860 to vegan or not to vegan

This is an interesting story. Not so much because it is so mindblowing … but because of the resistance I am experiencing around the issue of veganism. Incredibly, the case is framed like whether to worship God or the devil.

I have been a vegetarian for most of my life. My first wife used to call me an eggarian … I eat about four eggs a day, two raw in my morning smoothie, with a big lashing of full-cream yoghurt (none of that light stuff for me), berries & protein powder, and two scrambled, with avocado on toast. For as long as I can remember.

I always thought that I needed the eggs & dairy for protein ... that there was just not enough protein in vegetarian food (a common assumption) and that the eggs & yoghurt would not affect my cholesterol & diabetes ... and if there is any of that going on, well, we have very good medicines for it.

So, I’m kept alive by five medications. But this week I will begin with the process of becoming a vegan. Why? Because of this video and the good doctor's amazing website Nutritionfacts.org, which my daughter has alerted me to.


So, we've had our appointment with vegan nutritionist Fiona Halar. In short ... It's been great. Fiona is a wonderful ambassador for her cause, and she is not a vegan-nazi. She's a great ambassador because she looks healthy, is vibrant and very affable. She has been a vegan for twelve years.

Above all, though, she knows her nutrition stuff and she has provided us with heaps of info in our two-hour talk, as well as with numerous pages of written information, data, advice, recipes, meal plans and shopping lists about how to change our diet (mine especially).

To begin with, I will not entirely go off eggs. I will stop my destructive, high calorie morning smoothie with two raw eggs and heaps of full cream yoghurt (which contributed to me putting on more and more weight). 

I now have a few alternative breakfast recipes I will try over the next weeks ... but I think I will still eat one boiled egg at lunch, in my amended Waldorf salad (lettuce, carrot, celery, walnuts, green apple, egg, lemon juice).

Then she has stressed how important it is for me to have five meals per day ... all with added protein (I should know, I did a video with Yani on that issue). 

I don't know yet if I'll go off my whey protein powder and replace it with the more un-palatable pea powder ... we'll see.

She said about doctor Gerber the same as what Yani said: He cherry picks; furthermore, she has actually looked into some of the studies that he extracted sentences from and learned that he quoted in isolation facts that were taken out of context, where the whole study was about a totally different subject matter. Not so good.

The info I drew from the movie What The Health that impressed me so much (*below) had startled her as much as it startled Yani and turns out to be wrong. So much about that movie (if you're interested in it, read the critique I pointed out below, by a vegan doctor).

As I said originally at the bottom of my blog, this is a journey and it now is well underway. I look forward to losing weight (5 - 10 kgs) and building muscle ... Jan & myself are now going to the gym again, five days a week, at quarter to six in the morning; after a near two year break. 

I will do the dexa scan, to get a good idea of what is happening with my body.

I had been to hospital last Friday for my quarterly check-up and my numbers were very good, my diabetes is well under control. Nevertheless, I look forward to more improvements in the future ... thanks to Rad, Yani & Saskia's advice, and thanks heaps to Fiona (and my cook, Jan). 

Now I have learnt something: Diabetics are told by their doctors diabetes is caused by the pancreas not being able to produce enough insulin anymore, especially with obese people; you then inject insulin to fix it. That is the accepted wisdom.

* But in the movie What The Health? (Netflix; it is a controversial movie, with some ludicrous claims, check out a repudiation here) it is pointed out that this is only half true: The other half is that animal fat - especially from chickens, eggs & dairy - line the arteries and don't allow for blood-sugar to be absorbed into the muscles.

My critics say they themselves only go by scientific evidence and facts. Please go and watch this video and then tell me of any other video that gives as much scientific evidence and facts about  why not  to be a vegan.

OK, I'm only at the beginning of my journey ... so watch this space.



He's definitely an entertainer! (your vegan doctor)


You're not getting resistance to veganism.


In most cases, (particularly when considering the average American diet, which contains a much larger amount of processed meat, and sugar products), when people switch to a Vegan diet their health improves considerably.


The cause of the health improvement is widely debated tho … Is it really vegan diets, or is it to do with the vegan lifestyle shift. I.e. people can't usually head down to the vegan Mcdonalds and load up on processed vegan burgers and fries …


Therefore it's hard to prove what the actual catalyst to massive increases in health are.


The video you've linked here seems to only cherry pick studies based on average Americans, and American diets.


The last time I visited the US (2015) I found it extremely hard to eat well. There's a lot of junk over there. In most cases, we had to travel to find healthy alternatives … (not very convenient for the average person)


In regards to your personal move to a vegan diet …


You're getting resistance from me because you hold more value in a single sensationalised documentary than the opinion of your son. Who's worked in the health industry for almost 15 years and has actually achieved a reasonable state of health.


Much more so than the majority of vegans you're following.


The issue is not with the diet.


I'm not denying that when people switch from a terrible diet filled with processed meats, dairy, poultry and sugar, to an extremely healthy vegan diet filled with legumes, whole grains, plants, fruits, berries and nuts they get much more healthy.


That's kinda obvious …


I just have issues with the way you collect your information and make your decision. You're jumping on the band wagon of cherry picking research to furnish your new belief.


Be careful with sensationalised documentaries pushing a very one sided agenda. There are many holes in this presentation (and Subsequent documentary). Information cleverly spun a certain way to push the agenda just confuses people.


Take for instance the opening study. Oats have a very specific effect on cholesterol which is NOT replicable with other plant fibres … Dr vegan would have you think otherwise by the way he carries on.


In addition to this, there were huge issues found in the eggs study after it was found they had used processed eggs, from a carton … and not fresh eggs when studying the effects on diet!


I don't blame credible dieticians for finding it hard to believe that processed eggs have the same effect in the body as fresh eggs.


The last thing I'll add which I think should not be forgotten is that the whole animal fat causing arthloroscleorisis was also proven incorrect. According to Doctor Ross Walker, it's more to do with processed trans fats and processed sugars and carbohydrates.


These foods heavily damage the arterial walls, causing inflammation, and build up of plaque which is the leading cause of stroke and heart attack and most of the other horrible stuff he's talking about.


As I'll continue to say … there's lots of great info available that with some clever crafting, can push an agenda and persuasive the average person. And it can be done on both sides!


What about the millions of healthy people who eat whole foods, some high quality meats etc? Many of the longest living people on the planet eat animal products.


Sure, they tend to steer clear of what an average American diet would contain … but so do most of us!


If trying a Vegan lifestyle motivates you to improve your health then that's a good thing. I support you getting healthy.


I'm genuinely interested to see how it plays out.


I will say … considering that you already struggle to maintain muscle mass, I would suggest closely monitoring your body composition using DEXA.


I.e. Stay away from the bathroom scales. They will not provide sufficient data. (and may completely bum-steer you down the wrong path)


Considering your age, any losses in skeletal muscle tissue will be very hard to regain.


Good luck


Thanks, Yani, for taking the time ... much appreciated. As I say in my blog, I'm only at the beginning of my adventure and I certainly listen and take in all info. I’m glad you watched the video.


Tomorrow Jan & myself will meet with a vegan nutritionist, Fiona Halar (fionahalar.com) who is also a PT. I am going to try to go without eggs & dairy, and it will be bloody hard. But if I can get rid of just a couple of the medicines I have to take (diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol), then I reckon it's worth a try ... together with coming to the gym again.


Rad had given me a strongly worded pep-talk that jolted me and I will make changes ... Jan says she wants me around for at least another 25 years!