by Marion Nestle

Currently browsing posts about: Vegetarian-and-vegan

Jun 3 2008

Today’s question: vegan diets

Stan writes of a previous post: “Why does this seem to be the only post I can find from you where you seem to say anything positive about a vegan diet? It seems that something like a whole food, locally grown vegan diet would be just about ideal nutritionally and environmentally as long as you get a bit of sun, maybe a little flax, and eat something with smidgen of B-12. What am I missing?”

I’m happy to comment on vegan diets, especially now that Oprah Winfrey has gone on one for 21 days–apparently a major big deal among bloggers. I don’t discuss them much because they don’t seem like a major big deal to me. I think Stan has it and isn’t missing a thing. I’m not a vegan myself – I like yogurt, cheese, and naturally raised meat – but I think vegan diets are just fine and I’m amused by rumors that Oprah is actually enjoying the experience. Surprise: vegan diets can taste good!

Jan 27 2008

Can a big guy play football on a vegan diet?

Thanks to my colleague Fred Tripp for forwarding this item from the Wall Street Journal about Tony Gonzalez, the 247-pound Kansas City Chiefs’ football player who has switched to a vegan diet to the shock of his family, fellow players, and, I guess, the world. Why anyone is surprised that people can do well on vegetarian and vegan diets is beyond me. Plant foods have plenty of protein and calories if you eat enough of them. If he is following a strict vegan diet–no animal products at all–he will need to find a source of vitamin B12 (it’s made by bacteria and incorporated into animal tissues), but supplements work just fine. I just don’t see this as any big deal. Many different dietary patterns promote health and this one can too. I suppose people will attribute any missed block or dropped pass to his diet, but cheeseburgers are not essential nutrients.

Jan 22 2008

Oh great. Vegetarian glucosamine made in China

I guess the world needs this. I know that lots of people think glucosamine helps relieve their arthritis pains, especially in the knees, but the science on it is really iffy. Any number of reviews conclude that glucosamine is ineffective but safe as a placebo. Well, at least you can get it now from vegetarian sources, made in China. Reassured? The manufacturer says “Most of the world’s glucosamine is manufactured in China anyway. What we’re doing is supplying a safer and purer glucosamine coming from the same geographical location.”