Body, Mind, Spirit Magazine

If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It! Warning: Controversial!

By Jamie Koonce @charcuterielove

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!  Warning: Controversial!

I was attacked by angry vegans again.

Last week I posted something on Facebook that turned out to be pretty controversial even though it seemed to be a benign status update at the time that I posted it.  I said that there needs to be more dialog between companies and their best customers.  For instance, I enjoy shopping at Whole Foods because I like the selection of items that are available there (in comparison with other grocery stores such as Von’s, Ralph’s, Trader Joe’s, etc.).  However, I’m often appalled by the selection of books and DVDs they sell in their Whole Body section.  Nearly all of them promote a vegan or vegetarian diet, various unhealthy means of purgation such as the maple syrup diet (AKA Master Cleanse) and colonics (which strip away the protective biolayer in the small intestines), and myths about the dangers of animal fats, cholesterol, saturated fats (except for coconut oil), and animal protein.  It seems as though Whole Foods is trying to “teach” the health-conscious, affluent people who shop there that a plant-based [vegan] diet is the key to vibrant health, and the causes of environmental degradation, poverty & hunger, and modern disease is caused by eating meat, saturated fat, and cholesterol.

Immediately after I posted this I was ridiculed by vegan Facebook “friends.”

“Haven’t you ever heard of The China Study?  Or Forks Over Knives?”  One commenter said I didn’t know a thing about nutrition and asked if I had any college degree.  She continued to make angry, rude comments not only towards me, but also towards two of my Facebook friends who politely commented that they like to eat liver occasionally for energy and vitality.  This woman’s argument in favor of veganism was that she herself has been a vegan for over three decades and is perfectly healthy.  (Plus, The China Study and Forks Over Knives are obviously scientific documents of well-conducted, flawless scientific studies.  Please note: I’m being sarcastic here.)

Sorry, but I wouldn’t classify being rude to people and spreading negativity all around as being the picture of perfect health.  But that is just my opinion.

As a bit of background information, I was into the vegan diet many years before it was popularized by Oprah, Dr. Oz, The China Study, an Forks Over Knives.  Back then, we had Diet For a New America, Mad Cowboy, and Fast Food Nation.

Before going vegan, I would eat things like Eggo waffles (with Peter Pan peanut butter instead of dairy butter), El Charrito Cheese Enchilada Dinners, public school lunches (or something from a vending machine if lunch was inedible), and Wendy’s frosties.

After going vegan, I ate a lot of fresh fruit and fresh vegetables from the college cafeteria salad bar, slow-cooked oatmeal, veggie stews, Ezekiel bread, organic tempeh, kombucha, raw flaxseed chips, nutritional yeast, almond butter, and vegan protein powder from Peaceful Planet.  I also took a vegan multivitamin, a sublingual B-12 supplement, and an algae-derived DHA supplement.

Of course I felt healthier eating a mostly organic, high raw, plant-based, unprocessed foods diet than I had felt eating microwaved frozen food, school food, and fast food.

In fact, if you click on the links to the foods I was eating before going vegan, you’ll see that everything I ate on a daily basis contained genetically modified corn in some form or another.  Even conventional dairy, eggs, and meat contain genetically modified corn because this is what is fed to the animals.  I think anyone who gets GMO corn out of their diet by choosing to not eat processed foods and conventional animal products is going to experience some profound improvements in their health and well-being.

After 5 years as a strict vegan, however, I still suffered from asthma.

And I had developed some severe fluctuations in my mood and energy level (most of the time feeling tired or irritable, except for the couple of hours every day that I spent in the gym in pursuit of Madonna arms).  Conventional blood tests revealed that I was healthy, though my fasting blood sugar was a little bit high (still “normal” according to conventional medicine but not in the optimal range according to functional and anti-aging medicine) and my cholesterol was extremely low.

After much in-depth investigation, meditation, and listening to my body, I decided to slowly integrate animal products back in — things like pastured eggs, sardines, bison, and venison.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that around this time, my moods improved, my asthma went away, and my arms began to look much more like Madonna’s than Lady Gaga’s.

But that is just my experience.  It’s useless for anyone to try to convince me that eating meat, fish, eggs, and dairy (including beef tallow, butter, unpasteurized dairy, liver, kidneys, heart) is somehow leading to my hasty demise, clogging my arteries and putting me at risk for diabetes.  My blood sugar is now in the optimal range — between 84 – 87 mg/dL — after becoming an omnivore.  And although my total cholesterol is still on the low side — my HDL (the “good” lipoproteins) is the highest it has ever been.

I don’t try to convince anyone to change their diet if what they’re doing is working for them.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a fruitarian, carnivore, junk food addict, paleo, primal, GAPS, WAPF, real food eater, or some other style of eating.  If you’ve been able to get rid of allergies, improve your mood, eliminate chronic pain, achieve and easily maintain your ideal body composition, or overcome some other problem through your way of eating, and you have fine-tuned everything to the point of constantly being in the flow and feeling your best, you don’t need a health coach or anybody to help you.

But for anyone who feels that something isn’t quite right with your nutrition plan, or for someone looking to improve their health, fitness level, body composition, energy levels, and moods, or troubleshoot a lack of time to cook or prepare meals, boredom with unprocessed “real” foods, or just general confusion over conflicting dietary advice, these are the issues that I’m here to help you with.  If your Lamborghini is functioning optimally, there is no need to start a fight with a Volkswagon mechanic about the perfect way to maintain a Lamborghini; likewise, if your health is functioning optimally, there is no need to start a fight with me.

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