Some of you may remember the 2004 documentary Super Size Me which depicts filmmaker Morgan Spurlock eating three meals from McDonalds every single day for 30 days and always supersizing the meal whenever suggested by a McDonald’s employee.
By the end of the 30 day fast food spree, Spurlock had gained 25 pounds and was suffering from liver dysfunction and depression according to his doctor.
Spurlock’s girlfriend (now ex-wife) during the documentary was Alex Jamieson, author of The Great American Detox Diet and a well known and longtime celebrity vegan.
When ideology trumps scientific facts, however, dietary obsessions die hard. On her blog Delicious Vitality, Jamieson shocked her fans by announcing that she had quit veganism.
A vegan for 13 years, Jamieson said that a whole foods, plant based diet helped her initially resolve some health problems. She also said it felt “clean and right” given what she had learned about the industrial food system and how horribly animals are treated in confinement.
Then, she said things began to change a few years ago. The burger that used to disgust her made her salivate. She had overwhelming urges to order salmon instead of her usual salad with tofu.
She said at first she denied her cravings and figured she was just mineral deficient.
More nuts, more juicing, more sea vegetables. For over a year, she tried everything in the vegan playbook to get the cravings to stop.
To her dismay, the cravings for meat and eggs continued and did not abate.
Jamieson writes that about that time she started to notice that most of her clients and readers were not vegan. Some of those who were vegan were not thriving and were even sicker and heavier than before they started an all plant based diet.
She noticed that shame was a common emotion experienced by vegans who began to eat meat again. This caused her to hide the secret of her cravings for meat and eggs even more tightly.
Finally, Alex decided that she had to experiment and see how her body responded to animal foods again. With the support of a few trusted friends, she began eating eggs.
Her body welcomed the change and wanted more!
But still she guarded her secret, stealthily buying animal foods and sneaking home to eat them in solitude.
It shocked her to realize that she had developed an eating disorder after 12 years as a vegan! The thought then occurred to her that she could help a lot of people by coming out of the closet and admitting her struggle and need for animal foods.
Doing so terrified her, however. She recalled the vicious backlash from the vegan community when celebrity vegan Ellen Degeneres admitted that she was eating eggs from her neighbor’s happy chickens.
Not so compassionate after all, are we? She thought.
Alex Jamieson describes her new truth with regards to animal foods as follows:
“People can still love animals and care about protecting the environment AND honor their own animal bodies and consume the foods that they need.
I believe you can love and care about animal welfare and still consume them.
I believe humans are animals. And some animals need to eat other animals to be healthy. Some do not.
I believe we should restructure the way animals are raised so that they live in more natural, comfortable, humane surroundings and stop force-feeding them 80% of all antibiotics used in the US.”
I applaud Alex Jamieson for her courage in writing a letter to her fans that will no doubt bring much ridicule and criticism from the vegan community.
Unfortunately, I don’t agree with all of Alex’s new truth. She also states that:
“I believe that a vegan, whole-foods diet saved my life and is a delicious, valid, healthy style of eating for many people.
I believe that a vegan diet should be promoted as one of many possible ways to get the body and life that people crave.”
While a vegan diet may prove helpful as a very short term, detoxifying solution for some people, it can never and will never prove to be a valid way to long-term health else there would be at least one traditional culture that practiced it successfully with multiple generations of fertility, healthy children, and degenerative and chronic disease free people demonstrating it’s positive effect.
Such a culture did not and does not exist according to the anthropological studies of Dr. Weston A. Price.
Not a single successful vegan population group could be cited by the science ignoring 2017 vegan documentary What the Health either!
Consider yourself warned, would-be vegans!
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
I’ve been a carnivore most of my life. I was a sort of vegan following Ornish’s diet plan for four months, eating no meat or fat whatsoever. I gained 40 lbs even though I was getting 30,000 steps in a day, up and down our hilly town and occasionally mad sprits to avoid murderous panthers (there are no panthers where I live; this was part of the mad sprint to shock the system part of my exercise routine).
Well, now I am looking at all my healthy vegan friends (I’m healthy too, to their chagrin) and they look damned tasty. Non, however, are offering up a leg for my bbq, drats, so my fantasies cannot be fulfilled, for the moment, anyways.
Namaste and care,
Well, I think that she’s been very brave abd honest. If a diet doesn’t suits you and your body asks for more, you should listen to it. But I am vegetarian, and I’m really happy with it: I don’t feel weak, my analysis are perfect and my diet doesn’t lack of B12. Also, there are a lot of studies that support lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet. So, as long as you feel ok, I don’t see anything bad in chosing not to eat meat. Is really sad to know that some people see it as starving: I assure you that is not like that, but I don’t need to convince anyone.
I stumbled across this after heaing about Alex and went looking for an article about it. I’ve been vegan for 2.5 years, vegetarian for 7.5. I almost never tell people I’m vegan unless I have to because of the entirely unintelligent and misinformed comments and arguments I used to get. Many exactly like the uneducated (in the way of nutrition and animal rights) and misinformed ones I have seen here. My belief is that for every person on this planet there is a different diet that they can thrive on. That’s why you have meateaters who can’t eat dairy or suffer from a B12 deficiency (it’s more common than you think in meateating omnivores), vegetarians (also “omnivores”) who are allergic to wheat or soy, and vegans who can be successful at it for 40+ years. I feel like the majority of the negative comments on here may have been brought on by a single bad experience with a militant vegan or defensiveness caused by conscience or misinformation. And it’s sad that people seem to feel like they need to disprove someone and end up using information that isn’t true, too vague, or being affected by the infamous third factor.
From a vegan (lifestyle, not just diet), I don’t care what you eat! Just do it right and don’t give anyone grief for their own food choices. Especially someone in transition from one way of eating to another. I totally understand how horrified Alex must have been trying to take care of herself while having a public image of Vegan Guru. And I give massive KUDOS and applause to her for being brave and embracing what she felt her body needs.
And for those of you who threw out the “Ha, I got you!” stories of ex-vegans, this is a blog post from a vegan who was having serious health problems and when faced with the decision, decided to take charge of her health and prove it is possible to thrive as a vegan. Even in dire situations. It’s a long post but if you’re gonna read any of it, read it all, please. http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/2013/01/facing-failing-health-on-a-vegan-diet/
I think the answer is in everybody eating far less meat, not small groups of people depriving themselves. I am a vegetarian…99% of the time! I feel as though there is pressure to remain purely vegetarian for fear of being called a hypocrite… even though I don’t preach to anyone. Sometimes I just need some red meat! This doesn’t mean my morals have gone out the window or that I think its ok for people to eat piles of processed meats. I do my best and can totally relate to eating animal products in private-she was fearful for the backlash, which isn’t funny! I see my vegetarianism as a boycott, I eat as little animal products as possible in protest of the system.
I alternated between vegetarianism and veganism for about 12 years. I started thinking I was going crazy or something when watching a nature show about a lion killing and eating an antelope made me salivate. The first time I ate meat I couldn’t get enough, and my face got all red and I just had this surge of energy, but that was a one time thing and it was years before I ate meat again. Now I eat meat, but not much, and I feel healthier, and emotionally I’m much more stable. I don’t have mood swings and depression and anxiety like I used to. I’m pretty sure that I was b12 deficient. That said, I buy only cruelty free, free range meat and eat it very sparingly. I think most Americans eat way too much meat.
I’ve been Vegan for 6 years and have never been healthier! The only time I have felt a bit “blah” has been when I’ve been out and had something with dairy in it, which reminds me of why I don’t like to eat dairy. I crave junk food, and eat it, but it’s still vegan. You can be healthy Vego or Carnivore, really. But I chose this for ethical reasons and lucky for me, I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been and have more energy than I had when I was in my 20’s!
Each to their own, but don’t go assuming that all Vegans crave meat or are in the closet! That’s just insane.
Dairy is a bit different. Most adults cannot handle dairy due to lactose. We were never meant to drink milk after the first few years of life, and even then from our own species. With that said, I LOVE a tall glass of whole milk once in a while but my stomach hates it. 🙂
I’m glad she had the guts to come clean about it. I’ve been absolutely appalled by how much *hate* there can be in the vegan community just toward non-vegans in general. I can only imagine the backlash she’s received. I will say I’m not at all surprised that she ended up with an eating disorder. I’ve never considered straight veganism (or straight anything else -ism) to be healthy in the long run. We’re omnivores; we need a good balance of foods and common sense in what we eat most of all, IMO.
What *is* eye-opening is that she was a lot more accomplished/experienced vegan than most! Makes me wonder and worry a bit about the few people I know who are vegans.
Unless, of course, they’re closeted imperfect vegans, too. Anyone else hearing strains of Ray Steven’s, ‘I’m a Junk Food Junkie?” 😀
I was vegan for just 2 1/2 years and never really stopped craving meat. I gained weight because I ate a lot of stuff just trying to sate the craving. I’d been told once I decided to become a meat eater again that I needed to reintroduce it slowly because my digestive system would have to re-learn how to process meat. Not so. I make every effort to eat meat only from sources I know treat the animals with care. Simple truth is when we eat meat something has to die. The least we can do is be as kind, gentle and respectful of the animal that gave it’s life so we can eat.
What you eat should not define who you are.
People use these varied ways of eating vegan, vegetarian etc.to help them validate themselves in a disorderly fashion when they have little or no self esteem to take a stance for something they think will fulfill them and validate who they are. They are usually never joyful or full of peace but always rigid in their thinking and falsely prideful. There are hundreds of more pressing issues to take up in the world other than focusing so much on what you are eating. Where is your mental time and energy going?
If its all about food and what you are eating its time to look out your window and see whats really of going on in the world.
It becomes a prideful thing.There is too much emphasis in society on what we eat.