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17 September 2010

Vegetarian/Veganism Part II

So, the real problem with vegetarianism is the removal of certain essential nutrients that have sustained human beings for thousands of years, and the subsequent attempt to fill this void, often with foods that can be very detrimental to health, like soy products for example. It probably gets much worse when we start going down the list to junk foods (often desired from cravings), high in calories and low in nutrition, as there is this urgency within the body to replace what is not being supplied in the first place. I think this has much to do with saturated fats from animal products being absent in the diet. I haven't even spoken about the raw food movement, but I feel safe to say that a large percentage of vegetarians/vegans are also very heavy into the notion that raw foods are healthier than cooked foods -- now when raw foods are added to a vegan diet, you pretty much have the end of the road coming up fast! You'll experience a more rapid aging process, degeneration of muscle and much faster bone loss with age -- you are basically giving your body almost no chance to absorb minerals if you don't cook foods, and you stress your digestive system to the max. Well, OK, so just add a mineral supplement, right? Well, let me ask you this, do you think that mineral supplements really have everything you need in the proper amounts and that you will absorb these minerals from a pill as opposed to, say, a Stinging Nettle plant connected to your local soil searching for minerals, in just the right amounts that you need because after all the plant has gotten to know you personally and you have a relationship with it? On one hand we have a vitamin factory, which looks like any other chemical plant, a brick building, artificial light, pavement cars, workers. . .or a living Stinging Nettle plant, digging into the earth, dynamic, conscious and connected to you and your needs, ready, willing, and able to be your green ally, and all for free!

In my own case, just the addition of soy products and a great deal of vitamin supplements was in all likelihood having very detrimental effects on my health. The soy was destroying my thyroid function and lowering my testosterone. During the vegan period, I also started craving carbs and actually gained a great deal of weight before I really started cutting everything out and then subsequently losing way too much weight - a roller coaster that serial dieters can probably identify with. One thing saturated fats do is provide a great deal of stability, especially in maintaining a healthy weight and blood sugar. Add in hundreds of vitamin supplements also in an attempt to compensate and that is really a formula for disaster.

I think we in the affluent west (because, let's face it, people in other parts of the world are far less likely to be worrying about what they eat, but rather that they eat, and we have the luxury of choices unthinkable for most of human history) have increasingly put ourselves into a box by taking real foods (like raw whole milk diary) out of our diets, for processed/fake foods (soy or vegan cheese - there is such a thing, right?). We think we're superior in some way, but we become farther removed from the natural world, and our bodies rebel against these strange changes, while our minds try to argue for them based on political selling points! If one studies Susun Weed's Wise Woman tradition, one of the most important aspects to it, as compared with the Heroic and Scientific traditions, is that Wise Woman thinking and actions always lead to expansion and growth, never restriction and limitation. I know first hand the Heroic tradition can only be limiting, due to the extreme hated for the body and also women, and the Scientific is so firm in who's in control, doctors/science -- not your body's wisdom -- and that as we age in the Scientific tradition the accepted premise is limitation or entropy. If you are unfamiliar with this work, you might want to read Healing Wise, the book in which Susun Weed explores these three philosophies in great detail.

More to come. . .


  1. Marc,
    Michael Pollan agrees on the benefits of whole foods and advises succinctly: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”


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