A couple years ago, I wrote about how vegetarianism ruined my health. Like the story below, my story was anecdotal. It was my own, and it was the truth. Since then, I’ve received countless comments and emails, insisting I’m lying, I did it wrong, or I have some ulterior motive to just bash plant based diets. I shared my story because I know I’m not alone. I know so many other men and women have dealt with this same thing. I personally know people whose health suffered due to a plant based diet. And one of those people is my husband. A few months ago, he encouraged me to share his story. So I’m finally doing just that. This isn’t a ploy to bash anything, it’s simply me sharing the truth with you all. This way of eating works for some people, and it doesn’t for others.

When I met Scott at the ripe ol’ age of 23, just starting my nutrition business and as bossy as ever – he was a vegan. I was (and am) a hardcore grass-fed and local meat eater. I truly thought our relationship would go nowhere because our lifestyles were so radically different. I was ordering my food from a local buying club and chugging raw kefir, he was eating out at vegan restaurants. Dates were hard for us – we had to go somewhere that served healthy vegan food (ie: not just pasta dishes) and also served organic meats without grains for me (burgers weren’t going to cut it).

Luckily, he had told me that after ten years of veganism, he was considering introducing some animal products. Definitely not meat, but maybe cheese and butter. It still took him over six months to introduce these foods into his diet, and during that time I was making him the healthiest vegan food I could.

Soaked and sprouted legumes, tons of organic veggies, I got him off soy and eliminated the processed foods he was eating. I introduced more veggies and even some fermented foods. As far as being vegan goes – his diet wasn’t bad. He wasn’t eating loads of sugar just because he could get his hands on vegan donuts and cupcakes. He wasn’t eating soy hot dogs. Hell, he wasn’t even eating gluten.

And then I convinced him to go to the doctor. A doctor that did not just a basic blood test, but vitamin and mineral alalysis as well, a CRP test (to measure inflammation), genetic testing, liver and kidney function, a detailed analysis of his cardiovascual system – basically testing everything.

A few days after his blood work, instead of just sending it to us, she urged him to come into her office. She said she needed to explain everything to him and it couldn’t be done over the phone.

She sat him down and told him the results were dismal. She told him he needed to stop drinking and smoking immediately.

Here’s the thing: my husband doesn’t drink. At all. He’s literally never smoked a cigarette in his life. She didn’t even believe him. His results were so bad that she assumed he was a couch potato that ate junk food all day, smoked, and went drinking regularly.

When he told her he was vegan and ran over 15 miles a week – she wasn’t surprised.

She told him that he immediately needed to start eating healthy sources of animal protein and fat. I specifically remember her telling him that he should start incorporating a ton of eggs into his diet if he refused to eat grass-fed meats and wild seafood.

At this point you may be wondering what was so bad about his results. Well…

  • He was prediabetic
  • His liver function was terrible
  • His cholesterol was awful
  • His vitamin D was extremely low
  • His vitamin A was extremely low
  • His vitamin B12 was extremely low
  • His iron was extremely low
  • He was on course for heart disease

From his healthy, unprocessed vegan diet – with supplements!

I know the argument that the above nutrients, which are concentrated in animal foods and lacking to the point of non-existence in plant foods, can be supplemented. The reality is that supplements can only do so much. The reality is that a significant portion of nutrients found in supplements are not bioavailable. I say this all the time: you cannot out-supplement a bad diet.

It was at this point he finally decided to bite the bullet and introduce animal foods. I bought him pastured eggs and cheese. And something happened. His skin wasn’t so pale and sallow. The bags under his eyes disappeared. He didn’t have crazy night sweats. His energy was better. He felt better.

I’m happy to report that he now also eats wild seafood and feels even better. Still no chicken, beef or pork – but that man will house some shrimp.

Our most recent tests, in May, revealed a few things. I won’t lie to you, they weren’t perfect. But his blood sugar was in the normal range. His vitamin and mineral analysis was good. His liver function was great. His cholesterol levels had improved, but weren’t great. We discovered that this is because he has the APoE4 gene mutation – and two of them. He is E4/E4 – the worst kind for cholesterol, meaning he doesn’t utilize fats properly. But that’s another topic for another article.

Overall, his health has improved dramatically. It’s still a work in progress, but over the last three years or so we’ve been working to undo a lot of the damage that was done.

Again, I’m not sharing this story to bash plant based diet. I’m sharing this story because I want to be honest with you guys and let you know our experiences. I want to let you know that if a plant based diet isn’t working for you, it’s not your fault. This type of diet isn’t for everybody (I’d go as far to argue that it’s not for majority of people). This diet may be touted as safe and healthy, but if you’re experiencing health problems because of it, it may be time to explore other options. This doesn’t mean you’ve failed, it means the diet has failed you.

Image via here.

What a Vegan Diet Did to my Husband | Wondering whether a vegan diet is healthy for you and your family? My husband encouraged me to share his story and the health issues he experienced due to his plant-based diet. This isn't a ploy to bash anything, it's simply me sharing the truth with you all. This way of eating works for some people, and it doesn't for others. #veganism #vegandiet #nutrition #diet #health

4 Comments

  1. Ugh, this hits such a deep chord with me. I’ve watched so many friends go through the struggles of infertility, terrible skin problems, and weight fluctuations and they’ve been inundated with these ideas that animal protein, fat, and products are the root of all evil. I never say much because people are SO sensitive about food and diet choices these days, but it kills me to watch. How would our species have gotten to where we are today without animal food sources!??? I actually even fear sharing stories like this publicly for fear of the revenge of the vegans. Thank you for being brave and sharing anyway!

  2. My 25 years old son suddenly announced that he wants to eat vegan. This gives me a concern as there are diabetics in our family and eating all those carbs with fruits as he does might get him into that condition too.

    I do agree with the writer that vegan ism is not for everyone. I read an article by a Harvard Dr. Joan Borisenko how she went on a certain eating plan, felt unwell and had to run specialized tests which show that she is genetically predisposed to a different kind of eating style.

    I would love to know what kind of tests could be done to determine such DNA trends.

  3. Thank you for this story! Like you, I believe that we were created to eat animal/products. It goes right along the truth of eating all whole UNPACKAGED food. Foods that were CREATED for our nutritional needs. I was drinking RAW vegetable juices by the gallon and eating most foods raw due to all the ‘research’ I read on the internet. But the truth of it is, It completely ruined my digestive system!! So I got back to eating COOKED whole foods, meats, eggs, fish, bone broth (played a big part), and cooked ALL my vegetables! stopped eating nuts and seeds of which I was also eating all day everyday day and felt they were too hard to digest.
    I have completely restored my health with all whole cooked foods and also to note, no supplements. It just goes to show that all these health food fads are just another ‘trend’ and like fashions trends, I’m too old for that BS ; ))
    Btw, I LOVE ‘the healthiest shot you will ever do’. I’m a fan!!

    Emily

  4. Is there a particular kind of doctor you have dealt with to get this kind of testing?

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