Beyond Broccoli: Creating a Biologically Balanced Diet: When a Vegetarian Diet Doesn’t Work
by Susan Schenk, LAc
Awakenings Publications, 2011
It was only in the last year that I began to have some idea of how many former vegans and vegetarians are now members of WAPF. Vegan diets can cause very adverse effects to brain function, among other body systems. Fortunately numerous vegans and vegetarians pay attention to the problems developing with their health and come to realize that WAPF has the solution to many of those problems. It is especially these individuals who have corrected their nutritional deficiencies and restored their health who can be most articulate when explaining why they are no longer vegans.
As one such astute former vegan, author Susan Schenck is personally familiar with the symptoms that tend to afflict vegans physically and mentally. She focuses in particular on the need for saturated fats, fat soluble vitamins, vitamin B12, the fatty acid DHA, and numerous other nutrients that vegans aren’t getting from their diet. She categorically debunks all of the most popular myths surrounding veganism—such as the myth that we aren’t adapted to eat meat, the myth that lowfat and low-cholesterol diets are more healthful, and the widely believed myth that vegans contract less cancer and have a lower incidence of obesity than non-vegans.
Writing the iconoclastic Beyond Broccoli took some courage and character since Schenck had previously written a bestseller extolling the raw vegan lifestyle. Having been something of a leader among vegans, she had connections with other leaders. Many of them have privately admitted they had to cheat. The diet didn’t work for them either.
If you have tried to sort through the twisted and conflicting science on any subject, you know how complicated that can be. Dr. Ancel Keys made the cover of Time magazine for his claim that a lowfat, low-cholesterol diet was the solution to heart disease. Years later he recanted, saying, “There’s no connection whatsoever between cholesterol in food and cholesterol in the blood. None. And we’ve known that all along.”
The China Study is another favorite of vegans. Schenck bases much of her criticism of the study on the excellent analyses done by Chris Masterjohn and Denise Minger, revealing its obvious flaws. Study author Campbell concluded that his best advice was to eliminate all animal products from the diet. Yet there were no Chinese vegans in his study and the Chinese themselves consider certain animal products to be superfoods. How did he scientifically reach his conclusions? Animal studies in which test rats were fed too much fractionated casein led Campbell to the conclusion that all animal protein is carcinogenic. When you look at what the Chinese really eat you see that they eat much more animal protein than The China Study would have us believe. Further, other studies carried out in China show that heart disease is much lower in regions with the highest milk consumption.
Shenck is more in favor of raw food than perhaps Weston Price might have been but if you want to go totally raw she recognizes the importance of animal foods in such a diet. She does a much better job of understanding the science than conventional medicine does. I like the cartoon at the end of Beyond Broccoli with a doctor talking to his patient. He says, “The high-carb diet I put you on twenty years ago gave you diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Oops!” The thumb is UP.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2012.