Volume 90, Issue 84

Wednesday, March 05, 1997

Yo's baby


Herbivorous realities

Re: A non-meat eater by any other name. . ., Feb. 12

To the Editor:

I would like to thank Alyssa Newman for exposing the readership of The Gazette to alternate eating habits undertaken by numerous individuals. However, I feel that Alyssa caused veganism to sound like a finicky, almost risky lifestyle to adopt. I thus find it necessary to clarify a few of the points that were made.

First, if one is eating a balanced diet, the real concern regarding protein is whether one is getting too much of it. Protein resides in dark green vegetables and grain products such as rice, in addition to the legumes, nuts and seeds that were mentioned.

Perhaps more important, however, is the fact that different proteins do not have to be combined during a snack or meal. The notion that plant protein is incomplete is a myth, for each amino acid will be utilized by the body without it necessarily being combined with others.

Vitamin B-12 is produced by bacteria found in soil and in our mouths and intestines. Thus, B-12 exists on the surface of fresh vegetables that are washed but eaten uncooked, in addition to a stock that is manufactured and recycled within our bodies. It is not necessary then to consume B-12 fortified foods.

Vitamin D is produced by the body in adequate amounts after exposing one's hands and face to 15 minutes of daylight on a daily basis.

I agree that one should obtain proper instruction before changing one's diet. It is certainly not a challenge though to ensure healthy nutrition with a vegan diet. I myself and others I interact with have adopted a vegan way of life and have suffered no ill consequences. The human body is designed to derive all its nutrients from plant-based foods. It's as simple as that.

Magnus Cottam
Earth Sciences III

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Copyright The Gazette 1997