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'I Could Never Give Up Cheese' and Other Defenses Against Veganism

This week’s column tackles omnivorous defenses against going vegan.

It is a conversation that often turns sour – we naturally defend what we know, or what we think we know – and veganism brings up many defensive discussions about traditional and “standard American diets." 

Here are the top three defenses against veganism I've heard and some food for thought.

“I could never give up cheese”: Have you ever heard of casein? It is an ingredient on every cheese-filled item you may purchase. You may be addicted to it. Which is not abnormal. Casein is a natural component to a mammal’s milk. Why?

According to VegSource.com, “If you examined a casein molecule under a powerful microscope, it would look like a long chain of beads (the "beads" are amino acids-simple building blocks that combine to make up all the proteins in your body). Just one string, containing about five amino acids, has about one-tenth the pain-killing potency of morphine.”

These “opiates” are doing just what nature intended, however, it was intended for the offspring of the specific mammal. Casein is what keeps a newborn latched to its mother, in order to survive, to sustain life, a newborn is addicted to its mothers milk. It produces a calming effect, and increases the bond between infant and mother. In reality, drinking or eating anything with dairy is truly eating/drinking what was intended for calves.

“You do not get enough protein”: The adult male requires roughly 56 grams of protein a day and the adult female requires roughly 46 grams. One-half cup of cooked black beans has more than 7 ½ grams of protein, tofu 10 grams. Just two cups of one of these items daily would satisfy your diet. Protein is abundant in peas, garlic, nuts, etc. Most importantly, vegans need to ensure that other essential vitamins are found in their food choices, vitamin B and D and of course iron, zinc and calcium. All can be done with a wide variety of produce, without really having to think twice about getting enough. Stay away from mock meats and faux alternatives. Fresh is best and the closer to the source, the more value in each meal.

“I would never be associated with PETA”: Not every vegan associates with PETA. While I choose not to support them financially, I do believe that despite their over-the-top and obnoxious antics at times, the bulk of what they do is pretty beneficial. If not for their big budgets and controversial campaigns, many of the fabulous resources they have produced would not exist. Additionally, if not for armed organizations like PETA, Humane Society of the United States and Mercy for Animals, we would not realize the insane conditions in which humans are forced to work, the actions they are led to commit and the horrific acts in which they witness and are threatened not to divulge in fear of losing their jobs and livelihood. The big business of factory farming breeds disease, environmental hardships and has many unfamiliar and shocking realities that the average American is oblivious to.

Marc August 17, 2011 at 06:39 PM
Here's one more: I don't want to.
Alison Gilbert August 19, 2011 at 10:33 AM
I learned a long time ago that my body is the boss. Although I may at times have cravings and need to use better judgement, my body will always let me know what works. This does mean that cravings are NOT what rule but good healthy instincts which came after much work in 'cleaning' out the toxins of white foods and other substances which caused an allergic/addictive reaction. It is not easy and it always changes. I do the best I can and attempt to be gentle with myself about it. I will say though that we are very fortunate to have an abundance of healthy, delicious choices of food in this area, produce from local stores and farmer's markets, a new organic farm, quality protein from both animal and non-animal sources. The food is available. Education in to how to eat and experiences in what works best for each of us is essential.
Jamessina August 19, 2011 at 02:19 PM
Alison, I completely agree! Counting calories, reading labels is not always the most nutritious plan of action when creating our strongest and healthiest bodies. In fact, it forces individuals to micro-manage their lifestyles. Education is the most powerful asset we have, and it is up to individuals to fuel their bodies, rather than graze conveniently from boxed goods. Thanks for reading!

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