Veganism is usually defined in the negative, as in: no animal protein, and some vegans do not even eat honey, because it is animal based. Motivations for veganism are sometimes environmental, or based on concerns over animal welfare, and sometimes vaguely based on health concerns. Yet, if you look around in restaurants and on food labels, "vegan" is a meaningless term, because it lacks any positive assertive nutritional concept behind it.
Perhaps the most famous proponent of veganism is Israeli activist Gary Yourovsky:
Gary Yourofsky at City College of NY
The #WFPB Paradigm#WFPB (the Whole Foods Plant-Based diet) on the other hand is a completely new paradigm for nutrition and health. The fundamental tenets could be defined as follows:
- Focus on the quality, not the quantity of protein intake.
- Healthy protein sources are plant-based, unhealthy protein sources are animal based, be it meat, fish, fowl or dairy.
- By substituting plant-based proteins for animal proteins, you also lower your overall calories from protein to a healthy 5-15% and increase your fiber intake, which is often unhealthy under an omnivore diet.
- Use whole foods, and do not use added oils or sugar.
- "Dieting" does not exist in #WFPB, because whole foods, plant-based nutrition speeds up the metabolism and people automatically achieve a homeostatic, healthy weight.
- Nutritional supplements are meaningless for #WFPB is Nutritionally complete: the only possible exceptions are some moderate supplementation of B12 and maybe vitamin D.
T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. on #WFPB
Nutritionally complete: the Omega-3, B12,D-vitaminThe key concept is that for all practical purposes #WFPB is nutritionally complete, if you eat a reasonably balanced range of plant-based foods.
Omega-3A lot is often made of the difficulty to get a favorable Omega-3 to Omega-6 balance in vegan nutriton, this is a fallacy. Here are some of the sources of Omega-3 for vegans:
flaxseed, chia seed, hemp seed, mustard seed, seaweed, beans, winter squash to broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts, leafy greens, cabbage, berries, wild rice, various herbs and spices, mangoes, honeydew melon.
B12 vitaminThe only vitamin vegans generally need to supplement is B12. and that's all.
D vitaminSupplementation of D vitamin is another issue, but that is more generic to the whole population, not just vegans. Here is a great article on vegan sources of vitamin D (note that vitamin D3 is the easiest to absorb form), and if you do not get enough sun, you may need a little vitamin D supplementation.
Beware of vegan marketing hypeNutritional advice for vegans is usually useless if you follow #WFPB, for if your intake is reasonably varied. There are great vegan sources of iron, from raisins, to prunes, olives, avocado and dried apricots, to asparagus, endives, peas, acorn squash, dandelion greens, Kale, turnip greens, to lentils, chick peas, quinoa, wheat germ, brown rice, and sprouted beans or seeds, and lastly morel mushrooms, brewer's yeast, spirulina, and blackstrap molasses.
But by and large the whole notion that supplements are useful are part of the SAD legacy. In the context of the SAD paradigm, supplements may seem helpful, but this type of research is really silly and misleading, because it focuses on how single nutrients (or medications) improve health outcomes, without questioning the overall train wreck that is the Standard American Diet. Under #WFPB the notion of dietary supplements is silly. The body can generally not absorb them very well, so other than expensive urine, the benefits are limited. It is absurd to ask for small improvements amidst a perfectly preventable disaster.
The health care angleAs a nation, we are spending 75% of our healthcare dollars on treating degenerative illnesses that can generally be reversed with better nutrition, specifically #WFPB. We spend more on healthcare than any other nation, but without results, for our health statistics remain bad. Here is a brilliant presentation by T. Colin Campbell that sums it all up.
These days the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) practically has become the standard bearer for the role of nutrition in medicine. And things are picking up speed at a remarkable rate. Here is some of the latest:
- They just finished up hosting the Fifth-Annual International Conference on Nutrition in Medicine, and one of the fruits of it was an impressive YouTube video about 700 doctors advocating for Prevention over Pills - a ringing endorsement of the #WFPB lifestyle.
- They reported on a recent article by Russel Simmons on refocusing the SNAP program on healthy foods, because the poor have such bad health outcomes already. It is truly criminal to use a government program to provide people more junk food that makes them ill.
- Dr. Neal Barnard's latest book, The Cheese Trap, makes the brilliant case of the correlation of our obesity crisis with the growing cheese consumption, and why cheese is literally addictive (there is a weak opioid in milk that becomes concentrated in cheese). The book also sheds light on government complicity with the dairy industry.
- PCRM came out petitioning the USDA to modify the MyPlate nutritional recommendation and to ditch dairy, and swap animal protein for legumes.
- The American College of Cardiology urges hospitals to add plant-based meals and eliminate processed meats.
- The AMA passed a resolution: Hospitals should provide plant-based meals and remove cancer-causing processed meats.
- The AMA calls for healthier foods in the SNAP program.
Eat your heart out, dietersThe upshot is that the #WFPB lifestyle is actually easier and cheaper than the alternative - meat is surprisingly expensive. Going to a #WFPB will cost you some money in the change over. You may want some different kitchen appliances, and your pantry needs restocking, but you can do that gradually over time, though some folks need to do it all at once, lest they fool themselves and hang on to old, bad habits, such as added oils or sugar.
But since plant-based nutrition speeds up your metabolism, there is no dieting under this concept. Eat to your heart's content, as long as it is reasonably varied, and your body will automatically return to a homeostatic, optimal weight, without even having to think about it.
In short, indulge, you are eating your way to health, as long as you stay within the #WFPB paradigm.