There is no doubt that a Vegan diet is appropriate for all stages of life. This is the position statement from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes.”
There is a lot of information around what is required around macronutrients for the human body. A lot of programmes advise that you need to find what is right for you. This can be very confusing as well as hard to work out. Since every human being’s digestive system is the same it is safe to say that our macronutrient ratio requirements are also the same. In fact, world-renowned nutritional scientist T. Colin Campbell PhD (Author of The China Study) agrees with this concept. He states that the ideal macronutrient ratio for humans is 80% carbohydrate, 10% protein and 10% fat.
Protein is the most publicised and least understood of the 3 macronutrients. Protein is required for rebuilding, but not to the extent that most people think. If I use the metaphor of a house, once the house is built, do we continue to pour in all the building materials or just make repairs as needed? The same is true of the human body; once the body is built we only require enough protein to make the necessary repairs. If we have too much it will overload our body and make us sick.
The minimum protein requirements for humans are 20-30 grams per day. This is because the body is able to recycle up to 400 grams of protein via its metabolic processes. Most governments and health organisations have doubled this minimum amount to between 40-60 grams a day to build in a buffer over the minimum requirements. In fact, if you were to only eat rice or potatoes, you would get all of the 8 essential amino acids the human body requires.
The body uses fat primarily for energy storage when no food or other immediate energy source is available. Plant foods contain adequate amounts of fat and only plants make the essential fatty acids your body needs to function. Plant foods also contain no cholesterol; the best way to lower your cholesterol levels is to not eat it.
Animal foods provide too much fat, especially the most harmful kind (saturated fat), which damages the arteries and causes heart disease and stroke. Beef derives 60% – 80% of its calories from fat; pork, 80% – 95%; chicken, 30% – 50%; and fish, 5% – 60%.
What about oils?
Even poly and monounsaturated fats – found in large amounts in vegetable oils and fish – have been shown to depress the immune system, increase bleeding and promote cancers, especially those of the colon, prostate and breast. Because all fats are easily stored by the body, too much dietary fat makes people overweight and lays the foundation for a host of other problems like heart disease, cancer, and adult-onset diabetes.
Ah Carbs, the most feared macronutrient of them all. Well here is a bombshell; carbs do not make you fat. Unless you load them with fats such as cheese, oil, butter etc. If fact they are actually a fat loss food. A recent study in Cell Metabolism showed that even when controlling for calories, reducing dietary fat results in 67% more body fat loss than reducing dietary carbs. The real truth is that the fat you eat is the fat you wear.
Carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of fuel, as they convert into glycogen. Every movement you make is based on the use of glycogen stored in your muscles. This is especially important for athletic performance, as the greater your stores of glycogen the longer you are able to train for. Once you run out of your glycogen stores, your body goes into ketosis. This is not a good thing as the body goes into an emergency mode of using fat for energy, commonly known in athletic circles as ‘hitting the wall’ or ‘bonking’.
It all started in early 2015 when about once a month I would get really bad diarrhea and stomach pains. I thought I might be gluten intolerant so I went gluten free for months with still no improvement. I decided to be extra sure I wasn't allergic to gluten by going to the doctor in July 2015 to get an allergy test for gluten, but it came back negative. The doctors had no idea why I had all this stomach pain and did not know how to help me. So all year my digestion was just not right and the amount of times I was getting diarrhea and stomach pains just kept increasing until January 2016 when it got really bad. I was going to the toilet 5-6 times a day, everyday, I had the worst stomach pains every time I ate and I had no idea what was going on. I went to the doctors again to try find an answer and then sent me to get some blood tests and stool tests which all came back fine so i had no more answers as to what was causing my digestives issues.
After suffering for a month of this I decided I needed to try get some other help, so I and saw a Ayurveda consultant, who put me on a strict diet and told me to cut out a lot of foods and mainly eat cooked foods including lots of rice, lentils/dhal and cooked vegetables and to only have 1 piece of fruit a day which had to be cooked. I found this very difficult to follow but I was determined to get better so followed what she said. But I only got worst, the stomach pains increased, my bowel movements increased, I felt so tried and low on energy all the time I just didn't know what to do anymore. My body was clearly telling me that it was not happy eating this way and something need to change.
Then I met Shukul Kachwalla at a vegan potluck in Auckland and found out he had a nutrition workshop coming up in a week and I knew I just had to go. I went to the workshop run by him and his brother and learnt an incredible amount of knowledge and took everything they said on board and left with confidence they they could help me get better. I followed what they said, which was mainly raw till 4, as many raw fruits and vegetables as I desired during the day, and cooked vegetables/starches for dinner, while avoiding grains to really give my digestions a break. Just after doing this for 2 weeks everything had changed. I had no more stomach pains, i was only going to the toilet 1-2 times a day, I had all my energy back and I felt like a new person again. Its amazing how just simply eating how our bodies are really designed too everything just naturally falls back into place. I can pretty much eat everything now with no problem, but still feel my best eating as much raw fruits and vegetables as I wish, while limiting the amount of legumes and high fatty foods. I will treasure the knowledge they taught me forever and know they will always be willing to help me if I had anymore issues.
So I just wanted to say thank you so so so much Shukul and Shamiz for sharing your knowledge with me and helping me turn my life around for the better, I am forever thankful for what you guys do to help me and so many other people like me. If anyone is having any sort of digestive issue or just wants to know how to live a happier healthier life I definitely recommenced seeing these guys!!!
Thanks again for all your help - Kate
If something is in excess that doesn’t mean it is good for us! Lets talk about iron absorption with red meat compared to plant foods. Funny how people think just because something is more absorbable it should therefore be better for us. Heme iron and non-heme iron. There is a big difference. Heme iron is obviously from dead flesh (blood) and non heme from plant foods!
Because the human body has no mechanism to rid itself of excess iron we have evolved to regulate this. Iron is absorbed through our intestines and if iron stores get too low the intestines know when to boost the absorption, if iron stores are too high then the intestines block the absorption to maintain us in the sweet spot! This also only works with the primary source of iron in the human diet from plant foods (non-heme).
Heme iron from dead flesh however cannot be regulated by the body and therefore absorbs straight through the intestinal wall even if there is excess iron in the body. This is when the body gets into an iron overload and creates all sorts of problems and sets the body up with a higher risk of dis-ease.
So the body has no control over iron absorption when eating animal flesh. This is why Vegetarians and Vegans tend to be lower in iron when it comes to blood tests because the 'normal' range is elevated due to all those people eating flesh which in turn boosts there level of iron in the body without knowing it is much more harmful for them.
In terms of how much the body can absorb we believe that it is very hard to get an exact number from the foods we eat because you can't really say that this plant food has this much iron in it so my body will absorb all of it. Iron absorption also depends on how many other nutrients that plant food has because all of the nutrients from that plant food work together to get absorbed. If you eat a variety of WHOLE foods (Fruits, Vegetables, Whole Grains and Legumes) you will get the exact amount of iron the body needs so that you can be in that sweet spot :)
For the month of February I had been invited to India by Dr Nandita Shah, founder of SHARAN (Sanctuary for Health and Reconnection to Animals and Nature) India to give some talks and workshops on why Plant Based Nutrition is the best solution for peoples health. SHARAN is a wonderful Not for Profit Organisation in India whose vision is a diabetes free India.
My program consisted of giving talks in Mumbai and Pune, talking about disease prevention and reversal via a whole foods plant based lifestyle rather than relying on medications, and my area of expertise, digestive health. I also conducted a cooking class with the help of one of the SHARAN associates, Reyna Rupani and showed people how to make healthy and delicious food without the use of oil, sugar or any refined products.
I was able to explain to people how to prevent and even reverse our most common chronic diseases such as Heart Disease, Diabetes and even common cancers such as of the breast, prostate and colon. In my digestive health workshop we discussed how to reverse chronic digestive disorders such as Crohns, Ulcerative Colitis, IBS and IBD. The audience was always amazed at the power of correct nutrition and that they now had the ability to prevent and reverse these common conditions! Health is really in your hands.
India has an extremely large vegetarian community. So the majority of people I spoke with did not eat meat! Therefore the main focus was on the harmful effects that cow’s milk has on the human body. We also showed the audience a video on how cows are treated in India. It is truly horrible what goes on in the industry over here. One of the many actions that shocked me was that they put chilli powder in the cow’s eyes, if the cow will not follow directions. Quite a number of people were crying as they realised the harm that occurs to these beautiful creatures. In India, the cow is considered sacred, yet India is the largest exporter of beef in the world!
The programs were a hit! I was able to speak to over 300 people during the 7 events that I ran over 2 weeks. A lot of the people were amazed that the truth about the harm caused by animal products to their health was not commonly known, and many people told me that they felt they had been lied to their whole life. During the cooking class, we made eight dishes including Thai Massuman Curry, Raw Cookies, Mexican Bean Salad and a Raw Cheesecake without any oil and completely from whole plant foods. Everyone was so pleased when they found out that healthy food is also delicious!
What I have seen is that awareness of Plant Based Nutrition is truly on the rise everywhere. The truth cannot be hidden forever! There are exceptional people everywhere spreading the message of love and compassion is so many ways, whether it be from the angle of animal rights, health or the environment and in many cases all 3 at once! When people hear a message presented in a logical and informative way, their perception changes and we get a shift in consciousness.
So many people told me after the events that they were going to make changes to their lifestyle and this gives me hope for the future. The animals need us, the planet needs us and we need to look after our health. Plant Based Nutrition offers us a viable solution to all 3 of these issues. We just need to reach more people in a manner that connects with them so that we can impact more positive change.
I feel more inspired than ever after my trip to India. I would like to thank Dr Nandita Shah and the whole team at SHARAN India for giving me the opportunity to share this information with so many people. I definitely recommend you have a look at their website www.sharan-india.org for lots of great information on Veganism and health, as well as some incredible Indian recipes!
I am very much looking forward to using the information I learned from SHARAN to deliver some similar programs here in New Zealand. Keep an eye out for them on our Facebook page High Carb Health and see you next time for the next edition of High Carb Health Talk.
High Carb Health are Natural Health and Holistic Nutrition Practitioners. Our aim is to give people realistic advice on how to get healthy and reverse illness via a scientifically proven, nutrition based approach to healing the body. Our goal is to provide long term, lasting solutions. We do not believe in quick fixes and our approach is far more effective in promoting health and preventing disease than prescription drugs, surgery, vitamin and herbal supplementation, and genetic manipulation.
We provide education and coaching to help our clients transition to a healthier lifestyle, which also has the added benefit of assisting the body to reach its ideal weight. Fill in our Health Survey for a free 30 minute consultation - http://www.highcarbhealth.com/healthsurvey/
Day 1 of the GoGreen expo talk! 'Get your nutrition by Going Green'. There was a great turn out and we hope some people learnt a few new things about sustainable plant based nutrition! We talked about the environmental impact of the food we eat and covered key nutrition topics such as protein and calcium. The whole foods plant-based lifestyle is the healthiest way of eating that has ever been studied and is far more effective in promoting health and preventing disease than prescription drugs, surgery, vitamin and herbal supplementation, and genetic manipulation.
Plant based nutrition provides us with the best solution for our health and for the environment. Did you know that 91% of Amazon rainforest destruction is caused by animal agriculture? Also, it takes 660 gallons of water to produce 1 hamburger.
You can view the video of the full talk by clicking HERE.