Vegan diet isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

An in-depth article in USA Today (sounds oxymoronic, doesn’t it?) says vegan diets aren’t all they’reVeg
cracked up to be.

Citing two experts, the article warns that a vegan food plan doesn’t provide enough nutrition and can lead to serious deficiencies of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and amino acids. Even worse, vegan diets can do a real number on growing children, who can be placed at risk for malnutrition, digestive distress, allergies and immune system breakdowns. Holy cow! That’s enough to make anyone lose his or her appetite.

The zealousness of many verbose, proselytizing vegans reminds me of those smarmy, born-again Christians. Not content to munch away on their beans, soy and carrots, many vegans insist on telling you how much healthier their systems and lifestyles are. They love to drop words like ‘cleansing’ and ‘purging’ in every other sentence. And, in restaurants, they love to alert the waiter (and every fellow diner within earshot) of their very special dietary needs.

To each their own, I always say. But, narrow-minded, crusading vegans can be just as off-putting, if not as dangerous, as fundamentalists. And, I do worry that the health of large numbers of unsuspecting kids is being marginalized by their vegan vamping parents.

Worship who you like. And, eat what you like. But, like your Bible-quoting brethren, you vegans need to open your minds to facts and reason.

32 thoughts on “Vegan diet isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

  1. I’m vegan and sick and tired of omnivores harassing me. It’s very tiresome. They are wrecking the earth, and insisting it’s just their choice! There is no better way to help the environment than going vegan. It’s better than giving up your SUV and walking everywhere! Learn the facts.
    Regarding nutrition, a vegan diet is fine. Just make sure you get all your vitamins and minerals. Omega 3 and 6 you get plenty of with flax oil and primrose oil. Take a B-12 supplement or make sure you get something with the bacteria that creates B-12. (Yes, B-12 comes from bacteria! Eating meat doesn’t give you B-12 unless it’s got that bacteria on it, typically killed by cooking.)
    If you care about the environment go vegan. If you care about animals go vegan. Yes it IS a better diet for the earth and the animals. I’m going to keep saying this ‘cuz it’s the simple truth! Animal eaters make me sick and they’re hypocrites and should never call themselves environmentalists or humane to animals. False, false, false.

  2. I’m seventeen years old and have been vegan for the past year. Prior to me changing my diet I was suffering from horrible joint pain, and a whole other series of physical body pains that doctors/specialists just couldn’t shed light on. To make my already too personal/too long story short, once I stopped eating animals and their byproducts my problems all disappeared within a few months. I was also pleased to find myself having more energy.
    I eat all the time and I’m 5’3 / 115 pounds (granted, I do work out but I need to emphasize that I eat ALL the time) , all of my friends ask how I stay so slim. I was 135 before all of this, I’m sorry but veganism has done nothing but help me. Everyone bashing it really needs to try it. Especially if you’re like most of the population – OVERWEIGHT.

  3. I was wondering why you didn’t post more from the “in-depth” article. Then I read the article and realized that the only sentence in the otherwise vegetarian-freindly article is the one you refered to. Also, there were not two experts. The only “expert” is Kaayla Daniel. Notice that Dr. Daneil doesn’t actually cite anything (there isn’t really anything to cite), yet the opposition cites “a 2003 American Dietetic Association review of scientific literature.” Who do you believe, a woman who got rich by scaring people away from soy products, or the ADA?
    Now let’s think about the definition of narrow-minded. Would a narrow-minded person read an “in-depth article” and take out the one fragment that supports their own bias, or would they form a conclusion based on the article as a whole?
    I don’t understand why so many people are opposed to an open dialogue about food. Are you perhaps frightened vegetarians might make a valid point? You seem to be much more of a “crusader” for your own agenda than you may realize. How about you stop trying to impose your beliefs about what is appropriate for conversation?
    I am a vegan. I love the diet. I found out about it because someone else decided not to be polite. Now, I have 5 newly vegan friends who are all thankful to me because I decided not to be polite.

  4. To SLC and Frank:
    Did you completely disregard the whole call to responsibility for taking a stand on a MORAL issue??? How can you preach polite silence when innocent lives are being tortured beyond imagination.
    I ask again, specifically now to you, because this attitude of “Eat what you want, believe what you want.” and “simply a personal lifestyle choice” I find incomprehensible and horrendous.
    I ask again, and please answer: Would you suggest that one mind their own business if one learns of a dog or cat, who for it’s whole life has been confined to a tiny cage no bigger than it’s own body, where it cannot turn around or even lie down, never to see the light of day or live anywhere but this tiny cage, while being fed an unnutritious gruel… because by doing so, when the dog or cat was killed to eat, this process makes it’s meat more tender?”
    This is just one example of the horror farmed animals endure. Is it not ok to torture a dog or cat but ok to torture farm animals?
    This idea of a polite, quiet middle ground which ignores horrendous cruelty and torture of the innocent is appalling.

  5. Wow…everyone’s going vegan…I just heard that Michael Vick has pledged to go vegan.

  6. My favorite vegan is the one who said “I’m not a vegan because I love animals; I’m a vegan because I hate plants.”

  7. As a species, we are considered omnivores, and have been for thousands of years.
    As we have progressed, humans, through our ability to think, make personal choices. No question, there is lots of competing information and interests to get you to consume what is being marketed. But, it all comes down to individual choice. Eat what you want, believe what you want. But know there are and could be detrimental effects at both extremes. For the vast majority of us, the middle ground is nice, quiet and sane.

  8. I am a vegetarian(not a vegan) but I try not to talk about it unless it comes up. This debate is one of the main reasons why. There are some of us out there who think it is simply a personal lifestyle choice. I am the only vegetarian in my family and I could really care less that my brother rarely eats anything besides meat. I don’t like cruelty to animals any more than the next vegetarian, but people who push their views onto others can be extremely off-putting.

  9. Ohhhh and I need to add – probably worse in terms of torture of the innocent is what is done to animals in the dairy industry. Please help end the insane cruelty – choose love, go vegan.

  10. Steve, I think that was maybe the best reply possibly. I do not mean to imply that you are intrinsically a bad person AT ALL. I use to happily, ignorantly eat meat and I thought I loved it. I had to find my own path from eating meat to being vegan. It started for me as well, loving animals. I actually gained a lot of respect for you to simply reply that you too love animals. I would lose that respect if you remained stagnant in demonstration of that love. Please seek out the truth.
    I understand that there is a right way to communicate important truths that can be life changing and an ineffective way – but most important of all, it is not about the messenger, just the truth – animals are being tortured – for meat.
    I am not assuming the worse about you. It’s not about how this person or that person uses words… it’s about having the courage to find one’s own path to the Truth of your heart, and living that Truth. It is why we are here.

  11. adding to my previous comment, since every vegan i’ve met had previously been a meat eater, it’s easier for us to get the big picture. I don’t wish harm on other people when i talk about veganism, and i agree it is an epiphony when i first learned about it cause it’s almost all i talked about, being so shocked about animal conditions, so i have a question for all the omnivores: “ever been to a slaugher house? ever seen the people who kill the animals? would you like to step on your dog and kick it around? do you think this comment is offensive because i don’t eat meat? would it be less offensive if i did, but asked you if you would kick your dog?
    i duno, i just think once you’ve been something and changed, you get a better idea about it..that’s called open mindedness
    and calling us “vegans” is a huge stereotype, just look at all the bands and actors that are vegan, some hide it well

  12. I’m 16, my sister is 13, we’re vegans, we’re doin fine 🙂 better then most, actually, considering most parents give their kids fast food
    (p.s. obesity is huge in underage kids in america..i don’t think they’re vegans)

  13. Hi Steve!
    I just couldn’t resist stopping in to tell you about my daughter, who is vibrant, healthy, intelligent, energetic, social, and vegan.
    Asthma? No. Food allergies? No. Ear infections? NO! rounds of antibiotics for this or that? NO!!! Thin? not really. Pale and Pasty complection? NOPE! Dr’s worried? Not a single bit.
    She’s barely 4 years old, she can practically read and write. She’s got a great appetite, even eats her veggies-HAPPILY!
    Yeah, i might be bragging, but she and i are also living proof that there is a healthy population of vegans. So what if we “bug” you.. . .as Carla says above. . . .you have your share of what many vegans consider “harassment” — Your McDonalds Ads, “BEEF, it’s what’s rotting in your colon” is what they should accurately portray. And as Jody suggested, Google it. While you are at it, try googling factory farming too. Battery Cages. Animal Cruelty. Meet Your Meat.
    Yeah, go watch Earthlings and tell me that it’s all necessary. It isn’t. There is a better way to live, a peaceful way to live. A way where children, in their innocence, don’t EVER have to detach their emotions from their food —-once they learn that they EAT these creatures who they have all this time thought were so wonderful, gentle, and friendly. You think it’s ok to torture and force feed geese so you can have your foie gras? google that too. You have no argument.

  14. My opinion is this article is correct if and ONLY if the vegan is one of the ‘narrow minded vegans’ any narrow minded person is bound to not have the total picture…’s the enlightened vegans who have it right or on the path to the right path. A CORRECT vegan diet is much healthier than eating flesh
    and what about the beef council ads’ It’s what’s for dinner, but not on the cardio ward of the vascular critical care unit or for the post bypass patients
    And then of course right after these meat and pork ads are the zocor, zantac, pepcid, anti bloating rolaids, diabetic paraphanalia, if you have this or that ailment or disease commercials!
    and the diet and fitness info to get BACK to a healthy lifestyle.
    Americans are too fat, too sick, their food is too fast and too empty of nutrients. It’s offensive to imply a true correct vegan lifestyle from birth is dangerous to the child!!
    THere is finally hope and from those who are catching their children early w/autism and right away are correcting their diet and it has signs of working and turning it all around to a hopeful future, this is a great chance for a breakthru.
    It ALL goes back to correcting diet…..hardening of the arteries and heart disease, how do you correct that? less meat, less fat
    Diabetes from preservatives and fast food
    How do youcorrect that? turn to a healty diet!!
    Obesity??? go to a healty diet
    More vegetables and more fruit and more grains, less dead flesh and less preservatives and additives and hormones and brutalized farmed animals! Hey you farmers, raise some vegetables and grains for US!
    Humans, they don’t ‘change’ until the problem is apparent
    THey wait until you get cancer from the hormones ,then oh yea, lets change our diets
    Gosh I weigh 250 lbs, hmmmm maybe I should eat better
    Every common American ailment can be avoided or correct to an extent by correcting the diet and that diet is more organic locally grown vegetables and fruits and grains. If your point is not to be a ‘narrow minded’ vegan, point taken, but more important point is DON’T BE NARROW MINDED! Peace

  15. Ouch. Calm down, Jody. No one loves animals more than me. This blog was about vegan diets for kids and those vegans who proselytize too loudly about their way of life.

  16. Wow. Sad how such a cavalier, carefree attitude can be taken when in truth what one is condoning – by eating meat – is the abuse and torture beyond imagination of an innocent animal. Mindboggling to me that there is the suggestion to ‘be polite’ and not mention the innocent suffering’, ‘let me live how I choose’ because… what, will it ruin an appetite?
    Would you suggest that one mind their own business if they learn of a dog or cat, who for it’s whole life has been confined to a tiny cage no bigger than it’s own body, where it cannot turn around or even lie down, never to see the light of day or live anywhere but this tiny cage, while being fed an unnutritious gruel… because by doing so, when the dog or cat was killed to eat, this process makes it’s meat more tender.
    This is pretty much how veal calves live. Is it ok to do this to a cow but not a dog or cat? And is it best to be politely quiet about it? And Steve Cody, of all of the horror that farm animals endure so you can enjoy a plate full of murdered meat, chickens suffer probably the most. Google it because there are far worse details which, if one has an ounce of courage, should be faced.
    It is APPALLING that you Steve Cody and Bubbles an anyone else of like mind, suggest it is ‘unpolite’ to fight with everything in oneself to help end this kind of torture and cruelty against the innocent. I will not be silent and I pray someday you understand and join the battle against the worst cruelty in terms of number and scope that human beings have ever practiced.

  17. Wow. This has degenerated into a real food fight. I think there’s room for argument on both sides of the vegan v. meat superbattle. For the record, i’m a big chicken fan, but stay away from red meats. I try to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. What prompted the blog in the first place was the ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude of my vegan friend. Live your life as you choose. Just don’t try and sell it to me.

  18. To Bubbles who is concerned about the “bad manners” of those who comment against meat-eating:
    “Meat-eating IS a moral issue in the same way that cheating, killing, capital punishment, and polluting the environment are all moral issues. It is not simply a food choice, where you prefer salt and I prefer no-salt, or you prefer meat and I prefer vegetables.
    Moral issues are usually issues that affect or harm others and it is not considered harassment when we prevent people from harming others. If it were, then you may as well say that putting thieves in jail or ostracizing liars from your circle of friends is harassing them. Of course this is nonsense.
    Most people accept that when it comes to moral issues that affect or harm others, it is perfectly proper for society (and individuals)to impose morality. Morality is not left “to each his own” like a choice between chocolate and vanilla ice-cream.”
    Quoted from Wordster at

  19. “Veganism is certainly not an unhealthy lifestyle choice. Meat-eating is, though. Vegans can eat unhealthily, but meat-eaters run the risk of diseases … such as cancer and heart disease. Veganism removes the potential of dairy to promote cancer (see “The China Study”). Veganism does not require some special degree or intelligence to follow it in a healthy way. Simply eating enough calories means you’ll likely be getting enough protein (again, see “The China Study”). Vegans can be comfortable with where their food comes from. I don’t know many meat-eaters who will kill their meal or watch it getting killed. What is up with meat-eaters being grossed out about eating certain body parts of an animal or even certain animals? If meat-eaters are so comfortable with their philosophy in eating, they would be comfortable with eating their pet dog or horse. Why do these animals get special exemptions to the human palate and cows don’t?” quoted from Andrew Keese at

  20. The situation you have described is just bad manners, regardless of what the person is eating. I’ve been chastised by vegans for eating meat in their presence “THAT’S DISGUSTING. HOW CAN YOU EAT FLESH.” The bad manners door swings both ways, and has nothing to do with who is eating what. No one should comment, one way or the other, about anyone’s dietary choices. And that includes vegans who have had an epiphany.

  21. As a vegetarian, (never a vegan – no cheese, no deal), I agree with your observation that some non-meat eaters are way too vocal about their beliefs. At the same time, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat at a table and had to endure the “WHAT, HOW DO YOU NOT EAT MEAT?” question (always asked loudly, even after I’ve tried to place my order discreetly). Either way, it’s just not polite table manners. I say save the dinner conversation for things other than what you are or are not eating and everyone will be a whole lot more comfortable.

  22. I didn’t say ads are supported by people who like to hunt. I said some blogs and Web sites are. Which is true. Some guy who calls himself “Grizzly Bear” has one. And I never said I disagreed with the “born-again Christian” comparison. I absolutely agree. And I dislike people who are like that, so I try hard not to be like that.

  23. You are too funny. “…ads are supported by …people who like to hunt.” Oh please. And you have proven RepMan’s point about being akin to born-again Christians by saying becoming vegan is an epiphany. Wait- what’s that? Why it’s the image of Jesus in my soy burger!

  24. There are a lot of blogs and Web sites about the benefits of eating meat. Of course, these are supported by people in the meat and dairy industry, or by people who like to hunt. And then, of course, you have your “Got Milk” ads or the “milk mustache” ads. Or the cheese commercials, etc. Unfortunately, there are no “Go Veg” commercials. And eating meat is so ingrained in our culture that when someone says something good about it, it doesn’t shock or offend us. It’s normal to like meat, right? But it’s out of the ordinary to be vegetarian or vegan. So if someone in a restaurant says something about it, he or she is likely not trying to get other diners’ attention. One more thing to note, too: When someone first becomes vegetarian or vegan, it’s like an epiphany, and they want to share it with the world. They mean well, and just want others to know about the cruelty inherent in meat production, or about the health benefits of a veg diet, etc.

  25. I also want to point out that Kaayla Daniel, who is quoted in the USA Today article, is with the Weston A. Price Foundation, which touts the health of meat and dairy, including unpasteurized whole milk.

  26. I don’t know of any meat-eaters who champion any cause. I think they just eat meat without making a big deal out of it as so many vegans do.

  27. Good point, Angela. Extreme diets on either side of the equation can be harmful. My concern was more about vegan kids, who can really suffer from an all veggie diet. Plus, I find some vegans a bit too assertive in championing their cause.

  28. The article is hardly as condemning as you make it out to be. (I see that you also neglect to mention the American Dietetic Association review pointing out that veg*n diets can be absolutely healthy) Furthermore, w/the way that people eat on the Standard American Diet, there are TONS of health risks (obesity, heart disease, lack of balanced nutrition & vitamins, etc.). Like w/any diet, vegans should be conscious of nutrition–something that Americans in general need to do! Omnivorous diets have a myriad of health problems of their own.