Why you shouldn’t go Vegan for January. Or any other month of the year for that matter…
Here we go, another New Year fad. Before I start though, note that this isn’t an attack on Veganism as a way of life. Whilst I don’t agree with it as a nutritional protocol, I can’t argue with your belief system. And if you’re a vegan for life (as opposed to for a month!) then I expect you have a strong, deep-rooted reason for this, and I accept that.
As opposed to the Veganuary fad that we’re seeing. Grrrrrr. Deep breath…
OK, here’s some reasons going Vegan is probably not the right diet approach for you.
- It’s Unbelievably Hard. Veganism is probably the most rigorous dietary approach out there. There will be dozens of foods that you can’t have, and unless the whole family adopts this eating pattern too, you will be making twice as many meals.
- You’re doing it to lose weight. Will you lose weight? Probably, but that’s because you won’t be able to have your scone, your cheerios, your butter on toast, a cookie from the cookie jar or your 9pm piece of chocolate.
- Protein is king. If you know me at all, you’ll know that I really believe more protein is one very good answer to weight loss. Now, I’m not blind to the environmental issues this might be causing. But as a vegan, you will struggle to hit the protein levels that I recommend to my clients. Even if you use soy. Which brings me to my next point.
- Soy is Evil! Probably. Actually, I don’t know the answer to this. It is an extremely murky area. Here’s what I do know though:
- To get from a green bean to block of whiteish soy involves many, many, many steps of processing, grinding, bleaching, de-perfuming. All these steps will remove any nutrients the bean had in the first place. And they all involve chemicals…
- Soy farming requires heavy use of pesticides.
- Some studies estimate that up to 90% of the world’s soy crops are GMO.
- You’re doing it to save the planet. Actually, there’s a lot of evidence that says the opposite. As veganism rules out so many foods, it encourages the consumption of others. Like avocadoes (which might not actually even be vegan, long story see footnote). But this demand upsets the balance and increases the price. So countries like Mexico that use avocadoes as a staple end up getting priced out of it. The same happened with quinoa a few years back, this time it was the Andeans that got priced out and turned to cheaper junk food instead.
That’s before we start talking about where your almond milk, mangoes or winter strawberries are coming from.
So what’s another way?
- Cut the crap! One of the reasons veganism works as weight loss diet is because it forces you to stop eating junk! So, just stop eating junk!
- Eat more veggies! Again, veganism makes you eat veggies. So, just eat veggies!
- Consider a whey protein shake. Did you know, whey is a by-product of the cheese industry. So as long as some people are eating cheese, there will be whey. So I consider this an environmentally friendly way to keep my protein levels high…
- Don’t waste a single morsel! Use everything you buy. Make chicken stocks, bone broths, and so on.
- Eat local! Buy local. Eat in-season produce! A quick Google will show you a good way to start, but break it up into manageable tasks. I’d pick on one group of items first: like veggies or meats. Find a good supplier and get into the habit first before you try to change everything at once.
Footnote: Are avocadoes vegan? Well that depends on your definition of veganism. Most vegans object to cruelty to animals so for example, many don’t consume honey or honey-based products. In the case of avocadoes, some vegans may object to a practice called migratory bee-keeping. In which bees are kept for the sole purposes of pollinating a crop… They literally truck the bees in to pollinate a particular crop and then truck them back out again to another field. It’s problematic because bees are forced to pollinate a single crop (as opposed to the range of options in the wild) and it continually boomerangs bees between times of plenty and borderline starvation.
If you’re thinking is this done just for avocadoes? The answer is no. The system is used widely for lots of fruits and therefore it’s a slippery slope…