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Dieting & exercise

Plant based eating and veganism

(134 Posts)
marlowlady Thu 12-Apr-18 12:09:43

Hi there, I thought this would be a good opportunity to see what everyone thought about abstaining from meat and dairy, not only for health reasons but from a moral standpoint and concern for the environment?

humptydumpty Thu 12-Apr-18 12:12:26

Great idea. I've tried myself but found it v. difficult to find good vegan cheese, buut I believe there's more available now so will try again, thatnk you for the prompt!

janeainsworth Thu 12-Apr-18 12:15:27

I don’t think it’s healthy to abstain from dairy unless you have a proven lactose intolerance. Dairy products are rich in Vitamin D which is increasingly being considered as having a key role in preventing or slowing the onset of many conditions which plague modern life.

marlowlady Thu 12-Apr-18 12:17:21

Good news ! There are some good cheeses out there but it's definitely trial and error. I got over the craving of cheese easily once I found out it contains caseomorphine, an addictive substance that is designed by nature to bring the calf back to its mother. Now I hardly ever eat it. Hope you find a nice one to try soon smile

humptydumpty Thu 12-Apr-18 12:18:28

There's a general shortage of vit D in this country as we don't get enough sun to generate it naturally; as far as I know there's no problem with having Vit D supplements, irrespective of diet.

humptydumpty Thu 12-Apr-18 12:20:21

Thanks marlowlady! As I understand it, the only thing which vegans can't get naturally is vit B12. On one occasion I visited the vegan soc HQ for my job, and they both took algae supplements to get it.

marlowlady Thu 12-Apr-18 12:27:48

I think it all depends on which research you find and where you get it from. Apparently there is no evidence for example, that dairy is good for your bones or prevents osteoporosis. In fact, even if you are not lactose intolerant, many people lack the enzyme to properly digest cow's milk and so have many digestive problems. There is a multitude of articles from reputable sources that give information on studies being made. Dr. Michael Greger, for one, has written an amazing book on the effects of meat and dairy and cites heart disease, diabetes and various cancers as being caused by the ingestion of both meat and dairy. As far as Vitamin D is concerned (and also B12) where would one think the cows got it from in the first place? Plants. So its good to cut out the middle man and save billions of lives. Hope that helps!

humptydumpty Thu 12-Apr-18 13:07:53

marlow, I've been told by a vegan vet where I work that ruminants generate B12 in their rumen which is before the stomach, so by the time their food reaches the point at which B12 is absorbed, they have already generated it. With guinea pigs and other animals, they eat their poo which contains B12, which their stomachs generated but too late in the digestive process to be absorbed the first time around!

Humans also generate B12 but too late to be absorbed, and since we don't eat our own poo, it's essential that B12 is added to the diet, through fortified foods and/or supplements.

OldMeg Thu 12-Apr-18 13:37:38

Why does everything have to be all or nothing? I respect pescatarians, vegetarians and vegan, and that is their choice,

As far as the rest of us go then there is a very good case to be made for cutting meat especially, right down to a minimum and upping vegetable intake.

humptydumpty Thu 12-Apr-18 13:46:17

Hi OM, for me, the compelling reason to be vegan is because of the extreme distress caused to cows in the production of dairy. This from The Guardian:

"A mother cow only produces milk when she gets pregnant. So, starting from the age of 15 months, she will usually be artificially inseminated. Farmers mechanically draw semen from a bull, and then force the female cow into a narrow trap, known as a “cattle crush”, where they will brutally impregnate her.

Dairy is proving to be a vulnerable spot for the entire slaughter racket
When she gives birth, her calf will typically be removed within 36 hours, so the farmers can steal and sell you the milk that is meant for her baby. Wildlife experts say that a strong bond between cow and calf is formed quickly after birth. Following that callous separation, the mother will bellow and scream for days, wondering where her baby is. The answer depends on the gender of the calf. If male, he will probably either be shot and tossed into a bin, or sold to be raised for veal, which delays his death by just a matter of months. But if the calf is female, she will usually be prepared for her own entry into dairy production, where she will face the same cycle of hell that her mother is trapped in: forced impregnation, the theft of her baby, and a return to the cattle crush two or three months later.

For at least six months of the year, she will often be confined inside dark sheds. But a growing number of dairy farms in Britain use a “zero-grazing system” in which cows spend their entire lives indoors, in increasingly intensive structures.

Although growth hormones are banned in the UK and antibiotic use is limited, a dairy cow can be given reproductive hormones and prescribed antibiotics by a vet to ensure she is kept in a condition to produce an unnatural amount of milk. Under normal circumstances, she would generally only have a maximum of two litres of milk in her udder at any one time, but rapacious farmers may force her to carry 20 litres or more. Her udder becomes so heavy that it makes her lame and she often develops an agonising infection called mastitis. The strain this puts on her body means she is exhausted by the age of five. Soon, her milk yield will no longer be considered profitable. Or she might simply collapse under the agony of it all. Either way, she will be dragged off by a tractor, squeezed into a cramped truck, and driven to the slaughterhouse, to be killed and turned into burgers or baby food. Her throat slit after five sad and torturous years – under natural circumstances she could have lived to 25."

Just reading that and pasting it in makes me ashamed to not be vegan.

janeainsworth Thu 12-Apr-18 13:48:42

That is what I do, oldmeg.
marlowlady I’ve never heard of Michael Greger but I am sceptical of his claim that cancer is ‘caused’ by eating meat and dairy, since it is multi-factorial. Most of experts consider that genetics, environment, and lifestyle as well as diet all influence the development of cancer but mainly it is bad luck.
To imply that people are responsible for their own cancers because they have eaten meat is cruel to say the least.

humptydumpty Thu 12-Apr-18 14:03:26

jane doesn't the above Guardian article make you feel guilty? by all means eat what you want, but at least think of the ethical issues..

janeainsworth Thu 12-Apr-18 14:21:25

humpty please don’t make assumptions about me and don’t tell me what to do.

humptydumpty Thu 12-Apr-18 14:24:51

jane, doing neither, simply a request not an order.

janeainsworth Thu 12-Apr-18 14:42:51

I’ve confined my comments on this thread to the health aspects of eating meat and dairy produce and dodgy scientific claims humpty and don’t appreciate being singled out for implied criticism.

humptydumpty Thu 12-Apr-18 15:02:12

Not explicit or implied criticism Jane, see my last post. I consume dairy myself, but it doesn't stop me criticising myself for it.

You did actually say you do what OM does, that is, "cutting meat especially, right down to a minimum and upping vegetable intake" which is fine.

You also commented in relation to Vit D intake: "I don’t think it’s healthy to abstain from dairy unless you have a proven lactose intolerance", and my earlier post was a response to that, not a criticism of your dietary habits. As regards Vit D, it is perfectly possible to get an adequate intake while abstaining from dairy. That's a point of information, not a criticism of you personally.

jenpax Thu 12-Apr-18 15:45:33

I am a vegetarian of over 30 years standing I am now trying to go vegan (cheese has been my downfall😳) I don’t drink dairy milk only almond and coconut milk and I eat olive oil spread and no yogurts I don’t feel less healthy for cutting dairy and am happy to cut them out

humptydumpty Thu 12-Apr-18 15:57:50

Me too, jenpax - except my love of cheese blush

Baggs Thu 12-Apr-18 17:35:50

B12) where would one think the cows got it from in the first place? Plants.

The digestive system of cattle is quite different from ours. They have four stomachs for a start because grass and related vegetation is so difficult to digest. Essentially it needs to be fermented. We don't have the equipment to do that.

So cows might well have an ability to make vitamin B12 that we lack. The fact that we don't make our own B12 but have to get it from animal-sourced food does suggest, I think, that hominids have been eating animal-sourced foods for a long time in evolutionary terms.

We don't make our own Vitamin C either. Some mammals do.

Azie09 Thu 12-Apr-18 18:16:02

I know people don't like links but this is worth looking at, the research suggests that full fat dairy products may lead to a worse outcome after breast cancer diagnosis:

And this one packed with information:

I've been veggie all my life and have three incredibly healthy adult children, all raised as veggie, only one prescription for antibiotics between them in 3x30 years! They are largely vegan now so I'm learning some wonderful new recipes from them. It was the animal welfare issue that got me started. What right do we have to confine animals in unpleasant ways and feed them their own species or hormones or antibiotics so that we can eat them? Doesn't do us much good eating their stressed meat either. I don't understand meat eaters!

marlowlady Fri 13-Apr-18 08:49:30

Thanks everyone for your comments. It does make me wonder sometimes how everyone points to certain vitamins (B12 and D for example) when talking about veganism. Its as though we have all suddenly become qualified nutritionists. We are all responsible for what we put in our bodies at the end of the day and many people use the above as a defence mechanism without any real knowledge or detailed information. Most people just eat without thinking much about nutrition (or the cruelty at the beginning of the chain). When you understand that over 70 BILLION land animals are killed every year, with babies being dragged away from their heartbroken mothers, some forcibly impregnated and killed eventually one way or the other; the fact that so much abhorrent cruelty is being committed each and every day for basically our taste buds, it just doesn't add up, morally, intellectually or nutritionally.

My post was never meant to cause any angst amongst all you lovely grans but to make you question what is going on underneath our very noses (and mouths) every day. It never ceases to amaze me how much people defend their food choices but I can bet that 95% of people - most of those who say they are animal lovers - could ever kill their own meat or deprive a mother of its child so it can drink their milk.

The vegan world is expanding and will continue to do so and the fact that there are now over 3 million vegans in the UK alone, shows that people are waking up to the constant insidious brainwashing of the media as well as the agricultural and dairy industry. There is plenty of information out there to back the above and films too. If you can sit through 10 minutes of Earthlings or the Land of Hope and Glory then you are much braver than me.

Wishing you all a good day and a kinder world smile

Azie09 Fri 13-Apr-18 09:04:51

Well said Marlowlady, your post reminded me that when I became vegetarian, the morality of it was important and I used to think that if you wanted to eat meat then you should be prepared to humanely kill an animal with your own hands. Its about respect for the animal as a living being capable of feeling fear and pain, just like us.

I have met farmers who kill for their own table or have the butcher out to do so and I have had some interesting conversations about how they feel that the meat is more nutritious when not filled with stress hormones relating to being killed in stressful circumstances. Of course, market pressures win and they turn their backs for the bulk of their trade. It doesn't help that we seem to think we need to eat vast quantities of meat and that food should be cheap. There's always a price to pay. The production of meat in huge quantities also brings costs for the environment - managing large amounts of sewage, the overuse of antibiotics and hormones which then get into the watercourses, the contribution to greenhouse gases. Its perfectly possible to eat well and healthily with little or no meat, I am very glad to see the growth in veganism, long may it continue.

LJP1 Fri 13-Apr-18 09:32:54

Balanced vegetarian diets are fine, healthy and socially responsible.

Vegan diets tend to lead to iron & vit B12 deficiency so supplements are needed.

Coconut Fri 13-Apr-18 09:36:26

Have been a veggie for 30 years now, purely because I went off meat and the thought of the chemicals in it.

LJP1 Fri 13-Apr-18 09:37:42

It is also worth remembering that butter, cream and full fat milk provide essential fatty acids which are needed for nerves & brain function. Grass fed cows also give the omega 3 fatty acids, essential for cell membrane functions.