This past weekend, I was honored to sit on a panel of experts that included Nick Delgado, aka, “The Worlds Strongest Vegan,” Dr. Joel Wallach (Dead Doctors Don’t Lie), and Sports Nutritionist Sirve from Estonia. This was for the New Life Expo at the Broward County Convention Center. We were questioned by an educated health-conscious group of attendees regarding best eating practices, as it relates to everything from achieving optimal performance to fighting the worst of disease.
When I was asked to sit on the panel, I warned them that having me on the panel would stir the pot quite a bit. I am not the kind of person that is going to let a rambling dogmatic expert lead a crowd down a slippery slope without giving some thought to the possible consequences.
Nick Delgado is a staunch vegan. He is an expert on blood microscopy. He is certain that his diet choices are best and that there is no better way to eat than vegan. He would have you think that to eat meat is certain path to a premature death.
As a way of introduction, Nick Delgado opened with a monologue of his many weight lifting achievements including some world records. Although it sounded somewhat conceited, I admit, it was necessary. After all, his physique is what gained my respect for his vegan ways. I didn’t think it was possible for a vegan to have such strength.
But I must admit, I did want to challenge Nick Delgado to an arm wrestling match. Not that I think of myself as a world class athlete or anything. But I do eat meat! I was quite curious as to whether or not a strict vegan, world class athlete that he is, could match the strength of a somewhat strong meat eater, though, by no means an athlete of his caliber. IMHO, I suspect it would have made for a more interesting panel meeting. Though I think the nature of these things is supposed to be more cordial. So cordial we were. But by no means did we lay down our weapons.
Dr. Joel Wallach, well, he is by no means a pushover. He speaks with the authority that comes from medical degrees, scientific literature, and years of clinical experience that supersedes most physicians. He opposes a meat free diet and makes no apology for his belief’s. Most of us born before the 90’s will have heard is revolutionary cassette tapes “Dead Doctor’s Don’t Lie,” as millions of copies have been in circulation (of course, they are now available on more current media).
It was hard to disagree with Sirve. Her position about the importance of the spectrum of Omega 3’s is pretty hard (and foolish) to refute.
And then there was me. Of course I had plenty to agree on with the entire panel … but, of course, at the same time had to find something to disagree on with everyone. My position on healthy fats alone stirred the pot sufficiently to either get me banned from a future position on such a panel or make me a fan favorite – I’m not sure yet.
But I think the take home message from the meeting was that there was something for everyone and that no two people are alike. For some, a raw vegan diet is best (there, I said it! or, rather I typed it, as hard as it was … it just doesn’t feel right. I might have to edit that out later!). And for others a diet with healthy animal products and lots of vegetation is best (I like healthy oils on my raw vegetables – but that, according to the other experts, is my problem. They didn’t actually say it, but the body language was quite loud and clear).
With all that said, I have a love and appreciation for Nick, Joel, and Sirve. They truly are la crem de la crem. Each spent personal time with me as I asked them to expound on their positions and the reasons for them. They are wonderful people and contributors to our quest for greater knowledge as it pertains to optimal nutrition.
I am hopeful that a recording of the session is available from the New Life Expo website.
~ Dr. Michael Haley