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How can I help my raw vegan aunt?

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  • How can I help my raw vegan aunt?

    My dad's sister has been a raw vegan for around 1 year and I think she was vegetarian or vegan before that. My dad was talking to her on the phone yesterday and she said that she's always very tired and has no energy. She goes to bed at 5pm because of how tired she is. She's also become very skinny and probably underweight. She insists that she's healthy though and I don't think she wants advice so I told my dad that maybe we should just let her figure it out for herself that her lifestyle isn't working very well for her, but he's worried about her and really wants me to email her because he thinks she'll listen to me because I know a bit more about nutrition than him. These are things I'll probably bring up with her (if I do email/talk to her):
    -B12 supplementation if she's not doing that already
    -Coconut oil/milk if she's not getting enough fat (btw how much fat do we actually need?)
    -Maybe raw eggs and fish (if she wants to stay raw)
    -Denise Minger's blog (Raw Food SOS) just because it's probably relevant

    Does anyone have any other suggestions?

    I don't want to be too pushy or rude, but I'd feel a bit bad about not saying anything to her if she really believes that her way of eating is optimal when it's obviously not. Also I don't want to just link her to MDA because she'd probably first need to be convinced that meat isn't necessarily unhealthy, and if she's been surrounded by vegans for a while then it would be pretty hard for her to break out of that mindset.

  • #2
    I like the suggestions you have so far, but you might need to let her find out for herself. I tried being raw vegan about 5 years ago. It lasted 9 months before I crashed and had a sudden craving for oysters and beef. The first thing I did on my way home from work on my last day was stop by the farmers market (I was living in Berkeley at the time) and picked up 1/2 lb of grass fed steak.

    I was missing the iron my body needed so badly. I was getting it in veggies, but I wasn't absorbing it like I do with animal sources.

    One day she will find out for herself. Its much harder if she's involved in the online raw vegan community. They are pretty dogmatic and cultish.

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    • #3
      I would suggest that you say no to your dad and stand by your original position.

      if he wants to get involved, then he needs to educate himself and then talk to his sister himself. putting you in this position is not cool.

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      • #4
        So you guys think I shouldn't say anything then? I even told my dad that I could send him some links and info so he can help her but he wants it to come from me because she knows he doesn't really know anything about nutrition except what I tell him. It's a bit of a moral dilemma I guess. I just hope she's getting her nutrition info from more than one source.

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        • #5
          she's a grown woman and it's her business.

          he's a grown man, and it's his business.

          You know how don't want to get involved. Follow that instinct.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Ribbons View Post
            My dad's sister has been a raw vegan for around 1 year and I think she was vegetarian or vegan before that. My dad was talking to her on the phone yesterday and she said that she's always very tired and has no energy. She goes to bed at 5pm because of how tired she is. She's also become very skinny and probably underweight. She insists that she's healthy though and I don't think she wants advice so I told my dad that maybe we should just let her figure it out for herself that her lifestyle isn't working very well for her, but he's worried about her and really wants me to email her because he thinks she'll listen to me because I know a bit more about nutrition than him. These are things I'll probably bring up with her (if I do email/talk to her):
            -B12 supplementation if she's not doing that already
            -Coconut oil/milk if she's not getting enough fat (btw how much fat do we actually need?)
            -Maybe raw eggs and fish (if she wants to stay raw)
            -Denise Minger's blog (Raw Food SOS) just because it's probably relevant

            Does anyone have any other suggestions?

            I don't want to be too pushy or rude, but I'd feel a bit bad about not saying anything to her if she really believes that her way of eating is optimal when it's obviously not. Also I don't want to just link her to MDA because she'd probably first need to be convinced that meat isn't necessarily unhealthy, and if she's been surrounded by vegans for a while then it would be pretty hard for her to break out of that mindset.
            Suggest to her to test herself for deficiencies so she can adjust her own diet to compensate for any deficiencies she might have. Speculating what she should eat to feel better won't do her any good.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Ribbons View Post
              I just hope she's getting her nutrition info from more than one source.
              If the many sources all get their information from one, then it's not much of an added value

              Seriously, I just finished arguing with a colleague of mine that we are carnivores and are not meant to be endurance runners. Or better, I was speaking, she was shouting. In the end, once again, I had to prefer my own health over that of the people around me and closed the topic: my stress levels are a worse beast than the brioche she just ate. Btw, the topic started with an innocent "how come you're so lean". I know it's tempting to give the full explanation, but the best answer is "it's genetic".

              You cannot change people's mind, and that's a matter of fact. What you can do is to provide other sources of information (this site for example) and let them decide. Everybody is willing to change opinion, but it has to come from within, if it is imposed there is a natural resistance.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by zoebird View Post
                she's a grown woman and it's her business.

                he's a grown man, and it's his business.

                You know how don't want to get involved. Follow that instinct.
                Yeah, I don't want to get into an argument with her or make it sound like I think her WOE is inferior or anything, especially since I hardly ever see her. Maybe I'll just leave it up to her to do some more research and self-experimentation, because I don't think she'll be able to keep up this lifestyle for much longer without getting sick.

                Originally posted by KathyH View Post
                Suggest to her to test herself for deficiencies so she can adjust her own diet to compensate for any deficiencies she might have. Speculating what she should eat to feel better won't do her any good.
                I don't know why I didn't think of that but getting tested for deficiencies would be a good idea. I'll tell my dad to suggest that to her next time he talks to her.

                Originally posted by primal_alex View Post
                If the many sources all get their information from one, then it's not much of an added value

                Seriously, I just finished arguing with a colleague of mine that we are carnivores and are not meant to be endurance runners. Or better, I was speaking, she was shouting. In the end, once again, I had to prefer my own health over that of the people around me and closed the topic: my stress levels are a worse beast than the brioche she just ate. Btw, the topic started with an innocent "how come you're so lean". I know it's tempting to give the full explanation, but the best answer is "it's genetic".

                You cannot change people's mind, and that's a matter of fact. What you can do is to provide other sources of information (this site for example) and let them decide. Everybody is willing to change opinion, but it has to come from within, if it is imposed there is a natural resistance.
                Haha we're omnivores though, not carnivores. But yeah, I agree with you -- people have to be open to changing their opinions and it's not very helpful to try to persuade people who are set in their ways. If she asks for advice then I'll happily send her some links but I doubt she'd ever ask me for nutrition advice since I'm only 17 and she's into alternative spiritual vegan kind of stuff.

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                • #9
                  There are quite a few out there that do zero carb...we actually do quite well without carbohydrates...I think we are pretty similar to dogs...they are like wolves in that they function great on just meat...but they can handle fruits/vegetables pretty well.

                  Ideal diet for dogs is raw meat....I'm guessing optimal diet for us is actually raw meat. I think if you eat offal, bone broth, and many different types of meat you can satisfy all nutritional requirements well. Assuming of course you're eating grass-fed/wild caught....lets just say naturally raised meat. Saying that though..doesn't mean I'm planning on doing it because the logistics are crazy to think about....learning to like raw meat....probably even high meat...which basically sounds like eating rotten meat but its not the same. I'm sure you can google it...and/or look at the following video.

                  Video - me eating high meat. So good for our gut!!
                  Video of someone eating high meat...may be disturbing lol...don't know if I will ever do that but it has tons of beneficial bacteria and if you do the process right bad bacteria isn't an issue as long as your source is good meat.

                  BRAIN GUT 5:PARADIGM DRIFTS PARADIGM SHIFTS:EPI-PALEO? - Jack Kruse
                  Really good blog. Main points are Seafood is especially important with tons of reasons given especially shellfish ie oysters etc..If you haven't checked out Jack Kruse its a great information source with a ton of blogs. Page 21 is the first page starting with his success story. Pretty inspiring stuff. Raw seafood is also highlighted in the blog. Also if anyone happens to have not found out yet Mercury isn't the major problem some have said it is. Mercury binds to Selenium and so takes away much of the issue. I asked Jack in the comments if having plenty of Selenium in the diet does for us what it does for fish..binding the Mercury..haven't looked to see if he answered yet but I'm guessing so..it makes sense.

                  Its true that convincing someone especially Vegans can be pretty hard...or nearly impossible..and trying if you know them might strain the relationship. If you want to try I would recommend being clear that your not saying her diet is bad...but that it could be better.

                  Should all animals eat a high-fat, low-carb diet? - Part One: The Basis for a High-fat Diet

                  I don't know if pointing this out might be helpful but from what I've heard about Vegans they tout how Primates our nearest relatives and what they eat...and mention teeth structure etc... The fact is even Gorillas and Ruminants...don't eat tons of carbohydrates...

                  Did I just say that? Yes, I did and in a sense that is completely false they do eat tons of plant matter that consists of a decent amount of carbohydrates if you break down their diet you get a high carbohydrate low fat moderate protein diet...if you exclude the fact that their guts breakdown the massive amounts of Fiber they get into Short Chain Fatty Acids ie fats. Their diet ..or at least what they actually get their energy from is high fat, low carb, moderate protein the exact opposite of what they eat.

                  Humans do not do this conversion in the gut. Humans can be decently healthy with a good amount of carbohydrates if they have enough activity to utilize the carbohydrates and keep them from going to fat stores and upping insulin...not so easy to keep up with though.

                  Doing the deficiency test would be a good start...when she comes back with the results and is low in things related to eating meat such as fat soluble vitamins/b 12 etc.. etc. you can bring up this other stuff and start there.

                  Good luck hope things work out whatever you decide.
                  Last edited by Raiken3712; 07-20-2012, 08:38 AM.
                  Age: 28
                  Height: 6'1"
                  Primal start date: July 1st 2011
                  Start Weight: 275
                  Current Weight: 248
                  Stats below as of September 1st 2011 Tested via BodPod
                  Body Fat 25.4%
                  Fat Mass 63.721
                  Fat Free Mass 74.6%
                  Fat Free Mass 187.087
                  Goal weight: 180-200 lbs(Recommended weight is around 180 for my height but that sounds low)
                  Total lost so far: 27 lbs

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                  • #10
                    Free the Animal did a nice blog entry this week that might be a good place to start for your aunt.

                    Free The Animal

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                    • #11
                      I was wondering how old she is? Sometimes older people start eating less for a variety of reasons: depression, taste buds getting old, just not interested in the joy of food prep anymore.

                      Also, I don't know how close you are to her. My grandmother lived to 86, but the last couple of years, say after 82, I'd keep an eye on her to see if anything changed. If she'd been going to bed at 5pm, I would have worked it into the conversation somehow. But we were close, so I could do that.

                      If you decide to talk to her, you might start with, "Aunty, you know how much I love you, right?" It's an ice breaker fersure.

                      Good luck and good health to your aunt.
                      "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

                      B*tch-lite

                      Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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                      • #12
                        I would not steer her away from veganism if that is what she wants to do. You can be perfectly healthy on a vegan diet. Some people are vegan for animals and ignorant on health. The most important thing with food is not fat vs carbs it is overall quality nutrients. She needs to be eating mostly fruits and vegetables and avoiding processed foods. If she is tired all the time she is probably not eating enough calories. Have her try eating lots of fruit to get more calories in. Since plant diet is mostly carbs you need to eat more throughout the day.

                        And she should be tested for B12.

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                        • #13
                          I would start a gentle, respectful conversation about it with her - but only if you talk often and only if she brings up how tired she is first. Ask her if she's checked her B12 level. See if she might just need to eat more food (I found it incredibly difficult to get enough calories on a raw vegan diet - after a few months I added dairy and cooked beans back in because I was ALWAYS hungry).

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Danielle5690 View Post
                            See if she might just need to eat more food (I found it incredibly difficult to get enough calories on a raw vegan diet - after a few months I added dairy and cooked beans back in because I was ALWAYS hungry).
                            How did you have trouble raw vegan w calories? You can make a 1500 calorie smoothie in the morning alone.

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                            • #15
                              I agree on the B12 test, it's really important. Although it's a tricky issue because our 'ideal' levels in the West are not very high. So your aunt may get a test, think she's normal and think nothing more of it, even though she'd benefit greatly from supplementation. I'd just bring up in a polite and friendly way that you were reading about veganism and deficiencies and you wonder if she's had a blood test recently. You don't have to hassle her. I was raw vegan for 2 years and I actually got blood tests because people were agressively challenging me! That didn't feel good. Many people at different times in my raw vegan journey questioned me. But also I didn't realise I had become unhealthy - I think because the raw vegan community is so dogmatic it's easy to get swept along with that and not be able to look out of your little bubble.

                              So, yes I think you should say something, but totally avoid pressuring, offending or being dogmatic.
                              Primal since May 2012. Loving life and down 50lbs.

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