Vegans Vs Meat Eaters: Who’s healthier?

28 Dec

That was the tagline that caught me today and I just couldn’t help but wonder how this would play out on “The Doctors” television show…

Glad to see the presence of Dr. Neal Barnard (President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) to ensure there is at least one vegan supporter in on the debate. He appeared to be knowledgeable and shared some good points – like dairy products reducing the absorption of iron and contributing to anemia.

However, I was generally disappointed with the responses, and lack of intellectual debate among the panel… This debate can become quite involved – as touched on in a previous post on different diet preferences… not today though… Todays show seemed to have more personal anecdotes from the docs than intellectual debate…

(If you want to check out the show synopsis for yourself, you can find it here or the video preview here)

In terms of the show actually answering the question of Vegan or Standard American Diet – FAIL.

The Standard American Diet (SAD) is familiar, comfortable, convenient… but…. as notices…

  • “The United States has the highest obesity rate in the world.” – Business Insider, Dec 10, 2010
  • “The American environment is conducive to this epidemic, presenting temptation to the populace in the form of tasty, energy-dense, micronutrient-poor foods and beverages.” – USDA 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
  • “This could be the first generation since the Civil War to have a shortened life expectancy.” – CBS News Jan 2010

    the solution…

  • Improve nutrition literacy and cooking skills, including safe food handling skills, and empower and motivate the population, especially families with children, to prepare and consume healthy foods at home.” – USDA 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

The above quotes demonstrate how there are very real risks and side effects of the SAD ways… and the need for the solution… so… with that in mind I feel that the vegan crowd tends to be more nutrition literate, with expanded cooking skills beyond meat and potatoes… and when done in an informed and motivated way, the vegan way is healthier than the SAD ways. Also, everyone seems to be in agreement that more fruits and vegetables on north american meal plates would be a good thing 😉

But…. why was this topic initiated for the show in the first place?

Home video clips demonstrate a young woman – Kaitlin – complaining about her vegan sister – Kelly – essentially pushing vegan food choices on her… Meanwhile, Kelly complains that Kaitlin is not accepting that veganism is healthier than the current household diet…

Ultimately when reviewing the video clip, the main issue for these feuding sisters appears to be the  proselytizing vegan… Kelly chose to deviate from the household norm and feels that she has benefited from it…  she quite obviously wants to share this with those she loves… whether they are accepting or not… Kelly may not be validating her sisters way of life or opinions. Arguing and pushing your polar opposite opinion, whether it truly is better or not, does not lead to acceptance…. resistance and defensiveness are expected reactions.

Maybe that is what Dr. Travis’ closing comment truly refers to… 😉  “In the end, what is best for you may not always be what’s best for someone else, Figure out a healthy diet that works best for you.”

It’s up to you to decide where you are most comfortable on this spectrum… And it’s okay if that decision changes from one day to the next… shift happens… Kelly and Kaitlin both have shifts they could make on this spectrum… the important thing from today’s reflections: there are different variations in healthy and ultimately we can only make the best choices in each moment for ourselves…

What shifts have you made recently? Are you planning on making any this week?

1 Comment

Posted by on December 28, 2011 in Food, Nutrition


Tags: , , , , , ,

One response to “Vegans Vs Meat Eaters: Who’s healthier?

  1. purple haiku

    December 28, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    There are unhealthy omnivores and unhealthy vegans…it all depends on what you eat and how you live.

    I want to promote vegan eating as healthy and tasty. I have been vegan for a year and am just starting training for a marathon which means I need to revisit what I am eating as my nutritional needs will change as I have not been doing serious sport since I became vegan a year ago.

    PS am hopeless techno-ditz so not sure if this post would link to my own page or not.

%d bloggers like this: