Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Many People Still Don't Know This

On July 17, 2009, the American Dietetic Association released their position paper on vegetarian/vegan diets:
It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the lifecycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.
It's amazing how many people still don't understand that there is nothing in animal-based foods that is needed by human beings for good health that cannot be found in plant foods. Dietician Jeff Novick explains, however, that the key phrases in the ADA statement are "appropriately planned" and "well-planned"—meaning a diet of whole foods: vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains. It is entirely possible to put together a diet of vegan junk food as with conventional junk food, but that is obviously not what the ADA says is acceptable.

To explain the difference, I have used the terms "defensive veganism" and "offensive veganism." Defensive veganism focuses on what one is NOT going to eat (animal products) while offensive veganism focuses on what one IS going to eat (a wide variety of whole, plant-based foods). As in sports, both defense and offense are important, but too many people focus just on the former. Many people who become vegan from an animal rights perspective are focused on NOT eating animals (a defensive posture); they try to live on vegan fake food (soy products) and find their health compromised. They eliminate meat (defensive) without incorporating (offensive) whole plant foods. 

The ADA paper concludes:
"Appropriately planned vegetarian diets have been shown to be healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may be beneficial in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle. There are many reasons for the rising interest in vegetarian diets. The number of vegetarians in the United States is expected to increase during the next decade. Food and nutrition professionals can assist vegetarian clients by providing current, accurate information about vegetarian nutrition, foods, and resources."

No comments:

Post a Comment