For Vegans

I promise this page isn’t scary or mean!

Despite rumors to the contrary, I’m actually not on a rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth, steak-fueled mission to unveganize the world. My own diet is mostly plants, and I benefit in no way—financially or otherwise—if you decide to put an egg in your mouth instead of a lump of texturized vegetable protein. My sole goal with this blog is to squash out bad science and give folks access to accurate information about diet. What you decide to do with the stuff I say here is completely up to you.

As a former decade-long vegetarian (and vegan for the last few years of that), I understand and respect that food choices are sometimes based on more than our own health. Maybe you’re ethically opposed to killing animals for any reason, are concerned about the treatment of livestock on farms, or simply developed a crippling case of carnophobia after getting locked in a meat freezer when you were five (worst game of hide-and-seek ever). If this is you, I’m not here to talk you out of your choices or values—and even if we disagree on the specifics, I encourage you to live your life in whatever way you find most fulfilling.

Even though I don’t believe strict vegan diets are optimal from a health perspective, I do think there are ways to make the best out of a meatless, eggless, and dairyless situation. I’d like to offer some of those ideas on this page so that anybody personally committed to veganism can maximize their chance of staying healthy, and hopefully avoid the most common pitfalls us annoying ex-vegans blather on about. (Please note that this isn’t an endorsement for current omnivores to convert to veganism, and there’s no guarantee you’ll truly thrive even if you follow all the suggestions below—but I do think these guidelines will give vegans the best chance possible for warding off health problems.)

In no particular order of importance, here’s a summary of the list, followed by a more detailed version of each point:

  1. Eat real food—no fake meats, processed soy products, vegan junk food, etc.
  2. Avoid high omega-6 vegetable oils and take a vegan DHA supplement.
  3. Supplement with vitamin K2.
  4. Supplement with a vegan form of vitamin D3.
  5. Enhance your beta carotene absorption and conversion.
  6. Properly prepare any grains, legumes, or nuts you eat.
  7. Maximize iron absorption using vitamin-C-rich foods.
  8. Keep your thyroid in good shape.
  9. Take vitamin B12.
  10. Try going gluten-free.
  11. Eat some fermented foods.
  12. Supplement with taurine.
  13. Consider adding oysters or other non-sentient bivalves to your diet.

The long version:

1. Eat real foodI wholly believe the plant-based-diet doctors like Caldwell EsselstynJohn McDougall, and Joel Fuhrman are on the right track when they recommend eating things that actually still resemble food—leafy greens, fruit, tubers, squash, legumes, root vegetables, seaweeds, some nuts and seeds if they sit well with you, and so forth. Although I think many folks would do well with a higher fat intake than some of those doctors recommend (with some caveats we’ll talk about next), the concept of eating real food is a winner. This means ditching the fake soy meats, high-fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, convenience snacks, TV dinners, and pretty much every single thing on this page. It may have been an exciting moment when you learned that Kellogg’s Unfrosted Pop-Tarts are vegan… but pop-tarts they remain. Occasionally indulging in something junkier won’t kill you, but don’t expect to stay healthy if everything on your plate was made by Morningstar Farms or Tofutti.

Just say no.

2. Avoid high-omega-6 vegetable oils like soybean oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, or margarines made from these oils. Instead, use heat-stable fats like coconut oil or red palm oil for cooking, and use macadamia nut oil or olive oil for cold dishes like salads. (Depending on where your city falls on the boondocks-to-urbia scale, the linked oils may be easier to order online than track down locally, but you can sometimes find them at specialty markets or request them through Whole Foods.)

Note: slashing your intake of omega-6 fats will reduce your omega-3 requirements, but I also recommend taking an algae-based vegan DHA supplement (like DEVA’s) and getting some ALA from ground chia seeds, hemp seeds, or flax seeds (always raw and not heat-treated, because their fats are extremely unstable). This is particularly important if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding.

"Soybean oil": writing it in Italian doesn't make the badness go away.

3. Secure a source of vitamin K2, pronto—especially if you want to stave off dental nightmares (like my own 14-cavity adventure). Woefully unknown to the public and mainstream health experts alike, vitamin K2 is critical for a healthy heart and skeletal system. Among other things, it helps shuttle calcium out of your arteries (where it contributes to plaque formation) and into your bones and teeth, where it rightfully belongs. There’s a new book out called “Vitamin K-2 and the Calcium Paradox” discussing this nutrient depth, but you can also find plenty of information on K2 online, like here and here.

Unlike vitamin K1, which is abundant in some vegan foods like dark leafy greens, vitamin K2 is only found in certain bacteria and animal products such as dairy, organ meats, and eggs. The chief vegan source is natto—a (not-so-appetizing) fermented soybean product that contains K2-producing bacteria. If you avoid soy, eat a raw food diet that disallows natto, or simply don’t want to shovel slimy ammonia-scented globs into your mouth, look for a vitamin K2 supplement containing menaquinone-4 or menaquinone-7 (usually abbreviated to MK-4 or MK-7). I personally use this brand for myself, both due to quality and cost, and can vouch for the incredible dental benefits it bestows.

4. Take enough vitamin D3 to get your blood level up to the 35 ng/ml markUnless you’re a Hawaiian lifeguard (or otherwise lucky enough to lounge outside all day in the sun), there’s a decent chance you’re deficient, especially if you live at a far northern latitude. Vitamin D is crucial for a wide variety of functions—everything from helping you absorb calcium to protecting against certain cancers—and it works in synergy with vitamins K and A to keep your teeth and bones strong. Unfortunately, since supplemental vitamin D3 is usually derived from wool, nearly all vegan versions contain vitamin D2, which is less potent and not always effective for preventing or fixing deficiency.

Source of Life Garden Vitamin D3 and Vitashine Vegan Vitamin D3 are currently the only vegan vitamin D3 supplements in existence. I highly recommend using either of those over the D2 versions more commonly available. I personally take about 5,000 IUs a day, but you may need to adjust your intake depending on your body size, how much sun you get, and whether you’re trying to aggressively treat a deficiency versus maintaining healthy vitamin D levels. (Also be aware that a small number of people react negatively to vitamin D supplementation, so be on the lookout for any adverse symptoms.)

5. Get the most out of your beta carotene. Vitamin A is crucial for healthy bone tissue, vision, proper hormone function, making fully-intact babies, and other things generally regarded as good. But plants don’t contain “true” vitamin A—only certain provitamins, particularly beta carotene, that your body converts into vitamin A. Unfortunately, the conversion process is wildly inefficient: most folks absorb only a tiny fraction of the beta carotene they consume, and only a fraction of that ever becomes vitamin A—leaving some vegans deficient even if they rival Bugs Bunny in carrot consumption. Although some people are just genetically doomed to be poor converters and will probably struggle as vegans no matter what they do, there are a few ways to maximize your absorption and conversion of vitamin A precursors:

  • Eat beta-carotene-rich foods along with some fat—such as oily dressing or avocado slices on a salad—to greatly increase the amount you absorb.
  • Identify and treat any food allergies, celiac disease, parasite infections, H. pylori infection, or low stomach acid, which can disturb your gut ecology and hinder absorption.
  • Make sure you’re getting sufficient iron and zinc from your diet, since these minerals are critical in converting beta carotene to vitamin A. If you’re deficient in them, your vitamin A status will probably be impaired.
  • Lightly cook some of your beta-carotene sources to break down fiber and improve absorption.

6. Properly prepare any grains, legumes, or nuts you eat. These foods contain phytates that block the absorption of minerals like calcium and iron, along with enzyme inhibitors and tannins that can cause digestive distress. If you choose to include grains, legumes, or nuts in your diet, you can neutralize some of the anti-nutrients and increase mineral availability by giving your food some tender lovin’ prep. For whole grains, do the following:

  1. Put the grains in a bowl filled with enough warm water to cover.
  2. Add apple cider vinegar or lemon juice at a ratio of 1 tablespoon for each cup of grain.
  3. Let it all soak for at least 7 hours at room temperature.
  4. Drain the soak water and cook the grains as you usually would.

For most legumes except dried lentils and split peas, follow the same steps as with grains—but soak larger beans for at least 24 hours (changing the soak water if they start to ferment) and double the amount of vinegar or lemon juice if you’re dealing with really small beans (2 tablespoons per cup of beans). Lentils and split peas should be soaked for 7 hours, but without any vinegar or lemon juice added. Raw nuts, too, should be soaked in warm water for 7 hours without an acidic medium, but you can sprinkle the soak water with sea salt (and then air-dry them once they’re done).

This may sound labor intensive, but it really doesn’t take all that much actual work—and your digestive system will thank you!

7. Eat high-vitamin-C foods along with iron-rich foods to enhance iron absorption, especially if you’re a pre-menopausal woman or otherwise struggle with anemia. Non-heme iron, the form found in plant foods, is less bioavailable than heme iron in animal products—but its absorption increases quite a bit in the presence of vitamin C. Try combining high-iron foods like chard, spinach, beet greens, lentils, beans, and quinoa with vitamin-C-rich foods like tomatoes, bell peppers, lemon juice, strawberries, oranges, papaya, kiwis, pineapple, grapefruit, or whatever else strikes your fancy. If you’re into green smoothies, those are prime opportunities to blend up something fruity and vitamin-C-packed with an iron-rich leafy green. Also avoid drinking tea or coffee with high-iron meals, since these beverages contain substances that reduce iron absorption.

8. Be kind to your thyroidHealth-conscious vegans may unintentionally wind up with two strikes against their thyroids: lack of iodine (either from cutting back on salt or switching from iodized salt to natural sea salt), and a menu packed with goitrogenic vegetables. Impaired thyroid function can result in fatigue, cold hands and feet, hair loss, poor concentration, trouble losing weight, and short-term memory rivaling your grandma’s—all of which you’ve probably heard a disgruntled soon-to-be-ex-vegan complain of at some time or another.

The best vegan source of iodine is seaweed, but some varieties contain much more than others. Here’s a table with the iodine content (among other nutrients) of several common sea vegetables.

Goitrogenic foods—which interfere with thyroid function—include cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, turnips, rutabaga, and cabbage, as well as soy products and millet. Strawberries, peaches, and spinach are also somewhat goitrogenic. You don’t have to give up these foods completely (crucifers in particular have some great anti-cancer compounds), but definitely scale back on them if they’re currently a large part of your diet, especially if you already have hypothyroid symptoms.

Not so innocent.

9. Take vitamin B12—about 10 mcgs a day, or 2000 mcgs once per weekI’d like to think this would be pretty obvious by now, but there are some lingering vegan authorities who seem to underplay the B-12 issue or even deny it altogether. Even “The China Study” makes B12 seem like small potatoes, when T. Colin Campbell writes: “If you do not eat any animal products for three years or more, or are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should consider taking a small B12 supplement on occasion.” This is sort of scary, since virtually every study conducted on the subject shows that vegans experience much higher rates of B12 deficiency than omnivores or vegetarians and have elevated homocysteine as a result (which increases blood clotting and raises your risk of heart disease). In fact, low B12 and high homocysteine probably contributed to the early demise of prominent vegans like H. Jay Dinshah and T. C. Fry (PDF).

Especially if you’re avoiding processed vegan foods (which are often fortified with vitamin B12), you’ll need to find a supplement and take it consistently, since there are really no reliable dietary sources of B12 for vegans. (Algae like spirulina, often rumored to contain B12, only has B12 analogues that won’t actually improve your B12 status.)

10. Try going gluten-free at least as a 30-day experiment, especially if you have possible “gluten sensitivity” symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain, joint pain, headaches, or migraines that aren’t improving from tweaking your diet in other ways.

11. Ferment some stuffRaw, unpasteurized fermented foods contain lovely bacteria that can help restore your gut flora, improve your digestion, and ultimately increase the nutrition you absorb from what you eat. It shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds on Google to find recipes for sauerkraut, kimchi, “real” pickles, fermented salsa, and other delectable vegan-friendly fermented fare, and most health food stores carry some of these things pre-made. “Wild Fermentation” by Sandor Katz is a great resource if you want to get your hands dirty in the lactobacillus-y goodness.

12. Consider supplementing with taurine, especially if you’re pregnant, nursing, or extremely active. Taurine is an amino acid found only in animal foods, and it plays an important role in brain development, maintaining healthy blood pressure, controlling blood glucose, reducing oxidative stress, and preventing damage to your retinas. Although your body can synthesize taurine from a combination of other amino acids, many folks—including children and pregnant or breast-feeding women—can’t produce enough of it to satisfy their needs without a direct dietary source, and at least one study has shown that vegan men have much lower levels of plasma taurine than nonvegetarians. NOW makes a vegan taurine powder, and there may be other brands out there if you do some sleuthing.

13. Look into “bivalveganism,” a combination of plant foods and non-sentient shellfish. It’s unfortunate this one ended up as unlucky #13, because I honestly think it could be a solution for a lot of struggling vegans. Bivalves—such as oysters and clams and mussels—are incredibly rich in nutrients that are absent or hard to get from plant foods. Oysters in particular are a great source of iron, B12, zinc, selenium, copper, and vitamin D, and have a small amount of true vitamin A as well. Bivalves don’t have a central nervous system and are generally not considered sentient by traditional criteria, so vegans who avoid other animal products may be more ethically comfortable consuming a few oysters per week. (If you want to hear about the potential role of bivalves in vegan diets from someone else’s mouth, here’s a very relevant article by Christopher Cox.)

That’s it for the Big Important Things. But for the sake of making this page insufferably long, here’s another pile of odds ‘n ends:

Keep in mind that it’s not what you eat—it’s what you absorb (or convert). Some diet-scrupulous vegans use programs like Cron-o-Meter to track their nutrient intake and ensure they’re hitting the RDA for vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Unfortunately, these programs don’t distinguish between vitamin K1 or K2, don’t have RDAs set for nonessential amino acids like taurine, usually record beta carotene as “vitamin A” and don’t adjust for its abysmally low absorption rate (meaning that what looks like 100% of the RDA on paper might only be 1% of the RDA in your body), can’t tell you how much iron/zinc/magnesium/calcium you’re losing to phytates, can’t tell you how much non-heme iron you’re really absorbing—on and on. In other words, nutrient trackers can only show you what you’re putting in your mouth, not what your body can actually grab onto. (Worse yet, the USDA’s nutrient values may be wildly different than what’s on your own dinner plate, since the nutritional content of plant foods varies depending on growing conditions, soil quality, season, geography, and a host of other factors.)

Blood tests can’t tell you if you’re “deficient” in calcium. I don’t know if this belief is as common among regular vegans as it is among raw vegans, but some folks seem to think that a normal calcium value on their blood test is proof that they’re getting enough from their diet. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Calcium in your blood and calcium in your bones are two very different things, and in times of shortage, your body will happily yank calcium from your skeleton so you’ve got enough in your blood to stay alive. (Calcium is an electrolyte that helps keep your heart from spazzing out, and your body generally prioritizes “not dying” over losing bone density.)

When seeking health advice from pro-vegan resources, choose your sources wisely. This applies to pretty much any authority that dispenses advice about a diet they’re emotionally or financially invested in, and veganism is no exception. Steer clear of websites and forums that tend to “whitewash” bad experiences people have with veganism or that ban members who report health problems (not to name names). If someone says you can get all the B12 you need from licking your wrist, not washing your vegetables, or making sacrificial kale offerings to the Coenzyme Gods, run, far and fast. And as somebody who used to put full faith in everything I read on, I’d also recommend doing your own research before trusting what you read on vegan sites about human digestive anatomy, meat studies in the news, and the miraculousness of seitan.

That said, my absolute favorite vegan expert is Jack Norris. Norris is a vegan RD who’s astoundingly honest about the shortcomings of a vegan diet, offers science-based solutions to health problems, and—unlike some others in his position—doesn’t sweep veganism’s potential pitfalls under the rug. Among all the plant-based health authorities out there, he is hands-down the most likely to give you the truth. Peruse his blog to get a balanced perspective of vegan issues without having bacon shoved in your face.

And if you’re sincerely interested in seeing the “other side” of vegan topics:

  • Tom Billings’ BeyondVeg is a fantastic resource for any truth-seekers in the health world, covering a range of topics relevant to vegans and raw vegans (including comparative anatomy of primates and humans, evolutionary history as it relates to the human diet, common raw vegan myths, and much more).
  • Meat: A Benign Extravagance” by Simon Fairlie is a must-read if your reasons for going vegan are at least partially environmental. There’s no doubt that our modern factory-farming practices suck, but this book shows—in meticulous, fantastically-researched detail—that reality is a lot more nuanced than we’re led to believe. Many vegan foods like strawberries, coffee, wine, chocolate, and asparagus are even more environmentally destructive than factory-farmed meat, and Fairlie shows that some of the damning statistics we hear about animal agriculture are grossly inflated. Based on Fairlie’s research, the most sustainable system is not a vegan one, but involves putting livestock on land unsuitable for plant crops, using animals like chickens and pigs to utilize food waste, and returning to decentralized agriculture.
  • If you’re interested in understanding why former vegans have un-veganized and questioned the ethical basis of veganism, check out the ex-vegan interviews on Rhys Southan’s blog, Let Them Eat Meat. Also worth reading is this detailed personal account of high-profile, former-vegan Tasha’s return to omnivorism. I’ve provided some of my own thoughts in an interview with the National Animal Interest Alliance.
And last but not least…

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re doing everything “right” and still not feeling awesome. Just like all those great-grandmas out there who lived to be 96 smoking a pack a day and choosing Guinness as their main food group, there are some folks who really do survive without animal products for a very long time. I have my doubts about how it’ll play out across generations, but on an individual basis, thriving vegans do exist (such as the phenomenal 60-year-old Lou Corona who’s been a raw vegan for 39 years (and who’s huge on fermented foods—hint hint)). But unlike the resilient great-grandmas who are viewed as lucky anomalies, the resilient vegans tend to get held up as universal examples of “Hey, if this person can do it, so can everybody.”

If you take nothing else away from this page, at least listen to this: humans are much, much more genetically diverse than most of us realize, and one person’s success as a vegan doesn’t guarantee your own. You may be truly physically incapable of absorbing or converting certain nutrients in their plant form. Your health history, your gut ecology, your medical conditions, and even what your mom ate while you were gestating all influence your current nutritional needs. Veganism is a modern experiment—a dietary situation humans have never before faced—and its full repercussions are still unknown. Trouble thriving is not a personal failure. As much as veganism roots itself in compassion, please consider that you, as a living breathing human, also deserve your own kindness.


  1. K1 is converted to K2 in the body, So its pretty stupid to take k2. How did the animals get K2 in the first place. Oh are you going to give the “dirt” theory?
    So much bullshit on this blog wow!
    I bet all your fans are those who are simply frustrated with the vegan movement. Nice niche u have created. I hope you are making money in some way. Otherwise you really have to by crazy psychotic to be doing this as an inspiration (or maybe just deluded & ignorant)

      1. politeness is the biggest form of hypocrisy :-P. I am just calling a spade a spade and I will not respect anyone who spread misinformation. A person who sincerely claims to be doing research can never arrive at these conclusion they have to have a twisted agenda in their mind. You can’t take the truth you go away.

  2. But here is some more information that rawraj did not research:

    Although your body can convert K1 into K2, studies show that the amount of K2 produced by this process alone is insufficient. Even if you are consuming enough K1, your body uses most of it to make clotting factors, leaving little remaining for your bones.

    I hope she is making a boatload of money. But, wait, all the raw people have endless books to sell. Graham does not even put in research in his book. It is the graham feeling book. But it might as well be the Diamonds “Fit for life” book. Copy cats.

    So, what is your point? Has your diet not done enough damage aready? I noticed that most of the raw foodies cannot stay raw and are becoming McDougallites. That just cracks me up to no end. What most of you are saying is, raw is a terrible diet and most people cannot stay on it.

    1. Show the proof for that statement. This K2 Scare has been sold actually more my vegan soy supplement/Natto manufacturers.
      You ignoramuses are even aware that there are more than 1000 communities around the world that have been living vegan for more than 5000 years?
      Just because now a section of the community eats diary of meat they are deliberately not counted even as vegetarian.
      I don’t even know what K2 has got to do with raw food? MCdougalites are vegans too.
      She is not making boatloads of money she is trying to make a living by spreading false information because idiots like you lap it up

      Have you ever gone raw? go raw and then talk. I have gone raw. its the best diet ever. Yes I agree that its difficult to stay on it. Cause its hard to be raw 100% when you travel and stuff. Its also hard to get organic veggies and fruits in many cities.
      There is this myth that that we have to 100% raw or its not worth it
      I do agree there are a lot of fake raw guru’s Who also spread bullshit.
      You bought up Graham name I don’t even follow him.
      Cause in India raw diet is an ancient diet it was the diet of the sages thousands of years ago. It is still followed by people who follow a system of ayurveda that recommends a raw lifestyle. There is not cult like behaviour high carb low fat. You just eat a balanced raw diet and your body will thank you for it.
      Basically you are barking up the wrong tree here.
      I came here hoping to find real raw myths debunked. While doing that this person is also spreading a lot of lies.

  3. In the USA, the paleo diet is millions of years old, not just thousands like your sage diet. All the enlightened cavemen knew the path, and the path was the way. They had endless strength, could kill prey with their bare hands, and kept all their teeth.

    We, on this site, have all been raw. Hence the name? That is why we came here. We followed the false raw guru’s, who all failed on raw, who are now cooked food experts with new cooked foods recipe books to make more money.

    Here, on this site, we are trying to become enlightened by the ancestors of old, the wise ones, who will show us the way. The paleo way. The Primal blueprint for health, so we can spring forth and multiply. [is this site paleo?]

    We, on this site, hope you will abandon your raw ways, and try a high fat ketogenics diet. The true diet for all of man kind!

    We await your arrival, and will rejoice in your joining the true see-ers of the way.

    I will be very happy to see you stop following the raw gods, who when raw because they did not own a stove, or were too skinny to pull back the draw string on a bow.

    I await with happiness


    1. haha enlightened cave men What a joke.
      Could you please enlighten me as to how cave men hunted when tools were not invented?
      When science have proven we are herbivores.
      you know that cavemen never ate meat. Who was there to verify this? its all theory which is very biased as it was based on an assumption that meat eating was natural.
      So whenever they found a sharp edge stone anthropologists concluded it was for hunting. The could not envision a meatless society.
      The truth is different and many anthropologists are catching up on this.
      Watch it here. No This anthropologist is NOT a vegan.

      The Paleo Diet debunked.
      You brought up Mcdougall He has so much evidence that even Roman gladiators were vegan.
      Its simple common sense. We are not wired to eat meat. The fact that we don’t get attracted to road kill is proof.
      Otherwise our mouths would be watering in a slaughter house with anticipation.
      That is why someone said very aptly give a kid an apple and a rabbit if he plays with the apple and bites into the rabbit…..well you know the rest
      If were were wired to eat meat we would be on top of the food chain we would be able to outrun our prey
      I bet you would not be able to “hunt” a chicken with bare hands. LOL

      P.S. I don’t follow raw gurus. They are fakes. Most of them are not even raw. I came here to this website cause I thought this site was exposing raw gurus.
      They try to potray Raw diet as some rocket science its not.
      In prehistoric times you had fruits falling off trees. We would be attracted to the smell of fruits.
      A “enlightened” cave man would have to be an idiot to ignore those fruits and try to eat a dead rotting corpse of an animal that would make many people gag.

      1. Further, on gladiator diet:

        “The vegetarian diet had nothing to do with poverty or animal rights. Gladiators, it seems, were fat. Consuming a lot of simple carbohydrates, such as barley, and legumes, like beans, was designed for survival in the arena. Packing in the carbs also packed on the pounds. “Gladiators needed subcutaneous fat,” Grossschmidt explains. “A fat cushion protects you from cut wounds and shields nerves and blood vessels in a fight.” Not only would a lean gladiator have been dead meat, he would have made for a bad show. Surface wounds “look more spectacular,” says Grossschmidt. “If I get wounded but just in the fatty layer, I can fight on,” he adds. “It doesn’t hurt much, and it looks great for the spectators.”

        They were slaves fed a diet for combat – they were FATTENED and the Romans knew how to do it – eat a sub-standard diet. Your scripted comments would be laughable if they weren’t so incorrect.

  4. If you haven’t noticed, we ARE at the top of the food chain. When was the last time a pig herded you into a corral? Our brains could only have evolved in such a short period of time (and our digestive tract shortened to compensate) due to eating large amounts of fat.

  5. hey rawraj

    This site was started because, here in the USA, we have a lot of RAW GURU’s showing the way, then most went cooked food. Now most are Raw till 4. Hahahahahahahahaha. After saying how AWESOME raw is, most all went cooked foods.

    And Denise’s health went down. Down. Down. So did mine, but a long time ago. The lessons of the past, in health, get repeated every 20 years. Denise went through all that I did. But then I went McDougall/Robins/Diamond and it just got worse and worse and worse.

    Now, most of our USA raw guru’s are young, perty people. We in the USA follow perty people in our quest for health. I bought an old raw video from the Hipprocates Health Institute and all my friends could say, is, Ann Wigmore looks really old.

    If you are following old ways that worked for a 1000 years, more power to you. You are sure smarter then most. Are your guru’s old people or perty people? :)

    So, this site is about people that WENT USA RAW, and their health declined. Now, yes, every raw person on the entire PLANET is gonna scream, ” You did it wrong! ” But I never knew there was over 40,000 ways to eat fruit.

    -High Fat Ketogenics Trent

    1. Yes you did it wrong. I remember Victoria Butenko She wrote a book on how she did it wrong. She never had leafy green and grains or nuts. She was just drinking fruit juices.
      Ofcourse you can do it wrong.
      I think all of you are either dumb so dumb like Victoria and it may not be your fault. Cause Americans don’t know veggies. The only veggies they know is the lettuce and the pickles with their burger and then maybe those who watch some health show have heard of broccoli.
      Just recently a friend of mine went raw(I am not raw) she was eating the same amount as a main course as she would eat if she was eating salad with a meal.
      The reason I don’t eat raw is because you really need to eat lots of it.
      If you eat a bowl of rice and lentils for a meal you need to eat 3 bowls of raw produce to have the calorie equivalent.
      Many who eat raw a restricted diet to lose weight actually eat much less that they would normally eat cooked food. That is why everyone gets so weak on a raw diet.

      1. Just one correction, srinig467, no judgements… Victoria Boutenko was/is all about leafy greens. Her main thing was/is smoothies, not juicing. Green smoothies are made utilizing blended whole leafy greens and fruits.

        1. You were born yesterday then that is all I can say. Cause I saw her mention it in a video many years ago. before she was famous. That is how she got famous. Because she turned it into a gimmick by saying “Juicing is wrong its bad for health”.
          I know what I am talking about. Now she and her kids are into so many things back then her kids were actually kids. They had just arrived from Russia.
          No judgements but they were just scamsters who jumped on the “trend” of raw food and “health guruism” One look at her and you can say she obviously does not follow what she preaches.

  6. Reading all these diets is confusing. I prefer real life facts. I have read Essestyn,Cambell, ornish,Atkins and South beach. Real world is what people are healthest. We here alot of Mediterranean people living long. True. But the people that live the longest are Okinawan s (fact). The eat meat, fish, vegetables, fruit. So there diets are both veterinarian and Meats. And the French have secound lowest heart attacks in the world, they are not vegiterians. Check out world health statistics for your self. Many are trying to sell books. You want to be healthy, Don’t eat processed foods, eat meat void of hormones and antibiotics, lots of fresh fruits and veggies, fish without mercury poisoning (if you can find). And as the Japanese say eat 85% of being full. Lab rats that eat half as much as normal rats live almost twice as long. These are all facts if you research. I not selling a book. The Americans eat ten times the sugar as the French. So cut out refined sugar, a little stevia or other natural sweetner in small amount. Period!

  7. Outstanding post. Very thoughtful and informative. I’m a long-time vegetarian-to vegan-to rawbie (2 years)-to 811-to 80 rawbie/10 10 vegetarian. Needed to save my teeth, energy, overall health, and find my own balance. Finally sighed deeply. The longest lived and healthiest people of the world eat raw and cooked. And they also share other important healthy aspects…rest, low stress, humor, a deep spiritual life, community/family. We westerners sure become obsessive, almost violently militant over diet. At 68 I think I might be learning something.

      1. What a ludicrous comparison! I’m pretty sure that most cocaine addicts are very aware that their addiction is very damaging to their health and many wish they had never got hooked. Why not step outside the box and see this article for what it really is, a guide to help vegans remain healthy on a vegan diet. It is nonsense like this that turns away vegans from one of the few resources that might keep them vegan. Would you not prefer to see vegans remaining vegan or would you prefer they quit due to ill health?

        1. Oh yes you are right the same way a meat junkie wished he had never eaten so much meat after his third stroke. You are talking crap. First off my analogy was only 4 the comment “What i feel” That is crap. Do you know how many people “FEEL” like eating McDonalds everyday? Does that make it ok?
          What makes you think vegans are unhealthy? I am outside the box all vegans are. You should get out of the box and start unlearning the “biased” nutritional studies.
          There are thousands of vegan out there who are healthy
          This article is not even aimed at vegans. This article is just “confirmation bias” for non-vegans. You will never see any vegan agree with this.
          BTW how can a vegan remain a vegan if they start eating shell fish. DUH!
          You need a basic IQ to understand and make sense of nutrition, which obviously meat eaters don’t.
          Vegans are not dying as we speak meat eaters are dying as we speak..GO figure!

  8. denise, as a current vegetarian, thinking about adding animals back into my diet (due to health issues), YOU TOTALLY ROCK. and this list rocks.

    you did forget one thing: EATING BUGS!! for “ethical” vegans, it may feel “more ethical” to consume animal products in the form of bugs vs cows/chickens/fish. get them delivered live, stick them in your freezer, grind them up and add them to smoothies. :-)

  9. I love this blog and Denise’s book, but unfortunately buying red palm oil is a terrible idea. “Palm oil plantations are linked to unsustainable deforestation throughout the world – that aside from the obvious biosphere issues – is reducing livable habitat for orangutans to the point that some are calling it genocide.” (Source: That page also claims that palm oil is unhealthy, which I haven’t had a chance to research that yet. More likely it is healthy for humans but not worth the great destruction of habitat it causes.)

    Coconut oil seems to have much less environmental impact, so I would say go with that for cooking. (I also have seen some evidence that olive oil is fine as long as you don’t cook it past its smoke point, but Denise has obviously done a lot of research on this subject and she advises against using olive oil for cooking.)

  10. although I truly admire your comeback after being harmed by a vegan diet (i have had a similar experience), i am flawed by your recommendation of non-sentient bivalves, such as oysters, as a powerful nutritional supplement for vegans. i have been a vegan over the years and am now vegetarian (eggs, butter o.k.) during the week. i allow myself to eat fish and chicken for religious observance only (Shabbat, Jewish holidays) but I could probably stay an egg and butter only eating vegetarian for life ….. but i would never consider the inclusion of foods in the oyster or non-sentient bivalve category as something my body needs …..

    one of the reasons vegans don’t eat any animal that had a life regardless of a central nervous system (insects are also in the questionable CNS category) ….. is that most vegans, and vegetarians who choose to eat animal products that never were alive or had the potential of life (dairy and unfertilized eggs fall into this category) is due to the actually living nature of their existence …. which is different from plants. even though plants are alive, and particularly rooted plants used for food experience a ‘death’ to the entire plant, as opposed to a fruit, there is a difference in the life and living structure between an oyster and a potato. i can’t go into the scientific and biological ramifications and details of why an oyster is different from a potato …. but i am hoping you get the gist of it ….

    I also wanted to say that i am not opposed to eating meat ….. but i am a serious fan and life-long follower of Frances Moore Lappe, author of the incredible and life changing book ‘Diet for a Small Planet’, which was pretty much my bible in the 1980’s ….. one of the major cases against meat is that bovines, in particular, not only cost a huge amount to raise and tend to slaughter, but they simultaneously eat up food and water that can easily be given to people to prevent starvation … humans can live very well on a vegetarian diet with minimal animal products to ward off vitamin B12 deficiencies …… such as dairy and eggs ….. but bovines seriously compete worldwide for these resources … including being one of the most serious causes of forest depletion and gas house emissions …. and the mere existence of massive bovine production for meat …. even via organic measures ….. is globally counterproductive. in her book, Dr. Lappe identifies meat to be a ‘rich man’s diet’, citing that the mere production of meat creates a serious socio-economic divide; causes hunger in less financially endowed nations, communities, and families, even to the point of being influential in mass starvation situations; causes environmental erosion and defamation …. and is completely unnecessary for human health ….. even if meat has helped you heal from a vegan raw foods diet …. in all honesty, you could get the same health and healing with a lacto or ovo-vegetarian diet …. something that the Hindus and other lacto/ovo-vegetarian groups have done for millenia ….. your approval and encouragement of meat is just feeding the corporate feeding frenzy of an already greedy and blood thirsty mega-meat industry (very similar to Big Pharma ….. you would have to understand environmental politics to fully grasp this) …. and while i applaud your health and healing and admire your tremendous energy in pursuing your goals ….. i definitely feel you are going about it in the wrong way …..

    1. Superb article!

      Your knowledge of the data is brilliant and for all those haters out there, get over yourselves. It’s great that you hold such an ethical view about animal welfare but slating this article just because Denise has chosen to incorporate animal sources into her diet is ridiculous. You give out a sense of hating most of the planet (the bulk of us eat some animal based proteins and fats in our diets) for our dietary choices and dismiss this very helpful article out of hand as a result.

      Denise is correct about all the issues she covers, articulate and well informed. Don’t come here throwing your uneducated ideals around, this article is clearly written to help vegans with their dietary choices and is highly likely to ensure that many ethical vegans don’t fall off the wagon due to ill health. What do want to achieve by slating Mingers article? In reality you may well turn away a long term vegan suffering from ill health that may find a solution to their problem while remaining vegan instead of converting back to an omnivorous diet. If you are passionate about your cause then consider that notion. You may be the very hater that helps to create the next ex vegan! Think about it!

    2. Many of the fats in nuts are pretty volatile and unstable. Heating (roasting) damages such fats and can render them inflamatory on your system. Soaking is the better option although I do still indulge in a few roasted nuts from time to time! (doing the right thing most of the time is better than doing nothing at all).

      1. Thanks for the info about roasted nuts. Yes, I agree with you about occasional indulgences…for example, I very rarely eat sugar but once in a while I’ll eat it for special occasions. I think my flexible attitude is one of the reasons I’ve succeeded in eating healthfully for many years now. But for someone just starting out who has a lot of cravings for unhealthy foods, it may actually be helpful to go cold turkey for a while until your taste buds adjust…then you’ll come to prefer healthier food…of course I’m probably preaching to the choir here :)

  11. Vegans compose of 2 percent of our population. I’m looking at this tidal wave of a defense for vegans and you have to wonder why just 2 percent? I tried it for approximately one year and realize I’m one of the many who probably did it wrong and ended up giving up and came to the conclusion most people actually enjoy their food and it takes a lot of creativity to enjoy just vegetables 365 days a year. It appears only 2 percent posses that skill set and should be proud without defending it so adamantly because I really don’t see us omnivores turning in droves any time soon for health benefits or ethical reasons seeing we’ve been at this omnivore thing for quite a while now.

  12. You do not have a Nutrition degree, or the “right” to write whatever you want, as Nutrition is now a Medical Therapy called “Medical Nutrition Therapy” (MNT), and is accepted Internationally as a Registered Dietitian’s mainstay for educating and promoting sound and evidence-based nutritional practices worldwide. Thereby, it is cumbersome and boring to have you write and state that anyone can convert others to their own nutritional thought or ideas, just becaase you went to college at age 16. In many countries, they consider any college degree as a PhD, eventhough there are International standards there also. I think it is mean-hearted for you to write about nutrition and heath like you are an expert when you look anorexic on your book bio cover. There are so many people who will go astray at your word , and not seek out or find correct medical assistance in MNT due to your own issues with food. Why don’t you grow up and go to Nutrition school and PROVE what you say is true ! It is your new challenge for 2015 from, me. Interestingly enough, I have a married in step-sister who heckled me about my “mainstream” medical job while she was a midwife and gave teas to relax women in labour and tell them all sorts of nutrition and other “snake oil” beliefs that were “natural”. Finally, she grew up and decided to become a real nurse and now practices as a Nurse Practitioner, but only after her mother asked me what nursing profession was strongest, as her daughter had decided to finally go to school (college). You too can assist the world correctly with your writing AFTER you have gone to school. otherwise, it is all for naughty wording pretending to be something you are not, and you should be sued for pretending to be a Licensed medical professional !! I am quite sure that you do not think up your writings all based on your life, so I hope you have documented your resources well. Regards for REAL health and wellness ! Happy 2015 !

    1. a notaa – I agree with you on many of your points. I have friends who became “health coaches” online and are as dumb as a rock when it comes to research and scientific data. They should have to go to a real college, then obtain a professional license. They need at least a BS in biochemistry, chemistry, phys. sc. etc. I have been 70% fraw or about twelve years and a vegetarian health nut for over forty years, and it amazes me how people just follow anyone’s FEELINGS about diet and nutrition. Then they mix their obsession with their religion into it, and now they ARE NEVER wrong and their way is the ONLY WAY. Sigh.

      On the other hand, I like this article as it does help a vegan stay veganish.

      1. haha yeah right. The guy is a blogger who acts like a Conspiracy Nutjob. He says all studies that say meat causes cancer is sponsored by the govt so he doesnt trust it. What a scientifc ARgument

        1. Thanks for your comment. I never said all studies that say meat causes cancer are sponsored by the government. I wrote, “Many studies linking red meat to cancer are sponsored by the government.” Its important that if you are going to comment that you understand the post and don’t take it out of context.

          Also the article is refuting the blanket statement that meat causes cancer in general. I never claimed that excess consumption of meat doesn’t cause cancer.

        2. There does seem to be a problem with excess amounts of protein but how much that is, is open for debate and depends upon the individual and context. Meat may be harmful if one only eats the muscle meat in exclusion of the bones and organs. We need a balance of methionine and glycine.

        3. So tired of the everything is a conspiracy people. Must be awful to live in some neurotic state of fear all the time.

  13. I just recently went vegan and was about to order a bunch of supplements from amazon like iodine and b12 but apparently oysters are not only are high in both of those but also zinc and selenium. It’s literally the perfect solution to all my problems lol. Thanks!

  14. Thank-you for this list. I follow a plant based diet and do pretty much all of this except the K2 and after further research have now added that to my supplements.

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