May 31: Even Vegans Die — Ginny Messina, RD, and Patti Breitman are two of the coauthors of this important book that says, yes, this is a great way to eat, and no, we won’t live forever — all the more reason to live today fully and create a legacy for after we’re gone.
Ginny is a dietitian with more than 25 years of experience in the field of vegan nutrition. She is a founding member of the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group and serves on the group’s newsletter editorial board. She has written ten books for vegans and is co-author of the first vegetarian textbook for health professionals The Dietitian’s Guide to Vegetarian Diets. She contributes papers on plant-based nutrition to medical journals, and speaks about vegan nutrition at events for both the public and physicians. Ginny is on the board of directors of Vegfund, Eden Animal Sanctuary, and Alley Cat Rescue, and on the advisory boards of VegYouth, One Step for Animals, the Vegan Trade Council and the True Health Initiative. You can check out her website, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Patti Breitman is the co-founder of Dharma Voices for Animals and the co-author of three other books:
Never Too Late to Go Vegan, How to Eat Like a Vegetarian – Even If You Never Want to Be One, and How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty.
UPDATE: We had a great question about this podcast: “This last one caused me some confusion though regarding the no oil benefits or lack of benefits. Could it be the nutritionists are behind the times? I just remember how long it took for the ADA to support vegan diets. It just seems weird that many cardiologists are supporting WFPB diets with no oil and seemingly seeing results (many on themselves) and the nutritionists continue to say this is not proven and that plant oils are beneficial in your diet. I mean I don’t think I’m the only one who will be confused by this stance.”
See below for Ginny’s response:
“Victoria, thank you for the opportunity to respond to this excellent question. Contrary to popular belief, we have no research to show that vegans need to avoid oils in order to be healthy. Vegans are often surprised to know that we also have no studies showing that avoiding oils can reverse heart disease.
Misunderstanding about this dates back to the Ornish Study published nearly 30 years ago. The oil-free diet in this study was just one part of a comprehensive plan that included many health-promoting factors. We have no way of knowing which of those factors mattered. In fact, we know now that some aspects of the Ornish diet were not at all beneficial. For example, the diet eliminated all nuts. Now we realize that nuts are a valuable component of a heart healthy diet.
The more recent study by Dr. Esselstyn did not use a control group. Because of this, as Dr. Esselstyn himself said in his publication, it’s difficult to assess how much of the changes seen in his patients were actually due to diet.
We also know from recent research that weight loss and a reduction in blood pressure are the factors most likely responsible for reversing heart disease. And the findings show us that it doesn’t matter whether the weight loss comes from a high-fat or a low-fat diet.
It’s true that single meals that are packed with fat from vegetable oils can damage arteries—but the studies showing this used hugeamounts of oil. They are not at all relevant in determining the role of oils in healthy vegan diets. And while we know that low-fat diets improve artery health, so do plant-based diets that include olive oil.
There is no harm in avoiding vegetable oils for vegans who choose to do so. But the idea that we need to avoid them in order to be healthy or that vegans should be eating low-fat diets for optimal health are actually based on very outdated approaches to nutrition.”
Blast from the Past! An episode from 2013, with brilliant—and at times renegade—dietitian Ginny Messina and culinary instructor and cookbook author (JL Goes Vegan) JL Fields riff on their good-sense/good-read book, Vegan for Her. Click here to listen.