Vive the Veg-olution!

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  • Vive the Veg-olution!

    Lots of buzz about at the moment around ‘demi-veg’ and part-time vegetarians (or ‘flexitarians’ – one of those clunky words that may well never take off, even if the activity does). Last week, the International Development Committee pointed to increased meat consumption as a catalyst for recent global food crises. And we all know that too much meat (particularly of the processed variety) is linked to all kinds of health issues. One recent European study found that the biggest consumers of processed meat increased their risk of death from heart disease by 72% and cancer by 11%. The World Cancer Research Fund advises limiting intake of red meat because of its links to bowel cancer. By contrast, a six-year study published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association and reported in the London Evening Standard found that ‘the mortality rate among vegetarians was 12 per cent lower than in omnivores, while demi-veggies had an 8 per cent lower death rate than meat eaters’.

    This really is food for thought – and it fits in neatly with The Fast Diet mantra of ‘mostly Plants and Protein’. Filling your plate with veg at the expense of meat, even for two days a week, could have a significant effect on your health, your waistline, your pocket and – yes – the planet. As Einstein once said, ‘Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.’

    Perhaps full-time vegetarianism is too seismic a shift for some of us, but we could all do with moving towards more plant proteins, legumes, herbs, veggies. And, really, there’s no sacrifice. A veg-based meal relies on spicing, texture, colour, crunch – and once you’re in the zone, it’s not so hard to come up with great meatless meals (there are tons of ideas in The Fast Diet Recipe Book of course). I had lunch at Ottolenghi in Notting Hill a fortnight ago: bliss on a plate, and no meat, not a sausage. As the Standard says, maybe it’s time to join the vegolution?

    Have you seen the documentary F _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ K _ _ _ _ _ I don’t want to write the name of it because I don’t want to be seen as advertising it …………. I found it fascinating and I would definitely consider becoming Vegan if I can find the discipline, I am really excited having watched the documentary and then watching Michaels documentary I think the vegan diet combined with the fasting diet will work well together!!

    Do you see any disadvantages with a Vegan diet other that the difficulty of sticking with it?

    Hello, mandyellis – One very big issue with Veganism is the need to ensure you get enough Vitamin B12 (which mainly comes from animal products only: especially meat but also fish and dairy products).
    I have been Vegan in the distant past – for a period of about a year, I think – and Vegetarian for over 30 of my 63 years. In recent years I have started to eat eggs, cheese and some fish (but not meat) as I felt I needed a wider range of foods for better nutrition.
    Only recently have I discovered the serious consequences of low-Vitamin B12 intake and, having researched online and discussed the issue with other people, I see that most Vegans are advised to take a good quality B12 supplement (ideally, in the more readily absorbed form of Methyl-cobalamin, rather than other forms such as Cyanocobalamin or Hydroxocobalamin). I hear reports of good absorbtion through using B12 patches or else the tablets that dissolve ‘sub lingually’ i.e. under the tongue (rather than those meant to be swallowed), as the tissues under the tongue are finer and the B12 get into one’s circulation more directly.
    If you want to see more about this issue on this forum, go to the thread ‘Vitamin B12 deficiency’ at:

    By the way, unless the documentary you have referred to is a commercial advert, I don’t think that quoting its full name, or providing a link to it, would necessarily be vetoed. The only other possible issue might be Copyright but why not try it and see what happens? I can’t imagine you’d be hauled off and thrashed to within an inch of your life for innocently quoting the name. I’d be interested in more details about it. (Anyone listening in who knows better, I’d be pleased to get more accurate info on matters of links, copyright, etc) All best wishes to you.

    I agree Jeanius – Mandyellis, let us know more!

    Mimi, Jeanius

    I think Mandyellis is referring to “Forks over Knives” documentary. I don’t think the creators mind free advertisement 🙂

    I have not watched it yet but read the reviews and it was mentioned on the tv too.

    But for me as long as we don’t go overboard on anything, we can eat everything.

    Thanks to Mimi, Dr.Michael and Jeanius for keeping the discussions going. -15 and counting down. T minus 10 to go.

    Many thanks for this information, sivasankar – (and I’m really pleased to hear you are doing so well).

    Here are some more details about the original programme:
    ‘Forks over Knives is a 2011 American documentary film directed by American independent filmmaker Lee Fulkerson that advocates a low-fat whole foods, plant-based diet as a means of combating a number of diseases.’ (Extract from Wikipedia)

    Official trailer on YouTube (Duration: 2:12):

    Online article entitled ‘Vegetarian Movie ‘Forks Over Knives’ Critically Reviewed’ by Dr Joseph Mercola (who says about himself ‘My passion is to transform the traditional medical paradigm in the United States, and that consumes most of my free time.’ and who states his website is ‘now routinely among the top 10 health sites on the Internet’):–critically-reviewed.aspx

    Generally, the critical consensus seems to be: it’s processed food that’s doing all the damage but, rather than changing to a purely plant-based diet, some animal products are desirable for good health.

    I was vegetarian until I was 15 years old ( my mum is veggie and takes b12 vitamins), now im 35 and i will always choose a vegetable option if possible, i find that my body craves them! My husband eats a lot of meat, but we compromise by having 2 meals a week that are vegetarian as even though i am a meat eater i really feel it when there is too much meat in my diet. My husband grumbled at first but now loves it as he really enjoys cooking and its opened up a world of new dishes!! I think he would live on Madhur jaffreys cauliflower and potato curry if he could!!

    Just a word of caution you might want to get bloodwork to test your B12 level in your body before taking supplements. These days most supplements come from China, so it’s a real crapshoot as to what exactly you really are getting in that supplement. Also most vitamins are synthetic…made from processes including coal tar, petroleum, formaldehyde, benzene, sulfuric acid, acetone and even cattle brains for vitamin D! Read Pandora’s Lunchbox and you will never want to eat processed food/supplements again in your life!!

    I’ve been vegan for over 3 years and have had bloodwork done twice since and my B12 has been normal. So I am not really sure what I am doing right but I don’t need supplements. Also, Forks Over Knives is totally promoting going vegan…animal products are not good for health at all…that was the main gist of the movie that the milk protein casein is behind the epidemic of cancer. My thinking is eat a wide variety of whole veggies, fruits, grains, beans, nuts etc and you will be fine!

    Being vegan is easy as pie! You will lose your craving for cheese/milk products, and if you do crave ice cream you can make a killer “ice cream” from frozen bananas and cocoa with a vitamix blender! Just need to be creative with your food. I actually eat TONS better now that I am vegan than when I was a vegetarian.

    Been doing the 5/2 diet now since May 2013…I like it!

    What a fabulous post!

    I was healthiest when I was a vegetarian many years ago…gave it up and started “low carbing”… the years fly by, and now I’m not only overweight from that “healthy???” (not!) low carb diet, but my cholesterol sky rocketed.

    So I’m now doing plant-based eating – almost vegan – except I don’t fuss over incidental by-products, along with 5:2. There’s so much good food to eat, I don’t feel deprived at all. In fact, now the thought of eating flesh is downright disgusting for me.

    I look forward to improvements in my health as my weight decreases. And I feel good that I’m being kind to our environment and sparing the animals.

    Thanks for such a good post Mimi!

    I definetly agree with the inital post. I have been living vegetarian for 4 years of my 20 and now I am a flexitarian, having meat or sausage about twice a week or less.

    Lack of vitamin B12 as well as lack of sufficient blood iron often resonates in anaemia as both are necessary to build red blood cells which are responsible for delivering the oxygen from our lungs to the other organs and blood iron also is part of muscle fibres as well.

    As a vegetarian I often was recommended to start eating meat again as this would be crucial for the level of my blood iron as many people think meat contains especially much iron. But as a matter of fact herbs some herbs as well as most of the nuts and legumes alongside with quinoa, unprocessed grains, oats, etc. are higher in iron as the classical meat. Peas for example contain 5mg/100g and chicken breast has about 2,6mg/100g so just about half.

    Be careful and do not believe everybody with smattering half knowledge out there but rather inform yourself. Also another tip to avoid lack of iron is to combine it with food that is high on vitamin C as studies have shown this leads to increased absorption of iron.

    I myself couldn’t and wouldn’t want to live vegan and I also do not really see the sense of it either. Please, no offence meant, it is just my subjective personal POV and I myself am totally satisfied with the health benefits of regular fasting and part-time vegetarism but as with everything in life everybody needs to find out what’s most suitable for him.

    Hoops, didn’t notice how old this post was. Sorry.

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