This marks one month of my official nutrition studies at UNC, and it’s been surprisingly enjoyable! I absolutely feel like I’m in the right major, and I never had that feeling with Public Policy. (I do still have to be admitted to the School of Public Health though, so fingers crossed I get in!) There have been plenty of ‘facepalm’ moments, but I’ve also been impressed by some of the readings we’ve been assigned, and the overall scientific focus of the class. [Read more…] about My nutrition studies: awesomeness and facepalms (plus cat pics)
Check out my recipe for Gelatin-Aloe Hair Gel over at Liz Wolfe’s Skintervetion blog! It’s cheap, it’s easy to make, it uses only natural ingredients, and it WORKS. Do yourself a favor and try it out, especially if you have curly hair like I do. If you do try it, or have any questions about it, post them here! I’d love to hear how it worked for you, and any modifications you made.
In part one, I discussed whether it’s possible to get enough vitamin D, calcium and vitamin K2 – three nutrients that are vital to bone health – on a vegan diet, without using supplements. We discovered that it is possible, but only if you get lots of sunlight, eat plenty of greens, properly prepare your nuts and seeds, and eat natto. In this post I’ll wrap it up by looking at iron, zinc, vitamin A, and vitamin B12. Then we can finally answer the question: Is it possible to be healthy on a vegan diet without the use of supplements? [Read more…] about Is it Possible to be Healthy on a Vegan Diet? [Part Two]
In my last post in this series on veganism, I looked at anthropological evidence to establish that as a species in our natural habitats, humans are omnivores, and we thrive on an omnivorous diet. But although we are still humans (most of us, anyways), we don’t quite live in our natural habitats anymore, so what applied to the natives that Weston Price studied doesn’t necessarilyapply to us. In a modern-day setting with greater access to a variety of foods, can humans thrive on a vegan diet without needing to supplement? Is it biologically possible for humans to get what they need on a diet devoid of animal products?
In this two-part post, I’ll try to answer that question by looking at some of the nutrients that are hardest to come by on a vegan diet. In part one, we’ll look at three nutrients that are vital to bone health: vitamin D, calcium, and vitamin K2. [Read more…] about Is it Possible to be Healthy on a Vegan Diet? [Part One]
One source of disagreement between vegans and meat eaters is the question of what humans are supposed to eat. Many vegans claim humans are herbivores, while meat-eaters assert that humans are omnivores. So what are we, anyways? Herbivores? Carnivores? Omnivores? Most of you probably know the answer to this already, but it doesn’t hurt to look at the evidence. To answer this question, it makes sense to start with what humans eat in their ‘natural habitat,’ when they’re completely undisturbed by modern civilization. As such, this post will look at what traditional hunter-gatherer cultures ate! [Read more…] about Are Humans Herbivores?
This is part two of a series on vegan diets. If you haven’t read part one, you can read it here!
Before diving into the
meat main part of this series, I think some clarification is necessary. Not all vegan diets are created equal, and the type of vegan diet in question is going to have a huge impact on every topic I want to discuss: nutrition, sustainability, anthropology, and ethics, to name a few. Other than the fact that all vegan diets are devoid of animal products, they can be as different and varied as the people who choose to eat them. As with anything, it’s a sliding scale, but for my purposes I’ve split them into three main categories. I’ve also tried to give them names that will make it easier for me to reference that particular type in the future (: [Read more…] about Plant-Based Diet or Plant-Based Diet?
Yesterday, Alex Jamieson told the world that she is no longer a vegan. If you don’t know who she is and really don’t care, just bear with me for a minute. Alex is best known from the documentary Super Size Me, where her then-boyfriend Morgan Spurlock ate nothing but McDonalds for 30 days. Alex used a vegan approach to get Morgan’s health back on track after his 30 day McDiet, and she has since been a leading voice for health and nutrition in the vegan community. I would encourage you to read her post, but here’s the gist: Alex discovered that at this point in her life, her body needs some animal products to be healthy. Her post yesterday was the first time she’d publicly announced her decision to incorporate some animal products into her diet. [Read more…] about Veg*n is Not a Curse Word
This is also a project from this semester, this time from my public policy class. I decided to post it because it’s also on the Dietary Guidelines, and you’ll likely be hearing about them a lot on this blog! It was a bit challenging to write because while there’s plenty of research on what the problem is, there really isn’t any research on possible solutions. So I had to come up with solutions on my own, and because of my limited policy knowledge, I have no idea if they’re even feasible. But I got a good grade, so I guess that’s something (:
This policy brief examines the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a policy that began in 1980 and mandates the periodic release of federal nutritional guidance. Based on the rising rates of obesity and the pervasiveness of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, it is clear that the Dietary Guidelines have not achieved their goal of reducing the risk of chronic disease in Americans. In fact, research indicates that the Dietary Guidelines could actually be contributing to the current epidemics of obesity and diabetes. This is for three reasons: the Dietary Guidelines often exclude or misrepresent scientific evidence; the Guidelines have had unintended consequences for industry and consumer behavior; and the Guidelines cannot adequately address a diverse population with different nutritional needs. [Read more…] about Policy Brief: Reforming the Dietary Guidelines
This is a research paper that I wrote for my English class this semester. I wanted to share it on this blog because it’s about eggs, cholesterol, and the Dietary Guidelines, three things that definitely impact the ancestral health community!
With rising rates of obesity and diabetes, most Americans feel more pressure than ever to make the right food choices. However, the country’s primary source of nutritional guidance – the Dietary Guidelines for Americans – has been criticized for being misleading, inaccurate, and potentially harmful to public health. In this paper, I present eggs as a ‘case study’ to strengthen the criticisms that others have brought against the Dietary Guidelines. The Guidelines advocate limiting egg consumption because of their high cholesterol content. However, having reviewed the scientific literature on cholesterol and health, I conclude that there is no documented health benefit to limiting dietary cholesterol. Additionally, eggs are an excellent source of choline, a nutrient that is sorely lacking in the diets of most Americans. For these reasons, the Dietary Guidelines should actually encourage egg consumption, rather than limit it.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve eaten an extremely healthy diet. That is, healthy by the USDA’s standards. My friends in middle school would make fun of me for having Triscuits and cheese and a bag of raw veggies for lunch, while they had muffins or pizza.
Sometime during middle school, I decided to be vegetarian. I also meticulously removed as much saturated fat and cholesterol from my diet as possible, and I rarely ate anything that wasn’t whole grain. Now keep in mind, I was never overweight. In fact, I’ve been underweight almost my entire life, and I got even skinnier after these self-imposed dietary changes. But whenever somebody told me that I didn’t have to worry about eating a little ‘unhealthy’ food, I would fiercely reply that skinny people can die of heart disease, too. [Read more…] about My Story (to be continued…)