The Side Effects of Eating Vegan : Guest Author Cherie Soria

Thursday Aug 2 | BY |
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You won’t believe what I learned about the vegan diet at the Vegetarian Society’s Summerfest this year!

For nearly two decades, I have been honored to be a presenter at one of my favorite yearly events, the North American Vegetarian Society’s Summerfest (NAVS), held at Johnstown University in Pennsylvania. I always come home with new information from doctors and researchers whom I admire and trust to keep me informed and up-to-date in the field of vegan nutrition.

Some of the many noted presenters each year include people like Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. Michael Greger, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Michael Klaper, and coauthor of my book, Raw Food Revolution Diet, Brenda Davis, RD.

My contribution at Summerfest is sharing my talent for making raw vegan foods taste delicious, but always with an eye on nutrition, so it’s essential for me to stay informed. Plus, as part of our California culinary school licensing requirements, we are committed to continuing education for our instructors.

I clearly remember hearing Howard Lyman speak about mad cow disease in the early 90s, long before he appeared on the Oprah show and the general public learned about it. I returned home and told people about this horrible plague that was killing cattle and tainting their meat, but I was met with a great deal of disbelief. Even vegans thought it was propaganda to get people to stop eating meat. The information was so “hot off the press” that no one could quiet wrap their minds around it. It was at least two years before newspapers were carrying articles about this dreaded new plague. That’s the kind of information we learn at Summerfest.

The Health Hazards of Eating Chicken
This year, many physicians were talking about the dangers of eating chicken. So many people think they’re doing themselves a favor by cutting back on red meat and replacing it with chicken. Now it seems that chicken is no better at all. In fact, studies now show that eating ¼ of a chicken breast (steamed, boiled, baked or fried) triples your risk of cancer.

One of the many problems with chicken, besides the pathogens they contain, is the antibiotics and hormones they are routinely fed. This has a much greater impact on our health than was earlier reported.

Also, as with all animal proteins, raw or cooked, organic or conventional, ingesting meat protein causes leukocytosis, which is very similar to what happens when you get an organ transplant. Your body recognizes the DNA protein signature as a foreign invader, and it does everything it can to reject it. An animal product has a protein DNA signature that’s biologically different from ours, but it’s close enough to our flesh tissue for our body to recognize that it’s not ours, so it raises the white blood cell count. Basically this means your body considers itself under attack, just as if you had an infection or had consumed poison. This puts a tremendous amount of stress on our body and ultimately leads to disease.

Benefits of a Vegan Diet
Here are a few other interesting facts I picked up:

  • Of the top 15 killers, including heart disease, cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, kidney failure, respiratory infection, blood infection, liver failure, and high blood pressure, only accidents (as a cause of death) could NOT be avoided on a vegan diet.
  • According to Dr. Greger (, prescription drugs are actually the 6th leading cause of death! (Most could be avoided on a nutrient-dense raw vegan diet.)
  • What are the side effects of the vegan diet? Less disease and far fewer deaths! Cancer, for example, is 8 times less likely on a vegan diet.
  • Less animals lives lost (about 75 millions animals a day are killed for food in the U.S.)
  • More sustainable (one day on a pure vegan diet is equal to eating local/seasonal for an entire week!).
  • One in seven people who are admitted to hospitals for their care are harmed or killed by their treatment there!
  • The number of deaths that are a direct result of hospital error in one year is equal to four jumbo jets crashing every week!

Some Healthy Recommendations
Here are Brenda Davis’ most recent recommendations:

  • Eat more fresh raw plant foods
  • Achieve a healthy body weight
  • Eat more nutrient dense foods (like green juice and green smoothies)
  • Eliminate animal proteins
  • Reduce (or eliminate) refined carbohydrates, like bread and pasta
  • Eat plenty of fiber (at least 35 grams)
  • Replace oils and unhealthy fats with healthy fats from nuts and seeds
  • Boost your intake of antioxidants (eat all the colors of the rainbow)
  • Minimize harmful chemical residues (buy organic)
  • Moderate your use of sodium (foods should not taste salty)
  • Be picky about beverages (especially sugary drinks and alcohol)
  • Meet your nutritional needs for things like B12; Vitamin D2, iron, zinc, Vitamin C, and calcium (see Raw Food Revolution Diet for how)

Nearly all the experts at NAVS this year recommend eating more organic raw vegan foods. All health leaders, doctors, dieticians, and researchers, recommended we at least take meat off the menu.

Here is a fantastic video of a short speech given by Australian philanthropist Philip Wollen, a top corporate player and former vice-president of Citibank that Dr. Michael Klaper showed in one of his talks. He gives plenty of reasons why we should eliminate animal products from our diets. I highly recommend watching it (click here).

Bottom line: Eliminate animal proteins from your diet if you care about your health, the health of the planet and the welfare of animals.

Don’t depend on others to keep you healthy! Learn to make absolutely delicious health promoting raw vegan food at Living Light—it’s not just for professional chefs, it’s for everyone! Go to the Raw Food Chef for free recipes.

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Picture courtesy Martin Cathrae via

Cherie Soria

Cherie Soria

Cherie Soria and her husband, Dan Ladermann, own and operate several raw food businesses besides Living Light Culinary Institute, including the Living Light Cafe, Living Light Marketplace, a retail store providing gifts for chefs and products for healthful living, and the historic, eco-friendly Living Light Inn, all located on the beautiful Mendocino coast of northern California. They travel extensively around the world promoting the raw vegan lifestyle and have received numerous awards and accolades for Living Light International, which is recognized as one of the leading raw food businesses in the world. It is Cherie’s mission to spread the benefits of gourmet raw cuisine throughout the globe by training teachers and individuals to inspire others. She is the author of several books, including the classic Angel Foods: Healthy Recipes for Heavenly Bodies and The Raw Food Revolution Diet: Feast, Lose Weight, Gain Energy, Feel Younger (co-authored with Brenda Davis, RD and Vesanto Melina, MS, RD.) For information about Living Light go to Cherie’s website, or find her on Facebook. You may also check out her blog, Food for Thought, and read about the Living Light Chef Experience.


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  1. Stephanie says:

    Whoa, Kevin you shocked me with the title…but thankfully the content was great (imho).
    Kevin, have you checked out posts by Don Matesz on Primal Wisdom? He followed the paleo diet for 14 years and last year have declared himself vegan (like myself paleo -> vegan). He has some great articles about our ancestors being grass eaters, B-12 sources, Metabolism, etc that you might find really interesting. The comment section is also worth reading – they’re full of constructive debates 🙂

  2. Celine says:

    great post Kevin, Thanks. I am wondering if vegans need Vit B12 and Iron supplement. What is your opinion on that? Thanks a lot.

  3. Leo Schwaiger says:

    NASA making vegan diets for Mars mission. That should be better than the Tang original astronauts were given.

  4. Robin says:

    Very enlightening, thoughtful article. My problem is findng adequate plant derived protein sources. I would appreciate suggestions! Or even an article on sources and protein contents for them.

  5. Sarah says:

    @ Robin – great plant protein sources are unpasteurised nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts), seeds (flax/linseed, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame), quinoa, lentils, kidney beans (must be thoroughly cooked though), brown rice, chickpeas, sprouted seeds. I would avoid soya and any soya derivatives. It’s mostly GMO and there is a serious question mark over whether the phyto-estrogens are beneficial. All fruits and vegetables have small quantities of protein. Avocado contains all essential amino acids. I hope this helps! But yes, it would be great for Kevin to do a full article on plant derived protein sources. If anyone feels they lack protein or are doing strenuous physical training, then AIM do a great product called PROPEAS, which is the protein from green peas.

  6. Mostly the madcow outbreaks are connected to radiological contamination, and copper deficiency. I forget the name of the british organic beef farmer who traveled the world to figure this out. The british mad-cow epidemic was a consequence of the chernobyl fallout, and the british government’s use of a copper chellating insecticide on their cows, in response to the warble fly epidemic.

    …Mark Purdey? Yes, glad that bubbled to the surface. 🙂

    Potatoes are a good vegan source of protein.


  7. Ann says:

    Other protein sources: hemp seed, chia seed, spirulina, chlorella, (60% protein), seaweeds, bee pollen (40% protein – if you eat bee products). Sarah mentioned sprouting seeds – sprouting increases the protein content of the seed. There are quite a few vegan protein powders.

    Just a note, I think Cherie Soria meant D3; D2 is synthetic D.

    Kevin and Ann I love your show!!

  8. Nomi says:

    Another excellent source of plant protein is …..GREENS. If you make green smoothies you are getting a significant amount of protein.

    Many people including myself, and Dr. Gabriel Cousens feel a person on a vegan diet needs to supplement with B12. Most B12 is cyanobalamin which is not very bio-available to us humans…guess it works OK in a test tube. The preferred B12 is methylcobalamin. I have been using the Healthy Habits B12 patches that Kevin sells at his website for several years and and am very satisified with the product.

  9. Rhianna says:

    I have given cooked and raw vegan diets several good, long term attempts over the years. In the long run, I feel so much better with the inclusion of animal foods with plant foods. The raw vegan diet was good for short term cleansing (the initial high was delightful but did not last past the first year) but not long term maintenance of my physical, emotional, and mental health. Many nuts, seeds, grains, legumes are irritating to my gut. I trust my body to guide me as to what it wants and needs.

    There is a book written by Susan Schenck (author of the Live Food Factor about raw veganism) called Beyond Broccoli, Creating a Biologically Balanced Diet when a Vegetarian Diet Doesn’t Work. Ms. Schenck was a raw vegan for 6 years and then her health wasn’t great. So she included animal foods and began to feel great. This book has been helpful for me to read about someone else who has had a similar experience.

    Give various diets a try and feel your body, emotions, and mind. One can choose to live according to theory, but since everyone is different, one must discover for oneself what works. There are scientifically-based,well-researched and credible arguments for either veganism (cooked, raw, high fat raw, high carb low fat raw,etc), vegetarianism, and omnivorism (including paleo/primal), depending upon your focus. My response is to find out for myself.

    If I discover that I need to return to veganism again, for shorter term cleansing, etc, I will do it. But for now, I am rebuilding with animal foods after feeling depleted on a mostly plant-based diet.

    I agree with much of the advice from the article above: eliminate or reduce refined carbohydrates, alcohol, replace oils and unhealthy fats with healthy ones (although many nuts and seeds contain a higher ratio of Omega 6s to Omega 3s), buy organic, etc. But in terms of eliminating animal protein, I know from personal experience that this has not worked for the long term. I don’t believe there is less disease on a vegan diet.

    In the landlocked state with 4 seasons in which I live, it is more sustainable to eat the local grass-fed animals than foods and supplements trucked/flown in from far flung parts of the world. It is far more difficult to eat entirely locally here in CO on a vegan diet. At least for me it was, especially not handling grains and legumes very well.

  10. Joe Jeles says:

    Jesus Crist,Profet Muhamed,Buddha,the dahlai Lima,THE indian Rishis,they all eat meat.they knew better.

  11. Eric says:

    This is poor one-sided reporting. What kind of food were the animals fed? Garbage in equals garbage out. How were the animals cooked? Only boiling, poaching and steaming are safe to cook meat. How much meat was eaten per pound of body weight? Was the skin removed? Was it eaten with a sugary sauce? Was it eaten with the necessary amount of fiber to enable the body to metabolize the minerals? Was it eaten with any other potentially unhealthy components? The Framingham study determined that the cultures who consume the most saturated fat lived the longest. Most vegetable sources of fat contain very high levels of omega 6 fatty acids which encourage inflammation. 50% of woman cannot convert beta-carotene into pro-vitamin A which means that cannot be vegetarians for very long. Arterial plaque is only made from polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat never saturated fat. Humans are built to be omnivorous and just like Chimpanzees we need some occasional meat cooked correctly for optimal health. Without meat in our diets we would be far less evolved. Organ meats especially help when there are periods where other sources of food have less value due to poor growing conditions. This article seems to be more religious in it’s views than honest about food science.

  12. Kathleen says:

    Thanks for a vegan friendly article. A lot of us out here became vegans for ethical reasons. We are very careful to supplement with B12 and DHA and other nutrients that vegans can be deficient in. A lot of us have been thriving on a vegan diet for decades and are in perfect health. Thanks for an article that doesn’t hint that our health will soon be suffering.

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