I’m currently reading The Schwarzbein Principle: The Truth About Losing Weight, Being Healthy, and Feeling Younger by Diana Schwarzbein, M.D. It seems everybody has a different idea of what constitutes a good diet. In her book, she says that fats and cholesterol are important. She also likes to use hormone replacement therapy to keep estrogen levels up. She told stories about how clients on vegetarian diets had high blood cholesterol levels, and they were helped by adding eggs and meat to their diet. And yet, we’ve got The China Study, a massive epidemiological study, and other studies as well telling us that a plant based diet is superior for health. It’s difficult to know how to reconcile the information. To her credit, Dr. Schwarzbein does have a chapter on The Committed Vegetarian in her book in which she says the following:
Again, I never discourage anyone from eating a vegetarian diet. I discourage eating a bad vegetarian diet of cereals, pasta, breads, and sweets. A good vegetarian diet emphasizes tofu, seeds, legumes, nuts and whole grains, such as barley and quinoa, to get all the protein you need. A good vegetarian diet also provides essential fats from avocados, olives, and oils. You must mix and balance foods to get the needed nutritional balance at every meal. It is more work to eat a good vegetarian diet than it is to eat a meat-based diet, but it can be done.
My guess is that it’s only more work until one establishes the habits of a balanced diet. Then it becomes second nature. Right now, it’s still work for me to figure out how to do this right.
[Edit: This post was recovered from my old Exploring Veganism blog. Veganism ultimately proved to be an inappropriate approach for me.]