Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Vegan R.D.

I'd like to share the link to a post written in Nov 2010, by a woman and registered dietician named Ginny Messina. Do Ex-Vegans' Stories Make the Case Against Vegan Diets? It was written in response to the apparently viral post, A Vegan No More, which I wrote on some weeks ago. Ms. Messina calls attention to the attention-grabbing aspects of the other post and it's vehement language in lauding animal flesh. I agree. And I think I really agree for the following reason.

After hearing for years, "you should at least have some fish now and then", and reading for years about the beneficial Omega-3s found in fish, and really wanting to experiment with naturally treating my fatigue with real foods, I ate some sardines last night. I ate some canned, cooked, headless, gutless, finless little fish bodies. Fish that had, at some point, been swimming around in the ocean, living like little fishies do.

I felt guilty. My body wasn't suddenly suffused with a bright light, I didn't feel the power of meat flooding my veins. It's far too soon to tell the overall health effects of this dietary change.

While I ate my sardine salad, on red leaf lettuce dressed with a little mustard vinagrette and some grated carrot, I said, "Thank you, little fishes, for allowing me to eat you so that I can be as healthy as I can." I said this more than once. Because I am thankful. I am thankful for all the good food that I eat, whether it is cheese from goats, honey from bees, greens from the dirt, or clams from the seas. All of these foods are working to nourish me so that I can run out on the trails, knit baby hats for my friends, or just cuddle up on the couch with my boyfriend.

It's interesting the way that people are so adamant about their diets, especially the alternative ones. Vegans, Paleos, both ends of the spectrum. Look at religious converts--sometimes they turn into the staunchest proselytizers. Just you watch me: soon I'm going to be the die-hardest Locavore you ever did see. :) Or maybe I'll start decrying sugar as White Death.

Thing is, I can't agree with anyone who says that a vegan diet is natural for humans. Why? Because no historical culture followed one. Look at any native peoples around the world throughout history. Guess what? They're omnivores. And I think there's a reason for it. Yes, people can be healthy and happy on a properly planned vegan diet, blending up their spinach and banana smoothies, taking those Vitamin B12 supplements. More power to them for doing something they believe in. I don't want to take industrially-produced supplements. So I'm going to do what I believe in, as I've always done.

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