The other day I received a call from someone interested in the “nutrient-dense” foods I made mention of in my most recent article in Maui Vision magazine. Not to fight back or try to one up this guy (who eventually hung up on me!), but there were several points that came up in our conversation that many stand to gain from.
This man had recently switched to a vegan diet and was surprised to hear that the “nutrient-dense foods that have nourished humans for centuries” weren’t of plant origin. Now I’m not picking on this guy and please don’t snicker at his ideals because they are, like all ideals, noble in theory. I myself spent time as a vegetarian for various reasons at one point, primarily because mass-produced meat in the U.S. puts great strain on our resources and pollutes waterways, etc. Plus I really did think, although I turned out to be wrong (big surprise), that a vegetarian diet was healthier. In short, I truly sympathized with where this guy, and others like him, are coming from.
The first point I made was that a vegan diet was incomplete. Vitamin A and D in fat soluble form do not exist in plant foods, and they are a requirement for “optimal” health and vitality. Plant based foods are also low in several essential amino acids. No plant food on earth contains vitamin B12 either. One exception some think is spirulina, which is rich in B12, but it turns out this is a different form of B12, and it is completely unusable to the human body. Furthermore, every human group that was studied and found to have optimal health (there are really only a couple groups currently left on the planet today who truly have optimal human health), relied heavily upon animal foods.
This didn’t make much of a dent as this man, who was twice my age, insisted that because of his age he didn’t need this much nourishment anymore. It was certainly tough to get through his defenses, and all I could say was that he might need less of the essential components of health and body function, but he still needs some of each of these components. “A vegan diet is not sustainable.”
He said since switching to a vegan diet he feels great and has lost 10 pounds. Likewise, doing the Master Cleanse (lemonade only for up to 40 days), will allow you to lose weight, overcome chronic health conditions, revitalize the skin, eliminate body odor, and restore proper digestion. Still, a diet of lemonade isn’t sustainable or nourishing no matter how great it makes you feel. It can, like a temporary vegan “cleanse,” serve a short-term purpose and be an important step along the journey to true vitality, and I went to great lengths to assure him that there were benefits to a vegan diet.
The conversation continued and covered topics such as eating local and indigenous foods. He insisted that, like the native Polynesians of Hawaii, a diet rich in fruits and root vegetables like taro were more ideal. I agreed and pointed out that Weston A. Price studied remote Hawaiian peoples and found them to have among the best health on the planet 80 years ago – almost completely flawless in every way possible. The foods he mentioned (taro, fruits, etc.); however, were used for side dishes and condiments accompanying pork and massive amounts of fish, shellfish, and other seafoods.
The conversation, although no progress or agreement was made in the beginning, really went sour when this man mentioned that he wanted a diet more “spiritually conscious,” than the one I was suggesting. With that tsunami of condescenscion I got too emotionally involved to eloquently come up with something of any value (which led to a humbling “click” on the other end), if I had the chance to address this request for a spiritually conscious diet again I would say:
“We are human beings who have been dealt by God, the Universe, Mother Nature, or whatever name you give to describe our mysterious creating force, a biological requirement for animal foods. Although many religious idealities suggest that causing a living creature pain, suffering, or death is immoral, to make something that is part of our physiological programming a moral issue is a denial of the beauty of existence. Any attempt to improve upon nature’s laws or God’s design, to transcend and rise above the hand we’ve been dealt by a power that is infinitely more complex than that which a human mind can comprehend, will eventually result in failure.”
Of course, having said that, it is a natural and normal human urge that we’ve been programmed with to do exactly that – attempt to improve our lives, the world, ourselves, etc. So it’s not that I would ever condemn doing whatever it is another person is compelled to do – but I at least don’t try to pretend that certain behaviors are more or less conscious than others. What we are compelled to do in life is a result of who we are, how we’ve been constructed, and what we’ve experienced, both good and bad. All aspects of existence are God and every single thing, person, and event is a complete and perfect fragment of the boundless creative force of the universe. But…we’re not built to experience our reality as such. We will always split perfection into good and bad in order to continue the relentless forward surge of life on earth.
In short, get out there and do the dance of life. Whatever your urges are, and whatever you are compelled to do and experience, it’s all valid and it’s all a part of the purpose of the human race. The challenge is to keep that in mind when someone feels the opposite way about something that you are passionate about. I sure failed my last test! Speaking of good examples of how failure is perfection but doesn’t feel like it – I punched couch pillows after that “fragment of universal perfection” hung up on me! Hey, learning how to appreciate and respect priceless steps along the journeys of others isn’t always pleasant, sheesh.
Wishing you all many lessons this week (not just all smiles and good luck)…
For another great (and typcial if not inevetible) story about the long-term effects of a vegan diet, visit Radiant Life owner’s testimonial right HERE.
For an exhaustive but even more informative bit on veganism take a trip over HERE.