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Currently making the rounds on the internet is an article resurrected from a 1999 issue of Vegetarian Times, “22 Reasons to Go Vegetarian.”
“Consider making this healthy choice as one of your new year’s resolutions. . .” says the teaser. “Stacks of studies confirm that a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables and grains is your best bet for living a longer, healthier and more enjoyable life. There are literally hundreds of great reasons to switch to a plant-based diet; here are 22 of the best.”
Leaving aside for the moment the fact that a “plant-based diet” is not necessarily the same as a vegan diet, and that in the US a diet containing fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains is a marker for prosperity and health consciousness (and therefore would naturally give better results than a diet lacking in these items), let’s look first at the American origins of the premise that a diet composed largely of fruits, vegetables and grains (presumably whole grains) is a passport to good health.
The American Vegetarian Society was founded in 1850 by Sylvester Graham (1794- 1851), an early advocate of dietary reform in United States and the inventor of Graham bread, made from chemical-free unsifted flour. Highly influential, Graham promoted vegetarianism and a high-fiber diet as a cure for alcoholism and lust. Graham preached that an unhealthy diet (one containing the confounding variables of meat and white flour) stimulated excessive sexual desire, which irritated the body and caused disease.
John Harvey Kellogg (1852-1943) followed in Graham’s footsteps. Inventor of corn flakes and a process for making peanut butter, Kellogg advocated a high-fiber vegetarian diet to combat the twin evils of constipation and “natural urges.” Kellogg preached against sexual activity even in marriage.
Today we recognize the demonization and suppression of “natural urges” as a recipe for the pathological expression thereof; in fact we’d probably label Graham and Kellogg as nut cases suffering from serious insecurities. But the diet proposed to accomplish their goal of character building and social piety is still with us, enshrined, in fact, in the government-sanctioned food pyramid based on grains, vegetables and fruits with the addition of small amounts of lowfat animal foods. Lop off the top of the pyramid and you have the vegan diet, still promoted with religious fervor even though its original dogmatic basis has been forgotten. The language of moral rectitude still lurks in the vegetarian arguments of sexually liberated New Age youth.
With these paradoxes in mind, let’s examine the 22 reasons given for adopting a vegan diet.
1. You’ll live a lot longer
“Vegetarians live about seven years longer, and vegans (who eat no animal products) about 15 years longer than meat eaters, according to a study from Loma Linda University. These findings are backed up by the China Health Project (the largest population study on diet and health to date), which found that Chinese people who eat the least amount of fat and animal products have the lowest risks of cancer, heart attack and other chronic degenerative diseases.”
Reference please? We haven’t found such statistics in a search of the medical database.
In spite of claims to “stacks of studies,” there is actually very little scientific literature that carefully compares mortality and disease rates in vegetarians and nonvegetarians. In 1991, Dr. Russell Smith, a statistician, analyzed the existing studies on vegetariansim1 and discovered that while a number of studies show that vegetarian diets significantly decrease blood cholesterol levels, very few have evaluated the effects of vegetarian diets on overall mortality. His careful analysis (see sidebar below) revealed no benefit from vegetarianism in terms of overall mortality or longevity. In fact, Smith speculated on the possibility that the available data from the many existing prospective studies were left unpublished because they failed to reveal any benefits of the vegetarian diet. He notes, for example, mortality statistics are strangely absent from the Tromso Heart Study in Norway, which showed that vegetarians had slightly lower blood cholesterol levels than nonvegetarians.2
Since the publication of Russell Smith’s analysis, two significant reports on vegetarianism and mortality have appeared in the literature. One was a 2005 German paper that compared mortality in German vegetarians and health-conscious persons in a 21-year followup.7 By comparing vegetarians with health-conscious meat eaters, the German researchers eliminated the major problem in studies that claim to have found better mortality rates in vegetarians compared to the general population. Vegetarians tend not to smoke, drink alcohol or indulge in sugar and highly processed foods. To compare these individuals to meat-eaters on the typical western diet will naturally yield results that favor vegetarianism. But in the German study, both vegetarians and nonvegetarian health-conscious persons had reduced mortality compared with the general population, and it was other factors—low prevalence of smoking and moderate or high levels of physical activity—that were associated with reduced overall mortality, not the vegetarian diet.
The other was a 2003 report that followed up on The Health Food Shoppers Study in the 1970s and the Oxford Vegetarians Study in the 1980s.8 The mortality of both the vegetarians and the nonvegetarians in these studies was low compared with national rates in the UK. Within the studies, mortality for major causes of death was not significantly different between vegetarians and nonvegetarians, although there was a non-significant reduction in mortality from ischemic heart disease among vegetarians.
As for Colin Campbell’s China Study, often cited as proof that plant-based diets are healthier than those containing animal foods, the data on consumption and disease patterns collected by the Cornell University researchers in their massive dietary survey do not support such claims. What the researchers discovered was that meat eaters had lower triglycerides and less cirrhosis of the liver, but otherwise they found no strong correlation, either negative or positive, with meat eating and any disease.9
In his introduction to the research results, study director Campbell refers to “considerable contemporary evidence supporting the hypothesis that the lowest risk for cancer is generated by the consumption of a variety of fresh plant products.”10 Yet Cornell researchers found that the consumption of green vegetables, which ranged from almost 700 grams per day to zero, depending on the region, showed no correlation, either positive or negative, with any disease. Dietary fiber intake seemed to protect against esophageal cancer, but was positively correlated with higher levels of TB, neurological disorders and nasal cancer. Fiber intake did not confer any significant protection against heart disease or most cancers, including cancer of the bowel.
In a 1999 article published in Spectrum, Campbell claimed the Cornell findings suggested “that a diet high in animal products produces disease, and a diet high in grains, vegetables and other plant matter produces health.”11 Such statements by the now-famous Campbell are misleading, to put it mildly, and have influenced many unsuspecting consumers to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle in the hopes of improving their health.
2. You’ll save your heart
“Cardiovascular disease is still the number one killer in the United States, and the standard American diet (SAD) that’s laden with saturated fat and cholesterol from meat and dairy is largely to blame. Plus, produce contains no saturated fat or cholesterol. Incidentally, cholesterol levels for vegetarians are 14 percent lower than meat eaters”
“Stacks of evidence” now exist to refute the notion that cholesterol levels and consumption of saturated fat have anything to do with heart disease, but this is a convenient theory for promoting vegetable oil consumption at the expense of animal fats. The International Atherosclerosis Project found that vegetarians had just as much atherosclerosis as meat eaters.12 Vegetarians also have higher levels of homocysteine, a risk marker for heart disease.13
The standard American diet is not, unfortunately, “laden with saturated fat and cholesterol.” It is, however, laden with trans fats and refined vegetable oils, both derived from plants, and it is these processed fats and oils that are associated with the increase in heart disease, not saturated animal fats.
3. You can put more money in your mutual fund
“Replacing meat, chicken and fish with vegetables and fruits is estimated to cut food bills.”
Some plant foods, such as nuts and breakfast cereals, are very expensive. And any analysis of your food budget must necessarily include medical and dental expenses, and also account for reduced income due to missed days at work, lack of energy and the behavioral difficulties that result from B12 deficiency. A lowcost vegetarian diet that renders you incapable of performing a well-paid, high-stress job—the kind that allows you to put money into a mutual fund—is a poor bargain in the long-term.
4. You’ll reduce your risk of cancer
“Studies done at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg suggest that this is because vegetarians’ immune systems are more effective in killing off tumour cells than meat eaters.’ Studies have also found a plant-based diet helps protect against prostate, colon and skin cancers.”
The claim that vegetarians have lower rates of cancer compared to nonvegetarians has been squarely contradicted by a 1994 study comparing vegetarians with the general population.14 Researchers found that although vegetarian Seventh Day Adventists have the same or slightly lower cancer rates for some sites, for example 91 percent instead of 100 percent for breast cancer, the rates for numerous other cancers are much higher than the general US population standard, especially cancers of the reproductive tract. SDA females had more Hodgkins disease (131 percent), more brain cancer (118 percent), more malignant melanoma (171 percent), more uterine cancer (191 percent), more cervical cancer (180 percent) and more ovarian cancer (129 percent) on average.
According to scientists at the Cancer Research UK Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford, “Studies of cancer have not shown clear differences in cancer rates between vegetarians and non vegetarians.”15
5. You’ll add color to your plate
“Meat, chicken and fish tend to come in boring shades of brown and beige, but fruits and vegetables come in all colors of the rainbow. Disease fighting phytochemicals are responsible for giving produce their rich, varied hues. So cooking by color is a good way to ensure you’re eating a variety of naturally occurring substances that boost immunity and prevent a range of illnesses”
Salmon, eggs and butter have beautiful color. Nothing prevents meat-eaters from adding color to their plate by using a variety of vegetables and fruits. The nutrients from these plant foods will be more easily absorbed if you serve them with butter or cream. Animal foods provide an abundance of “naturally occurring substances that boost immunity and prevent a range of illnesses.”
6. You’ll fit into your old jeans
“On average, vegetarians are slimmer than meat eaters, and when we diet, we keep the weight off up to seven years longer. That’s because diets that are higher in vegetable proteins are much lower in fat and calories than the SAD. Vegetarians are also less likely to fall victim to weight-related disorders like heart disease, stroke and diabetes”
Studies do show that vegetarians on average have lower body mass than non-vegetarians, but vegetarianism does not confer protection from stroke and diabetes and provides only minimal protection against heart disease. Some people do gain weight—lots of weight—on a vegetarian diet and many vegetarians are far too thin.
7. You’ll give your body a spring cleaning
“Giving up meat helps purge the body of toxins (pesticides, environmental pollutants, preservatives) that overload our systems and cause illness. When people begin formal detoxification programs, their first step is to replace meats and dairy products with fruits and vegetables and juices.”
There are no studies showing that elimination of meat from the diet helps “purge the body of toxins.” The wording is interesting as it implies that vegetarianism will render a sinful body pure.
Most plant foods today are loaded with pesticides and many components in animal products support the body’s detoxification system—such as iron in meat, amino acids in bone broths, vitamin A in liver and saturated fat in butter.
No doubt about it, however, toxins are everywhere, in plant foods and animal foods. Health conscious consumers need to do their best to reduce the toxic load by choosing organic plant foods and pasture-raised animal foods.
The Honolulu Heart Study found an interesting correlation of Parkinson’s disease with the consumption of fruit and fruit juices.16 Men who consumed one or more servings of fruit or fruit drinks per day were twice as likely to develop Parkinson’s as those who consumed less fruit. Commentators proposed either high levels of pesticides or natural nerve toxins called isoquinolones that occur in fruit as the cause. Salicylates are another component of fruit that can lead to problems. So even the consumption of “healthy” fruit is not necessarily safe.
8. You’ll make a strong political statement
“It’s a wonderful thing to be able to finish a delicious meal, knowing that no beings have suffered to make it”
Not a single bite of food reaches our mouths that has not involved the killing of animals. By some estimates, at least 300 animals per acre—including mice, rats, moles, groundhogs and birds—are killed for the production of vegetable and grain foods, often in gruesome ways. Only one animal per acre is killed for the production of grass-fed beef and no animal is killed for the production of grass-fed milk until the end of the life of the dairy cow.
And what about the human beings, especially growing human beings, who are suffering from nutrient deficiencies and their concomitant health problems as a consequence of a vegetarian diet? Or does only animal suffering count?
Of course, we should all work for the elimination of confinement animal facilities, which do cause a great deal of suffering in our animals, not to mention desecration of the environment. This will be more readily accomplished by the millions of meat eaters opting for grass-fed animal foods than by the smaller numbers of vegetarians boycotting meat.
Vegetarians wishing to make a political statement should strive for consistency. Cows are slaughtered not only to put steak on the table, but to obtain components used in soaps, shampoos, cosmetics, plastics, pharmaceuticals, waxes (as in candles and crayons), modern building materials and hydraulic brake fluid for airplanes. The membrane that vibrates in your telephone contains beef gelatin. So to avoid hypocrisy, vegetarians need to also refrain from using anything made of plastic, talking on the telephone, flying in airplanes, letting their kids use crayons, and living or working in modern buildings.
The ancestors of modern vegetarians would not have survived without using animal products like fur to keep warm, leather to make footwear, belts, straps and shelter, and bones for tools. In fact, the entire interactive network of life on earth, from the jellyfish to the judge, is based on the sacrifice of animals and the use of animal foods. There’s no escape from dependence on slaughtered animals, not even for really good vegan folks who feel wonderful about themselves as they finish their vegan meal.
9. Your meals will taste delicious
“Vegetables are endlessly interesting to cook and a joy to eat. It’s an ever-changing parade of flavors and colors and textures and tastes.”
To make processed vegetarian foods “taste delicious,” manufacturers load them up with MSG and artificial flavors that imitate the taste of meat. If you are cooking from scratch, it is difficult to satisfy all the taste buds with dishes lacking animal foods. The umami taste is designed to be satisfied with animal foods.
In practice, very few people are satisfied with the flavors and tastes of a diet based exclusively on plant foods, even when these foods are loaded up with artificial flavors, which is why it is so difficult for most people to remain on a vegan diet. Vegetables are a lot more interesting and bring us a lot more joy when dressed with egg yolks and cream or cooked in butter or lard. But if you are a vegan, you’ll be using either liquid or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, both extremely toxic.
10. You’ll help reduce waste and air pollution
“Livestock farms create phenomenal amounts of waste, tons of manure, a substance that’s rated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a top pollutant. And that’s not even counting the methane gas released by goats, pigs and poultry (which contributes to the greenhouse effect); the ammonia gases from urine; poison gases that emanate from manure lagoons; toxic chemicals from pesticides; and exhaust from farm equipment used to raise feed for animals.”
The problem is not animals, which roamed the earth in huge numbers emitting methane, urine and manure long before humans came on the scene, but their concentration into confinement facilities. Only strong, committed, persistent and focused human effort will accomplish the goal of eliminating these abominations—the kind of strength, commitment, persistence and focus that only animal foods rich in cholesterol, zinc, good fats and vitamin B12 can sustain. In nature and on old-fashioned farms, the urine and manure from animals is not a pollutant but a critical input that nourishes plant life. As for methane, the theory that methane from animals contributes to global warming is just that—a theory, one that doesn’t even pass the test of common sense.
Without urine and manure to nourish the soil, plant farmers need more pesticides, more chemicals. And there’s only one way to eliminate exhaust from farm equipment used to raise plant foods for vegan diets—pull those plows with horses and mules.
11. Your bones will last longer
“The average bone loss for a vegetarian woman at age 65 is 18 percent; for non-vegetarian women, it’s double that. Researchers attribute this to the consumption of excess protein. Excess protein interferes with the absorption and retention of calcium and actually prompts the body to excrete calcium, laying the ground for the brittle bone disease osteoporosis. Animal proteins, including milk, make the blood acidic, and to balance that condition, the body pulls calcium from bones. So rather than rely on milk for calcium, vegetarians turn to dark green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli and legumes, which, calorie for calorie, are superior sources”
The theory that excess protein causes bone loss was first presented in 196817 and followed up in 1972 with a study comparing bone density of vegetarians and meat eaters.18 Twenty-five British lacto-ovo vegetarians were matched for age and sex with an equal number of omnivores. Bone density, determined by reading X-rays of the third finger metacarpal, was found to be significantly higher in the vegetarians—these are lacto-ovo vegetarians, not vegans, so they will have good calcium intake.
Dr. Herta Spencer, of the Veterans Administration Hospital in Hines, Illinois, explains that the animal and human studies that correlated calcium loss with high protein diets used isolated, fractionated amino acids from milk or eggs.19 Her studies show that when protein is given as meat, subjects do not show any increase in calcium excreted, or any significant change in serum calcium, even over a long period.20 Other investigators found that a high-protein intake increased calcium absorption when dietary calcium was adequate or high, but not when calcium intake was a low 500 mg per day.21
So meat alone will not help build strong bones. But meat plus dairy is an excellent combination. The chart below illustrates the difficulty of obtaining adequate calcium from green leafy vegetables or legumes and contradicts the claim made above that leafy green vegetables and legumes supply more calcium on a per-calorie basis. The opposite is the case. The RDA for calcium can be met for under 700 calories using cheese or milk, but requires 1200 calories for spinach and 5100 calories for lentils. And not even the most dedicated vegetarians could choke down 13 cups of spinach or 32 cups of lentils (that would be almost doubled once the lentils were cooked) per day (see sidebar, below). Leafy greens present additional problems because they contain calcium-binding oxalic acid.
Calcium assimilation requires not only adequate protein but also fat-soluble vitamins A, D and K2, found only in animal fats. The lactoovo vegetarian consuming butter and full fat milk will take in the types of nutrients needed to maintain healthy bone mass, but not the vegan.
12. You’ll help reduce famine
“It takes 15 pounds of feed to get one pound of meat. But if the grain were given directly to people, there’d be enough food to feed the entire planet. In addition, using land for animal agriculture is inefficient in terms of maximizing food production. According to the journal Soil and Water, one acre of land could produce 50,000 pounds of tomatoes, 40,000 pounds of potatoes, 30,000 pounds of carrots or just 250 pounds of beef.”
No land anywhere in the world will produce 50,000 pounds of tomatoes, 40,000 pounds of potatoes or 30,000 pounds of carrots per acre year after year after year unless bolstered with fertilizer. Such land rotated with animal grazing will be fertilized naturally; without the manure and urine of animals, synthetics must be applied—synthetics that require large amounts of energy to produce and leave problematic pollutants, such as fluoride compounds, as a by-product. And much of the world’s land—mountainous, hillside, arid and marginal areas—is incapable of producing harvestable crops even with a large fertilizer input. But this land will support animal life very well. Eliminating the animals on this land in order to produce vegetable crops will indeed create famine for the people who live there.
13. You’ll avoid toxic chemicals
“The EPA estimates that nearly 95 per cent of pesticide residue in our diet comes from meat, fish and dairy products. Fish, in particular, contain carcinogens (PCBs, DDT) and heavy metals (mercury, arsenic; lead, cadmium) that cannot be removed through cooking or freezing. Meat and dairy products are also laced with steroids and hormones.”
Pesticides and heavy metals are found in animal foods only because they are applied to plant foods that feed the animals. Pasture-based livestock production and wild caught fish do not contribute to pesticide residue. Conventionally raised vegetables and grains are loaded with chemicals.
Vitamin A obtained in adequate amounts from animal foods provides powerful protection against dioxins like PCBs and DDT.23 Vitamin B12 is also protective. Good gut flora prevents their absorption. Humans have always had to deal with environmental carcinogens—smoke is loaded with them—and heavy metals like mercury, which occur naturally in fish. We can deal with these challenges when we have adequate amounts of the nutrients supplied by animal foods.
14. You’ll protect yourself from foodborne illness
“According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which has stringent food standards, 25 per cent of all chicken sold in the United States carries salmonella bacteria and, the CDC estimates, 70 percent to 90 percent of chickens contain the bacteria campylobacter (some strains of which are antibiotic-resistant), approximately 5 percent of cows carry the lethal strain of E. coli O157:H7 (which causes virulent diseases and death), and 30 percent of pigs slaughtered each year for food are infected with toxoplasmosis (caused by parasites).”
The most common source of food-borne illness by a long shot is fruits and vegetables.24 Problems with animal foods stem from factory farming practices. Milk, meat and eggs raised naturally do not present problems of food-borne illness.
15. You may get rid of your back problems
“Back pain appears to begin, not in the back, but in the arteries. The degeneration of discs, for instance, which leads to nerves being pinched, starts with the arteries leading to the back. Eating a plant-based diet keeps these arteries clear of cholesterol-causing blockages to help maintain a healthy back.”
This item is pure speculation. One of the most common side effects of cholesterol-lowering is crippling back pain. The muscles that support our spine require animal foods to maintain their integrity. And the bones in our spine need a good source of calcium, namely dairy products or bone broth, to remain strong.
16. You’ll be more regular
“Eating a lot of vegetables necessarily means consuming fiber, which pushes waste out of the body. Meat contains no fiber. Studies done at Harvard and Brigham Women’s Hospital found that people who ate a high-fiber diet had a 42 percent lower risk of diverticulitis. People who eat lower on the food chain also tend to have fewer incidences of constipation, hemorrhoids and spastic colon.”
Konstantin Monastyrsky, author of Fiber Menace, begs to differ. He notes that because fiber indeed slows down the digestive process, it interferes with the digestion in the stomach and, later, clogs the intestines. The results of delayed indigestion (dyspepsia) include heartburn (GERD), gastritis (the inflammation of the stomach’s mucosal membrane), peptic ulcers, enteritis (inflammation of the intestinal mucosal membrane), and further down the tube, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease. Hemorrhoids and diverticulitis are other likely results—scientific studies do not support the theory that fiber prevents these conditions.25
17. You’ll cool those hot flashes
“Plants, grains and legumes contain phytoestrogens that are believed to balance fluctuating hormones, so vegetarian women tend to go through menopause with fewer complaints of sleep problems, hot flashes, fatigue, mood swings, weight gain, depression and a diminished sex drive.”
Let’s see now, hormones in meat and milk are bad (see Item 13), but by tortured vegetarian logic, hormones in plant foods are good. Where is the research showing that vegetarian women go through menopause with fewer complaints? Numerous studies have shown that the phytoestrogens in soy foods have an inconsistent effect on hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause.26
The body needs cholesterol, vitamin A, vitamin D and other animal nutrients for hormone production. A vegetarian diet devoid of these nutrients is a recipe for menopausal problems, fatigue and diminished sex drive—the dietary proscriptions of the puritanical Graham and Kellogg work very well for their intended purpose, which is to wipe out libido in both men and women.
Lack of cholesterol, vitamin D and vitamin B12 is a recipe for mood swings and depression. If you want to have a happy menopause, don’t be a vegetarian!
18. You’ll help to bring down the national debt
“We spend large amounts annually to treat the heart disease, cancer, obesity, and food poisoning that are byproducts of a diet heavy on animal products.”
We have commented on the link between vegetarianism and heart disease, cancer, obesity and food poisoning above. The main change in the American diet paralleling the huge increase in health problems is the substitution of vegetable oils for animal fats. A secondary change is the industrialization of agriculture. The solution to our health crisis is to return to pasture-based farming methods and the animal food-rich diets of our ancestors.
19. You’ll preserve our fish population
“Because of our voracious appetite for fish, 39 per cent of the oceans’ fish species are over-harvested, and the Food & Agriculture Organization reports that 11 of 15 of the world’s major fishing grounds have become depleted.”
Let’s pass laws against overfishing! And let’s provide the incentive to anti-overfishing activists by pointing out the important benefits of seafood in the diet.
20. You’ll help protect the purity of water
“It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of mutton, but just 25 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat. Not only is this wasteful, but it contributes to rampant water pollution.”
If a sheep drinks one gallon of water per day— which is a lot—the animal would only need about 600 gallons of water to yield almost eighty pounds of meat. That’s less than eight gallons of water per pound, much less than the water required to produce a pound of wheat.
21. You’ll provide a great role model for your kids
“If you set a good example and feed your children good food, chances are they’ll live a longer and healthier life. You’re also providing a market for vegetarian products and making it more likely that they’ll be available for the children.”
You may not ever have any children if you follow a vegan diet, and in case you do, you will be condemning your kids to a life of poor health and misery. Here’s what Dutch researcher P C Dagnelie has to say about the risks of a vegetarian diet: “ A vegan diet. . . leads to strongly increased risk of deficiencies of vitamin B12, vitamin B2 and several minerals, such as calcium, iron and zinc. . . even a lacto-vegetarian diet produces an increased risk of deficiencies of vitamin B12 and possibly certain minerals such as iron.”27 These deficiencies can adversely affect not only physical growth but also neurological development. And following a vegan diet while pregnant is a recipe for disaster.
You will, however, by embracing vegetarianism, provide a market for vegetarian products—the kind of highly processed, high-profit foods advertised in Vegetarian Times.
22. Going vegetarian is easy!
“Vegetarian cooking has never been so simple. We live in a country that has been vegetarian by default. Our traditional dishes are loaded with the goodness of vegetarian food. Switching over is very simple indeed.”
Going vegetarian is very difficult. The body needs animal foods and provides a powerful drive to eat them. Cravings and resentment are a natural byproduct of a vegetarian diet, not to mention separation from the the majority of humankind by unnatural eating habits and sense of moral rectitude.
Analysis of Vegetarian Studies
by Russell Smith
Russell Smith, PhD, was a statistician and critic of the lipid heart theory of heart disease. He is the author of the massive Diet, Blood Cholesterol and Coronary Heart Disease: A Critical Review of the Literature (1991, Vector Enterprises), as well as The Cholesterol Conspiracy (Warren H. Green, Inc., 1991). As part of his efforts to reveal the flimsiness of the theoretical basis for the lipid hypothesis, he also looked at studies on vegetarianism in the scientific literature.
In a review of some 3,000 articles, Smith found only two that compared mortality data for vegetarians and nonvegetarians. One was a 1978 study of Seventh Day Adventists (SDAs) to which the above unreferenced claim probably refers. Two very poor analyses of the data were published in 1984, one by H. A. Kahn and one by D. A. Snowden.3 The publication by Kahn rather arbitrarily threw out most of the data and considered only subjects who indicated very infrequent or very frequent consumption of the various foods. The author then computed “odds ratios” which showed that mortality increased as meat or poultry consumption increased (but not for cheese, eggs, milk or fat attached to meat). When Smith analyzed total mortality rates from the study as a function of the frequencies of consuming cheese, meat, milk, eggs and fat attached to meat, he found that the total death rate decreased as the frequencies of consuming cheese, eggs, meat and milk increased. He called the Kahn publication “yet another example of negative results which are massaged and misinterpreted to support the politically correct assertions that vegetarians live longer lives.”
The Snowden analysis looked at mortality data for coronary heart disease (CHD), rather than total mortality data, for the 21-year SDA study. Since he did not eliminate the intermediate frequencies of consumption data on meat, but did so with eggs, cheese and milk, this analysis represents further evidence that both Kahn and Snowden based their results on arbitrary, after-the-fact analysis and not on pre-planned analyses contingent on the design of their questionnaire. Snowden computed relative risk ratios and concluded that CHD mortality increased as meat consumption increased. However, the rates of increase were trivial at 0.04 percent and 0.01 percent respectively for males and females. Snowden, like Kahn, also found no relationship between frequency of consumption of eggs, cheese and milk and CHD mortality “risk.”
Citing the SDA study, other writers have claimed that nonvegetarians have higher all-cause mortality rates than vegetarians4 and that, “There seems little doubt that SDA men at least experience less total heart disease than do others. . .”5 The overpowering motivation to show that a diet low in animal products protects against CHD (and other diseases) is no better exemplified than in the SDA study and its subsequent analysis. While Kahn and Snowden both used the term “substantial” to describe the effects of meat consumption on mortalities, it is obvious that “trivial” is the appropriate descriptor. It is also interesting to note that throughout their analyses, they brushed aside their totally negative findings on foods which have much greater quantities of fat, saturated fat and cholesterol.
The second study was published by Burr and Sweetnam in 1982.6 It was shown that annual CHD death rate among vegetarians was only 0.01 percent lower than that of nonvegetarians, yet the authors indicated that the difference was “substantial.”
The table below presents the annual death rates for vegetarians and nonvegetarians which Smith derived from the raw data in the seven-year Burr and Sweetnam study. As can be seen, the “marked” difference between vegetarian and nonvegetarian men in Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD) was only .11 percent. The difference in all-cause death rate was in the opposite direction, a fact that Burr and Sweetnam failed to mention. Moreover, the IHD and all-cause death rates among females were actually slightly greater for heart disease and substantially greater for all causes in vegetarians than in nonvegetarians.
Annual Death Rates of Vegetarians and Nonvegetarians
These results are absolutely not supportive of the proposition that vegetarianism protects against either heart disease or all-cause mortalities. They also indicate that vegetarianism is more dangerous for women than for men.
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Vegetarianism: Variations on a Theme
by Jim Earles
VEGETARIANISM: In its simplest form, the abstinence from all flesh foods—those foods which inherently require the taking of an animal’s life—in favor of plant foods. Without further qualifying terms, the term “vegetarian” does not specify whether or not a person might choose to eat animal products like milk and eggs, which do not inherently require the taking of an animal’s life.
LACTO-VEGETARIANISM: A vegetarian diet with the inclusion of milk and/or dairy products.
OVO-VEGETARIANISM: A vegetarian diet with the inclusion of eggs (usually eggs from chickens or other fowl, but presumably an ovo-vegetarian might also eat fish roe).
PESCO-VEGETARIANISM (a.k.a. pescetarianism): A vegetarian diet with the exception of consuming fish and/or seafood. This is often viewed by adherents as being a voluntary abstention from eating land animals. This diet is similar to (and often overlaps with) the popular version of the Mediterranean Diet.
POLLO-VEGETARIANISM (a.k.a. pollotarianism): A vegetarian diet with the exception of consuming chicken (and possibly other types of fowl). This is often viewed by adherents as being a voluntary abstention from red meats and from eating more highly-developed mammals such as cows, pigs, sheep, etc. NOTE: Many vegetarians do not feel that people who include seafoods or land fowl in their diets qualify as vegetarians at all. Indeed, many practicing pescetarians and pollotarians feel that their diet is a similar but entirely distinct dietary philosophy from vegetarianism. Some people prefer to use terms such as “semi-vegetarianism” or “flexitarianism” to refer to the primary (but not exclusive) practice of vegetarianism. ALSO NOTE: The above variants on vegetarianism may be combined in any way to describe an individual’s food choices. (e.g. lacto-ovo-vegetarianism, pollo-ovo-vegetarianism, etc.)
VEGANISM: The more extreme end of the scale of vegetarianism. A vegan (both “vee-gan” and “vay-gan” are accepted pronunciations) abstains from all animal foods, including any meats, fish, eggs or dairy. Some vegans, but not all of them, also abstain from honey and other bee products, as well as clothing and materials made from animal products (e.g. silk, leather, fur, etc.). Many vegans view their dietary choices as being just a part of veganism, which is more fully viewed as a way of life and a socio-political stance.
FREEGANISM: A subset of veganism which utilizes the same basic food choices but often lives out the socio-political aspects of veganism in an even more direct and radical way. Freegans seek to minimize or eliminate participation in the corporate food system by practices such as foraging for wild plant foods, community gardening, bartering for food instead of using money and dumpster diving (taking food that is still edible but past its expiration date out of supermarket, restaurant and bakery dumpsters). Dumpster diving especially is seen as a radical form of environmental stewardship—saving otherwise good food from going to a landfill. Getting food for free in this way also gives rise to the name—“free” plus “vegan” equals “freegan.”
MEAGANISM: A further subset of freeganism! A meagan would dispense with the strict adherence to a vegan diet when their dumpster diving provides them with usable meat or other animal foods. (“Meat” plus “vegan” equals “meagan.”) Some meagans argue that all foods produced by the dominant corporate model are ethically-tainted, meatless or otherwise. Following this line, there is no moral high ground to be had when eating salvaged food. Other meagans believe that it is disrespectful to the spirit of an animal to allow its flesh or other products to be wasted, so it is better to eat these items and honor the loss of their lives by keeping them in the food chain whenever possible.
FRUITARIANISM: A subset of veganism wherein neither animals nor plants are allowed to be harmed or killed to feed human beings. This means that only the fruits of plants and trees are morally acceptable as human food, as these may be harvested without doing any harm to the plant. However, there is no strong consensus among fruitarians as to what exactly should constitute “fruit.” Botanically speaking, some common vegetables are actually classified as fruits (such as bell peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers), as are nuts and grains. Some fruitarians abide by the wider, botanical meaning of “fruit,” while others only eat the sweet, fleshy, more commonly-known fruits. Many fruitarians also include seeds in their diet, following the line of thought that anything that naturally falls from a plant (or would do so) is valid food.
LIQUIDARIANISM / JUICEARIANISM: A rarely-espoused dietary philosophy wherein adherents only consume liquids and fruit and vegetable juices. More often than not, such a program would only be undertaken for a limited period of time only for the purposes of a cleansing fast. However, a relatively small number of people have attempted to maintain such a regime over an indefinite period of time.
RAW FOODISM: While not necessarily falling under any of the above headings, many raw foodists base their food choices on some form of vegetarianism or veganism. A raw foodist consumes most or all of their foods in uncooked and unprocessed forms. (This may or may not include practices such as the soaking of nuts, seeds and grains.) While many raw foodists minimize or exclude animal products, some do consume raw meats, eggs and dairy products.
MACROBIOTICS: Again not necessarily falling under any vegetarian category, but many macrobiotic adherents have strong overlap with vegetarianism and veganism. The macrobiotic diet emphasizes eating foods that are grown locally and (to the extent possible) when they are actually in season, placing an emphasis on eating grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, fermented soy products and sometimes fish. Processed foods and animal products are typically excluded, as are vegetables of the nightshade family.
VEGANGELICAL: Extreme veganism, where eating habits have become a highly intolerant, proselytizing religion!
Products that Come from Cows
Not only the steak on your plate, but a myriad of other products come from slaughtered cows, including components used in the manufacture of cosmetics, plastics, waxes (in crayons and candles), soaps, cleansers, shampoos, modern building materials and hydraulic brake fluid for airplanes. The membrane that vibrates to make a telephone work is made from beef gelatin. Epinephrine, a widely used drug for asthma and allergic reactions, is made from beef adrenal glands.
No Such Thing as a Guilt-Free Lunch
Letter published in the New Yorker, January 7, 2008
Bill Buford writes that nobody has a persuasive rejoinder to the vegan belief that sentient, warm-blooded creatures shouldn’t be sacrificed for our sustenance [An article on meat-eating called “Red, White, and Bleu,” December 3, 2007]. But if that’s your ethic, you should seriously consider fasting. Countless millions of wee furry beasties, mice, moles and voles, as well as ground-nesting birds, are killed outright or die off from habitat destruction annually, when vast acreages are tilled by huge, mindless machines to grow “ethical” grains and vegetables. More are killed during the growing season by rodenticide grain baits, including zinc phosphide. Small mammals and birds are killed by machinery again at harvest time, and even more are killed by pest-control practices in granaries and processing plants before vegetables get to market. There’s no such thing as a guilt-free lunch.
Rich Latimer, Falmouth, Massachusetts
Calcium in Dairy Products and Plant Foods
|Calcium in mg
per 100 grams
for RDA (1200 mg)
|Cheddar Cheese||402||718||1.8||170 grams (about 6 ounces) = 680 K|
|Whole Milk||66||117||1.7||1000 grams (about 4 cups) = 660 K|
|Spinach||91||93||1.02||1300 grams (about 13 cups) = 1200 K|
|Lentils||106||25||0.23||4800 grams (about 32 cups) = 5100 K|
The Nutrient Density Stakes: Landslide Victory of Animal Foods over Fruits and Vegetables
Plant foods fail to match up to animal foods in almost every category. Note that liver contains more vitamin C than apples or carrots!
- Smith, Russell L. Diet, Blood Cholesterol and Coronary Heart Disease: A Critical Review of the Literature, Vol 2. Vector Enterprises, November 1991.
- Fonnebo V. The Tromso Heart Study: diet, religion and risk factor for coronary heart disease. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1988, 48:739.
- Kahn HA and others, Association between reported diet and all-cause mortality. American Journal of Epidemiology, 1984, 119:775; Snowden DA and others. Meat consumption and fatal ischemic heart disease. Preventive Medicine, 1984, 13:490.
- Dwyer JT. Health aspects of vegetarian diets. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1988, 48:712.
- Fraser GE. Determinants of ischemic heart disease in Seventh-Day Adventists: a review. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1988, 48:833.
- Burr ML and P M Sweetnam PM. Vegetarianism, dietary fiber and mortality. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1982, 36:873.
- Chang-Claude J and others. Life style determinants and mortality in German vegetarians and health-conscious persons: results of a 21-year follow-up. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2005 Apr;14(4):963-8.
- Key TJ and others. Mortality in British vegetarians; review and preliminary results from EPIC-Oxford. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Sep;78(3 Suppl):533S-538S.
- T Colin Campbell and others. The Cornell Project in China.
- T Colin Campbell and others. The Cornell Project in China, p 56.
- The China Project: The Most Comprehensive Study Ever Undertaken on Diet and Health. Spectrum, Mar-Apr 1999, p 27.
- Laboratory Investigations 1968 18:498.
- Keys TJ and others. Health effects of vegetarianism and vegan diets. Proc Nutri Sci 2006;65(1):35-41.
- Mills PF and others. Cancer incidence among California Seventh-Day Adventists, 1976-1982. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1994, Vol 59 (Supplement), Pages 1136S-1142S.
- Key TJ and others. Health effects of vegetarian and vegan diets. Proc Nutr Soc. 2006 Feb;65(1):35-41.
- Wachman A and D S Bernstein DS. Diet and osteoporosis. Lancet 1968 1:958.
- Ellis FR and others. Incidence of osteoporosis in vegetarians and omnivores. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 1972, 25:555-558.
- Spencer H and Kramer L. Factors contributing to osteoporosis. Journal of Nutrition, 1986 116:316-319.
- Spencer H and Kramer L. Further studies of the effect of a high protein diet as meat on calcium metabolism. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 1983 37 (6):924-929.
- Linkswiler HM and others. Calcium retention of young adult males as affected by level or protein and of calcium intake. Trans. N. Y. Acad. Sci, 1974 36:333.
- Ensimger AH and others. The Concise Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition. CRC Press, 1995.
- Masterjohn, Chris. Dioxins in Animal Foods: A Case for Vegetarianism? Wise Traditions, Fall 2005.
- MMWR Mar 2, 2000:49(SS01);1-51.
- Soy Alert! Update, Summer 2003, on westonaprice.org.
- Dagnelie PC. Nutrition and health—potential health benefits and risks of vegetarianism and limited consumption of meat in the Netherlands. Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2003 Jul 5;147(27):1308-13.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2008.🖨️ Print post
Read this in: Español
#5 Reason to go vegetarian
Colors vegetarians explicitly avoid:
Red meat red lobster rare meat pink muscle undercooked beef showing pink raw ground-beef
Pork Liver bacon ham cheddar cheese
Things vegetarians happily eat:
Brown. peanut butter lentils bread
Beige. cashews chickpeas nut-butters pecans walnuts applesauce
Offwhite. sesame seeds
White. beans almonds coconut cocoa butter potatoes soymilk
Clear. canola, peanut, grapeseed, almond oil hemp, flax oil, light honey, light maple, agave
Tans. wheat thins triscuits crackers and granola.
Granola and it’s characteristic crunchiness are used as synonyms for the natural lifestyle – for they think meat is an exception, not a defining characteristic of natural.
I believe that the 2,500 gal. quoted in #20 includes the water required to grow food for the sheep, among other things.
curious about comments says
Keep the science, leave the opinions!
Though I see you have referred to many scientific studies here, your additions of opinion is not useful. If you believe the material, the research should speak for itself. Comments such as
-“very few people are satisfied with the flavors and tastes of a diet based exclusively on plant foods, even when these foods are loaded up with artificial flavors” This is total opinion and not a reality for many satisfied vegetarians.
-“if you follow a vegan diet, and in case you do, you will be condemning your kids to a life of poor health and misery” To suggest that vegan children will grow up miserable is using a scare tactic. Why do you feel you need to do this if you are so sure of your science?
I agree with this comment. Though I am not a vegetarian myself, I strive to reduce my animal product intake and do see the benefits of both a plant-based diet and consuming some animal products. However, opinions were not necessary and I think that any child growing up with vegetarian/vegan parents would benefit greatly. Good article, otherwise.
Ona Tarazz says
It has been proven that children forced to be vegans have poor health, so, the comment is actually factual!
Well that is true no matter how you see it #happyexvegan
Without comments or opinions, people are just looking at raw data. Most of the time they will not know what it means. I am not saying most people are stupid, I am saying that a lot of times data can be misinterpreted unless looked over for a very long time. You will need opinions and comments for there to be a compelling argument, although it should not be the only thing, which in this case it wasn’t.
Thank you for sharing this wonderful research and your opinions too. After all you are a human being – not a robot. I appreciate your courage to speak your truth. You are helping thousands 🙂
Janelle C. says
Agree with this comment!
What my grandma ate
My family is from Cuba, and I do not understand why Americans fight about food. I grew up eating everything – vegetables, fruits, meat, etc. – just like my parents and grandparents. My grandparents lived into their 90s, and they ate plenty of pork, eggs, and butter. Everyone here tells me it’s bad, but that’s what I eat too. We eat everything in the animal, but in America people think it’s gross. What’s wrong with eating whatever nature provides?
seb dalgarno says
#8 and #12
I see #8 and # 12 as strong arguments for vegetarianism. your rebuttal to them is to only eat -grass-fed beef and beef that is grown on sustainable farms that rotate crops and don’t used chemical fertilisers. But how many meat-eaters honestly do that??? most people will agree with you and brush off the arguments, bu then continue to support the beef industry that isn’t grass-fed, free-range, etc. i believe your argument is weak here.
“The body needs animal foods and provides a powerful drive to eat them.”
If that were actually true, then no one would be able to be a vegetarian, let alone survive on the diet.
I agree with another comment up here titled ‘Keep the science, leave the opinions.’
You informed on some things, but lost all my respect with your opinions. They weren’t needed for this article and the one in #22 that I quoted made you sound like the narrow-minded, ignorant meat eaters who for some reason still believe people can’t survive without meat.
As I said before, without comments or opinions, it is just raw data. It can be misinterpreted, and the momentum of your argument is lost. I get that you may not want them to bee so strong, but your argument is worthless without comments or opinions.
Yes I agree with this as well, it sounds like its coming from someone obsessed or works for a company that is sponsored by Meat or Dairy products hence leading to a biassed opinion and not any facts or science and TRUE Data other than false doctrines to support their farm or industry not sending them Profits.
Even though you often ask for a reference I see that a response could also be written to this article asking for your references. Like “many vegetarians are far too thin” on #6. I regularly go to a fast-food vegan restaurant, go to a spiritual group where most people are vegetarian, have many vegetarian/vegan friends, my mother, father, two sons, husband, uncle and myself are all vegetarians or vegans and I’ve never seen anyone too thin! Reference, please!
Get over yourselves
Shannon, your entire family and social network do not validate that vegetarians are healthier than those that include animal products in their diet. Every vegetarian I know is in horrible shape and the vegans are even worse off. Vegan fast food restaurant? Give me a break. Please don’t post silly comments like yours on websites like this, it just makes you look sad.
You can be a vegetarian and still be an unhealthy eater like your friends if they eat chips, pop, etc (all vegan) and don’t exercise. I have been vegetarian for 25 years and am very healthy. I have a black belt in karate, practice yoga, lift weights, hike, kayak, garden, etc. I’m 5′ 9″ and 140 lbs (female). I have twice the energy as other people my age (48 yrs). I never suffered from pms and am now menopausal and have no typical symptoms from that (no hot flashes, weight gain, etc). I no longer have migraines or IBS which I had as a meat eater. Plus I take no medications…not even aspirin.
Propaganda against vegetarians on tv gives people the wrong impression of a healthy vegetarian (nice try Anthony Bourdain). I’m not sure why meat eaters get so angry at vegetarians and make these accusations about them when the majority of us are just making informed healthy choices for ourselves and the planet.
And my food is delicious! Thai, Chinese, Indian, etc. Lots of flavour, colour and nutrition. I would choose this food any day over a piece of grey meat.
good job, karen!
tater tot says
YES KAREN you’re awesome, keep it up 🙂
Janelle C. says
Mark Taber says
Is there a reference for the “300 animals per acre?”
I’ve lost over 100lbs. using a low-carb, natural, no-processed-food eating regimen. Almost “paleo.” A friend at the gym turned me onto the WAP website. I really like what I read here. Feeling even better than before! Get a lot of flak from the vegans/vegetarians here in CA (I tried myself…ugh). This is a wonderful talking point. Would like to know where the number came from.
buffy dewitt says
stats and other manipulable things
Anyone can find statistics that power their point of view. You can even argue “scientifically” that the planet is fine and there is no climate change or garbage patches or…on and on and on.
You will probably be happy eating nothing but meat and fish all day, and so you should. I am happy to see many people poisoning themselves everyday with unhealthy diets (which actually always include way too much meat!) because our overpopulation is now planet threatening. What you don’t say is how many people are kept alive by machines after cancers and heart disease due to poor diet. They figure in the non-death statistics though of course in nature (with fur and leather and meat) they would have died long ago.
It’s good to fuel discussion but your simplistic characterizations of non-meat eaters makes your article smell foul.
Dr. Richard Betts says
My office sees very sick vegetarians
A large portion of the patients who come to my office for nutritional advice have been vegetarians for long periods of time. I was a vegetarian for over 20 years. I ate properly to get the nutrition needed to sustain living and prospering. The problem is that the human body can handle the decrease in nutrients for approximately 20 years before it starts decreasing in health. Just as it is important to get a good source of fruits and veggies…no chemicals etc. It is just as important to get a meat source that is free range, grass fed when it comes to hooved animals. The normal nutrition for cows is not corn or feed it is grass! It is companies that put the animals into small areas with no natural existence that people don’t like. We need to get better conditions for the animals. Going back to the small farm we had before the beginning of the 21st century would be great. I loved the taste of the fresh eggs and milk left at my parents front door step.
Once my vegetarians are educated enough to try working in meat the healing of their ailments are miraculous as mine was as well. I appreciate the vegetarian mind set as I once was one and thought to myself ‘I’ll never eat meat and I don’t understand why people who claimed they were vegetarians went back to meat eating’… Well now I know. It may take 20 or more years but all vegetarians will begin to deteriorate.
Perfect example… when I take an xray of a patients spine who is a vegetarian for many years I actually do see that they have decrease bone mass compared to a person the same age who is a meat eater. There are many things in the flesh of an animal that science is still finding out that helps the body just as science is learning more about fruits, veggies and nuts.
It’s amazing when I see vegetarians in public I can usually spy them right away. They are the individuals for the most part who look unhealthy…whether it is their hair, eyes or skin. Long term vegetarians begin to show signs that the body is stressed because it isn’t getting the nutrients that it needs. I only hope that those people who are vegetarians will consider eating some meat when they start seeing signs of body breakdown.
Vegetarianism is easy
I wish this point were true. I can’t stand meat and have tried to eat it many times. Yes I do feel good when I eat it and have no problem at all digesting it, but its not enough. It seriously tastes disgusting every way I’ve tried it.
Zinc deficiency is the problem, so you dump out zinc because you have so much copper
The #1 reason above is “You’ll live a lot longer” but nowhere in the discussion does a point show a correlation between meat-eating and longevity. I get the health reasons in general, and understand that good health is associated with longevity, but this article only shows that vegetarians do not live longer than meat-eaters – not that meat-eaters live longer than vegetarians. I would like to see that information.
I think the main point of that one is disproving the common misconception that vegans/vegetarians live longer than meat eaters. But I understand. I also wanted to see if meat eaters lived longer.
Angela & Kevin says
We guess this is the end. . .
Guess that’s that. Unfortunately, we can’t give up the soy and all those veggies. We’re addicted. We can’t help ourselves. We’re going to have a nice cup of toxic soy-based cocoa and end it all! Farewell, dear world.
I’m so glad somebody has spoken out against a world full of factory products and commercially and greed driven companies that have only their own interest at heart. No examples needed, just look back at our ancestors, they never had it so good. Mass media is killing this planet!! Although interestingly, I wonder if Siddhartha Gautama ate meat?
How about natural
Humans need 91 essential nutrients from food and it these the levels of nutrients that determines its quality. The farming practices brought forward with industrialized farming has caused a decrease in the quality of the fruits, vegetables and meats that are purchased and consumed from the majority of grocers. Industrialized farming has adopted the usage of herbicides, pesticides and fungicides which science is just beginning to investigate for impact on health. Industrialized livestock is commonly raised incongruent to an animals natural life and subjected to prophylactic antibiotics and growth hormones. Having said that, I suggest that there are greater issues at hand here. Consider setting aside the debate on pro-meat or pro-plant and take on the topic of pro-natural. One fact that science doesn’t need to prove with a study is that all people would be healthier if the food supply was natural. Vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters would all be healthier if the soil was plentiful with trace minerals and the other nutrients that the body needs to reach its maximum potential.
When we eat and what we eat is an innate driven mechanism, just like thirst and sleep among others. We don’t need science to tell us what is best for us. We need to follow our inner awareness. However, industrialized farming has changed the playing field significantly for us. It is unacceptable to continue this way where the food supply is lacking in its potential and is quite possibly harming us due to the way the food is produced.
Science has a long a way to go to fully discover the short and long term impact of food toxicity and food malnourishment. Can we wait for science to figure all this out and for the public at large to shift, while we debate who is better, vegans or meat eaters? Is anyone really ahead in terms of health at the end of the day with so much interference from man influencing both plants and animals. Studies please!
I suggest there be another class all together called natural-meat eater, natural-vegetarian and natural vegan. People that use these classifications would meet the following guidelines; they chose what they eat because they feel they are reaching their maximum potential when they eat that way and they eat only foods that are farmed in a natural way. There could also be a classification for people that are don’t concern themselves with the impact of their diet, appropriately called; carefree-meat eater, carefree-vegetarian and carefree vegan. Simple, to the point and everyone fits into a community. Food for thought 🙂
Vegan Teen says
Healthy Athletic Vegan Teen
Hi, I just wanted to comments to let you guys see things from the vegan perspective. My family is not vegan, never has been, and probay never will be, but I have a friend who, along with her younger brothers, and mother(her stepdad is an omni) have been vegan their whole lives. They are a very healthy, happy and normal family. I have been vegetarian for two yeas, but over the summer decided to go vegan. I am very happy with my decision and I think am healthier than I have ever been. I eat a very balanced diet, checked for calcium, protien and vitamins/minerals, but I do also take a calcium, and a vitamin b12 pill every day to be safe. I am athletic, I play tennis six days a week and lead an active lifestyle and I feel good! I have energy for my day, and my sport, I’m happy and enjoy my food, and I recover very quickly(much more quickly than when I was an omni) after a rigorous tennis match or practice. Vegan and vegetarian diets can be very healthy if done correctly, and i have NEVER had cravings, if you don’t want to eat the way I do, please atleast be open-minded enough not to try to tear my diet apart.
Problem is you’re wasting money on B12 supplements instead of getting it from fish and don’t rely on the doctor’s calcium levels and all that. the recommendations for calcium, vitamins a&D, tons of other nutrients where you get exclusively in pasture-raised animals
Vegan Adult says
Hi, just wanted to clear up the confusion in your comment.
A year’s supply of B-12 supplements for one is cheaper than a month’s supply of fish (or any other animal product) to supplement the necessary B-12 for one person. In addition, you skip out on the mercury, neurotoxins, and unnecessary cholestrol you get from fish.
Even despite the above, the majority of meat eaters are B-12 deficient. B-12 comes from bacteria that live in the soil and were once consumed through groundwater and unwashed produce. This is why it is harder for uninformed vegans and vegetarians to get B-12. It’s possible to get B-12 from natural sources like nutritional yeast, but most people get them from fortified cereals, breads etc. unknowingly.
To reply to your other comments: kale, collard greens, broccoli, kelp, spinach and (non-GMO) soybeans are rich in both calcium and vitamin A. Vitamin D is produced naturally with exposure to sunlight, and D2 is often added to fortified foods as well. Nobody has to die for you to achieve optimum health.
Are we really losing what this is about?
Okay, these individual statistics about eliminating disease and so forth may or may not be true. What I think really matters is what truly feels right. Try eating vegetarian for a week, try eating vegan for a week. Afraid you’ll feel deprived? Do your homework! There are plenty of veg-friendly sweets, savory dishes, and substitute meats. (Being a nearly vegan teen, I’ve had to do my own food shopping, and I’ve discovered SO many foods I love but would not have otherwise known about!) During this “testing time,” pay attention to how your body feels.
And for all those carnivores out there, the vast majority of vegetarians/vegans are so because of ETHICAL reasons. Want to know why? Visit a meat factory – oh, wait, you can’t. Watch the documentary “Earthlings.” Be tolerant of vegetarians/vegans. Think about how you treat others, especially animals. Would you want to be in their place?
Nice Hit Piece
Like how the author conveniently leaves out the Harvard Study that showed increased ovarian cancer with milk drinking (oh, she’s founder of a milk drinking thing, that might explain it). Conveniently leave out the Italian study that showed increased stomach cancer with meat eating and the English study that also showed increased cancer from meat eating. Just pick and choose the studies to prove what you want while ignoring those that negate what you’re claiming. Govt Food P’md suggests mostly grain, while technically this might be vegetarian, eating mostly grains is not health conducive and vegetarians don’t eat mostly grains. But why let facts get in the way of good spin.
Mary Ann says
I was vegan for SO LONG!
I became a vegan at the age of 12. At that age, I relied heavily on the advice of PETA (they got my name from my “Cat Fancy” magazine subscription and began sending me pictures of downed cows on factory farms, etc.). I was the only one in my family, but I had done the reading and my parents hadn’t, so they gave me the freedom to eat as I chose, and even bought my veggie burgers, etc. Their diet was anything but natural (full of processed foods, pasta, powdered sauce mixes, etc.), so they didn’t know any better, either.
It is true that the vegan diet helped me mostly get over my chronic stomach aches (unless I ate a large helping of fried tofu, which was my favorite), but I wasn’t very healthy otherwise. If something was going around, I caught it. In late high school and college, I began to lose weight while constantly eating and feeling hungry.
I finally discovered Weston Price in my mid 20s. I wish I had known about his work before I went through puberty – it probably would have been much easier for me. It also would have been better for my husband, who put on about a hundred pounds and developed IBS after marrying me and converting to my vegan (and high soy) diet. After 13 years of veganism, I am trying to repair the damage as best I can. I wish there was more encouraging information out there about that – it feels hopeless at times. But I’m glad I know the truth now. Thank you to the WAP Foundation.
The factory farming industry wants you to continue to eat meat !
Do you know what they feed the meat you eat ?
If your grandpartents lived to their nineties it was when farms were real farms.
The meat now is full of toxins. Do you really think they care to raise healthy meat or care about the public that buys it. No they do not they only care about the $.
If you are going to eat meat raise it yourself or find a ma and pa farm and make sure what their practice is on the raising as well. AND READ MAD COWBOY !!!
This women is a meat addict and not being honest about what you are buying and eating. Seriously you wojuld not feed it to your children if you knew the facts.
Also about the water supply and how much water animals drink – they don’t absorb ALL that water!!! They urinate it back out along with a lot of minerals back into the Earth and helps build topsoil!
I recently became vegetarian, and I found this page while searching. Your enormous lack of supporting evidence as well as your faulty logic has strengthened my decision to stay vegetarian exponentially, and for that I thank you.
Eating small amounts of animal products won’t kill you but saying that being Vegan will, flys in the face of millions of vegans that have done it for generations. Seems thou protesteth too much.
Sheryl R says
Hit Piece by Farming Lobby Group…….
From Wikipedia on the Weston A Price Foundation:
“The Weston A. Price Foundation is a farming lobby group that seeks to ban infant soy formula, and advocates a high meat, high fat, low fibre diet. They believe one can only achieve optimum nutrition through the consumption of meat. Board of Director’s member Kaayla Daniel has released a book titled: ‘The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food”
I’m a 52 year old healthy vegan for over 24 years, this article is propaganda that is full of nonsense,
If you want real information on vegan food, vegan diets go to: pcrm.com or other fact-based websites.
Oscar Perez says
Yup, you bring your biased and manipulated research and we will counter everything you have with sources and good science.
Looks like PETA sent their militant minions over to this site to provide unbalanced commentary. It’s clear taht you vegans have not even looked into what WAPF supports. They are opposed to factory farming and have made a convincing case for eating animal products that were produced using grass, not grain. If you feel the need to justify the vegan lifestyle, maybe that says more about your own insecurities than it does about the practices promoted by the WAPF. Take a moment to read through this site before making unfounded accusations.
Food in Turkey
I am from the northern part of Turkey, where animal husbandry is very common due to rainy climate. My mother grew up in a farm, drinks milk more than water, eats plenty home-made yogurt, butter, cheese, as well as meat and organs. Her favorite organ meat are liver and soup made of tripe, called İşkembe. She is very healthy, gave birth to 5 children and even in her sixties has her teeth full without any cavities.
It was the same with my grandmother. I remember one night during my childhood, she got hungry some hours after the dinner and warmed up almost a hand full of yellow butter and ate it with a little bread. It tasted so good. She was healthy women and gave birth to 6 children.
I don’t have any fat, diabetic, cancer or mentally ill in my family. When my husband and I decided to get pregnant, it worked in the first month (Thanks God!).
In Turkey, “soup restaurants” are very common, and you can get large bowls of meat soups with broths made of head, feet and other bones of cows, which is delicious and very nutritious. Unfortunately, the younger generation is giving up on such restaurant for big fast food chains. And I should mention that the word obesity had never been heard in Turkey, let alone being common. But now, with the prevalence of fast food restaurants, vegetarianism, morning cereals and other modern diets imposed us from western countries, the health of the people are getting worse.
Dian Van Eyck says
This has got me choked up. I’ve been vegetarian since i was 4, vegan since i was 16 – now i’m 34 (through my own choice – how amazing to have parents that respected my views even at my tender age). I know the truth, i know what is right, and so do others. I know i cannot live my life as perfectly as i would like to – i know that each day living beings die because of me. All i can do is try the hardest i can to do what i can to make this number as small as possible, and for those that i cannot save be thank ful for the life they did have – and resspect them. Yes – i’m a nut – when a bug gets squashed on my car windscreen i’m upset for a spilt second. I cannot remain so as my life would be unbearable – i would constantly be in tears from all the horrors in the world. All i can do is live life as respectfully and joyously as i can. I am sorry for those who cannot see this, and cannot do so themselves. I’d love for them to ‘get it’ but know the majority never will – such a terrible terrible shame, and waste of lives. But thank goodness there are others in the world who do feel like me. Take care everyone – and be true to yourself always xx
I have been a vegan for a year now because I will not contribute to the barbaric practices of animal agriculture (go to youtube.com and search factory farms). But along the way I found my food taste so much better, why, because I eat whole foods, not processed crap and I found the wonderful world of spices. Cumin, Coriander, Cheyenne, Cinnamon, Ginger, Turmeric to name a few.
The China Health Project you speak of is actually called “The China Study”, by T. Colin Campbell, PH.D. Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry, Cornell University. You should read it.
If you choose to eat meat that is your choice, but don’t rationalize supporting the cruelty of innocent animals living a life of misery until they are hung upside down to have their throat cut by putting down plant based diets. Dairy is probably the most unhealthy food item in our society. The purpose of Cow’s milk is to turn an 80 .lb calf into a 1200 .lb cow. If that weren’t bad enough, they add growth hormones to the mix: result, obese children who grow too fast and reach puberty to soon, which in turns puts them in greater risk for cancer. The fact is, we don’t NEED to eat animals, we get all the nutrition we need from a whole foods, plant-based diet.
I am almost 70 year, and I have been a vegetarian for almost 40 years now. I became one because I did not want to see animals killed when there was another way to eat. Over the years my diet has gone through many changes. I started out eating a lot of dairy and grains. Now my emphasis is on eating a lot of vegetables, raw fresh made juices and green smoothies. I am very healthy, I work hard, am hardly ever sick, have not gone to a doctor in over 40 years and take no medication. Most vegetarians that are sick after a period of time do not get the proper nutrition. They live mostly on grains, chips, and a lot of processed foods. Our bodies have a very long intestinal track, different then the short intestines of a carnivore. A carnivore eats and then expels the waste quickly. Because of our intestines it takes us longer to expel the waste. When we eat meet it sits in our intestines for much too long rotting and decaying and causing disease. I respect the writer of this article for being against factory farming for all animals, and wanting animals to be grass fed, but this is not possible with our population who eats meet. If everyone who eats meet would only eat grass fed animals all the tree would have to be cut down to make pasture for them. The only way to do this is for all the meet eaters to eat much less meet. I felt the tone of this article to be very disrespectful to vegetarians, almost hateful. I never understand why so many meat eaters are so defensive. We are such a very small part of the population.
References please? Read the most comprehensive study of human nutrition ever conducted, The China Study by T. Colin Campbell!
This article is completely ignoring the fact that humans are biologically herbivores. http://www.earthsave.ca/files/anatomy.pdf
Wait till peak oil vegans
As soon as our gushing supply of oil turns into a trickle, vegan/carnivore debates will become irrelevant as their will no longer be ANY WAY to produce veggies without the use of farm animals. And the horrors of the CAFO(Concentrated, Animal, Feeding, operations) will end as that will no longer be a feasible means of raising meat. In fact, Concentrated ANYTHING will be impossible be it meat or plants, lacking the oil fuel to run distribution networks.
If oil runs out we will eat and survive ONLY by converting every inch of our ornamental, belawned, suburban yards into mini-farms where lets say chickens, goats, and bunnies are raised to provide both calories for our health and fertilizer for our gardens.
It always seems a huge logical contradiction that in the “conscious hippy town” I live in, vegans see themselves as the ultimate eco-warriors. Do they consider that without manure-gobs of oil is used to manufacture fertilizer- but wait some tell me Organic fertilizer like kelp can be used. But from how far away must that be trucked in and might the oceans be harmed in oceanic kelp harvesting? Whereas a small scale diverse farm using plants and animals in symbiosis IS truly a closed loop that can and will survive with or without oil. Now that’s sustainable!
You don’t need animals for fertilizers but even if you do…you don’t have to kill them. Soy bean crops, rye, seaweed, etc. All are used as natural fertilizer as is composting. I’ve gardened for many years using these methods.
Finally someone who presents the facts, instead of the fiction !
I tried pointing that out in many heated discussions, not only got blasted got blocked , along with this fact plants are living, and do have a rudimentary nervous system, venus fly traps, and pitcher plants eat bugs and frogs (and there are a host of other plants that do too), when a forest fire happens plants exhibit stress, there are plants that move, example mimosa pudica, they also arm them selves against danger (thorns, poisons, etc) heal when wounded , plus the fact all the insect/ animal/avian/sea life habitats taken away and all the pollution pumped into the sky and land to grow over excess plants for consumption. , depleting soil quality,excess use of gmo and chemicals , which means less true nutrients because the soil was not given proper time to accumulate nutrients, excess crops, less grass to feed animals. sorry could go on and on , on this subject, tired of the toting of my diet is holier then art though logic. http://www.revengeis.com/2011/…e-feelings
everyone talks about their grandparents.. what about their parents what about them?
the food is so nutritionless now and full of chemicals.. that is why your grandparents lived longer watch and see how many drugs your parents are on and you before you finally kick the bucket!
When we eat beef, pork, lamb, chicken, or other foods from animals, our bodies take in proteins that may be rich in sulfur. That’s unlike the proteins in plant foods—fruits, veggies, nuts, grains, or legumes like peas or dry beans. As we digest animal proteins, the sulfur in them forms acid. A slight, temporary acid overload—called acidosis—may result.
To regain our natural balance of acidity to alkalinity, or pH, in the bloodstream, our bodies must buffer the influx of acid. One possible buffer is calcium phosphate, which the body can
borrow from our bones—the body’s main storage depot for this essential mineral.
Though calcium phosphate is an effective buffer and neutralizer, taking it from bones might increase our risk of osteoporosis. This unhealthy increase in the porosity of bones, and resultant thinning, leaves those afflicted with this disease especially vulnerable to fractures of the spine, hips, and wrists.
L. Lee coyne Ph.D. says
Some ramblings for thought. Man is an omnivore – not a herbivore!! Without considerable energy expenditure Vegetarian diets are expensive because of Transportation (oranges from China and Kiwi from Peru or Australia etc.) North of the 40th parallel we have a 60 – 90 day growing season – again another impracticality. Think Eskimo – where do they get their natural source vegetation?? Re: killing animal argument-In Nature – no animal dies of old age – they all become somebodies lunch!! and none of them die peacefully. Most “Vegetarians” are Lacto/ova vegetarians. I wonder what the plan would be for the 50% of cows or goats and chickens or ducks that do not produce eggs or milk — known as the Bulls or Rams and roosters and what do we do when the producers stop producing?? and finally – a recent study in “Psychology Today” (June 20 2011) “Why Do Most Vegetarians Go Back To Eating Meat? ” There are now more former vegetarians than there are practicing vegetarians. http://www.psychologytoday.com…ating-meat and the word “Vegan” is a 20th century word.
Sean P Canavan says
Don’t know if this has been looked into but I find those who are lactose vegans hypocritical. If the cattle has no other use then meat for the slaughter then aren’t you actually hurting the cattle by not utilizing its dairy product? In my book veganism is just an excuse for an eating disorder. Where are you going to get your protein, tofu?
Informed human being
While this article may have some interesting points worth pondering, I won’t bother too after how many things I just read in here that I know to be completely untrue, skillfully manipulated in how they were worded so as to leave a false impression, and some- just plain ignorant. It’s shameful really
Please expound, chickenchick. As someone currently pursuing an M.S. in Holistic Nutrition, I’d love to hear you actually offer some support for your apparent rebuttal. Fire away, Chick. Let’s hear it.
Red: Beets, Radishes, Potatoes (Actually come in every color, including purple) Peppers, Tomatoes, Apples, Watermelon.
Orange: Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Squash, Yams, Pears.
Yellow: Corn, Bananas, Pineapple.
Green: I don’t even think I need to list any.
Blue: Blackberries, Blueberries.
Purple: Eggplants, Grapes, Plums.
-I tried to do my best staying away from foods normal people won’t recognize.-
I was reading this article, and I was a little underwhelmed. I come from South Dakota, and the animal industry is very important here. Not only do we raise hogs, turkeys, cattle, and chickens by the thousands, but we also grow entire sections of corn and soybeans to feed them. That doesn’t stop me from seeing many benefits in a vegen perspective.
There are a few main arguments against vegetarianism that I see in the article:
1. Vitamin B12 deficiencies.
2. Calcium deficiencies.
3. Marginal land is better used to raise animals.
When talking about health issues, she always fell back on the first two.
While all of these are true, I felt like the list was a little short.
Major arguments I’ve heard FOR vegetarianism are these:
1. Limiting disease.
2. Feeding more people.
3. Eliminating the need to kill livestock.
4. Our closest relatives, apes, are almost entirely herbivorous and have never drank milk from another creature.
#1 Limiting disease: Most diseases come from one place; livestock. It’s not that livestock create diseases, but that some livestock, like pigs, can get diseases from almost any other animal type. Sometimes, these intermediate animals don’t show symptoms. Influenza is commonly transferred to humans through livestock. Pigs can catch bird flu and human flu. Inside the pig, the bird flu mingles with the human flu enough for a new flu to emerge. Then this new strain can attack nearby humans.
By limiting the necessary population of livestock through vegetarianism, we remove a large potential source of future diseases.
In (14) of the article, she mentioned that fruits and vegetables are the main cause of foodborne diseases, and I believe her. What she fails to say is that the plants are contaminated with animal diseases. That’s why they say to wash your fruits and vegetables before you eat them. Get rid of the animals, and you also get rid of the contamination. I found that argument a little weak.
#2 Feed more people on plants: That is just a fact. Animals lose 90% of the food energy they consume through lost body heat. That 90% could go to feeding humans. This could also reduce the amount of land necessary to feed everyone, making using marginal land unnecessary (See #3 up top.)
#3 Eliminating the need to kill livestock: Vegens have proven that we don’t need to eat meat at all to survive. Based on that, it’s not necessary to kill animals. Given the choice to kill or not kill, and knowing that killing is unnecessary, I’d choose not killing every time. Call it kindness.
#4 Our closest animal relatives don’t really eat meat at all: Read that one how you will. It’s strong evidence to me, but may not be to other people.
We also know calcium and B12 deficiencies can be fixed using vegen options and supplements. Maybe its not as easy as just eating meat, but it again shows meat is not necessary.
For me, the three main arguments against vegens aren’t very substantial. If you read what I said, they turn out to be easily overcome or somewhat irrelevant.
Faced with four strong arguments vs. three very weak ones, I’m inclined to think vegens are right.
Vegan Hypocrisy 101 says
“if you don’t want to eat the way I do, please atleast be open-minded enough not to try to tear my diet apart.
Vegan Teen ”
Yeah, I’ve noticed vegans love to play this self-aggrandizing victim card, yet I’ve never heard of so much as ONE instance of meat eaters carrying out any assaults, bombings, arson, death threats, ETC to the extent that the Animal Rights terrorists do. Or, for that matter, at ALL.
Vegan Hypocrisy 101 says
“#2 Feed more people on plants: That is just a fact.”
No, it isn’t, and your sourceless,top-of-your-head statistics are not convincing.
Um Ok says
Right… a giant, biased, and unsupported rant against veganism. What are your credentials again? Oh, you don’t have any? Thought not… immigrant populations which have no prior history of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, all sorts of fun things- ALWAYS develop them at an alarming rate once they assimilate into Western Diet. Take a basic chemistry class some time, moron.
Actually, you seem like the moron, as eating a “traditional diet” and eating the “Western Diet” are not even close to being one in the same. You need to look at some real scientific research; you need to understand that as healthy as you claim to be on a vegan diet, you school of thought STILL suffers from cancer and heart disease. Those eating a tradition diet experience NONE of those things. You need to delve into the research. This article in no way promotes the Western Diet; it promotes traditional diets…the same diets those “immigrants” often ate.
Lighter periods with a vegetarian diet / uncontrollable bleeding as a meat eater
I was vegetarian for 10 years, then vegan for nearly a decade after that. Recently I started eating meat (mainly fish) again for various reasons. Got to the point where I was eating meat or fish most days.
Although I love the taste, I noticed my periods becoming REALLY heavy. So bad that I was bleeding almost half the month, and spotting in between. The cramping was so bad I was bedridden a couple of days a month. My doctor could find no cause, but suggested hormonal treatment or a hysterectomy. I didn’t really want either!
I wondered if the bad bleeding had anything to do with the inclusion of meat into my diet, so I cut it right out again. I also cut out almost all dairy, apart from a little cheese occasionally, and whole eggs once a week. My periods returned to their normal, light, manageable status immediately in the following cycle – 3-4 days of light bleed. They’ve been normal ever since.
I’ve heard of other women saying that going vegetarian made their periods more manageable too. It sounds like I’m not alone in either having a bad reaction to animal foods, or a good reaction to being veg (whichever way you look at it).
I’ve made a compromise – I eat fish or meat once a week, usually on the weekend, and just one small serve.
For me, going back to being vegetarian (well, semi-veg now) is the difference between a manageable life and one that I just can’t cope with. Maybe more women with period problems should give it a go, because for me it’s been a lifesaver.
I had heavy bleeding as an omnivore and now as a vegetarian. It seems more problematic now (happens more often now). It’s probably a disproportionate amount of soy in my diet. I’m moving to pescetarian next month and after that I’ll see if I want to go back to eating land animals.
I’m sure glad I’m not your friend!!! How boring your life must be to pick apart and bully people who choose a different (and I’m NOT sorry to burst your Meaty bubble) and healthier lifestyle. Pathetic…get a life or better yet – eat your veggies…might help with your obvious depression.
“Going vegetarian is very difficult. The body needs animal foods and provides a powerful drive to eat them. Cravings and resentment are a natural byproduct of a vegetarian diet, not to mention separation from the the majority of humankind by unnatural eating habits and sense of moral rectitude.”
First of all I would like to say WOW! That was one of the most hilarious articles I have ever seen! smilies/grin.gif. I have been vegan for about three years now, and the ONLY difficult thing about it was convincing my parents that I wasn’t going to die. It was one of the easiest things I have ever done in my life. But I didn’t just cut out meat, eggs and milk–I replaced them with plant proteins and omega-3/6. I also take b12 supplements.
You do, however, make some good points. A lot of those studies that you mention are not fair since they compare vegetarians to every other person, but vegetarians are very health-conscious people who usually do not smoke or drink excessive amounts of alcohol. But, vegans and vegetarians are NOT “[separated] from the the majority of humankind”. I can’t stress this point enough. At family get-togethers, there is not a separate vegetarian table. I eat with my omnivore family without any criticism whatsoever. Criticizing people does not change them. But quite frankly I don’t care all that much if they change or not. Yes, I love animals, so it would be great if less could be raised for the purpose of being killed then consumed. But preaching is stupid. If somebody asks me, I tell them that I’m vegan. But there is NO separation WHATSOEVER between me and (for instance) my omnivore brother.
And that thing about vegan children growing up miserable…. I don’t even know where to go with that one. There is no base in reality or fact. It’s nothing but a scare tactic and simply by including such a comment, you greatly reduce the intelligence of this article.
Thank you. 🙂
Nice references, but could you add some more condescension please?
I came here because I’m writing a research essay on vegan- and vegetarianism and needed some contrasting statistics, because most of the data that turns up is published by pro-vegetarian organizations. In any case, thank you for the references, which I’ll certainly look up and use, but honestly, this essay is terribly condescending and hateful. You write as though vegetarians and vegans are misguided idiots who have all adopted a hypocritical lifestyle either out of a desire to lord their moral superiority over all their meat-eater friends or because they’re suffering from debilitating eating disorders already.
I’m a vegetarian because I don’t like eating burnt dead animals. I find it unethical to support the slaughter of living things so that I can tickle my taste buds. It’s really very simple. As for all of the health benefits or disasters that come with abstaining from meat, I’ll take it as it comes, but I am much healthier than many of my friends who do eat meat; I exercise regularly, my diet is balanced, I get enough protein and less bad fats and sugars than before, and I eat a variety of locally grown produce as well as taking supplements for what I’m missing. I don’t feel deprived and I don’t have medical issues; neither do millions and millions of meat eaters. There are many ways to be healthy, and I believe it’s achievable whether or not you eat meat.
A diet that requires supplements is not natural. BY DEFINITION. How would one implement the diet before supplements were engineered?
Forbidding types of food is simply not logical.
I can understand how dairy is not very natural. Adults consuming dairy is a very new thing, only a few thousands of years. But meat or any other food that exists in our environment for millions of years?
I believe people that forbid natural food to themselves have psychological issues that are transferred to control over diet. That’s apparent when they are pressed by doctors to eat more meat and refuse, when they force their newborns into unhealthy diets, when they will not even eat meat for recovery reasons. That’s more like a religious attitude than opinion or taste on food. Normal people eat just about anything. Even when they don’t like something in general, they sometimes try the dish in case they like the preparation in the specific meal.
There is no science that supports vegetarianism.
Why does this thing happen? Producing grain products is very good business!
Milk costs 0.30 euro to manufacture and sells for 0.60 to 1.00 after a little processing, and less if its cheese (0.50 to 1.00 euro taking into account how much milk it takes to produce 1kg of cheese or butter).
Meat costs 3 euro to manufacture and sells for 5-6 euro cut, or 6-12 euro after a lot of processing and weight loss.
Grains like wheat etc cost 0.15 to 0.20 euro and sell for 2.00 to 12.00 euro after simple processing and weight gain.
So much biased & blase information here. Incredibly misleading & incorrect. For those seeking facts on meat eating vs. vegetarianism, go elsewhere for your info.
THIS MAYBE BE A TAD BIT LATE buT, everyone has something to say SO I’ll add my thoughts. I’m A 38y/o female I’ve lived both life styles at one point in my life.I have 3 children. I was 20 when I had my first born who is very healthy… I ate meat when pregent with him. After having him I started my vegetaian/vegan LIFR STYLE BECAUSE I thought it was healthierand plus I wanting to lose the weight from my son. (it worked) Then I had my daughter at the age of 22..at this point i was still living the vegan life style, I didnt eat meat and no dairy with her…. at the tender age of 9 she was diagonsed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma(thankgod she is now in remission) My 3rd child I had at the age of 32 he is very healthy I ate meat with him.. From what I see my body was healther when I ate meat,My boys are healthier, but when I ate vegan style while I was pergent with my daughter, my body wasn’t as healthy Witch i believe made her sick…. now she has to worry about getting other cancers from all the treatment she had to go threw to cure the cancer (how upsurd) but thats life … you do the math… This is just food for thought…
“References please”. “Lack of evidence”. If you’ve already made up your mind about what you want to eat you’re never going to be convinced otherwise just like people who thought the Earth is flat couldn’t let go of that ‘fact’ despite any evidence shown to them. You do what you have to do, but trying to belittle/debunk other diets seems a little overdefensive. Perhaps it touches the cognitive dissonance nerve.
Funny and Angry Male Teen says
Everybody is different !!!!!
Everybody is different. In nutrition as well.
Scott Jurek is the most well known extreme distance runner in the world, and a vegan. Obviously there are people who do not just survive on a plant based diet, they thrived on it and become super healthy. Also: look on the Internet for other vegan athletes.
At the other side of the coins, however, there are hundred thousands of peole who have reported to drastically improve their health and lose weight, or slash diabetes from a Paleo or meat-including diet. Particularly, there is a book which tells about a compelling experience from a former vegan couple who suffers IBS and high cholesterol and chronic fatigue. They could not even conceive a child (luckily, now they are eating meat at the age of 50 and “feel greater than ever”). Here is the link to that book http://www.amazon.com/The-Meat…006YZ27LU. For other examples of former vegans, look on the Internet as well.
So both militant vegans and carnivores are far too extreme. And I can smell both of these opinions in this article and the comments following. No matter what you advocate, there are just many contrary examples out there.
So the resolution should be: find the approach that suits you, and shut up. Do not advocate your own way of life.
By the way, PETAs are either hypocritical or plain innocent people. All the starving kids in developing, war- ridden countries (i.e Africa) will be greatly insulted if they see these well off guys, mostly from the first world, prosetylising a meat free vegan lifesyle. PETAs should get their fat asses off the couch and use that money to save the starved first.
That said, I still believe that a lot of people do well on a vegan diet. So again, shut up and do your own things. I will tell you my story in the next comment.
Screw the intolerant;))
This article is CHILDISH. It reminds me of a clip from Youtube bashing Muslim women for making up excuses not to wear Hijab. Just like the Hijab bullies this person is trying to rationalize narrow-mindness and convince the world in his/her “best way” of doing things. Guess what – no one needs your propaganda, BECAUSE it’s a very common and wide spread way of thinking, especially in the US – nothing new here.
So let me ask this – WHAT IS THE POSSIBLE REASON for you to even make this article, aside from liking to blow your own horn?
OMG meat eaters are so religious
I became vegetarian three years ago. I always knew that veggie eaters were right but you know, meat tastes good and I was raised on it. I always thought vegetarians were ‘different’. Then I became one and now I realized that I was part of a cult. Meat Eaters feel so offended that someone doesn’t eat meat, that it has to become the center of every topic.
Then we read stuff like this whole article which is really trying hard when medical evidence does show much greater support for veggies than what is offered here. And then this comment (one of many that I was like WTF):
“As soon as our gushing supply of oil turns into a trickle, vegan/carnivore debates will become irrelevant as their will no longer be ANY WAY to produce veggies without the use of farm animals. And the horrors of the CAFO(Concentrated, Animal, Feeding, operations) will end as that will no longer be a feasible means of raising meat. In fact, Concentrated ANYTHING will be impossible be it meat or plants, lacking the oil fuel to run distribution networks. ”
You know they say veggies are 5IQ point higher, but I’d say it is more like 20pts. How do you feed animals? You use vegetables. It takes 10 times the energy to get a calorie of meat than a calorie of vegetables. Everyone knows that since primary school!
Meat eaters should assemble some sort of teepee structure so they can go in and abuse animals and then eat them slowly and pray to their meat eating god. You will realize how messed up you sound when you finally go veggie. A vegetarian diet is no big deal. It is much more balanced and healthier – and I’d say the big driver is that is checking the ingredients to make sure there are no meat products in your foods. This in turn leads you to question processed ingredients and finally move to predominantly all-natural diet, at least outside your favourite junk snack.
Heavy periods, intense uterine pain with meat
I have uterine fibroids and experienced heavy, frequent, lengthy periods, clots, intense uterine pain and spasms.
Someone suggested that giving up meat would help alleviate these symptoms but I was hesitant because I didn’t want to change my eating habits.
However, the bleeding and pain was negatively affecting every area of my life.
So I decided to try an experiment and mostly refrain from eating meat. I still miss it ocassionaly so when I do partake I only purchase what I call “clean” meat from Whole Foods or my local co-op. Apparently their farmer/suppliers don’t use hormones, etc, which is what I believe my body negatively reacts to.
As a result, my periods are much lighter and I experience no pain. It’s heaven (lol).
However, I spent this wknd at my Mother’s home and ate meat with almost every meal (she purchases what I call ‘regular meat from a traditional store’) As a result, I’m, at this moment, lying on her couch suffering from uterine pain and bleeding.
So, in the my case, I’m convinced that it’s the added hormones in meat that causes the abnormal bleeding and pain. I don’t know if I will ever eat 100% vegetarian, but I do know I feel better when I abstain from meat. And when I do eat ‘clean’ meat, I don’t experience these hellish symptoms.
Victor Huynh says
For the sake of compassion: I don’t eat animal products because I could not stand the pains and sufferings that animals have to go through. But this is up to your ideals.
For the sake of health: 25 years ago, my mother got a cancer. She went to Anderson Cancer hospital in Houston, TX. First visit, they told her that she had 3 years to live and next month check-up, they told her she got 1 year to live because the cancer was spreading so fast. We feel very sad. And then next month check-up after that, they told us that she had only 1/2 year to live. We somehow don’t trust that kind of system anymore. She started vegetarian diets and 1 year later, she completely healed. Now she is 76 years old and still living in Tulsa, OK. You know the benefits now !!!
I applaud this article. Going vegetarian is not a good thing. Our body needs the nutrients in meat. Although, I prefer meat from farm markets, meats that haven’t been loaded with any kinds of hormones or chemcials.
Vegans are tragic characters
It’s utterly hilarious to read the “OMG, you’re a JERK!” vegan posts.. It’s like your veggie clogged minds lack the ability to actually comprehend what you’ve read. This is a rebuttal of an attack by vegans on the vast majority of humans in this world, stating the top 22 reasons to become a veggie. It’s an answer to a hateful, biased, and completely scientifically lacking set of beliefs, held by the self appointed morality police, that was published. Vegans are always the ones to go on the attack, then run and hide behind their hemp sweaters and Birkenstocks(or is it fedoras, gawdy, bright colored mismatched clothes, and giant non-prescription black glasses now?)and claim the big bad ugly fat smelly meat eaters are persecuting them again.
All the “scientific” evidence that “proves” the vegetarian diet is healthier has been debunked. The only people still pushing the so-called results are militant, people hating terrorist organizations like PETA(who have clearly sent their dutiful ve-zombie soldiers to provide pro-veg comments and down rate anything that doesn’t agree with their ideology).
As far as all the “WOW, being a veggie CHANGED MY LIFE” testimonials.. congratulations on providing ZERO useful information. There’s a reason anecdotal evidence isn’t accepted as scientific… It’s unsupported personal opinion. Period. The majority of vegans are little more than self-aggrandizing, smug, middle class, western white people, who have the time and money to argue about who is morally superior and spew their grandiose delusions to all and sundry, while maintaining the proper amount of first world rich person guilt. It’s little more than a question of “I’m better than you, so there”
The simple, inescapable, absolute and utter truth is that the western lifestyle – full of highly processed trash(oh and FYI, processed PLANT OIL that is present in pre-packaged veggie foods is the biggest no no), little exercise, and supplemented by chemical intake such as tobacco, alcohol, and toxic waste from manufacturing – is the only consistent link to high mortality rates, disease, and other various health problems. So your so-called highly evolved, superior diet is little more than a wrong headed approach to health, originally perpetrated by evangelical purists who believed that “natural urges” were pure evil and a vegan diet was the model that the pious, god fearing, wholesome, religious Muppets among us should follow to ensure our place in everlasting paradise.
everyone is angry says
I whole-heartedly agree with everything you just said
Gave Me Something to Think About.
As an octolacto vegetarian I found this article interesting and sensible. I oppose factory farming,but if grass fed,free range meat can be purchased,that is a solution to the cruelty of factory farming.You have given me something to think about and I’m going to look for grass fed,free range meat to try. Buying eggs from a neighbor is easy,maybe I can buy meat from someone local who raises their own meat.I won’t eat meat everyday,but I will add a little back into my diet.Factory farming is the big turn off,but if meat eaters could start purchasing from local farms where animals have a better quality of life maybe we can defeat the evil of factory farming 🙂
This is just a prime example of the power of internet ignorance. Humans will find any reason dwelling in their heads to help themselves feel less guilty for the torture that they allow to beings all over the world. If women were hooked up to machines in factories 24/7/365, kept pregnant to produce milk, and then killed when they get too old to support the diets of another gluttonous species, this would be considered a huge human rights issue. If humans were bulked up, kept in suffocatingly small pens, made to sit in their own shit, and then dropped into vats of scolding hot water while still alive, JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE WANTED BACON, I think we would consider things differently. But because these are beings who don’t speak our language, we automatically assume that they are ours to keep, own, and torture at our free will.
It is not a matter of natural selection. It is the human ego and nothing more. COMPASSION IS EVOLUTION. Dumbasses.
Candance Carter says
Yes! Exactly This!
Obviously this article is written by a meat eater. What else are they going to say… lol… the argument was partially based on some vegetarians are fat and some too thin… umm lol… ok, but usually if u eat meat, your over weight… like the MAJORITY OF THE POPULATION that eats meat and is not just over weight, but OBEESE!
WOULD U COOK UP YOUR OWN DOG AND EAT IT????
THEN WHY NOT?
ABSOLUTELY NO DIFFERENT
Interesting article. I would like to see newer reference material made use though. The 1968 article by the International Atherosclerosis Project seems a little old and outdated considering the medical advances and changes in diet that the US has undergone. I think fast food and higher fatty meats are more widely eaten now than in 1968.
Candance Carter says
Wow omg seriously!?
Lol…. I knew their thinking was out dated, but that’s on a whole new level… ALMOST comical!
Some intellectual honesty here would be nice.
” ‘It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of mutton, but just 25 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat. Not only is this wasteful, but it contributes to rampant water pollution.”
If a sheep drinks one gallon of water per day— which is a lot—the animal would only need about 600 gallons of water to yield almost eighty pounds of meat. That’s less than eight gallons of water per pound, much less than the water required to produce a pound of wheat.”
OK, if you want references from the original claim, where are yours? If you can’t present your own article with anything resembling sound scholarship, how do you expect to have any credibility with regard to your own examination of others’ scholarship? It seems to me, you don’t know how this works.
As it happens, you’re both wrong. It takes about 1064 gallons of water to grow a pound of wheat, on average [http://www.waterfootprint.org/?page=files/home, this is a UNESCO sponsored site, which I’d consider reputable, and it provide further references]. But your calculations for what sheep need is also wrong–sheep can drink as little as 1/4 gallon per day, but as much as 4 gallons, so I don’t know where you pulled the 1 gallon number out of. But you appear to have left out the water necessary to grow food for that sheep, and that used in the slaughterhouse (aka “production”), not just what he drinks.
For the record, on average (as production methods vary):
One pound of wheat production = 1064 gallons H2O(1827 litres/kg)
One pound of mutton production = 6065 gallons H2O(2747.39 litres/kg)
Could really use a little more intellectual honesty here. This is just ridiculous.
Happy cats and references, please.
Just curious, with regard to the good doctor who said that raw food resulted in “healthier, happier cats”, how are we scientifically measuring the happiness of cats these days? I mean, if there’s some kind of validated scale for this, I’d love to know about it so that I can check to see if my cat is happy.
Your accusation of moral rectitude in vegetarians seems to me a projection. I know many vegetarians who do seem that way, but your article is just as bad. And I say that as an omnivore, with no axe to grind with anyone, veggie or carnivorous.
I also note your frequent, condescending “references, please” remark, which demonstrates a double standard–you might list references in the bottom of the article, but without in-line citations, these are fairly useless for evalutaing individual claims you’ve made in the body of the article (but of course, that’s by design. If your evidence was strong and widespread, you’d be happy to make it easy for readers to check, wouldn’t you?), some of which were absurd. The weston price website in general doesn’t seem too big on referring to any studies but those of price.
There’s probably some useful info here, as well as some common sense, but it’s lost in the abominable presentation. And as for Dr Price, I wonder if it ever occurred to him that people living in “geographically isolated communities” might have evolution and less . . .genetic mingling, for lack of a better phrase, to thank for their lovely teeth and “fine characters” (which, again, would be great to have a link to the scale by which that was measured . . . you know, objectively).
I just wish I could get back the time I wasted here, and find a way to bring my normally good blood pressure back down.
Everyone is entitled to their opionion, but this is plain ignorant!
This is some of the most ridiculous stuff I’ve ever heard, If you don’t want to be vegan/ vegetarian DON’T!!!!! There are millions of vegans/ vegetarians that are happy with their diet. If you don’t want to be vegan/ veg, don’t be, and don’t cut down people who are.
You eat meat if you want, I know as a vegetarian I am a better and healthier person. 🙁
This is a ridiculous article. It is cloaking itself in what appears to be evidence-based practice, but most of the references are old or are not peer-reviewed sources at all. If you want good information about vegetarianism vs. meat-eating, take a course from a registered dietician or someone who knows the latest evidence. In fact, you can do this for free through Coursera (Google Coursera for the website). I am in the middle of taking a nutrition course through the University of California at San Francisco, and there are plenty of other courses out there on nutrition that will be starting in the next few weeks that clarify what the real research evidence is. The evidence heavily supports a diet high in fruits and vegetables, with very minimal intake of meats. Also, please people, don’t believe what you read on the internet. I just slapped my palm to my head with the claim somewhere in the middle of this article that the American diet is not high in saturated fat and cholesterol (this was after claiming that these aren’t actually bad things). Ai yi yi. Everyone has an agenda, and they won’t take the time to do the real research. Please check out Coursera or a registered dietician for accurate information.
There were some fair points in the article, especially those countering unfounded claims in the original article, and there were some childish arguments that intended to distract the reader from the point being made. Personally, I like to know what I’m eating and try to avoid things that make me squirm.
There are some really ignorant comments that have been voted up, and some relatively sane comments voted down – I just stumbled upon this site, and although I don’t know the demographic and culture of its visitors, I don’t intend to find out.
What is the proof
What is the proof that this writer is not bribed by Biggest Meat industry or Burger industry?
The body does not need animal foods.
Think again! Animal foods have the highest in usable vit A (liver), B2 (liver), niacin (liver), B5 (liver, egg yolks), B6 (tuna), B9 (liver), B12 (various shellfish), D (fish), K2 (goose fat, goose liver if no access to natto), CoQ10 (liver), calcium (bones of animals, raw dairy), phosphorous, sulphur (egg yolks), usable magnesium, potassium, chloride, sodium (bone broth), iron (shellfish), zinc (oysters), iodine (fish), cobalt (liver).
This article is a ridiculous attempt to discount veganism and vegetarianism. The arguments are childish attempt to divert guilt from meat-eaters. Its arguments against vegetarianism are invalid. I am considering becoming a vegetarian and was looking for a reasonable, logical article why I should not become one, and instead I found this. Not impressed.
Christopher Spiewak says
CLEARLY NOT BASED ON SCIENCE.
The entire post discredits itself in the first few paragraphs….
“1. You’ll live a lot longer… Reference please?”
The writer (Sally) actually mentions the China Health Project (the largest population study on diet and health to date) and then asks for references? It’s a safe assumption that anything to follow would be equally absurd.
I think eating vegetarian is great. And I try to do this as much as I can. I do eat meat, eggs and dairy. My family has done Meatless Mondays for over a year now, and personally I try to eat get my protein from sources other than meat most of the time. Better for me, better for the planet. Having said that, the reasons in the article for eating vegetarian? Come across a bit preachy. I take issue with #22 inparticular. People are going to eat meat- at least some people are- and if they choose more humane sources of meat vs. FF that should be commended. It is still a better choice than the FF. Our meat industry needs reform and small farms are the movement for change. If you want to convert the carnivores, perhaps an article about how to eat MORE veggies and LESS meat would go a little further. Unless of course this is just an article written to rally the vegan troops, in which case job well done.
Patrick Dunn says
Hi Sally! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, but your article doesn’t present a very convincing argument. I am actually on a mission to find somewhere on the internet an article convincing me that meat-eating is healthy, and yours is one of the first that pops up. I read so many thoughtless tirades on the internet against vegetarians and vegans that seem summoned wholly from close-mindedness and hatred. Yet even as I search for them, I cannot find any well-rounded, fact-based articles presenting a thoughtful case for increased meat consumption. Your article was more readable than the slurrs of anonymous forum trolls, but as the president of an influential nonprofit, you hopefully will not be floored by that as a compliment.
Thinking and talking about what we are eating is important. The debate is important. Certainly as the president of an organization that is dedicated to education, you understand the importance of honest discussion. My question is, “who are you trying to educate here?” If it is vegetarians, you offend them early enough to lose all if your credibility. If it is other, impressionable eaters, I think you are doing more harm than good, unfortunately. I could quote a few absurd points here to make my case, but I’ll choose bullet point 13, wherein you say:
“Humans have always had to deal with environmental carcinogens—smoke is loaded with them—and heavy metals like mercury, which occur naturally in fish. We can deal with these challenges when we have adequate amounts of the nutrients supplied by animal foods.”
Any person of reasonable intelligence, regardless of their education, knows that toxins and carcinogens cannot be “dealt with,” by maximizing our nutrient intake. Can we really fortify our bodies against mercury by eating burgers? Do you really think so? Come on, Sally! Give your readers some credit here. If I am a person waffling in the periphery of vegetarianism and seeking out a convincing intellectual hook back into meat-eatingdom, and I find what appears to be a reputable article published by a reputable organization, and then as I read it seems as though my stupidity is being assumed, my next logical question is, “is this kind of writing the best they can do?”
I’m sorry if you feel angered or insulted by any of the posts on this page. Don’t do yourself the disservice of writing off the criticisms as vegetarian nonsense. You would do your cause and your organization a favor by taking this article down, doing some more research, and writing it again.
Not a vegetarian, but now one step closer
I’ve been a vegetarian for seven years (I’m fifteen), and you obviously don’t know the definition of “vegetarianism”. In light of your…unfortunate ignorance, I’ll put it into simple terms for you:
Vegetarians do not eat meat; however, they will still eat certain animal products. I, for instance, eat dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, and chocolate) and eggs (and no, these are not chicken abortions; you need a rooster to fertilize a hen before an embryo is even remotely possible). I am stricter about my dietary habits than are my other three family members (who are all vegetarians): I will not eat gelatin (ground-up animal bones–this means I no longer eat marshmallows or Jello, and I will not take gel capsules) or pick the meat off of anything (e.g. pizza, sandwiches, etc.). This is what being a vegetarian entails.
Now, veganism is to vegetarianism as humans are to apes: vegans eat NO animal products whatsoever. This includes honey, salad dressing, and beer. You seem to be under the impression that vegans and vegetarians are synonymous….not so much!
(I can also attest to the fact that before I stopped eating meat and drinking a lot of milk, I got stomach bugs at least twice a year, but I haven’t dealt with these problems since then.)
Just a little something to fuel your mind for a bit (besides animal carcass)!
“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.”
ssanjnna gupta says
i lv non-veg bt the fact that veg food is d bst can’t be deied 8)
May I know who funded this study? I’m curious to know what company you work for.
This article is the biggest bullshit ever! I AM VEGAN
Why in the world, would you attempt to dismiss something that is obvious? That people who don’t eat any animal products are all lean, with low body fat %, healthy, have no bad cholesterol, have more energy and less inflammation in the body!! I am vegan, and since I stopped eating meat I am 100% better. I know a person who was raised vegan, never eat any animal products and he is solid and healthy as a rock. I know a women in her 50s who when stopped eating meat cured lupus and leaned out her body and looked like 20 year old girl! SHAME ON U TO SAY THAT agriculture is killing animals just like slaughterhouse!
a random lawyer says
“1. You’ll live a lot longer
Reference please? ”
Vegetarians live longer than meat-eaters, according to a study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, a Journal of the American Medical Association.
“2. You’ll save your heart”
Vegetarianism can reduce risk of heart disease by up to a third.
I was going to keep going – then I read your third point….
5. You’ll add color to your plate
I couldn’t care what color my food was as long as it is healthy! Vegans/Vegetarians do not use color to try and get people to eat less meat or give it up all together they use the medical research that proves the health benefits that come along with it!
13. You’ll avoid toxic chemicals
Meat and dairy products are also laced with steroids and hormones. < You try and justify consuming mercury/steroids and other harmful substances by saying it's something you deal with?? The brilliant thing is as a vegan I wash the pesticides off the veg/fruit I eat and it is clean, the meat you consume is full extremely nasty stuff that you think people should just be happy to get on with.
Half the stuff you are asking for a 'reference' for is just common knowledge.
Natalie Macosno says
The vegan choice isn’t anything I’m interested in. Don’t buy any into any health-solution studies from vegan or other only-eat-these-foods plans. It’s clear from the aged I know that a variety of healthy foods are good, and long, healthy lives are achieved on all diets, including old-school meat and veges, non-meat etc. Vegan is a fine a way to go, but not a cure or secret fountain for youth, health or earth sustainability (multitude of controllable and uncontrollable factors involved on all these).
Hahahahahahahhaha “Vegetables are a lot more interesting and bring us a lot more joy when dressed with egg yolks and cream or cooked in butter or lard. But if you are a vegan, you’ll be using either liquid or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, both extremely toxic” hahahahha what? Raw veggies bring A LOT of joy to me…they’re pretty interesting too….and oil? LOL. I eat veggies raw….no oil! so no, vegans do not use “toxic oils” on our veggies. Seriously laughed out loud at this post
OK, so *you* like raw vegetables. Not everyone does. Maybe you don’t use vegetable oils with high amounts of polyunsaturated fats, but many vegetarians/vegans do. That was the point. It wasn’t about you personally. (Here’s a life hint: not everything is about you.)
#20 about water granted a sheep would only need according to your calculations 600 gallons of water and would produce 80 lbs of meat that is considering only what the sheep would drink directly. The sheep would also consume grains so the water needed to produce its feed also need to be counted. So it makes logical sense that eating vegetarian would be eco-friendly in the sense of saving water.
And a second note on the the vegan vs. vegetarian thing vegans technically use no animal products whatsoever which means they do not wear leather or buy products tested on animals. A dietary vegan only does not consume/eat animal products. This is technically synonymous with vegetarian because a true vegetarian does not eat any animal products. A lacto-ovo vegetarian is what most of us think of when we say vegetarian; they do not eat meat but do eat milk and dairy products. When we say vegan we generally think of dietary vegan.
You Are What You Eat!
I’m an herbivore and have been for 8 years. Last fall I was at your conference in California and mildly disgusted. There are a few things that I really like about this diet; no processed foods, raw nuts, low natural sugar intake. I could deffinately agree with the importance of eating organic and enjoyed the company of a few of the people there.
I cant help but be repulsed by the fact that the WAP info is based on archaic knowledge. Do you not think we have come leaps and bounds since primal development? Human beings are ever evolving and so is our knowledge of food and nutrition.
You mention something about vegans and vegetarians being an unhealthy weight… What about the amount of overweight people that follow the WAP diet? I noticed a lot of very well fed people. You all have very beautiful hair though…I admired that.
I live in a place where there are many extreme athletes. (I mean mega endurance types.) Some of the strongest and healthiest people I know are vegans. One example that comes to mind is a friend of mine, a world class rock climber, wouldn’t even consider putting meat into his body. A pure diet of plant based food yields pure mind, body and soul.
Please recheck your facts, they are outdated.
Why so aggressive?
Look, the fact of the matter is I have never met a dedicated vegetarian (as in someone who has been a vegetarian for over a year) who gets angry at non vegetarians. Leave them in peace. They don’t aggressively tell you that your opinions on what is healthier for them is wrong so why should you badger them into seeing things your way?
Leave if alone its not your problem
This is ridicoulous!
Can’t hold a stressful, well paid job. This whole article is unicorns but this one made me chuckle. I didn’t realize My veganism was aiding my inability to be a Project Manager for one of the top engineering firms. Guess my 100k job was a fevered dream of a madman I’ll inform them I’ll be too feeble to continue.
Comments are made of pure win!
After reading this article, I was going to remonstrate. I was prepared to tear it to shreds. But then, I’m merely satisfied reading other comments, in fact they’re an indulgence for me. I have nothing more to add or anything better to say than anything that’s already been said, except
Vegetarian commenters: 80
Sally Morrell: 0
in my opinion to live a long happy life you need moderation. I personally try to have a variety in my diet trying to find the best version of everything. I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables but i also eat meat. I avoid sausages because they don’t contain the best quality of meat. I buy meat in bulk, nice lean good quality meat and mince and chop it up myself to ensure good quality, I also eat nuts and seeds and other good things. i exercise regularly and my health is great. Too much of anything isn’t good for you but also you need a little bit of everything to be healthy and happy. I don’t criticize vegetarians or vegans for their food choices so they should stop criticizing meat eaters. And i dont think its fair to force your kids to be vegetarians. if when old enough they decide its right for them then thats their choice but they should be able to make it.
Valter M. Silva says
A whole plant-based diet really works
I am a living-proof that a whole plant-based diet with a lot of raw fresh fruits and vegetables, really works, as it really worked with me. Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, just to mention a few chronical diseases, run in my family, and up to now I am the only one who have been following this kind of diet, and, not surprisingly,I am the only one who is enjoying good health at my 68, while both my parents died long ago from heart disease at an early age,when I was just fifteen, my younger sister is type 2 diabetic, my older sister suffers from heart disease, having been submited to a tryple by-pass surgery and a angioplasty. So,I really believe in Dr Dean Ornish´s scientific proven studies on reversing atherosclerosis heart disease, even prostate cancer, and yes, I believe in The China Study by T. Collin Campbell, even when he says we can turn on and turn off cancer growth just by adding animal protein to the diet of his subjets, the same way as I turn on and turn off my own high blood pressure just by adding or not current`animal proteins and processed foods to my diet, as I sometimes do as just to make sure the diet really Works.
Everyone is arguing about what “science” says…except science hasn’t been exactly clear as to what the “ideal” diet really is, and that’s pretty obvious, considering that there are LOADS of contradicting scientific research results. Year after year…month after month… different foods/diets/etc. are constantly being proven to be “healthy” and then, a split second later, retracted as severely unhealthy.
I think what’s really missing on both sides of the argument is truly being in tune with *your* body.
I think, scientific “findings” aside, it seems pretty obvious that diet and lifestyle is personal and highly depends on the individual. There is so much that goes into health besides just whether or not you eat meat, or dairy, or gluten or whatever people wish to argue about. There is also genetics, other lifestyle/environmental factors, mental/emotional factors, etc. I think it’s awfully difficult to truly attribute “good health” to just a diet. There are some people who live well into their 90s smoking cigarettes… while others who have never touched a cigarette and eat “healthy” die young.
From my perspective, it seems that the biggest issue is trying to determine the “magic” way of eating that will ensure optimal health as if it’s applicable to everyone. Not every person is the same, and thus, not every diet should be either. So, again, I want to come back to saying that what’s truly missing from our society when it comes to health/food is the message that we should be paying attention to our bodies, and not what we read/hear/see in the media/online/etc.
All that aside, I don’t think it’s a great idea for anyone to eat food-like products that are laden with chemicals and other artificial crap, and whether or not you are vegetarian or you eat meat, I think that is pretty universal. Unfortunately, I think that eating organic and such is pretty difficult now days anyway, as our entire environment has altered due to civilization…pollution, GMOs, etc. Even if you’re doing your own farming, you don’t really know what is in your soil, how the DNA of different plants/animals has mutated over the years thus changing the way that it may interact with OUR bodies…etc.
Other things… even down to the details such as the plastic wrapping around the meat or veggies you buy can impact the whole situation.
In the end — WHY argue about it? Why not just eat in a manner that YOU feel best about, and let others do the same? While everyone is absolutely entitled to their opinions…I suppose I don’t understand why it’s important/necessary to press it upon others? I get that perhaps the intention of some is to “educate” to hopefully help others… but the problem is the science behind these things is NOT actually clear, defined, exact, and complete. So… while one person may argue one scientific finding, I can guarantee there is another finding that contradicts it.
When it comes down to it — we are the only animals that need everything to be down to a science and backed up by science. Every other animal on the face of this earth just eats what it wants/needs/is available at the time, period.
Anyway, hope this comment found both sides well… because, truly, no one should have to feel compelled to defend themselves in terms of what they feel best about. Trust yourself… trust your body…and love it. 🙂
Just saying- I’m a kid vegetarian and I am perfectly healthy and actually stronger than a lot of the jocks at our school. 🙂
What an aggressive article! Using ones hatred to attack people in such a way is shameful, especially when those people have acted so unselfishly.
This article is hilariously ridiculous. Why so aggressive? Misinformed I say.
I don’t know who comes up with these figures. Italians are among the healthiest, who live the longest, and they eat everything – unprocessed of course and home made.
Oscar Perez says
Veganism is a dogmatic ideology and itsee advocates are ideologues that manipulate data and spread misinformation, this is a common practice amongst people with a narrative and an agenda. Vegans will demonize anyone who dares to challenge their beliefs and through petty insults once they realize that their arguments and so call evidence is flawed and wrong. I am a first hand witness because I am an omnivore supremacist who goes after ideologue vegans and make them look like idiots and I am proud of it!
Bring it on!
I’m a vegetarian (changing soon) and I, too, think veganism feels like some sort of religion I am not interested in. I already have one of those.
Your attempt to sound like an educated well-rounded writer has failed with your childish behaviour, the lack of truth behind your ‘facts’, and your condescending attitude toward people who make healthier life style choices as opposed to your own. Throwing in graphs to your ‘argument’ isn’t going to make you strengthen you argument, or lack of argument. Many patients who come into my clinic are suffers of bowel cancer who have very little vegetation in their diets, and predominantly consume meat. I’ve noticed they have much of the same attitude as yourself. It is a shame people like yourself promote such a hate for vegetables, and people who like to eat them. I hope you’ve made some dietary changes since writing this article for your own good, also the good of those who don’t know any better to believe your views deserve any contemplation.
This is a thought provoking article and what is the big deal to make a point forward ? I found the simplest logic here which is a winner and that’s the 8th point, politically correct.
I thought this about not to got vegetarian…
Your article is interesting, but full of wrong statements.
Methans contribution to global warming is not a theory, just to give an example.
It gets even worse.
You try to prevent scientific background by listing up lots of papers – without referring to them. Why not?
You say, animal food is important for our body. Yeah, very scientific. It’s not, that has been proven, you just repeat old bullshit again and again. I know lots of people eating only vegetarian since 20, 30 years and doing sports, getting children, whatever. Without extras or getting sick. Normal thing.
I am 12 years old and a meat-eater. My best friend is a vegetarian and once convinced me to try and be a vegetarian. I got through a week of being veggie before giving up – I just really like meat! However, I do think vegetarianism is a very good idea, and I don’t get why loads of other meat-eaters are so negative about the idea. I know it’s hypocritical of me, because I eat meat myself, but what do they most meat eaters (most – not all) find so hard to understand about vegetarianism?!
Tom Brady, greatest quarterback of all time. Plant based diet
Williams sisters, greatest female tennis players of all time. Vegan
Kyrie Irving, too 5 player in the NBA, Vegan
Beyoncé Knowles – Vegan
Winner Of 2017 Worlds strongest man composition, Vegan
I think I will trust they greatest athletes of all time over this
maria de lourdes says
hum…i think i will trust all the traditional cultures over this vegan insanity who never considere the different envioremments people have around the world.
maria de lourdes says
Vegetarians and vegan lives in social bubble,they think the entirely world is like where they live.There are helth people all over the world and every culture eats meat( including the Hindu,in case of you guys don´t know) and not necessary destroy nature or torture animals( native indigenous,sami,inuits etc).Vegans and vegetarians lacks know other cultures,they only tpick up what can be twisted and used in their crazy theories.
As the article suggest,it´s an American creation and they like to force it on everyone,disrespecting people´s choice.That´s why we ignore them,it´s of no use to waste time.
Including the Hindu? It’s not about religion, it’s more about not hurting animals. My friends are vegetarian and they aren’t crazy nor in a bubble. I eat meat, and I think this is strange to say.
maria de lourdes says
And more: after reading some vegan/vegetarian comments here i could see one more time,that they think they a re the best of the humaking,they are,somehwo superior; no matter what evidence you bring to them,they insist in their insanity.( just like any fundamentalist regilion)
What makes me more intrigued is they think they know a lot about agriculture prodution but none of them seem to be an agronomist or similar,like me.And they protect nature? darlings,Amazonia here has been put down because of wood,not cattle.
That´s why people can´t stand them,not because they are right like they think,but because of their ignorance and arrogance.
This is the most utter trash article I have ever read. Most us conplete lies or opinions and purely serves to make people who eat meat feel better about themselves. Love that you use the lack of b12 ext argument as I have been veg for years and never taken supplements and am very healthy and work a very demanding physical job. Also as a diabetic my blood sugars have never been as good as when I switched to a plant based diet. There is only one reason to eat meat and that is to stuff your fat (expletive deleted by moderator) mouth. Thats ut
Maureen Diaz says
And this is a fine example of why people should not go vegan! The most angry, vicious people I encounter are the vegan crowd; they need some (animal) fats in their diet to calm their nerves! Choose your own way Ramsey, but millennia of human history and science simply do not support the vegan ideal. Those of us who wish to bear healthy children, generation after generation in particular, understand the basic human physiology and need for the input of animal foods. To each their own🤨
Unlucky Cat says
At least you get to “bear healthy children” unlike so many of the animals you eat. In the egg industry, millions of day old male chicks are macerated, suffocated, burned… disposed of in horrific ways because they have no purpose in this industry as non egg laying chickens. As for their hen mothers, once they are too old (at as young as 18 months) to lay eggs, they are sent off to the slaughter to become food for your greedy “healthy children”. So unlike you, these hens never even get to meet their children and definitely don’t get to bear “healthy ones”.
Think about what you’re really fighting for. There are plenty of meat-alternatives that people can eat and live long healthy lives. Think about the animals and the planet that are being harmed so you and your children, who contribute to overpopulation on this planet, can be “healthy”.
I used to scoff at what you people call the ‘Vegan religion’ or ‘Vegan cult’ too. But if you put your own anthropocentric focus aside for a moment, maybe you’ll realise that everything you just said is completely ignorant and selfish, like most humans (including myself) often can be. We and our “generation after generation” of offspring are not all that matter on this planet.
Reason for commenting is for a homework assignment. I don’t truly care about the matter.
All Lives Matter
Since the beginning of time there has been debate on whether the life of an animal matters as much as ours. Is a cow a thing we respect enough not to eat? While many people solely think of certain animals as food, 3.2% of Americans follow a vegetarian diet. It is natural for nonvegetarians to question a vegetarian on how they could ever let go of meat? Often, it is difficult to ever think of a life without meat, but vegetarians feel just as strong about a not eating meat as a nonvegetarian would about eating meat. Millions of animals die a day and obesity has become a major problem in society. Can vegetarianism be a solution? In the earlier days when vegetarianism was getting started, the reason for this type of lifestyle had a lot to do with religious beliefs and respect for animals. A couple other reasons for vegetarianism in today’s world, are still for the love of animals, but not so much for religion, but because it’s a healthier choice of diet. Although it is claimed that a plant-based diet is healthier for you, it seems to come up in debates quiet often on whether it makes a significant difference in a person’s health at all compared to a nonvegetarian.
Although, a lot of people no longer are vegetarians for religion, it was a big deal when vegetarianism was just getting recognized. In ancient times it was more common for people to keep meat out of their diets because hunting was difficult in certain areas. Eventually different religions started adopting vegetarianism as a lifestyle. In the article Unearthing the Ancient Roots of Vegetarianism it states, “Evidence suggests that the founders of a non-meat diet lived in Asia, especially in ancient Indian civilizations. One of the foremost advocates of Buddhist vegetarianism was the emperor Ashoka (304-232 BC), who tried to encourage people to care for animals”. Although, vegetarianism is found in other religions, it is mostly practiced by Buddhism and Hinduism. According to the same article there was an Emperor who banned eating meet in Japan for about 1,200 years. Only when there was another Emperor in charge was that ban cancelled. It was not just in Asia that people practiced this life-style. A lot of places around the world had also followed this way of life. In Russia, Greece, Serbia, Cyprus and other countries for example, people followed a no meat diet because of religion. The reason that not eating meat was so associated with religion was because people believed that eating animals was bad for a person and the point of religion is that we be good people. Many men found famous today were vegetarians as well and tried to encourage others to follow the same path. The philosopher, Plato, was one of the many men who supported vegetarianism. Another origin of vegetarianism that I read was in 22 Reason Not to Go Vegetarian which said that vegetarianism was founded by a man name Sylvester Graham who didn’t follow the lifestyle because of a religion but because he believed that it was the cure to alcoholism and lust. Interesting enough there was a lot of reasonable reasoning for his beliefs.
A popular reason that is still common for why people become vegetarians in today’s time, is to save animals. In the ancient times, it was because people wanted to respect animals as part of their religion, but in today’s time, the meat industry has become a very big business. In an article titled Food, it says that 10 billion animals die each year in slaughterhouses. A study in this article showed that by becoming a vegetarian one person alone can save 95 animals a year. That’s 475 animals a year in a family of five. Slaughterhouses are also not very caring for how they kill animals. Animals live and die in cruel ways. Fish are suffocated, crushed under the weight of other fish or frozen alive. Hens are also suffocated, gassed or minced alive. Cows are forced to breed so the female can be used for her milk and their babies are separated from them shortly after the birth. The babies are separated into groups of males or females. The males go to the slaughterhouse to be killed for beef while the females have the same purpose as their mothers. Most cows don’t see anything outside the slaughterhouse or ever make it past the first year of their lives. Slaughterhouses are also very uncomfortable for animals. The animals are shoved into tiny cages where they can’t even turn around or they are crammed into already too crowded cages. Hens are even debeaked to avoid them peaking at each other in their overpopulated cages. They might just be animals, but they are alive and capable of having feelings and feeling pain.
A second popular reason for changing to a plant-based diet is because it is a healthier choice. In the article Why Go Veg, they make the claim that the vegetarian diet is healthier than the average American diet. A vegetarian diet can reduce heart disease and even reduces the risk of cancer, which in terms, will help a person live longer. When on a no meat diet, you consume less animal fat and cholesterol. Instead, you consume more fiber. Fiber is an important part of any healthy diet. In the article, Fiber and Disease Prevention it says, “adults should consume between 20 and 35 grams of fiber per day”. Fiber that can only be consumed by eating plants. In a harbor study, those who had a high intake in fiber were at a 40% lower risk for heart disease. While animal products clog our arteries, therefore, slowing down our immune system and leaving us vulnerable to foodborne illnesses. Foodborne Illnesses: What You Need to Know goes over the numbers on foodborne illnesses. There are 48 million cases annually which is equivalent to 1 in 6 Americans a year. 128,000 people will be hospitalized, and 3,000 cases end in death. Going back to the Why Go Veg article, meat, poultry, fish and seafood are frequently involved in foodborne illness outbreaks.
In my own opinion, I don’t see how myself becoming a vegetarian today would help save any animals. It is true that if I become a vegetarian, I will be eating 95 less animals a year, but would that really be enough to make the meat industry consider shutting down? Their business is still big and still bringing in so much money that they will continue to run their business while killing the same number of animals as always. I don’t believe anything will slow down slaughterhouses unless at least 50% of the world’s populations are vegetarians, but that is a very big number compared to 3.2%. Although a lot of good things are said about becoming vegetarian, I also read a lot that these pro vegetarians forget to mention. In the article 22 Reasons not to go Vegetarian, it stated that in a research done by Dr. Russell, there was no benefits in vegetarians compared to nonvegetarians when it came to mortality or longevity. In fact, living longer doesn’t have anything to do with just the way we eat but it also depends a lot on how you take care of your body. For example, if you smoke, if you drink alcohol, if you do any physical activities. It’s hard to determine whether a vegetarian diet alone is what keeps a person healthier, risk free of any diseases or helps you live longer. The causes of deaths between a vegetarian and a nonvegetarian were not even significantly different and it turns out that vegetarians have higher levels of homocysteine which is a risk marker for heart disease. In this article they said, “In fact, Smith speculated on the possibility that the available data from the many existing prospective studies were left unpublished because they failed to reveal any benefits of the vegetarian diet”. Now, going back to the article Foodborne Illnesses: What you need to know, I studied their chart the types of foodborne illnesses and what causes them. I noticed that meat doesn’t cause many illnesses mostly only raw meats. The consequences for the illnesses cause by raw meats varied between 24-48 hours compared to the illness like hepatitis that can last between 2 weeks – 3 months which can be caused by raw meats but also by produce. In this same article they said, “The most common source of food-borne illness by a long shot is fruits and vegetables.24 Problems with animal foods stem from factory farming practices. Milk, meat and eggs raised naturally do not present problems of food-borne illness”. Another argument that was made was that vegetarians consumed a lot of fiber and that fiber had a lot of benefits to reducing the risk of a lot of diseases. The only thing that I have to say about that is that as a nonvegetarian myself, I can also consume the right amount of fiber by eating plants. Just because someone considers themselves a nonvegetarian does not mean that their diets are meats alone. A diet of a nonvegetarian can also include plants. In conclusion, I do not see a significant reason enough to become a vegetarian, but I have nothing against vegetarians. It is a personal decision and only one knows what the best fit for them is.
• Fiber and Disease Prevention
• Foodborne Illnesses: What You Need to Know
U.S. Food and Drug Administration https://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/FoodborneIllnessesNeedToKnow/default.htm
• Natalia Klimczak
November 13, 2016
Unearthing the Ancient Roots of Vegetarianism
• Vegetarians Times Editor
Why Go Veg?
• Vegetarian Times Editor
Vegetarianism In America
April, 16, 2008
• Westona A Price Foundation
22 Reasons not to go Vegetarian
April 8, 2009
This was very helpful in my research so thx westonaprice.org
Adele Sanoy says
I read recently that our digestive tract is acid based like a carnivores and not bacterial based like a cows and other herbivores. Sure we do have a ‘fermentation chamber’ (the large colon) but it is only a small percentage of our entire digestive tract, whereas in cows and other herbivores the ‘fermentation chamber’ is the largest length by percentage. A cow can ferment plant fibers from grass into saturated fat to support the brain, by contrast, humans must ingest saturated fat to support our large brain. Those same plant fibers are insoluble to us, we don’t have the right bacteria to perform that function, nor is our chamber long enough and we do we chew a cud to facilitate that process.
As per my personal understandings, human are carnivores and meat provides us with some of the very essential proteins which is not there in greens.
No thanks says
I have been vegetarian for around a year and I am still growing (I am fine and aren’t DYING it was my choice). I am younger than just about everyone here and I think that if someone makes a choice then others should support them unless said choice puts them in danger, and no one is supporting anyone here. If “meat-eaters” stay out of our happy, safe space then we will stay out of theirs. I can’t promise anything but hopefully, this fight will end soon. Please don’t attack other people because of what they eat. It’s stupid. please
I have been vegan for 10 years, vegetarian for 5 before that. I make sure I get vitamins and calcium, I also take chlorella, choline/inositol and Vit D. I get probiotics from kombucha. The assertion that veggys are all too thin is just rubbish, maybe a few decades ago the selection of food available for a veggy diet wasn’t that great, but it’s now 2021 and things have changed.
Go to google and enter ‘vegan athlete’ or ‘vegan bodybuilder’ – be prepared for your preconditioned bubble to be completely burst, google Jim Morris , a vegan bodybuilder in his 80s, maybe Mimi kirk, how healthy and young does Mimi look?
And seeing as how you demand sources to counter your anti-veggy bigotry, maybe you could also provide sources to back up your own opinions that veggies are too thin and look unhealthy. I can promise you meateaters look pale and ill and carry too much bodyfat compared to veggies.
At the end of the day diet is an individual choice and the true test is how good you actually feel, I feel better on a vegan diet, my mental health has improved, my body feels cleaner inside, my conscience is clearer knowing i am not responsible for the deliberate suffering and murdering of animals we are not designed to eat. If you feel good on a meat diet or the SAD then good for you, keep at it.
I would also add, that our planet has been struck by catastrophe throughout it’s history, meteor impacts, super volcano eruptions, solar micronova, these all affect the planet and cause massive amounts of dust and debris to be thrown into the atmosphere, blocking out sunlight and destroying our agriculture, no sunlight = no plants, meaning we were forced to eat fish and animals for protein to survive, to keep our species alive, only we have forgotten this simple fact and continued to eat animals, however there is simply no need to eat them anymore.