Vegan; Vegetarian; Veggie; Blog Post

A professional from BUPA UK has spoken to the press – Daily Express 1.3.17 – to raise concerns regarding the vegan lifestyle by branding it restrictive with many nutritional deficiencies.

Valerie MacLean, a Health Coach/Dietician within the BUPA UK group has made the claim amid a huge upturn in people taking up the vegan lifestyle.

What I want to do here is dissect a few of the comments that Valerie has made and add my own perspective to each point, this writer has been a Vegan for the past decade, no ailments or illness, no malnutrition and a clean bill of health on my recent body MOT in terms of essential vitamins and nutrients,  so I shall post the comment below and then add my thoughts in bold to each point Valerie made that has been highlighted in red, I should also cover the legalities here in so much that the comments I have taken from the original article via – 1.3.17 – have not been doctored in any way, they are printed in the original format, I am merely adding my thoughts in bold print.


 “There is no denying that veganism can be restrictive.

“Another factor to consider is the nutritional deficiencies associated with a vegan diet. Traditionally, we’re able to get some of our “essential” nutrients from animal and dairy products”

“A vegan diet may lack essential amino acids, iron and omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin B12 so it’s important to keep a varied diet.”

OK, this really grates on me, what I really find most galling about this whole passage is that the person making the claims is employed as dietician within the BUPA group, lets cut to the chase, yes a vegan diet MAY lack essential amino acids etc. if your vegan diet/lifestyle is totally unplanned, let me flip this, how many ‘meat eaters’ have a poor nutritional content & value? how many lack key nutrients daily? are they all adequately filled with the correct nutrients? absolutely not, with the lack of complete education surrounding food per se many meat eaters survive on dreadfully processed foods pumped with all sorts of rubbish to sustain flavour and shelf life, it is proven that vegans can adequately obtain get arrays of nutrients from plant based sources and there are a huge array of plant based supplements on today’s market to off set any deficiencies, and no, vegans simply do not exist on supplements.

 “Despite its popularity, it can be time consuming initially to read food labels that you are purchasing to ensure they are vegan friendly. It can also be difficult in social situations, such as when dining out or eating at someone else’s home”

So shall we not read labels then?? I’m totally perplexed by this type of comment, why is it a negative to read an ingredient label, this is what we should all be doing whether you are vegan, veggie, meat eater et all, surely we should be encouraging everyone to read labels and gain an understanding about what we are essentially consuming, you’d think a health professional would be encouraging this, but not here with a vegan lifestyle, for a vegan it’s a hassle, and let’s not forget, most products nowadays come with a little logo/trademark situated on pack which states something along the lines of SUITABLE FOR VEGANS.

Now the social situation is really is a poor argument, I am a vegan and I can honestly say in today’s market in terms of eating out, choice etc. we are spoilt, from restaurants, coffee shops to supermarkets we have a great array of ever growing vegan products. If you are vegan and eating at someone’s home does it really create an issue, we live in a world where everyone has different eating habits, that’s life, is it a difficult social situation, of course not, would you invite someone to dinner but not ask is there anything they like or dislike etc.? 

“Planning vegan meals may be challenging initially as you need to consider the overall balance and nutritional content of meals. Nutritional requirements vary between individuals and are dependent on a person’s height, weight, age and levels of activity.”

Planning any type of meal for any type of lifestyle is always a challenge in terms of balance & nutritional content, does everyone who consumes meat have a fully stocked internal nutritional balance every day? if they do, it would be interesting to see how many people have passed through BUPA’s doors with ailments & health issues related to poor diet choices, and of course nutritional requirements vary from person to person, that is simple science, child’s play, so what is the relevance to veganism,  this passage is just a blatant and a quite obtuse low ‘dig’ at vegans.


Instead of going fully vegan, Valerie suggested incorporating some of the more positive aspects of the diet into your lifestyle.

She suggested: “Try to limit red meat to once or twice a week and be mindful of quantity; a portion size of meat should be no bigger than the palm of your hand or replace red meat with chicken or fish which are leaner sources of protein or consider non-meat protein such as chickpeas, lentils and kidney beans”

So to finalise, Valerie suggests that instead of going fully vegan you should otherwise try to incorporate some more positive aspects of your diet into your lifestyle, she suggests limiting red meat to just once or twice per week and add chicken & fish, WTH…. completely ignorant to the obvious reason as to why the majority of people chose to take up the vegan lifestyle, maybe someone should point out to Valerie that when you choose to go vegan, you actually do not wish to consume meat, fish or any other aspect that was once living with a beating heart & organs, I am so perplexed and damn right annoyed at these comments from a so called dietician within the BUPA UK group, how narrow minded and obtuse can one be.

To finish this article I just wanted to post some words that I have found on the BUPA website regarding the vegan lifestyle, you will see that I have highlighted a key aspect in the bottom paragraph , you’ll see that you are encouraged to plan your dishes to ensure you are getting the correct balance, sound advice I here you say, but to Valerie the ‘expert’, all that planning is a hassle and time consuming in regards to veganism….


If you’re vegan, it means that you don’t eat any fish, meat, dairy products or by-products of animals. Whether you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you need to make sure you’re getting enough protein, iron and vitamin B12. Not having enough vitamin B12 in your body could lead to anaemia, or problems with your sight and memory.

Vitamin B12 is found in meat-free foods. Boost your B12 by topping up on foods such as:

  • yeast extract
  • soya products, such as milk and yoghurt
  • breakfast cereals
  • rice and oat drinks (check the label)

A lot of calcium comes from dairy foods, so you’ll need to also make sure you’re getting enough calcium from other sources. If you don’t eat dairy products, opt for foods such as:

  • tofu – a great substitute for meat in a stir-fry
  • green leafy vegetables – particularly pak-choi and kale (but not spinach)
  • sesame seeds and nuts
  • dried fruits, such as figs and apricots

Whatever diet you decide to follow, eating a balanced variety of food from the five main food groups is essential. As long as you plan your meals to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need, a vegetarian or vegan diet can be a healthy one. It may even open up a new way of eating healthier that works for you.

What do you think? we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below

Veggie Eye



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