I look good, I must admit. I am happy with my appearance. My skin is clear, my skin is colored, soft, naturally moisturized, and my hair is thick and shiny. My nails need filing so often because they grow at obnoxious speed and are thick. My face LOOKS healthy. There are no descending bags under my eyes. Nothing on me hurts, ails or feels off. I don’t need naps. I have tons of energy. I know I am doing this right. I AM STRONG. My mind is only slightly, when I allow it to, playing games with me.
POINT: I MUST BE EATING ADEQUATELY AND NUTRITIONALLY SOUND
The blog world is full of vegetarianism and veganism. It is wrong, and you cannot ever convince me it is right. I think it is downright ridiculous to get your nutrition from supplements, “green smoothies,” some factory produce QUORN(?), soy tofu, chia seeds(really what ancestor of ours picked enough of them to flippin eat?!). Now in defense of y’all, you **MAY** be better off than the donut eating, French fry induced coma of people eating the Standard American Diet. This is not because of veggies, trust me. It is simply because you care about your food intake, but your reasoning is totally skewed. Interested in REAL facts…check this site out http://www.westonaprice.org/Traditional-Diets/
Ex-Vegetarian Interview Excerpts OF IMPORTANCE!
*Like religious true believers, ideological vegans start with a dogma and then seek to defend it, rather than taking the more scientific route of continually evaluating all the available evidence and testing their own beliefs against the constraints of reality.
*I thought I would be vegan for the rest of my life.
*Food is one of the most deeply rooted attachments humans have. Water, sex, and for some, inebriation, are the only more intense drives. It’s no wonder that vegans wouldn’t want to place blame on their diet. It would be an indictment of who and what they are, literally.
*As for me, the systematic approach began with learning more about farming and agriculture, especially firsthand through gardening. Both curiosity about alternative ways of eating and slowly deteriorating health led to actually trying eating differently.
*But a year or so into my veganism, I used to get (fairly frequently) pretty heavy nosebleeds. And I caught colds with more ease. I haven’t been sick once since I stopped being vegan.
*Once I was vegetarian, instead of taking a lunch break, every day I would eat lunch at my desk while I worked, and then I would sneak to the basement of the building for an hour to nap. Otherwise, I couldn’t function.
*The first thing to change was to eliminate soy. This made a big difference by itself. I then began eating much more fat, especially coconut oil, and phased out canola oil. Again, I perceived improvement in my health. Around the same time, there was a concerted effort to avoid processed foods.
*When I first read some of the stuff in Nourishing Traditions, I laughed about Fallon’s suggestions for tricking children into eating sweetmeats. Only after many discussions and reflection over a year did the option of eating meat enter into my realm of possibility. I’d say that The Vegetarian Myth was the breaking point.
*I was not feeling well for a while, and I didn’t think I was giving my body what it needed to heal, so I decided to experiment and start eating white meat. I think I got a couple turkey sandwiches, then graduated to a chicken breast sandwich, which was way weird at the time. I’ve gone on burger tours of cities to find the best burger. There’s nothing like a great fillet Mignon. Somehow Morningstar Farms never perfected the microwaveable fake one of those.
*Out of all my friends and myself who have started eating meat, I have never seen anyone even get a case of meat sweats. It was a thoroughly delicious experience. You just forget how good things were, like Chick-fil-A, pepperoni and tacos. My body also started to instantly look more muscular and developed within only a month.
*I would say I’m healthier now. My hair is a lot thicker, I don’t feel tired all the time, and I eat less junk food. I bake less. My mom used to say she could tell when people were vegetarians. I asked her how, and she said that they had a pale, sickly color about them.
*I’ve also noticed that my allergies have disappeared almost overnight (after 10 years of debilitating problems) and my eyesight is improving. I’ve lost all cravings for sweet foods. If you knew me before, you’d be amazed. All I could ever think about was eating brownies or cinnamon rolls. Giving into the never-ending sugar cravings wrecked havoc on my system, but I was a slave to impulses.
*I felt fantastic after eating the chicken on the first night. The first thing to go away was the constant soreness of my bloated gut. I chock this up to not trying to eat like a cow, stuffing myself with huge amounts of grains and other low calorie foods in order to be able to make it more than two hours before I was famished again.
AND IF THAT IS NOT ENOUGH….to get some of you veggie-fanatical-oatmeal-sweet obessed-on-the-blood-sugar-rollercoaster people I keep reading about, here are highlights FROM THE AMERICAN DIETICIAN ASSOCIATION regarding even the most “healthy” vegetarian diets.
The variability of dietary practices among vegetarians makes individual assessment of dietary adequacy essential. In addition to assessing dietary adequacy, food and nutrition professionals can also play key roles in educating vegetarians about sources of specific nutrients, food purchase and preparation, and dietary modifications to meet their needs.
Vegans and some other vegetarians may have lower intakes of vitamin B-12, calcium, vitamin D, zinc, and long-chain n-3 fatty acids.
Studies have found that although isolated soy protein can meet protein needs as effectively as animal protein, wheat protein eaten alone, for example, may result in a reduced efficiency of nitrogen utilization. Thus, estimates of protein requirements of vegans may vary, depending to some degree on dietary choices. Food and nutrition professionals should be aware that protein needs might be somewhat higher than the Recommended Dietary Allowance in those vegetarians whose dietary protein sources are mainly those that are less well digested, such as some cereals and legumes.
Cereals tend to be low in lysine, an essential amino acid. This may be relevant when evaluating diets of individuals who do not consume animal protein sources…
Because of lower bioavailability of iron from a vegetarian diet, the recommended iron intakes for vegetarians are 1.8 times those of nonvegetarians.
Whereas vegetarian diets are generally rich in n-6 fatty acids, they may be marginal in n-3 fatty acids. Diets that do not include fish, eggs, or generous amounts of algae generally are low in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), fatty acids important for cardiovascular health as well as eye and brain development. The bioconversion of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a plant-based n-3 fatty acid, to EPA is generally less than 10% in humans; conversion of ALA to DHA is substantially less. Vegetarians, and particularly vegans, tend to have lower blood levels of EPA and DHA than nonvegetarians.
The Dietary Reference Intakes recommend intakes of 1.6 and 1.1 g ALA per day, for men and women, respectively. These recommendations may not be optimal for vegetarians who consume little if any DHA and EPA and thus may need additional ALA for conversion to DHA and EPA.
The iron in plant foods is nonheme iron, which is sensitive to both inhibitors and enhancers of iron absorption. Inhibitors of iron absorption include phytates, calcium, and the polyphenolics in tea, coffee, herb teas, and cocoa.
The bioavailability of zinc from vegetarian diets is lower than from nonvegetarian diets, mainly due to the higher phytic acid content of vegetarian diets. Thus, zinc requirements for some vegetarians whose diets consist mainly of phytate-rich unrefined grains and legumes may exceed the Recommended Dietary Allowance. Zinc intakes of vegetarians vary with some research showing zinc intakes near recommendations and other research finding zinc intakes of vegetarians significantly below recommendations.
Foods such as soybeans, cruciferous vegetables, and sweet potatoes contain natural goitrogens. These foods have not been associated with thyroid insufficiency in healthy people provided iodine intake is adequate.
Some studies suggest that vegans who do not consume key sources of iodine, such as iodized salt or sea vegetables, may be at risk for iodine deficiency, because plant-based diets are typically low in iodine. Sea salt and kosher salt are generally not iodized nor are salty seasonings such as tamari.
(p. 1268 – 1269)
Calcium intakes of lacto-ovo-vegetarians are similar to, or higher than, those of nonvegetarians, whereas intakes of vegans tend to be lower than both groups and may fall below recommended intakes. In the Oxford component of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC-Oxford) study, the risk of bone fracture was similar for lacto-ovo-vegetarians and meat eaters, whereas vegans had a 30% higher risk of fracture possibly due to their considerably lower mean calcium intake.
In addition, some studies show that the ratio of dietary calcium to protein is a better predictor of bone health than calcium intake alone. Typically, this ratio is high in lacto ovo-vegetarian diets and favors bone health, whereas vegans have a ratio of calcium to protein that is similar to or lower than that of nonvegetarians.
The bioavailability of calcium from soy milk fortified with calcium carbonate is equivalent to cow’s milk although limited research has shown that calcium availability is substantially less when tricalcium phosphate is used to fortify the soy beverage.
Oxalates in some foods, such as spinach and Swiss chard, greatly reduce calcium absorption, making these vegetables a poor source of usable calcium. Foods rich in phytate may also inhibit calcium absorption.
Low vitamin D intakes, low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels, and reduced bone mass have been reported in some vegan and macrobiotic groups who did not use vitamin D supplements or fortified foods.
The vitamin B-12 status of some vegetarians is less than adequate due to not regularly consuming reliable sources of vitamin B-12. Lacto-ovo-vegetarians can obtain adequate vitamin B-12 from dairy foods, eggs, or other reliable vitamin B-12 sources (fortified foods and supplements), if regularly consumed. For vegans, vitamin B-12 must be obtained from regular use of vitamin B-12-fortified foods, such as fortified soy and rice beverages, some breakfast cereals and meat analogs, or Red Star Vegetarian Support Formula nutritional yeast; otherwise a daily vitamin B-12 supplement is needed. No unfortified plant food contains any significant amount of active vitamin B-12. Fermented soy products cannot be considered a reliable source of active B-12.
Vegetarian diets are typically rich in folacin, which may mask the hematological symptoms of vitamin B-12 deficiency, so that vitamin B-12 deficiency may go undetected until after neurological signs and symptoms may be manifest.
Pregnant vegetarians receive statistically lower levels of protein than pregnant nonvegetarians; and pregnant vegetarians receive statistically higher levels of carbohydrates than pregnant nonvegetarians.
No research was identified that focused on macronutrient intakes among pregnant vegans.
Key nutrients in pregnancy include vitamin B-12, vitamin D, iron, and folate whereas key nutrients in lactation include vitamin B-12, vitamin D, calcium, and zinc.
The following micronutrients had lower intake among vegetarians than nonvegetarians: Vitamin B-12; vitamin C; calcium; and zinc.
In addition, one study reported that lower B-12 levels are more likely to be associated with high serum total homocysteine in lacto-ovo-vegetarians than low meat eaters or omnivores. Whereas zinc levels were not significantly different between nonveganvegetarians and nonvegetarians, vegetarians who have a high intake of calcium may be at risk for zinc deficiency (because of the interaction between phytate, calcium, and zinc).
Birth Outcomes. Four cohort studies were identified that examined the relationship between maternal macronutrient intake during pregnancy and birth outcomes such as birth weight and length. None of the studies focused on pregnant vegans.
Limited evidence from seven studies (all outside the United States) indicated that the micronutrient content of a balanced maternal vegetarian diet does not have detrimental outcomes for the health of the child at birth. There may be, however, a risk for a false positive diagnosis of Down syndrome in the fetus when maternal serum free beta-human chorionic gonadotropin and alpha fetoprotein levels are used as markers in vegetarian mothers.
(p. 1270 – 1271)
No studies included in the evidence-analysis examined vitamin D status during vegetarian pregnancy. Iron supplements may be needed to prevent or treat iron-deficiency anemia, which is common in pregnancy.
DHA also plays a role in pregnancy and lactation. Infants of vegetarian mothers appear to have lower cord and plasma DHA than do infants of nonvegetarians. Breast milk DHA is lower in vegans and lacto-ovovegetarians than in nonvegetarians. Because of DHA’s beneficial effects on gestational length, infant visual function, and neurodevelopment, pregnant and lactating vegetarians and vegans should choose food sources of DHA (fortified foods or eggs from hens fed DHA-rich microalgae) or use a microalgae-derived DHA supplement. Supplementation with ALA, a DHA precursor, in pregnancy and lactation has not been shown to be effective in increasing infant DHA levels or breast milk DHA concentration.
The safety of extremely restrictive diets such as fruitarian and raw foods diets has not been studied in children. These diets can be very low in energy, protein, some vitamins, and some minerals and cannot be recommended for infants and children.
Soy formula is the only option for nonbreastfed vegan infants. Other preparations including soymilk, rice milk, and homemade formulas should not be used to replace breast milk or commercial infant formula.
Solid foods should be introduced in the same progression as for nonvegetarian infants, replacing strained meat with mashed or pureed tofu, legumes (pureed and strained if necessary), soy or dairy yogurt, cooked egg yolk, and cottage cheese.
Little information about the growth of nonmacrobiotic vegan children has been published. Some studies suggest that vegan children tend to be slightly smaller but within the normal ranges of the standards for weight and height.
Vegan children may have slightly higher protein needs because of differences in protein digestibility and amino acid composition.
Key nutrients of concern for adolescent vegetarians include calcium, vitamin D, iron, zinc, and vitamin B-12. Being vegetarian does not cause disordered eating as some have suggested although a vegetarian diet may be selected to camouflage an existing eating disorder. Because of this, vegetarian diets are somewhat more common among adolescents with eating disorders than in the general adolescent population.
(p. 1271 – 1272)
With aging, energy needs decrease but recommendations for several nutrients, including calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B-6 are higher.
Cutaneous vitamin D production decreases with aging so that dietary or supplemental sources of vitamin D are especially important. Although current recommendations for protein for healthy older adults are the same as those for younger adults on a body weight basis, this is a controversial area. Certainly older adults who have low energy requirements will need to consume concentrated sources of protein.
Research is needed on the relation between vegetarian diet and [athletic] performance.
Vegetarian athletes may have lower muscle creatine concentration due to low dietary creatine levels. Vegetarian athletes participating in short-term, high-intensity exercise and resistance training may benefit from creatine supplementation. Some, but not all research suggests that amenorrhea [loss of menstruation] may be more common among vegetarian than nonvegetarian athletes.
Not all aspects of vegetarian diets are associated with reduced risk for heart disease. The higher serum homocysteine levels that have been reported in some vegetarians, apparently due to inadequate vitamin B-12 intake, may increase risk of CVD [cardiovascular disease] although not all studies support this.
Several studies have reported lower blood pressure in vegetarians compared to nonvegetarians although other studies reported little difference in blood pressure between vegetarians and nonvegetarians.
Variations in dietary intake and lifestyle within groups of vegetarians may limit the strength of conclusions with regard to the relationship between vegetarian diets and blood pressure.
Among survivors of early stage breast cancer in the Women’s Healthy Eating and Living trial, the adoption of a diet enhanced by additional daily fruit and vegetable servings did not reduce additional breast cancer events or mortality over a 7-year period.
Although there is such a variety of potent phytochemicals in fruit and vegetables, human population studies have not shown large differences in cancer incidence or mortality rates between vegetarians and nonvegetarians.
A pooled analysis of 13 prospective cohort studies reported a high dietary fiber intake was not associated with a decreased risk of colorectal cancer after accounting for multiple risk factors.
Although very little data exist on the bone health of vegans, some studies suggest that bone density is lower among vegans compared with nonvegetarians. The Asian vegan women in these studies had very low intakes of protein and calcium. An inadequate protein and low calcium intake has been shown to be associated with bone loss and fractures at the hip and spine in elderly adults. In addition, vitamin D status is compromised in some vegans.
Results from the EPIC-Oxford study provide evidence that the risk of bone fractures for vegetarians is similar to that of omnivores. The higher risk of bone fracture in vegans appeared to be a consequence of a lower calcium intake.
Although excessive protein intake may compromise bone health, evidence exists that low protein intakes may increase the risk of low bone integrity.
Poor vitamin B-12 status has been linked to an increased risk of dementia apparently due to the hyperhomocysteinemia that is seen with vitamin B-12 deficiency.
Food and nutrition professionals have an important role in providing assistance in the planning of healthful vegetarian diets for those who express an interest in adopting vegetarian diets or who already eat a vegetarian diet.
And I am not done… Sally Fallon’s 22 Reason NOT TO BE A vegetarian (if you have studied any nutrition you know who she is)
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 healthconscious 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 plantbased 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 longterm.
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 weightrelated 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 reduct 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 intregrity. 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 overharvested, 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 majority of humankind by unnatural eating habits and sense of moral rectitude.
AND LASTLY, LET’S COMPARE THEM SIDE BY SIDE:
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!
THE BLOG WORLD CAN GO ON HATING, BUT I AM RIGHT. MY OWN PERSONAL HEALTH & LIFE IS A HELL OF A LOT MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE COW, SHEEP, QUAIL, FLOUNDER WHATEVER IT IS I KILL AND EAT.