Sunday, March 4, 2012
My Experience with Vegan Diets....
I wanted to share this post today because there's a big movement in the United States towards veganism and a lot of conflicting information out there.
I've seen a lot of people who have attempted a vegan diet only to go back to eating animal products because a vegan diet "didn't work for them". I wanted to share my personal journey because I feel it's relevant to this discussion.
I started out at age 17 becoming an ethical vegetarian because I read the book Fit for Life and Living Health by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond and they made such good points against dairy and meat and how bad they were for your health and about the suffering of animals. I then read the book by Jonathon Swift called "Modest Proposal" about a satire of suggesting the way to get rid of the orphans living on the streets of London was to eat them. He was being sarcastic of course, because he wanted the rich to see how cruel and callous they were being to the plight of the orphans that they would go to such extremes to get rid of this "problem."
I got to thinking, what is the difference between my then dog, who I considered a part of my family, and some orphan? Could I kill my dog for food? Since the answer was no, and having gone to a farm when I was younger and seeing a rabbit slaughtered for food by being beheaded and then hung upside down to drain the blood out of it's neck, an image I've never forgotten, I realized that eating meat which is a food that I've never really loved and always had to choke down, didn't serve me.
Unfortunately, the Diamond's had a lot of dairy recipes and called it a "fat" or protein, that if properly combined with vegetables was okay to eat once in awhile, I continued eating tons of it and never properly combined it and ate pizza, fettucine alfredo, macaroni and cheese, Baskin Robbins ice cream, Ghiradelli chocolate galore.
Needless to say, I came down with endometriosis at age 29 along with rosacea and Raynaud's.
I started doing some research because the Diamond's had introduced me to Natural Hygiene and a belief that if I made lifestyle changes, that my body could heal itself, and I stumbled across Dr. John McDougall's work via reading some books by John Robbins.
I read how endometriosis is a hormone imbalance that is caused by eating too much fat, whether from animal foods or dairy (Dr. Neal Barnard also has shown this) and that certain by-products from bacteria in the gut elevate estrogen when animal foods are eaten and broken down.
I went vegan, but was still junk-food vegan. I ate soy burgers, french fries, soy milk shakes and ice cream, etc. I still was not well. I even allowed a fitness model who looked amazing to convince me at one point to add meat back in and for a 6 month stint at salmon, eggs and chicken.
I literally aged before my eyes on the animal foods diet so went back to being vegan overnight and that aging reversed itself thank goodness.
I realized much later that many traditional vegan foods are not healthy for us. The top GMO foods are corn, soy and wheat which are what most vegan diets are based on:
Realizing that my old vegan ways weren't working, I started looking into raw veganism. I took some classes from Michelle Gronen, who worked as a raw chef under Elena Love, and starting making raw nut pates, coconut mint chocolate, raw pestos over raw noodles, etc.
This diet caused my endometriosis and Rosacea to flare big time and I later learned why: it was way to high in Omega 6 fats which cause inflammation in the body which contributes to these two conditions.
I then started dabbling with a low-fat version of raw vegan based on fruits and vegetables.
I was much more successful in treating my conditions by eating that way and had to learn how to make this lifestyle work so I joined some online forums which were enormously helpful.
Unfortunately, some have gotten overly zealous in their methods of preaching about this diet and many have been turned off to the diet because of this and it's understandable. The vegan message is one of kindness and of joy. The kindness is towards the animals and ourselves and they joy comes from feeling the best you've ever felt in years.
Due to misinformation about eating more calories than the body burns off in daily activies, some have gained weight and not realized their health goals and thus have gone back to eating animal foods.
Let me just share my personal observations having been there, done that with regards to many dietary regimes: at age 43 I have realized most of my health goals, am doing my juice feast to facilitate the improvement of some last ones and have also seen the horrid effects of the eating habits of dear friends who have died from brain and breast cancer as well as heart attacks and seen their surviving spouses and adult children coping with the grief. It is not until you experience THAT that you realize how profoundly important it is that we still continue pursuing a healthful diet.
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and Dr. John McDougall HAVE gotten results in these areas with a low-fat whole foods plant-based diet. Dr. Max Gerson helped cancer patients with a plant-based diet (Charlotte later refined out the dairy) with tons of raw vegetable and fruit juices. Joe Cross overcame a chronic skin condition by juice feasting for 60 days and the doctor who supervised his fast was Joel Fuhrman who uses a plant-based diet in helping many of his clients.
We are at a time in history when the rapid decline in health of the greater portion of the population is now happening in the teens and in the children. What happened to Robyn O'Brian's children is happening in many American households.
Many children are setting themselves up right now for cancer and heart disease by their McDonald's and Pizza Hut diets. See my interview with Chad Vennuci where he was diagnosed with stage 3 brain cancer at age 33 and his doctors said it could have been growing inside his brain for 20 years---that means it STARTED growing at age 13. He had headaches for decades that he just shrugged off and took aspirin for. Doesn't that sound like a lot of people YOU know??
I think we need to keep our minds and hearts open and keep seeking answers as it's clear the medical establishment has been bought and paid for by the pharaceutical industry and few have the integrity to withstand their influence.
Taking back responsibility for your own health is the only answer. That's why I started http://www.thefruitdoctor.com/. So you can learn from my mistakes and rebuild your health, too. Few are as determined as I was to continue on their path until they got the results they were looking for and they've paid the price. I would like to bring you to where I am so you, too, can enjoy your health into your fourth decade of life and beyond.