Frank Talk about Vegetarian, Vegan,
and Raw Diets & Beyond
Exploring the Roots of Naturalism in the Vegetarian, Raw Foods, Natural Hygiene, and Vegan Movements An in-depth review of select writings published in the early 1800's that were influential in the founding of vegetarian-related movements in the U.K., U.S., and other Western countries. These writings document the religious, cultural, and long-outdated "scientific" basis for some of the misinformation that is still being promoted today by activists for vegetarian, raw food, natural hygiene, and vegan diets.
Six Common Vegetarian Problem Scenarios--Does One Fit You?Are you headed for trouble on your diet perhaps without even knowing it? These brief, humorous, but on-target profiles of typical predicaments should give you a pretty strong hint. Plus you'll find these two relevant follow-up discussions:
Why "Failure to Thrive" on Vegetarian Diets is Rarely Talked About. More than just a case of see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, the reasons include the self-selection effect in long-term successful vegetarians, large numbers of "social dropouts" who divert attention, and moral ostracism that makes it difficult for former vegetarians to be heard or believed.
What Happens if Vegetarian Diets Are Not Best for Everyone? The vegetarian movement in the U.S. is now maturing after the three decades since it began mushrooming in the 1960s/1970s. After years of experience, some are finding things haven't worked out for them in the long term as well as hoped. Evolutionary science is also confirming our ancestors were serious omnivores. Where does this leave those in the movement who offer the vegetarian prescription as the optimum nostrum for the ecological and health ills that beset society, and more importantly, where does it leave you? At the Beyond Veg site, of course. Here, we give you our take on the situation, and what the website is all about.
Idealism vs. Realism in Raw Foods. A call for more realism and honesty in the raw-foods movement so that raw-fooders themselves don't end up getting hurt, with the potential bonus result that outsiders might even start taking what truths and helpful ideas there are in the raw-foods movement seriously when the aura of offputting fanaticism is overcome. Get the message and get real--you have only the chains of illusion to lose, and the marginality of the raw-foods movement to forgo.
For a plain-English translation of the available data from evolutionary science on humanity's "original" diet, plus a look at how far back in time cooking goes, not to mention a sober appraisal of the results of predominantly raw-food vegetarianism in the real world, don't miss the 3-part Paleolithic Diet vs. Vegetarianism interviews:
Setting the Scientific Record Straight on Humanity's Evolutionary Prehistoric Diet and Ape Diets. With the ever-accumulating scientific data of recent years about human dietary evolution, the vegetarian picture of a prehistoric Garden of Eden has become hopelessly outdated. So has the "comparative anatomy" argument for vegetarianism, which is no longer supportable given the advent of modern field studies on apes. And the ape studies are themselves increasingly moot where human diet is concerned, given the availability of the direct evolutionary data now available on early human diet. In looking at these two areas of the scientific evidence, this thoroughly documented discussion also explores the differences between Natural Hygiene's essentially "subjective" model for dietary "naturalism" vs. the "functional" model of science based on evolutionary evidence.
The Psychology of Idealistic Diets and Lessons Learned from the Natural Hygiene Many-to-Many about Successes and Failures of Vegetarian Diets. Real-world experience unsanitized by veggie officialdom confirms that--indeed--raw-food vegetarian diets can get real results and promote healing, as many of us already know: in the short-term, that is. However, in the long-term they can lead to real problems (including deficiencies) for some individuals, which shouldn't be surprising since such diets are a restriction of the evolutionary human diet--a restriction not everyone can handle. Also covered is the way in which efforts to restrict diets based on idealistic concepts of "purity" can lead not only to physical problems, but to a vicious cycle of self-perpetuating, circular mental logic. The end result for those prone to taking things too far can be psychological and behavioral imbalance and fanaticism, which the individual themselves often remains oblivious to, and can become trapped in indefinitely. A conclusion suggests pointers for avoiding such traps and maintaining your sanity and open-mindedness.
(Note to those who have seen the above interviews previously in Health & Beyond: The versions here on Beyond Veg contain significant updates and additional observations--there are links near the top of each of the title pages to take you directly to them.)
Troubleshooting: Avoiding and Overcoming Problems in Raw
and Living-FoodsDiets. Can't figure out what's gone wrong with your diet, and getting too many pat answers that don't work, or that don't honestly address your problem? If you're willing to dispense with the "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" attitude that keeps people from discussing the very real problems that often occur on raw-food diets (more often than most will admit), here's some straight-shooting advice and specific tips from a 25-year veteran who has been there himself.
The Calorie Paradox of Raw Veganism. Eating like a horse but still hungry all the time? Can't maintain your weight no matter what? Tempted by foods not allowed on your raw regime of choice? Can't help yourself from breaking down periodically and snarfing up everything in sight despite yourself? Or perhaps you may be skeptical--if you haven't been able to successfully maintain a totally raw regime yourself--about just how the raw-food "experts" can claim to maintain weight, energy, and muscle on modest daily volumes of raw food that would barely tide your skinny self over through your own bulging sack lunch.
Common questions all, and they all boil down to one common consideration: Calories are important, and in the end no one can avoid the need to get their daily quota over the long run. Total it all up and you may find some of the raw experts' claims about the sufficiency of their daily menus literally don't add up to anything resembling a credible answer. If any of these concerns have troubled you, this telling report takes a close look at exactly how many calories which classes of foods actually provide in a raw-food diet, and delivers the needed solutions to the paradox--possibly the very things you may have been avoiding all along.
Selected Myths of Raw Foods. Just what the title says, in spades. An abundance of common-sense observations about many commonly proffered "truths" of alternative dietland that simply ain't so--as application of even the most basic logic and knowledge of modern research will show. Much more than just a debunking piece, this article is a plea for honesty and integrity rather than myth-mongering in promoting alternative diets, and for putting practical results before dogma.
Note: This off-site article featuring an interview with one of our primary site contributors will eventually be reproduced in full on Beyond Veg itself.
With the advent of the Internet, people can now bypass traditional "party line" leaders and directly compare notes on a widespread basis. The result has been increasing evidence that behind previously closed doors, private reality is at considerable odds with the public face of veganism. Though rationalizations are prevalent, the long-term failure of 100% raw-food diets for most who try them is becoming more widely, if grudgingly, acknowledged. At the same time, the common practice of blaming people's efforts rather than the diet itself indicates dogma often takes unconscious precedence over health and compassion. Such denial is also a problem in the more conventional (non-raw-food) vegan community, if to a lesser extent.
In addition, overidealism has led to trafficking (sometimes unknowingly) in junk science for the sake of making converts, often the result of uncritically accepting or creatively interpreting "facts" with little due diligence. The psychology of denial has thus had a serious impact on the movement's credibility as well as how its ethics are perceived. This article's assessment of the challenges now facing the vegetarian world? "It is always better to live with reality, or without fail, reality will come to live with you."
Drawbacks to Relying Exclusively on Clinical Studies of Diet. Some opinion leaders in the scientific wing of the vegan community will permit little evidence for consideration other than that coming from clinical studies. But while such studies may be the ultimate way of verifying dietary hypotheses, you can only study what you think to look for. Find out why self-selection effects in long-term vegans, moral ostracism, and surreptitious dietary "exceptions" on vegetarian diets mean that such problems as "failure to thrive" and possible deficiencies can exist, yet fail to be picked up in actual clinical trials. (from Part 8 of Comparative Anatomy and Physiology Brought Up to Date)