To be Vegan … or not to be Vegan?

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That is the question . . . to which we don’t have the answer. But, you do! While we pay close attention to nutrition here at WW, we believe that everyone needs to make personal choices about their diets.

We do like to provide our readers with insights and information. Two articles on veganism emerged this week, one talking about the benefits of veganism, and the other giving a nod to its potential pitfalls.

As the poster child for a recent study identifying the need for the medical community to focus more on nutrition, Dr. Kim A. Williams, soon to be president of the American College of Cardiology, is pro-vegan and proud, according to Anahad O’Connor of the Washington Post.

Based on his own personal experience and a handful of studies, Dr. Williams makes it a point of discussing diet and exercise with all of his patients who are struggling with obesity and other complications such as hypertension.

I recommend a plant-based diet because I know it’s going to lower their blood pressure, improve their insulin sensitivity and decrease their cholesterol,” he said. “And so I recommend it in all those conditions. Some patients are able to do it, and some are not.”

Chalk one up for the plants!

On the other hand, Willy Blackmore of Take Part introduces us to the quandaries of a vegan diet, through the work of Rhys Southan, a once-vegan food and ethics blogger who started eating animals because he was struggling with some chronic health issues. Southan looks at the vegan ethos with some criticism (as he writes in one recent blog post, “As usual in veganism, it’s not about plants or animals, it’s about vegans”). A philosopher at heart, Southan makes a sound argument adhering to vegan ethics while eating seafood, blurring the lines of veganism and facing criticism from the vegan community. Blackmore follows his reasoning:

If some people, like Southan, cannot be vegan and be healthy, then why not make a principled, ethical change and introduce oysters into your diet? Their lifespan is on the long side, but beyond that, eating them presents relatively few moral quandaries."

Chalk one up for the bivalves!

In some cases, it seems like a strictly vegan diet wins for health and ethics. In others cases, it seems like the diet may require some sacrifices of health, and the code of ethics may be more fungible. We don’t know that these articles will really help you decide on what diet is best for you. They both tout different diets for vastly different things. At the very least, though, they will give you something to talk about while you are at your next barbecue!

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