If you’re vegan but still experience gut problems, aches and pains, weight gain, lethargy, and mood fluctuations, you may be wondering why, since you are consuming one of the best diets possible!
Science research points to the amazing health benefits of the vegan diet; however, there is a disconnect between the findings and the mainstream reality of many vegans who suffer from health issues, which seems to fuel a lot of the vegan diet deficiency sentiment in health circles.
The reasons why vegans are unhealthy have nothing to do with the incredible benefits of an alkaline vegan diet for health and longevity, but rather with the nature of processed vegan foods that are consumed by vegans en-masse.
Why Do Vegans Experience Health Issues?
In my own experience, the major reason vegan health issues are so ubiquitous is that individuals who start on their plant-based journey simply substitute animal-based products with processed plant-based alternatives and do not completely change their relationship with food and nutrition.
A new vegan trend these days is glamorizing junk vegan foods as healthy, a marketing function that aims to appeal to both vegans and non-vegans alike as part of projected growth in vegan food demand over the next years and decades.
However, just like the non-vegan junk food industry that does so well in profit margins by cutting corners on ingredient quality and nutrition, the emerging vegan junk food industry has convinced consumers that they can still enjoy processed food…but that this kind is actually healthy for them!
What this means is that just because a diet fits under a specific label like “vegan,” “keto,” or “low-fat,” it doesn’t mean that it’s healthy. It simply means that it eliminates a factor that can impact health adversely but does not eliminate all of them – such as preservatives, processing, enzyme denaturation, overcooking, etc.
But what if you are a vegan that eats a clean diet made up of mainly fruits and vegetables, but you still don’t feel as healthy as you’d like? What gives?
Having helped vegans with their health issues over the years, I’ve noticed that vegans tend to eat more grains and beans/lentils/nuts, which can be highly acidifying to the body if not consumed organic and sprouted. Lectin-rich foods tend to be vegan daily staples, so understanding which is heavy on your body and causes inflammation, bloating gut sensitivities, joint pain/arthritis, and heartburn will be very helpful as you move toward a more customized vegan diet that works with your bodily constitution.
For vegans, lowering inflammation levels and supplementing with hydration (raw vegan foods) will heal all types of outstanding health issues. In that respect, here are 3 important factors that most vegans overlook that impact their overall health.
Consuming Vegan Foods that Cause Inflammation
Chronic inflammation has been linked to several serious health conditions and diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, kidney damage, chronic skin issues, arthritis, and the list goes on. But did you know that even the foods we consider “healthy” can cause inflammation?
Since the onslaught of many new “alternative” products – such as gluten-free foods – on the market to satisfy the vegan palate, the availability of all types of plant-derived foods has been embraced as healthy, yet most are highly processed or are by nature inflammatory.
For example, gluten is just one of the many lectins found in foods, but gluten substitutes such as corn, lentils, and chickpeas also contain unique lectins of their own that are as harmful to our digestive systems if not organic or sprouted.
This is why I truly encourage vegans to learn more about sprouting and sprout all of their grains, legumes, and beans, as this removes many of the gut- aggravating lectins and proteins.
Another big issue is the consumption of non-organic foods. Most conventional foods and produce are grown in depleted soil that is treated with commercial fertilizer, pesticides, and herbicides. Furthermore, plants are constantly sprayed with pesticides so that they can be grown quickly, look aesthetically pleasing and be commercially viable.
However, these glyphosates are highly toxic to the human body, especially as they accumulate in tissues (without many symptoms or our knowledge) over time. Eating organic will lower the overall toxic load and heavy metal exposure in the body, while at the same time, it will decrease one’s possibility of developing a chronic disease over time.
By learning which foods impact one’s body adversely the most, we can be empowered to dig beyond all the marketing and understand food and its impact on the body from a chemical perspective. This brings me to organic raw vegan foods, which are the most anti-inflammatory and healthiest vegan foods available in nature. They are both energy-giving and alkalizing, helping the body heal and repair chronic ailments.
Not Eating Enough Raw Foods
Studies show that raw foods contain twice the amount of antioxidants as cooked foods. By eating foods raw, you will hydrate your body and give it more nutrients and energy to self-heal.
Unfortunately, many vegans tend to consume a high quantity of cooked foods and complex meals that are hard to digest. Did you know that it takes the body 70% of its energy resources to conduct the 4-part digestive process? The rest of the energy is dedicated to brain function and metabolic processes, which then leads to very little energy left for self-healing and repair.
The body then stores and protects itself from inflammation and toxins as much as possible with the least energetic input until it has the energy resources to heal. This is exactly why small, simple meals are ideal for the body and ensure that more energy can be utilized where it’s needed. Remember, it is not only what we eat, but how much and in what manner!
In addition, many of our meals are prepared through high-temperature cooking, which denatures enzymes and changes food chemistry that is essential for cellular function, energy production, and health. Consuming all cooked meals is particularly a big indicator of why some vegans are unhealthy and may look depleted and low-energy.
Consuming organic, raw foods is to enjoy the highest degree of chemistry and energy that the food has to offer. Ideally, you want more energy to enter your body than is lost through the digestive process, whereas the standard American diet is predicated on just the opposite.
By consuming your diet at least 50% raw and eating fewer simple meals during the day, you will not only lower chronic inflammation, but you will experience an increase in elimination regularity (vital for detoxification), energy levels, and your overall sense of well-being. And don’t worry – you don’t have to be perfect with these suggestions! Simply doing what you can and increasing raw food consumption over time will make a tremendous difference.
Not Getting Enough Sunlight or Exercise
It is common knowledge that adequate sunlight exposure is vital for our health and emotional well-being.
For best health practices, you should aim to spend approximately 20-30 minutes in direct sunshine daily without sunblock, ideally while taking walks, exercising, or gardening. In general, the sun provides a vital life force to all plants and animals, and just like plants utilize it to stay alive through photosynthesis, we absorb it similarly for the same purposes.
Aside from many incredible functions, the sun’s UVB rays convert cholesterol into vitamin D, which plays a vital role in regulating the endocrine system, hormone production, and immunity.
Additionally, gentle daily exercise, such as fast-paced walking, yoga, stretching, and Qi Gong, help move the body’s lymphatic system – or its sewage system – from cells and tissues all the way back to the kidneys for waste elimination. This ensures that toxins are purged from the body quickly before they cause cellular or tissue damage. The circulation also helps blood oxygenate and move its nutrients to all the cells and tissues.
Many diseases develop as a result of underlying chronic inflammation, and even minor health issues are simply your body’s signal that it needs a bit of help. Since inflammation is hot and acidic, consuming hydrating chemistry is the true antidote for reclaiming your health and healing the body from the inside out.
Not all vegan diets are created equal, and unfortunately, most commercial vegan foods on the market are not very healthy. The antidote to this is to simply look to nature and consume greater quantities of unprocessed raw fruits and veggies.
Eliminating processed and inflammatory foods (and chemical products), eating at least 50% raw, buying local and organic produce, getting sunshine, and moving the body daily is what every true healer since antiquity prescribed to promote the return to balance and homeostasis of the body in accordance with natural law. And if you’d like to learn more about the alkaline vegan diet, detoxification, and how to start detoxifying your body naturally and safely, I offer plenty of free wellness resources on my homepage!