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KittyKitty Raw Newbie

Ok so as much as I try not to talk about my lifestyle, knowing good and well people can very judgmental, it seems like I just can't away from negative comments. People know that I am vegan and just lately more and more come up to me, trying to be loving in their own way, but say Oh you NEED meat! You need this, you need that. One friend the other day said ' you can eat spinach until the cows come home, you still will not get the iron and protein in just one burger from mcdonald's.' Ugh! But then I start to give way to doubt and fear. This same lady was a vegetarian who felt sick off and on and her doctor told her body needed meat for the iron and when she incorporated just a little bit, she felt way better. I dont feel sick, I feel great! But what about 6 mo to a yr from now? Should I take extra supplements, such as iron? I'm so confused! I just want to make sure I am not harming my body more. Btw, i juice ALOT of spinach every day!

Anyone come across this? How do you feel about the comments?


  • daniefondaniefon Raw Newbie

    I think that you should keep doing what you're doing if you feel great! If you start to not feel great, you can reevaluate and adjust your diet as you need to. I get it in a teasing way all the time. I have been 100% raw for almost 2 years and vegetarian for 16 before that. When I get the protein comment, I usually flex a muscle and ask if it looks like I am lacking in protein (jokingly) or I tell them that I worked with a trainer for 1 1/2 years, while raw and had no trouble at all, either building muscle or with energy.

    I just had blood work done for the second time since becoming raw. The issues that I had in the past have all improved so much that I am above average in most categories, including iron, calcium, cholesterol, blood glucose, triglycerides, etc. So, for me at least, raw is good for my body. I say pay attention to how you feel and go with what works best for you. Before long, people will see how good you look and your energy etc, and will probably lay off.

  • liger99liger99 Raw Newbie

    I get the same thing. I'm the only person in my school that doesn't eat meat, let alone is a raw vegan. It gets on my nerves sometimes, but generally, I just put on my BS deflectors, and walk with my raw vegan head held high


  • camiheartsrawcamiheartsraw Raw Newbie

    I get it from both sides! All my meals, snacks, "desserts", and drinks are raw vegan so I'm a total weirdo to my friends and coworkers. My friend calls me "the only sane raw vegan I know" because I look so much better than I did when I was an omnivore. The diet has improved my health so much that the people who know me are genuinely happy for me even if they say little comments and don't quite understand it.

    The raw vegans get ticked because I take a couple supplements that aren't vegan.

    So I really don't know what to call myself :P I don't eat fish or meat or dairy or eggs or any other animal products (I only use vegan detergents and personal care products as well), but I can't call myself a raw vegan. I guess I'm a "flexitarian", which is just lame. This is a raw vegan site and I LOVE the recipes, but I kind of feel like an outcast in both social groups. I guess I need to either figure out a way to take enough other oils to compensate for the supplement or just learn to be OK with whatever I am because I feel great.

    Sheesh...I hadn't realized I had such a complex LOL

  • I apologize if you already know this (I didn't find out until recently) but if you are eating the spinach for the iron, you probably won't absorb much of it unless you have oranges (I think other citrus fruits work too?) about the same time. There is some type of inhibitor in the spinach that keeps you from absorbing the iron otherwise.

    If you are concerned about protein, have you checked into quinoa? It has tons of all the good stuff people worry vegans don't get enough of. It's also a good concept to throw out to concerned friends and family (don't worry, I eat quinoa, it's a complete protein.....).

    I get the horror stories too (my daughter went vegetarian and broke out in horrible acne, got sick, etc.) I think people truly ARE concerned. They may very well HAVE had a bad experience. They may not have been a healthy eating vegetarian (french fries and veggie burgers all the time). Or they may have actually just missed some nutrient or vitamin. I can can say for certainty is how I feel on a particular diet. I'm one of those who does believe that not everyone thrives on the same diet. (That's not always a popular opinion, but it's mine all the same.)

    One concern for vegans (whether raw or not) is B-12. It's also a concern for vegetarians and meat eaters (not just a vegan thing). Here's a great link about it on Vegan Outreach. I'm vegetarian (eat some diary and honey) but I use this site from time to time because they really seem to be down to earth and back there stuff with actual science information.


    They really give some good info on making sure you are getting the correct nutrients.

  • The best way to do it I think, is to get full blood work done so you can see if you ARE low in anything - you may not be.

    Some people just absorb iron better than others, I have two friends, both omnivores, who have low iron problems despite following their doctors orders of eating red meat every second day AND taking a supplement. My mum and I both also struggle to absorb iron - its a genetic thing, she takes a supplement, i dont, I'm trying to see if I can get my iron levels up naturally through other methods.

    Supplements can be great, but theyre not well absorbed by the body, your body is designed to get nutrients from food, not chemically processed dried out supplements in capsules.


    - there are two types of iron - heme and non heme. Heme iron is much easier for your body to access and is only found in animal products - which is why veg*ns need to include more iron in their diet.

    - Foods can also be iron absorption inhibitors or enhancers.

    Vitamin C rich foods are enhancers.

    Tannins (red wine, coffee, black tea), foods with oxalic acid (wholegrains, nuts, pulses, spinach, chard, beets and their relatives) are Inhibitors - the tannins and oxalic acid bind with the iron stopping your body from absorbing it. (Tannins inhibit 85% of absorption - another why coffee drinkers feel so crap all the time get addicted to caffeine - theyre so low in iron.)

    (other non-raw inhibitors: wholegrains, soy.)


    Spinach is iron rich, but also contains oxalic acid, so if you are eating spinach for your iron, you need to combine it with enhancers (citrus, tomatoes, broccoli, bok choy etc..)

    In fact this is true of most foods in that family (chard, beets, quinoa), such an annoying paradox that the most iron rich foods do that.

    other iron rich foods that dont contain oxalic acid:

    pumpkin seeds, backstrap molasses (not raw), asparagus.

    (more not raw: wholegrains including buckwheat, soy)

    pulses are iron rich too, but there's a lot of research that says you can't access the iron in them unless they are cooked - i'm sure there is also research that disagrees, but it made sense to me (cooking denatures an enzyme that prohibits the iron's absorbtion.)


    - if you do take an iron supplement, always take it WITH food.

    - make sure the spinach/iron rich veges you're eating are fresh (even if its frozen, make sure its not been unsealed for two long) as the nutritional content of food declines with age.

    - combine iron rich foods with enhancers.

    - Don't drink tea, coffee or red wine an hour either side of eating iron rich foods. (this one made a huge difference to me, i love black tea and when i stopped drinking it with meals i had more energy.)

  • whoops, becky said a lot of the same things i did.

    on B12;

    B12 is only found in animal products and yeasts (which are not a plant.) It's pretty important and all veg*ns really should supplement is somehow.

    I have no idea if there are raw sources, I use nutritional yeast and eat vegemite (an australian spread made from brewery yeast that most people think taste's horrible.)

    vegemite definitely isnt raw - nutritional yeast might be......I'm still new to the whole raw thing - what are your thoughts on fermenting?

  • superfood2superfood2 Raw Newbie

    B12 is from bacteria and everyone, including omnivores and lacto-ovo "vegetarians" should take a sublingual of methylcobalamin.

    Im showing a McDonald's hamburger has 13 g. of protein and 2.8 mg of iron.

    33% of calories from fat, 265 calories

    7 medium bananas have 9 g. of protein, 2.1 mg of iron

    5 c. of spinach - 4.3 g. of protein and 4.1 mg. of iron

    totaling 13.3 g. of protein and 6.2 mg. of iron

    Maybe your friends and family can actually look up the numbers before spouting off inaccuracies. It's disgusting how they're talking to you. If they can't talk nicely, I'd tell them to go away until they can, and that they can respect LIFE around you (talking about a hamburger as if it's the equivalent of a plant-based food....as if there's no death and hurt involved).

  • juicefastfanjuicefastfan Raw Newbie

    Invite them for a movie night and then play Super Size Me :D...if anyone can shut 'em up about hamburgers (especially from McD's!) it's good ol' Morgan!

  • Jaime, I didn't realize their was an inhibitor in quinoa! I'm so glad you mentioned that, I'll take that into account when eating it and make sure I add the tomatoes or citrus!

    If you need info on protein requirements, the vegan outreach also has a great set of charts about protein:


    It might be worth saying (for anyone newer to vegetarian/vegan or raw)- yes you can get protein from fruits and vegetables without the legums, grains or nuts (I think that comment was actually from another post, but it comes up from time to time),- but it takes a bit of effort for some people.

    If you are ONLY eating fruits and vegetables (maybe the vegetarian lady who got sick did this), you really need to eat a pretty large quantity of them to get enough protein. Like "kitchen sink" size salads (not that there is anything wrong with that) or like Superfood2 mentioned- 7 bananas at a sitting.

    Just something for people trying out fruit and vegetables ONLY to keep in mind when it comes to protein. I notice the comment several times that it's almost impossible to not get enough protein on a raw diet.

    I DO think it's possible in some cases- IF you don't eat the higher protein foods (like legumes) and DON'T compensate by eating LARGE amounts of the fruit and veggies. If you where raised like most people I know- having fruit is eating one apple a day, and salads come on the little plates.

    Just though I would mention this side of the protein debate. I know the 80/10/10 ers make sure protein isn't a problem by eating those large salads and LOTS of fruit. I did the 80/10/10 for a while, and learned a lot of valuable information (like you can eat a meal of JUST bananas, and salads where meant to be BIG) even though I do not follow it strictly anymore.

    But, I also learned that you have to learn to eat large amounts of fruits and salads IF you don't rely on the legumes, grains and nuts.

  • springleafspringleaf Raw Newbie

    Some really good stuff said already, just want to add a couple of things.

    When you start eating a vege or vegan diet and therefore cut out any heme iron sources your body gradually adapts to this diet by producing more of the receptors for absorbing iron in your gut. So you are eating less but are able to absorb more. ( I am a mostly vegan vegetarian - for over 20 years!- and I had blood tests recently and my iron was really good)

    You say "This same lady was a vegetarian who felt sick off and on and her doctor told her body needed meat for the iron and when she incorporated just a little bit, she felt way better." This doctor could just have easily told her about the best way to absorb more vegan iron sources using the information other people have mentioned above, he just didn't because doctors don't get much nutrition training and don't bother to specialise about vegan and vege options, for them it is far easier to say "eat meat".

    People may also find when they first go vege or vegan they get acne, tummy upsets etc, this usually just a detox effect from giving up meat and an adjustment to the new diet with its higher levels of fiber.

    Stay strong, do your homework on vegan nutrition and have answers ready to throw back at people!

  • superfood2superfood2 Raw Newbie

    Sisterbecky said: "If you are ONLY eating fruits and vegetables (maybe the vegetarian lady who got sick did this), you really need to eat a pretty large quantity of them to get enough protein. Like "kitchen sink" size salads (not that there is anything wrong with that) or like Superfood2 mentioned- 7 bananas at a sitting.

    Just something for people trying out fruit and vegetables ONLY to keep in mind when it comes to protein. I notice the comment several times that it's almost impossible to not get enough protein on a raw diet."

    You talk as if eating legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds regularly is an assumed part of the healthy human diet and that people who eat fruits and vegetables need to be cautious. I think it's the opposite. I think people who eat grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds need to be careful since they are causing inflammation, dehydration, and acidic conditoin in their bodies. They should compensate by eating as many fruits and vegetables as I eat.

    And eating a good/large amount goes without saying.... it's not like we spend all day eating, and it's simple to get enough protein if you eat enough calories. It's very easy, and actually some cooked fooders and processed raw eaters take longer for food prep and consumption than I do.

  • KittyKitty Raw Newbie

    Wow, lots of great information here. Thank you. I already blend my spinach with grapefruit, had no clue about inhibitors so yay for me :) I am new to raw, only since this year, so i am definetly going to get blood work done and looking forward to the results (hopefully good ) I gave up coffee which I never thought I would be able to do, and replaced it with green smoothies. I literally bounce off the walls with energy some days. Its so sad how people really dont know anything about health, and think getting a mcdonalds cheeseburger is more beneficial than a 'kitchen sink' full of spinach! After going raw, i had the realization and was appalled not a single dermatologist in my lifetime told me to eat more fruit and veggies to have clearer skin. And a little irritated for sure.

  • camiheartsrawcamiheartsraw Raw Newbie

    Well now I feel better about those kitchen sink full salads I've been eating. My husband looked at me like I was nuts, but I'm still skinny mini and eating a boat load in leafy greans and fruit a day. I've been moving more towards mono-meals than in the beginning and craving nuts and seeds a lot less. I still eat them some, but am no longer trying to overcompensate. I also can't stand as much salt, I don't like things as sweet, and I no longer love onions. I used to add dates to my morning smoothies and now I just add a banana or pear if things need to be sweet. I still like making a complex meal now and then, but am more careful about food combining. My tastes have been changing completely!

    This site is very helpful! Thank you!

  • Kitty -

    I've been to 3 dermatologists in my life - two were like 'hi, here, take this drug.'

    the other (who was thankfully my first) gave me all the information and options, natural and modern and tried 5 or 6 different strategies with me. Simple things (while sometimes not enough) like drinking more water, eating in a certain way, using (what i now realise are) vegan sunscreens..... so helpful.

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