My Beef With the GAPS Diet Author—a Post So Major That It Probably Should Have Subheadings

When I blogged about Martin doing well on the GAPS diet, the brainchild of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, I wrote: “I’ve written a lot about GAPS recently, and I’m also working on a post about how I don’t buy into everything that Dr. Campbell-McBride says.”

All this time, you’ve been wondering, What is it? What does Dr. Campbell-McBride say that my blogger doesn’t buy into?

(You’ve been wondering, right?)

Well, it’s time for that post I’ve been working on.

I’m vegan. I went vegetarian when I was 16 years old, and vegan just after I turned 22. I did it out of concern for animals and the environment, and I stuck with it for the health benefits. I’m 42 now, so that makes me vegan more than two decades. All in all, I feel . . . fit. I am 5’6”, I fluctuate from 125 to 137 pounds. I exercise. I have strength and endurance levels at least commensurate with my age. The two major illnesses I’ve suffered, measles at age 12 and dysentery at age 21, both occurred before I became vegan (and were unrelated to nutrition, as far as I can tell).

I was surprised to discover that Dr. Campbell-McBride, in her book Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, ADHD/ADD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Depression and Schizophrenia, writes off veganism as incompatible with long-term health, without explanation. She says that veganism is unhealthy and moves on. I figured that Dr. Campbell-McBride must have more than nothing to back up her opinion of veganism, so I headed for her website and blog. I found a post titled “Feeding Versus Cleansing,” dated 27 March 2012, in which she states, “Purely plant-based diets (vegan diets) are inappropriate for human physiology long-term; they can only be used as a temporary cleansing procedure.” (Disclaimer: I started writing this post in July. I know, I know—it took me a while. Life gets in the way. When I finally got around to publishing my post, I discovered that Dr. Campbell-McBride’s 27 March 2012 post had been removed and replaced with a recycled version, by the same title, dated 15 August 2014. The two posts make the same points; for wording and quotes, I am relying on the 27 March 2012 version. I have it printed out and can post it if anyone is interested in the original.) According to Dr. Campbell-McBride, plant foods cleanse, but by and large, they do not feed/nourish humans. A vegan diet benefits, say, a cancer patient whose body needs cleansing and resetting. Ultimately, the patient, like all humans, must return to eating animal products in order to be fed properly.

Okay.

As I see the issue, Dr. Campbell-McBride makes statements about veganism that sound good in theory but seem unsupportable in evidence. I have read multiple studies concluding, based on evidence, that long-term veganism—lifelong veganism, not a temporary or “cleansing” procedure—when done properly (not, for example, cola and potato chips) makes a person healthier, blocks disease, and adds years to life. The China Study is perhaps the best-known assessment of why veganism works. Dr. Campbell-McBride does not offer any study to counter those empirical conclusions. Indeed, other than one bizarre example asserting that a young woman ate a healthy vegan diet but nonetheless stopped menstruating and wasted away, Dr. Campbell-McBride doesn’t provide even specific examples. She writes assertively about body processes. She doesn’t back her assertions up with evidence.

(Here, I can even provide Dr. Campbell-McBride with a counter-argument: Do the studies on which I rely compare vegans, who tend to be health-conscious and food-aware, with meat eaters in general? Because “meat eater” is the default position in most Western societies, and the average Western eater tends to rely on processed junk instead of real, fresh food. So maybe the key difference in studies of veganism is between “conscientious” eaters and “if it tastes okay, it’s going in” eaters? I would appreciate a study comparing conscientious vegans with conscientious meat eaters. Scientists, have at it!)

I try to be open-minded. If I were to ignore the studies evincing that long-term veganism is the healthiest choice, I could accept Dr. Campbell-McBride’s claims about animal flesh feeding and building humans. Like I said, her statements sound good in theory. But even if I give her credit for the meat argument, she parts even from common sense with this argument: “Mother Nature took billions of years to design the human body; it is an incredibly intelligent creation! As the natural foods on this planet have been designed during the same time, your inner body intelligence knows their composition, and knows what foods to choose for particular needs.” These natural foods that the body requires include “dairy on a daily basis.”

How could it be that a human’s inner body intelligence knows to choose dairy? Milk is indeed a natural food designed by nature over billions of years—designed for a growing calf. That’s right. Cow’s milk has the exact balance of nutrients and proteins that a baby cow needs to grow big. Human milk, what we call breast milk, has the exact balance of nutrients and proteins that a baby human needs to grow big. Cow milk is for baby cows, not grown cows. Human milk is for baby humans, not grown humans. Humans are the only mammals forcing milk into themselves beyond infancy, and to add to this unnatural state they are using the milk of another species. What has that to do with nature? If I were ever to buy into more of the Campbell-McBride theories and start eating animal products (I have no plans to do this), I certainly would not include nature’s baby cow manna.

In addition to asserting that nature has made animals into the perfect food for humans, and apparently that cow milk does double duty as perfect for both calves and for humans of any age, Dr. Campbell-McBride appeals to the senses:

Mother Nature . . . gives us senses of SMELL, TASTE, DESIRE for a particular food and a sense of SATISFACTION after eating it. So, when your body needs a particular mix of nutrients, it will give you a desire for a particular food, which contains just that right mix; this particular food will smell divine to you, and you will feel satisfied after eating it.

And she writes:

[B]efore putting anything in your mouth smell it: [I]f it is the right food for you at the moment, it will smell very appealing. If it is not the right food, it will smell repulsive.

I feel fine now. So after reading Dr. Campbell-McBride’s work, I ask myself: If I eat animal products, could I revolutionize my life? Could I go from “fine” to “friggin’ awesome,” from “fit” to “Wonder Woman”? Could I break 200 pounds in my CrossFit deadlift? Out of curiosity, I’ve put Dr. Campbell-McBride’s “senses” and “body needs” theory to the test repeatedly. When I prepare meat for Martin, I stare at it. I take a deep whiff. I ask my body, “Do you need this? What is your desire?”

Then my body says, “Eeew, no.” Every time. Except when my body says, “What is that? Dead chicken? Back away, quick.”

My body doesn’t seem to be telling me to eat meat.

My own health notwithstanding, what about the fact that I bore a child who developed autism? Could my diet have contributed to Martin’s immune deficiencies?

I am willing, maybe too willing, to blame myself for my own missteps that I believe contributed to Martin’s autism. I’ve owned many of them, right here in this blog: Allowing Pitocin at Martin’s birth, which snowballed to an epidural and unplanned C-section. Not fighting hard enough when newborn Martin, despite an APGAR of 9/9, was whipped off to the NICU for antibiotics. Vaccinations. Living during pregnancy in a home under renovation. Et cetera. But try as I might, I have been unable to find any credible evidence, clinical or anecdotal, linking maternal veganism to autism. If any reader has evidence of such a link, don’t be afraid to forward it to me. I can take it.

I hope by now you’re asking yourself: If this blogger has concluded that some of Dr. Campbell-McBride’s assertions are unsupported, and even contrary to logic, why is the blogger’s son following Dr. Campbell-McBride’s signature GAPS diet? Here are my top three reasons:

  1. In my reading—and I’m no scientist—Dr. Campbell-McBride seems to have a better grasp on restoring a gut than on maintaining a body with a healthy, well-functioning gut. Her mistaken exuberance in carrying her “healing” theories to the “already healthy” realm doesn’t mean I have to assume that the “healing” theories are wrong.
  2. The GAPS diet is in line (not exactly, but some similar properties) with other restricted diets, such as the Specific Carbohydrate Diet or the Feingold diet, that help with gut-related auto-immune issues. I can’t find any widespread studies, i.e., real science, so I troll parent groups on-line for other parents’ experience. Most report improvement on these diets.
  3. I’m an empiricist. I’m giving the GAPS diet a try with Martin, and it seems to be helping his gut and overall functioning. Several years ago, when we cut gluten, soy, corn, and most starch from Martin’s diet (he already was dairy-free), I consulted a mainstream nutritionist and provided her with a week’s worth of menus. She confirmed that even on a very restricted diet we could meet Martin’s nutritional needs. I have some worry about long-term use of the GAPS diet—ammonia build-up, carnitine’s effects on the arteries, that sort of thing—but Martin will not be on the GAPS diet forever. When his gut is sealed up and in good working order, I will experiment with taking animal products back out of his diet. Already I have him down to one serving of meat per day, excluding broth.

In sum, although I plan to have Martin on the GAPS diet, or some modified version thereof, for the foreseeable future, I think Dr. Campbell-McBride is wrong about veganism. (As an aside, I also think that if the whole world started eating GAPS, the environmental consequences would drive us to extinction quicker than we’d like.) My argument having been made, allow me to end with perhaps my favorite statement from Dr. Campbell-McBride’s blog post, at least as pertains to me:

In the clinical practice we see the degeneration of the brain function in people on purely vegan diets and other poor diets: first the sense of humour goes, the person becomes ‘black-and-white’ in [his or her] thinking and behaviours, the sharpness of the mind goes, memory suffers, depression sets in and other mental problems follow. These are all the signs of a starving brain.

Oh, dear. You know now that I’ve been vegan more than 20 years. Is Dr. Campbell-McBride’s parade of degenerative conditions knocking at my door? Adrian, my husband, does complain that my sense of humor tends toward the “Teutonic.” That, however, is not my diet’s fault. Blame the genes: I actually am German. I’m rarely accused of black-and-white thinking; it’s hard to believe that a black-and-white vegan could support a son on the GAPS diet. As for sharpness of the mind, you readers are inside my head, almost daily at this point. How do things look in there? Dull, or sharp? Memory—meh, it’s not fabulous. But I am in my 40s and, more often than not, sleep-deprived.

That brings us to depression and “other mental problems.” Maybe the greatest testament to my brain’s fitness is that—despite having a child with autism, and the daily grind to recover him, and all that we’ve given up to make recovery possible—I am not depressed. I am optimistic and hopeful. Heck, isn’t that a bitty miracle? And if you’re wondering if I have other mental problems, go ahead and ask Adrian. He probably knows me best at this point.

No, wait. Do not ask Adrian about my mental problems. I have a feeling that is not a good exercise within any marriage. Just trust me instead. I promise, I’m reasonably sound.

Reasonably.

I promise.

The kid eats meat. Me? Not so much.

The kid eats meat. Me? Not so much.

28 thoughts on “My Beef With the GAPS Diet Author—a Post So Major That It Probably Should Have Subheadings

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  4. Hi, and bravo for the very interesting article. You bring up some valid points, namely the question of whether one diet fits all. Apparently, it doesn’t; ultimately, we are all different and what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for his neighbour (in your case, what works for your son doesn’t necessarily work for you). In fact, I think Dr Campbell-McBride does say somewhere that “one man’s meat is another man’s poison”, but yes, aside from that statement it appears that veganism is viewed as a temporary ‘cleanse’ in her eyes.
    I know the whole ‘Blood-Type Diet’ has been debunked on the basis of a lack of scientific evidence, but to my mind this still seems to be the most logical explanation for why two people in the same family can do well on altogether different diets.
    I have personally experimented with numerous dietary trends, and my mother was a vegetarian for several years before having me, and she raised me as a vegetarian, and then added fish to my diet in the first few years of my life during which, apparently, I was super healthy – no trips to the Dr’s; perfect health. But, later in life (early 20’s) – now a full-on vegan – I experienced a number of auto-imune symptoms, and adopting more of a paleo type lifestyle in my late 20’s after a miscarriage proved to be highly (and I mean “highly”) beneficial in restoring my health and well-being. It’s such a tricky topic. I hate that animals suffer on account of humans. I loathe the industrial dairy industry with all my being. I avoid buying leather or any kind of animal-derived product. I have spent most of my life saving strays and working with animals, and yet despite having thoroughly enjoyed my vegan experience – preparing really fun, really healthy ethically sound meals, and making sure my diet and lifestyle were well-rounded, balanced, unprocessed, and despite not caring much for meat in general (I’m not exactly the girl who craves a beef burger when I’m out with friends), I found veganism to be absolutely detrimental to my health (allergic flare-ups and eczema, severe weight-loss, hormonal imbalances, miscarriage, extreme fatigue, the list goes on.). It’s so sad, but following the GAPS protocol, and adopting what I can only compare to a slightly more ‘vegetarianized’ form of paleo really works for me, and as you can imagine, I can only find solace in the fact that I am more useful to the animals I work with and care for alive than dead. One could argue many things against that type of reasoning, but it is the only thing that has helped me to be ok with a diet that really does serve my health. I envy those who can thrive for years on a vegan diet, and I can only hope that one day the mystery of why one diet works for one person and not for another.
    Thank you for reading me, and good luck to you and your son. 🙂

    • Hi Christelle! Thank you for taking the time to comment, and for sharing your experience. I read it with interest. Can I follow up with a few questions? First, why do you think a vegan diet didn’t work for you, i.e., what was it that your body lacked (and needed) that you now get through animal sources? Second, what does your diet look like today, i.e., what is a “vegetarianized” form of Paleo? Third, you mentioned a miscarriage (and wow, being beneficial to restoring your health and well-being—if you are comfortable doing so, please write more about that); did you have a later full-term pregnancy, and is your child vegetarian? I’m posing these questions out of genuine curiosity. I’m always trying to fit more pieces into this puzzle that is nutrition.

  5. Thanks for this article. I am doing a lot of research on veganism and leaky gut and the gaps diet. I’ve been vegan for 11 years and raised both my daughters vegan. My little one who just turned 5 has always had issues and my health was also slowly deteriorating. I was eating so clean, doing fresh green juices, sprouting, lots of raw dehydrating, tons of kale and as much vegan proteins as possible and nothing was helping. Finally I got really sick and had to spend weeks in the hospital. The little one was miserable herself. We found a homeopath who thru many herbs and supplements and about $1000 a month each, brought us back to somewhat normal. But only after two years and my eventual giving in to begin eating eggs, did I start to feel like I didn’t have “blood sugar issues” anymore, which was a constant feeling of shakiness and unrest and to be honest misery. I had no idea I was so nutritionally deficient. I was the strictest, most careful, die hard vegan. I made daily lists of what we ate to check my children’s calcium and iron and protein intakes. But for me and the little one, it wasn’t enough. And even my 10 year old had no energy, achy joints, would bruise so badly from the slightest bump, etc but all in all, does much better on a vegetarian diet than us. We have added in a little fish and the new functional medicine dr says we need beef to rebuild our bodies cell by cell after being so sick for so long. I am in no way writing this to try to convert anyone away from veganism. I am devastated we cannot continue with it and don’t know how I will ever be able to stomach cow parts. Cows are my favorite creatures. But I was literally dying from my eating habits. Day by day, sicker and sicker. I have so much guilt that my littlest could’ve been feeling so much better for so much longer if I would’ve been more open to trying to incorporate these foods sooner. Anyway, I hope this can help any families going through something similar. I tell my children when we cry about the animals, that this doesn’t have to be forever. Once our bodies are rebuilt, maybe we can figure out with the functional medicine dr, what we can eliminate again to get back to eating happily.

    • Help me understand this (I mean this in an honest, non-snarky way): I’m not getting from your post why you were nutritionally deficient. I know, both from study and from personal experience (I’m vegetarian since 1989 and vegan since 1994) that it is possible to eat a nutritionally complete and healthy vegan diet. What was missing that you felt unable to obtain from a plant diet? Or was it an issue of what your body was able to process (and why)? I don’t have doubts about my own diet (think I feel and look pretty good for my mid-40s, especially given all that autism has put me through!), but I’m constantly questioning how to improve Martin’s diet. I’m particularly surprised at the notion that cows (in particular) should be what you need to eat. Why cows?

  6. My sentiments exactly. The GAPS Diet/SCD is good for most with gut issues. These maladies have also been successfully treated at The Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida. Dr. McBride is also using the GAPS diet to extrapolate the supposed benefits of a high fat, high meat diet, when all the studies point in the opposite direction – Blue Zone most recently. And while most of the people were not vegans or vegetarians, there intake of animal protein was very low. The protein/dairy myth also comes into play. No one could argue that a poor vegan/vegetarian diet is disastrous but that is not what most responsible people practice. She clearly has no awareness of all the serious athletes, Olympians, bodybuilders, etc. that are practicing raw vegans, vegans and vegetarians and have been so for decades. She needs to look at Dr. Fred Bisci in Staten Island, NY, who at 86 could run rings around her and her bone marrow. Let us not forget that for all her good work and dedication, she is still an allopathically trained physician and an Englishwomen, ergo bangers and mash! I have experimented with many different diets and was a raw vegan for 13 years. I was a bodybuilder as a teenager ( I am 63 now ) and as long as I worked out, I did not loose muscle mass or my mind. I continue to eat a plant based diet, much raw and fermented foods with a small amount of fish or chicken now and then. Your statement regarding what one craves for is true. I can’t say that I ever craved liver in any form. Give me a mango or wild blueberries any day! I cooked professionally in NYC over the years and had to prepare steak tartare by the truck load. I will never understand the attraction. Thank you.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comments. It sounds like we are coming from the same place. I think, when it comes to veganism, Dr. Campell-McBride is full of beans, just not literally. I also worry that, in many of my autism recovery groups, I see a demonizing of veganism, and this idea that it should be standard practice to eat meat every day. The pendulum swings wide, without much in the middle. Bottom line: I can see the value in occasional meat—I don’t think it’s necessary, for a healthy person with a functioning gut—but I absolutely cannot understand the fascination with dairy products. We are the only mammals who consume milk beyond infancy, and then we take the milk of other species. What the what?

  7. I just wanted to reassure you that being vegan didn’t cause your sons Autism. Me and my friend both ate our fair share meat during our pregnancies and both of us have children on the autistic spectrum. I can’t tell you if it was the environmental toxins or if it was the vaccines (although we have had bad reactions to them), but I can tell you that diet has played an enormous role in improving my child’s condition. She had a life expectancy of 2 years and if it weren’t for changing her diet (against doctors orders), I feel, we wouldn’t be celebrating her 7th birthday this month. We have been vegan for ~6 yrs now and have fallen into convenience eating rather than conscious healthful eating. I came across your article as I was looking to further improve our diets. We started our dietary journey slowly removing grains, trying a paleo approach, with no improvement. Then, we reintroduced grains and removed dairy, got some relief and finally removed all animal products and saw tremendous improvement. At the beginning of our vegan journey we focused on an 80/20 diet (80% fruits & veggies and 20% grains & proteins). We have become very lax in our ways and have had some problems arise so, here I am trying to find ways to adapt and change. I guess I’m hoping to find some kind of veganic/paleo hybrid type diet to help our menu plan. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to write the book on that one.
    Keep your head up, your constant search and adaptation is the sign of a great parent.
    Life is a journey…Journey on!

    • Heidi, thanks so much for sharing. I can’t tell you how well I understand the pitfalls of convenience eating; I fall into that trap all the time, for myself. That is, Adrian is pescatarian, and as you probably gathered from the post, our son eats a super-clean diet but one that includes meat and fish. I cook well for the both of them, and my needs come last, and often that means convenience. I’m trying hard to remember to focus on myself, and in any event, my commitment to veganism remains strong. I believe that, for persons of healthy digestion, veganism is the best choice, for personal health and the health of the planet. In any event, your comment brings two topics to mind. First, a couple days ago, I read this interview with Allen Campbell, the personal chef to Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen: http://www.boston.com/sports/football/patriots/2016/01/04/meet-the-chef-who-decides-what-tom-brady-eats-and-what-definitely-doesn/gERAd0pkpmuELDZztIA56K/story.html. You may also find it helpful. Second, you’ve reminded me of an earlier comment on this blog to which I meant to respond but have not done so. (Topic: veganism. What a surprise.) Thanks for bringing it back to mind. I think I will draft an entire post in response. Check back to this site in a few days!

  8. Hey! I just found this article by looking up gaps vs vegan diet. I was doing gaps for about a month recently and initially felt good. But a month in I couldn’t Goto the bathroom, was very depressed and moody and felt I was just eating too much animal products. I got diagnosed with celiac disease at the end of December and I have tried doing gaps before(only 6 weeks) and remembered good results. It seems funny though that this time it didn’t work as well. Actually even the first time I did it I only lasted 6 weeks becaus I didn’t feel right eating that way. I have gut issues for sure and I’m always aggressively working on them. Both times I quickly resorted to veganism afterwards. Then of course I ended up back on a sad before finding out I had celiac and again was in search for the right diet. I have gone back and forth with veganism for a few years just never stuck to it long enough. My mind body and soul tells me it’s the right way to go. It been 4 days on a whole foods vegan diet and I feel great! My stomach pain has subsided(I had a strong feeling it was from too much meat) and am going to stick with this permanently! Dr. Campbell means well but even as I read her thoughts on veganism in her books I just didn’t agree. I have always believed it is th healthiest, kindest lifestyle there is. Not to minion we can save the planet one person at a Time! Just wanted to mention that and say thank you for this article! I’m excited to fully me race veganism!

    • Sara, good for you on continuing the search for the best diet! I know how hard it can be. It sounds like your gut is telling you the way to go, in more ways than one. If you read a little more in this blog, you will see that I have my son (who’s recovering from autism) on a quasi-GAPS diet and eating some meat, though nowhere near as much as Dr. Campbell-McBride seems to recommend, and no dairy products at all. I’m looking forward to the day my son’s gut is healed, when I can encourage him to join me in a healthy vegan diet. I really do think it’s best for humans, animals, and the planet, and after 22 years of veganism, I have no plans to change my path. Make sure your diet includes plenty of fats, and a variety of foods, and you should do fine. 🙂

    • Hello Sara, as a person who was on GAPS for 2 and a half years, and found much peace and relief through it, I well know what is commonly referred to as “GAPS constipation.” I believe that it had to do with the shifting and rebalancing of my gut flora. Because within a month or two, it went away, never to return. This is a common GAPS experience. I ate the same amount of meat and well-cooked veggies before, during and after. It sure was an annoying phase! But then I got through and was done. I actually experienced more gut symptoms including constipation while on the high-raw, mostly plants-based diet.

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  10. I’ve browsed the comments sections. I like that I see people who have experienced being vegan/vegetarian and then back to eating animal products.
    My family of four range from veganism to eating animal products. Everyone has different dietary needs. All of us but our daughter are willing to be flexible with what we eat.
    Long story short I’m certain we need gut healing due to heavy antibiotics for parasites. I’m so confused how I should feed my family. Gaps looks good but my 11 year old daughter is an ethical pescatarian. She will not eat animals ever! She is I carb/sugar monster.
    I fear my veganism has influenced a certain rigidity in my family. However, like you I’m willing to experiment and be flexible for my family!

    • I’ve come to believe that I may have been too quick to use meat for my son. All forms of red meat now present an allergy for him, so we are down to poultry and fish. I continue to hold those to one per day maximum (and we have vegetarian days for him, too) and now am focusing on more raw plant-based foods. I think maybe I need to draft a dietary-update post.

  11. Thank you so much for this post. I have raised my family the last 7 years on a plant-based/and raw/vegan diet and we have all seen great health benefits. In 2008 I had inflammation in my joints which pointed us initially to raw and vegan and after about 9 months all of those symptoms cleared up and remained that way for years. Only recently have I been having some inflammation again and feeling I need to heal my gut, but have had that same feeling that meat and dairy are Not the way to go for me. Plus, I never seem to see the research on what the gaps diet is doing to the heart. My father-in-law passed away at 49 because of heart-disease and we have been health conscious since that time (2006). How can I believe that adding meat, eggs, and dairy will not clog my arteries and undo all the good I’ve put in the past years?
    As a very religious person, I feel the God gave us the plants first for a reason and meat came later as a last rescource. I was grateful to find that others still feel that plants are best and I had a few good laughs reading and completely agreeing with you, We all have our own “health journeys.”For our family of 8 we plan to stay plant-based, juggling in and out of the grains and night-shades are other issues we have to figure out. Best of luck to you on your journey. Again, thanks, for sharing and keeping hope alive in us vegans being bombarded by so many voices.

    • Angela, well put! In my mind, raw vegan living is the cleanest and healthiest for anyone with a healthy gut. Animal protein does seem like “dirty” energy, compared with “clean” energy from plants, and I hope that once my son is healed, I can return him to veganism. As for the religious aspect, I always find it troubling when Christians cite Genesis 1:28 as justification for eating animals but ignore Genesis 1:29: “Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food’.”

      • At the same time, why ignore the parts of the Bible that say to eat animal meat? And why call animals “unclean”? Isn’t that an insult to the animal, and God? Are we dirty inside? Proper grass fed beef from artisanal local farms is clean, delicious, and out of this world! Make sure to eat the full fat. That’s where the flavor is. Saturated fat is also necessary for protein and mineral absorption. Cholesterol is necessary too. It’s a hoax that the medical and media industries demonize cholesterol and saturated fats. It’s a scam.

      • I agree that cholesterol and saturated fats should not be demonized. On the other hand, you will not find me eating cows. Not from artisanal local farms, not full fat, not now, not ever. I love to be a healthy vegan who survives by killing less.

  12. Hi! Have you looked into what the Weston A. Price foundation has to say about the China study book? The book does not reflect the actual study. It actually supports the GAPS diet vs. veganism. Also, believe it or not, agriculture might actually be worse for the environment than animal raising! With grass fed cows for example, all of the grasslands pull carbon out of the air. Most years, you don’t have to ever water the grass (this is what my farmer says). The only water needed is what the cows drink. Finding out things like that made me feel completely horn-swaggled! I used to be vegetarian/vegan. I thought I felt really good. But I really didn’t know how to symptoms. And my health did decline. Oh one other thing I had to overcome: treatment of animals. For me, it comes down to this: most wild animals probably die from either a violent attack or prolonged disease that spreads around. So, in exchange for providing us with nutritious grass fed beef, we give you (the cows!) the most ideal life possible (if you buy from proper local artisanal farms). And… what’s wrong with death? Quality of life is most important. I’m okay with dying as long as my life and the life of my loved ones is the highest quality we can create. Once I started eating meats from my local artisanal farm, I was blown away. I never had such great tasting food ever. No comparison to even the finest restaurants. I was on a proper vegetarian diet trying to heal my gut issues. I hit a wall with no improvement for a year. After being on GAPS for 2 months, I found major improvements. Sooo… I see no reason to go vegan/egetarian… no benefit to the environment, is actually bad for the soil to not have animal compost, no farm to animals, animals live the most ideal life they could possibly have…. yeah… check out the Weston a price foundation, like me maybe you’ll find that you can be completely confident about all foods,… and perhaps your mind (dominant thoughts) will stop telling your body that you don’t want meat/butter/etc like I used to tell myself?

    • No worries, I’ve “checked out” Weston A. Price. I’ve read its materials, debated its representatives. I don’t buy what it is selling, particularly not when it comes to dairy. I would say there is a difference between you and me: You were trying to heal gut issues (on a “proper vegetarian diet,” which if it included dairy was not proper at all, in my mind!). I don’t seem to have gut issues to heal, as far as I can tell. And I feel good. Really good. And the “most animals die anyway” argument does not work for me when we are creating these animals (breeding on “rape racks,” commonly) in order to kill them. But each of us is responsible for his/her own dietary choices. For me, I see a responsibility and a privilege in being vegan. For Martin, I have to make different choices. Maybe you do too. Best wishes!

  13. Hello. It was very interesting reading your post, thank you for sharing your perspective and experiences. I was hoping you could give me a bit of advice. I have been vegan for approximately 12 years, my children and partner also eat a vegan diet and everyone is very healthy and happy. Except me. I have had digestive issues for the last 6 years (since I turned 30) with constant bloating, pain, sluggishness, headaches and fatigue. I have had a gastroscope, colonoscopy, blood, stool and breath test and the only diagnosis I have received is a “possible” SIBO issue. Which is frustrating. I believe my mother has similar issues though she is un-diagnosed.

    I have been given a SIBO/FODMAP combined diet to try for a minimum of two weeks without any real additional advice. As a vegan, the limited list of allowed foods is very restrictive but I do feel slightly better on it, but still not symptom free. The next step is supposed to be GAPS diet but I can’t see how this can work for me as I feel very strongly that I can’t return to animal products. The thought of it makes me feel sad, sick and a little anxious, as it goes against everything that I believe and, like you, meat repels me.

    I struggle to find information that discusses vegan digestive issues and your post and your experiences are the closest I have come to a perspective that somewhat reflects my own. Are there any articles, books, blogs or websites you can suggest that I might find information to help me move towards a solution? I feel quite alone in this very confusing situation and would appreciate any advice.

    Thank you so much for your time.

    • Hi Rosalyn! The short answer is that I don’t really have many resources that discuss vegan digestive issues. Without ANY authority or empirical evidence, I wonder if there might be relatively few such resources because practicing vegans tend to be less burdened with digestive challenges than those who follow other diets. (You excluded—bummer!) My first question would be what type of medical team you are using? Do you see a more allopathic physician, or an integrated/holistic practitioner? Maybe a more whole-body solution is needed? Also, if no written resources exist, perhaps you could find a vegan nutritionist who could work with you on tweaking your diet to respond to your body’s specific needs. For example, I have a friend who can’t rely too heavily on legumes, at least not without pre-soaking before cooking. What area of the country are you in? There are usually local resource groups that might point you in the right direction. Please follow up on this board, or at FindingMyKid@yahoo.com—I’d love to know where you wind up.

      • I think there’s not a lot of authority or empirical evidence because of the small number of vegans, not because they don’t have digestive challenges. Vegans only make up 5% of the US so to direct funding that only addresses vegans would not be an effective use of resources. I’m guessing that number is even smaller in other countries that don’t have the resources to be vegan. Vegans have a lot of health issues – just like normal people – but most people don’t or won’t talk about them because of the fanaticism in the vegan community about the vegan diet being the holy grail. A large percentage of vegans could care less if someone is sick or unwell as long as they don’t go back to eating animal products. This causes people for whom the diet doesn’t work to just give up on the diet and research bears that out. Eighty-four percent of people who are vegan return to eating meat. This happens for many reasons: lack of convenience, feeling restricted, lack of support, and because they got sick and had nowhere to turn (usually due to a lack of supplementation in my estimate because the best diet in the world doesn’t need supplementing and all the experts who say it does are wrong). Eating whole grains and lots of roughage is difficult for many people, yet vegans probably don’t have digestive challenges? Ok.

      • I had to go back and re-read this post (it’s been quite a while since I wrote it!) to make sure I didn’t say “vegans probably don’t have digestive challenges.” I can’t find that! This is a post disputing Dr. Campbell-McBride’s conclusion that veganism *cannot* be healthy. I used myself as an example: I have been vegan for well more than 20 years, and I’m healthy. Your comment contains generalizations that I don’t think can be sustained (even putting aside the contrast you assert between vegans and “normal people,” which reveals quite a bias). Let’s start with “fanaticism in the vegan community about the vegan diet being the holy grail.” Vegans are a varied bunch and take many approaches to their veganism. Not all are fanatics or have a holy-grail approach. How about “a large percentage of vegans could[n’t] care less if someone is sick or unwell.” Really, where on earth is this coming from? Being vegan does not mean not caring about people or their health. I’m sorry that you seem to have encountered only awful vegans, but please—don’t paint us all with one brush! There is one statistic you cite that I would like to know, out of personal interest: You say that 84% of people who are vegan return to eating meat. Could you let me know where you found that? I’ve done a lot of reading on veganism and would like to add the source to my collection. Thanks!

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