Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter 1 Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit 1 Share on StumbleUpon 1 Tell A Friend 4 (7 Shares)  

Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites (# of views)   15 comments
OpEdNews Op Eds

Confessions of a Junk Food Vegan

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Amy Fried, Ph.D.     Permalink
      (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (more...) ; , Add Tags  (less...) Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 2   Well Said 2   Valuable 2  
View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H3 12/25/13

Author 3066
Become a Fan
  (8 fans)

By ConsciousBurning (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
(Image by By ConsciousBurning (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons)
  Permission   Details   DMCA

I became a vegan 21 years ago, shortly after I stopped breastfeeding my youngest child. (A doctor friend had warned me that breastfeeding while skipping dairy might not be wise. Later, our pediatrician brushed off that concern by pointing out that adult cows don't drink any kind of milk, but have no trouble making it.) At that time and place, I seem to recall having to go to the local food coop to get soy milk, and perhaps even tofu. There were not as many choices in meat, dairy and egg analogues as there are now. So, I happily ate beans, tofu, nuts, seeds, fruits and veggies. I instructed our local Chinese restaurant to leave the chicken broth out of their tofu stir-fry.

The thing that pushed me over into veganism was John Robbins' book Diet for a New America. This influential book convinced me that veganism was right not just for health, but also for ethics (i.e., animal cruelty) and the environment . John Robbins was heir to the Baskin-Robbins fortune, when he embarked on his own vegan discovery. He then turned down any of the proceeds from his father and uncle's business, and began his own business promoting plant based diets. He describes himself as having been a sickly child, and credits veganism for his improved health. He also has described his dad as having suffered health problems later in life, which Robbins attributed to his high saturated fat diet.

A  common statistic cited in the vegan literature, is that vegans are thinner and healthier in a variety of ways, than animal food eaters, and it seems to be the case, on average. I, however, have always had a weight problem, and sadly, being vegan has not by itself been enough to change that. I've met quite a few vegans via twitter lately, who confess (some with their twitter handle!) that they, too, are fat vegans.

Vegans are also supposed to have lower cholesterol levels. Up until recently, that was true for me. My cholesterol was consistently in the 150's. However, I have recently had the rude awakening (and embarrassment) of having my LDL creep up of late! My doctor has even threatened to put me on statins!

A lot has changed since I started out in veganism. There are now many fake "meats," fake "cheeses" and gooey vegan desserts. Many of these products contain tropical oils; some contain trans fats (though that is changing.) I've learned to love a wide variety of vegan fried foods, vegan pizza, vegan margarine, even vegan marshmallows. Unfortunately, just because it's vegan doesn't mean it's healthy.

Recent work on obesity has converged on how the food industry in Western society makes food greater in quantity, cheaper, and addictive. The movie Supersize Me , and recent books by David Kessler , Neal Barnard and Michael Moss provide fascinating details on industry practices and brain chemistry. I'm definitely one of those highly sensitive to those enticements, highly addicted to fat, sugar and salt.

I have no intention of going back to eating meat, fish, dairy and eggs, however. Besides the cruelty and environmental concerns, I don't think that would be an improvement health-wise. A growing group of vegan "gurus" - many of them M.D.'s - have been advocating low fat, low refined carbohydrate, vegan diets for years. Among them are Drs. John McDougall , Caldwell Esselstyn, T. Colin Campbell , and Joel Fuhrman . (I recently came across a fascinating video in which they all duke it out over the different emphases that each advocates, within that framework. As far as I know, they all work in their own way.) The only approach missing from this list is the raw vegan diet, which I have tried several times. It always made me feel weak, and craving cooked food, but I always lost weight. This approach is advocated by Dr. Gabriel Cousens .

So, while I don't pretend to be a diet or health expert by any means, my personal experience shows that even veganism requires discipline - in the Western junk food environment - to avoid unhealthy food addictions.


- Advertisement -

Must Read 2   Well Said 2   Valuable 2  
View Ratings | Rate It

Amy Fried is the author of "Escaping Dick Cheney's Stomach." She received her Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior, and has been an advocate for church-state separation and other civil liberties issues. She writes on women's issues, media, veganism (more...)

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting
/* The Petition Site */
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Follow Me on Twitter

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

What Erectile Dysfunction Ads Say About Our Culture and Our Health

What Makes a Good Leader?

Why Disability is a Feminist Issue

Confessions of a Junk Food Vegan

Old Enough to be Raped

FILM REVIEW: Half the Sky: A Must-See Problem, A Flawed Solution