Fat Vegans

I don’t like being labeled, but it happens daily when I am singled out and introduced as a “vegan” by others. That’s fine, if it makes someone feel better about drawing attention to how I eat, then by all means use your label. Don’t mind me, if I call you fat then, deal? I intended on writing about this topic previously when I wrote 4 Months 10 Days, but strayed my original topic to discuss protein.

I had to call out a vegetarian chef today on a Facebook page. I didn’t want to because his recipe looked wonderful. This recipe was posted on a food blog I follow by a woman who cooks up some great “exotic” dishes. While I have yet to sample any of her recipe through my kitchen, I do follow her to see what creative dishes she is coming up.

Unfortunately vegetarians and vegans can both be fat. I say fat because while they are giving up meat and possibly dairy, they are still cooking and using oil, usually olive oil. Regardless of what you think about olive oil being “heart healthy” it is still fat. Remember, “the fat you eat is the fat you wear.” Thank you Dr. John McDougall for that little nugget. So while olive oil does have heart healthy properties it is still fat in the end.

Now, back to this recipe I read today. It was a macaroni and cheese dish and cooking this from time to time back in my SAD days it was fattening. Just for a comparison a serving (4 in the box) of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese (about 1 cup) is 320 calories, of 90 total calories from fat. That equates to 10 grams of fat (15%) of which 3 grams are saturated fat. There is also 15 mg of cholesterol, 900 mg of sodium and 45 grams of total carbohydrates.

This mac and cheese dish I read about today sounded wonderful, but I decided to plug it into Spark Recipes. The recipe serving size ‘6-8’ I was being generous, after adding all the ingredients in the recipe I was somewhat horrified at the results, regardless of how good this recipe looked.

One serving was 543 calories, total fat of 24 grams, of which 14 grams were saturated fat. The cholesterol level, as expected was high, 73 mg, only (and I use that term loosely) 439 mg sodium, while the total carbohydrates were 59 grams. This from a vegetarian web site.

As I said, many of the vegan and vegetarian sites I frequent use olive oil and cheese in their cooking. Since I don’t cook with dairy products or oil, this is somewhat appalling. I can’t stress enough, the dish looked great, but it’s quite possibly even if someone is vegetarian or a vegan, they can be fat and even obese, depending on what sort of diet they are on.

Here is an interesting passage from Dr. McDougall in December 2008 Newsletter;

Fat vegans are as terrified as anyone else of giving up their familiar protein- and fat- centered diet. In their minds, this change would be akin to starvation. How could they overcome the fear and still transition to a vegan diet painlessly? By simply replacing real animal foods with non-animal foods, that look, feel, smell, and taste the same as the original. “What’s for dinner?” Before, the answer was steak, fried chicken, pork chops or cheese pizza. Now, as a vegan, the response is “soy burgers, faux meatballs, meat substitute cold cuts, soya chicken chunks, soy hotdogs, soy mozzarella pizza, and mockduck (made with seitan).”  Instead of animal fats and proteins, fuel becomes vegetable oils and isolated soy proteins. Olive oil and Earth Balance spread replace lard and butter. Glassfuls of Elsie the cow’s milk become soymilk. For dessert: a “dairy-free decadent indulgence (ice cream)” and soy yogurt. Vegetables remain insignificant side dishes, glistening with droplets of oil.

So mock me with your labels, I know what I am doing is right for my health and really what else matters? So I give up some animal based products that are not healthy for my heart. You don’t need to take my word for it, check out the details in The China Study, it’s a rather eyeopening look at nutrition from T. Colin Campbell. Neither is it my intention to get you to change YOUR diet, only you can do that. You know what is and isn’t good for you.