FROM THE AMAZING MOVIE - RATATOUILLE - 2007 - DISNEY / PIXAR
# 11. WARNING / ADVICE IF YOU ARE READY TO STARTLet's say you are now ready to become vegan.
I heard many people saying they tried to be vegan and it did not work for them... But as I checked closer to what they used to eat I realized they just had a completely random diet without any knownledge.
The best advice I can give you would be this :There are very important things you need to know since we are the only animals of this planet that lost their food instinct: we cannot smell something in the store and tell if that's what our body needs. There are plenty of failed vegans out there who go back to animal food because they ate randomly, and tell their friends it did not work for them. Of course, if you eat only celery and salad you'll have to call 911 within a few days if you still have the strength to pick up the phone - but if you eat the right way you'll be more powerful than ever!
If you want to be vegan read A LOT of books and articles for a few months before you start in order to have different perspectives and to boost your knownledge to the max. If you don't, fine, it's still good for the animals, but please DO NOT tell your friends you became vegan because their conclusion when you'll get sick will not serve the cause!
When you eat meat you are supposed to get many nutrients from some kind of package - being vegan is picking these things by yourself - you are, thus, more exposed to an oversight - Forgetting something in your diet is called deficiency and may be dangerous.
For that reason you need to learn how to be vegan and I recommend you the book « Becoming Vegan » by Brenda Davis & Vesanto Melina - you can trust everything in this book except about soy, and about veggies prepared products (see below for both)
My TipsMore generally, here are my tips for you - you cannot rely only on this but it may help you to avoid big mistakes and keep a healthy perspective:
WARNING ABOUT SMALL SEEDS:
- eat from a good variety of food families: beans, leaves, nuts, berries, roots, grain (not too much), citrus, etc. With a good variety of food families the risk is low to forget a nutrient, even if you don't know anything about veganism. Ask yourself: what family is missing in my diet? VARIETY IS THE KEY
- SUPERFOODS: there are some vegetables that contain almost nothing interesting while others are full of amazing nutrients in huge proportions, they are called superfoods.
Here is my little list of superfoods - try to include them as much as possible in your meals:
Broccoli, Sweet Potatoes (Yam), Quinoa, Peppers, Kale, Chia Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Wheat Grass, Spirulina / Chlorella, Aloe Vera, Goji Berries, Turmeric, Green Tea, Avocado, Beet leaves, Blueberries, Mango. I could add more but I don't want to list what's good, only what's amazing while pretty famous.
To give you a quick idea, I take almost 1 broccoli every day, about 10 green teas per day (see below for the green tea / iron problem), I finish a big fist of turmeric roots in a week (chopped and grind in the blender) in addition to the curry and other powders (there is no known case of "too much turmeric") 1 avocado 1 sweet potato & 1 pepper per day on average, Tahini toasts every day, 2 kales per week. Besides this, 90% of what I eat is organic and I never drink the tap water.
- vary the colors because the color comes from something - Sweet potatoes and carrots are orange because they contain carotene, no need to study anything to know it - Green things are usually green because of the chlorophyll, etc. Look at your plate and ask yourself: what color is missing? Everything is green? add beet or a red pepper, not a green one!
- avoid processed products and substitutes such as veggies things or pre-soaked seeds... Otherwise, you go straight back to the garbage food world with products soaked in tones of sodium, packed in plastic bags waiting months in storehouses - I've even read "whey protein" while checking the ingredients of a "veggy" product by curiosity (whey is milk which is not vegan) - You don't need any company to prepare your food, just buy real one! And you definitely don't need anything that intends to compensate for a piece of animal corpse - People buying these products totally misunderstand the point of a vegan diet, they miss all the benefits of it.
- Seeds are the source of life - the infinite power of life sleeps inside. There is obviously far more in a seed than our current science can understand. But from what we already know, it is an excellent source of many nutrients including protein and iron.
- I recommend you to sprout them instead of cooking for hours. There is a double benefit in that: first, by becoming a tiny plant the seed will create enzymes that help the digestion and assimilation of many nutrients, and second, by not cooking you avoid the destruction of nutrients.
Sprouting is a large subject and it would require another article or a book, so I simply invite you to read as much as you can about that. From my short experience in sprouting, Green French lentils and Adzuki beans are the easiest seeds to sprout and they taste a lot better than cooked. Only high quality organic seeds will sprout as sprouting is the action of bringing to life a sleeping seed: a crappy chemical seed will never come to life. It is therefore a good way to find out the quality of the seeds you bought. Red beans may be toxic to sprout.
- use the power of life more than the power of science, which means e.g. to sprout seeds as I just said rather than boiling them, to eat raw the things that don't need to be cooked such as peppers, to avoid supplements when their use is not justified because you should choose real food and not just an extract of them, and all other things you can conclude from this logic.
- buy organic when you can, or buy anyway instead of not buying at all
- no need any transition - I've changed radically from a meat based diet to a 100% vegan diet - If you believe you need a transition, that means you misunderstood the benefits of a vegan diet - What are you thinking? your body needs crappy food a little longer?
- get vitamin B12 supplement (see below)
- do not take any other supplement - vegans really don't need that! A good vegan already has a lot more vitamins and minerals than any meat eater
Life sleeps in the seeds. This life is well protected by the seed itself and can resist to our digestive system.
That means tiny hard seeds must be either sprouted, cooked after a long soaking, or grounded up since you cannot do it properly with you teeth. Otherwise, they will go directly to the toilet in the same state they entered (not digested)
I'm thinking here about flax seeds or sesame - The best is to get healthy products based on these seeds, such as flax seed oil or sesame butter (tahini). Pumpkin seeds e.g. are only ok if you use your vegan teeth properly.
Green Tea with Iron and B12?
You'll find claims and studies about green tea as a potential block for Iron and B12 absorption. If green tea is really a problem for Iron and B12 it is bad news for vegans.
The idea is that the tannins from the tea would reduce the absorption of Iron and B12 by "flushing" all that to the toilets, and that non-heme iron (Iron from vegetable sources) would be the most affected.
I've read an article that was going further than others (which I unfortunately can't find) and it explained that the problem is that most studies only considered occasional green tea drinks, and not regular, long term high intakes. The article was claiming that on a very regular basis of high intake, the body starts to adapt to high tannins levels and still absorb Iron and B12 fine.
So the conclusion would be that... either you drink a lot of green tea every day, or you almost never do.
Now, when you no longer know what to believe there's only one way to find out...
I take about 10 green teas every day (real leaves, good quality, Japanese and Chinese) for many years, I get my iron mostly from beans and I take B12 supplements as explained below. In the end, a full analysis of my blood (good to do every 6 months) shows perfect amounts of everything (the only number outside of the optimal range is my fat storage too low because I train a lot)
Now it's you to know your body... (do you have anemia problems?)
VEGAN OR VEGETARIAN ?In case you don't know, the difference between vegans and vegetarians is that vegans do not take/use ANY SINGLE animal product - This includes eggs, dairy products, even honey and clothes as well - while vegetarians eat eggs, milk, animal butter and may wear their skin.
Personally, I don't see any point in being vegetarian rather than vegan.
- What good milk could bring you? nothing in my opinion (see above in 2. MILK: SUCKLING COW'S TITS AS AN ADULT)
- What good an egg could bring you? nothing neither I think, especially since the animal food industry is the way it is... (see above about stress in 9. CHANGES I HAVE NOTICED ON MY BODY & MIND) I believe all animal products are now harmful for our health.
- Honey is in my opinion the only animal product that may be healthy (for you indeed, not the bees!) provided you really need sugar at the moment you eat it. You may want sugar in a coffee or a post-workout beverage e.g. but I personally use Coconut Palm Sugar for this purpose (sugar from the coco tree itself) it is the healthiest sugar on the planet as far as I know.
- For the clothes, it is apparently not physically harmful for us, but we really don't need to wear fur, leather, or anything from animals - So many vegetable fabrics exist today!
SOY DANGERThere is a big doubt on soy, and I think doubt is dangerous, especially when many alternatives exist.
Soy very probably contains estrogen along with natural-toxins. Estrogen is the female hormone and like any sexual hormone, it is known to increase the risk of cancers, including breast cancer - If you want to be healthy you are supposed to stay as far as possible from food containing hormones and toxins. Some claim the doses are very low which would make soy safe enough...
I recommend you to avoid soy as much as possible - this includes TOFU and SOY BEVERAGES - personally I never get soy.
Tempeh is supposed to be spared by this problem as many believe estrogen and toxins are disabled during fermentation - I eat Tempeh from time to time.
VITAMIN B12Any ignorant person will believe vegans have a problem with protein and calcium.
Of course it is completely wrong. In reality, there is one single problem that vegans may have, which I will explain you here, and the fact to be vegan is not the fault, it is a problem related to the current food industry.
B12 is a vitamin produced by a bacteria - No vegetable or animal can create it.
Vitamin B12 plays a very important role in the creation of red blood cells - a serious deficiency of vitamin B12 can lead you to irreversible damages in the brain and others parts of the body - and because your body has some storage, you may feel the effects only years later.
Animals from old school farms got vitamin B12 because they were able to lick the soils where the bacteria was - Since the factory industry, they cannot do this anymore. Animals are now fed with supplements of vitamin - most of the B12 production by pharmaceutical companies goes to the animals food factory industry.
Therefore, here are the only ways to get vitamin B12:
- eat animals, as they ate chemical supplements of B12
- eat animals from a highly reliable organic farm (this is gonna be very difficult to find)
- lick dirty soils...
- eat your pooh... because the bacteria exists there - but it's too late for your system to get it back
(a study has been made in England in 1950 by Dr. Herbert where patients stools were recycled to extract the B12 and get them back as supplements - it worked!)
- eat fermented products such as tempeh, but the quantity is unknown so you cannot rely on it
- eat vegetables from your own garden provided you:
- do not use pesticides or any life-killer product
- do not wash them using the tap water (the toxic chloride may kill everything)
- plant them close to naturally dirty soils
- get supplements from the pharmacy
(that is anyway exactly what you were doing when you were eating meat - except that you couldn't choose the brand)
Since we don't know the dose of vitamin B12 in our food, I recommend the last solution - However, you should avoid supplements as much as possible - B12 is probably the only exception you can make.
Buy each time from a different brand in case one is bad, and always check the ingredients on the net because you will eat them all your life!
NOTE: I recommend you Hydroxocobalamin B12 instead of the most popular (Cyanocobalamin) read this article about it (go to the middle of the page at "Which Vitamin B-12 is Better - Hydroxocobalamin or Cyanocobalamin?")
The problem we have with vitamin B12 in the current industry is that we have absolutely no idea how our food was made and processed - Did the producer use chemicals? What kind of water they used to feed the seeds and wash the food? How hard they washed it? Tap water is not forbidden by organic labels - If U.S. tap water has been used for the vegetables, there are reasons to worry! watch this interesting video about fluoride
Enjoy your new diet, don't forget to stay curious, and come back here to drop a few words below :)
Peter from Skane Lan in Sweden
Excellent writing on the pro's of being vegan. I have also seen great results in my training after going vegan and grain free.
Yan from New Brunswick in Canada
Thanks for writing