Category Archives: Vegan Files

You be the judge: should my girlfriend stop claiming she’s a vegan?

By Georgina Lawton (via The Guardian)

Agnieszka has been vegan for a year but ‘slips up’ occasionally. Dylan thinks she’s being hypocritical. You need to get to the meat of the matter.

The prosecution: Dylan

Agnieszka tells our friends that meat is murder, but then will eat bacon at home

Agnieszka calls herself a vegan and tells everyone she doesn’t eat meat and animal products as she believes it to be cruel, but when we are at home she is more lax. That’s fine – she doesn’t have to deny herself her favourite foods just to prove some moral or political point. But the performance she puts on in front of other people irritates me sometimes.

We will go to a restaurant with friends and she will make a big deal about refusing to try certain foods. If someone asks why, she will give them the spiel about how meat is murder. That’s fine if they are interested, but it can be a bit much.

The most annoying thing is when she gets home and then raids the chocolate or cheesy crackers.

She has been a “vegan” for about a year, so it is still new to her, but it’s funny how often she slips up. A few months into it I was cooking a fry-up and she leaned over and said: “Oh can I have a piece of that bacon?” I said to her: “Aren’t you a vegan? What’s going on?” She told me not to police her choices and ate some. I laughed – I wasn’t policing her, just holding her accountable.

She doesn’t really like it when I joke about her being a bit lax in front friends and family. One time at the pub I exposed her bacon-eating in front of my brother. It was in jest but Agnieszka was annoyed and said I was trying to embarrass her. That was the one time we really argued, but it wasn’t about her veganism at all; it was about her being hypocritical.

Agnieszka hasn’t tried to ram her opinions down my throat and doesn’t tell me I can’t keep meat in the fridge. I like a lot of the dishes she suggests and am grateful for how she has educated me on issues around food. It’s just that when she slips up, I feel she should own it. I find the performative aspect of being a vegan a bit strange.

The defence: Agnieszka

I’m adjusting to a new diet and have slipped up a few times. Dylan is being annoying

When you transition into a new diet, it obviously takes some getting used to. I don’t think it’s healthy to cut out all animal products overnight. It needs to be a gradual thing.

Dylan’s great but he could be a little more supportive. He loves telling people I’m a fake vegan and has made jokes in front of our friends about me being hypocritical. He called me out in front of his brother over eating bacon when I was just a few weeks into my veganism. At the time I just craved the taste of it, but Dylan has reminded me of it so many times since, I don’t think it was worth it.

I didn’t take it well when he called me a “fegan” in front of his brother. When we got home, I said to him, “Don’t ever do that again,” because it felt like he was trying to put me down. I hate this weird word: what even is a “fegan”? He did apologise but I was annoyed for days.

I don’t try to change his habits at home, and I am not controlling about his diet, so why is he trying so hard to get involved with mine? We have lived together for two years and share the cooking. If Dylan wants to eat meat in front of me I have no problem with that. But I have slowly tried to introduce more vegan dishes into his life, which I think he appreciates.

I went vegan because I believe that eating fewer animal products will be better for me and the environment. The production of meat and dairy can be so inhumane, and the fact that so many of us aren’t aware of the cruelty is worrying.

I tell people what I know about the brutality of the meat industry only when they ask. When we go out for meals I don’t think I am preachy or tell our friends what to eat. Everyone can make their own decisions – I am only concerned with my diet.

Dylan needs to stop making jokes about my lifestyle in front of other people because in private he is actually quite supportive and interested in veganism – so it’s him that’s being a bit performative.


The Truth About Eating Bugs

By Rabbi Akiva Gersh (via

What Judaism has to say about bugs.


They’re not usually the thing you think about eating.

If you think about bugs at all, you’re probably thinking about keeping them out of your food.

At least that’s the norm in Western culture, where bugs are relentlessly banished from our premises and have no place in our kitchen or on our plates. However, in many cultures around the world, bugs and insects play a role in people’s diets and cuisine, from sources of protein to occasional snacks, from fried scorpions to chocolate-covered ants.

But what does Judaism say about eating bugs?

For the most part, it’s prohibited. In fact, the Torah mentions the prohibition against eating insects five different times, making sure to make it very clear that they are just as unkosher as pig and shellfish, a fact many people are not aware of.

The challenge with avoiding bugs, however, is their size. Many bugs are tiny and barely visible and can easily go undetected in the folds and creases of certain vegetables, especially leafy greens, or in between grains and legumes, like rice and beans. That’s why Jewish law requires a process of washing and checking all foods that have a good chance of containing bugs.

I know for myself that on many occasions I have found bugs during the checking process, especially in foods like lettuce and broccoli, where there are all kinds of places for the bugs to hide. I’ve even found a worm or two over the years inside of dates. That’s why I always open them up first to check, because you never know.

And while this does add time to the food preparation process, for someone who keeps kosher, it’s as important as making sure they didn’t buy ham by accident at the supermarket.

That’s why there are some agricultural companies, specifically in Israel, that have developed ways of growing vegetables, especially lettuce and other greens, that are certified bug-free. This makes it easier for the consumer and probably adds more healthy food to the diet of those who might not want to be bothered by the checking process.

But with all the stigma against bugs in Judaism, the truth is that there actually are insects that are permissible to eat according to Jewish law.

The rabbis of the Talmud identified eight kosher species of insects, including locusts, grasshoppers, and crickets. So, then, why haven’t you seen these bugs being served at any synagogue event or Shabbat dinner? Besides the fact that most people aren’t interested in eating bugs, even if they’re kosher, the Ashkenazi world lost the tradition of identifying which exact species are kosher. And, as we know, tradition is very important.

That being said, certain communities in the Sephardic world, specifically from Morocco and Yemen, do have this tradition intact and therefore, if they wanted to, would be permitted to eat the kosher species of bugs. But I personally have never seen a Sephardic Jew snacking on a grasshopper.

That might start to change, however.

While most people in Western countries still have a very negative attitude towards eating bugs, there are benefits to eating them. One is health-related, as grasshoppers contain 70% protein as well as all essential amino acids, minerals our bodies need, and no cholesterol or saturated fat.

Another benefit is ecological. With the growing concerns about the detrimental impact of raising animals for food on the environment, its contribution to climate change, as well as the cruelty experienced by the animals themselves, insects can serve as a preferred alternative. Raising them for food is much less resource-intensive than traditional animal agriculture. To produce one kilo of protein from grasshoppers, as compared to one kilo of protein from beef, uses 1000 times less water, 1500 times less land and releases 98% less greenhouse emissions.

With grasshoppers and other similar insects creating strong competition for the traditional sources of protein, they may one day make an entry into the diets of Western countries. And there are companies already working to make that monumental shift happen.

Truth is there are already products like energy bars on the market in the U.S. that contain cricket powder. You can even purchase cricket powder on Amazon. But for those who keep kosher, these products are still off limits as no major kosher-certifying organization will give their stamp of approval. But if that hurdle can be overcome, and some say it will, then these products might find their way into kosher supermarkets and restaurants as well.

As someone who cares about sustainability and providing food security for our world’s growing population, I can appreciate the role these food items can play in a future global food market. However, being vegan, I don’t see myself personally participating in that future.

Sometimes people ask me if I would eat grasshoppers if they received the proper kosher certification. I tell them, politely, that I’ll stick to my rice and beans.

After checking them for bugs, of course.

PETA activists stage vegan demonstration in their underwear ahead of Valentine’s Day

By Jessica Wang (via Perth Now) originally published February 12th 2023

Lingerie-clad activists left little to the imagination as they stormed one of Sydney’s busiest CBD streets in a “cheeky” demonstration ahead of Valentine’s Day on Tuesday.

About 17 members from animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), stood on the Town Hall steps on Sunday morning, holding Valentine Day themed and heart-shaped signs that read: “Eating meat is a turn off” and “Eating meat is linked to erectile dysfunction”.

SYDNEY AUSTRALIA - NewsWire Photos FEBRUARY 12, 2023: PETA protesters are pictured outside Town Hall in central Sydney as they rally for veganism by handing out vegan condoms to the public. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nicholas Eagar
The pro-vegan demonstration took place on Sunday morning. NCA NewsWire/ Nicholas Eagar Credit: NCA NewsWire
SYDNEY AUSTRALIA - NewsWire Photos FEBRUARY 12, 2023: PETA protesters are pictured outside Town Hall in central Sydney as they rally for veganism by handing out vegan condoms to the public. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nicholas Eagar
The signs advocated veganism ahead of Valentine’s Day on Tuesday. NCA NewsWire/ Nicholas Eagar Credit: NCA NewsWire

Other placards were a bit more on the nose like: “How sad that we need to explain that slavery and murder is wrong,” and “I’d rather be free than ‘free range’”.

Around the popular shopping strip, Sydney-siders were offered free condoms by activists.

PETA Senior Communications Adviser Emily Rice said the demonstration was “cheeky” but also “based on science”.

SYDNEY AUSTRALIA - NewsWire Photos FEBRUARY 12, 2023: PETA protesters are pictured outside Town Hall in central Sydney as they rally for veganism by handing out vegan condoms to the public. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nicholas Eagar
The peaceful demonstration took place outside Sydney’s Town Hall. NCA NewsWire/ Nicholas Eagar Credit: NCA NewsWire
SYDNEY AUSTRALIA - NewsWire Photos FEBRUARY 12, 2023: PETA protesters are pictured outside Town Hall in central Sydney as they rally for veganism by handing out vegan condoms to the public. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nicholas Eagar
PETA activists gathered on the Town Hall steps in Sydney’s CBD. NCA NewsWire/ Nicholas Eagar Credit: NCA NewsWire
SYDNEY AUSTRALIA - NewsWire Photos FEBRUARY 12, 2023: PETA protesters are pictured outside Town Hall in central Sydney as they rally for veganism by handing out vegan condoms to the public. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nicholas Eagar
Onlookers snapped photos of the “cheeky” demonstration. NCA NewsWire/ Nicholas Eagar Credit: NCA NewsWire

Of course, Valentine’s Day is about love, and the reality is, you can’t love animals while being complicit in their abuse, whether it’s for their flesh, their skins, human entertainment, or research,” she said.

“Vegan living is about extending our compassion to all animals, not just those we share our homes with.”

SYDNEY AUSTRALIA - NewsWire Photos FEBRUARY 12, 2023: PETA protesters are pictured outside Town Hall in central Sydney as they rally for veganism by handing out vegan condoms to the public. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nicholas Eagar
Crowds gathered to watch the demonstration. NCA NewsWire/ Nicholas Eagar Credit: NCA NewsWire
SYDNEY AUSTRALIA - NewsWire Photos FEBRUARY 12, 2023: PETA protesters are pictured outside Town Hall in central Sydney as they rally for veganism by handing out vegan condoms to the public. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nicholas Eagar
Activists handed out condoms to shoppers. NCA NewsWire/ Nicholas Eagar Credit: NCA NewsWire

In September of last year, vegan activist, Tash Peterson united with PETA in a disturbing demonstration, in which she dressed up as a “human-sized meat tray”.

Covered in fake blood, Ms Peterson appeared nude on a cling wrapped ‘tray,’ in an act that was described as “vile” and “totally unhinged” on social media.

The animal rights group estimated that 4.9b land and sea animals were killed each year for food, through fishing, livestock and game.

Anne Hathaway is ‘proud’ to invest in vegan egg tech

By Mohsina Dodhiya (via originally published 8th February 2023

Hathaway joins other high-profile investors who have privately backed the innovation with over $230 million in funding.

Anne Hathaway is the latest celebrity to back an alternative protein startup.

The Academy Award-winning actress has invested in The Every Co. which creates egg proteins without using chickens.

It marks her first B2B investment, and she is ‘proud’ to support the company’s vision.

Hathaway joins other high-profile investors who have privately backed the innovation with over $230 million in funding.

“The need to transform our food system has never been clearer or more urgent,” Hathaway said in a statement.

“I’m proud to support this vision of a better future.”

EVERY- Alt-protein industry

EVERY claims to be the creator of the world’s first animal-free pepsin and egg proteins.

The San Francisco-based food company uses a technology that creates protein using microorganism tanks called precision fermentation (PF).

The company brews yeast in a sugar-rich broth that then produces egg proteins that have the same amino acid profile, nutrition, and functionality as traditionally made egg proteins without any animal inputs.

Additionally, the company claims its products are indistinguishable from traditional animal proteins and deliver a similar taste, nutrition, texture, and function.

EVERY’s egg proteins are Vegan Society Certified, and are more eco-friendly since they’re created with significantly less land, water, and greenhouse gas emissions than their traditional counterparts.

According to the company, its ‘proteins are crucial solutions to securing a sustainable protein supply as the global population swells, putting pressure on food systems’.

So far, products from Every have been used in Pressed Juice brand’s green smoothie and Pulp Culture’s adaptogenic hard juice.

The food tech startup has also partnered with artisan shop Chantal Guillon to make the world’s first macarons with vegan egg whites.


Speaking of Hathaway’s involvement, the platform said she came onboard because of her own interest in reducing her impact on the environment by making lifestyle changes, including reducing her consumption of meat and single-use plastics.

She credited ‘EVERY’s impact, technology and nutrition advantages as key drivers in her interest in the company’.

“We are thrilled to partner with visionary investors like Anne to drive forward our plans to reimagine the way we feed and nourish the world,” EVERY CEO Arturo Elizondo said.

“Ultimately, our vision is to deliver animal-free protein to everyone, everywhere—and help set the table for the better food future we all deserve.”

Share this story: Anne Hathaway is ‘proud’ to invest in vegan egg tech.

Butcher’s spray-painted with ‘Meat Is Murder’ after taunting vegans about killing a cow

By Oli Gross (via Originally published 8th January 2019

A butcher’s has been spray-painted with the message ‘Meat is murder’ after it taunted vegans about killing a cow on an advertising board.

The pro-vegan slogan sprayed on Bellemere Butcher’s has caused outrage in the small community of Bellmere in Queensland, Australia.

Locals believe the message was a response to an ad outside the butchers which read: “Dear vegans. I’ve killed this cow because it was eating your food. Your welcome!”

Butcher’s spray-painted with ‘Meat Is Murder’ after taunting vegans about killing a cow
Image: Councillor Adrian Raedel / Facebook
Butcher’s spray-painted with ‘Meat Is Murder’ after taunting vegans about killing a cow
Image: Facebook

The stunt was reportedly carried out in broad daylight on December 28.

Moreton Bay Regional Council councillor Adrian Raedel criticised the stunt on Facebook.

He said: “This is not ok. If you want to get your message out there then rent a shop, put up legitimate signage and I’ll defend your right to say it!

“BUT if you destroy somebody else’s property and affect our local businesses through vandalism or graffiti and degrade our streetscape — then that’s NOT OK!”


Josh Long, owner of the butcher, said the stunt most likely helped his sales.

He told the Courier Mail: “We didn’t get a whole lot of negative feedback, most people were supporting us. In the end we got publicity and it didn’t help their cause.

“I understand what they’re saying, but they should have just come talk to us and we could have explained we use RSPCA approved meat.

“People have opinions and they’re entitled to it, but it’s still vandalism whether it’s activism or not.”


Others in Bellmere were highly critical of the message.

One wrote on social media: “In response to this criminal act and ideologically inspired attack on a legitimate business I’m going by make a concerted effort to eat MORE meat, and I’ll take a drive and buy it from this butcher.”

The pro-vegan message on the butcher’s was accompanied by #Veganuary – referring to the charity challenge to ditch animal products in January, which has more than 200,000 participants this year.

Devoted vegan couple, 74 and 72, die in suicide pact at their retirement village home because they ‘didn’t want to go without each other’, inquest hears

  • Peter White, 72, and wife Diana, 74, were found dead in their flat in Altrincham
  • The couple left a note saying they were ‘determined not to carry on in this life’
  • Coroner ruled they deliberately took their own lives and had done so ‘jointly’
  • A family member has now paid tribute to the pair, saying they ‘led a pure life’ 
  • Anyone seeking help can call Samaritans free on 116 123 or visit


A devoted vegan couple died in a suicide pact at their retirement village home because they ‘didn’t want to go without each other’, an inquest has heard. 

Peter White, 72, and his wife Diana, 74, from Trafford, Greater Manchester, were found dead in their flat at the sheltered housing scheme in Altrincham in January.

They were found to have died of a drug overdose after leaving a note saying they were ‘determined not to carry on in this life’.

A devoted vegan couple died in a suicide pact at their retirement village home because they ‘didn’t want to go without each other’, an inquest has heard. 

Peter White, 72, and his wife Diana, 74, from Trafford, Greater Manchester, were found dead in their flat at the sheltered housing scheme in Altrincham in January.

They were found to have died of a drug overdose after leaving a note saying they were ‘determined not to carry on in this life’.

Deborah, whose late father Paul was Peter’s brother, said: ‘They were very quiet people. They kept themselves to themselves really. But they were lovely people and wouldn’t do anyone any harm.

‘They were very insular. I think that says a lot about them. But they were very, very close and totally devoted to each other, that always came through.

‘Ultimately they led a very pure life. They were very much into saving the environment – so much so they made it clear they did not want to have a funeral for environmental reasons.

‘They became vegan many years ago. Peter was very involved with the Vegan Organic Network. The last time I saw them was a long, long time ago.

‘But we just have the feeling that they were taken too soon.’

Deborah, 48, of Stoke-On-Trent, said the circumstances of their death had left the family in shock.

She said: ‘It was a shock. It really was. And of course there was sadness. We weren’t told initially how they had died and when we did find out it was very close to the anniversary of my dad’s death, so it brought a lot of emotion to the surface. 

‘But at least we know they are now at peace.’

‘We know that Peter had had a stroke, and his dad had multiple strokes and he had seen the impact they had’ she added.

‘And I believe they didn’t want to go without each other.’

A joint inquest into Mr and Mrs White’s deaths was held at South Manchester Coroner’s Court in Stockport on June 14.

The hearing was told the couple’s bodies were discovered at their flat at Rostherne Court in Altrincham on January 4 this year.

They had lived in a second-floor flat at the complex on Brown Street, where there was 24-hour emergency assistance if needed but which was not a care home, for around seven years.

Mr White had been admitted to the stroke unit at Salford Royal Hospital after he reported weakness in his left arm and leg.

He was said to have suffered from two episodes of transient ischemic attack (TIA), also known as a mini-stroke, and was later discharged to have follow-up assessment and treatment as an outpatient.

Mrs White suffered with mobility problems and painful joints, the inquest heard.

The couple were last spoken to by the scheme’s manager on December 18 last year and she said ‘they both seemed fine.’

But a neighbour became concerned when he didn’t hear any noise from the flat over the Christmas period and a card remained unmoved in the letterbox.

He informed staff who used the master key to access their flat on January 4 and found their bodies, which may have been there ‘for some time’, the inquest was told.

A note was found containing both their names which said they were ‘determined not to carry on in this life’.

Post-mortems found they both died of an overdose of a mix of drugs. A police investigation found no suspicious circumstances or evidence of third party involvement.

Detective Inspector Matthew Gregory, who was in charge of the investigation, said in a statement that there was ‘no evidence they were anything other than a loving couple’ and that there was ‘no evidence that this anything other than a suicide pact or a joint act both were a party to.’

Area Coroner Chris Morris recorded conclusions of suicide in both cases.

He said: ‘It seems fitting to undertake the inquests into the deaths of Mr and Mrs White jointly, in reflection of the manner in which they both lived their lives and they died.

‘The evidence before me suggests Mr and Mrs White were a devoted couple who lived quietly and with relatively little contact with the outside world.

‘Neither had any recent contact with their doctors, they were not known to police neither were they known to adult social care providers.

‘As their neighbour said in their statement, they very much kept themselves to themselves.’

He added: ‘I am satisfied with the conclusion that Greater Manchester Police has reached that there was no evidence of any third party involvement or suspicious circumstances.

‘Similarly I accept DI Gregory’s conclusion that there is no evidence Mr White or Mrs White were deceived or coerced into taking medication against their will or in any way bore any responsibility for their deaths.’

He said they had brought about their deaths through their own actions but did so ‘jointly’ and ‘by consensus’.

Vegetarians and vegans are more likely to be depressed than meat eaters, claims study


A recent study conducted by the University of Alabama found that one out of three vegetarians have suffered from anxiety or depression in their lifetime. 

According to the study, people on a plant based diet were twice or more likely to take prescribed drugs for mental illness and three times more likely to consider suicide as compared to meat eaters.

The study
The study was a collation of 18 other studies involving 160,257 people that scrutinized the link between eating meat and mental health. The study – entitled ‘Meat and Mental Health: A systematic review of meat abstention and depression, anxiety and related phenomena’, evaluated that people who did not eat meat were at significant higher rates of depression, anxiety and self-harm. 
In fact it was suggested that turning to vegetarianism or veganism could itself be a ‘behavioral marker’, meaning that these individuals were already experiencing poor mental health. 

However, this theory is not confirmed and needs more research. One of the authors of the study said: ‘While the risks and benefits of vegan and vegetarian diets have been debated for centuries, our results show that meat eaters have better psychological health.’

People need to consider their mental health while evaluating the benefits and risks of particular dietary patterns, said the author. 

Why does that happen?
Without meat, a vegetarian’s diet tends to have less vitamin B12 and greater intake of omega 6 fatty acids (found n nuts), which has been linked with inflammation and increased risk of mental health problems. 

50 per cent vegans and 7 per cent vegetarians have low levels of vitamin B12, which is found in red meat and plays a major role in affecting one’s mood. 

Vegetarians and vegans also consume more plant estrogens, particularly if they eat a lot of soy products. The two categories also consume higher levels of pesticides, because their intake of plant based food is higher than average.

To avoid increased risk of depression, anxiety and self-harm behavior, one should eat meat. If someone is a vegan or a vegetarian due to ethical reasons, they should invest extra in strategies to protect their mental health.

Vegan mother jailed for life after 18-month-old son starved to death on diet of raw fruits and vegetables

Ezra O’Leary weighed just 17 pounds when he died in September 2019 

By Graeme Massie (via The Independent)

vegan mother has been sentenced to life imprisonment for murder over the malnutrition death of her 18-month-old son who was fed on a diet of raw fruits and vegetables.

Sheila O’Leary, 39, was convicted by a Florida jury in June of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child, child abuse, and two counts of child neglect.

Prosecutors say that her son, Ezra, was severely malnourished and weighed just 17 pounds when he died in September 2019.

O’Leary and her 33-year-old husband, Ryan O’Leary, told police that they fed their children a strict vegan diet of raw fruit and vegetables. Ezra was also fed breast milk, they stated.

Prosecutors say that in addition to Ezra, three other children, a three-year-old, a five-year-old, and an 11-year-old, also suffered from extreme neglect and child abuse.

O’Leary was convicted after three hours of deliberations by a jury in Lee County, Florida, at the end of a five-day trial.

During the trial, the jury was told by prosecutors that the Cape Coral mother “chose to disregard his cries.”

Ryan O’Leary has also been charged with the same crimes as his wife, as well as sexual assault of a victim under the age of 12, as well as lewd and lascivious behavior/molestation of a victim younger than 12.

He remains in prison and has yet to face trial.

“This afternoon, Sheila O’Leary was adjudicated guilty and sentenced to life in prison for First Degree Murder. She was also sentenced to 30 years in prison for Aggravated Child Abuse and 30 years in prison for Aggravated Manslaughter of a Child,” the Office of the State Attorney for the 20th Judicial Circuit of Florida said in a statement.

“She was sentenced to 5 years in prison on two counts of Child Neglect and one count of Child Abuse.”

8 Vegan Diet Dangers (& How to Avoid Them)


Before you think about going vegan, you might want to learn about eight potential dangers and health risks that can result from a plant-based diet.

Have you ever wondered if a vegan or plant-based diet would help you manage your weight and resolve any nagging health problems? That’s the promise that is often made around this trend. 

But, you hear less about the health problems that can occur from a strict plant-based diet that excludes all animal products. This article includes eight reasons that may dispel the myth that veganism is the healthiest diet and works for everyone.

I’ve also included some suggestions for how to counter these potential health risks of a vegan diet.

What Is a Vegan Diet?

What is a vegan diet? Simple put, a vegan diet is one that excludes any food that comes from an animal. This includes eggs, dairy, meat, fish, poultry, and even honey. 

Some people take a vegan diet even further and embrace it as a lifestyle, and will not purchase or use any clothing or personal care products that include animal-based ingredients. 

A “whole foods, plant-based diet” is more often the term used for an approach that includes fewer processed foods, and a greater emphasis on fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds. 

However, even that term can get confusing as paleo diets are considered to be a plant-based approach, but they do include animal products. 

What Vegans Eat

If a vegan or plant-based diet does not include any animal products, then what does it include? 

Vegans eat vegetables, fruits, whole grains, soy, legumes (beans), nuts, and seeds.

A vegan diet doesn’t necessarily means it’s healthy, though, since it by definition does not exclude a lot of processed foods, sugar, or gluten. Just look at the popularity of fake meats which are incredibly processed and not necessarily healthy by any stretch of the imagination.

The healthiest vegan diet is likely a plant-based diet that also is one of the best diets for climate change.

Extreme Dieting

Although some people may thrive on a vegan or plant-based diet, it should be noted that it is considered an extreme diet because of how many foods it excludes, as well as the potential for nutritional deficiencies.

This article includes eight real problems with a plant-based diet, including my experience as a woman whose health declined as a result of being on a strict vegan diet.

If you are 100% committed to eating a vegan diet but you are always feeling tired, you might also want to read my article with tips for how to reverse fatigue on a vegan diet

This article includes links to scientific studies whenever possible. However, some of these potential diet dangers are anecdotal and not based on human studies. So, as always, it’s important that you consult your healthcare provider to help determine what type of diet is best for you.

Eight Potential Vegan Diet Dangers 

Please note, my intent with this article is not to discredit any of the benefits that can result from eating more plant foods, but to provide cautionary evidence of what can happen if a vegan diet is taken too far and warning signs are ignored.

1. Legume protein sources can increase risk of leaky gut

Since a vegan diet excludes all forms of animal protein including meat, fish, eggs, and dairy, people following a vegan diet often turn to legumes as a plant-based protein source. Legumes have high levels of antinutrients including lectins and phytates, both of which can increase intestinal permeability, also called leaky gut.

On the contrary, protein sources from animals do not contain anti-nutrients and are among the highest sources of foods in terms of nutrition for humans

The risk is that when people remove animal protein from their diet and replace it with higher amounts of legumes, then there could be an increased risk of gut inflammation. While there are no direct human studies on this topic, it is a potential risk that you should be aware of. 

One way to counteract the potential effects of anti-nutrients may be to increase foods with natural probiotics, such as tempeh, sauerkraut, fermented pickles, and others. An increase of probiotics in your system may help improve gut healthoverall. 

And, if you are having gut issues, see my list of the best gut healing foods that may help! I also have an article on the best leaky gut diet.

2. Soy protein sources can cause hormone disruptions and higher heavy metal intake

Again, as a result of excluding all forms of animal protein, many vegans turn to soy as a protein source

While unprocessed forms of soy may be okay for some people, processed forms of soy are commonly found in a vegan diet, including tofu, soy milk, and soy-based processed foods sold as meat substitutes. 

Processed soy foods are no better for human health than any other highly-processed foods, but with the added risk of hormone interferencedue to phytoestrogens found in all forms of soy. Soy has also been found to be a contributor to the intake of the toxic metal cadmium in vegans and vegetarians

Read more about the potential dangers of eating soy.

To help counteract or avoid any negative results from eating too much soy, you may consider eating fermented soy sources such as tempeh, or limiting your soy consumption to several times a week. You may also wish to avoid non-organic forms of soy which can be a source of GMOs in the diet.

If you do choose to consume soy, try making healthy recipe as opposed to buying processed versions. I recommend my Air Fryer Tofu as a great option.

3. Risk of anemia due to a lack of heme iron

Iron-deficient anemia is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world, and both vegans and vegetarians are at higher risk of this condition. While plant foods contain a form of iron, it is called non-heme iron and it is much less absorbable by the body. 

Iron-deficient anemia can lead to serious symptoms including fatigue, and women of child-bearing age should be aware of how a vegan or vegetarian diet can quickly lead to anemia. See my related post on how to eat to support your menstrual cycle.

While iron supplements can be taken to help reverse or prevent anemia, most women dislike taking iron supplements because potential negative side effects including constipation. It can also be difficult to take enough iron supplements to overcome anemia, especially without eating animal sources of iron.

See my list of the best vitamins for women over 30 or the best vitamins for a teenage girl which include iron to help boost ferritin levels. 

You may also want to consider adding cricket protein to your diet. While eating insects is not normally accepted in a vegan diet, it may be a lower-impact way of adding animal protein back into your diet without eating animals like cows, fish, or chicken.

Having your ferritin levels checked regularly if you are a woman of child-bearing age is essential to ensure you don’t become anemic on a plant-based diet. See my article on how to order lab tests without a doctor.

You may also want to consider cooking with a cast iron pan (see my list of the safest cookware). 

4. Increased risk of depression with low omega-3 fatty acid intake

Without a food source of omega-3 fatty acids from fish or fish oils and an increased consumption of omega-6 fatty acid from foods like nuts, vegans might be at higher risk from depression.

Algae-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids are an option, but they can be expensive and hard to find. And, since many vegan diets may include a higher than average intake of nuts, the balance of fatty acids in the body can still get off-balance.

There are issues associated with low omega-3 levels and some are quite serious. Pregnant women also need to be extremely aware of their omega-3 intake as the fatty acids help nourish the fetal brain development.

Omega-3 fatty acids can be tested through a blood test, and should be monitored if you start experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety. Please do contact a healthcare professional as soon as you think you might be depressed, as you don’t want the symptoms to get worse.

Once you have your levels tested, you can use algae-based omega-3 supplements to help increase your levels. In the worst case scenarios, you can consider taking a fish oil supplement to get your levels stabilized.

You may also want to consider the best magnesium supplements to help with anxiety. 

5. Risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency

Since vitamin B12 is only available in animal foods, vegans are at a much higher risk of developing a deficiency in this vital nutrient.

In fact, most nutrition professionals agree that those on a vegan or vegetarian diet must supplement with a high-quality vitamin B12 supplement to avoid irreversible health conditions that can result from deficiency.

It should also be noted that many people have a genetic variation known as MTHFR that can impact how B vitamins are absorbed. In this case, even certain B vitamin supplementation might not be enough to prevent a deficiency. 

Read more about the best MTHFR diet and supplements

If you are at all concerned that you aren’t getting enough vitamin B12 in your diet, then ask your doctor for a vitamin B12 test.

If it turns out you are low in vitamin B12, then you may need to get an injection or use sublingual supplements, plus have your levels monitored regularly.

6. Inhibition of zinc absorption on vegan and vegetarian diets

Similarly to deficiencies that can occur with vitamin B12, vegan and vegetarian diets can result in low zinc status. It is theorized that the problem in this case is that higher consumption of plant foods containing phytic acid may inhibit the ability of the body to absorb zinc.

Because of this potential issue with zinc absorption, it is often recommended by nutrition professionals that vegans and vegetarians should increase their intake of zinc up to 50% of the recommended daily allowance to ensure adequate levels.

Good zinc levels are really important for boosting the immune system so it’s important to make sure you’re eating enough food sources of zinc or that you take a zinc supplement. 

Plant-based sources of zinc are not as bioavailable as animal sources, so make sure you are getting enough from food sources or from supplements. Be careful with zinc, though, as you don’t want to take too much.

7. Risk of consuming too much carbohydrate

Vegan diets are generally lower in protein and can cause blood sugar swings in certain individuals. There is also the risk of over-consuming carbohydrates on a vegan diet, especially since legumes are often consumed as a protein source, but are very high in carbohydrates.

Vegans may also replace the calories from protein sources with refined carbohydrates including bread, crackers, and cookies. 

Over-consuming carbohydrates can lead to non-alchoholic fatty liver disease, blood sugar disregulation, and other troublesome symptoms. See my articles on how to follow a sugar-free diet and how to do a sugar detox

You may also want to check out this article on the best gluten-free carbohydrates if you are unsure about which ones you should be eating.

Eating a diet that includes moderate to higher levels of protein has been shown to have a positive effect on satiety and weight management. It can be harder to find quality sources of protein on a vegan diet that aren’t also carbohydrate sources (like beans) or are soy-based. 

Without a quality source of lean protein in the diet, vegans may experience fatigue or low exercise tolerance. If that is the case, you may need to consider adding protein powder to your diet. 

See my list of the best clean protein powders.

You may also need to consider eating more complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes as opposed to eating simple carbohydrates like crackers or bread.

8. Risk of disordered eating

Orthorexia is a type of eating disorder that is defined by an over-fixation on healthy eating patterns. It can result in over-restriction, obsession, and other serious eating disorders.

At least one study found that vegans and vegetarians tended to display more orthorexic eating patterns, and most eating disorder specialists do not recommend restrictive diets such as veganism or vegetarianism for people trying to recover from an eating disorder such as orthorexia.

Read more about orthorexia and food obsession.

If you find that your eating disorder is getting worse on a vegan or plant-based diet, then you should consider working with a qualified therapist. 

In the worst case scenario, your therapist may advise you to consider moving away from a vegan diet while you repair your relationship with food. 

You may also need to consider eating more calorie-dense foods if you are recovering from an eating disorder. See my Weight Gain Smoothie or my list of the best Weight Gain Smoothies for recipe inspiration.

Additional Health Risks of Veganism

While some of the health risks of a vegan diet are outlined above, this list is not complete. 

There are other risks of a plant-based diet including becoming isolated from friends and family due to an extremely restricted diet, the risk of eating too many high histamine foods and developing histamine intolerance, the risk of triggering a gluten intolerance when consuming too many gluten-containing foods, and other risks. 

The bottom line is that a vegan diet is not natural for humans and most cannot stick with it (up to 84% of vegans and vegetarians end up eating meat again). 

While it can be used on a short-term basis for weight loss or for other health reasons, it may result in significant nutritional deficiencies over the long term as well as other risks including eating disorders and isolation. 

This is especially true if a vegan is not taking supplements and is not being closely monitored by a healthcare professional with regular blood work. 

My Experience

Most of you know me as creator of the Clean Eating Kitchen website. I have a master’s degree in public health with a specialty in nutrition, but I’m also a woman on a healing journey, looking to find more natural and holistic ways to feel better and recover from health issues resulting from decades of eating a Standard America Diet (you can read more about me here).

My Introduction to Veganism

Back in 2010, I had a friend who had gone on a vegan diet because she no longer wanted to eat animals (usually referred to as an ethical vegan). This was my first exposure to a vegan diet.

I then saw Oprah interview Alicia Silverstone about her book The Kind Diet and was even more curious about the purported health benefits of going vegan. 

I got a copy of the book and was smitten with the idea that cutting out animal foods could potentially fix all the health problems that I was having, especially the inability to manage my weight that I learned years later was a result of undiagnosed thyroid disease.

My Experience Being Vegan & Then Moving Away from Veganism

The first year on a vegan diet was okay. I had a hard time giving up some of my favorite foods, especially dairy yogurt and eggs. I didn’t lose any weight going vegan, but I had reduced acne outbreaks once I stopped eating dairy (I am still dairy-free).

About one year into my vegan diet experiment, I started experiencing an outbreak of hives after eating. The hives were intense. One morning my eyelid was swollen shut. I thought perhaps gluten might be the issue, so I also then cut out gluten (I am also still gluten-free).

Around that time, I also came across a more extreme version of veganism, one that cuts out all oils, processed foods, refined carbs, and sugar. I thought maybe, just maybe, that I had found the answer to losing weight and feeling good.

One thing led to another and I was eventually diagnosed with severe Hashimoto’s disease and then thyroid cancer in 2012. My world came crashing down. At the time, I had been following this extreme form of veganism for almost two years and thought I was supposed to be protected from such a terrible diagnosis.

I continued on the vegan path even after my diagnosis and treatment, thinking if I just tried harder or got more restrictive, then I would be healthy. My diet got more and more restricted and I felt an eating disorder mindset start to consume me. I was always hungry, yet I wouldn’t allow myself to eat the foods that would nourish and heal me.

Finally, after careful thought and lots of fretting, I decided to stop being vegan. I wrote a blog post about not being vegan anymore and lost a lot of friends over my decision (that blog post has over 500 comments on it). 

Once I was immersed into the vegan culture, it made it that much more difficult to mentally make that mental shift of eating meat again. I experienced bullying and shaming when I wrote publicly about my decision.

Ultimately, I consulted with a dietitian, an eating disorder specialist, and functional medicine practitioners to recover my health and a balanced relationship with food. 

At this point, I now have a much more balanced relationship with food, and I follow a clean eating diet full of real, whole foods. I eat a mostly gluten-free, dairy-free diet to manage my autoimmune conditions. I consume animal products, although I am very careful to try and choose wild, pasture-raised, organic, and local options whenever possible.

Overall, my energy levels are much more consistent and I don’t have the blood sugar swings that I had while I was eating a plant-based diet. My lab work shows that I have much higher levels of iron than I had while I was vegan, and overall I feel so much better.

Research Shows Vegan Diet Leads to Nutritional Deficiencies, Health Problems; Plant-Forward Omnivorous Whole Foods Diet Is Healthier


Although the vegan diet is often promoted as being good for heart health, eliminating consumption of animal products may cause nutritional deficiencies and could lead to negative consequences, according to a comprehensive review published in the medical journal Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases.

Noting an absence of randomized controlled trial data showing long-term safety or effectiveness of its restrictive eating patterns, researchers conducted a scientific review of published literature on the vegan diet, as well as the evolutionary history of the human diet.

“As fundamental as diet is to health, you need to keep in mind the diet for which we’ve been adapted genetically, “said James O’Keefe, MD, the study’s lead author and director of preventive cardiology at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute. “Animal-based foods have been an important part of the human diet for at least three million years. Eliminating all animal foods would be like deciding you’re going to feed a tiger tofu and expect that it’s going to be healthy. If you want an organism to thrive, you should feed it the diet for which it’s been genetically adapted via evolution down through the ages.”

Compared to the standard American diet of highly processed, low-fiber, high-calorie, sugary foods, vegan diets have some health advantages. However, researchers found that avoiding all animal foods may lead to nutritional deficiencies in vitamin B12, omega-3, calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, and high-quality protein.

These deficiencies may be associated with increased risk for certain types of cancer, stroke, bone fractures, preterm birth, and failure to thrive. Avoiding consumption of animal-sourced food may also be related to higher rates of depression and anxiety. Hair loss, weak bones, muscle wasting, skin rashes, hypothyroidism, and anemia are other issues that have been observed in those strictly following a vegan diet.

On the other hand, consuming excess processed meats and/or burned, fatty meat can also be detrimental to a person’s health. Researchers noted it is important to be selective about the animal-based foods consumed.

Instead of eliminating all animal-sourced foods, researchers concluded that a plant-forward omnivorous, whole-foods diet may be a more effective dietary approach to improving life expectancy.

A plant-forward omnivorous whole foods diet consists of natural, unprocessed foods rich in vegetables, nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, berries, and other fruits, along with whole grains and legumes. Animal foods such as wild-caught seafood, pasture-raised meats, eggs, and unsweetened dairy are also essential to the diet.

“If you’re eating a strict vegan diet, it is very difficult to supplement enough of all of the nutrients and high-quality protein that you need to be strong and healthy,” O’Keefe said. “If you’re doing it for your health, there is no substitute for eating the natural whole foods—you’re better off eating wholesome animal foods that are not overcooked and/or highly processed; understanding this is vitally important for your health.”

Researchers noted that future prospective studies are needed to evaluate the cardiovascular effects of a plant-forward omnivorous whole-foods diet to support the observational findings.

Read the full article “Debunking the Vegan Myth: The Case for a Plant-Forward Omnivorous Whole-Foods Diet” in Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases.

About Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute
Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, part of Saint Luke’s Health System and a teaching affiliate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, is one of the preeminent cardiovascular programs in the country. Its legacy of innovation began more than 35 years ago when it opened as the nation’s first heart hospital. Since then, the Heart Institute has earned a world-wide reputation for excellence in the treatment of heart disease, including interventional cardiology, cardiovascular surgery, imaging, heart failuretransplant, heart disease prevention, women’s heart diseaseelectrophysiology, outcomes research, and health economics. With more than 65 full-time board-certified cardiovascular specialists on staff, the Heart Institute offers one of the largest heart failure/heart transplant programs in the country, has the most experience with transcatheter aortic valve replacement in the Midwest, and is a global teaching site for the newest approaches to opening challenging blocked arteries using minimally invasive techniques.