Why choose Vegan?

It is unmistakable that a well-planned vegan diet is actually a healthier alternative, but there are certain fundamentals that need to be considered when going vegan. While it is true that vegans are at a disadvantage with regards to convenience and easy access to healthy meal options locally, it is improving rapidly and the following information can help if you get yourself into a conversation where you need to defend your vegan choice. 

We have often heard that nutrients that are ‘only found in animal products’ are essential for health and normal development. Is this true?

Let’s compare a meat blend versus a plant blend head to head – the plant blend includes equal parts of tomatoes, spinach, lima beans, peas and potatoes, and the meat blend is equal parts beef, pork and turkey. The plant blend contains no cholesterol and virtually no fat – the meat blend may have more protein, but remember that the protein from meat and dairy has more sulphur amino acids (methionine), so this is not a positive thing. The plant blend actually contains Beta-carotine, fibre and Vit. C, where the meat blend has none at all – and the plant blend also contains more folate.

If you look at nutrients like iron, calcium and magnesium, the plant blend has way more than the meat blend, and the iron found in meat is actually carcinogenic. So the nutrients that people claim are essential are in fact detrimental to human health. The Heme Iron in animal foods has been shown to cause cancer and the cholesterol and saturated and trans fats cause heart disease and diabetes. It is clear that the most important nutrients are actually found in plant foods.

Vegans are actually better at getting nutrients! Vegans are commonly low in three nutrients; calcium, iodine and Vit B12; but omnivores (meat eaters) are inclined to be low in eight nutrients, including calcium, iodine and Vit B12, as well as fibre, folate, magnesium, Vit C and Vit E. Calcium deficiency is not a ‘vegan only’ issue.

But how can both vegans and omnivores be deficient in calcium? Because neither vegans nor omnivores include enough calcium-rich whole plant foods like beans, legumes and leafy greens in their diet.

Calcium, it seems, is only effective if eaten in food, not supplements. Researchers have found that taking calcium supplements offers no reduction in hip fracture risk; in fact, an increased risk is possible. Randomized controlled trials showed a 64% greater risk of hip fractures with calcium supplementation compared to just getting a placebo sugar pill.

On another talking point, Vegans definitely get enough protein. Protein is a common talking point for the anti-vegan faction, but protein can be found in many plant foods and it appears that animal protein is in fact terrible for human health. Because animal proteins have more sulphur-based amino acids in them, animal proteins metabolise into sulphuric acid in your body, creating a metabolic acidosis. This state of metabolic acidosis is obviously responsible for changing body pH (acidity), but it also increases inflammation in the body, which increases aging and affects enzyme activity. This puts immense strain on your kidneys and can also play a role in diabetes.

What about supplements? Should we supplement or should we go ‘natural’? Unfortunately with the world being as complicated as it is and so vastly different from our ‘caveman’ days I believe that a simple answer is not possible, but I can give you an uncomplicated recommendation.

From the research I have done and from my experience with patients our lives are just so crammed full of things to do and tasks to complete that balancing our responsibilities often supersedes the need to balance ones diet. The 4 problem nutrients I believe we should be supplementing are Vitamin B12, Iodine, Omega 3 and Vitamin D. Provided that you eat a variety of whole plant foods, your other nutrient requirements will be met as well.

So as you can see a properly planned vegan diet is definitely healthier, and hopefully these basics can help you on your way to a healthy, happy, vegan lifestyle.

To learn more check out this incredible video by Dr Greger, author of "How not to die" - https://nutritionfacts.org/video/food-as-medicine/ 

 

Crucial supplementation for Plant-Based diets

In this article I will be discussing the role of supplementing certain key nutrients and vitamins as a vegan. Should we supplement or should we go ‘natural’? Unfortunately with the world being as complicated as it is and so vastly different from our ‘caveman’ days I believe that a simple answer is not possible, but I can give you an uncomplicated recommendation.

 From the research I have done and from my experience with patients our lives are just so crammed full of things to do and tasks to complete that balancing our responsibilities often supersedes the need to balance ones diet. Convenience foods creep into the diet and make it difficult to juggle our nutrient balances and so I have identified the 4 problem nutrients I believe we should be supplementing.

 VITAMIN D – Now ideally I would advise anyone in South Africa to get their Vitamin D from the sun by spending 15-30 minutes daily in the sun with at least half the body exposed. If this is not possible the research suggests that 2,000 IU supplemental vitamin D is advisable on a daily basis to maintain good bone health. I base most of my recommendations on the work done by Dr Michael Gregor (nutritionfacts.org) who has compiled the most convincing interpretation of global nutritional research in my opinion. While supplementing with vitamin D is still somewhat debatable the bottom line is this; if you can’t get into the sun regularly a vitamin D supplement is a safer bet and covers your bases.

 VITAMIN B12 – Health risks associated with B12 deficiency include neurological and psychiatric disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, and an increased risk of heart disease. It’s very important to keep your levels up as a vegan and there are a few foods like nori seaweed and tempeh which naturally containsmall amounts of bioactive B12 but if you don’t eat these foods very regularly, you need to take a vitamin B12 supplement. I recommend an injectable supplement of 2500mcg every week , taking a daily oral B12 supplement or using B12 transdermal patches. It is advisable to take a liquid oral B12 if available as some oral capsules and pills have been found to be ineffective. In my opinion B12 should rather be taken in excess as you cannot overdose on B12 and the benefits of good B12 levels are numerous.

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ONLINE Plant-Based Consulting

 

 

Doctor Paul has a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition through Cornell University (Dr T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies) and he has been on a plant-based diet for almost 5 years.

These ONLINE sessions are designed to help those who want to naturally improve the following health issues with evidence-based nutrition:

  • High blood pressure
  • Cholesterol Problems
  • Blood glucose (Diabetes)
  • Body Acidity
  • Osteoporosis
  •  IBS
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  •  as well as Chronic Disease prevention

 Online coaching sessions are conducted afterhours from Monday - Thursday via Skype/Zoom.

Fee: R950 per session

Contact for bookings - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The most current evidence shows that a plant-based diet is the nutritional equivalent of quitting smoking.

However- You can get a plant-based diet wrong and there are certain fundamentals that need to be adopted to get it right:

  • What foods to eat to insure a balanced vitamin profile in the diet
  • What needs to be supplemented and why
  • Dealing with social pressure 
  • Sustainability

 

For a summary of the Medical Science supporting these dietary interventions please watch HERE 

A new approach to Achilles Tendonitis

 

"The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body. It connects your calf muscles to your heel bone and is used when you walk, run, and jump. Although the Achilles tendon can withstand great stresses from running and jumping, it is also prone to tendinitis, a condition associated with overuse and degeneration”. But how does the Achilles tendon come under stress? After all tendons themselves would are not motile tissues, they merely connect the muscle to bone. So if the tendon doesn’t actually contract how can it cause itself to move? The muscle that the tendon is attached to has to move in order for the tendon to move and this will result in movement at the joint. So the muscle contraction (motile tissue) would be the primary reason for the tendon coming under stress because the tendon itself has no contractile tissue it is simply a ‘connector’

Why is this relevant? Let’s use an analogy; imagine you were holding an elastic band and you took a piece of paper and folded it over the elastic band and pulled it back like a ‘bow and arrow’. The elastic band represents the Gastrocnemius (calf) muscles and the paper represents the Achilles tendon. In a pulled-back position this demonstrates what happens when the calf muscles get tight (possibly due to trigger points or spasm) and you can imagine the all the stress from the tight calf muscles (elastic band) being absorbed by the paper. If the system remained in this position for a prolonged period of time the paper would eventually start to fray and weaken due to the mechanical stress caused by the pull of the elastic band.

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Chiropractors are not 'real' doctors?

 

As a CHIROPRACTOR I have often been at the end of this very popular joke that I'm "NOT A REAL DOCTOR because I do not prescribe medication". Now I can understand why people would say this based on how our society currently operates but I would like to pose a thought experiment to give the 'chiropractor's' logic on this topic.

 When you prick your finger with a pin, the signal from the finger to the nervous system is not PAIN. The signal would be one of TISSUE DAMAGE or CELLS ARE BEING DESTROYED HERE and the nervous system then CREATES THE PAIN and sends it back to the finger in order to give you a SIGNAL to rapidly remove your hand from the pricking stimulus and prevent further damage.

 Now let’s use an analogy to make sure this makes sense. Say your brake disks on your car start to wear thin, and you have a sensor to tell you this. The way it works it that the THINNING OF THE BRAKE DISK (AKA Tissue damage) gets picked up by the sensor (AKA nervous system) and this means that there is a problem. But the driver doesn't yet know that the problem is there do they? NO. The sensor (AKA nervous system) has to send a SIGNAL to you and so it turns on the brake disk WARNING LIGHT on your dash board. You see the warning light and now you know there is a problem and where it is and you can respond.

 Good, so say you had a pain and you went to the DR to get a prescription. You both agree that the PAIN is the problem and that by REMOVING the pain the issue is resolved. But we just saw that the PAIN actually means something, it is the SIGNAL that there is a PROBLEM. There must be some tissue damage or a thinning break disk right? Let’s go back to the analogy- If the WARNING LIGHT came on in your car you would go to your mechanic and he would say don't worry here is a STICKER that fits perfectly and will cover up the WARNING LIGHT so you cannot see it flashing anymore. ''Have a great day, take a sucker''. It doesn't really make sense to do this with a CAR right? So why do we do it to our BODIES?

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