Going Vegan/Organic

Discussion in 'The Iron Chef' started by caoclan, Sep 17, 2011.

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  1. caoclan

    caoclan Puritan Board Freshman

    Has anyone on this board decided to take their food consumption vegan and/or organic? If so, why? I found myself watching a CNN program (I know, my first mistake, lol) and was finding myself in a position I had contemplated many times, just more convinced this time. My issue is the pesticides, other chemicals, genetically-modified feed, and steroids in our foods. They just can't be good. My wife, 34, has some health issues (thyroid, depression, fatigue) that just don't seem right, and this program just might have sealed the deal with us. Here is the link to the video, if anyone is interested: Dr. Sanjay Gupta Reports: The Last Heart Attack – Sanjay Gupta MD - CNN.com Blogs

    For the record, I don't have a problem with killing and eating animals, as I think the Lord has clearly given us the right to do, plus they are quite yummy. But the manner in which they are available causes me some pause. Plus, the cancer research concerning animal-based products was intriguing.
  2. Leslie

    Leslie Puritan Board Junior

    If your diet is totally devoid of all animal products, in about 3 years you will become anemic due to vitamin B-12 deficiency. You can address that by eating an occasional egg or drinking an occasional glass of milk.
  3. Michael

    Michael Puritan Board Senior

    Life-long vegetarian here but not vegan. I was just raised that way and if I were to eat meat now I would get physically ill so I refrain. Compared to others around me who eat meat I guess I would be comfortable in saying that I seem a bit healthier. I went through a stretch for a while where I battled fatigue but it turned out that that was related more to a caffeine dependency. I rarely get sick, never had weight problems, and have a digestive system that seems to function like clock-work [if you know what I mean :) ].

    That said, going vegan/vegetarian is definitely not for everyone. You really need to know how to get proper and consistent protein in your diet. I can't relate to what it's like to try and "convert" but I've seen plenty of friends try it and I just shake my head at what they end up eating [nothing but starches, carbs, and processed foods]. What's the point of that?

    As for the organic bit, it's usually just too expensive for me. But as a child I ate a lot of food straight from the farm [without pesticides] and it was definitely much better than what I eat today.

    If you choose to try it out just educate yourself first. Find the proteins that you like most and build your diet around them. Also watch your iron and B vitamins. You may want to attempt eating 4 slightly smaller meals a day rather than 3 regular ones because you might feel hungrier after the switch.

    Just a couple thoughts anyway.
  4. JoannaV

    JoannaV Puritan Board Sophomore

    We're very gradually making our food purchasing habits better, for some of the reasons you mention and also in order to support local farmers. But I don't have any burning conviction which makes me do this overnight. (That is, I like to buy cheap stuff haha.) So it's gradual. For example, I started to buy organic milk and now we always do and wouldn't consider not. So now the price of the milk is not relevant to us. And now I can start to think about buying organic carrots, for example. If I started buying carrots and milk at the same time the price difference would overwhelm me.
    I wouldn't go vegan though. I would rather choose to buy animal products which I knew were produced naturally and without cruelty. I think this actually helps promote good farming practice more than being vegan does.
  5. caoclan

    caoclan Puritan Board Freshman

    We watched the documentaries "Forks over Knives" and "Food, Inc." Forks over Knives was related to the CNN special, which I referenced in the OP, but was more extensive. We watched Food, Inc. last night, and that made quite the impression with me as well. Has anyone else seen these docs?
  6. Tripel

    Tripel Puritan Board Senior

    I haven't seen the documentaries, but I did read The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, who was involved in making "Food, Inc".

    It's a great read, and I highly recommend it.

    One warning I'll give is that you shouldn't put much trust in the "organic" label, if you are indeed trying to eat the healthiest foods possible. "Organic" has come to mean very little, and much of it is produced by massive farms that do the bare minimum to get that label. Read Pollan's book. He explores the differences among a typical commercial farm, an organic farm, and then a small farm owned by a Christian family. The bulk of the book focuses on the latter farm, and it's an encouraging picture of how a Christian worldview shapes one's relationship to food.
  7. Rufus

    Rufus Puritan Board Junior

    I could use some more vegetables but would not become vegan or vegetarian, although I have tried and wish to be more natural in what I take in.
  8. JBaldwin

    JBaldwin Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I'm now officially in the health food industry (we recently started a nutritaionl supplement company from the ground up), and I've been eating mostly organic for a number of years. We waved goodbye to pharmaceutical medicines (almost entirely) over 15 years ago, though we are not vegan.

    The problem with the most food you buy at the grocery store is that it has been sprayed with all sorts of chemicals which have as their side effects (if you take the trouble to read the fine print) that cause all kinds of health problems. Even if you are willing to put up with the pesticides and chemicals on the veggies and meat, the food additives present a problem.

    For instance, did you know that aspartame which is now regularly put in food as a sweetner, is the "poop" from a bacteria which was developed to eat chemical waste? The scientist working with the bacteria got some on his finger, tasted it and realized it was sweet. It is one of the active ingredients in ant poisoning. That alone is enough to make me want to eat organic.

    It's amazing how many health problems disappear when a person starts to eat healthy organic food.
  9. John Lanier

    John Lanier Puritan Board Junior

    Definitely would not have been my first thought.
  10. Rufus

    Rufus Puritan Board Junior

    Not to mention (this is according to a friend of mine) that it causes hair loss and got several Dessert Storm soldiers sick (when its heated to much it changes and can make you sick or something along those lines).
  11. LeeJUk

    LeeJUk Puritan Board Junior

    I went vegetarian about a year and a half ago. I lost a lot of weight and I'm healthy almost all of the time.

    I think it's a good thing. I went to Africa and I had to eat red meat again for 3 months but I didn't gain weight or get unhealthy. Right now I'm eating chicken/fish for protein and keeping away from red meat. That for me I think is the best balance.

    I also take vegan/vegetarian daily vitamins which are pretty cheap. They give you all your B vitamins, iron, zinc etc... that is missing from most vegan/vegetarian diets. I would definetly recommend you get these (you can get them at most health/organic stores or probably on the net). I was suffering from fatigue after about 2-3 months into my strict vegetarian diet but this resolved the problem and I never had it again.

    So yeah ultimately I think it's a great idea to go organic/vegan/vegetarian. Just make sure you take vitamins and get protein somehow (nuts, seeds etc... in this case).

    Regarding aspartame, yeah that stuff is very bad and is linked to cancer as far as I know. I gave it up when I was 16 and I did notice a difference in myself. My appetite especially was reduced noticably after I stopped. Also I practically never get headaches. Maybe 2-4 times a year max.
  12. JBaldwin

    JBaldwin Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    One of my husband's friends is a chemist, and he verified a lot of this information. If you hang around the folks who work with this stuff reguarly, you will not find them consuming it.

    I want to add here that God gave us amazing bodies which can filter out a lot of the garbage to which we are exposed. The problem is that these days we are not just exposed now and again, we are bombarded daily with chemicals and toxins which build up in our systems. A lot of times the problems don't show up right away.
  13. Rufus

    Rufus Puritan Board Junior

    I would like my diet to be consisted of Japanese food, not only could I eat meat, but it's healthy, and delicious.
  14. JBaldwin

    JBaldwin Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Sean, I've not seen Food, Inc., but I've heard about it. I'm going to try to find it and watch it.

    Daniel, Thanks for the comment about the organic food not being well-marked. That is very true, and we have learned to check to the sources of our food.
  15. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner

    Got any legitimate proof for that?
  16. caoclan

    caoclan Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks for the replies, I would love this to keep going. We have been cooking a lot of recipes out of a vegan cookbook and have really enjoyed them. I really cannot believe I have gone vegan. I love my meat, but c'est la vie!
  17. Zach

    Zach Puritan Board Junior

    If you want more veggies brother I recommend drinking the V8 Fusion juice. College eating habits don't lend themselves to eating much veggies, but I've found I really like V-8 Fusion.
  18. FenderPriest

    FenderPriest Puritan Board Junior

    We watched Food, Inc. Forks Over Knives strikes me as more propaganda-ish. A good documentary to watch on this is "Fat Head". It's on Netflix, which I assume is what you were using. "Nourishing Traditions" is a good book to go to in learning the in's-and-outs of good health, and what foods you should eat organic, and which it doesn't matter for. We do more organic foods, which is easier living near farmlands. I think it's healthier for you even simply by the exclusion of chemicals. But in some ways it's more the issues of sugar consumption that's a real problem. My advice is simply this: First, remember this is an area of Christian liberty and conscience, but also a matter of taking care of the body God's given you. That is, don't make it a Gospel-binding issue on people. Secondly, do the research, and remember - no matter how good your diet is, it won't give you a glorified body, so chill out and enjoy what God's given you. Thirdly, if you're going to make dietary changes (be it an all-organic one, or whatever), do it as a family with clear goals so everybody's on the same page and is eager about it. Nothings' worse than a dad who's religion consists of Jesus and a diet-idol. Make small steps, and if this is important to you, allow more money in your budget for it with a clean conscience that you're trying to make the best decisions for your family.

    Just a few thoughts... It's something that comes up a lot in my context.
  19. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    I'm old enough to have seen a lot of food recommendations come and go and have developed a skeptical eye toward any extreme.

    Remember when eggs would kill you for sure and certain? How about the tons of studies regarding red meat that didn't differentiate between red meat (even a lean cut of beef) and processed meat full of fat and weird stuff (baloney). I don't think any of those results can be trusted. Coffee and wine? It turns out to be good for you in moderation. Hey margarine was supposed to be good for you!

    In the long run, I'd be willing to bet money that the problem is taking a food too far from its original state. Canola oil -- highly, highly processed! That bean protein product that tastes just like beef? I don't even want to think about it.

    I'm highly influenced by Mediterranean food traditions and generally prefer to know where my food is coming from -- I almost never buy anything out of season. If I can't pronounce the ingredient, I don't buy the product. Sugar is fine in small amounts; don't give me "sweetners." etc., etc.
  20. caoclan

    caoclan Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you Jacob. Good points, and this is absolutely not something I would even attempt to bind another's conscious with, I hope that has not come across from my writing. Addressing your Forks over Knives comment: have you watched it? Or does it come across as potential propaganda due to the CNN connection? I am truly interested if you have a specific issue with that documentary. And the family is all on the same page without a doubt, and it is in no way some kind of idol, we just have some health issues we are trying to combat and prevent.
  21. JBaldwin

    JBaldwin Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    We tend to forget that until the 20th century, people pretty much ate what was available. It has only been in the last 100 years that we have had available to us lots of processed food. While it not a religious isssue for me (i.e.I just ate a Klondike bar), we should consider that God created us to eat the food that is grown on the planet, not something that was processed and produced in a lab.

  22. jgilberAZ

    jgilberAZ Puritan Board Freshman

    I believe low carb, moderate protein, high fat is the healthiest.

    Jeff Gilbertson's Blog

    And, believe there are health issues with going vegan.

    Just my two cents ... don't want to argue about it.
  23. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritanboard Commissioner

    There are valid reasons to try to eat less meat, and to eat more healthy food in general.

    What you will quickly find is that meat products and certainly animal products are in all sorts of foods and you will have eaten them unknowingly. Also, that "organic" is a wily term that means different things to different people, and is a relative term.

    We also know Scripture causes us not become over obsessed with diet, food and eating. It can be a form of idolatry, like any other, taking something good and giving it preeminence in life.

    Yet, there are lots of healthy and reasonable things you can do to eat more healthy. Grass fed beef, raised without hormones can be purchased as a "side of beef," for example. Not only does it taste better, it often is less expensive, and is better for you (less chemicals).

    In many cases, eating more fruits and vegetables is a good thing, fewer pesticides and chemicals the better.

    But there is a flip side of risk. E.g. the case of the "organic" dairy company. It ended up having a salmonella outbreak because they did not pasteurize. It affected all sorts of milk products, and the company reputation. Is it better to risk food born illness than to have incidental processing that causes vitamin loss?

    There are no one-size-fits-all answers to these kinds of questions.

    "Organic," and "vegetarian," turn out to be very inconsistent concepts.
  24. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Graduate

    You live in Memphis, one of the capitals of BBQ, I would think that there would be some corn fed/home raised places around there to get good meat. Around here lots of people home grow there meat. I can think of nothing better than a fresh pig slaughtered and then almost immediatly put on a smoker. Also I had homegrown cow as well, my mom raised one and then had it slaughtered, the absolutly best steak of my life. But if it is for health reasons than more power to you. I for one don't mind Vegans at all, it means more meat for the rest of us carnivores.
  25. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    I've sold my honey at Farmer's Market's etc.. for a dozen years. Most organic farmers lie. Sorry to burst anyone's bubble. They usually spray.

    As to spraying with chemicals, I really don't mean to be offensive, but it's usually an educational thing, i.e. the better educated the more you don't worry about it. Saying pesticides are bad is like saying fish eat humans. Sure, some like sharks do, but anchovies, perch and trout don't.

    I have Biblical reservations against GMF, and given the choice I don't eat it, but I don't go looking at labels for it either.

    Red meat usually is fed much more naturally than chicken, btw.. And most people haven't a clue as to what a hormone is either.

    Anyway, if someone wants to go vegan, or not have their kids vaccinated, or wear amber around their neck to ward off evil, or think Saddam had something to do with 9-11 it usually doesn't hurt anyone in a first world culture that can absorb crank beliefs. But if enough people start believing crank theories, then they and society in general can indeed suffer.
  26. J. Dean

    J. Dean Puritan Board Junior

    I tried going vegetarian once.

    That was the longest three hours of my life....
  27. he beholds

    he beholds Puritan Board Doctor

    I was vegetarian in high school and college. It started in ninth grade when I went on a field trip to an ecology fair with my high school and was told about all of the horrible things done to animals. Then in college I was on a six-week backpacking trip and I think that type of exercise made me just really need meat, because for the first time in seven years I craved meat. (It was SPAM, so it definitely wasn't some great meal just tempting me!) Since then I've eaten meat again, though in 2010 my husband's new year's resolution (after watching Food Inc in late 2009!) was to see if we could go a whole year without BUYING meat or only buying happy meat (you know, hunted, free range, cruelty-free, etc.). The reason we put buying in the resolution was because when I was a strict vegetarian I hated turning meals down when offered, or had people cooking special meals just for me. I felt like a snob and I felt rude and ungrateful, etc. So I wanted to make sure that our resolution did not come to offend others. If it's not a religious conviction (which even in high school it wasn't--I would have, theoretically, eaten a hunted animal) I don't think it should be a hill to die on for me. If someone were serving me a hamburger and even if it were from Wal-Mart, eating one would not really harm my health. Plus, my duty is to love man, not animal, though I do like animals and prefer them to have a nice life before becoming someone's dinner.
    We did it for a whole year and now our habits are just a little stuck there (I also don't LOVE meat and I almost hate cooking it, so it's easy), but we have probably bought meat once a month or so since the beginning of this year. I was pregnant until August of this year and was extremely anemic when I gave birth. (My blood count was 6 point something or 7 and the blood transfusion conversation was being had!) I'm sure that's related! And yes, I did eat my spinach : )

    Anyway, my advice would be to keep it a thing for your family, but if you are company in someone's home and you aren't religiously convicted to not eat meat, then just gratefully accept their hospitality.
  28. FenderPriest

    FenderPriest Puritan Board Junior

    I haven't watched the documentary, but I did watch the trailer to it. As it appears to me, the trailer paints the picture that there's a direct link between meat consumption and all these major problems we're facing today, i.e. cancer. When a documentary presents itself as solving the major issues of the world, be it through dieting or natural birthing, I call foul play. I may have gone to public school, but I think I know enough to recognize an agenda when I see one, and illogical deductions when they're presented. There may be some connection, but to present your research as though to say: A) People who eat meat get more cancer, B) People who don't eat meat don't get as much cancer, C) Therefore, less meat equals less cancer - That, in my mind, is a non sequitur. The issues involved in cancer are deeply complex because the human body is complex. The issues involved in food/diet are complex as well. How the two interact strike me as being complex as well, so easy answers strike me as being ridiculous from the outset.

    Also, personally, my opinion is that the bar is set so low for what is considered "profound" and "insightful" by major news outlets (FOX, NPR, CNN, etc.), that I generally assume they go for the easy answers that easily explain problems quickly than make their viewers wrestle through, you know, long, thought-out arguments. Whether that's gracious and/or accurate, I won't say - but I mention it just to show the cards I'm working with and how I deal them.

    So, I don't know, that's where I come from on this. As I said, I've only watched the trailer, but a good trailer should give you a snap shot of the film's trajectory and conclusions... If I'm off base here, I'm definitely open to correction!
  29. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Graduate

    I'd be interested in any evidence of that, too.

    Good old natural sugar, on the other hand, is linked with obesity and diabetes.
  30. LawrenceU

    LawrenceU Puritan Board Doctor

    This is key. 'USDA Certified Organic' means very little. Real organic produce is very different. Some of it the USDA won't certify.
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