21-Day Vegan Kickstart

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Forums: April 2012 Kickstart Forum: say what?
Created on: 04/02/12 12:46 PM Views: 3059 Replies: 15
say what?
Posted Monday, April 2, 2012 at 12:46 PM

I joined the September 2011 Vegan Kickstart and LOVE my "diet". Now I have difficulty "defending" my food choices. Lately, more than a couple of people have told me that eating so many grains is unnatural as humans evolved eating meat not cereals. What can I say to them. BTW, one in particular is on high BP meds and is younger than me... I want to be able to debate people like this.

RE: say what?
Posted Monday, April 2, 2012 at 1:24 PM

jewelria11 wrote:

I joined the September 2011 Vegan Kickstart and LOVE my "diet". Now I have difficulty "defending" my food choices. Lately, more than a couple of people have told me that eating so many grains is unnatural as humans evolved eating meat not cereals. What can I say to them. BTW, one in particular is on high BP meds and is younger than me... I want to be able to debate people like this.

First off, you can't debate people into anything.

The "paleo diet" is where many of them are coming from - they say that people evolved eating animals not cereal grains. Which is almost true - people didn't eat much in the way of grain until it could be cultivated consistently. Of course, that happened millenia ago as well(famines in many ancient cultures were not a total lack of foodstuffs but specifically a lack of grain). Early people were hunter gatherers. They ate whatever plants they could gather and whatever game they could kill. I'm all for it - if that person who says people 'should' eat meat like our ancestors, great - go out and spend a day hunting down a deer or buffalo or whatever, gut it, skin it, prepare it, use every part of it in some way (not just the neatly plastic wrapped tender cuts, but the guts, offal, hides, sinews, bones, marrow, the whole lot). The thing is, people evolved having to work REALLY hard for their food. And meat, while an important food source, was a once in a while, if we can kill it, type food. When an animal was killed, it was Mardi Gras time - eat it until it's gone. Oh, and it was often eaten raw until they got the knack of cooking it - so go for the venison tartar. Then some wise people learned how to preserve it (smoked, dried, salted) so it would last longer without rotting. More often they subsisted on berries, nuts, seeds, roots and tubers, and certain wild grains (like true wild rice). Regardless, there was a lot of energy expended to get food. So, unless they are expending thousands of calories per day just to access the food, they're really not even close to that 'paleo' thing. And those paleo ancestors died really young and malnutrition was pretty common.

Also, those folks who espouse this 'paleo' thing should probably actually look at what THEIR ancestors ate because different regions would have 'evolved' to handle different things. People in certain climates would not have had access to certain types of animals, plants, etc. Plus, today's beef, chicken, pork are NOT the same animals as a paleo native would have hunted and eaten. You'd have to be eating wild bison, venison, maybe wild turkey, wild caught fish (not farmed animals). If any of the meat they are eating comes from a commercial source, a farm even if it's an organic free range type, it's NOT paleo. They would also not have had much in the way of dairy either, definitely not cheeses or yogurt. Eggs would have been whatever wild bird nests they could glean from. No sugar except maybe wild harvested honey (not apiary, farmed, honey) - maple syrup is out because they wouldn't have been able to boil down the maple sap, although straight sap would be an okay option (but it's pretty watery and weak). No coffee, tea, chocolate. So, if they eat 95% berries, seeds, nuts, fruits and veggies (hey that sounds like vegan!) and 5% wild caught meat (caught by them or someone they know) with no dairy and such, then they're pretty close to paleo.

--Deb R

RE: say what?
Posted Monday, April 2, 2012 at 1:33 PM

I know it's tempting to "defend" your food choices, but I grew tired of that many years ago as a vegetarian. I eat the way I eat. I don't expect other people to defend the way they eat and I don't defend mine. If people ask because they are interested, that's another story, I have all the time and patience in the world for that. But the minute it becomes a case where I have to justify myself, I let the conversation die. I will often end the conversation with, "This way of eating was recommended by a doctor, my personal doctor supports it and my lab numbers show it is beneficial for me."

Often the critics are overweight or even obese and on a cornucopia of drugs for sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure . . . . etc ! Like I would take any advice or criticism from them? I know this may sound harsh, but for me it just got tiring.

I once had a 400 pound someone make the remark about me, in my presence, "She thinks she's too good to eat like normal people." I should defend my choice to this person? Not any more.

Vikki ~

paleo what?
Posted Monday, April 2, 2012 at 1:36 PM

Thanks for that. I don't really want to "debate", but I never have a smart answer for these pro-paleos. I'll stick to nuts, grains, seeds.

RE: say what?
Posted Monday, April 2, 2012 at 1:42 PM

For some reason people seem to accept almost anything if a doctor says so. That's why I use it.

And it is the truth. In fact SEVERAL doctors recommend it, my doctor supports my choice and at 60 years old, I'm on no drugs for anything and never have been.

My Doctor tells me if all her patients were as healthy as me, she would be out of business.

Vikki ~

RE: say what?
Posted Monday, April 2, 2012 at 2:21 PM

You might mention that paleolithic man only lived 40 years if lucky. All those well nourished women died in childbirth a lot.

Janeoverton

RE: say what?
Posted Monday, April 2, 2012 at 2:24 PM

I'm with Bugsmom on this one. I'd tell them I don't eat like a caveman because I don't EXERCISE like a caveman and I can't toddle down to the local Water Buffalo and Wild Roots Mart. *I* eat a diet appropriate for my activity level and culture. It takes into account a lower energy consumption to caloric intake ratio as well as the highly processed foods and all but poisoned (antibiotics, improper diets and added hormones) meat and dairy available in grocery stores in 2012.

Unless by paleo-diet these people mean to convince you that ancient man was shoveling in downer cows and cage crippled chickens...

RE: say what?
Posted Monday, April 2, 2012 at 2:28 PM

Hopefully, a vegan life with health is a signal of evolution and enlightenment. I dont think we are supposed to try and go back. I am speaking from a religious standpoint as well. If we judge that to be vegan is kinder and more in line with what Christ was teaching, would God want us to go back to being less evolved spiritually, ethically and mentally. This is not to offend those of you of other beliefs, Just me talking.

Janeoverton

RE: say what?
Posted Monday, April 2, 2012 at 2:41 PM

A vegetarian/vegan diet is biblically based. If you read Genesis you will see that God's intended diet was one from the land, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and grains. It is not until sin enters that world that we see animals being killed and used for food.
I figure, God made our bodies so he probably knows what should fuel them.

RE: say what?
Posted Monday, April 2, 2012 at 4:29 PM

You know, I really don't feel like I've seen any convincing evidence that people were actually eating meat in paleo-lithic times. I mean, the meat options at my local deli do always look as if they've been sitting there for a couple of million years, but apart from that.

Either way, basing your diet on some shaky opinion about what we evolved to eat is just plane ridiculous. Maybe these paleo heads aren't aware, but evolution* only cares that you live long enough to reproduce and, um, post a load of troll messages on the McDougall forum, apparently.

Theodore

* as per the common definition

Wash your back

RE: say what?
Posted Monday, April 2, 2012 at 4:51 PM

I like that post, but early man probably did eat "all of the above" in order to survive. At least some of them did. Humans are in fact omnivores. we can digest almost anything alive (Plants and animals). and most paleontologists will say form follows function, That does not mean that God did not mean for us to evolve. The human race and everything else on the planet does that. The question might be, how civilized do we have to be to obtain an adequate vegan diet. Adequate enough to survive and reproduce healthy offspring, which is what evolution cares about. The ability to digest meat is a favorable thing when there isn't anything else, crops have failed or drought reduces the availability of berries and nuts etc.
We rely on civilization to provide crops that feed us. But this discussion probably belongs in another topic. If civilization or environment fails we will probably go back to eating worms and bugs and whatever else we can.


This is probably another topic discussion

Janeoverton

RE: say what?
Posted Monday, April 2, 2012 at 7:32 PM

Wild4Stars wrote:


"My Doctor tells me if all her patients were as healthy as me, she would be out of business."
"

This would be a GREAT thing to say to those critics!

RE: say what?
Posted Tuesday, April 3, 2012 at 12:17 PM

When people come at me in a really hostile manner, I try to figure out how to deflate that hostility rather than engage with it. Sometimes, I just let them have their say then I shrug and say "this is really working for me and my doctor thinks it is safe and healthy". If someone is feeling really confrontational, they are usually unwilling to listen to anything that contradicts their current worldview.

Over the years, I have found that some of the people who were the most hostile to the idea of a plant-based diet come around to be the most interested.

An advantage is that I know more now, so I'm a better advocate for the benefits of a plant-based diet. I was super gung ho at the beginning, but I was humbled by my own lack of knowledge enough times to realize that I needed to read a LOT of books before I started thinking I could effectively advise anyone else.

Proponents of a paleo diet still frustrate me quite a bit though, so I'm certainly sympathetic to your situation!

RE: say what?
Posted Tuesday, April 3, 2012 at 3:29 PM

The longer you eat this way the more skilled you become in handling differences. We just finished a dinner group. Met with friends for 8 weeks in a row and shared meals at different restaurants. No, one knew or even noticed that we were vegan until one of my family members happened to say something about it. Otherwise, we don't usually bring it up or talk about it in social situations - we just pick out things that we can eat and enjoy ourselves.

It is normal to be excited and want to share with people about your new food choices but the less that you announce your decision the easier it becomes to just slip in unnoticed and without negative comments.

Early on we had the same thing happen to us because we found ourselves apologizing for our diet differences - instead of just eating the things that we could! Once we became comfortable with our own choice there was no more debates about our "diet" choices. Kind of funny.

I would suggest a book that might help you. "Living Among Meat Eaters", offers some help for adjusting to social situations as a vegan. Good luck to you! I promise it will get easier.

RE: say what?
Posted Tuesday, April 3, 2012 at 4:56 PM

BCMomma3 wrote:

It is normal to be excited and want to share with people about your new food choices but the less that you announce your decision the easier it becomes to just slip in unnoticed and without negative comments. .

As we made the changes, we just slipped vegetarian and then vegan options into what we added to meals like family dinners (the big holiday kind) and potlucks and such. When folks invariable asked for a recipe, they'd look at it and be surprised that it had no meat (even though it seemed 'meaty') or no cheese or dairy (even though it seemed 'creamy'). Now, it's gotten to where folks at the potlucks look for our dishes (they recognize our crockpot and such!) because they know they'll be tasty. And a few folks who are vegetarian or have issues with dairy or eggs also check for our stuff. Sometimes we'll even do GF AND vegan and people who don't check the note I put with it (I always label things so people know if there are ingredients they are sensitive to) would never know that it is anything but yummy. Once folks taste the yummy, it opens a door for discussing the food choices.

Most people still think vegan is tofu, sprouts, granola, and BORING! When they taste creamy, colorful, yummy pasta primavera alfredo and then find out it's VEGAN, it rocks their world (In a good way - and yes, I know it's not necessarily low fat but it's a great way to introduce omnivores to vegan foods that appeal to their eyes and palate when they're not interested in changing their eating habits).

--Deb R

RE: say what?
Posted Tuesday, April 3, 2012 at 10:22 PM

I stumbled upon this website, carnism awareness action network, and there are some very good suggestions on how to reply to questions and remarks about veganism. I found this to be very insightful. I never even heard of carnism: like sexism, racism, it's an ideology that supports eating meat. It is one of those things that is so subtle and ingrained in our culture, people never question it. Sometimes I feel like it is an opportunity to share how important food is to our health when people make negative comments. Alot of times, I find that people say funny/rude things because they don't understand something and in a way want to know more. This is a link to the web page that discusses this topic:

http://www.carnism.com/responses-to-common-questions-about-and-challenges-to-vegetarianism.pdf


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