My friend Erik Marcus recently invited me to write an introduction to vegan nutrition for his website vegan.com. In his weekly newsletter, Erik wrote about why he feels so strongly about providing solid nutrition information for vegans.
One of the most important and most neglected topics in all of veganism is our high recidivism rate—the percentage of vegans who go back to eating meat. I suspect in many cases, it’s because these people did not read accurate information about how to sensibly plan a vegan diet. There’s just so much misleading information about vegan nutrition out there, much of it passed along by people who have only the best intentions. […] Remember, animal lives aren’t just saved by people going vegan. They’re also saved by people staying vegan. Doing things that will cut the recidivism rate is one of the most important forms of activism.
Needless to say, I agree, and it’s the main reason why I do what I do. On the same day my article was published, I was sent a newsletter article about vitamin B12 (yes, the B12 thing again) written just last month by a prominent vegan health professional. The article shared less-than-optimal recommendations. Vegans who follow those recommendations run the risk of deficiency which is bad in and of itself, obviously. But it also has the unfortunate consequence of aiding those who want to disparage a vegan diet as “dangerous.”
It seems like it never ends — this harmful information in the vegan community. And misinformation regarding vitamin B12 is especially annoying. While a deficiency of this nutrient can be extremely serious, it is also incredibly easy to get enough — but only if you have good information. Which is why I’m especially grateful that a website like vegan.com, which has a large readership, is advocating for safe, evidence-based nutrition information. (For more in depth information about vitamin B12, please see my primer, and of course, the incomparable VeganHealth site.
I hope you’ll read and share my comprehensive introduction to vegan nutrition on vegan.com. But if you don’t feel like plowing through the whole article, please at least skip to the end where I summarize the most important guidelines for planning healthy vegan diets. Let me know what you think and if you have any questions.