By her own admission, a thick, juicy steak!
In interviews prior to the release of her film Salt, Jolie says that she was vegan for a long time and that it “nearly killed” her.
“I found that I was not getting enough nutrition,” says Jolie.
Thankfully, Jolie wised up in time before her health and teeth were irreparably damaged. Many vegans are not as lucky. The fact is that some of the most critical nutrients for health, vitamins A, D,and B12 are simply not found in an exclusively plant based diet.
Vegans cite beta carotene as a plant based source of Vitamin A, but at best, human digestion can only convert a very small percentage of beta carotene into true vitamin A.
People with any sort of gut imbalance, which would be the vast majority of people today, generally cannot convert any beta carotene to true Vitamin A!
Vegans also claim that getting vitamin D from the sun or mushrooms is all that is necessary, but during winter months, it is crucial to be consuming animal based sources of vitamin D, else one is a sitting duck for flu and other wintertime illnesses.
Because the original source of B12 in nature is bacteria, some nutritional sources confuse the issue by maintaining that beneficial B12 is synthesized by gut flora in the colon of humans.
While this may be true, the B12 that is produced this way is not in a usable form as very little if any of this B12 is able to be absorbed across the walls of the large intestine or colon. The reason is that the bacteria produced B12 in the gut is not attached to the “intrinsic factor” (IF), a special protein that is secreted in the stomach.
B12 must attach to an intrinsic factor protein to be absorbed effectively. This happens when B12 that is consumed binds with the intrinsic factor that has been broken down by pancreatic enzymes in the small intestine. The tightly bound B12-intrinsic factor complex then moves through the gut to the Ileum or lower portion of the small intestine and attaches to cell receptors for absorption.
B12 Not Available in ANY Plant Foods
Contrary to claims by the vegan community, usable B12 is not available in algae like spirulina or tempeh (a fermented soy product). The B12 found in these foods is similar to true B12 but not exactly the same thing. The B12 in Brewer’s yeast is due to factory fortification, in other words, it is not naturally occurring in the food.
Studies have indicated that the B12 analogues in algae and tempeh are not bioavailable to the human body – blood levels of the nutrient did not change even after algae or tempeh were added to the diet.
Even worse, these B12 imposters can actually inhibit the absorption of true vitamin B12 as the result of a competitive situation in the digestive system. This puts those that avoid animal foods at an even greater risk for deficiency!
For these reasons, even die-hard vegans who are well researched admit that B12 supplements must be taken when one is on a vegan diet for an extended period of time.
How could a diet such as veganism possibly be a good idea if supplements are required to prevent serious deficiency?
The final nail in the coffin for the vegan diet is the travels of Dr. Weston A. Price back in the 1920’s and 1930’s. For over 10 years, Dr. Price traveled the globe only to discover absolutely no native vegan cultures whatsoever. Even the vegetarian cultures Dr. Price examined had poorer health compared to the meat and seafood eating cultures as evidenced by higher dental caries and lower immunity to degenerative disease.
No ancestral society ever ate vegan!
Why? The culture would have died out in a generation or two from lack of nutrients, low immunity to infectious disease as well as rampant infertility.
Even reviews of What The Health, the popular vegan documentary, point out that the film failed to cite a single healthy vegan population that has stood the test of time.
From Dr. Kaayla Daniel’s article Do Vegetarians Really Live Longer? on vegan tall tales of spry centenarians supposedly living on a plant based diet:
In reality, the Hunza and Vilcabambans consume some meat and raw dairy, and the Okinawans eat far more pork than soy. What’s more, there’s no anthropological evidence of healthy, happy fruitarians sunning in gardens of eden prior to the hunter gatherer eras. Indeed, leading anthropologists present convincing evidence that meat helped us evolve from big bellied, tiny-brained primates to big-brained humans able to leave all-day “grazing” behind and spend the time developing civilization. In other words, eating animal products made us human.
In truth, veganism is a modern phenomena – a political statement against animal abuse and confinement as practiced by CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations).
Not that vegans do not have a good point – eating meat from CAFOs is not a good idea at all! The good news is that one can find humanely raised, antibiotic/steroid free, grassfed meat from locally based family farms. No need to reject meat and animal foods in their entirety by going vegan if you sympathize with the political arguments against eating animal foods!
So find a local farmer you trust and eat your meat, eggs, and dairy with the confidence that humans are omnivores not herbivores and that animal foods are clearly necessary to achieve your best health!
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
Sarah Pope has been a Health and Nutrition Educator since 2002. Her work is dedicated to helping families effectively incorporate the principles of ancestral diets within the modern household. She is a sought after lecturer around the world for conferences, summits, and podcasts.
Her work has been covered by major media including USA Today, ABC, NBC, and many others.