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2011.01.22

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Bonnie

I agree with the basic point of this article, really the product is more for the pleasure of vegans than the health. Oh, well, it's really people's choice, eat veg junk food with a balanced diet, or eat healthy with no pleasurable foods.

Tim Drew

Great post! I recently have been eating Daiya cheese as a treat because it is delicious. My girlfriend however, eats it as the main part of her food till I get home and cook the real food. I explained to her that it has no nutritional value, and that if she is going to be eating vegan, she better start eating more fruits and vegetables before some serious health problems develop.

It is a delicious TREAT but beyond that, a totally misleading "health" food. Slapping the word vegan on a tray of double chocolate brownies doesn't make it good for you.

[I agree... it's somewhat deceiving in that it feeds a taste addiction to fat, let alone, is nutritionally useless. But, people are getting the message. I get less flack than I used to and the movie/documentar "Forks Over Knives" coming out (and discussed on Dr. Oz). Most encouraging.

Thanks for your comment... Best, Mark]

Kay

Hi,

Could you explain why you're so concerned about heart disease?

While Dr. Ornish and Esselstyn's work is important I wonder why you and others who are so militant about oils and fats use their recommendations as the bar. Isn't their audience people who have or at risk of heart disease?

[Heart disease related issues is the biggest killer of people in this country, whether they are vegan or not. Modern science hasn't been able to cure or reverse heart disease, but these two guys have.

Think about the stats: we lose well over 700,000 people a year in this country from heart disease, and that doesn't take into account strokes and related obesity/diabetes issues. In the US, a person has a heart attack every 34 seconds.

http://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fs_heart_disease.htm

Too many vegetarians and vegans operate under the illusion that because they don't eat meat and/or dairy, eggs, and exercise, they are immune from this issue.

They are not.

That's why I'm concerned. I'm concerned when I see vegans using immense amounts of added oil in their recipes, and conmen like Tim Ferriss promote scientifically unfounded high-protein diets that eschew those food products that provide so many useful nutrients, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that have been proven to minimize degenerative diseases.

We've got to do better. Oil is NOT a food. It's a highly processed nutritionally useless substance that we don't need to consume. We need whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and sometimes nuts. Thousands of years of history validates this understanding.

Finally, I believe it's our taste addictions to sugar, salt, fat (and in many cases alcohol), that need to be changed. Vegan or not.

It might be militant, but when you've got people dying by such large numbers, it's war. Obesity, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Altzheimer's... are, imho, all part of the same problem, with the same cause, and the same solution.

Thanks for your thoughtful questions... Best regards, Mark]

Rick

Great post. Oils are an industrial by-product - extracted -not a whole food. Get any "oil" from the food itself. E.G. greens have fat content biased to omega 3. After all, marine animals concentrate omega 3's from a food chain basis of marine plants.

[Flax seeds are also a good source of omega 3.

I agree with you about oils, obviously! Thanks for the feedback... Best regards, Mark]

Lisa

I'm not sure if anyone is dumb enough to believe those points. I mean, they can make all the claims they want, but I doubt people are going to eat it because they want to be healthier.

[Oh, you'd be surprised at the claims people will buy into. The "foreign fruit" du jour with antioxidants is bantered about much more than they should be.]

That said, I had commented on your other post about Daiya. Once in a blue moon, I add it to my home-made pizzas. Your comment about that caught my eye -- for a whole pizza, otherwise loaded with veggies, I use 1/4 cup if I add it at all. Cut into 8 slices, and served to 4 people, you get what? Couple of shreds per slice if that? I'm super strict about what I eat, and I think something like that is pretty negligible.

[To each his/her own. I lost my taste/craving for fat years ago (after interviewing Esselstyn and following his recommendations). Kind of like a former alcoholic who doesn't want to go back! But, Essy, Barnard, Campbell, etc., all insist that moderation "kills" and I tend to go along with that thought. But yeah, couple of shreds is really nothing...]

Your pizza pix look delicious! What kind of flour do you use? The second one looks like what I make... artichoke and onion? :) Also curious about your mock cheese sauce, but I guess I'll have to wait for the book.

[I'm on the road and used a Trader Joe's pre-made dough. As to the mock cheese sauce, well, I don't want to give it all away... working really hard to get this book out (ain't easy).

Sorry, Lisa... hang in there for another month and a half!

Thanks, too, for your candor and comments! Best, Mark]

plant_based_scientist

Multiple studies show that plant-based saturated fats are very different from animal-derived saturated fats (not surprisingly). In fact, recent work suggest that the saturated fats found in coconut, palm and avocado may have the same type of cardiovascular benefits as monounsaturated oils found in olive oil and canola.

[I'll go with the only guys to have reversed heart disease supported by 20+ years (each) of peer-reviewed research. Avoid the saturated fat plant-foods ('cept for avocado unless you have signs of heart disease) and all added oils. The myopic focus on so-called cardiovascular benefits from monosaturated oils ignores the larger picture: added oil (especially olive) fuels plaque development and constricts your blood vessels. That's been measured, and it's not a theory. The effect last for several hours, and the constant abuse over time will take its toll.]

Also, the primary ingredients of daiya are most definitely food...that is unless you are you the kind of veggie that abstains from all processed carbohydrates, such as, brown rice, quinoa, agave, cane syrup, and numerous grass seed products.

[Aside from "pea flour", please enlighten me as to any nutritional value worth mentioning from Daiya cheese? Which ingredient is a real food worth noting from a health standpoint? Nadda. Added oil, thickeners, flavoring. A nutritional waste of time.]

Moreover, your estimate of the amount of daiya that would top two vegan slices is frankly, tweaked. Most vegan pizzaiolos use a sprinkling of daiya not the heavy glopping found on omni pizzas. I personally find daiya to be fake tasting and prefer cashew cream or small chunks of Dr. Cow vegan cheese...but to each their own.

[Tweaked? The generally accepted amount of cheese on a 12" pizza is one cup, and that 12" pizza contains 3 servings, hence, 1/3 cup of cheese. That's the estimate I used.

Furthermore, I've yet to see a picture of a Daiya, Teese, Sheese, etc., pizza with a "smattering" of fake cheese.

Cashew cream and Dr. Cow's stuff are quite high in fat too, and probably contribute to maintaining the fat addiction. Granted, I would prefer to go the classic route with small "doblets" of cheese-like substance (still working on them) scattered about rather then drenching the pizza. On this we can agree.

However, I sincerely do appreciate your thoughtful, intelligent, and interesting comment. Thanks much for the feedback.

Best regards, Mark

Ann

Hi,

Thanks for continuing to speak out about what a truly healthy diet entails. I was wondering, in #6. did you mean "trans fats" or "saturated fats"? I know that coconut is about 90% saturated fat but I thought that the only naturally occurring trans fats were found in animal products.

[Oops... late night fatigue error. Fixed it. Thanks much for pointing it out! I got the idea while watching "Fringe" last night and actually scribbled a page of notes for the post (something I rarely do for the blog) during the show.

Probably should have gone to bed, but I was too intrigued by the overall concept of defining something's healt benefits by what it doesn't have in it.

If nothing else, it was great sport. Hopefully, though, my points are very clear.

Best regards, Mark]

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