Leaving Las Vegan?

Seems everyone has gone Vegan mad in LA of late.

The move to the strict vegetarian diet is prompted (at least in part) by a new Netflix documentary called “WHAT THE HEALTH?”. An after watching it, I too succumbed to the power of suggestion and haven’t eaten meat in over three weeks. On Facebook this week I asked how many of my friends have also been bitten by this bug. And to my surprise quite a lot of them. So I started to do a little more investigating and asked a few Brits in LA members to give their opinions on the Kip Andersen’s film. Some excerpted opinions can be found below.

Andersen makes a strong argument that most major diseases can be avoided and potentially reversed by giving up meat and dairy. Diet is indeed the most powerful tool we have to fight against disease. Many health experts agree that the vast majority of Americans eat way too many animal products. However, Andersen isn’t a scientist or nutritionist – and some other experts (including health care professionals) are debunking those claims, that really come through in the way he (Andersen) cherry-picked the research presented in the film. I agree this powerful movie has a huge impact but like everything involving diet, you make your own decisions based on the research you do.

For now I’m sticking with my plan and have been researching the whole lifestyle change. The biggest thing I’ve observed is how meat eaters JUDGE you and like to make fun, in a very – mean girls “you can’t sit with us” way. Which I take with a pinch of salt. However, having chatted some serious vegans and getting some good knowledge – including about how B12 supplements are a must and how GREAT cashew milk tastes, AND how protein bars and shakes have dairy in them, AND where you can buy great-tasting vegan cheese, I feel a lot more knowledgeable on the subject. I have also discovered some new vegan restaurants that have actually been on my doorstep for a while. Crossroads (8284 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles) for one. Upscale, great tasting food for a chic clientele.  Cafe Gratitude– a more grungy granola-crunching vibe with good wellness juices and a mean avocado on toast –  multiple locations including 639 N Larchmont Boulevard and Rose Avenue in Venice. Then there is Gracias Madre,a vegan Mexican restaurant with kick-ass drinks (8905 Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood).

One thing I can tell you for sure that has happened a lot in these three weeks. I’m feeling clearer, thinner, more alert and have a ton of extra energy. But the biggest issue is some rather alarming flatulence which has fouled up the bedroom a storm at nights – here’s hoping for the sake of my marriage that the wind calms down somewhat!!! Lol.
PAUL FOX shares the case for WTH? 

My husband and I have always tried to eat healthy at home and exercise where possible, keep take-aways and fast food down to a rare occurrence and generally look after ourselves. That said, we also both enjoy socializing and eating out, which can lead to over indulgence – we certainly are not the kind of guys to hold back from the richer items on a menu.

Then, after watching (the documentary) “Cowspiracy” a while back, seeing the cows kept perpetually pregnant to be able to milk them (and the calves just being disposed of), we both decided to not buy any more dairy. The thought of those poor cows giving birth again and again, but never rearing their young was really heartbreaking to me, thinking about the physiological effects on them. With so many other ‘milk’ options for coffee and breakfast that it didn’t feel like too much of a loss anyway. The scenes of mass deforestation to make way for more and more cheap beef producing farms really affected us both and so we also stopped eating beef.

And then last Monday evening we sat down with some trepidation to watch ‘What the health’, as we had heard so many people say that watching this documentary would change the way you eat forever. And it did.

We are now starting on a journey to see what happens if we cut out all animal products from our diet. The documentary hits really hard, the WHOLE industry, how the animals are reared, treated then slaughtered and packaged, the effects of the farms on local communities and indeed the planet, the personal health effects of eating as much animal product as we do, and most infuriating was finding out that government advice bureaus are funded by the meat and fast food industry AND pharmaceutical companies, telling people to continue eating meat, even processed foods, when moving to a plant based diet clearly proves to help diabetes, cancer and other related diseases – it’s all an horrendous vicious circle that sounds like it could all be massively eased in one simple way. Eat fewer animals.

It has been a little over a week for us not eating animal products and so far we are enjoying it – finding new restaurants, new recipes, trying new foods and we are naturally, and slowly, slimming down. I am not saying I’ll never eat meat again, things change and I never say never – but I will  certainly never consume it in the same way again.


And the case against the documentary is courtesy of MARTIN LEE WHITE:

“ While there are perfectly valid reasons for going vegan, the cancer and diabetes claims in this propaganda film (it’s not a documentary) do not count among them. This film is irresponsible scaremongering that lacks credibility when presenting the scientific data. Right off the bat, the representation of the World Health Organization’s classification of processed meat as a Class 1 carcinogen demonstrates how woefully misinformed the presenter is; the classification is really about the evidence that exists and NOT about the actual danger level of the classified item. So yes, cigarettes are also in Class 1, but to imply that eating processed meat provides the same level of cancer risk as smoking is irresponsible and 100% wrong.

The processed meat analysis showed an increase in colorectal cancer risk from 5.6% to 6.6% with daily consumption of 50g. Sure, that’s 18% higher, but it’s a small absolute increased risk. In any case, to interpret the difference to eating processed meat as the sole causal factor is wrong.

Epidemiological studies uncover correlations, but however hard you try to control for various factors, correlation does not equal causation. Perhaps people who eat processed meat consume more processed foods in general… many of which contain lots of sugar. And that’s my second main beef here. (The film’s narrator) Kip largely glazes over the large and compelling body of evidence linking the rise in sugar and high fructose corn syrup consumption to diabetes, obesity and even inflammation. Instead, he prefers to cherry-pick his way through data to line up animal protein as the only possible culprit. It’s intentionally biased, sensationalist and wrong.

The rest is up to you to make up your own minds on what the hell you think is best for you and your loved ones. I’m just glad this isn’t a pyramid scheme that I’m too late to join 🙂

WHAT THE HEALTH? Is available on NETFLIX now.

Here’s to your health…

Craig Young