The new medicine or maybe oldest

Clearly one of the most interesting Rural Route Radio programs yet in 20 years just happened Feb. 14. My guest was recovering vegan Gisele from Sonoma, California.

She spent 20 years not only as a vegan but was, in many respects, a pioneer in the arena of raw food vegan chefs. On Feb. 11, 2019, it all came to an end for her as she was in a car accident. She saw the X-ray of her own spine and doctors diagnosed her with vegetarian myopathy. I was not familiar with the term but found this interesting tidbit from the National Institutes of Health at

A 20-year-old vegetarian man was admitted to our hospital complaining of muscle weakness and gait disturbances of 4 years duration. For the past 5 years, he had major depression and had confined himself at home. He exhibited tenderness upon palpation of the chest, sternum and proximal muscles. Hypocalcemia, hypophosphatemia, vitamin D deficiency, increased levels of alkaline phosphatase, and intact parathyroid hormone were noted. An x-ray skeletal survey revealed generalized osteopenia, multiple vertebral and costal fractures, and a pelvis deformed into the shape of a triangle. A diagnosis of osteomalacia secondary to vitamin D deficiency from lack of exposure to sunlight and to inadequacy of the diet was made. The patient was started on a treatment with 20,000 IU of vitamin D3 once a week plus 1 g/d of calcium. Eight months later, gait disturbances have significantly improved and laboratory findings have all normalized.”

I share that paragraph only because it describes a growing medical condition that people have where the prescription for health is nutrition. Back to Gisele, my recovering vegan, and her appearance on Rural Route. She walked us through how poorly she felt all the time and how the vegan community would just tell her she wasn’t vegan enough.

The first symptom she described, and the one that caused her the most turmoil and expense trying to fix, was poor skin. Thousands of dollars in supplements later, she just could not fix it. I would simply share what the best pig nutritionist I have ever known told me, “The external condition of the skin reflects the inside of the intestines.” If your skin is not healthy neither is your digestion and absorption of the nutrition that is available.

Gisele’s hair started falling out and the vegan community continued to tell her that she was not vegan enough. Her teeth started to loosen and the vegans continued to push her to “be more vegan.” I have met and visited with enough vegans through the past 20 years to learn that being vegan is not a dietary choice, it is a religion. This is yet another example of how no matter how sick you become you cannot stop and evaluate what got you to this point. In Gisele’s case, a car accident that nearly killed her actually saved her life.

Physical health is one thing but even more concerning to me is what vegan diets do to mental health. Dr Georgia Ede, a board-certified psychiatrist, has been loud about the dangers of avoiding meat and eggs.

She writes about this the food-mood movement at “Many people think of mental health problems like depression, anxiety, and ADHD as chemical imbalances that require medication, but how often do we stop to wonder what causes these chemical imbalances? While medications are clearly helpful and important for some individuals, one could argue that the most powerful way to change brain chemistry is through food—because brain chemicals can be influenced by nutrients in the food we eat.”

She goes on, without mincing words, that meat and eggs are absolutely essential for proper mental health. If you look at the growing number of particularly young females that are falling prey to this cult-like religion, it becomes quite scary. At this junction in understanding how diet is related to overall health, we hear a few voices in the wilderness shouting about the importance of eating meat.

Finally, we see some in the medical community are coming to understand that the best treatment for disease is a better diet. I will close with a sentiment that 90-year-old Estel Fairchild from Spencer, Iowa, hit me with as I finished speaking last week: “Why do you think we, as Americans, currently spend 10% of our disposable income on food and 20% on medical care?” The answer speaks volumes.

Editor’s note: Trent Loos is a sixth generation United States farmer, host of the daily radio show, Loos Tales, and founder of Faces of Agriculture, a non-profit organization putting the human element back into the production of food. Get more information at, or email Trent at [email protected].