Something I feel particularly interested in at the moment is the question of: Can a Vegan diet work for anyone? I walk around on my high horse and tell everyone how great I feel being Vegan and how horrible eating animals is for the environment etc; without ever properly wondering if they would reap the same benefits?
I got a comment from someone (yay!) yesterday saying that she is considering becoming a Vegetarian because she cares about the cause, but has issues with iron and feeling full and satisfied on a Vegetarian diet.
Now, first off, the whole "full and satisfied" part I pretty much cast aside straight away. If you're telling me you cannot feel full unless you've had some of a carcass, I would definitely say you haven't tried hard enough. As I write this I'm eating a giant bowl of vegetable and bean soup with a heap of bread. So much bread. I am already feeling that I should stop eating, but the soup is just too good. Saying you can't feel full on Vegan food, is saying you wouldn't feel full after eating a giant bowl of gnocchi pasta, side of sauteed vegetables with bread and then eating dessert. You really wouldn't feel full?
The next part of her comment did make me ponder a bit longer. Problems with iron....okay. Well, I also have had problems with iron in the past (now, looking back I see that I really just didn't eat a good, balanced diet) so I can relate to this slightly. It can seem scary to give up a large portion of your diet, knowing you have problems getting adequate vitamins and minerals. The most obvious answer to this is: Duh, vegetables contain iron. Duh. Though, I know that seems a little harsh. Here is one good quote from the Vegetarian Resource Group: "Dried beans and dark green leafy vegetables are especially good sources of iron, even better on a per calorie basis than meat. Iron absorption is increased markedly by eating foods containing vitamin C along with foods containing iron. Vegetarians do not have a higher incidence of iron deficiency than do meat eaters."
There really shouldn't be any doubt that one can get their vitals on a Vegan diet. There are enough people in the world (including many sexy celebrities) that have been Vegan for most of their lives and they seem absolutely healthy and thriving. Obviously one can live very healthily this way. I can use myself as an example in a few more decades :)
But, would that be the same for every single person? I read a great quote on beyondveg.com that made me think further: "Tough questions often not faced. Can the health and well-being of an omnivorous animal who may depend on animal food for optimal health be measured against the lives of the animals that are sacrificed for such food? Only the individual themselves can answer such a question; and supposing that the question can, should, or ought instead to be made a prescription for society is seen as presumptuous. How does one weigh the "right" of an omnivorous animal to eat omnivorous food against the "rights" of its prey? These are questions that have no definitive answers, and perhaps should not have to be asked in the first place."
A very, very interesting quote and one that made me think. I surfed through the rest of their website and they present unbiased articles that ask the question "can one diet work for everyone?" The main issue with the above quote, however (in my humble opinion) is that omnivorous eating these days bares no resemblance to one persons "right". I would argue it is not our "right" to house ten billion animals in factory farms and then slaughter them inhumanely. If you want to go and source organic, free range meat because you think it's your "right" to eat animals, I would say again...how is that your "right"? And this is why people get so passionate about animal rights. Animals have no voice. They cannot argue, debate or stand up for themselves. They are the victims of what WE decide are or are not their rights. I cannot live with that logic; thus I abstain completely. It is not my right to decide on the rights of another living thing, especially unnecissarily. I am aware there will always be pain and suffering and death. But unnecessary pain and suffering and death makes no sense and is selfish. Why is it unnecessary? Because I do not need that loving, beautiful cow; that has an intelligence level equal to my loving, beautiful dog for my source of protein. I can eat a fucking vegetable.
In the end: I have to say: i DO believe any person would survive, if not thrive eating a Vegan diet. Not because I'm arrogant and believe in my cause blindly, but because when you break it down into parts, it doesn't make sense that one COULDN'T survive. We have the essential break-downs of what a human being needs to survive. We know for a FACT that every single one of those things are provided for in fruits, grains, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Fact. The only thing we need that is in animal sources is the B12 vitamin that all meat-eaters CLING to to prove their point. B12 is not found INSIDE animals, it is a bacteria that we absorb through animals because they get the bacteria directly. So basically, a Vegan can pop a pill once a day or go outside and eat a load of dirt. I'll pop the pill thanks. I don't spend all day outdoors in the mud and dirt like our ancestors did. Also: as if Vegans are the only people who take a pill every day? Are you kidding me? Let's not get into the amount of pills someone with diabetes or with heart or cholesterol problems takes. Cholesterol is only found in animal sources.....i know what pill I would rather take.
I know a few people who insist that eating Vegetarian (not even Vegan!!) didn't work for them. They say they felt tired, low and hungry. My answer to them would be: you didn't believe in the cause. It's amazing what you can do when you WANT to. When you feel PASSIONATE. If you have problems with iron and are concerned about giving up meat: instead of chicken in your salad, load it up with kale, spinach and silverbeet. Oh my god, do you think your body is going to be sad and hate you? As if!! Your body will be so happy and relieved that it's getting a load of healthy, dark green vegetables in place of that animal protein it had to break down and digest for 8 hours! Seriously. Vegetables digest in 2 hours. Animals: 8.
I am definitely open on this issue. I would never be arrogant enough to say that something will DEFINITELY work for EVERYONE and that it is the RIGHT thing to do. It is however, my belief.
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