Dispensing Bad Advice

What is so hard about eating grains, fruits and vegetables? It is the question I want to answer with when I’m asked “What do you eat?” after I declare that I am vegan.

The problem is that our society is built around eating animals. And despite the fact that there are plenty of reasons not to eat animals, such as better health, cleaner environment and no animal cruelty, people hang on to the mistaken belief that it is the only way to get protein.

This would not be so disturbing if so-called experts didn’t spread this falsehood. A colleague of mine recently advised that she was diagnosed with early onset diabetes and her doctor told her not to eat carbs such as chick peas, breads and rice. Instead, he advised her to eat lean meats. I have great respect for physicians, but not when they pass on wrong, even dangerous, advice. Physicians only have between 10-25 hours of nutrition education, depending upon which medical school they attend. That is woefully inadequate.

Moreover, the USDA Food Pyramid, which many a physician relies upon, is nothing more than a chart containing the vested interests of food industries including dairy, corn and wheat. It is a well known fact that these industries’ lobbyists have done a great job in getting them subsidies. Health takes a back seat to profit. (Read Food Politics by Marion Nestle and Michael Pollan for  more on this).

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USDA Food Pyramid

I recommended to my colleague two books to read that each have a chapter dedicated to diabetes:  How Not the Die by Michael Greger, and The China Study by Colin Campbell. Her reply, to paraphrase, was ‘thanks, but no thanks’.

I am not a nutritionist, but I have had health problems. After consulting with a nutritionist and a naturopath, and embarking upon a self-study program, I have learned that you really can reverse many diseases if you have the right diet. That diet excludes animals of any kind.

Yes, it is a bonus that better health also means a kinder practice of veganism, or at least vegetarianism. Instead of defending old and thoughtless habits, isn’t it better to keep an open mind so that education can occur, and therefore, be able to make more informed decisions?

My colleague could achieve better health without high medical bills if only she would be open to other options.