View Full Version : Vegan settlement in Siberia, Russia

May 15th, 2004, 10:36 AM
From http://www.european-vegetarian.org/evu/english/news/news981/siberia.html

"Healthstudy in a Vegan settlement in Siberia, Russia
by Prof.Dr.Irina Medkova

from EVU News, Issue 1 /1998 - Espa?ol

Prof.Dr.Irina Medkova
About three years ago the largest vegan settlement in Russia appeared in Siberia, where people were united by common religious beliefs. Their way of life attracted the attention of the officials who were worried about the health of the vegans. The Medical Centre for Practical Work and Research of the Vegetarian Society in Russia together with the Institute of Medical Problems of the North decided to send an expedition to the settlement to carry out a comprehensive study of the way of life, the health status and the eating habits of the vegans. The medical team included doctors of different specialisations and laboratory specialists.

The settlement is situated on the banks of a mountain river in a picturesque place in the virgin forests of Siberia. The only neighbours are some local people in a small village.

The study included a diagnostical check-up, blood counts, urine tests, ultrasound check up. The way of life, eating habits and the type of food eaten were studied during the talks with the people and through questionnaires. 110 people were involved in the study: 84 were vegans and 26 were villagers who use a traditional diet including meat, fish, dairy products. The latter served as a control group. The vegans were divided into four age groups: 18-39, 40-59 and 60-74.

Formerly, the vegans belonged to an urban population, 55% of them are college and university graduates, they have various professions but at present they have to do a different kind of work ? they are engaged in agriculture, construction, handicrafts. Although the living standards in the settlement are rather low, there prevails a positive emotional atmosphere and great enthusiasm.

The members of the vegan group have been vegans for 0.5-5 years; the average term ? 2.2 years; they kept to a vegetarian diet for a longer period: from 1 to 20 years. They became vegetarians for religious and ethical reasons. The vegans stick to a healthy way of life: they do not smoke or take alcohol. Most of them do physical work. Previously, 21% of them were smokers and 76% occasionally drank alcohol. The change in their way of life benefited their health: they lost extra weight, their sleep improved (12% of the vegans formerly suffered from insomnia and took pills), they became more fit. 65% of the vegans state that they became more balanced emotionally and their family relations improved. Most of the people attribute this to the vegan diet.

The diet of the Siberian vegans includes rye bread, often home-made; wheat bread is seldom used. The diet includes also various cereals: buck-wheat, millet, rice etc. They also eat beans, peas, lentils, soy. Most of them (91%) do not use pastas. The people in the vegan settlement not only eat without fats or butter but they seldom use oil (sunflower or olive oil), 86% do not use even these. They use such vegetables as potatoes, carrots, beet-root, radish pumpkins, cabbage onions, garlic, tomatoes, squash, sweet pepper. They also widely eat the greens: parsley, fennel and others.

People in the vegan settlement

Of berries they eat strawberries, black currants, blackberries; they have such fruit as apples, sometimes oranges and lemons also dried fruit. Mushrooms, honey, herb tea and nuts are also part of their diet.

Vegan children in Siberia
The studies showed that the vegan diet improved the lipid metabolism in the vegans (their cholesterol level is very low) and normalised their weight and their cardio-vascular systems. No Vitamin B12, deficiency and no iron deficiency was found in their blood. On the other hand a calcium deficiency was observed, evidently, due to the lack of dairy products in their diet.

Some disturbances of the liver and pancreas were observed as well as of the renal system both in the vegan and in the control group, which can be attributed not so much to diet as to ecological factors ? the mineral content of the drinking water. On the whole the health of the vegans is better than that of the control group ? the local population living on a mixed diet.

Prof. Dr. Irina Medkova
Vegetarian Society of Russia,
39, bl.3, flat 23 Volzhsky Bulvar, Moscow, 109462 Russia,
Tel/Fax: +7 (0)95 170 70 29"


May 15th, 2004, 02:43 PM
Yeah, I'm sure the calcium deficiency had to do with lack of cow's milk. *rolls eyes* Obviously, whoever wrote this paper wasn't very educated.

Looks like those "vegans" need to quit eating honey and eat some yummy kale instead.

May 16th, 2004, 11:45 AM
The page was found at a vegetarian site, not a vegan site.... Still, it is interesting to see that some of these people were calcium deficient, Calcium deficiency is easy to avoid when being vegan - if you know what to eat; how to reprogram your eating habits.

None of these vegans were lacking B12, but they had only been vegan for max 5 years. B12 needs calcium for absorption... someone, send them this list! :)

Soy or ricemilk, commercial, 8 ounces 150-500
calcium-fortified, plain

Collard greens, cooked 1 cup 357
Blackstrap molasses 2 Tbsp 342
Tofu, processed with calcium
sulfate* 4 ounces 200-330

Calcium-fortified orange juice 8 ounces 300
Commercial soy yogurt, plain 6 ounces 250
Turnip greens, cooked 1 cup 249
Tofu, processed with nigari* 4 ounces 80-230
Kale, cooked 1 cup 179
Okra, cooked 1 cup 176
Soybeans, cooked 1 cup 175
Sesame seeds 2 Tbsp 160
Bok choy, cooked 1 cup 158
Tempeh 1 cup 154
Mustard greens, cooked 1 cup 152
Figs, dried or fresh 5 medium 135
Tahini 2 Tbsp 128
Almonds 1/4 cup 97
Broccoli, cooked 1 cup 94
Almond butter 2 Tbsp 86
Soymilk, commercial, plain 8 ounces 80

(from http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/calcium.htm)

May 16th, 2004, 11:49 AM
Here's another one:


"Good Vegan Calcium Sources

Just for fun I looked up the nutrients in these foods in Food Values of Portions Commonly Used by Jean A. T. Pennington.

White/Wholemeal bread, Taco Shells, Oats

White bread:
30 mg of Ca per slice

Whole wheat bread:
18 mg of Ca per slice

Taco shell:
16 mg of Ca per slice

Instant oatmeal:
163 mg of Ca per packet

Soyabeans, Tofu, Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Pistachios, Sunflower Seeds

Soy beans, mature, boiled:
175 mg of Ca per cup

Tofu, raw:
130 mg of Ca per .5 cup (258 mg for firm tofu)

Almonds, 24, dried:
75 mg of Ca

Brazil nuts, 8, dried:
50 mg of Ca

Pistachios, 38, dried:
38 mg of Ca

Sunflower seeds, dried:
33 mg of Ca per oz

Sesame Seeds, Flax Seed, Carob

Sesame seeds, kernels, dried:
10 mg of Ca per Tbsp (88 mg for whole seeds)

Flax seed:
not listed

Carob flour:
359 mg of Ca per cup

Beet Greens, Collards, Dandelion Greens, Mustard Greens, Spinach

Beet greens, boiled:
82 mg of Ca per .5 cup

Collards, boiled:
148 mg of Ca per cup

Dandelion greens, raw:
42 mg of Ca per .5 cup (73 if boiled)

Mustard greens, boiled:
52 mg of Ca per .5 cup

Spinach, raw:
28 mg of Ca per .5 cup (122 mg if boiled)

Turnip Greens, Watercress, Broccoli, Carrots, Cabbage, Garlic, Parsley

Turnip greens, raw:
53 mg of Ca per .5 cup (99 mg if boiled)

Watercress, raw:
20 mg of Ca per .5 cup

Broccoli, raw:
21 mg of Ca per .5 cup (89 mg if boiled)

Carrots, raw:
19 mg of Ca per medium carrot

Carrots, boiled:
24 mg of Ca per .5 cup

Cabbage, green, raw:
16 mg of Ca per .5 cup (25 mg if boiled)

Cabbage, red, raw:
18 mg of Ca per .5 cup (28 mg if boiled)

Garlic, raw, 3 cloves:
16 mg of Ca

Parsley, raw:
39 mg of Ca per .5 cup

Spirulina, Chives, Seaweed, Cauliflower, Okra, Cassava

no data for Ca

Chives, raw:
2 mg of Ca per Tbsp

Agar, raw:
54 mg of Ca per 3.5 oz

Agar, dried:
625 mg of Ca per 3.5 oz

Irishmoss, raw:
72 mg of Ca per 3.5 oz

Kelp, raw:
168 mg of Ca per 3.5 oz

Laver (nori), raw:
70 mg of Ca per 3.5 oz

Wakame, raw:
150 mg of Ca per 3.5 oz

Cauliflower, raw:
14 mg of Ca per .5 cup (17 mg if boiled)

Okra, boiled:
50 mg of Ca per .5 cup

Cassava, raw:
91 mg of Ca per 3.5 oz

Figs, Papaya, Rhubarb, Molasses

Figs, raw:
18 mg of Ca per medium fig

Figs, dried:
269 mg of Ca per 10 figs

Papaya, raw:
72 mg of Ca per medium papaya

Rhubarb, frozen, raw:
266 mg of Ca per cup

Molasses, barbados:
49 mg of Ca per Tbsp

Molasses, blackstrap:
137 mg of Ca per Tbsp

Molasses, light:
33 mg of Ca per Tbsp

Molasses, medium:
58 mg of Ca per Tbsp

Foods left off the original list:

Azuki beans, boiled:
63 mg of Ca per cup

Amaranth, boiled:
138 mg of Ca per cup

Canned baked beans, veg:
128 mg of Ca per cup

Beans, refried, canned:
188 mg of Ca per cup

Black beans, boiled:
47 mg of Ca per cup

Black turtle beans, boiled:
103 mg of Ca per cup

Burdock root, boiled:
62 mg of Ca per cup

Butter beans, canned:
40 mg of Ca per cup

Butterbur (fuki), boiled:
59 mg of Ca per 3.5 oz (what is this?)

Cabbage, chinese (pak choi):
79 mg of Ca per .5 cup, boiled (37 if raw)

Cardoon, boiled:
72 mg of Ca per 3.5 oz (don't know this either)

Chickpeas, boiled:
80 mg of Ca per cup

124 mg of Ca per cup

Chickory greens, raw:
90 mg of Ca per .5 cup

Blackeyed peas, boiled:
42 mg of Ca per cup

Cranberry beans, boiled:
89 mg of Ca per cup

French beans, boiled:
111 mg of Ca per cup

Great northern beans, boiled:
121 mg of Ca per cup

Kale, boiled:
47 mg of Ca per .5 cup

Kidney beans, boiled:
50 mb of Ca per cup

Lambsquarters, boiled:
232 mg of Ca per .5 cup

Lima beans, boiled:
32 mg of Ca per cup (52 mg for baby limas)

Lupins, boiled:
85 mg of Ca per cup

Mung beans, boiled:
55 mg of Ca per cup

Mungo beans, boiled:
95 mg of Ca per cup

Navy beans, boiled:
128 mg of Ca per cup

Pigeon peas, boiled:
72 mg of Ca per cup

Pink beans, boiledd:
88 mg of Ca per cup

Pinto beans, boiled:
82 mg of Ca per cup

191 mg of Ca per .5 cup

75 mg of Ca per .5 cup

Acorn squash, baked:
45 mg of Ca per .5 cup

Butternut squash, boiled:
42 mg of Ca per .5 cup

White beans, boiled:
161 mg of Ca per cup

White beans, small, boiled:
131 mg of Ca per cup

Winged beans, boiled:
244 mg of Ca per cup

Yellow beans, boiled:
110 mg of Ca per cup "

May 16th, 2004, 12:04 PM
Information on this Siberian vegan settlement is also to be found at PubMed, here:

and, an update from 1999, here:

Sep 9th, 2011, 12:19 PM
So, have they all died from horrific B12 and calcium deficiency by now?

Best regards,

Sep 9th, 2011, 03:11 PM
Are they still there? I might visit for a year or so.
I might write to the professor.
OK, I found a list of Russian "alternative" settlements.

Sep 9th, 2011, 03:51 PM
Hi Whalespace,

if you speak Russian, try to find out more!

I also found that 'list of alternative settlements', and it could be the one in Timberkal, but the article is about 86 people, while the Timberkal group seems to be around 2000 (apart from appearing - on the outside - as a bunch of religious nuts).

If you have access to the original scientific article in Russian and are able to read it, it might tell you more....

Best regards,

Sep 9th, 2011, 06:29 PM
My Russian language experience is limited to nine short lesson compact discs, and some children's picture books. I will look around though. I just assumed that vegans in Russia were isolated individuals.