Thursday, February 21, 2013

Why Is Alberta Health Services Dissing Vegan Diets?

This one's a bit nutty.

So apparently Alberta Health Services, the official provincial health folks, are alarmed by vegan diets.

So much so in fact that they published a one page backgrounder for "professional purposes only" developed by the province's official registered dietitians in response to the movie Forks over Knives which in turn makes the case for vegan diets to prevent chronic diseases. The response suggests animals really ought to be part of everyone's diet.

The backgrounder was leaked to me by someone who wishes to remain nameless, but here is part of what they had to say along with the leak,
"This response agitates me, to say the least. Especially about the milk, "low fat" cheese issue and the dairy industry influence."
I reached out to my friend Andy Bellatti who himself is both an RD and someone who enjoys a vegan diet and asked him for his thoughts. As I expected, he didn't mince words,
"This seems more like a press release for meat and dairy than an educational brochure on plant-based diets. To put it simply, every single nutrient in dairy products can be obtained from a plant-based food. I am also baffled that the "meat and alternatives" list does not include beans, nuts, and seeds.

Furthermore, planning is essential for all diets. Without careful planning, an omnivore can end up not consuming enough fiber or dark leafy green vegetables. The idea that the mere act of eschewing meat and dairy practically necessitates a flowchart to make sure one's diet is balanced is untrue
Could the fact that Alberta is the beef capital of Canada have anything to do with the alarm?