall-program/before-you-begin/ to help me. I love healthy vegan food and I love how I feel now. Keep eating vegan and keep it healthy!

  67. Nat
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    Wow, there are so many comments! I’m so glad for each of you who has taken time to read and comment. I think there is so much to learn. I hope that we can all agree to work together to end any needless suffering, be it animals or humans.

    If you are working toward a healthier life, no matter what you call yourself, I will just encourage you to start eating more plants, more whole foods, more fruit, more foods with high nutrient density, more foods that are filled with micro nutrients, vitamins, fiber.. just the basic good stuff.

    Start with one meal, and see where that takes you. Or go all in, and see what that can do. Being aware is a huge step, and I’m glad to help anyone who is in need.

  68. Lin
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    “Do you have an websites that are by vegans and focus on healthy recipes? ”

    Hi,

    My partner and I both came from an omnivorous diet to lacto-ovo vegetarianism to vegan using commercially available substitutes to eliminating as many processed foods from our diet as possible. She even makes homemade tofu for us! 🙂

    Also, rarely do we eat anywhere except our home, because while we live in an area that is very vegan friendly, most of the restaurants serve food that we wouldn’t eat at home.

    Our blog, Vegan, focuses on healthy, plant-based recipes, created by my partner Danny. Check it out. I hope you will find recipes on there that appeal to you.

  69. Melissa
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    His Faux Fish, Lentil Loaf and Lentil Stroganoff get made ALL the time at our house. I’ve never had a bad recipe from myvegancookbook. Heck, I’ve never even had a mediocre one! Totally check it out. Mmmm.

  70. wendy
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    “Do you have an websites that are by vegans and focus on healthy recipes? ”

    Glad you asked vegancupcake. I happen to have a collection of recipes, which clean up some of the fave vegan junk foods, like vegan cookies. I also have a lot of vegetable centric recipes and recipes for healthy versions of fake meats. Just click my name and you are there.

  71. VeganOne
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    I wanted to respond to vegancookie. I’m also in a an area with an amazing vegan community, who knows, maybe we are in the same city. I know what you are talking about, my friends joke about the bad food they eat, the vegan donuts at our favorite bakery, the vegan corndogs, the vegan junk food sold at some of our favorite stores. I actually feel guilty when I don’t eat unhealthy vegan food, I know it sounds stupid, but I feel like I owe it to those vegan vendors to eat their food, no matter how unhealthy it is, because I love animals and I want to see more vegan places open and be supported, and I think that being a vegan establishment of course is saving the lives of animals. It’s really hard though, because I feel like I also have a bad food addiction, there have been times where I’ve struggled with eating disorder as well. I don’t want to be made fun of or called out because I’m trying to be healthy, but I feel like some people will jump down my throat if all of a sudden I’m not going to our favorite spots, or buying cookbooks by some people I am actually friends with, or going to meetups and partaking in food that is not doing me so much good. I guess I’m learning that there is not really “just a little bit” for me, or moderation, I can’t turn off my love of certain food, and just having a little is not something I can do. Maybe it’s time I’m honest with my friends and tell them that I’m really struggling and that it’s not me judging them the next time I don’t go for donuts or whatever. Do you get people who think they are being judged by you? I know you say a lot that you are not judging, and I don’t feel like you are at all, because you seem like you have been where a lot of us seem to be, but how do you deal with it? And are you in a city where there are a lot of vegans?

    Do you have an websites that are by vegans and focus on healthy recipes?

    maybe we should start a group or something.

    Thanks for your post.

  72. New Vegan
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    I was lurking around a blog all about not being vegan and found this post. love it! It kind of sounds like there is a healthy way to go about a vegan diet. I definitely am on board, I don’t want to cause animal suffering, but I’ve also heard for a long time that vegans aren’t healthy, which is how I found the other blog, I guess that vegan didn’t work out for them and they got upset about it. But I’ve never tried a completely unprocessed approach to my diet. I don’t have many health issues that I know of, but my whole family is sick with something, so I’m interested in the health side as well. They are all meat/dairy eaters and look healthy, but they all have things like diabetes, heart problems, cancer, so obviously, I can point out that people who eat meat are not healthy either. This was great timing for me, I’ve always wanted to be vegan because I hate what happens to animals, but I just didn’t know how to do it, so thanks. I’m starting tomorrow. I’ve got a Whole Foods near me. Is there a non dairy milk that is ok? I really love cereal and oatmeal.

  73. Clay
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    I have lost 40 lbs in the last year because I joined Weight Watchers. I made the transition to veganism while still on the program and I’ve continued to lose weight, while also adding junky vegan foods into my diet. I’m a volume-eating food addict and I’ve found that WW is the only thing that’s really helped me lose the weight, and control some of the addiction. There’s a sizeable vegan community on the WW site/forums, which I was utterly shocked to find. I have no doubt that if I wasn’t on the program I probably would have also made the transition without the proper education about how to substitute healthfully, so I really attribute my success with veganism to that program, believe it or not. Their new program also encourages people to choose more healthy, minimally processed foods, fruits, and veggies. I don’t mean to be an advocate for this or that, but this has worked for me.

    I also really appreciate this post and I’ll now be more conscious about the junky foods I eat.

    Natala, your compassion for animal and human life is evident, and your honesty and candor are much appreciated.

    Thank You!

  74. gen
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    Funny, I have been thinking about the same thing. I have seen tofu products, chips, oreos and etc creeping into our household. I wanted to blame companies for making processed junk food but I know (as well as everyone else) that it is us as consumers that need to stop buying the junk. It only goes into our houses through our own hands. If we stop buying it, they will stop making it.

  75. Nat
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    I think that giving up animals is one of the healthiest things one can do (or at the very least drastically reduce their consumption to where it is not a danger) but the trouble is that often people will replace one bad habit with another bad habit, that is where some of the vegan junk food enters in – sadly.

    Thanks so much for responding. I think the world would be much better off health wise, if no matter what someone calls themselves food wise – everyone just ate a lot more of the good stuff (the foods with micro nutrients, phytochemicals, fiber, vitamins) and a lot less of the bad stuff.

  76. Meateater
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    I’m not Vegan and don’t plan on it but I have some very happy vegan family members. Upon seeing the changes that have occured in their lives I decided to try it for a couple weeks. I was amazed how relatively easy it was to make the change. I can see where the benefits are in eating healthier.

    I should preface the next statement with the fact: I have never read a vegan blog ever before. That being said, this is the first time I have heard a vegan admit that not eating animals can still be unhealthy. The key point being that addictions can follow us. I applaud anyone who actively desires to make positive changes in their life. In most cases, moderation can solve many of the health problems that people face. When it comes to addictions, extreme measures are often required. I think the hardest thing about eating related addictions is that we can’t just stop eating altogether.

    I hope that I have not offended anyone. Thank you for your honesty and your willingness to share with the world.

  77. givinguponmeat
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    I was on Vegan Chef s call last night, WOW. I had no idea that animal products have no nutritional benefit at all, it’s like eating a white bagel! I never heard anyone talk about macro/micro nutrients. No wonder why even people who think they are healthy are not healthy. Basically, there is some foods (meat, dairy, eggs, sugar, oil, salt) that is NOT food, really just drugs. Some people can have small amounts of these drugs and not suffer, but some people because of the way we’re programmed have to eat tons of these drugs just to feel ok! WOW!
    This is a great post, I decided to go vegan after watching Oprah and then found you somehow or another, then listened to Vegan Chef call, and I’m signed up! Where do I get my vegan membership pin?!

  78. big vegan
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    I’ll tell you the truth, I was furious when I read this the first time, because I thought that how dare she say there is a better way to be vegan. I just read Veganist, I love me a good vegan book! I saw your story in it, it was really good. But I had heard of you before, but I just didn’t know your story. Back to the point, I was pissed the first time I read this, because to me companies like dayia are helping people go vegan. err. at least that is what I thought, then I realized the only people I know who eat vegan junk food are vegans, long time vegans mostly, I honestly can’t say I’ve met one person that has said “OH SHIT! This fake cheese is so damn tasty, I’m gonna go vegan!” It’s usually because someone doesn’t want to cause animal torture anymore, we shouldn’t need vegan junk food to lure in potential vegans, that’s like not really what veganism is about, right? Using addiction to get someone to think that being vegan is easy, not really cool. I’ve gained weight as a vegan, I’m proud of my body, but I’m also realistic, fat is not healthy. I eat a lot, and I really don’t eat a lot of vegetables, if I do they are accompanied by oil and salt probably. I guess brocoli in my white pasta dayia filled mac no cheeze does not count. damn it.
    So thanks for writing this, I’m making a commitment to be healthy, I’m cutting out the crap that doesn’t do my body good. I mean it’s pretty common knowledge that animal products hurt the human body a lot, but I guess what we need to see as vegans is that there are vegan foods that hurt our body as well, just because it has that little heart with the V doesn’t mean it’s good for your heart.
    OH. I’m also in a big vegan city, and it is hard, I’m throwing a potluck maybe, no crap potluck.

  79. former vegan
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    I was glad to see some other former vegans comment, I’m one. I didn’t want to say this on the site that I read the small part of your article, because there are some passionate and vocal ex-vegans, and they can get pretty viscous, and I understand, a lot of them had some bad experiences with veganism. I got sick after being vegan for a few months, when I went to the doctor she told me to start eating meat, dairy again, I can’t eat eggs. Well, that didn’t do much good, she also told me to start eating a lot more vegetables, fruit, whole grains, seeds, nuts, that is when I started to feel better, but I thought it was because I was eating meat again that I was getting healthier. It hit me while readin this that I don’t eat a lot of meat anymore, I eat a lot of vegetables. I track my nutrition and always go over on my protein! But when I got sick after being vegan, I wasn’t eating as healthy as I eat now, because I was not eating the vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts, seeds, I was eating all substitutes, no vegetables really at all, no wonder I got sick! This post clarified a lot for me, and the comments. I cried for days when my dr. said I couldn’t be vegan, I really do not want to contribute to animal slavery, but I also didn’t want to make myself sick. I’m jumping back into veganism, but I’m going to research and read first this time and learn how to eat the right way. I don’t want to make the same mistakes this time. I bet you didn’t think you’d get nice responses from ex-vegans. I’m hoping to find some other people who want to give being vegan a second, healthier chance. Congratulations on being in Veganist! I saw the Oprah show with Kathy. Thanks for what you are doing, and also thanks for being nice, I’ve commented on vegan blogs before just to get attacked. It’s good to see someone who is nice in the blogosphere!
    Do you eat tofu?

  80. Jenny

    I didn’t know there was an UNHEALTHY way to be vegan! Why didn’t anyone tell me??? LOL Just kidding! I went vegan after reading Eat to Live and then China Study, reversed all sorts of medical issues. I was healthy, well so I thought, before, but I ate about 30-45% of my diet in animals, I never ate junk food, went to physical therapy and worked out as much as I was able to, ate lots of vegetables, fruit, never ate white anything, never ate sugar, soda, coffee, so yeah, I thought I was healthy . I have some medical conditions that I thought I was just stuck with, like arthritis (I’m only 28), well I went vegan about a year ago, and in about 2 months my arthritis started to get so much better, I didn’t believe it, but now I have hardly any symptoms, and I’ve gone off almost all my meds. Even though I was healthy before, it turned out I could be a lot healthier with out eating animals. I like you learned about animal cruelty after I stopped eating animals, and now I am definitely a vegan, won’t wear leather, or use animal products for anything else.
    I have to tell you, my Doctor was 100% behind me when I told him I wanted to go vegan and he said it could only help my condition! I asked him why he hadn’t said anything to me before, he said because people get angry when he tells them not to eat meat! WTF?! I told him that those people just need to get over themselves.

  81. Vegan Chef
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    To Giving Up Meat:

    I will be happy to send you your pin! Thanks for being on the call. What I try to teach people is that from a NUTRIENT standpoint, eating PROCESSED FOOD (whether vegan or not) is the same as eating animal products as neither have water, fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, phytochemicals or micronutrients – only macronutrients. And micronutrients is what we NEED to prevent and reverse disease. So, to me, it’s not a moral judgement when I tell people that eating a bagel is the same as eating a chicken. NO NUTRIENTS!!! So, if a person chooses to eat CRAP (calorie rich and processed) they are not good/bad ir right/wrong, they are just not eating food that contains nutrients that will benefit their health. It’s great to be vegan ‘cuz you care about animals, but you’re an animal too, so start caring about yourself and stop eating CRAP (vegan or not)!

    Love & Kale,
    Vegan Chef

  82. Dawn
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    Wow…what a great post and I loved reading all the comments. I’m actually not vegan or even vegetarian BUT, from the sound of it, I’m not doing too bad. After joining my CSA I eat mostly vegetarian and I, in fact, emailed my husband that I am slowly turning green and growing leaves. For dinner I had some spinach and a roasted beet that had just been pulled out of the ground.

  83. ex-Vegan
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    I wrote you a private e-mail, but I wanted to say on the blog that I really appreciate what you are doing. I went from Vegan to being very passionate about a Paleo diet. I never felt at my best on a Vegan diet, and someone introduced me to Paleo and it made a lot of sense to me. When I was Vegan, although not completely healthy, my cholesterol was 98, it was perfect as my Doctors would say. I went on a Paleo diet, started eating very selective animal products, I know the man who raises and butchers the animals that I buy. Now, 8 months later my cholesterol is 210, yes, the bad kind. My Doctor told me that if it did not come back down, I’d have to go on lipitor. The sad thing is that I know all of the scientific evidence of why eating more than 10% animal products is harmful for the body, but I bought into a way of eating, just thinking it was the source of my food, not the type of food that was the problem.

    When I read this I had to admit a lot of things to myself.
    1. There is an unhealthy way to be vegan.
    2. You can’t ignore decades of actual science research.
    3. People who go on a 90% or more plant based healthy diet have dramatic results.
    4. I myself had a healthy cholesterol, stuck to the Paleo way of living, and I now am facing going on cholesterol lowering drugs.

    I think that one can be on the Paleo diet and be 90-100% vegan.

    I ordered Dr.Essestyn’s book on reversing heart disease, and I will start to cut back on the amount of animal products I consume, even the ones that I kill myself.

    Your post was timely. I want to thank you for your very kind e-mail to me this morning, I was afraid to e-mail you, because like other “ex-Vegans” I have not had a favorable reaction, and lost a lot of friends when I became passionate about my Paleo life style.

    I want to find a happy medium, but I know now that anymore that 10% animal products is probably not healthy for me.

    Thank you Nat for what you do and being understanding and honest.

  84. Vegan Chef
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    If you want the truth about the Paleo diet listen to Dr. Pam Popper’s CD’s and she scientifically blows the lid off it. MEAT IS ADDICTIVE so of course people will embrace a diet that allows them to believe good news about their bad habits. We are not Cave Dwellers!

  85. gem
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    Hi Vegan Chef,

    With all due respect, not all ways of eating work for all climates and populations.

    To say that meat is “addictive” to Westerners who can afford to make choices about their energy sources is one thing.

    To call it a bad habit, point-blank, ignores the fact that many parts of world, including much of the U.S., are not appropriate for growing large amounts of crops, but do provide an ideal environment for small-scale grazing of ruminants who can turn grass and other plants (undigestible to humans) into food that humans can eat and digest.

    These animals are the main livelihood for people in these areas, and, oftentimes, traditionally represent something deeply spiritual. To brush off this as “addictive” or to use the term “cave dweller” seems insulting.

    The herds and the herders of Mongolia, Siberia, and some parts of the Arctic (such as the Sami) have long-held symbiotic relationships between animal and human that might be difficult to understand for those of us who come from a culture that views food as the lowest thing someone or something can become.

    The fact that so many in Western nations can potentially live off of plants completely (or anything we are able to buy – anything we want, anytime, for that matter), all year round, is a testament to an industrialization that should not necessarily be striven for here or in other places.

    Some vegans who wish to be self-reliant can and do produce all of their own food if they have the space and especially if they live in an appropriate climate; others, especially those in smaller spaces and in colder climates, have learned that small livestock can help make up those needed calories that they are not able to grow from plants, and thus come to a crossroads about veganism.

  86. San
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    It is refreshing to read this, and very encouraging to read the comments from ex vegans, reading them made me realize that I should practice compassion toward people who give up on the vegan lifestyle, maybe, kindly offer to help if they are looking.

    I came to your blog after reading Veganist and looked you up. Your story is beautiful, you are a beautiful human being, and I am glad to meet you.

  87. tim
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    I’ve felt complete shame over the past year because I’ve gained weight as a vegan, I’m a fat vegan and also pre-diabetic. But I know why, I eat crap, all the time, sugar, more sugar, fried sugar, french fries, veganaise, earth balance, every thing that is not good to eat, vegan or not. I have prided myself in working my way through a vegan cookies recipe book, and it’s shown. I love my body, don’t get me wrong, but I guess I need to love it enough to feed it good stuff not crap.

    I eat vegetables, on occasion, usually with a fatty oil based dressing. I don’t even eat much fruit, beans, whole grains? what are whole grains?

    This post kicked me in the ass, I’m ready for a change. I don’t want to be fat and sick anymore.

  88. Vegan Chef
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    If you don’t believe thaty meat and dairy are addictive, read “Breaking The Food Seduction” by Neal Barnard, M.D. As with any other toxin, if it weren’t addictive, people would not struggle so much when attempting to give it up. That is why there is a McDonald’s on every corner and not a fruit and vegetable stand.

    Love & Kale,
    Vegan Chef

  89. john
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    Hi Vegan Chef,

    You’re not really replying to the culturalism I addressed, but I will counter your comment:

    The food at McDonald’s (and in the SAD, for that matter) *is* mostly plant-based – processed plants like wheat, sugar, and corn, plus vegetable oils.

    There are more refined grains, sugars, and vegetable oils in a McDonald’s meal than there is actual meat – huge reasons why it is so addictive.

    You don’t see too many people lining up to eat recognizable organ meats, animal blood, or other parts of an animal that are not popular in Western civilization.

  90. Nat
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    I think we can all agree that no matter what diet someone chooses, the best thing to do no matter the climate is to consume as many micro nutrients, phytochemicals, vitamins, as they are able to.
    If you are able to consume a high whole foods unprocessed plant (actual whole plant) diet, you should aim toward that.

    This is about healing disease, and working to the best of our knowledge to help people live healthier lives.

    What I am focused on is mostly the out of control western (American) diet in which the concern is not if someone lives in a different climate so much. There is a crisis in this country, and we are all better off to talk about what concerns the sickest nation in the world, and what things will truly help people in all realities and all economic positions.

    This is crucial. We need to figure out what is not only best for someone who can afford to grow their own food, but best for someone who is living in a studio apartment with three children and on food stamps.

    There are differences, and different opinions, but some of these are not based in the reality of our nation. Let’s work together to build a healthier world, find the commonalities not what tears us apart.

  91. Ruth
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    I am lucky to have a good doctor, who told me to stop eating animals and things that come from animals, but she also told me not to eat processed food. I was on a very healthy diet before I became vegan, I ate animals, mostly bought from a local farmer near where I live, and he is a nice man, and he didn’t treat the animals poorly or give them antibiotics or any nonsense.
    This did not stop heart disease nor did it stop Type 2 diabetes, not just stop, but reverse. You can control some of those diseases with a diet that includes meat, but you can’t reverse them, and that is what I learned.

    I was very resistant to the idea of not eating any animal products, I am older and have always had them in my diet. But, my Mother, Father and 2 brothers all passed away from heart disease or type 2 diabetes and heart disease. They lived in the same town, they ate the same way, they still got sick. So I thought I was just going to have my turn and get sick myself.

    My doctor encouraged me to just try for 60 days to see what happened, well I can do anything for 60 days, right? So I did. By day 60 I reversed my diabetes, I was off of drugs and my A1c was just fine, my blood pressure and cholesterol was also just fine with out the use of drugs.

    Well low and behold, my husband who also suffers from some health conditions was convinced as well. He was even healthier than I was before, and ate meat and dairy just once a day. Well he cut it out, and sure enough, in 60 days he was off all of his prescriptions.

    I thank God for giving us a good doctor and for all of His blessings that He has given us. We’re just eating the plants that God put here for us. I tell my friends, to just try it, to see what happens, do it in the right way, eat all whole foods just for 60 days, you won’t starve or get sick. I don’t know what the fussing is all about, just try it, eat healthy and see what happens, life is too short to not know if something will make you a healthier person. My Church ladies group is going to try it for 30 days, please keep them in your prayers.

    God Bless You! You are a special woman, indeed.

  92. Vegan Chef
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    One never needs to consume their calories from meat to get adequate calories. Grains will do just fine. If you watch Dr.McDougall’s free lecture at https://www.drmcdougall.com/ you will understand that all successful populations in the history of the world have existed on a STARCH BASED diet. The grain we currently use to feed livestock could feed THE ENTIRE WORLD many times over. Eat meat if you want, but please don’t try and rationalize it.

  93. Lisa
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    Nat you need a book or a show. You are kind and compassionate. I agree with you, I don’t like when people throw out odd situations, we need to get our acts together and stop arguing about things that don’t effect most people. Everyone can eat vegetables, whole grains and beans if they are living in the United States, and they can do so in a cheap way, and the diseases caused by S.A.D. diets will go away with ONLY that. When someone can start worrying about how something is grown, that is great, but we need to stop talking about things that can’t help people in all situations.

  94. Dana
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    Boy did I find this article at the right time as I was eating vegan chocolate frosting out of the container….yes really. I was a vegetarian for a year and became vegan Jan 1 this year and obviously have fallen into the trap of if its vegan its healthy. Of course the frosting is far from healhty. Don’t like Gardein but do like soy veggie burgers, cheese and just bought cream cheese…..getting sick thinking about it. Time to clean out the fridge and cupboards and start from scratch. Thank you for setting off the lightbulb above my head.

  95. Steph
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    I have been lurking on your blog for a while now. I am a type 2 diabetic, A1C 8, I am over 300 pounds. I read your story in Veganist and broke down, because I feel like you felt. I am so tired of living this life like this. I am also under thirty.

    Tomorrow, after so long of knowing the answer to diabetes, I am going to go on an unprocessed vegan diet. It is pathetic that I’ve debated so long about this, when it is just FOOD.

    I wanted to let you know that you make a difference, and that I hope more people listen to you and you get to speak to more and more people, the world needs to hear your story, and catch that hope that you spread.

    Thank you,
    Steph

  96. meat man
    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    I think we are going to need a group of vegans turned ex vegans turned healthy vegans. I’m not ready to come out of the back to vegan closet, because well I made a big deal of not being vegan anymore, and I’m going to look like an ass. Thank you for not making me feel like a total ass though. I found your site on a blog that rails against vegans all the time, and so I thought it was another post railing against some self righteous vegan, but then I clicked over, and was pretty surprised to read your post and the comments. One because, you were honest, being just vegan doesn’t mean you will be healthy, and you are not a jerk, even in your comments.
    So, ok, when I was vegan I tried to be healthy first, felt f*ing awesome, I lost weight, I was running marathons, I was a sex machine. Then, I started to use the fact that I work out a lot to eat some occasional junk food, like fake cheetos, soon after that I was eating less and less whole vegetables, and what became a treat became my diet. I ate tofu scramble hot pockets, whatever they are called in the organic section for breakfast, I ate chipolte vegan buritos a lot with chips and a soda for lunch almost every day, I was eating pasta with fake meat crumbles for dinner. I kept working out, but my times sucked, I felt awful and I blamed being vegan, because that is what all of my athletic friends told me the problem was. One of the guys got me started on some protein drinks, not vegan, and I started to eat meat, like some other people, it was all the healthy meat, cows went to day spas and listened to sounds of a trickling stream while being butchered.
    But I started to eat more vegetables as well. I stopped eating all of the bad food I was eating as a vegan though, and started to feel better. I think I’ve made the mistake of thinking that I was feeling better because I wasn’t vegan anymore, but now (SLAPS HAND ON FOREHEAD) maybe it was because I ate crap. What sucks is that since eating meat again, I am not a sex machine, and my cholesterol is higher, I don’t need that crap. If you are still reading this, because god knows it’s too damn long, I am going to go back into veganism. Do you know Robert Cheeke? The man is a beast and he’s vegan, and obviously doing something right. He obviously doesn’t need meat to make him a better athlete. I won’t be advertising my decision, because some of my friends will give me hell, hopefully when I’m back on top of my game I can tell them what I’m doing.
    Also, I want to say that I really hated eating meat again, even the meat that is raised ethically, it’s bothered me, I’ve watched earthlings, I know that there is not really such a thing as killing something in a humane way, if some asshole killed my cat, I’d be pissed, and I’d probably run them over, even if my cat didn’t know what was coming.
    Thanks for the post, making me think and not being a jerk to ex vegans.

  97. Kelly

    I wanted to share a little of my experience. I went vegan for ethical reasons about 10 years ago, I was young and my parents were not supportive, and told me I had to eat was in the house, no exceptions. So I did, but all that was left was white bread, chips, tater tots, peanut butter and sugar. When I went to college, I was in a small town, where it was hard to get vegan food, I would have the salad bar sometimes, but it was nasty usually, so I ate bread, cereal, pizza with out cheese, french fries. When I got out of college and could afford food, I was thrilled because there were all of these vegan substitutes for meat, dairy and pastry items and icecream. I got hooked on that.
    As you can imagine, that didn’t do much good for my body, so on the advice of my Doctor, I started to eat meat again, when I first had some beef, I felt better almost right away, I was devastated, because I hated that I would have to eat animals. I hated that I would cause suffering to animals, even if they were raised on organic farms, it was still cruel. My doctor encouraged me a lot to not be vegan, and told me to just have a little meat to see how I felt, well I did, and I felt great right away. I didn’t eat a lot of animal ingredients, but it was part of my daily diet. But I still had health problems, but I started to get hooked on meat, more and more.
    Then, a friend of mine posted a video by Dr. Neal Barnard about meat being physically addictive, I was intrigued. I picked up a few books recommended by my friend, about nutrition, and quickly found out that the way I went about being vegan before was not in a healthy way. I thought, what if I tried again, but this time followed nutrition experts advice?
    Well the result was pretty astonishing. It took me about 3 weeks to stop eating animal products, I had the hardest time with cheese, believe me, when people say cheese is addictive, it is. I ate no oil, no salt, no sugar, not even agave. I only ate beans, nuts, brown rice, oatmeal, vegetables, fruit. In just a month I felt better than I ever had, some of my health problems, some skin problems cleared up completely, even my vitamin levels got to where they needed to be, which didn’t happen when I was eating meat either.
    I wanted to share my story, because there were people who stopped being vegan for health reasons, and are trying to do it again. It is worth trying, and researching on how to do it in a healthier way, so you don’t fall into the same trap again.
    I liked a book by Dr.McDougal and also, the book Eat To Live, I can’t remember the authors name, but it was good.
    I also like that you talk about animal testing, even when I was eating meat I was completely against testing on animals, I did not pick up smoking because of that, though I really wanted to try smoking in college, but then someone showed me a picture of a dog who was severely disformed because of animal testing from the cigarette companies. The part about medications being tested on animals didn’t occur to me. I know that not all people can go medicine free, but if we can at least try to fix health problems with diet we should.

  98. Vegan Chef
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    I have been vegan for 33 years but only a healthy vegan for the past 8. As a chef and culinary instructor for the past 10 years, I find it is much easier to get a SAD eater to eat healthy than a vegan. SAD eaters KNOW they are eating crap. Unhealthy vegans think “if it’s vegan, it’s healthy”. NOT. I attended a few meeting of Vegan Toastmasters and the snacks were vegan junk – cookies, etc. Tonight I tried a regular Toastmaster meeting and they had a fruit tray and a veggie tray.

  99. Kelly
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    What a great blog. This is so true. Just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthy. And I say that every time I bake. My weight has been creeping up ever so slightly. I’m not overweight and could probably have used a few pounds but I’d rather add muscle than fat. So thank you for making me take a look at what is going into my mouth again.

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Nat
I went on a plant based diet after diabetes almost took my life. Now, almost 2 years later not only have I reduced my type 2 diabetes symptoms, I have lost close to 200 pounds (and still losing). This is a place where I write about my journey as I continue the quest for health, and living a good life for today, and long into the future. Get hold of me on [email protected]