Dr William C. Roberts, (editor of The American Journal of Cardiology)
"When we kill the animals to eat them, they end up killing us because their flesh, which contains cholesterol and saturated fat, was never intended for human beings."
Dr Walter Willett (Brigham Women's Hospital, director of a study that found a close correlation between red meat consumption and colon cancer.)
"If you step back and look at the data, the optimum amount of red meat you eat should be zero."
Doctor W. J. Mayo
"Cancer of the stomach forms nearly one third of all cancers of the human body. . . . Within the last one hundred years, four times as much meat has been taken than before that time. If flesh foods are not fully broken up, decomposition results, and active poisons are thrown into an organ not intended for their reception, and which has not had time to adapt itself to the new function."
The findings? “People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease … People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease. These results could not be ignored,” Dr. T. Colin Campbell.
We have all heard this before, "Vegetarians and Vegans are weak, anaemic, frail and sickly looking" and "Vegetarians don't get any protein." It's time to bust these myths because if you eat well you can be a very healthy vegetarian or vegan and there are millions on the planet to prove it!
There are some very strong, healthy athletes who don't eat any animal food. Vegetarians and vegans come in all body shapes, sizes and fitness levels. Just like the rest of the population, some are thin, some are larger, some are super fit and healthy and others are not. Healthy vegetarians and vegans can be as strong or stronger than meat eaters .
Thanks to Denise Nicole for her photo and Robert Cheeke for permission to use photos of these athletes who don't eat meat or animal food. For the story about these athletes, how they train, what they do eat and why they are vegan: www.veganbodybuilding.com
Many people today are becoming aware that a plant based diet is the healthiest and that it may reduce the risk of diseases such as heart disease, certain cancers, arthritis and obesity. Numerous cultures throughout history have lived on plant based diets and were much healthier than we are as a population today. We all know that there is an alarming change in the weight of children and this is mainly the result in an increase in fast foods, which are mostly animal based foods. The traditional diet in many Asian countries has resulted in populations that have far fewer incidents of certain diseases that are common in Australia.
Some people think that a vegetarian diet is risky to health because they believe that vegetarians can't get enough protein and iron and are weak and anaemic. This is a myth that has been circulating for a long time and is untrue. Increase in education and awareness will hopefully result in less widespread ignorance on this matter. It is unfortunate that even people in authority positions such as some doctors still have this attitude. Fortunately, those in the health professions are becoming increasingly aware that a plant based diet is in fact the healthiest.
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........... MOVIE - FORKS OVER KNIVES 'examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the so-called “diseases of affluence” that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods'.
Many of us were indoctrinated into believing that you need to eat meat for protein.. Most of us probably learnt this when we were very young children, perhaps even at school in a health class. However, protein deficiency is not a problem for vegetarians/vegans at all and in fact most people eat too much protein. .
"The waste products in the blood, arising from excess protein, are a leading cause of Bright's disease, auto-intoxication, arteriosclerosis, and high blood pressure. These maladies are often associated in the same individual, and frequently have a common origin." Sir William Osler (Principles and Practice of Medicine)
"For efficient nutrition, we require that only one tenth of the daily intake of food should be of the structure-building, tissue-repairing protein. In the laboratory of nature, the food elements have been so combined by the plants, that the protein element is very low; and thus a diet selected from the natural products of the earth is not only free from uric acid and other waste products, but is already balanced. The addition to the menu of flesh food at once raises the protein constituent too high." ProfessorChittenden and Professor Fisher. Click for more medical information about The Protein Myth
For an indepth look at animal protein in relation to disease, read The China Study.
Vegetarians and vegans eating a wide variety of healthy food will not be at risk of calcium deficiency from their diet. Foods rich in calcium include all types of green leafy vegetables, tofu, tahini, calcium fortified soy milk. We have been led to believe that dairy is the food we must have to prevent calcium deficiency and therefore osteoporosis. More recent research suggests the exact opposite. Some Asian populations have not suffered from osteoporosis and other diseases resulting from calcium deficiency in the way Western cultures have and up until recent times their diets (specifically some traditional Japanese and Chinese diets) have not included much dairy.
Iron deficiency is not an uncommon problem especially for women whether meat eater or vegetarian. Diet can play a part in iron deficiency but so can an inability of the body to absorb iron (no matter what the diet). If there is a problem with iron deficiency it is not always diet related. Often it is related to the digestive system being unable to absorb the iron. If blood tests reveal a deficiency it should not be ignored and measures should be taken to diagnose the cause and correct it. Usually an iron herbal tonic or iron tablets along with reducing coffee and tea (if you drink a lot) eating healthy iron rich foods, and avoiding stress should help. Those who are very physically active (such as athletes, dancers etc) may be more prone to experiencing iron deficiency.. Note that meat eaters and vegetarians/vegans can suffer from iron deficiency. Please do your own research on iron to set your mind at ease. Be particularly watchful if you decide to go from a diet very high in meat (meat every day) to being vegetarian or vegan suddenly as iron from meat is absorbed in a different manner from plant based iron and your body will possibly find it easier to adjust if given a little time. More information about iron
Some people believe that vegans (no meat, eggs or dairy) are at risk of vitamin b12 deficiency and although most vegans don't experience problems, some have found that they do need vitamin b12 supplements and some take them just as a health precaution. Vitamin b12 deficiency can take some years to develop, To be safe, have a blood test each year and ask your doctor for a copy of the results so you can compare them each test. It's good if you have your vitamin b12 (and other b vitamins in the upper end of the normal range. If you see b12 levels dropping, you can start taking supplements to build up your body's stores again.
If you find out that you are one of the few whose vitamin b12 levels do start to decrease, do not ignore it, as it is a very serious health problem. Vitamin b12 protects the nervous system. Without it, permanent damage and illness can result.
The solution is very simple - keep a check on your b12 levels with regular blood tests throughout your life and if your levels do begin to decrease, a supplement may be the best option. If you are thinking of taking supplements, no harm seeing a naturopath or nutritionally aware medical doctor to see how often you need to take them, and the best kind to take - vitamin b12 or general vitamin b or a multi vitamin.
Be aware that stress (physical, emotional and or mental) can deplete your b vitamins so in times of stress, a vitamin b supplement could be of assistance.
There is much conflicting information on vitamin b12 and it is one of the very few areas where the infomation is not clear for most vegans so the best you can do is read up about vitamin b12 yourself and keep an eye on your own levels to be on the safe side.