Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I'm still vegan. Cravings, health, and satisfaction

Oh dear. Another high-profile vegan goes public with her vegan failureAlex Jamieson is most famous as Morgan Spurlock's vegan girlfriend and inspiration in the iconic movie, Supersize Me.

Ravings on Cravings

I've heard plenty of much less famous people talk about craving animal food "after a while of not having any." But in 17 years without animal foods, I've never had these cravings. When I'm not near animal food, I don't even think about it.

When a smoker craves nicotine, it's a dangerous addiction. When an alcoholic craves just one drink, we recommend medication and support. When someone craves a sugar hit, we don't applaud their instincts and buy them chocolate.

But a craving for animal products is the body asking for what it naturally needs? Let's think again.

I have not yet reached vegan nirvana - I'm not disgusted by all animal products. I still enjoy the smell of cooking meat, eggs, or cheese. However, I have no drive to eat them, perhaps because I am already fully satisfied - not only with my awareness of cruel the animal industry is, but also all the evidence on how unhealthy animal products are for my body.

Even when I was clinically vitamin-B12-deficient and had a series of injections as treatment, I did not feel any craving for animal products with their B12 (and cholesterol, saturated fat, etc). Where were my body's "natural cravings" then?

Vegan Diet Satisfaction

Alex described her long struggles against her cravings. (Hint 1: if you're craving your friends' meat burgers, it might be time to eat with different friends.) But her weapons were apparently green juices and nuts, for extra nutrition. Here's 30BananasADay's reaction to her story.  

For any diet change to work, you must be nourished and satisfied. I stopped eating animals on the recommendations of Dr John McDougall, who supports a very low fat but satisfying starch-based diet with sound medical references and overwhelming clinical success.

The only limitations on starches are if you are trying to lose a lot of weight fast (which clearly, Alex did not need). Could this starch satisfaction be the reason I've never craved animals?

Veganism vs Your Health?

Most people won't stay vegan if they feel bad and only get worse. Of course not.

Alex believed she was an ethical vegan, but she changed because she felt bad and couldn't find the solution. She is not the first. Others complain of unwanted weight gain after going vegan.

Here's a true vegan health crisis story to admire. This woman was not just enduring a few cravings on her high-raw vegan diet, and she persisted until she found a vegan solution.

Given these stories, shouldn't vegans pay more attention to good health as a major and necessary support for the vegan cause? Instead, we hear that it's a nice benefit if it happens, but not the real reason to be vegan. Or worse, that health considerations hinder the vegan cause and damage vegan outreach.

If "veganism is not about health" because of its origins, isn't it time to accept that the vegan health horse has long since bolted and is not going to return quietly to the stable no matter how much we shout? We have to deal.

Let's promote sound vegan health information, instead of just distancing ourselves from the bad...even if only so that ethical vegans don't suffer health crises in public. It's not a good look.

I don't have all the answers, and I'm certainly not perfect. But I am still vegan.


  1. I think the cravings people have for the meat/dairy based foods are for fat, sugar and salt. The meat itself doesn't taste good unless it's seasoned, and that primarily is salt. Dairy goes hand in hand with sugar. Fat makes the food taste rich. Frankly, she might get her hormones checked. When I had severe PMS and perimenopause, I was a wreck for one week out of the month. I craved fried chicken and tortilla chips as my go-to foods. I craved the fat and salt. Any other time of the month, I wouldn't even touch them. There is a lot of information about biodentical hormone replacement as a treatment for PMS and perimenpause. Cortisol, a stress hormone, also wrecks one's hormone balance and leads to food cravings.

    1. Once you realise that the food you eat is the primary impact on your health, learning about it, and thinking about it, becomes essential. Good for you!

  2. It is Midnight and I have a huge craving for that bananabread that waits in the kitchen.

    When I went vegan, I told EVERYONE: I will be a "meat-eating vegan": this means no dairy, no fish, no eggs and I feel the NEED for meat, I will eat it. Because my body tells me what I need.
    Three months later (yes, I am a young vegan) still no need for meat. Keeping my fingers crossed it stays like that.
    I will go and check my blood after half a year, I want to keep an eye on my iron-"level" (don't know the proper word).

    The women you refer to (she is not known in Austria) seemed to want to lose weight and keep the weight off. The vegan diet helped her, no doubt. She seems akward: all that guilt?!?!

    I have seen too many documentaries which prove the negative effects meat has for your body. I simply don't want to have that stuff inside my body an more.

    Tomorrow will be a nice day: I am going to cook at my parents place, a vegan meal. First time!

    1. There are so many vegan things to crave - who needs meat? :-)

      I also can't "not know" what I have learned about what animal products to to our bodies.

      I hope that vegan meal was enjoyed by your whole family!