Should you ban meat and dairy from your diet? Here’s why not.
- You are a born meat eater. The “eat right for your type” people contend that some people maintain normal weight and have better blood sugar control if they get some animal protein in their diet. New genetic research supports this position. How do you know if you are a true carnivore? “You operate best on a low-carbohydrate, high-protein and relatively high-diet,” says Dr. Joseph Mercola, a proponent of nutritional typing. “You’re less hungry, have more energy, and stay healthy on this kind of diet.” And opposite is also true: Trying to follow a vegan diet makes you miserable, tired and hungry all the time.
- You’re not a vitamin-taker. Long-term, you may need supplements to make up for vitamin or mineral deficiencies in this diet: B12 and vitamin D for sure, and, for some people, calcium, iodine, zinc and iron. For most people, a vegetarian multi-vitamin-mineral with iron will be adequate.
- You don’t like vegetables or beans. You just won’t be reaping the health benefits of a vegan diet, and won’t be getting enough protein, if you avoid these two staples of the diet, Norris says.
- You have or have had an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. In such people, going on a vegan diet can trigger a different type of disordered eating—an extreme fixation on healthy eating that can be seriously unhealthy, according to psychologist Steven Bratman, who coined the term “orthorexia nervosa” to describe the condition. While an anorexic wants to lose weight, an orthorexic does not desire to become thinbut wants to feel pure, healthy and natural. Unfortunately, the results are the same: dangerous malnutrition.
- You travel a lot and have to eat out. It can be hard to follow a healthy vegan diet if you’re constantly on the go, Norris admits. “But it is not impossible and it gets easier as you learn more about it,” he says. “You can almost always find vegan food at a Mexican or Thai restaurant, or at Subway,” he says. “And as a last resort you can always have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”