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Vegan processed foods, problems and deficiencies.

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Nekodaiden, Apr 16, 2018.

  1. Nekodaiden

    Nekodaiden Active Member

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    I recently finished watching a video on someone who claimed to be vegan but had her health trashed with numerous problems and deficiencies. I take these stories with a grain of salt because I realize health issues can develop on any diet, and if I believe the presenter isn't purposely lying to me, they might have something interesting to communicate.

    The person presenting the video complained of numerous health problems but what caught my attention were the mineral deficiencies and specifically zinc deficiency. Many of the other claims she made were just misinformed and bad science.

    However, it brings me to the heart of this thread.

    How do you feel about processed vegan products in general? I buy tofu and tempeh (I know how they're made and consider them whole) and some noodles that I know aren't whole wheat but generally I steer clear of the processed stuff unless I can see it is made of a majority of whole foods and not food isolates and extracts. I eat bread but in my country it's hard to find a true 100% wholegrain risen bread (hence the thread asking if anyone makes their own). The wholegrain noodles are easier to find...I should buy them more.

    What I'm trying to get at is: I can see where some people who depended on meat for mineral intake, vitamin intake, protein etc can get deficient on a vegan diet, especially if the food they eat is predominately processed, stripped of nutrients found in whole foods, sweetened with refined sugars, made up of protein isolates etc etc.

    Example: mock meats that are made up of protein isolates with a few minerals and vitamins added.
    Example: Dairy free ice cream with a tiny bit of fruit and loaded with high fructose corn syrup (I actually called the company and complained...by God, it's a frozen product! They could have at least used real fruit to sweeten it!
    Example: baked goods that are vegan but made with a large portion of white flour and lacking in minerals, fiber, good fats etc.

    Generally, I see these as convenient and maybe ok transition foods, but generally the more processed, the worse they are for veganism. If people feel they need to eat a cow to get vitamins and minerals and essential fats because they weren't getting them on a vegan diet, there's a problem - not with the vegan part of the diet, but the part that processed food choices had in their diet that got them considering going back in the first place.

    Your thoughts?
     
  2. Forest Nymph
    Scurvy

    Forest Nymph Active Member

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    I eat processed vegan foods, however they aren't the mainstay of my diet. Anyone who believes that they should be are kind of moronic. There are obese people with nutrient deficiencies because they they eat junk food all the time or fast food, and those people eat meat.
    I don't think we should detract from things like vegan cheese or vegan meats because ironically they're often lower fat and have more nutrients than their omni junk food counter parts. Cheese, even when dairy isn't a particularly nutritious food. It is high in saturated fat and cholesterol, and doesn't contain the amount of calcium or vitamin D of whole cow's milk. Many Americans get the bulk of their dairy from cheese, and aren't even getting the calcium or D they'd get from milk even though they're ingesting the same fat.

    I've heard of people being vegan who were anemic before going vegan who still dealt with that issue as vegans but finally overcame it. Even when they ate meat they were anemic or had low iron.

    I personally haven't had any problems at all, but I eat a balanced diet that contains vegetables, fruits, and other whole foods like tofu, tempeh, seitan and whole grains. My doctor said I have the blood work of a 17 year old.

    Some people may have had nutrient deficiencies BEFORE going vegan because their diet was always bad, and only discovered it after a few months of being vegan, because that's what made them paranoid. It takes at least six months to develop a nutrient deficiency and for some nutrients it takes years. When people say being vegan for three months made them nutrient deficient, I'm guessing by "nutrients" they meant they weren't eating enough calories, or they accidentally discovered a nutrient deficiency they'd had all along. I knew someone who blamed veganism for the fact she tried to live on fruit and smoothies for several months (this is soooo Freelee's fault) and claimed something bizarre like she was "allergic to fruit." No sweetie pie, you aren't "allergic to fruit" you might be allergic to strawberries, but you aren't "allergic to fruit" which in biology terms includes vegetables and seeds and nuts. She just ate so much raw fruit and not much else that it messed with her digestive tract. Well.

    The only ethical responsibility I feel is to tell people not to eat like idiots. Eat at least half whole foods. It's not that hard to eat beans on a baked potato, or toast with hummus, and sauteed spinach and garlic.
     
  3. Nekodaiden

    Nekodaiden Active Member

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    Thanks for your response Forest Nymph.

    I found numerous inconsistencies and self contradicting statements as well as bad science in the video(s), so much as to think that the person was horribly misinformed and a complete junk food vegan who happened to eat a lot of spinach, or she's just outright making up lies. She puts video of herself to her statements and I tend to give people who do that a little more credit in the sense of being more open with the public but keeping in mind some of the lies or half truths they tell they might actually believe - and that they might have had a real issue that is to be blamed on a bad diet, albeit a vegan one, lacking in certain nutrients or getting too much of a bad thing by relying on only one type of food or getting too much of the nutrient-less ones.

    The person says they were vegan for 10 years.

    About Nutrient deficiencies in general. They can develop faster than 6 months. Context matters. For example, a person (vegan or not) who drinks alcohol regularly/heavily can develop zinc and thiamine deficiencies much more quickly than someone who completely abstains.
     
  4. Forest Nymph
    Scurvy

    Forest Nymph Active Member

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    Okay my apologies. I realize you are right, someone with an alcohol abuse problem can develop a nutrient deficiency faster for sure. Thiamine though is present in nuts, beans, soy and bread, so isn't difficult at all to get as a vegan. Zinc is present in beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds ....pretty much any major vegan protein source. Foods like fortified cereals, fortified plant milks and oatmeal are also good sources of nutrients. Someone who drinks heavily, though should take multi-vitamins or a B vitamin complex no matter what their diet is. Emergen-C would be a good recommendation for anyone who drinks, vegan or not, the morning after drinking for both potassium/electrolyte and B vitamin content. In my experience, clubs even give Emergen-C to people who feel faint in hot yoga classes in L.A. regardless of if they're vegan or drink alcohol.

    There are people on YouTube who have shining nutritional profiles who eat halfsies processed vegan foods who have been vegan for 20+ years (Chris, the Vegan Zombie, vegan for like 22 years and vegetarian for more like 30 years) or who eat majority strict whole foods diets with rare tastes of processed foods (Durianrider who is vegan for 17 years). Like I said I've been vegan for around 3 years and my doctor was actually amazed at how young I seemed from my bloodwork results (I'm guessing low cholesterol/sugar; the opposite of that sort of thing doctors have come to expect in people around 30 these days, which is sad, I know a boy who is 20 who had high cholesterol in his teens who brought it to normal by going vegan and he's not even obese...these used to be "the diseases of the old" and most vegan doctors claim you can even avoid this over 50 by a vegan diet).

    I think there's more proof that a vegan diet is good for health than is bad. I agree that eating nothing but processed foods is terrible for health (and expensive) but eating processed vegan foods a few times a week can stave off a feeling of personal deprivation or feeling socially "odd" around friends or family when they're having a big meal, as well as giving necessary fats and sometimes a supplement of added nutrients (depending on the product some have added B12 etc). I don't feel bad at all about eating Daiya mac n cheez or Gardein 7 grain tenders but I don't think I'd feel my best if I ate that way at every meal, or even every day. Every other day is probably enough, once or twice a week even better.
     
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  5. Veganite
    Lurking

    Veganite Moderator Staff Member

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    Personally, I do my best to stick with whole plant foods. I'm not apposed to the odd Gardein or Field Roast product, and lets not forget vegan cheeses. I think of all the things that I missed the most after going vegan it was definitely cheese. Vegan cheeses are okay, but lets face it, they're just not the same. So I've learned to live with that, but occasionally I like to have a pizza with vegan cheese. Occasionally, I like to have other vegan-processed foods too, but overall I prefer my whole foods.

    Oils are another processed food I still will use on a very rare occasion, but only for special occasions, like holidays, etc. I think Dr. Esselstyn knows a thing or two about this lifestyle. When he stresses the fact "NO OIL!" I know he's serious about the adverse effects it has on your body. He's even got a few things to say about moderation. So if you moderately want to poison yourself, it is entirely up to you (not verbatim). So after reading the labels on a lot of processed vegan foods, I see they’re almost always with some sort of oil. As tasty as some vegan processed foods are, I personally don’t want the oil in my diet.

    I think at the end of the day, we should all deserve a little treat, and if vegan-processed foods bring occasional comfort, why not? The important thing is knowing your health is not being compromised as a result of your diet. Much like it would be from eating processed meats and dairy, for example. So for me, an occasional treat is okay, but that’s what I consider those products…a treat.

    One last thing: Even though tofu and tempeh are still considered processed foods, I will eat these products a little bit more frequently. I still don't eat either overly often, but I also don't consider them vegan junk foods. They both have proven nutritional qualities, although I believe tofu is far more processed than tempeh.




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