I have of recent decided to transition into a vegan diet.
What I know has given me cause, and it is that:
I have a history of women from my mother's side who have suffered cancers.
I live in the region where these women were reared and lived.
I live in an area where it is difficult to locate organic and kosher foods.
I have suffered food poisoning twice recently, a disgusting sickness like none other I have ever suffered, and both times I have connected it to the poor handling of meat.
I have witnessed the unsanitary conditions and inhumane terms under which animal farms produce their animal products, even those which bare *politically correct* labeling.
I have smelled the putrid smell of a whole mound of potatoes and it gave no discomfort compared to the indescribable stench of death coming from one rot egg.
The benefits of this decision are:
A more preventative stance against cancers, and other toxic conditions such as high levels of mercury, or parasites and other micro-organisms, not to mention bouts of painful diarrhea; A much lower grocery bill eating more than I ever did before; A lower carbon print on this Earth; An affirmation that I am a member of society that exercizes her voice; and a life that is in sync with my belief.
The arguments against veganism are dated, in my view:
My pastor has said to me that God intended for people to eat from plants, trees and animals. I told her that I would surely eat cheese, fish and eggs, and probably meat and poultry too if I could assure the wholeness and cleanliness of those foods. But in today's world, things have changed so drastically and I believe many need to fight and cope with these changes. Food markets in developed countries are shoving so much animal product at us, and producing it at such high volumes (and without regard for a practice of humanity), causing over-consumption of these foods among its people, leading to higher risks to our long term health and daily well-being. God has rules for kosher eating, and with good reason! During the times spoken of in the Old Testament, foods were eaten with wooden utensils, and never could you use milk in utensils used for meat because the residues would remain in the porous wood and bacteria would develop and spoil whatever else touched it. If God meant for people to be strict in those conditions, I choose to be so strict in the conditions I live in of these times. And, thank you Lord, for the variety in abundance of sources of nourishment on this Earth. I will fight and cope better this way.
A more secular argument is that a vegan diet is lacking in certain vitamins and nutrients. But, for over a year now, I prepare all my meals from scratch, I buy only whole grains, dry beans, and whole fruits and vegetables. I produce my own flax seed oil and am mindful of its consumption as well as of olive oil and raw seeds and nuts. I can only speculate but with my meticulous care for my nourishment, I find I have better nutrition than most people who eat animals.
Specifically, regarding the micronutrients and vitamins in a vegan diet:
A variety of dark green leafy vegetables, as well as other vegetables (like roots and tubers), and fruits, whole grains, peas, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, give me the sufficient mix of essential amino acids I need for protein. I have found the same is true for calcium and iron. I am already consuming flaxseed properly for Omega 3 consumption. I use table salt and so will continue to receive the nominal amount of iodine required each day. Vitamin B12 can not be found in plant foods but I can purchase it in small amounts in tincture form. Advances in biotechnology may allow one to consume GM-milk in larger amounts and at lower costs of production, but it has also allowed one to supplement one or any one vitamin or nutrient a person's diet may lack, albeit otherwise an entirely healthy diet--hands down. As for vitamin D, personally I will never lack as I live in a very sunny climate all year round.
This is my Apology of sorts for a vegan diet. I hope that it may strike a chord in some reader's heart (brain) or even just cause a few readers to take something back with them for better health choices. As a novice enthusiast of veganism, I of course welcome any ideas, suggestions and remarks. That is after all why I have created this thread.
Welcome to the world of plant-eating. I'm not a vegan; I might be close to it but I don't quite make it all the way. To be acurate, I would have to call myself a pescetarian. That means I'm on a plant based diet but I eat about 7 or 8 ounces of fish per week.
I started this diet around May of 2006 after reading, "The China Study" by T Colin Campbell PhD. There was a lot of cancer in my family too and this plant based diet offers the best hope to remain cancer free.
So, if your goal is to avoid cancer, you're on the right track. And once you get use to the diet, it's very enjoyable, in my opinion. As far as vitamins go, I take D3 and a small amount of B12. This diet should help you to avoid many other health problems as well (degenerative diseases).
I am not a vegan, but I eat mostly plants for my food. I agree that the animal meat and other animal products are just too unhealthy. The amount of poisons and drugs which are fed to the animals is a horrible threat to my health. I cannot believe some "authorities" still promote the consumption of milk and meats like poultry and even fish. Chickens are disgustingly fed with vile stuff and tons of antibiotics. Lots of fish have heavy metals and all animal products have way too much fat.
I do not miss meat, poultry and fish very much. My diet is very satisfying and I have controlled my cholesterol levels, blood pressure and weight very successfully with just a low fat, mostly vegetable diet. My cardiologist put me on a statin drug to lower my cholesterol (which was not even that high) but I quickly realized that the drugs are as big a threat to my health or more so than the calcification they found in my arteries. I'm through taking pills and crap to control or reverse conditions created by poor diet and lifestyle. I agree with your conclusions about the vegan diet. I only wish more people would open their eyes and see....