OPINION: Veganism Is Great For Health - But It Can't Cure All Diseases

A health plant-based diet can help control or reverse some conditions - but it is not a miracle cure for everything
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Vegan diets do not provide a miracle cure for all illnesses (Photo: Licensed from Adobe. Do not use without permission)

Veganism is a great, compassionate lifestyle choice - and above and beyond helping animals, many people (though not all) feel health benefits.

Many health professionals say that swapping a diet of bacon and steak for one of whole grains, veg and plant-based protein can result in lower cholesterol and risks from various cancers.

For example, the World Health Organization has classed processed meats as a group 1 carcinogen, meaning there's sufficient evidence that they cause cancer - particularly bowel cancer which is on the rise among young people.

Not a cure for everything

But that doesn’t mean that veganism is the cure-all for every health issue.

Vegan advocate Alicia Silverstone has done amazing work for the cause. She promoted plant-based living years before most of us cottoned onto its benefits - and she looks well for it.

But she now claims that her son has never been seriously sick - other than the occasional childhood sniffles - and said it's all because he is vegan.

She told Page Six at Good Housekeeping's #RaiseTheGreenBar sustainability summit in NYC that Bear Blu has 'never had to take medicine in his life'.

While that might be true, I believe it's dangerous to promote veganism as this miraculously protective lifestyle.

Woman holding tomatoes
Vegetables are not always a good replacement for modern medicine (Photo: Licensed from Adobe. Do not use without permission)

Food and health

Diet can be powerful medicine - and healthcare systems tend to overlook it.

But I believe food choices can only go so far.

For example, if you catch sepsis (and anyone can), being a vegan will not help you. If your kid catches measles because you didn't get them vaccinated against it, no amount of kale is going to help them fight the disease.

By allowing people to promote diet as a cure, we also end up shaming people who do take medicines. Too many doctors prescribe drugs too easily these days but some of us do genuinely need them.

Limitations of vegan diet

While it is important to acknowledge that diet can play a huge role in health, it's crucial to admit that veganism can't cure or necessarily protect you from all forms of poor health - either mental or physical.

While there are certainly conditions that a whole food plant-based diet can improve - including type 2 diabetes and heart disease - it is not a silver bullet for every health condition.

We need to enjoy veganism for what it is - a compassionate movement that enables us to treat the Earth with respect.

But whilea whole food plant-based diet can prevent and reverse some conditions, it cannot cure every disease - sometimes traditional medicines is needed.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself. 

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PBN Contributor:

Miranda Larbi is a national health, fitness and lifestyle journalist who believes that veganism isn’t only a animal rights concern, but also a health, feminist and racial equality issue. She turned vegan for good after training for a marathon on a plant-based diet and partaking in a vegan bodybuilder challenge.

(c) 2018 Plant Based News LTD. All Rights Reserved. Content must not be copied without permission.

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