Arguments against going vegan (why I resisted going 100% vegan)
written by Nina Shantel, blog: RealDietHelp.com, published June 21, 2022
Whenever I read articles or saw headlines stating vegans were more likely to be a healthy weight and had much lower rates of diseases, I thought, “no duh!”
All the confident, sun-kissed, fit vegans, doing handstands with ease, traveling the world, spreading love, seeds and goodwill, living pure lives without harming a soul, do think they are better than the rest of us?
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Vegans are always pushing their agenda, like it’s a religion, preaching, with their obnoxious slogans like “meat is murder.”
I’ve always cared animals, but what about my health? I’ve heard that grains and beans aren’t good sources of protein and contain anti-nutrients.
There’s no way I can get enough protein on a vegan diet. I don’t want to be weak and frail.
Besides, being vegan is not a guarantee of good health. We need cholesterol. I eat fish for omega 3s. What about getting enough calcium without taking a supplement or eating dairy products? Don’t I need to eat beef to get enough iron?
Aren’t vegan foods: salads and gross or bland-tasting food? How would I get enough calories?
Myth: Vegan food is bland or disgusting
I didn’t want to give up burgers, fried chicken, and beef stew. Although today, there’s a vegan equivalent to practically every animal product.
“Beyond beef” vegan burgers supposedly taste like meat. They aren’t healthy, but neither are fatty beef burgers.
There are dairy-free coconut and almond yogurts, vegan dark chocolate bars, and vegan sausages at my local supermarket. Those are easy swaps I can make.
Fruit smoothies with almond milk, corn on the cob, sweet potato fries, oatmeal with blueberries and walnuts, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, bean burritos, roasted potatoes, spicy black bean soup with tortilla chips, spaghetti, and garlic bread are all vegan. I like those foods.
I’ve eaten at vegan restaurants, where I enjoyed the sweet and sticky mock-chicken, mock-beef and broccoli, and Thai salad with spicy peanut dressing. I even ate a delicious mock-shrimp dish at a Chinese restaurant. Not all my friends or family are open to eating vegan foods, though.
At home, one of my favorite appetizers is an arugula salad with sliced strawberries, chopped apples, topped with crunchy walnuts, drizzled with a tangy balsamic vinegar. I’m trying to eat more meals without any animal protein. While I’m okay with just a salad every now and then, my husband would be hungry, and would grill a steak to eat with the salad.
I found a vegan YouTube channel called Sauce Stache where a male chef shows how to recreate every meat lover’s cravings, from fried “chicken” drumsticks, pepperoni, “steak,” and gooey “cheese” from various fruits, starches or vegetables, mixed with spices and oils. He says you can hardly tell the difference between the vegan version and the original, but he’s overweight and does not look like a vegan.
Myth: You cannot get enough protein on a vegan diet
When my vegan friends tried to push me to be vegan too, I pushed back and said, “I can’t get enough protein on a vegan diet.” They countered with, “you don’t need much protein,” which I didn’t believe.
Why should I question what I’ve believed to be true, and what I’ve eaten my entire life?
It’s good to be skeptical. I know science evolves and new data is released.
I’ve seen muscular vegan male bodybuilders, but they put lots of vegan protein powder in their smoothies. I assume they inject steroids to get that muscular.
I ask myself: Why aren’t I receptive to dissenting opinions and changing my mind? Why am I not open to new ways of thinking of things?
Doctors once thought smoking cigarettes was harmless, a woman’s uterus would drop out if she ran more than two miles, washing hands wasn’t necessary, and that bloodletting helped people heal. How could they have believed those things?
People used to believe the earth was flat.
Moderation is not key. I’ve tried that. It doesn’t work. Moderation made me sick and fat.
I believed my personal fitness trainers who had strong, muscular bodies who ate high animal protein diets who said I needed extra protein and superior protein comes from animal flesh. These trainers said I needed to try harder to lose weight and gain muscle by sticking to baked or grilled meats, but I don’t like baked or grilled meat without lots of BBQ sauce.
Every few months, when I was at the gym, someone told me of another lean, muscular male body builder who died from a sudden heart attack. Maybe the heart attack was caused from steroids or maybe it was from all the animal fat and cholesterol building up in his veins and blood vessels over the years; maybe all those heart attacks were caused by the combination of high-protein diets and steroid use. They should do a study on that.
Like many bodybuilders, I ignored the RDA guidelines and questioned their recommended protein dietary allowances of .8 grams per kg of bodyweight being adequate (1). That means a woman who weighs 125 pounds only needs 46 grams of protein per day, and a man who weighs 170 pounds only needs to consume 62 grams of protein per day.
I presumed those guidelines were for inactive people who don’t lift weights. I was trying to eat 100 grams of protein, when the RDA, for someone my size and weight of 100 pounds, only requires 36 grams of protein. Isn’t that too low?
In contrast, the FDA asserts that everyone only needs to consume 50 grams of protein per day. Without eating any animal protein, after plugging in the foods I’ve been eating throughout the week, I easily consume 50 grams of protein from beans, fruit, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds (2).
If I wanted more protein, I guess I could add vegan protein powder to my smoothies instead of the beef collagen I was using. (My blog has many vegan protein powder reviews at RealDietHelp.com).
there are some delicious protein powders available now, but they are a processed, unnecessary food
Hard-core vegans like Dr. McDougall says that protein powders are “toxic,” but he doesn’t lift weights or exercise like I do.
I’ve heard that high protein diets can cause kidney disease, but I thought that only applies to people who have poorly functioning kidneys. I recently learned that people with kidney disease are often able to reverse their kidney disease and improve their kidney function by reducing their protein intakes.
I want more muscle and a smaller waist, so my trainer cut my carbs and increased the animal protein. I ended up fatter, my waistline even wider than before.
Why was I believing my trainer and not the FDA? When I was a kid and I asked my mom why, she would say, because I said so. Teachers, churches and employers chastised me for asking questions. Why shouldn’t I question authority? Just because something has been done a certain way, doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way.
True: Going vegan won’t guarantee good health
Becoming vegan is not a guarantee of good health. If I have lots of stress, don’t sleep enough, breathe in mold or toxins, and exercise in an area with lots of pollution, a vegan diet will not fix all my problems.
If I eat gluten since I have a gluten sensitivity and a leaky gut, just cutting out animal products, won’t be sufficient.
Removing inflammatory foods can resolve a lot of my issues, but, sadly, not all of them.
Eliminating all animal products from my diet won’t improve my health if I keep eating vegan processed foods with oil, sugar, or flavoring chemicals.
Soda, skittles, and tortilla chips are vegan.
Vegan ice cream can have as much sugar and fat as dairy ice cream. I love SoDelicious Mint and Chip ice cream. I need to stop eating that.
Fried foods, GMOs, and conventionally grown plant foods with toxic pesticides give me a stomachache so I avoid those now. Deep fried breaded zucchini is not much healthier than fried chicken, so I stopped frying my food.
Frequent dining at restaurants where portions are oversized, with too much salt, flour and oil, just makes me gain weight and feel terrible, so I try to eat out just once a week.
The restaurant bean burrito, where the refried beans are fried in lard, which is pig fat, and is wrapped in a high calorie, glutenous flour tortilla makes my blood sugar and the scale go up, so I make burritos and tacos at home now with corn tortillas, canned beans, and a mashed avocado and salsa.
I have yet to find a truly healthy, low-fat vegan restaurant.
Excess fats, even good plant fats from avocados, peanut butter, nuts and seeds, cause me to gain weight, which puts me at an increased disease risk.
There are unhealthy, fat vegans with heart disease. Margarine and butter are both terrible fats to eat so it’s good I don’t eat either of those.
To be a healthy vegan takes more control; I need to focus on whole plant foods that Mother Earth provides us.
When I decided to try a vegan diet and to ensure I was getting sufficient nutrients, I followed Dr. Greger’s daily dozen checklist:
Myth: We need to eat meat, because we need cholesterol
When people eat animal products, their cholesterol levels go up, no wonder my cholesterol levels were high. If high cholesterol isn’t bad for us, then why do doctors prescribe statins, which are cholesterol lowering drugs in hopes to prevent strokes and heart attacks? We need cholesterol, but our bodies make cholesterol, so we don’t need to add it to our diets.
People promoting certain diets or foods they like to eat, will push misinformation, data they think is true, and/or disinformation, information that they know is false, either because that falsehood makes them money, and/or because they don’t want to change the way they eat. What BBQ restaurant, dairy producer, or beef rancher wants the message out that their product makes people sick?
If I keep listening to views I agree with and ignore opposing views, I believe these view points even more. Isn’t it possible that my current opinion is outdated?
Things once thought of as impossible are possible today.
Myth: We need to eat fish, because we need their omega 3s and DHA
I ate fish because I knew that omega 3s are in fish and I liked baked almond-crusted tilapia with capers over pasta. I always ordered Teriyaki salmon with white rice when I went out for Japanese food, which I thought was a healthy dairy-free option.
I didn’t realize fish get their omega 3’s from the algae they eat, or that plant foods contain omega 3s too. I could eat nori vegetable sushi rolls, or ground flax and chia seeds for omega 3s and DHA.
I didn’t need to eat fish and learned that fish are contaminated with PCBs, chemicals, toxins, and microplastics. All fish contain mercury and cholesterol, so I stopped eating fish.
Yes, fish has cholesterol in it, which I didn’t know. In fact, all animal products contain cholesterol.
Plant foods do NOT contain cholesterol.
Doctors are learning more by looking at past studies to see what they ignored and how flawed hypotheses were made.
Myth: We should eat like those back in the Paleolithic era
I read books and articles that argued to avoid grains and beans and look to paleolithic times when people were healthier and eat what they ate, but in paleo times, people ate beans and grains, and they also ate animal organs, drank animal blood, rarely lived to 40 years old, and had high rates of heart disease.
People who feel better and lost weight on a Paleo or keto diet, initially get healthier because they aren’t consuming wheat and gluten, maybe they were celiac or gluten sensitive and didn’t know it. These diets cut out sugar and flours which are inflammatory and high in calories. When a person lowers calories, even if the diet consists of only Doritos, weight loss and better health outcomes results.
I tried Paleo, Keto, and Whole-30 diets and never lost weight. People I know on these diets have lost weight, but they are still overweight, and they all have high cholesterol levels. These high-protein, high-fat diets increase fat build-up in the body, increase heart disease and overall disease risk, and increase insulin resistance, setting more adults and children up for Type-2 diabetes.
Sadly, I hear too often of people’s parents or grandparents that wanted to lower their blood sugar levels, so they changed from a standard American diet to a ketogenic or a low-carb, high-protein diet. Their blood sugars improved. They lost weight. They had heart attacks or strokes.
I can find a study to support any viewpoint, but studies with few people analyzed over short time frames, like ketogenic diets, are not proof.
To claim a low-fat diet isn’t beneficial when the “low-fat” diet was only slightly lower in fat to the comparison group, is like claiming more exercise is not better when people add only five minutes to their time on a treadmill.
Comparing junk food vegetarians against whole-food meat eaters is not a fair comparison. There are fat vegans.
Myth: Grains and beans are bad because they have anti-nutrients
I used to limit grains and beans because they are carbohydrates and contain anti-nutrients; these phytates protect us against cancer.
I can soak grains and beans to remove most of the phytates; but I don’t have to eat grains or beans if I don’t want to, if I ever decided to become a vegan.
Myth: Soy is bad for you and causes cancer
I stopped drinking soy milk when it was theorized that soy has estrogenic effects, increases estrogen levels and cancer risk. Phytoestrogens are actually protective against cancer, and those who eat more tofu and edamame have a lowered risk of cancer.
Dairy milk, not soy milk, increases estrogen. I still don’t drink soy milk because I prefer coconut milk, hemp milk, and almond milk.
I eat edamame as a snack and have fun making tofu into “salmon” wedges, “chicken” bites, or “cream.” My husband likes pressing tofu and making it into spicy “riblets” or “steaks” with fish-free Worchester sauce on the grill.
Myth: being vegan makes you weak
Vegans are skinny and weak! As opposed to being fat? Eating animal protein doesn’t make muscle or increase strength; exercise increases muscle mass and promotes strength.
Is vegan tennis champion Venus Williams, or vegan football player Colin Kaepernick weak? I didn’t know they were vegan.
There are more professional athletes, and even bodybuilders, going vegan to get shredded, gain muscle and improve their edge in their sport. I didn’t know that.
Myth: We need to drink milk to get enough calcium to protect our bones
I’ve never drank milk because of my severe dairy allergy to milk protein, and avoided dairy my entire life, except for the times that my food was cross contaminated with a dairy product, and yet, have never broken a bone.
When I was in elementary school I fell while roller blading and ended up with a sprain, so if not drinking milk causes weak bones, my wrist should have broken to bits and pieces.
Countries that consume the most dairy, like Finland, have the highest numbers of fractures.
Dairy products contain pus, antibiotics, hormones, harmful bacteria, excess calcium, cholesterol, casein, whey, saturated fat, is acidic, and promotes insulin resistance, obesity, and autoimmune conditions like cancer, Type-1 diabetes, lupus, thyroid diseases and rheumatoid arthritis.
I knew dairy was bad for me, but I was shocked to learn, from reading “The China Study,” that Dr. Campbell, who worked for the NIH (National Institutes of Health), that casein, the main protein in dairy, grows tumors. The more dairy one eats, the more a tumor grows. He was able to shrink tumors by reducing dairy.
Growing up in a farming family, Dr. Campbell ate dairy products and lots of animal meat, so he was shocked to learn that animal protein increases cancer risk too.
Dr. Campbell found, through his research, that animal protein intake exceeding 10% of total calories, increases one’s likeliness of cancer and disease. This is where the 10% of protein and 10% of fat rule a lot of people are promoting came from. The probability of getting sick is directly correlated to how much dairy and animal flesh is eaten.
Myth: We need to eat meat to get enough iron
After a getting a blood test, I found out I was anemic, so I started eating chicken liver and eating more steak, but my iron levels remained low, so I started taking iron pills. My well-educated doctor in nutrition told me to stop the calcium and the iron pills, eliminate all animal proteins, and eat large green, raw salads daily.
He explained that animal products are acidic to humans, so our bodies try to neutralize the acids by releasing calcium from our bones, which makes our bones weaker. Dairy and meat intake make our bones weaker, not stronger!
Green salads contain plenty of iron, which I didn’t initially believe, so if I’m eating too much iron, especially heme iron which is only in animal products, my body will try to create balance, by excreting the excess iron.
After I stopped popping the calcium and iron pills and ditched the animal products, my iron and calcium levels normalized, which is great because now I don’t have to buy those expensive supplements or worry about iron toxic overload.
Vitamins and supplements are not without risks and are considered over-the-counter drugs.
Myth: There is nothing we can do to save the planet
I’ve been frustrated with government’s inaction in helping people live healthier lives, but I felt much better when learning that going vegan may reduce greenhouse gasses by an astounding 80%. This is important because we need to breathe clear air and drink clean water.
We cannot survive freezing temperatures in the winters, fires in the warmer seasons, and excessive heat waves in the summer. Many of us cannot afford the excessive costs of heating and air conditioning our homes.
As the earth becomes hotter, rivers dry up, crops die. Farmers are forced to leave their land and migrate to other countries.
We cannot keep feeding animals grains, which are our food. There just won’t be enough land and food to feed all the people in the world unless we all join in a vegan revolution.
Each person can make a difference to protect our land and our future!
Myth: I will be an outcast if I become a vegan
Most people don’t want to be different, or weird, or difficult, but don’t we all dislike certain foods, and avoid certain foods? Aren’t we all different, a bit weird and are sometimes difficult?
Co-workers made fun of my brown bag lunches, acquaintances called me a tree hugger, and a tofu lover. I no longer care what people think about me. I’m going to eat what makes my body strong, energized, and nourished. Now that I’m 100% vegan, people have told me they admire me, look to me for inspiration, and want to eat more like me. I didn’t expect that.
Fact: We are all becoming more vegan, without know it.
There didn’t used to be plant milks to drink, yet everyone I know either has almond or oat milk in their refrigerator. More of us are replacing butter with olive oil. Most of us can pronounce the grain quinoa. We all know what coconut water tastes like, but not all of us like it.
I didn’t know what chia seeds looked like or what they were used for, but today, most of us know chia seeds are the key ingredient, along with plant milk, to a healthy chia pudding.
There aren’t many vegans now, but the numbers are growing. More meat eaters are going plant-based. Meatless Mondays are as popular as casual Fridays. Dairy milk producers are making almond milk because the sales of dairy milk is going down. Vegan restaurants are popping up all over the world. Burger joints often offer vegetarian bean burgers.
Remember when most people smoked cigarettes and doctors said cigarettes posed no harm and were perfectly safe? Cigarette ads showed smokers as sophisticated, acceptable, and normal. Today, everyone knows cigarettes direct link to lung cancer; many consider smoking disgusting.
Remember when going gluten-free seemed weird? It’s likely that eating meat will be considered a character flaw and being vegan, the norm.
Myth: There is no way I can be a vegan
I thought there was no way I could stop eating animal products entirely. I made two attempts at just eating plant foods, but I didn’t feel good, so I went back to eating meat, but looking back, I was just trying to find an excuse to revert back to my old eating habits.
Myth: Vegan diets are inadequate because supplements are needed
When I became deficient in vitamins and/or minerals, we don’t feel good. Vegans must add a B12 supplement to their diet due to the depletion in our soils. Doctors are now recommending that meat-eaters should also take a B12 supplement.
Taking iodine or eating sea vegetables, like nori is another supplement and/or food all vegans should consume.
The argument that a vegan diet is not the ideal diet for humans because it’s recommended to take a few supplements, is ridiculous because every meat-eater I know takes supplements. In fact, the body builders who eat high protein diets, primarily from animal meat, take the most supplements.
Myth: I’m old and cannot change
I was eating a certain way, eating some form of animal protein with every meal, and found it hard to change my ingrained eating habits. I didn’t go vegan overnight, my mind resisted it. There were struggles. I stopped and resumed. I learned what works and doesn’t work. Having my whole family join in the vegan revolution in my home made a huge difference. I’m a 100% vegan now and wish I ate this way my entire life.
The only animal protein in my house today is in little round tin cans for my cat.
Myth: I don’t know how to go vegan
In 2021, I created a transition book with motivational stories, strategies that work with delicious recipes to help others go vegan. That book is called The High-Five Diet which you can order from my website theHighFiveDiet.com
Make sure to order the food diary too, it’s the transition book companion, to keep you accountable.
For those that want a coach for one-on-one help with your transition, you can contact me.
You can be a healthy vegan or an unhealthy overweight vegan, but you cannot be a truly healthy omnivore. If you still have doubts, what evidence would change your mind?
Are you open to ideas that are different than what you’ve been told your entire life?
I care what other people eat because I’m saddened by how many people are sick, how animals live and die in brutal conditions. I want clean air and water for everyone. Not eating animals may prevent future pandemics. I want everyone to be vegan because I want to see more people well, than sick. I think the world would be a happier and kinder place if animals were let to live their full lives in nature.
I want every person to stop eating animal flesh and to stop hunting animals and fish because I’m scared about my future if things don’t change.
For me, being vegan is not just a diet, it’s my new lifestyle. I feel and look so much better today, that I want to share it with others.
No one should be saddled with outrageous, unnecessary medical costs, surgeries, and drugs due to over consumption, processed foods, dairy, meat and fish.
What would it be like if no one worried about belly fat, heart disease or Type-2 diabetes?
For those that follow an oil-free, LFPB (low-fat, plant-based) vegan diet, you can expect to lose excess bodyfat, feel better and see improved health markers, sometimes as quickly as one week. My total cholesterol went from 201 on dairy-free Standard American diet, down to 148 when I switch to a LFPB diet, and that was with just losing 9 pounds. I didn’t believe what other vegans were telling me either.
What do you think about eating more fruits and vegetables and eating less meat? Aren’t you a little curious to find out how a different lifestyle would benefit you?
Do you believe eating animal products and excess calories is harming your health, or people you know? Would you be willing to try a vegan diet and get your blood tests before and after 30 days to see the test results for yourself?
Let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear from you.
Make sure to order the food diary too, it’s the transition book companion, to keep you accountable.
For those that want a coach for one-on-one help with your transition, you can contact me.
If this post is located on any other website other than mine, which is RealDietHelp.com, it’s been unauthorized, plagiarized (copied without my permission). The other social media sites where my articles and videos are approved to be published are on my YouTube channel (Nina’s Nutrition & Exercise Videos), my Fit Girl Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TheHighFiveDiet/ and my Twitter account https://twitter.com/medairyfree
- Cohut, Maria. “How High Protein Diets May Increase Heart Attack Risk.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 31 Jan. 2020,” https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/high-protein-diet-atherosclerosis-mouse-study#:~:text=But%20a%20new%20study%20in,potentially%20increasing%20heart%20attack%20risk.
- Brazier, Yvette. “Protein: Sources, Deficiency, and Requirements.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 10 Dec. 2020, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/196279#daily-needs. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/196279#daily-needs
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- Shah, Reshma, et al. Nourish: the Definitive Plant-Based Nutrition Guide for Families. Health Communications, Inc., 2020
- Aggarwal, Monica, and Jyothi Rao. Body on Fire: How Inflammation Triggers Chronic Illness and the Tools We Have to Fight It. Healthy Living Publications, 2020
- “Diabetes Reversal with Dr Joel Fuhrman.” Life Heal. YouTube, YouTube, 12 June 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ALPFrKIdwo
- Frazier, Matt. Plant-Based Athlete: A Game-Changing Approach to Peak Performance. HarperCollins Publishers, 2021
- Bulsiewicz, Will. Fiber Fueled: the Plant-Based Gut Health Program for Losing Weight, Restoring Your Health, and Optimizing Your Microbiome. Avery, an Imprint of Penguin Random House, 2020
- McDougall, John A., and Mary A. McDougall. The Starch Solution: Eat the Foods You Love, Regain Your Health, and Lose the Weight for Good! Rodale, 2013