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Are Vegetables Necesarry for Good Health?

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  • Are Vegetables Necesarry for Good Health?

    Dear Mark,

    Someone remarked on another thread:

    The belief that we need copious amounts of vegetables is some kind of carry over from conventional wisdom. I believe it's Mark's way of appealing to CW folks (I know he says that himself in one of his blog postings.) because telling people they can exist quite well on fat, protein, and minimal vegetables would seem too Atkins-like.
    Is this true, or has this person misunderstood your meaning?

    Thanks!
    Rebecca

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  • #2
    Well, there's two questions here:

    1) Are vegetables necessary for good health? Like I said in the other thread, that depends. For some people, complete elimination of plants is what's necessary for their good health. Everyone has different genetics, different degrees of metabolic damage, different environmental factors. And everyone has their own hierarchy of values by which they decide whether various choices are "worth it", for whatever reason.

    2) Does Mark Sisson advocate vegetables/plants solely to make his plan less scary for the average person? That's a complex question that only Mark can answer, but based on his writings, I would say that he's perfectly aware of all the arguments for and against plants in the human diet, and on the whole believes that thoughtful addition of such is more beneficial than harmful, both physically and psychologically.

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    • #3
      Thanks, Frogfarm! That makes sense.
      Rebecca

      Right click here to watch me lose 22.5 pounds of body fat and gain 5.5 pounds of muscle in only 5 months right before your eyes in this cool morphing video!

      Click the banner below to visit my blog:

      sigpic

      Feb 2009 - 158 pounds - 43.6% body fat
      Aug 2013 - 138 pounds - 34.3% body fat
      So far, lost 19.8 pounds of body fat and gained 1.8 pounds of lean mass
      Goal - 136 pounds - 30% body fat
      Still need to lose 6.4 more pounds of body fat and gain 4.2 more pounds of lean mass

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      • #4
        Originally posted by frogfarm View Post
        Well, there's two questions here:

        1) Are vegetables necessary for good health? Like I said in the other thread, that depends. For some people, complete elimination of plants is what's necessary for their good health. Everyone has different genetics, different degrees of metabolic damage, different environmental factors. And everyone has their own hierarchy of values by which they decide whether various choices are "worth it", for whatever reason.

        2) Does Mark Sisson advocate vegetables/plants solely to make his plan less scary for the average person? That's a complex question that only Mark can answer, but based on his writings, I would say that he's perfectly aware of all the arguments for and against plants in the human diet, and on the whole believes that thoughtful addition of such is more beneficial than harmful, both physically and psychologically.
        wow!
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        • #5
          Mark does say he eats a BAS full of veggies almost every day, and has for the last 20 years.

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          • #6
            I, for one, do not think that vegetables are necessary. There cultures like the Inuit that have proven that theory. Personally, I don't completely avoid veggies, but I don't go out of my way to eat them either. I've give up on BAS's that were a staple of my diet. On most days, I'm entirely carnivorous and I'm doing just fine.
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            • #7
              That said, I don't think that veggies are harmful either. Being a VLC eater I just think it's easier more enjoyable to get the fat and protein that I need from animal sources.
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              • #8
                For the past month and a half I have been carnivore and I am getting all the nutrients I need from muscle meat, eggs, and plenty of organs, an occasion cup of milk, and coconut oil at the gym. That being said, I have nothing against PB's stance on eating plenty of vegetables. Carnivore is a little too extreme but it is doable.
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                • #9
                  I don't think veggies are necessary either, but maybe I think that's true cause I want it to be true. I'm not a huge veggie fan. But according to GCBC, you don't need to eat veggies unless you are eating grains. In that case, you need the veggies to help compensate for the anti-nutrients in grains.

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                  • #10
                    But according to GCBC, you don't need to eat veggies unless you are eating grains. In that case, you need the veggies to help compensate for the anti-nutrients in grains.
                    Fascinating! I'd love some more info on that idea--if you have any links about this, I'd be really interested! (It does totally make sense...)
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by FairyRae View Post
                      Fascinating! I'd love some more info on that idea--if you have any links about this, I'd be really interested! (It does totally make sense...)
                      I'm going to have to reread GCBC and make little sticky notes about where all these tidbits are. It seems to me that men in the Japanese Navy got beriberi only after they started including white rice in their previously grain-free diet.

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                      • #12
                        I'm skeptical of the idea that we somehow need to scarf down ten servings of fruits and veggies a day in order to get adequate nutrition. It's not like our paleo ancestors had full fledged vegetable gardens year round.

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                        • #13
                          Unless you are eating liver, kidneys, brains, and other organ meats, you will not get the needed nutrition from a veggie-free diet. If you read about the Inuit situations, they were eating mainly fat (blubber), organs (including stuff we would normally consider spoiled), and a little muscle meat. Plus, they supplemented with sodium (or something, can't remember) in soups by using saltwater.

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                          • #14
                            Let's take a bit of a step back and put on our philosopher's caps for a second. What exactly does it mean for something to be necessary for good health? I think most people here are defining "necessary" as "needed to prevent disease until a fairly old age and not feel crappy all the while" and if this is to be the definition of necessary, then I'll probably agree that vegetables aren't "necessary" for good health. But what about great health? What about better health? Optimal health? Is simply good health compared to CW adequate and is adequate desirable when presented with more favorable outcomes?

                            Meat isn't necessary for good health, I could do it. But would I be anywhere near as healthy and vital? Nah.A nd I wouldn't live as long and would degenerate more quickly than I would like to and would probably die earlier. Would I still be healthier than the low fat CW fools? Yeah. Would that be an adequate existence? Nah. So I don't think that the way "necessary for good health" is being used here has much utility as a functional concept.

                            Now the actual argument as to whether or not vegetables are required for optimal health is a damn tough one. I just wanted to raise the point that while I don't think that they're required for good health, a better topic to discuss would be whether or not they are required for optimal health, as that is the goal, isn't it?

                            Though 10 servings is an arbitrary number proposed by farmers worried about selling enough produce.
                            Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.

                            Anyone who wants to talk nutrition should PM me!

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                            • #15
                              I think we tend to get wrapped a little to tight around the idea of living like our ancestors around here. yes, they did a lot of things better than we currently do. but if modern agriculture allows us to be more efficient in our nutrient intake then why not? yes we may have f#&^ked up with the idea of grains, but I think around 6 serving of veggies a day will keep you living quite well oh, and ya there is no way you could go carnivore on muscle meat, gotz to include those organs
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