Why You Should Think Twice About Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

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There are many reasons why people choose to go vegetarian or vegan. Some are compelled by the environmental impact of confinement animal feeding operations (CAFO). Others are guided by ethical concerns or religious reasons. I respect these reasons and appreciate anyone who thinks deeply about the social and spiritual impact of their food choices—even if my own exploration of these questions has led me to a different answer.

But many choose a vegetarian diet is because they’re under the impression that it’s a healthier choice from a nutritional perspective. It is this last reason that I’d like to address in this article. For the last fifty years, we’ve been told that meat, eggs and animal fats are bad for us, and that we’ll live longer and enjoy superior health if we minimize or avoid them. This idea has been so thoroughly drilled into our head that few people even question it anymore. In fact, if you asked the average person on the street whether a vegetarian or vegan diet is healthier than an omnivorous diet, they’d probably say yes. But is this really true?

Plant-based diets emphasize vegetables, which are quite nutrient dense, and fruits, which are somewhat nutrient dense. However, they also typically include large amounts of cereal grains (refined and unrefined) and legumes, both of which are low in bioavailable nutrients and high in anti-nutrients such as phytate, and they eschew organ meats, meats, fish and shellfish, which are among the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. (1)

Vegan diets, in particular, are almost completely devoid of certain nutrients that are crucial for physiological function. Several studies have shown that both vegetarians and vegans are prone to deficiencies in B12, calcium, iron, zinc, the long-chain fatty acids EPA & DHA, and fat-soluble vitamins like A & D.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these nutrients on a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Are plant-based diets missing nutrients required for optimal health? Find out!

Vitamin B12

B12 deficiency is especially common in vegetarians and vegans. I’ve covered the prevalence of B12 deficiency in vegetarians and vegans at length in another article. The takeaway is that the most recent studies using more sensitive techniques for detecting B12 deficiency have found that 68% of vegetarians and 83% of vegans are B12 deficient, compared to just 5% of omnivores. (2)

Vitamin B12 works together with folate in the synthesis of DNA and red blood cells. It’s also involved in the production of the myelin sheath around the nerves, and the conduction of nerve impulses. B12 deficiency can cause numerous problems, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Memory loss
  • Neurological and psychiatric problems
  • Anemia
  • And much more…

The effects of B12 deficiency on kids are especially alarming. Studies have shown that kids raised until age 6 on a vegan diet are still B12 deficient years after adding at least some animal products to their diet. In one study, the researchers found:

…a significant association between cobalamin [B12] status and performance on tests measuring fluid intelligence, spatial ability and short-term memory” with formerly vegan kids scoring lower than omnivorous kids in each case. (3)

The deficit in fluid intelligence is particularly troubling, the researchers said, because:

…it involves reasoning, the capacity to solve complex problems, abstract thinking ability and the ability to learn. Any defect in this area may have far-reaching consequences for individual functioning.

A common myth amongst vegetarians and vegans is that it’s possible to get B12 from plant sources like seaweed, fermented soy, spirulina and brewers yeast. But plant foods said to contain B12 actually contain B12 analogs called cobamides that block the intake of, and increase the need for, true B12. (4)

Calcium

On paper, calcium intake is similar in vegetarians and omnivores (probably because both eat dairy products), but is much lower in vegans, who are often deficient. (5) However, calcium bioavailability from plant foods is affected by their levels of oxalate and phytate, which are inhibitors of calcium absorption and thus decrease the amount of calcium the body can extract from plant foods. (5a) So while leafy greens like spinach and kale have a relatively high calcium content, the calcium is not efficiently absorbed during digestion. 

One study suggests that it would take 16 servings of spinach to get the same amount of absorbable calcium as an 8 ounce glass of milk. (5b) That would be 33 cups of baby spinach or around 5-6 cups of cooked spinach. There are a few vegetables listed in this paper that have higher levels of bioavailable calcium, but it’s important to note that all of the vegetables tested required multiple servings to achieve the same amount of usable calcium as one single serving of milk, cheese, or yogurt. This suggests that trying to meet your daily calcium needs from plant foods alone (rather than dairy products or bone-in fish) might not be a great strategy.

Iron

Vegetarians eat a similar amount of iron to omnivores, but as with calcium, the bioavailability of the iron in plant foods is much lower than in animal foods. Plant-based forms of iron are also inhibited by other commonly consumed substances, such as coffee, tea, dairy products, supplemental fiber, and supplemental calcium. This explains why vegetarians and vegans have lower iron stores than omnivores, and why vegetarian diets have been shown to reduce non-heme iron absorption by 70% and total iron absorption by 85%. (6, 7)

Zinc

Overt zinc deficiency is not often seen in Western vegetarians, but their intake often falls below recommendations. This is another case where bioavailability is important; many plant foods that contain zinc also contain phytate, which inhibits zinc absorption. Vegetarian diets tend to reduce zinc absorption by about 35% compared with omniovorous diet. (8) Thus, even when the diet meets or exceeds the RDA for zinc, deficiency may still occur. One study suggested that vegetarians may require up to 50% more zinc than omnivores for this reason. (9)

EPA and DHA

Plant foods do contain linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3), both of which are considered essential fatty acids. In this context, an essential fatty acid is one that can’t be synthesized by the body and must be obtained in the diet. However, an increasing body of research has highlighted the benefits of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA & DHA. These fatty acids play a protective and therapeutic role in a wide range of diseases: cancer, asthma, depression, cardiovascular disease, ADHD, and autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

While it is possible for some alpha-linolenic acid from plant foods to be converted into EPA & DHA, that conversion is poor in humans: between 5-10% for EPA and 2-5% for DHA. (10) Vegetarians have 30% lower levels of EPA & DHA than omnivores, while vegans have 50% lower EPA and nearly 60% lower DHA. (11) Moreover, the conversion of ALA to DHA depends on zinc, iron and pyridoxine—nutrients which vegetarians and vegans are less likely than omnivores to get enough of.

Fat-soluble vitamins: A and D

Perhaps the biggest problem with vegetarian and vegan diets, however, is their near total lack of two fat-soluble vitamins: A and D. Fat-soluble vitamins play numerous and critical roles in human health. Vitamin A promotes healthy immune function, fertility, eyesight and skin. Vitamin D regulates calcium metabolism, regulates immune function, reduces inflammation and protects against some forms of cancer.

These important fat-soluble vitamins are concentrated, and in some cases found almost exclusively, in animal foods: primarily seafood, organ meats, eggs and dairy products. Some obscure species of mushrooms can provide large amounts of vitamin D, but these mushrooms are rarely consumed and often difficult to obtain. (This explains why vitamin D levels are 58% lower in vegetarians and 74% lower in vegans than in omnivores.) (12)

The idea that plant foods contain vitamin A is a common misconception. Plants contain beta-carotene, the precursor to active vitamin A (retinol). While beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A in humans, the conversion is inefficient. (13) For example, a single serving of liver per week would meet the RDA of 3,000 IU. To get the same amount from plant foods, you’d have to eat 2 cups of carrots, one cup of sweet potatoes or 2 cups of kale every day. Moreover, traditional cultures consumed up to 10 times the RDA for vitamin A. It would be nearly impossible to get this amount of vitamin A from plant foods without juicing or taking supplements.

But don’t vegetarians live longer than omnivores?

At this point you might be thinking, “Well, so what if plant-based diets are lower in some nutrients. Everyone knows vegetarians live longer than omnivores!” While it’s true that some observational studies suggest that vegetarians and vegans enjoy longer lifespans, these studies were plagued by the “healthy user bias”. The healthy user bias is the scientific way of saying that people who engage in one behavior that is perceived as healthy (whether it is or not) are more likely to engage in other behaviors that are healthy. For example, vegetarians tend to be more health conscious on average than general population; they are less likely to smoke or drink excessively and more likely to exercise, eat fruits and vegetables and take care of themselves. (14)

Of course the flip-side is also true: those that engage in behaviors perceived to be unhealthy are more likely to engage in other unhealthy behaviors. The healthy user bias is one of the main reasons it’s so difficult to infer causality from observational studies. For example, say a study shows that eating processed meats like bacon and hot dogs increases your risk of heart disease. Let’s also say, as the healthy user bias predicts, that those who eat more bacon and hot dogs also eat a lot more refined flour (hot dog and hamburger buns), sugar and industrial seed oils, and a lot less fresh fruits, vegetables and soluble fiber. They also drink and smoke more, exercise less and generally do not take care of themselves very well. How do we know, then, that it’s the processed meat that is increasing the risk of heart disease rather than these other things—or perhaps some combination of these other things and the processed meat?

One way to answer that question is to design a study that attempts to control for at least some of the healthy user bias. In other words, instead of comparing the “average” meat eater (who tends to be less health conscious) with the “average” vegetarian (who tends to be more health conscious), what happens when you compare vegetarians and omnivores that are both health-conscious?

Thankfully, we have a study that did just that. It compared the mortality of people who shopped in health food stores (both vegetarians and omnivores) to people in the general population. This was a clever study design. People who shop in health food stores are more likely to be health conscious, regardless of whether they eat meat, which reduces the likelihood that the study results will be thrown off by the “healthy user bias”. What did the researchers find? Both vegetarians and omnivores in the health food store group lived longer than people in the general population—not surprising given their higher level of health consciousness—but there was no survival difference between vegetarians or omnivores. Nor was there any difference in rates of heart disease or stroke between the two groups. (15) In other words, omnivores who are health conscious live just as long as vegetarians that are health conscious.

Final thoughts

With care and attention, I think it’s possible to meet nutrient needs with a vegetarian diet that includes liberal amounts of pasture-raised, full-fat dairy and eggs, with one exception: EPA and DHA. These long-chain omega fats are found exclusively in marine algae and fish and shellfish, so the only way to get them on a vegetarian diet would be to take a microalgae supplement (which contains DHA) or bend the rules and take fish oil or cod liver oil as a supplement. Still, while it may be possible to obtain adequate nutrition on a vegetarian diet, it is not optimal—as the research above indicates.

I do not think it’s possible to meet nutrient needs on a vegan diet without supplements—and quite a few of them. Vegan diets are low in B12, biovailable iron and zinc, choline, vitamin A & D, calcium, and EPA and DHA. So if you’re intent on following a vegan diet, make sure you are supplementing with those nutrients.

It’s worth pointing out that there are genetic differences that affect the conversion of certain nutrient precursors (like beta-carotene and alpha-linolenic acid) into the active forms of those nutrients (like retinol and EPA and DHA, respectively), and these differences may affect how long someone will be able to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet before they develop nutrient deficiencies. This explains why some people seem to do well for years on these diets, while others develop problems very quickly.

From an evolutionary perspective, is difficult to justify a diet with low levels of several nutrients critical to human function. While it may be possible to address these shortcomings through targeted supplementation (an issue that is still debated), it makes far more sense to meet nutritional needs from food. This is especially important for children, who are still developing and are even more sensitive to suboptimal intake of the nutrients discussed in this article. Like all parents, vegetarians and vegans want the best for their children. Unfortunately, many are not aware of the potential for nutrient deficiencies posed by their dietary choices.

I hope this article can serve as a resource for anyone on a plant-based diet, whether they choose to start eating meat (or animal products, in the case of vegans) again or not.

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Comments Join the Conversation

  1. Erica Martell says

    Rima – Check out resource Vegetarian Health Institute where you can find very simple information on cooking, food combining to avoid nutritional deficiencies – things like how to get more iron and calcium out of your food, how to combine food, best choices in sweeteners, breads, alternatives, recipes. It’s a wonderful resource. Also check out Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo. I think her website is drritamarie.com. She has beeen vegan for 25 years and has raised both her children as vegans. She just knows what she is doing. This topic has over 900 comments, many from people who are in a rage. One thing I notice which is why there is no concensus – vegans are talking about ethics and the whole and meat eaters are talking about themselves. All the nutrirional issues people bring up about veganism can be easily resolved with some focus and attention. The resources I mention above are a great start. The problem is veganism is simply more advanced and most people aren’t interested in a commitment that goes beyond their own immediate desires or they aren’t able to manage the focus and change required. That’s all their anger really speaks to. Yes people have tried to take on vegan diets without much information but that information is available now. There are also now very advanced cookbooks on making vegan cheese, dairy, etc (The Gentle Chef) or try Yoram Ottolenghi’s amazingly sophisticated cookbooks Plenty and the newly released More Plenty. As you focus you will realize you have to give nothing up to not participate in the horror we perpetrate on sentient beings whether we let them eat grass or not. Ah, also try ordering the vegan chocolate caramels with sea salt from Amella in CA!! Good luck!!

  2. Rima says

    Even if animal products are good for your health, as the author claims, you have to pay a fortune for grass fed/organic butter, meat, cheese. I have made up my mind, I am going vegan and trying to make good choices for my children (9 and 5 years old).

    Any difference between a vegan diet for adults and a vegan diet for children.

    Thank you

  3. Karen says

    This is just BS. Is anyone dumb enough to believe this? Has anyone used their common sense? It is not natural for any animal to drink breast milk after infancy. Especially the breast milk from a cow, that milk is for baby cows, not humans. Our NUMBER 1, 2, and 3 killers are linked to eating animal products. This article cites references of old data and is just an old way of thinking. I would not be surprised if this originated from studies done by the meat or dairy industries. You can find data to back up any claim you want, but the NEW science is proving the vegan diet is the most healthy diet you can be on. It can reverse heart disease (number 1 killer), diabetes 2, and more. I went vegan because I was on an omnivore diet after a check up. My blood test were very bad. A year after being vegan, my blood work was PERFECT. I have more energy, my face cleared up, my joints stopped hurting, my hair got really healthy looking and I feel GREAT. I had digestive problems my whole life and now I am “normal” for the first time ever. I have vegan food that is fortified with B-12, my almond milk has twice the calcium as dairy milk without the fat and hormones and without making my blood acidic. Today’s animals raised in factories don’t get B12 because they don’t eat in a pasture. They are fed GMO cheap soy feed filled with antibiotics and hormones and are given B12 supplements so meat eaters get their B12 second hand. The iron you get from meat is not the good iron. Please educate yourselves. This data is weak, it used small samples, it’s old and it is just not good science. Another thing to consider is that an omnivore diet is not sustainable. We are destroying our planet and our resources raising animals for food and it won’t last forever. It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of meat. Water is getting scarce. Animal agriculture contributes 51% of our greenhouse emissions. We are eating our way to a dead planet riddled with diseases, illnesses and cancers, and let’s not forget, the medications we take and our healthcare cost. There is but one solution. A vegan diet.

    • yengamatic says

      Where are those studies? At least the author made the effort of providing citations. If you believe those are outdated, erroneous or biased, you should prove it wrong by providing alternative literature.

  4. Hugh Lovett says

    B12 I’ll give you, isn’t that bacteria based from what animals eat though not produced by their actual meat?
    The rest is so flawed it’s unbelievable.

    • Karen says

      Agreed, this is something the meat or dairy industry would put out there. The references were using small samples and the research was old. 1999, 1994,etc. The NEW science and research is proving that a healthy vegan diet is the healthiest there is. It can reverse heart diseases and diabetes among others. Not only that, an omnivore diet is not sustainable. If people stick to this diet, we will use up all of our water, land, and oceans to find ourselves a medicated, ill society with a polluted world. Not to mention the cruelty involved in a meat diet! How can you NOT take that into consideration? It’s not morally right to harm animals like we do if it is not necessary.

  5. says

    well my doc said, people will either die of cancer, heart disease, or diabetes. But “you” will live forever. Been an vegan all my life. 56 and strong bones, had 8 kids, dn’t drink dairy, eat lots of leafy greens. Who ever wrote this article is stupid

  6. Maya Ganesh says

    I’m a vegan and recently got my blood tests done. I’m free from any deficiency and attribute it to a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. I do not take any supplements. You could be vegetarian, vegan or a meat eater and still have deficiencies if you don’t eat a balanced diet and lead a healthy lifestyle and you could also be any of these, have a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle and not have any deficiency.

  7. says

    Cherry picked data. Do your own research from several sources including the American Dietetic Association which notes that a well balanced vegan diet may be the most healthful.

    • yengamatic says

      Where are those studies? At least the author made the effort of providing citations. If you believe those are outdated, erroneous or biased, you should prove it wrong by providing alternative literature.

  8. Daniela says

    Before you make a decision on what diet to implement in your lifestyle, you MUST read “Food Matters” and specially “Forks Over Knives” which are documentaries available on Netflix and show studies regarding foods and diseases caused by foods. They are life changing. Check it out!

  9. holnrew says

    I’m vegan and I agree with this article. I get annoyed with all the pseudo-science spouted by other vegans, plenty of it in the comments here. Veganism is an ethical stance, nothing else. I take a multivitamin designed for vegans, as well as a high strength B12 tablet and a vegan source of DHA/EPA. Some things you can’t get at all from a plant based diet, an many things not enough of. It’s better for me not to worry.

    I do have a vitamin D deficiency (I’m a fairly new vegan, most of it will have occurred while on a vegetarian diet), so I got prescribed high strength, non-vegan D3 pills. When it comes to medication I take what I’m prescribed. My health comes first.

  10. Sally says

    I find it very interesting that the majority of the “anti” vegan/vegetarian comments are full of typo’s, incorrect spelling, incorrect use of punctuation, and grammatical errors… That, in itself, speaks volumes. Yes, I am a vegetarian working towards becoming vegan.

    • Prometheus68 says

      This is too funny. The plural of typo is “typos”, not “typo’s”. In this single case, you have both made a grammatical error and made incorrect use of punctuation.

      What speaks volume is your inability to write a 4-line post without making your own mistakes, while having the audacity (or smugness) to put down others for the same.

    • Ricardo says

      I’m currently a vegetarian and I’m curious what does grammar and spelling have anything to do with one’s nutritional choices & beliefs?

      That is what I call a stupid comment.

  11. David Young says

    Such a mess of poor information. Veganism works just fine, and if you have problems with it, look at your diet. Vegans tend to have LESS b 12 deficiency than carnists, among the many unfounded points spouted on this silly page.

    • Prometheus68 says

      The statement that vegans have more B-12 deficiency than omnivores is hardly unfounded:

      Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Jul;78(1):131-6
      Am J Clin Nutr 2009 May;89(5):1693S-1698S

  12. Dan says

    “Some obscure species of mushrooms can provide large amounts of vitamin D, but these mushrooms are rarely consumed and often difficult to obtain. ”

    White button mushrooms are obscure and difficult to obtain? They just need UV exposure and they’ll produce vitamin d.

  13. says

    I knew that this subject would garner a lot of feedback. *grin*

    I find it interesting that some people think that we have to “rise above” and develop such an overt sense of compassion toward animals that we have to stop killing/eating them now.

    We evolved over many, MANY years… MILLIONS of years, “killing” both animals and plants. What is it about “compassion” that some people think that we humans should evolve differently from other predators?

    I’m sorry… but SCREW compassion if it means that we have to decidedly evolve to fit YOUR sense of morals. A tiger, sentient or not, kills other animals, sentient or not. That is simply how our part of the universe works! (And probably other parts of the universe.) Let me repeat, THAT IS HOW OUR PART OF THE UNIVERSE WORKS! Compassion has little to do with it! NONE of our life on Earth has evolved through compassion! Symbiosis, yes, compassion, no!

    If a giant eagle (a sentient, high-reasoning one, let’s say) swooped down and picked me off to eat me, I’d be effing pissed! But I wouldn’t blame it for eating the poor human with its sad, doe-like eyes!

    Which brings me to this… I think that this generation’s problem is that we watch too many cute kitty and puppy videos!

    I will eat what I do not have a personal attachment to and I will not eat what I prefer to pet and scratch behind the ears! And the self-righteous people who think that they wish to grow more spiritual than me can have-at it at their own expense!

    And IF you think that I am thoughtlessly immoral and am going to some kind of hell because I don’t have a spiritual life then let me just say, my link takes you to my book on my sense of spirituality the short version of which is, “True, divine Life is not held within the flesh”.

    Do I believe in compassion in my life? Yes! Do I think that we should treat animals with compassion? Yes… up until we slaughter and eat them!

    Cheers!
    Christopher

    • Laurie Conrad says

      Christopher are you suggesting the world needs less compassion? Are you sure this is what you want to suggest? That’s the thing about cognitive dissonance. It causes us to do one of two things to relieve the uncomfortable feeling it causes to have this conflict. We either change our values to reflect our actions. Or we change our actions to reflect our values. It appears you have changed your values. Because I know you value your own life and I know that you enjoy living in peace – I assume you would not enjoy living in a concentration camp or a war torn area. We all know that bad things happen. That some animals eat other animals. We know that we ourselves would not want that to happen to us. And we know that we have a choice not to eat others. Regardless of whether or not others are eating others – that is never a reason to say that something is ok to do. It doesn’t mean the bird is right or wrong in what it does. It means that to know what is right or wrong you must only look at yourself – not the actions of others – and ask yourself if what you are about to do is the best thing you could do or if you could do better. Ask yourself if what you are about to do to another is something you would be ok with happening to yourself. You have already answered that one. I am an atheist btw.

      • Christopher says

        I don’t think that you paid any THOUGHTFUL attention to my comment!

        No, I don’t think we need less compassion. I think we need less emotional attachment to creature-hood… and kitty and puppy videos!

        1/ If another animal ate me, I’d hate the fact that I would be ripped to shreds but I could hardly deny its cosmic right to doing so. I could only try to avoid it happening.

        2/ I believe that true Life and Consciousness is NOT part of the flesh. I don’t really care if you are an Atheist or not or whether you think I am calling that Life and Consciousness God or not. But if some government edict were to suddenly be put into place to stop killing and eating animals I would be on the wrong side of the law.

        3/ I DO believe in compassion, up until I slaughter and eat the animal which I have a cosmic right to slaughter and eat. It also has a cosmic right to try to avoid being eaten if it somehow senses what’s comin’!

        I don’t know if you are a farmer or not but it is a common issue that people divorced from the food chain get all weepy-eyed about killing animals for food.

        I believe that one day this phenomenon will be taken to an extreme and we will be attaching human rights to puppy-dog-eyed robots or robots that are made to look like human nannies and we will one day make a law against the so-called “killing” and “abuse” of said robots. We already see hints of this when people respond to their GPS’s comments, Furbies, their tablets, etc.

        This tendency toward this anthropomorphization and personification of both animals and, in the future, robots, is nothing short of a sort of insanity.

        Christopher

        • Mats Carnmarker says

          Do we need less “emotional attachment” to our neighbours and other people around us?
          Or are we humans “above” all other species?
          Are are you one of those who believe humans to be holy?

          What I hear from hunters is that they live the correct life style eating healthy natural food. So are they so special that only they should have the right to live that “perfect” life style?
          Imagine what would happen if all 7 billion humans on Earth would hunt their own food!!!
          We’ve killed off over 80% of all other living creatures (insects not included) in less than 150 years.
          Cows, pigs and other animals bred for consumption derive from wild species. They were taken into breeding because they were easy to handle. The cows wild ancestor was driven to extinction as soon as we had large enough production of cows.

          NOW, just because we want or can eat meat, do we really have to behave just like other animals that don’t have our brain capabilities? What are our brains worth if we can’t understand and give compassion to other species? How evolved are we really?

          Some become vegan or vegetarian because they don’t want us humans to keep on treating other species in such a cruel way as we actually do. Most wild species don’t have to live a life in torture as do most of the animals we breed for consumption.
          Give all bred animals an NORMAL, NATURAL, and HEALTHY life and when the time comes for slaughter then do it in a compassionate and understanding way. Understand the species you breed and slaughter. Every species needs to be treated differently. For ex, a cow will stress out immediately as they see the trucks that transport them to slaughter, already understanding what is hell is ahead of them. Don’t fool yourself into believing that other species aren’t intelligent and that they don’t have conscious awareness. That is just and excuse for mankinds mad behavior.

          P.S. I’m a meat eater. But I buy meat from sources I can check are treating the animals well, local farmers, etc. I gladly pay between 2 times to more than 5 times more for this and that with a VERY low income. I work for an NGO.

    • Faith says

      Could it not be possible we are evolving toward a plant based diet/vegan lifestyle? And to prey on an animal is one thing but the current way the majority of humans “prey” is not alright. It goes way agains nature to breed, torture, name and then slaughter an animal for consumption. Not to forget the global impact it has. When an owl swoops down to pick up a mouse and eat it, it isn’t using 50,000 gallons of water and leaving the mouse in a cage where it can’t move for days, raping it and stealing it’s offspring to feed off it’s milk and then eating some hormone infested form of it.

  14. Vicki says

    My vegan husband and I are currently trying to get pregnant and I have a dirty secret; I have been sneak-eating meat. I was a pescatarian (eating fish very seldomly) for about six years and then went back to eating meat for about four years before I met my husband, who is an outspoken vegan. I was always interested in veganism, since there is still a great deal of cruelty that goes into mass produced dairy, so I decided to go vegan for my husband about a year ago.
    My husband has been vegan for about three years, so he helped me make the transition to veganism, but it hasn’t really gone very well from the beginning. I know many people feel wonderfully healthy when they eat vegan and I soooo wish I was one of those people because I have an emotional investment in making veganism work for me. I believe it’s a good way to be and I want to support my husband and not cause any rifts between us, but after over a year I’m coming to terms with the fact that I’m not doing well with this lifestyle. I keep trying to adjust my diet to include more protein and vitamins/minerals I may be missing, but I still end up sneaking meat. I’m starting to wonder if my behavior is turning into a type of eating disorder. I don’t want to lie to my husband anymore about my diet.
    We’re trying to get pregnant right now and this brings up even more conflicting feelings for me. I want to honor what my body is telling me to eat without lying to my husband. I don’t want him to tell his friends how healthy I am during my “vegan” pregnancy. I don’t want to ban my children from eating meat or dairy if they are more like me, but I don’t know how to tell him any of this because he gets really emotional about the issue.
    Currently, I bought a few meat products that I keep at work and eat a couple of time a week for lunch. My mom also occasionally brings me eggs from some backyard chickens her friend keeps as pets, which I have brought into our home. My husband eats these eggs from time to time and will also eat any animal products that were going to be thrown out (leftovers from the office, etc.), but is very opposed to me buying animal products. I’m planning on staying at home when our baby is born and won’t be able to hide meat at work anymore, but mostly I just don’t want to lie about this. I would like to go back to being a pescatarian and feed my children mostly veggie with some fish/poultry and eggs.
    What should I do?

    • Daniela Soledae says

      Vicky,

      I would love for you to watch “Forks Over Knives” and “Food Matters.” It might help your case:) Good luck!

    • Trinn says

      Ask him what’s more important to him a happy healthy wife and child or his moral standpoint? If he’s happy to eat animal products that would go to waste he’s not so vegan after all. I know vegans that would starve to death before they ate animal products again. So it’s time for him to jump down off his high horse and let mamma do what she needs to do. Your body is telling you what you need. Take care and best of luck with your new family

    • Christopher Grove says

      We have an example here of a common situation. Vegans who are not really vegan and whose health is the result of occasional meat eating. And I’m sorry, but I get very pissed off at people who say that it is perfectly healthy to be vegan and yet sneak meat and animal protein on occasion and I believe this to be the norm!

      There are NO, NADA, NONE long lasting societies who lived as vegans. Period!

      For the 2.5 million years that we have been human, including the 200,000 years or so that we have been “sapiens”, we have eaten meat!

  15. Barb says

    A well-balanced plant-based diet is clinically proven not only to meet all of our nutritional needs, but to offer important benefits that protect us from all of the most common chronic and life-threatening diseases. Here are a couple of examples based on peer-reviewed scientific research:
    – Kaiser Permanente Health System encourages all of it’s doctors to recommend their patients adopt a 100% plant-based diet. https://www.thepermanentejournal.org/issues/2013/spring/5117-nutrition.html

    – The American Dietetic Association position on vegan diet states that 100% plant based diet is healthy and protective for people of all stages of life, including young children and pregnant women. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19562864

    • Prometheus68 says

      In the first article you cite, the authors include ovo-lacto vegetarian and mediterranean (allowing small amounts of fish, poultry and red meat) as types of plant-based diets. They do not make a blanket recommendation for a 100% plant-based diet for everyone.

      The second article you cite refers specifically to vegetarians (no meat and seafood, but allowing eggs and dairy), not strict vegans. Here is the relevant portion of the abstract, in proper context:

      “Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes. A vegetarian diet is defined as one that does not include meat (including fowl) or seafood, or products containing those foods. This article reviews the current data related to key nutrients for vegetarians including protein, n-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, iodine, calcium, and vitamins D and B-12. A vegetarian diet can meet current recommendations for all of these nutrients.”

  16. Katie Reardon says

    What would you recommend for someone who is has a severe dairy/egg/wheat intolerance? When I go out I usually say I’m vegan because it’s just easier for restaurants….when they know what vegan is……

    Thanks!

  17. Jack says

    I do agree with this article. I am a US citizen but lived in other countries also. I know family and friend who are Diary farmers in their 80s and going strong. My grandfather was a farmer passed away at 98. The typical diet consist of meat and more meat and maybe some vegetables on the side. This whole tree hugging, animal loving idea only applies to the USA specially metropolitan areas. Sorry to be blunt, but some people live in their own bubble and need someone from outside to wake them up. You will live longer if you eat whats necessary for your body to function, low level of stress and exercise. I am a science major, studying to become a physician. Good luck.

  18. Erica says

    Two points – many if not most people who are vegans are ethical vegans. That means that taking a vitamin B12 supplement is not a reason to start eating sentient beings raped and bred for our pleasure. Do many people do vegan wrong? Yes – but most people do food less than optimally no matter their diet. Instead of warning people against vegetarian/vegan diets Chris has more than enough information to instead instruct people on how to maximize iron and calcium absorption from vegetable sources. Yes plant cell walls are harder to break down than animal protein cell membranes. Chew. That’s the difference. A squeeze of lemon on broccoli makes iron more bio-available. The fact that Chris knows this stuff but intead couches his article as though there are no easy solutions to promote his paleo protocols is what feels disingenuous to me. If you want more information on better balancing ALL plant eating check http://www.vegetarianhealthinstitute.com or http://www.drklaper.com which offer information geared towards those issues we all know exist but few penetrate to the point of tweaking their diets to include. You are not what you eat but what you absorb, whether vegetarian, vegan or meat-eating.

  19. Kai says

    Vegan friends,

    Kindly quit looking for ways to be offended by this article and thus responding with varying degrees of outrage. As human beings, it can be a very uncomfortable thing to receive new information that conflicts with our current beliefs… yes, I get that. I understand. The knee-jerk response for a lot of us is to become angry and defensive when this sort of thing happens, it’s not an uncommon phenomenon.

    But the mark of a truly intelligent and rational mind is to be able to accept new evidence that conflicts with one’s current beliefs and adjust one’s behaviors and ideas accordingly, rather than desperately clinging to the familiarity and comfort of one’s current path while frantically attempting to rationalize doing so.

    Facts are facts, and this article is dealing in facts. Your anecdotes about how you’re vegan and haven’t yet reached a state of B12 deficiency do not count as empirical evidence.

    Quit with the tired argument that “true” veganism doesn’t include soy products or grains. That is just nonsense and a blatant No True Scottsman argument. All vegan diets are, by their very nature, “true” vegan diets. And let’s get real: most vegans eat fake meats made of soy, as well as tofu and the like. Don’t kid yourselves.

    The average American eats junky foods in massive quantities and would benefit from switching to any diet that emphasizes fruits and vegetables, vegan or otherwise. This is why so many feel like going vegan has improved their health – it has! But any relatively healthy diet is going to make you feel better than eating McDonald’s and KFC every day, it doesn’t need to be vegan to be worthwhile.

  20. Jackie says

    I get a checkup yearly. Every time my doctor is amazed at how great my results are. I am EXACTLY the average weight, I am EXACTLY at the average height, my blood pressure is PERFECT, my vision is 20/20 my hearing is 20/20 and the doctors never have anything to say about my health other then it’s great. Oh, and guess what? I am a vegan! I think that was self explanatory and all I have to say is that vegetarians and vegans are very healthy.

  21. Alessandra Martellacci says

    If you can read and afford to grocery shop, being a healthy vegetarian or vegan is not hard. It is only those who do not do their research, or worse, ignore what they know that end up unhealthy.

    I have been a vegetarian for a decade and my boyfriend has never eaten meat in his life (raised by vegetarians). Neither of us take supplements. Neither of us are deficient in anything (not even that pesky B12). Neither of us are scrawny or fat. Of course, I cook most of our meals at home and I put a lot of attention and care into making sure that what I put in our bodies can sustain us and sustain us well.

    It’s not rocket surgery, folks. It’s just food.

  22. Nick says

    This article is not remotely balanced or impartial. Whereas certainly some micro nutrients B12, Zinc, Iron, perhaps others, have long been known to be reduced in a standard vegetarian or vegan diet, the benefits of vegetarianism were not properly stressed nor the true picture represented. I feel it is important to treat veganism and vegetarianism entirely separately to avoid confusion and not lump them together to bolster a case against them.
    Meat consumption, particularly processed meat, is strongly implicated in a range of serious conditions, such as the major killer bowel cancer as well as cardiovascular conditions. There are also studies such as those major studies of Seventh-day Adventists which have no ‘healthy user bias’ as they come from a highly comparative group with similar restrictions on other lifestyle factors between them. Those results were a marked 5 YEAR reduction in life expectancy for meat eaters.
    David Spiegelhalter, professor of the public understanding of risk at Cambridge University indicates the loss of life to be as losing one hour per day for the eating of processed meat.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-28797106

    There are conflicting large-scale European studies which suggest that this may not be as marked in difference between non-vegetarians and vegetarians. The accurate picture is the jury is still out. It’s either a major benefit or perhaps no difference – take your choice.

    • cellisis says

      btw, avoid soy, corn, wheat stuff as well, since they are mostly GMO, which would harm your body sooner or later.

  23. says

    Awesome write up Chris! I tried veganism at one point in my health journey. Although I had some initial success and starting feeling a lot better in the first few days, I did a lot of damage after sticking to it for too long.

    For me it was mostly the high intake of carbs that messed me up. I was too reliant on fruit and grains. My teeth started breaking and rotting, I aged an expedite rate and I eventually started losing all of my energy, strength/muscle mass, and became depressed and unable to focus.

    Primal style eating (with my own additions and restrictions) and SCD style preparations has saved me.

    Right now I’m undergoing a 21 day ALL meat and vegetable diet and documenting the whole thing on a blogger page I created just for that purpose. If anyone is interested in seeing the effects of a restrictive diet like this I encourage you to stop by and read through. I’ve been taking photos as well and will be adding them as visual documentation as well.

    http://meatandvegetablediet.blogspot.com/

    Thanks!

    -Rob

    • drew says

      Thanks Rob, will you also be blogging about the animals that must die for you to experiment on yourself? Seems only fitting as you are blogging about other essentials like how your nose itches..

      Ahhh the levels of narcissism reigns high on the internet. But indeed, so long as the status quo allows you to avoid confronting the murdered animals for your experiments, have at it. Their anguish, in the form of chemicals dispersed in their dying flesh will just do you wonders.

  24. says

    My Fiancee and I are currently switching over to a Vegan diet. In addition, we are trying to keep our diet to organic and Non-GMO veggies. However, we plan on keeping our vitamin regiment, which has B12 as well as other things. This blog did not impact us on that decision, we just like taking our vitamins. We are excited to get started and are on our way to a healthier lifestyle. We are finding it a mind set of thinking we need to eat meat more than anything else. In fact, it seems that what has really been engrained into our minds over the last 50 years is that if we don’t eat meat then we will get sick and die. I am not buying it anymore; the story or the meat.

  25. Sara Elle says

    I found your blog searching for “normal deficiencies with vegan diet” as I just got back from getting my blood work checked after being vegan for a year and wanted to brag to my omnivore friends. You see, everything came out perfect, – even B12. I do not take any supplements :) My doctor just kept laughing as he checked off everything down the list while exclaiming “perfect! perfect! perfect!”. That’s never happened to me as an omnivore. Also, I am rid of all my allergies, asthma and skin conditions since going vegan :D Also feel clearer in my mind, and rid of PMS, which I used to suffer greatly from! I could not be happier with this lifestyle and recommend it to everyone and anyone!

  26. Ed Cummings says

    Looking at the comments below people have success with vegan and vegetarian diets whilst others have not had success. Thus one has come to conclusion that any diet shouldn’t be treated as one size fits all solution when it comes to human health considering that everyone’s nutritional needs are different. Now if you have chosen your diet due to animal welfare and/or environmental concerns then one should keep an eye on research in these areas since it constantly changes to a point were their may longer be an issue- http://www.ciwf.org.uk/media/5234769/Nutritional-benefits-of-higher-welfare-animal-products-June-2012.pdf http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/sustainable-livestock-production-is-possible

  27. Mia says

    I hate “fake meats” and never eat them. I eat a crapload of vegetables, usually just a bunch of roasted veggies for dinner. Some fruit. I eat a ton of salads. I also use quinoa a lot. I don’t use nutritional yeast or Bragg’s or anything like that.
    I have been vegetarian for over 20 years and did a raw vegan cleanse for a couple of months. I could never be raw long term. (although it makes you poop like a champ!)

    I started eating fish about a year ago. No desire for any other meats.
    Have been having extremely, extremely heavy periods for about 2 years. Elected to have some iron tests done and I am, indeed iron deficient anemic. Doc said to just get on iron supplements and that although heme sources of iron are absorbed more readily that it doesn’t matter, just eat veg if I want and it is all about elemental iron. I’m going to see how well I absorb the supplement. I eat a ton of non-heme iron. I just started on a heme iron supplement, so we shall see.

  28. Chica T says

    I’m been vegetarian for 40 years, and I’ve been eating a mostly plant based diet for the last 6 years, with full veganism for the last 2. I very rarely eat soy, usually only when someone has made it for me, and I eat very little cooked grains. I eat semi raw, lots of sprouting, seeds and nut cheeses, fermenting vegetables and making raw sprouted breads, and I feel great. I do take vitamin d3, k2 and b12. My weight is ideal, I have very little aches and pains and enough energy for a nearly 60 year old. It’s not for everyone, but meat-eaters seem to get very upset about veganism and I’m constantly challenged when it’s mentioned. I don’t lecture people on what they should eat, so therefore I feel it’s very rude when I’m told that my diet is wrong.

  29. Shari Burckhardt says

    I find it interesting that this author lists vegan/vegetarian diets as low in vitamin D. Seeing as how most vitamin D is not gain through any diet but from exposure to the sun I wonder why it was included here. There are no significant food sources that fulfill human need for vitamin D. If there is a large amount of vitamin D in any food source, such as vitamin fortified milk, it has been added to that food source. Essentially the manufacturer is supplementing your diet with the needed vitamin. Research has indicated that a significant number of humans are vitamin deficient when it comes to D because of the use of sunblock and lack of exposure to sunlight. If this author can be misleading on this it brings into question their credibility as a whole. It would have been nice to read a better researched article.

    • Richard says

      Chris’s article does have just enough mis-information in it to bias the reader against a vegan diet just like he intended. Many comments also show the writer’s ignorance on nutrition and what a vegan diet consist of.
      After enough years of eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) there is no other diet shown by research to reverse heart disease other than a vegan diet. Maybe future research will show that near-vegan is enough to reverse the damage to arteries but it has yet to be performed.
      There is no world standard for a vegan diet so for Chris to say it includes refined grains etc is just garbage input. Sure, one can follow a vegan diet of only French Fries and ketchup but what published doctor is recommending that? People like Drs Fuhrman, McDonald, and Ornish have published books reflecting their recommendations and none recommend refined grains or processed foods be consumed in any significant amount. To reverse heart disease it is recommended that daily fat calories are less than 10% of total daily consumption, reduced salt intake below government recommendations and very little animal products which includes meat, fish, eggs, and dairy.
      If you find the requirements too strict do not follow it but do not knock it till you have research that shows there is something better for reversing artery damage. Go have all your heart operations which you will find do not reverse your disease and have a good day!

  30. D.K.Schmidt says

    Due to a heart attack at age 49.( no iI didn’t have high cholesterol or high blood pressure) I have gone to a vegetarian diet. The best long term studies I could find point to a strict vegetarian diet to decrease or reverse cardio vascular disease.
    At this point the evidence has proven to work for me. I was on all the traditional heart medicines that were prescribed for a heart patient. A statin, blood pressure medicine, daily aspirin and others. Due to a great doctor who monitors my blood and other numbers every six months. I am now down to just the blood pressure medicine to keep my heart rate down just as a precaution. I am sated in my eating. Have never felt healthier and the numbers prove it. Eating grains are not an issue to most people but it has become the buzz word I would recommend if grains bother you try heirloom grains which many find they can metabolize just fine even with gluten. Examples are einkorn flour.

  31. Charles Morton says

    Chris states that i gets “cold” after eating a vegetarian meal.

    That is downright silly. I start my day off with a combination of beans, greens, nuts, grains, and fruit. I forget about food until the end of the day when I remember that it is time to eat dinner because it is close to 6:00 pm. I live in Northern California in a coastal aea and wear a short sleeve shirt year round supplemented by a cotton pullover and a heavier coat she it gets really cold. My absence of meat, chicken, eggs, cheese and other animal elements has absolutely no bearing on my body heat. I am 60 and have been primarily a vegan for 4 years and definitely will not be returning to what I was weaned on. Sometimes I go to France, and consume all that France has to offer in the way of food, but I can tell you after a couple of weeks of that, and the odor of my smelly poo, it is a relief to get back to plants.

  32. says

    Struggling vegan here. Been vegan for almost a year – eat whole foods and rarely junk too :/ Looking for a meet-in-the-middle to my love of animals but to still have optimal health. How do you feel about the Pescatarian diet with regards to optimal health?

    • Shari Burckhardt says

      Have you ever checked out the Engine 2 cookbook? It’s a cookbook by a guy named Esselstyn. His recipes have been tested out on his fireman coworkers so you know they are guy approved. http://engine2diet.com/recipes/favorites/ It might give you a few ideas to spice up your menu and get balanced nutrition.

  33. Jesse G says

    the truth guys is that in this modern age people are eating TOO MUCH of everything, especially in America. too much meat and too much vegetables; we are overabundant and bankrupt. whatever our beliefs are, scientific or not, eating too much is just as harmful as not eating not all. we oughta see how our parents and their ancestors ate and kept themselves healthy when they had to eat for their lives.

  34. PJ (RightNOW) says

    Good grief! Chris I’m thinking most of these people must have found you through a search engine, since given your average blogging, this just doesn’t seem like a real common place for (clearly emotional-about-it) vegans to hang out in general. Somewhere around here I have a Minger Squirt Gun.

  35. Shelley Watkins says

    I know hundreds of vegans, including Olympic and other professional athletes and I have been vegan myself for eight years. We are all super healthy and rarely get sick. Read “The China Study.” The people in regions of the world that are vegan live the healthiest, most disease-free and longest lives: fact.

  36. Anofuctus says

    I was a vegetarian during the years 1974-1976. I had to do this because of my poor health. Gallstones, kidney stones, asthma, hay fever, and I couldn’t put on any weight.
    It was pretty tough giving up the animal products and finding substitutes, but with the help of books and practicing TM, I became successful with my change in eating with my new diet. Eventually, all of my ailments disappeared which I hadn’t notice at all. I simply felt better and I was able to do so much more. After 2 1/2 years of vegetarianism, I decided to join the Marine Corps to get out of my neighborhood. I tried to adhere to the diet while in boot camp, but the physical demands of the training was beginning to take a toll on my body so I gave in to the animal products, but I only ate what was needed and always left portions on my tray. I continued to TM which helped a great deal. I worried about my recent ailments which I hopefully had eradicated, yet, they did not resurface for almost 25 years!!! I’m going back to being a vegetarian when I reach my ’60’s and to be honest becoming a vegetarian during that time actually saved my life.

  37. Richard says

    Without concerning ourselves with all the pollution created to produce the animal protein in the typical Western Diet, I like to know how you meat-eaters think the world is going to feed the whole world the Western Diet after the developing world is developed and expecting the same diet.
    Going to have to be some real miracles in agricultural technology given the size of the earth…

  38. Frank says

    From a psychological point of view, it seems a lot of these diets and perhaps an extreme over interest in the subject of health, comes from a place of emotional turmoil. In the same way people who run for 20+ miles a week, or girls who develop anorexia, you’re using your body as an outlet to shield you from your problems or serve as something you can act out on. Which by the way, would also be why discussions about this topic on the internet tend to turn into insane screaming matches.

  39. says

    I’m not vegetarian but I shop every week in a health food shop. For years I have tried out all kinds of different diets all of them promising something and none of them delivering. In the end, for me personally, eating for a healthy life means not eating white foods (especially not sugar), making sure my diet contains as wide a variety of foods as I can manage of lots of different colours. I also avoid wheat, but that’s more because I don’t like the sluggishness that I get afterwards than for any other reason. I also buy organic whenever I can – particularly dairy and eggs.

    There is so much information about diet it seems like a minefield out there.

    In the end you eat what makes you feel good – for life, not just for the moment when it is in your mouth!

  40. says

    I think this all is individual and the worst thing you can do is wasting your time arguing on the Internet. Well, I’m not a vegetarian, I simply love to eat steaks but I respect everyone’s personal choice. Moreover, what can you do with vegetarians? Making them eat meat? Come on! I guess they know what they’re doing. Some statistics even show that they live longer. So why should they change what they do? Because of some article published on the Internet?

    • AzaK says

      Looking at the study there is, right from the beginning, two immediate questions raised in my mind. The first is sample size. The “vegetarians” were only 2.2% of the whole group. Secondly and maybe more importantly, they have lumped all “vegetarians” into the same group regardless of whether they were vegan, lacto-ovo vegetarians and/or pescitarians. That could have a massive impact on the results as the three diets are quite different.

      When looking at the healthcare section of the study, they claim that “Our multivariate analysis regarding health care has shown a significant main effect for dietary habits (p = .000) and confirmed that, overall, subjects with a lower animal fat intake demonstrate worse health care practices.”

      “Vegetarians and subjects eating a carnivorous diet rich in fruits and vegetables consult doctors more often than those eating a carnivorous diet less rich in meat (p = .003)”

      “carnivorous diet rich in fruits and vegetables” – What is that? Paleo? What meat? Red meat? Chicken? Fish? Elephants?

      As for limitations (As all studies are prone to have):

      “Potential limitations of our results are due to the fact that the survey was based on cross-sectional data. Therefore, no statements can be made whether the poorer health in vegetarians in our study is caused by their dietary habit or if they consume this form of diet due to their poorer health status. We cannot state whether a causal relationship exists, but describe ascertained associations”

      “Further limitations include the measurement of dietary habits as a self-reported variable and the fact that subjects were asked how they would describe their eating behavior, without giving them a clear definition of the various dietary habit groups”

      The conclusion can be read incorrectly if one is not careful:

      “Our study has shown that Austrian adults who consume a vegetarian diet are less healthy”

      That does not say say a “vegetarian” diet will make you less healthy, it says they found (And that’s debatable IMO) that those on a vegetarian diet seemed less healthy. They are not the same thing. I’ll repeat “We cannot state whether a causal relationship exists, but describe ascertained associations””

      I think this study offers little value to be honest other than a jumping off point for more thorough research.

  41. Josie Stockdill says

    Oh god this is depressing! Have you read the China Study? Watch forks over knives that has got some good stuff on health – or read world peace diet? I have been Vegan for some time and last time I went to the doctor I didn’t tell him – got my blood and organ checkup and he said that it was perfect and asked what I was doing.

    When I said I was vegan he freaked out without considering that a healthy person was sitting in front of him telling him it works out fine. So my overweight red faced doctor told me to be “very careful long term” and sent me on my way shaking his head. Look up Mimi Kirk or Jim Morris if you want to see the effects of this diet over 50+ years?

    There are so many ways to make it work and if a vegan has eaten chips and bread and becomes iron or b12 deficient you blame the vegan diet? What about thinking about this the other way around? What about considering the world we would be in if nothing was killed for food? Once again – read world peace diet. Its a positive and awesome way to live.

    • Kim S. says

      LOL @ China Study and Forks Over Knives! Read the comments and you’ll see multiple references to the debunking of the China Study (flawed science). And why on earth would I take the advice of the biased veg*ns that produced Forks Over Knives? If you’re going to comment on Chris Kresser’s site, you have to do better than China Study and FOK.

      • drew.. says

        .. and you just proved yourself a mainstream puppet. Who do you think is *paying* for the various rebuts of these excellent works?
        Foster any behaviours you want to condone your complicit acceptance of abhorrent cruelty to animals in the name of the status quo, while vegans the world over prove how healthy our lifestyle is.

  42. Monica says

    The study in your 15th reference DOES conclude that high intake of fruit by vegetarians lowers their rates of cardiovascular disease!

    • Steve Bergman says

      If you look at the full text of that study, there are all sorts of interesting, and damning, tidbits about vegetarian diets. Like the 64% increase in mortality in women with breast cancer. Not too surprising, since feeding cancer with carbohydrates is the *worst* thing you can do. (As Steve Jobs discovered.) In fact, vegetarianism *increased* mortality among women with breast cancer *more* than smoking increased mortality in all cancers.

  43. Steve Bergman says

    One thing that gets lost in all the talk about the RDA’s and “essential nutrients” are the conditionally essential. And most importantly, all those hundreds to thousands of as yet unresearched, or even unnamed or unisolated, which exist in both animal and plant foods, that a vegetarian or vegan can’t know they need to supplement for best health. And couldn’t supplement even if they knew, since the supplements don’t exist yet.

    The only sane way to eat for health is to eat omnivorously and to maintain a high level of variety.

  44. Karin says

    Dietary intake and nutritional status of young vegans and omnivores in Sweden.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12081822

    “Vegans had higher intakes of vegetables, legumes, and dietary supplements and lower intakes of cake and cookies and candy and chocolate than did omnivores. Vegans had dietary intakes lower than the average requirements of riboflavin, vitamin B-12, vitamin D, calcium, and selenium. Intakes of calcium and selenium remained low even with the inclusion of dietary supplements.”

    Please note that vegans ate LESS junk food than the controls, consumed MORE veggies, legumes and supplements than the controls, and STILL managed to be low in essential nutrients.

    This next article is a story of vegan children who experienced growth/developmental issues despite taking dietary supplements. (I suspect a carotene to Vitamin A conversion issue was also at play, but that wasn’t noted in the article).

    http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/healthy-living/how-our-vegan-diet-made-us-ill-848322.html

    This article is by a vegan turned omnivore for the health of her family:
    http://kristensraw.com/blog/2013/03/17/my-vegan-diet-caused-health-problems-would-primal-paleo-or-real-food-be-better

    Finally, we have a fascinating article by a vegan woman who has chosen to incorporate animal products into her daughter’s diet. It reveals DEEP pathological behavior in the raw vegan community. This is a profound and ongoing problem. I don’t happen to agree with all of her conclusions, but I’m very appreciative of her effort to publicize these issues, some of which I have personal experience with:

    “Then I had to question the sanity of those who dismissed the experience of others. The blatant lies and cover-ups are likely due to the left brain being too dominant in these people. While I feel physically sick that this still happens, I refuse to judge or condemn them. They need love, just like the rest of us. They need to be made to feel safe and secure so they can be truthful and get the help they need for their children without risk of attack.”

    http://www.shazzie.com/life/articles/raw_vegan_children.shtml

  45. says

    We certainly don’t need to eat meat as much as most of us do. Once a week is plenty. With respect to dairy, stick with organic and if you can find it, raw milk. Especially organic butter, which is concentrated. Eat your vegetables well-cooked to unlock the nourishment behind the strong cell wall. (Freezing and drying and fermenting works, too). Unfermented soy products are very hard on the body, disrupting hormone and endocrine systems.

    And let’s not forget that whenever we eat, we give death to something. Let us honor the plants and the animals who so willingly sacrifice themselves so that we might live. We are all food for something.

    • drew says

      i almost suspect this is a troll post. I don’t think one could pack more misinformation into two short paragraphs if one tried. Every single bit of information here is so status-quo rah-rah that it is almost emblematic of all that we work so hard to awaken people to. And to top it off to compare the suffering of animals to that of plants, who apparently go “willingly” to their deaths. How UTTERLY sad to post such a thing.

  46. Julia Guest says

    I’ve been vegetarian all my life, 48. I am extremely healthy, cycle everywhere, swim, dance for hours every week.

    In the last few years I had to take a serious look at my diet to deal with arthritis that has developed in my foot (hereditary)
    I found that ensure it is much more alkaline, less grain and acidic veg, high intake of raw greens has changed it from not being able to put my shoes on to.. to being able to dance barefoot, pain free. In the process of doing this I found the key supplements that help are cold pressed Hemp Oil, which is high in Long strand Omega oils.. much better than fish. B12 is a bacteria that is easily available when foraging berries.. blackberries and raw seaweed. Most meat is now irradiated and wrapped in plastic, so the bacteria that makes it has been killed off. The critical issue we face is that poor farming methods have reduced the vitamin and mineral content in food. So it is important to source organic, sustainably grown food, where the soil has been fed and cared for. There is so much information out there on how to eat well.. especially from the raw food nutritionists like David Wolfe.

    The key in working out what diet suits you, is to pay attention to the affect your food has on you.. if you eat well, you will feel well.

  47. Elle says

    I was vegan for 16 years, developed serious estrogen related illness because of soy phytoestrogenic compounds, felt like crap for most of it…

    moving to paleo due to carbohydrate related problems with vegetarian diet (GERD, LPR)…

    funny that now I am a meat eater! hahaha!

    For those of you swooning over forks over knives read this pretty brainy dissection of the research:
    http://rawfoodsos.com/2011/09/22/forks-over-knives-is-the-science-legit-a-review-and-critique/

  48. Prezz says

    I converted from being carnivorous to vegan 5 years ago. People have said it was extreme and that I would not succeed. It was a great struggle but I was determined to lead a healthy lifestyle and hoped that through it I may be able to get rid of skin rashes I get every now and then, poor sleep, constipation and feelings of depression. I think as my body started to get rid of toxins built up over the years, I felt some sort of withdrawal symptoms which vanished as my body slowly accepted my new diet regime. One day I went to my doctor for my annual pap smear and we chatted about my vegan diet. She was very concerned about my health and told me that it would do enormous long term harm to my health. She suggested that I do a complete test to check that everything was alright. Everything was tested in my system, every nook and cranny and nothing was left to chance. When I came back a week later to get the results, she couldn’t believe everything was healthy except for a very tiny bit of deficiency in Vitamin D which she said could be improved with adequate exposure to sunlight. I couldn’t be happier. The skin rash that would plague me had not returned, I sleep better, the constipation had vanished and my bowel movement has become regular and I feel much better. And that’s thanks to my new vegan diet., Well, I still drink wine – red wine – in moderation and I have included regular exercise in my regime. A vegan diet will work wonders if you know how to mix and match plant-based foods, nuts, legumes etc so that they complement each other. I also believe in God and the diet He had prescribed for optimal health.

  49. bahona says

    The author missed the most important nutrient that vegans and vegetarians need to be concerned with: Magnesium!

    • morilinde says

      Actually, that is completely incorrect. The best sources of magnesium in the world come from plants. As a matter of fact, animal products don’t even appear in the top 10 list of best sources for magnesium. Leafy greens and nuts/seeds are the best. Here is a great site that explains how magnesium is used in the body, how it interacts with other vitamins and minerals, and a pretty comprehensive list of whole foods that contain it. I recommend exploring the site for info on other vitamins and minerals as well. I should note that the site is not for vegetarians or vegans (though they can certainly learn a lot from it); it includes data on animal products as well, so you know it is unbiased.

      Here is the magnesium page: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?pfriendly=1&tname=nutrient&dbid=75

      Here is the page for all other essential nutrients:
      http://www.whfoods.com/nutrientstoc.php

  50. Louisa Dawes says

    I do agree with a lot of statements regarding the vegetarian diet. Unfortunately my being a vegetarian is not something that’s chosen. I cannot stand meat, seafood or fish apart from the odd fish finger! I’ve tried so many times to eat it but it literally makes me gag. I can’t stand the thought of eating something that was running around. If I chew anything and find a jibbly bit or a bone I could actually go into a swoon!

    I’ve often thought of getting hypnotised lol, however all joking aside I have a 6 year old and I hate the thought of passing these habits onto him. Currently he’ll eat any fruit or vegetables, and most meats and fish. I hope it stays that way.

    Of course when it comes to myself I’m not sure what to do, I know by the way I feel in myself I’m not eating healthily but I don’t know where to start.

    My NHS doctor has sent me to a dietician only to be told I should eat low fat high carb diet which makes me gain wait at the pace of an intergalactic invasion. When oh when is the NHS going to drop this low fat crud…..?

    I just started an online course for diet and nutrition, hopefully it may shed some light on how to proceed!

  51. Suzie says

    I would like to circle back to this site and Paleo as I am not sold on it. I don’t understand how any of the Paleo diets are truly Paleo because even Chris’s recipes/foods where not found in the Paleolithic era and this is the premise, so it seems to me to be a “fad” diet. I even saw that Cordain endorses Paleo Diet bars http://thepaleodiet.com/foods/. I am certainly not living a Paleo woman lifestyle and don’t want too!

    • charles grashow says

      @Suzie

      Agree totally

      Exactly how are these “paleo”? Cordain is a whore like most in the community are. Pushing products, supplements, etc.

      Cinnamon Raisin

      ALLERGENS:

      Contains Organic Tree Nuts (Almond, Coconut) and Organic Egg. Good manufacturing practices are used to segregate ingredients in a facility that processes other products, which may contain peanuts, treenuts, wheat (gluten), milk, soy and/or eggs.

      INGREDIENTS:

      Organic Dates, Organic Almonds, Organic Egg White Protein Powder, Organic Raisins, Organic Sunflower Seeds, Organic Sesame Seeds, Organic Hemp Protein Powder, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Vanilla Extract, Organic Cinnamon, Sea Salt, Non-GMO.

      NET. WT. 2.47 OZ (70G)
      Cranberry Almond

      ALLERGENS:

      Contains Organic Tree Nuts (Almond, Coconut) and Organic Egg. Good manufacturing practices are used to segregate ingredients in a facility that processes other products, which may contain peanuts, treenuts, wheat (gluten), milk, soy and/or eggs.

      INGREDIENTS:

      Organic Almonds, Organic Dates, Organic Egg White Protein Powder, Organic Sunflower Seeds, Organic Dried Cranberries (Cranberries, Apple Juice Concentrate), Organic Hemp Protein Powder, Organic Strawberry Juice Concentrate, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Vanilla Extract, Organic Cinnamon, Sea Salt, Non-GMO.
      – See more at: http://www.tpdfoods.com/product/sampler-pack/#sthash.iHi9cj8t.dpuf

  52. Erica says

    Phil Nichols, that is an impressive list of the major thinkers of the past centuries. People who are able to see the big picture. Beyond splitting hairs over micronutrients you have to ask why people react wth such rage to people who do not feel animals are here for the primary purpose of serving man’s desires, because react with rage is what they do. I think some people are able to see animals as sentient and others either aren’t or simply haven’t turned their thoughts to it, which would be fine but the rage is strange. Awaiting the no doubt follow-up enraged comments and attacks…..

      • FrankG says

        Good grief.. here Erica back with her reading comprehension problem.. her blinkers that only allow her to see what she wants to see and disregard the rest! LOL indeed Phil.

        As for “famous vegetarians”…

        I’ve seen it stated (on vegetarian sites incidentally) that Albert Einstein was likely only a vegetarian (not a vegan) for the last year of his life. So what?

        Listing these famous people as if that adds any weight to your argument, is about as meaningful and convincing to me as the questions around Hitler’s religious beliefs. Was he Catholic or Atheist? So what?!?

        It’s great that you have made your own lifestyle choices… please respect others to do the same for their own reasons.

        My reasons..? try reading some of my other comments; instead of persisting with the myth (like Erica) that all “meat-eaters” are self-centered, egoists, hung-up on micro-nutrients… blah blah blah blah blah…

      • Karin says

        Darwin wasn’t a vegetarian.
        Lincoln wasn’t a vegetarian.

        Gandhi thought that prescriptive vegans were fraudsters and enemies of India:

        In the end he had to acknowledge the necessity for animal food. In 1946 he declared: “The crores of India today get neither milk nor ghee nor butter, nor even buttermilk. No wonder that mortality figures are on the increase and there is a lack of energy in the people. It would appear as if man is really unable to sustain life without either meat or milk and milk products. Anyone who deceives people in this regard or countenances the fraud is an enemy of India.”

        http://naturalhygienesociety.org/diet3.html#0

        I don’t have time to fact-check them all. The list itself is based on nonsense and wishful thinking……..oh that’s right……..

        • FrankG says

          “based on … wishful thinking”

          Sure it’s a nice idea to think that you can live without taking life… especially if you use anthropomorphic ideas to decide on what actually counts as “alive” but it is a mistaken and misleading view of life.

          I don’t find it hypocritical of me to say I respect life, while I share it with other lifeforms on this planet.

          Perhaps Erica has her fingers in her ears and refuses to hear the rational, and reasonable discussion going on here (see Karin’s excellent earlier comment) — it really must be so much easier to dismiss all “meat-eaters” as thoughtless barbarians (although I’m still not clear where Erica stands, as she denies being a veg*n herself)… maybe this is why she is unable to respond in a reasoned way… too much self-loathing?

  53. Dorothy Montgomery says

    Karin

    actually, I do have a garden and although we are not solely 100% self sufficient, it does help out with the grocery bills.

    my whole family are vegans for over 20 years. It takes more than 25 times as much land and crops, not to mention water and energy to raise animals of which only a small percentage makes it back to the tables of humans.

    so if you are interested in saving plants, land, water and energy, you are best to stop eating meat because thats at least 25 times worst.

    • Karin says

      Dorothy,

      I asked for a list of foods that you are eating this winter, because I think it would enlighten you just how many more animals might be killed in the process of raising the crops and getting you that food than living like the Amish farmer that I referenced in my prior post. He doesn’t grow crops to feed to his steers. His steers eat the grass.

      Also, you may not know it, but animal-based inputs are used in growing almost all of that organic food. Usually CAFOs. I would love to learn of your plan for the world (or even the continental U.S.) that can feed all people using all-veganic, non-industrialized agriculture. If you can do that, I’m in.

      Provided that you also include a plan for all of the people who do not thrive on plant-only diets. :-)

    • Dorothy Montgomery says

      so this is the best we can do as a civilized society after all these years? We can send men to the moon, we have new ways of agriculture… but we must follow the way of a tribe? I don’t think this is the way for all. Not too many people living in todays so called advanced society would take on this position. This is justification for eating animals because some indigenous tribe does so? The Ancient Mayans used to toss their first born to the volcano Gods to assure a good coming year… maybe we should do this too, after all, it would help keep the population down :)

      • Karin says

        Hi Dorothy,

        I’m going to take a wild guess that you don’t grow all of your own food. Or that you didn’t really didn’t read my prior post, as it pertains to industrialized agriculture.

        Care to share all the foods that you’ve been eating this winter? Maybe we could evaluate the impact in a way that you’ve never even considered.

      • FrankG says

        Did you watch the clip Dorothy? You never know… might find it enlightening.. especially the last minute or so.

  54. Karin says

    Hi Suzie,

    Thanks for your question! I am responding at the bottom of the thread because the sub-thread was so narrow that it had become unreadable.

    “Open Mind” stated:
    “If someone wanted to do something – like not eat animals or drink their secretions that you would respect their position – that at least this person is doing something.”

    I deeply respect and identify with the INTENTION to avoid harming animals (both human and non-human). It is a subject that I think about every day of my life. But I reject the position that prescriptive and/or dogmatic veganism is creating a gentler and more sustainable world “on the ground.” If you want a gentler world, my position is that rigid adherence to universal veganism moves us in precisely the wrong direction.

    To evaluate whether or not a person is in fact doing “less harm” to animals by choosing a given vegan product over an animal product, it’s important to consider where one lives (i.e., are you in Alaska or San Diego?), the time of year, how the plant foods were grown, harvested, processed and packaged, how the different crops were protected from wild animals, how the animals were caught or raised, how the different products were transported, total pollution costs, etc.

    I don’t know if you’ve reviewed all of the posts on this thread, but I’ve studied crop and soil science, and I think it’s important to consider more than the overt violence of the slaughterhouse when thinking about the tremendous amount of violence that is INHERENT in attempting to feed 7 billion people. Agriculture, especially large-scale agriculture, is innately violent. In order to feed one species to the exclusion of others, you must uproot homes, displace, poison, trap, starve etc. etc. etc. It is brutal. You must declare that this parcel that was once home to many, is now the property of the few. It is now yours, and yours alone, because you are at the top of the food chain. Someone tried to compare animal agriculture to human slavery….well, if it is, then what the heck is “plant-based” agriculture? The fact is that we are human animals and we are competing with others for scarce resources. There is absolutely no peaceful way to do that. http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/scienceshow/mice-the-biggest-losers-w-vegetarianism/4660498

    Allow me to elaborate:
    I live in upstate New York.
    Let’s say that my Amish friend slaughters his (grass-fed) steer. If he gets 500lbs of meat from that steer, and eats a 1/4 lb of meat every night for dinner, the meat would last him 2000 days. So he is effectively eating/killing less than one cow every 5 years.

    Let’s say that, out of compassion for animals, I choose a “Vegan-approved” option like legumes and grains for dinner every night over the course of the same 5+ years.

    S.L. Davis from the Department of Animal Sciences at Oregon State University, writes:

    “One Oregon farmer told me that half of the cottontail rabbits went into his combine when he cut a wheat field, that virtually all of the small mammals, ground birds, and reptiles were killed when he harvested his crops. Because most of these animals have been seen as expendable, or not seen at all, few scientific studies have been done measuring agriculture’s effects on their populations.” In a study that has been done to examine the effect of harvesting grain crops, Tew and Macdonald (1993) reported that mouse population density dropped from 25/ha preharvest to less than 5/ha postharvest. This decrease was attributed to both migration out of the field and to mortality. They estimated the mortality rate to be 52%. In another study Nass et al. (1971) reported that the mortality rate of Polynesian rats was 77% during the harvest of sugar cane in Hawaii. These are the estimated mortality rates for only a single species, and for only a single operation (i.e. harvesting). Therefore, an estimate somewhere between 52 and 77% (say 60%) for animals of all kinds killed during the production year would be reasonable. Using the population density shown in Tew and Macdonald’s (1993) paper (25/ha) times a 60% mortality rate of 15 animals/ha each year.

    Note that these figures just refer to the harvesting of the plants. We aren’t even discussing the effects of processing, long-distance transport, fossil fuel use, etc. Remember that the farmer killed a steer every 5+ years. I would respectfully ask any vegan to estimate the total number of animals that are maimed, displaced, turned into roadkill, starved, or otherwise harmed in the planting, harvesting, packaging, and transport over hundreds of miles of 5+ years worth of grain and legumes?

    So, getting back to Open Mind’s question about whether or not eating plant-only is “doing something”: Obviously it’s doing “something”, but in my opinion, sometimes MUCH more harm than good.

    Regarding use of the word “vegan”:

    Before writing this, I googled the phrase “am I still vegan if I eat….”

    Over 200,000,000 hits came up. That suggests to me that too many people may have priorities which are counter to the goals of sustainability and compassion. Why would one care if others consider it “vegan” to do something? Shouldn’t the individual instead be considering whether it causes less suffering than the alternative? Vegans have traditionally avoided honey because it “exploits the bees,” which, in my mind, suggests that these folks either have no idea of what’s involved in producing most “vegan approved” crops, or that they do know, but in their effort to maintain their membership in the “club”, they fail to be mindful that their choice may not actually reduce suffering.

    Does it make any sense, for example, to purchase a container of brown rice syrup over local honey if one wishes to reduce animal suffering? Similarly, why would one prefer to purchase tofu over oysters, if impact on the welfare of animals and environment are the main consideration? A variety of animals, including mammals, are killed and maimed in the production of the so-called “vegan” options, and I think the evidence suggests that far more suffering is involved, as well.

    Even if we were to accept the (dubious) premise that eating plants always causes less suffering than eating animal products, I would argue that a meat eater who chooses not to bring children into the world, purchase a car, or travel to far-away countries for pleasure is causing far less harm than the “plant-only” eater who brings children into the world, drives a car, and takes vegan cruises http://www.atasteofhealth.org/events/rates.htm.

    We routinely hear people describe themselves as a “vegan who eats honey”. Would a meat eater such as my Amish farmer, whose entire life, I submit, does FAR less harm to animal life than a typical “plant-only” eater, rightly be called a “vegan who eats meat”? The most magnificent meat-eating-vegan I’ve ever seen: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=attenborough%20hunter&sm=3

    Many self-proclaimed “vegans” scoff at the idea of not purchasing certain things that might contain animal parts, like computers, TV’s, cars, etc. I find that to be a preposterously self-serving and cowardly position. Most of the world doesn’t have these things. My Amish friend doesn’t have these things. Authentically vegan intentional communities exist to avoid such things. So when some people claim that they are making such a sacrifice for the animals, I have to wonder what alternative reality they are living in. It seems that the sacrifice begins and ends with the replacement of ice cream with “Coconut Dream”. Are we to take this seriously? Why would we use a single word to describe someone, if the word itself doesn’t even consistently MEAN anything at all?

    Open Mind provided that story about the starfish.
    I also like that story.
    But here’s my little spin on it:

    It’s the story of a mildly self-righteous, ecologically unaware girl who thinks that as long as she doesn’t actually eat animal parts she’s doing right by the animal world and the world as a whole. She has never grown her own food, and only has the vaguest ideas about how it all gets to her, and doesn’t even realize that the byproducts of animal agriculture are an essential part of the production of most of the “vegan” food that she buys.

    One day she hears about the plight of the starfish, so she decides to book a flight to east Asia so that she can personally assist in saving them….

    When she gets there, she realizes that the starfish are being washed ashore by cargo ships that are loading up with an array of food items. They are to be transported on a several-thousand mile journey to quell the ever-increasing appetites of unconscious consumers in New York, many of whom are “vegans” just like her. And then she suddenly realizes that the airplane that carried her and her fellow “eco-tourists” on their way to rescue those starfish probably killed a bunch of birds on the way.

    I used to be that girl. It may seem like I’m mocking her, but I’m really not. Except to the extent that she was ignorant enough to think that she was more “compassionate” or “empathetic” than the farmer who stays home and lives off the land with the help of his animals, selling nourishing food at farmer’s markets and purchasing essentials from his neighbors.

    What I want to see is a return to a more traditional, yet progressive world. One where people eat moderately and with respect for their bodies and their farmers. One where diets aren’t based on importing $20 a day worth of fruit into New England in the middle of winter from thousands of miles away. One where people sustain themselves through the winter predominantly with the foods of winter, which, in many regions, are animal foods. I believe that this way of life is still the norm in places like France, for example, where people consume significantly more milk, 4 times the butter, 60% more cheese, much more organ meat, etc, and yet manage to live much longer than us!

    In my opinion, if we want to build a better world for all animals, both human and non-human, we would consider a range of actions and/or abstentions like the ones below. I see these and similar actions as far more life-affirming than universal veganism.

    1. Adopt children, rather than procreate.
    2. Don’t consume more than you need: Don’t buy more than one home (and make it a modest one); avoid travelling to faraway places for pleasure; don’t use food as entertainment; avoid purchasing products of big industry; avoid buying stuff wrapped in plastic; be mindful of the hidden impact of every act.
    3. When you do consume, consume locally. Basing your diet on foods that are coming from Thailand and Africa and New Zealand and Chile when you live in Montana is not helpful to animals in any way! Animals are maimed and die every time your cargo ship/airplane moves through their habitat!
    4. Don’t waste.
    5. Share: i.e., Help others eat well. If we share resources/cash nobody has to buy horrible, inhumane food.
    6. Create an intentional community. Try to grow food veganically and see just what’s entailed into producing food for humans. In fact, I might be open to letting someone on this thread use my 12 acres of land to show us all just how easy it is to sustain him/herself in upstate New York throughout the year without the use of animals. Maybe we could make it a reality show. :-)

    To be honest with you, this is a tough post to write. I don’t know quite how to express how uncomfortable I am with the idea of killing animals. This is not the world that I would design. However, I tend to believe in a form of reincarnation, and if I were to come back as some random animal to this world, I honestly would prefer that it be a world where humans live simpler lives and are more reliant on themselves and their surrounding communities for their food, rather than one run by vegans who kill through an over-reliance on massive industry and big agriculture and gigantic multi-national corporations……even if most of the people in this vegan-dystopia see animals like me as warm and fuzzy and think that they’re doing me such a huge favor.

    I relate to this quote by Michael Pollan:

    “The fact that you cannot come out of hunting feeling unambiguously good about it is perhaps what should commend the practice to us. You certainly don’t come out of it eager to protest your innocence. If I’ve learned anything about hunting and eating meat, it’s that it’s even messier than the moralist thinks. Having killed a pig and looked at myself in that picture and now looking forward (if that’s the word) to eating that pig, I have to say there is a part of me that envies the moral clarity of the vegetarian, the blamelessness of the tofu eater. Yet part of me pities him too. Dreams of innocence are just that; they usually depend on a denial of reality that can be its own form of hubris. Ortega suggests that there is an immorality in failing to look clearly at reality, or in believing the force of human will can somehow overcome it.”

    • Suzie says

      Wow – Thank you Karin for explaining your experience and your perspective at length: “used to be that girl” – you are still that girl but continue to learn and shape your purpose in the world. However, your experience does inform your strong opinions as you seemingly fight hard against “vegans” – how could it not. Maybe using what you have learned and your energy – your schooling will propel you to become a leader in sustaining this world. I can’t see the solution so try my best.

  55. Phil Nicols says

    .. the article talks about “deficiencies” … like no meat eater ever had a deficiency? My father was eating meat regularly. at 80 he developed an iron deficiency.

    Doctors advised him of diet and even subscribed an iron supplement that he used to take. He died at 82 from a heart condition.

    Some meat eaters live longer, some live shorter, some vegans live longer, some shorter. There are many vegans over 100 and meat eaters as well.

    Some people grow to over 6ft tall, some never reach 6ft. this is DNA.

    There are fat meat eaters, skinny meat eaters, healthy one and sick ones – same as vegetarians and vegans.

    If “health” was not even part of this equation, then it comes down to right from wrong, cruel from not cruel and what is best for the environment.

    I hear lots of meat eaters justifying the cruelty with simple statements like, “well, man has to eat”.

    but we know now that man does not have to eat animals. The thought of “harvesting animals” is right out there when you think about it.

    Most wouldn’t “round up” all the neighbourhood cats and dogs and cook them all for the “tribe” to eat now would they? yet SOME DO!

    So what makes cows and pigs and chickens different?

    People say its not cruel… would YOU trade places with an animal harvested as “food”? For those that think its not cruel, have you ever seen an animal slaughtered in front of you? (I have) .. Have you ever visited the local slaughter house? Have you ever even watched the animals being herded off the trucks and onto the “kill floor”? Would you take your kids to the slaughterhouse for day trip?

    Why not? if its so “normal” and ok? and the way of life? and the way its been for millions of years?

    I see lots of kids gardening with their folks in the summer but never any class trips to the slaughterhouse.

    as far as ecology, it takes far more energy and land and crops and water to get a small percentage of meat. This energy, land, crops and water could be used to feed the ever growing population of people not animals raised to be harvested.

    just a thought.

  56. Karin says

    Hi Drew,

    You seem extremely confident in declaring the plant-only diet as universally ideal for human health. I struggle to see how you have come to this conclusion, in light of the massive amount of evidence that I have seen to the contrary.

    I noticed that you recommend that people eat “vegan, varied and complete, with whole foods, as raw as possible” for optimal health. I think that the preponderance of the evidence suggests that *many* adults with a high metabolic rate and few food sensitivities can indeed thrive on such a whole foods plant-only diet, because if you have a high enough caloric intake, it doesn’t matter much if the foods consumed are nutritionally dense or optimally bio-available.

    But would you really give the same recommendations to everyone? For example, to people with a wide range of food sensitivities; to people with thyroid issues; to people who have difficulty synthesizing cholesterol; to people with epilepsy and/or mood disorders; to people who have difficulty converting beta-carotene to Vitamin A and similar polymorphisms; and to all children?

    Speaking of children, this is a sample meal plan provided by the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine for children ages 1-4:

    Breakfast: Oatmeal with applesauce, calcium–fortified orange juice
    Lunch: Hummus on crackers, banana, soymilk, carrot sticks
    Dinner: Corn, mashed sweet potatoes, steamed kale, soymilk
    Snacks: Peaches, Cheerios, soymilk

    Please note the use of fortified Soymilk, Cheerios, and Orange Juice in lieu of whole foods. To me, this looks like a nutrient-sparse diet that requires the addition of synthetically-fortified processed foods of questionable quality to meet even minimal nutritional requirements for some nutrients, such as protein, zinc, iron, etc. while remaining deficient in other nutrients. Does this look like an optimal diet for 1-4 year old children to you? How, if at all, might you modify it?

    Would you be willing to share what your personal diet/caloric intake would look like in a typical week and in what region of the country you reside? Also, if you take any supplements? I think it might be instructive. Thanks in advance for considering this request!

    Also, you may be aware that people who try veganism tend to be more educated and health-conscious than the average person…..Does it seem reasonable to conclude that the tremendous number of people who do not thrive on plant-only diets were just too ignorant to realize that they should be eating a variety of complete whole foods? What about people like Dr. Chris Masterjohn, Robb Wolf, Melissa McKewen, Denise Minger….do they just strike you as a bunch of dummies who ate Boca Burgers all day long and forgot about their veggies?

    Finally, evidence does suggest that vegan children on average suffer more from various sub-clinical deficiencies, even when compared to their counterparts, who tend to eat massive amounts of processed and nutritionally-empty food. I would be curious to know your interpretation of this as well. Thanks!

    • drew says

      Hi Karin, when time permits, I will address your thoughtful note properly. But in a nutshell, yes, i am very confident my thoughts are generally applicable. We all like to think we are unique, but the reality is we are so very alike via our dna, that we have universal truths.

      Health is but a snapshot of our biosystem at any given time. Every single cell is replaced within a period of time, and is replaced via the nutrients you absorb. Each cell contains the blueprints for what *it* requires and it does not forget.

      Just like we should not judge a person for their past but for their present, we should also bathe our cells in the nutrients it needs for harmonious existence. As well, if you don’t allow your gut bacteria to form properly, you will never ever be healthy. Our bodies are remarkable machines, and each health issue is a story, one driven deeper to manifest in a new way if you simply drive it away with most modern meds. cheers..

  57. Phil Nicols says

    I’d also like to add that DNA makes a huge difference in performance. I will never be an olympic athlete or the strongest man on earth but Im 6.3, 200lbs and in pretty fair shape I would say. What makes me 6.3 and the meat eater standing in line next to me, 5ft10 and 150L? What makes the basket ball player over 7ft?

    Eating meat doesn’t make you strong, no more than taking steroids is going to make you the next Mr Olympia… (nothing wrong with that). Im just saying. People seem to be brainwashed that if they eat meat, workout, and stick their ass with drugs, they will become Mr Olympia.

    I recall watching the movie “Pumping Iron” with Arnold, Lou and all the top bodybuilders back then… its a sad story really. There was one guy in that circuit that did “all the right things” ate meat 5 times a day, omelettes with 25 eggs, pumped his body with steroids (all about him him him) – NEVER won a contest.

    What do you do with all those hours, all that hard work at THAT level of competition if you don’t win?

    I mean, its nice to feel good about yourself with big muscles I guess (me me me) if thats what makes you happy but this guy was on a world level of competition and never won. If it was me, I would be devastated.

    Sorry guys but lets face the facts, not everyone will be the top bodybuilder, or fastest runner etc. REGARDLESS of how much meat you eat, how much drugs you take, how many countless hours you spend in the gym. DNA has 90% to do with this.

    Veganism is not a “diet” its a lifestyle. One that takes the focus off of me me me all the time.

    When I started on my journey, I did so basically on a challenge. I thought, “I can do that” (go without meat for 30 days) piece of cake.

    In those 30 days, I changed. I started to really pay attention to whats going on in the world, the animals that are being “bred for food”…

    have you seen Tom Cruises War of the Worlds? this movie looks at what it would be like if the tables were turned on humans and some alien race with far superior intelligence, harvested us for “food”.

    then I starred to see the impact on the environment, and on our personal health.

    I’ve never looked back. Its not like we are giving something up, we are gaining sooo much more.

    I thank God, or the “higher Power whatever it may be that I was able to buck the trend for that initial 30 days.

    I went against family and friends and all my gym buddies back then who were all about “protein” which they assumed only came from animals.

    its so liberating to be able to see things from “this side” I pray that I can inspire even one to look at the benefits.

    I wish someone told me many years before.,, but then I was not ready for it back then. When I was young you couldn’t tell me anything lol.

  58. Phil Nicols says

    I’m 48 years old. I’ve been off meat for over a decade.. off all animal products for last two years as well. Ive never been lethargic, havent been sick in years, don’t work out very often but I can still push 4 plates (225l). Never been on steroids… haven’t even used protein powder in about 5 years, something I used to do regularly.

    Yes humans can likely eat anything. There are people in Guinness book of records that ate nails and glass.

    Yes, probably some cavemen watched a carnivore eating another animal.. All they knew back then was monkey see monkey do, so they probably tried the same.

    It was likely hard for them to catch an animal and kill it with spears, so they likey picked at carcases left over from the carnivors.

    I know if i was a caveman, I would be more inclined to eat things that grew, fruits, berries, root vegetables etc. They say all mankind emanated from Africa, which is a land rich in these foods. those that migrated from there, likely took on the roles of animals that lived in the areas they migrated to.

    Does it mean they were right? Of course not. The average life expectancy of early man was under 30 years.

    So “can we get by” eating dogs and cats? of course we probably can. Is it ideal for us? Absolutely not.

    Today, for the first time in the recorded history of man, we internet to share scientific information. The findings startle many people because its contrary to what most of us were brought up knowing.

    Wasn’t that long ago that smoking was looked at as “cool” and it was advertised all over magazines and 50’s tv ads.. “Blow smoke in her face and she will love you forever”. Of course we know today that its bad for us yet people still do it in spite of the facts.

    Today, the strongest man in the world is a vegan as well as gold medal olympic athletes, football players, basketball players, boxers… Herschel Walker is a vegan. He was 50 when he took up MMA (mixed martial arts) he runs 8 miles a day does 1000’s of pushups and sit-ups daily!

    And millions of “regular folks” like myself, all fairing well without the misery, blood, death, cruelty, co-lateral damage to the planet.

    So if we can “survive” on A OR B.. why would anyone knowingly choose the dark side?

    I was a meat eater like millions of others and I quit “cold turkey” Im sure if I can do it, anyone can.

    P/

    • FrankG says

      So you — just like “the strongest man in the world” — did NOT build your current physique as a vegan…

      AND your personal story does not detract from the precautionary tone of this blog post, which starts with the title “Why You Should Think Twice About Vegetarian and Vegan Diets” … with careful reading, you might just make out that is does not say “Why no-one should ever eat a vegan diet”

      I am also doing far more than just “surviving” and I am also against disrespect for life.

      • Phil Nicols says

        “did NOT build your current physique as a vegan…”

        no this is true but many have been brought up without eating animals or animal products. To them there was no different and today they are alive and well.

        There are many today on my facebook feed that were born vegans.

        It is as odd to them to see others eating harvested animals as it is for most of us to see the Chinese eating cats and dogs.

        I recall going to the wedding of my sister’s friend over 30 years ago. This couple (a drop dead gorgeous couple) already had a child and decided to get married. The baby was maybe 6-9 months old at the time. The couple were vegans before I even knew what the term meant. I was about 18 at the time and asked them, back in those days about deficiencies for the baby but the baby was quite healthy and normal and quiet not crying like many do.

        They knew about all this way back then, before internet, before it was “socially acceptable”.

        I wish someone would have coached me on it back then!!

        But its not a “new thing” There were many before their time… Historic people like;
        Plato
        Socrates
        Albert Einstein
        Leo Tolstoy
        David Thoreau Henry David Thoreau
        Emerson
        Benjamin Franklin
        Alexander Pope
        Sir Issac Newton
        Pythagoras
        Gandhi
        Leonardo Da Vinci[14]
        Voltaire
        Milton
        Charles Darwin
        Schweitzer
        Percy Byssche Shelly
        Mary Shelly
        George Bernard Shaw
        Abraham Lincoln
        Confusius
        Nikola Tesla
        Seneka

        to name a few.

        Bill Pearl won every major bodybuilding competition there was in the 60-70’s without meat..(he’s a vegetarian, still eats eggs) he did all this before internet. Today hes in his 80s and still trains daily and trains others in Venice CA.

        The internet has brought this information worldwide. Do you think the television, which is supported by the restaurant chains and rich people are going to be promoting this? this is why the general public is only now seeing this information. It was just not possible to publically broadcast this even as little as 15 years ago.

        Growing up I too used to make fun of vegans and vegetarians… “whats for dinner? grass again?” or “your supposed to smoke the grass not eat it” and the list went on.

        Now I am one. Hows that for ironic?

        • Karin says

          Phil,

          I know I’m going to regret this……but what was your source for the list of these famous vegan/vegetarians? Facts are pretty important to me. Someone is pulling a fast one you, Phil.

          Also, do you care to explain how you came to this fascinating conclusion that, since you can be healthy as a vegan, anyone can?

          I know a mother whose daughter has sensitivities to a wide range of legumes and nuts. Care to offer a meal plan for this girl? Thanks, Phil!

          • FrankG says

            I’ve seen in stated (on vegetarian sites incidentally) that Albert Einstein was likely only a vegetarian (not a vegan) for the last year of his life. So what?

            Listing these famous people as if that adds any weight to your argument, is about as meaningful and convincing to me as the questions around Hitler’s religious beliefs.

            It’s great that you have made your own lifestyle choices… please respect others to do the same for their own reasons.

            My reasons..? try reading some of my other comments.

  59. drew says

    How many differing ways can one say:

    Vegetarianism Veganism

    The two are NOT related in today’s definition. When the term was coined decades ago, it was effectively equivalent. Not today.

    Eating vegetarian is not healthy. Period. Dairy and whatever else you decide is allowable is detrimental to your health. Period. It will acidify your body and casein will promote cancer without restraint.

    Eating vegan, varied and complete, with whole foods, as raw as possible and your body will alkalize and your health will return provided you exercise moderately, sleep well, remove stress from your life and gets real sunshine.

    The rest of the anger in this thread, and the desire to maintain cruelty to animals, is a model for how our society allows for the status quo to continue with lack of personal accountability and continuance of that which would hold no water without current context.

    • Colin says

      You were doing good but you just had to ruin it with that final snobby, condescending paragraph. And vegans wonder why people have an unfavorable view of them……

  60. Spencer says

    I believe the most interesting thing about this article is when he mentions the genetic precursors for certain individuals to convert plant based vitamin sources more efficiently then others. This brings up an important point which isn’t mentioned here, what if there is no “better diet”, what if it just depends on each persons individual makeup? Some people tolerate being vegan/vegetarian while others don’t…what if we just left it up for the individual to decide? I know for myself that without ALOT of protein, I get depressed, lethargic and tired. I understand being vegetarian and vegan to try to positively impact the world, but my functioning was so decreased while I was vegetarian I couldn’t really be of any help or service to anyone…not even myself. Maybe I didn’t do it right, maybe I’ll try it again in the future, but for now for some reason I have an intuition that for my body, eating animals and animal products in a balanced way feels right (although I believe dairy products can cause inflammation for people with health problems). Instead of debating this with me, lets focus on what we know and have in common. Increasing vegetable intake is a complete no brainer for better health. Let’s spread the truth that processed foods, sugary foods, GMO’s, and pesticides are terrible for us and the environment. Let’s treat animals with respect and have them graze on open pasteur, eating their natural diet, free from slaughterhouses, confinement, antibiotics and hormones. We are being so unproductive by arguing!

  61. Bruce Clifton says

    Thanks for the well thought out article, Chris. There is an interesting response to it at http://www.theveganrd.com. I think it would be wonderful if you responded to Ms. Messina’s points , in order to continue a fact-based discussion of this important topic.

  62. Caroline says

    I don’t know why people think everything has to be so cookie-cutter. I personally am a vegan and have been one for over a year and have had nothing but great benefit from it. It is RARE that I consume soy products or gluten grains, and grains in general are certainly not a staple in my diet (except perhaps quinoa).

    I had a B12 deficiency BEFORE I became a vegan, back when I was regularly eating meat and dairy. According to my doctor, some people simply do not absorb it through animal products and require a supplement, and she said I was one of those people.

    There is not one diet that is perfect for everyone. If there was, we wouldn’t need all the glorious food variety and options that we have. I am a vegan and love being vegan, but that does not mean it is the right diet for everyone. As such, I don’t try to push my belief system on others or tell them that their diet will lead to bad health (unless, of course, they are living on a diet of fast food and processed meats and grains!)

    I believe that no matter what diet or lifestyle you choose to follow, you need to do your research and be aware of the potential pitfalls.

    No matter what, we’re all trying to be healthy here and we care about what we put in our bodies. That’s (unfortunately) a lot more than most of America can say. So let’s encourage each other and build each other up, not fight over whose diet is better! :)

  63. Erica says

    It’s not that vegans think people who eat meat are “meanies”, Colin. If you turn you thoughts to slavery for a moment you will realize that there were some people called abolitionists who felt that until slavery was ended in this country nothing that was built on it was right and business could not proceed as usual. Then there were the majority of people who argued pro and con based on their own cost/benefit ratio or simply whether it was what they were used to and comfortable with and couldn’t really consider any other way. You no doubt have a sense of the years and violence that went into changing the conversation and the reality on the ground.

    There are people now who have the same view of the use and abuse of animals, who are innocent equal creatures and not made for man’s use, as slaves were not made for other men’s use. You can pull out the Bible, as people did then, to justify how black men were born to be slaves, as sons of Ham, and some probably still would argue a mistake was made in ending it, as people do to justify animal use, however it’s rather more than “meanies” who stood against slavery. If you can shift your context you can get a sense of what animal abolitionists are trying to convey. I have no doubt the battle will be as pitched as it was against human slavery, but also that in the long run the expansive moral arc of the universe tends toward the good (paraphrase) and for many reasons our direct use and abuse of animals must wane, especially in countries where this is not based on starvation need. Personally my line is drawn at if you own a cow and it has a calf and there’s some milk left over, go ahead and make cheese. I’m talking about factory farming primarily because of the scope, farming for fur, canned hunts, puppy mills, etc. Abusive use for personal gain.

    • Karin says

      “I’m talking about factory farming primarily because of the scope, farming for fur, canned hunts, puppy mills, etc. Abusive use for personal gain.”

      None of which are defended on this thread.

      In fact, almost everyone on this thread has gone out of his/her way to talk about just how horrific those things are, despite the fact that that is NOT the focus of the article.

      Perhaps because you are relatively new to these realities, you assume that we are too. I’ve watched the videos and been to the stockyards, Erica. I’ve taken pictures of “battery hens”. I’ve personally cleaned up pigs and rescued chickens. I know what is going on.

      As does (almost) every other person on this thread. We have consistently decried those things. So if you think that informing us that “meat eater=me and vegan=holistic” adds anything of substance to the conversation, then you are deeply misguided.

      If, however, you have a plan of how to create a sustainable veganic agricultural system, I think that many of us would love to hear it.

    • FrankG says

      I don’t see anyone here promoting factory farming.. quite the opposite in fact. So I suspect you are presenting a false dichotomy. Again trying to make this an emotion-charged discussion rather than rational reasoning.

      So maybe try setting that aside for now and accept that many (most… all?) here agree that: the current system of abusive, cruel, unjustified and unsustainable factory farming (plus vast crop mono-culture) has to change?

      In terms of all animals (including humans?) being “innocent equal creatures” where do you draw the line?

      Mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, insects, microbes…? What about 1,000 year old giant sequoia trees?

      ALL life on this planet (so far as is currently known) comes from the same common ancestor — animals AND plants.

      I watched a show about Wales yesterday, where they showed a Yew tree in a Conwy graveyard that has been aged at 4,500 years.. it was growing when Stonehenge was being built and is still alive today!

      I’ve also seen comments here about “minimizing harm” and that plants have no complex nervous system – like we do.

      Key phrase that “like we do”…

      Is that how we decide which life we need to borrow so that we can continue on for a while, until our life goes back into the general pool? Base it on anthropomorphic methods of deciding sentience, or value?

      Sources have already been offered showing the growing field (hah) of research into how plants “sense” and interact or “behave” with their environment.. in many ways along the same lines as animals do… hardly surprising as we share a common ancestor.

    • Colin says

      @ Erica: Care to tell a black person to their face what you just told me? I’d love to see that go down. Evoking images of slavery just so you can gain the moral highground in a discussion about food is pretty ridiculous.

      Also, you act like omnivores (btw, you’re an omnivore, too. you’re just living against your nature) hate animals and love to see them suffer…..or that we’re too ignorant and if only we had people like you to shame us into accepting your worldview. Grow up.

  64. Colin says

    Basically the only reasons to go vegetarian or vegan is because of ethical reasons….or maybe the idea of eating meat turns your stomach. The health argument has never held water with me. Also, the dirty little secret of veganism is that many people (usually young females) are drawn to because it easily covers up their eating disorder.

    Here’s an anecdote….I knew this girl who was normal and well-adjusted and then she became a radical vegan and now she thinks she’s a transsexual cat named George. I’m not kidding. Vitamin deficiencies are no joke. They can literally drive you crazy.

  65. FrankG says

    http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2014/03/animal-protein-as-bad-as-smoking/

    “Call me suspicious, but I always check for conflicts of interest and the lead researcher, Dr Longo, has declared interests in (actually, he’s the founder of) L-Nutra – a company that makes ProLon™ – an entirely plant based meal replacement product.”

    And it was not just Valter D. Longo but three others of the authors (Sebastian Brandhorst, Priya Balasubramanian and Luigi Fontana) also working for L-Nutra…

    http://www.l-nutra.com/index.php/about/team

  66. Suzie says

    And what about our oceans?

    http://n.pr/1eI48ua

    http://youtu.be/Bo_f8mV5khg (beautiful interlude amongst all the brain work)

    And:

    Worldwide, over 25% of all the world’s fish stocks are either overfished or depleted.

    Another 52% are fully exploited.

    (Fully exploited: the number of fish taken out equals the number being born; Any further increase in fish caught will lead to overfishing, and then to collapse.)

    Fish farming is not a viable solution.

    *Above stats from State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) can be found on http://www.fao.org/sof/sofia/index_en.htm

    I just don’t need to eat fish/seafood/fish oil – this is just my personal choice. I know and love people who do but even they eat less than before.

  67. charles grashow says

    http://www.naturaleater.com/science-articles/Paleolithic-Nutrition-Twenty-Five%20Years-Later-Eaton.pdf

    “Reduction of carbohydrates to extremely low levels is not consistent with the HG model, but neither is a very high CHO, “meat as a condiment”–type diet; furthermore, CHO sources are important. HG CHO came from fruit, vegetables, and nuts, not from grains. Refined, concentrated CHOs such as sucrose played virtually no role, and the consumption of plant CHO necessarily resulted in high fiber intake. If we were to rebuild the food pyramid along HG lines, the base would not be grains but fruits and vegetables, which could be chosen to provide adequate fiber content. The second tier would be meat, fish, and low-fat dairy products, all very lean. Whole grains might come next (although even these were very unusual for HGs), whereas fats, oils, and refined carbohydrates would occupy the same very small place at the top, essentially functioning as condiments in a healthy diet. These guidelines would not exactly replicate the HG diet in terms of food categories, but it would do so roughly in terms of macronutrients.”

      • charles grashow says

        That’s what Melvin Konner, MD, PhD and S. Boyd Eaton, MD say in the article

        Read it and offer criticism of their methods

        • FrankG says

          “Read it and offer criticism of their methods”

          It is obvious that not all geographic regions of the world offer the same food resources.

          I prefer to think for myself, rather than unquestioningly accept the word of “experts”.

  68. FrankG says

    http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2014/03/animal-protein-as-bad-as-smoking/

    For example…

    >>Association between protein and mortality

    This is a direct quotation from the article (my emphasis): “Using Cox Proportional Hazard models, we found that high and moderate protein consumption were positively associated with diabetes-related mortality, but not associated with all-cause, CVD [cardiovascular], or cancer mortality when subjects at all the ages above 50 were considered.”

    i.e. when we looked at the 6,381 over 50 year olds there was not even an association with protein intake and all-cause mortality, or CVD mortality, or cancer mortality.

    There was a relationship with diabetes mortality and protein intake, but the numbers were so tiny (one death from diabetes in one group) that this was not considered important.

    And that could have been the headline – “There is no association between protein intake and mortality” – but then there would be no headline. <<

  69. charles grashow says

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/dmrr.2519/full
    Ma-Pi 2 macrobiotic diet and type 2 diabetes mellitus: pooled analysis of short-term intervention studies

    http://suppversity.blogspot.com/2014/01/nurtrion-news-quicky-energy-reduction.html

    As you can see if you take a look at the typical diet composition of the subjects in the first, prospective trial (Porrata. 2009; see Table 2), the “macrobiotic” intervention was exclusively food based. It was composed of 40–50% whole grains (rice, millet and barley), 30–40% vegetables (carrots, kale, cabbage, broccoli, chicory, onions, red and white radish, parsley),  and 8% legumes (adzuki beans, chickpeas, lentils, black beans), plus gomashio (roasted ground sesame seeds with unrefined sea salt), fermented products (miso, tamari, umeboshi) and seaweeds (kombu, wakame, nori).

    Bancha tea (tannin-free green tea) was the main source of liquid. The food intake was measured using the weight method for 7 consecutive days in the 2nd and 4th months of the intervention. The same goes for the compliance with the recommended (100% idiotic) macronutrient composition, according to which the subjects had to consume 15%, 20% and 65% of total energy in form protein, fat and carbohydrates, respectively.

  70. charles grashow says

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2989112/?report=classic

    Conclusion

    A low-carbohydrate diet based on animal sources was associated with higher all-cause mortality in both men and women, whereas a vegetable-based low-carbohydrate diet was associated with lower all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality rates.

    Discussion

    In our two cohorts of U.S. men and women with up to 20-26 years of follow-up, we observed that the overall low-carbohydrate diet score was only weakly associated with all-cause mortality. However, a higher animal low-carbohydrate diet score was associated with higher all-cause and cancer mortality, while a higher vegetable low-carbohydrate score was associated with lower mortality, particularly CVD mortality.

    Low-carbohydrate diets from animal and vegetable sources may have similar major macronutrient content, but the source of the macronutrients can result in large differences in dietary components that may affect mortality, such as specific fatty acids, protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, and phytochemicals. Therefore, the associations that we observed are more likely to be mediated by these bioactive components rather the carbohydrate content.

    In conclusion, consumption of a vegetable-based low-carbohydrate diet were associated with a lower risk of all-cause and CVD mortality whereas a high scores for the animal-based low-carbohydrate diet were associated with a higher risk of overall mortality. These results suggest that the health effects of a low-carbohydrate diet may depend on the type of protein and fat, and that a diet including mostly vegetable sources of protein and fat is preferable to a diet with mostly animal sources of protein and fat.

  71. charles grashow says

    http://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/abstract/S1550-4131%2814%2900062-X#Summary

    Notably, our results showed that the amount of proteins derived from animal sources accounted for a significant proportion of the association between overall protein intake and all-cause and cancer mortality. These results are in agreement with recent findings on the association between red meat consumption and death from all-cause and cancer (Fung et al., 2010,Pan et al., 2012). Previous studies in the U.S. have found that a low carbohydrate diet is associated with an increase in overall mortality and showed that when such a diet is from animal-based products, the risk of overall as well as cancer mortality is increased even further (Fung et al., 2010,Lagiou et al., 2007). Our study indicates that high levels of animal proteins, promoting increases in IGF-1 and possibly insulin, is one of the major promoters of mortality for people age 50–65 in the 18 years following the survey assessing protein intake.

    Although protein intake is associated with increased mortality for adults who were middle-aged at baseline, there was also evidence that a low protein diet may be hazardous for older adults. Both high and moderate protein intake in the elderly were associated with reduced mortality compared to that in the low protein group, suggesting that protein intake representing at least 10% of the calories consumed may be necessary after age 65 to reduce age-dependent weight loss and prevent an excessive loss of IGF-1 and of other important factors. In fact, previous studies have noted that an increased protein intake and the resulting increase in IGF-1 may prove beneficial in older adults (Heaney et al., 1999), and the switch from the protective to the detrimental effect of the low protein diet coincides with a time at which weight begins to decline. Based on previous longitudinal studies, weight tends to increase up until age 50–60, at which point it becomes stable before beginning to decline steadily by an average of 0.5% per year for those over age 65 (Villareal et al., 2005,Wallace et al., 1995). We speculate that frail subjects who have lost a significant percentage of their body weight and have a low BMI may be more susceptible to protein malnourishment. It is also possible that other factors such as inflammation or genetic factors may contribute to the sensitivity to protein restriction in elderly subjects, in agreement with our mouse studies.

    • charles grashow says

      In agreement with other epidemiological and animal studies (Estruch et al., 2013,Linos and Willett, 2007,Michaud et al., 2001,Willett, 2006), our findings suggest that a diet in which plant-based nutrients represent the majority of the food intake is likely to maximize health benefits in all age groups. However, we propose that up to age 65 and possibly 70, depending on health status, the 0.7 to 0.8 g of proteins/kg of body weight/day reported by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, currently viewed as a minimum requirement, should be recommended instead of the 1.0–1.3 g grams of proteins/kg of body weight/day consumed by adults ages 19–70 (Fulgoni, 2008). We also propose that at older ages, it may be important to avoid low protein intake and gradually adopt a moderate to high protein, preferably mostly plant-based consumption to allow the maintenance of a healthy weight and protection from frailty (Bartali et al., 2006,Ferrucci et al., 2003,Kobayashi et al., 2013).

    • FrankG says

      Of mice and men… LOL

      “Here, we combined an epidemiological study of 6,381 US men and women aged 50 and above from NHANES III, the only nationally representative dietary survey in the United States, with mouse and cellular studies to understand the link between the level and source of proteins and amino acids, aging, diseases, and mortality.”

      Study says “dietary survey”… so NOT an RCT then…? I thought you subscribed to higher standards of research Charles?

      Telegraph article says “Nutritional advice has traditionally focused on cutting down on fat, sugar and salt. The World Health Organisation will announce a consultation today suggesting that guidelines on sugar consumption should be lowered, but there have few warnings about excess protein.”

      Call me skeptical but the timing of this report could not be better from the point of view of those with a ve$ted interest in the current $tatus quo

      “The study population included 6,381 adults ages 50 and over from NHANES III, a nationally representative, cross-sectional study. Our analytic sample had a mean age of 65 years and is representative of the United States population in ethnicity, education, and health characteristics (Table S1).

      On average, subjects consumed 1,823 calories, of which the majority came from carbohydrates (51%), followed by fat (33%) and protein (16%), with most of it (11%) derived from animal protein.”

      51% of energy from carbs… but no question it’s the protein that’s doin’ ‘em in!

      These comments by Professor Sanders are helpful. It seems remarkable that the study would not control for variables such as smoking.

      Prof Tom Sanders, Head of the Nutritional Sciences Research Division, King’s College London, said:

      “The headline of the press release from the University of Southern California is running ahead of the evidence, and the comparison with smoking is really unwarranted in terms of the relative risks and the certainty of the adverse effects of smoking. The study shows a relationship with growth factor IGF-1 and cancer risk which is already known. However, the relationship between IGF-1 levels and protein intake is far more tenuous in humans. Cross-sectional data i.e. omnivores vs vegans suggest animal protein to be associated with increased IGF-1 levels but there is a lack of evidence from controlled feed studies to show that IGF-1 levels fall when animal protein intake is restricted. Much of the supporting work is based on studies in mice not humans. Dietary guidelines should not be based on animal experiments.

      “Although the follow-up on the NHANES survey* shows that those with the highest reported protein intake were at greater risk of all-cause mortality, it fails to adjust for other confounding factors such as socioeconomic status, smoking, and obesity. The sample size is also modest at 6381, compared with over 448,568 in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer which only found a weak association (14% increase in risk of mortality with red meat consumption, which was more consistent for processed meat (11% increase in risk)). The European data suggest a much smaller effect than the 74% increased risk claimed in this paper.

      “Also, the study does not control for the overall balance of the diet. People who eat large amounts of animal proteins often have other aspects of their diet which are imbalanced such as low intakes of fruit and vegetables. I think the next step would be to show that changing protein intake in the range of normal human intakes influences IGF-1 levels. IGF-1 levels may well be programmed in early development and dietary protein intake in adult life may well be less important in later life. This would be consistent with the observation that accelerated growth in childhood is associated with increased height and a high risk of cancer in later life.”

  72. Erica Martell says

    Paul – I just want to say I respect your point of view and your actions and out of the hundreds of comments here it is the only one I’ve seen that balances the two sides. I’m tending towards being an ethical vegan based on the fact that the meat I would eat would all be CAFO, or “happy” grass with CAFO slaughter. Many people aren’t at the point where they can really sort these issues appropriately onto a continuum and integrate them into
    a logical framework. If you’ve made the leap to ethical veganism you are past the point where supplementing with B12 is going to move you. If you eat meat ethics hasn’t really occurred to you as the issue, and the conversation has been only about personal micronutrient one-upmanship. Personally I respect your decision to hunt if you want to eat meat – it’s healthier meat – and you are owning your own actions. The largest issue with CAFO’s is not that man ate meat in the past, or that animals kill each other in the wild – the largest issues are the violence, the slavery and abuse, and the misuse of antibiotics secondarily to that violence – nothing you couldn’t tell me as well.

    FrankG – you have been trolling this discussion since Day 1, for several weeks now, trying to incite anyone you can get a hold of to argue with you. Funny quote for you “Who knew that we’d be holding a device that had the information of the world at our fingertips and we’d use it to look at pictures of cats and to argue with strangers.” Don’t respond. I’m done.

    • FrankG says

      And yet you failed to answer any of the direct question put to you… while you persistently misrepresent the views of those you colour as “the other side”.

      My choices are not simply based on what is best for my own health, or my nutrient choices… I take a much wider and dare I say ethical view, of my carefully considered decisions.

    • Paul says

      Just a thought or more like a nightmare I’ve had for years. You are familiar with CAFOs…so if you took that to its ultimate conclusion I can see a system that produces boxed meat. Its not a sentient animal starting out on a farm eating grass but starts in box with input hoses for nutrients and output hoses for waist. They are all stackable. They all start the same…Pork, beef, or chicken is selected in the control room via algorithm that reads the market demand. At maturity the hoses are taken off and a fork truck picks up pallets or tons of meat ready to be sliced in your kitchen.

      Ok, I want off the planet now.

  73. Paul says

    The problem i see with almost all young vegetarians that I know, their practice is to just take out meat and other animal products. That leaves a huge and dangerous hole in their diets. Cheese pizza, pizza roles, and cheese Mac is not good vegetarian practice. They just eat junk. They don’t know how to cook and they are too busy to study the practice correctly.

    They have vague, fuzzy and not well developed ideas on virtue and health and they settle into eating highly processed garbage.

  74. Paul says

    The way I see it, the only real reason to go Veg is spiritual, and that in and of itself is legitimate. Animal compassion is part of human nature and is again legitimate. I bow to and honor vegetarianism. However I am an omnivore. I hunt dear. I thought that if I was going to continue being one I should have the knowledge, skill, and spiritual nuts to kill my own food. How many omnivores kill or witness the killing of animals for food? I will not criticize vegetarians.

    However we are “trapped” in a paleo body and we have to make choices.

    I was on the bubble until I read Michael pollan’s book ” The Omnivores Dilemma”. He talks about this, but my takeaway was the aspect of the kill. My deer are wild animals and I practice “fair chase” and I do not kill unless it is as clean and swift as possible. I can pass if need be. I know a vegetarian may not understand this…it’s still killing, but Pollan has a proper (for me anyway) take on this, which is to say that killing a wild animal through fair-chase is as about as “good” as it gets when com paired to the CAFO system and if I remain a meat eater then I need to do it myself if I can. I will say that it is not easy for those of us that are not deluded.

    I have a real concern that, Based upon Pollan’s book the Paleo movement how are we to sustain omnivoreism and do it correctly. I can not even get grass-beef locally, and how long will the fisheries last if everyone went back to our paleo roots? CAFO animal systems make meat cheap and plentiful but is it worth eating and it’s harming our bodies and the planet. The planet can not afford the acreage it takes to grass raise animals. Vegetarianism is at least more sustainable in the medium run until CAFO style plant factories start pumping out lousy veggies. What can sustain seven billion humans?

    • FrankG says

      “The planet can not afford the acreage it takes to grass raise animals.”

      Much grazing-land worldwide is not suitable for any other kind of agriculture, and raising livestock on pasture (or even very poor land) adds to the topsoil in a sustainable way; as opposed to growing plants which depletes the soil.

      I do fear that there are just too many humans on the planet but I don’t see this as an issue of rearing animals but rather the senseless and greedy waste of non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels; which currently, artificially buoy up an unsustainable system. In this latter regard, the vast mono-cultures of crops are just as much a problem as the CAFOs

      I do applaud your attitude to hunting and can personally relate. I think that being in touch with my true human nature and recognising my place in the ecosystem is essential to our future survival. I do not think that killing and eating animals is in any way hypocritical.. quite the opposite in fact.

      • Paul says

        Regardless of how we do it, we need to look at more options not previously considered. We have a very narrow plant/animal food inventory. You can’t raise enough grass-beef…the quality requirements for grass are much too stringent if we want to convert it into quality human nutrition. Same for plant based systems.

        Monsanto moves in and either steals the gene pool or wipes it out in order to sell their own gene pool. Every corner of the globe will need to supply indigenous food on every acre it will grow on, problem is, free market globalization may not support that kind of cultural autonomy.

        In the long run we may have to loose our love for food as a passion. In order to feed billions of people we will need frankenfoods.

        • FrankG says

          “…the quality requirements for grass are much too stringent if we want to convert it into quality human nutrition.”

          On the contrary, herbivores are far more efficient at turning poor soil and what grows in it, into quality human nutrition (while simultaneously improving that soil for sustainable growth) than we currently are with our wasteful and unsustainable use of non-renewable resources.

    • Karin says

      Paul,

      As a former ethical “vegan”, who changed my position only after I realized that my position was both intellectually and morally bankrupt, I appreciate where you’re coming from.

      From my perspective, the best current personal options we have for compassionate living are either supporting permaculture-based systems that are using livestock or returning to the wild and hunting for ourselves, as you describe. There is no viable vegan option, as far as I can see.

      I have a degree in crop and soil science, and I’ve asked people to share with me a plan about how we could possibly have a NON animal-based food system. And no one has offered even a rough outline of a plan. I don’t mean to be patronizing to anyone, but I feel the need to drive the point home: Where do you think that we get the nutrients to replace those that are removed when we harvest the plants?

      Almost all of the produce that you buy is dependent on CAFO’s. This article will give you a rough idea of what I’m talking about:
      http://www.biofortified.org/2013/12/organic-farming-reliant-on-synthetic-nitrogen/

      That is the most likely reason that arsenic got into the “organic” rice…..the big organic manufacturers buying the chicken manure from the CAFO’s. (The chicken manure had arsenic because the giant poultry people were actually feeding it to the chickens!) So if you buy “vegan” food from the typical grocery store you are almost always supporting the folks who profit from the WORST POSSIBLE treatment of animals.

      This is why I contend that, short of hunting, gardening, and gathering food for yourself, the best current way to support BETTER treatment of animals is to buy all food DIRECTLY from small farmers who incorporate animals into their own system.

      I don’t know what you have already read thus far in this discussion, so I’m not going to repeat myself, but I do submit to you that compassionate living is highly context-dependent. So, it’s quite different to be a “vegan” living in Florida than a “vegan” Inuit. The latter is deluded if he actually thinks that having fresh produce delivered to his door is more ethical/compassionate than just killing and eating the fish around him. (I’m sure that this is probably obvious to you, but believe it or not, this is perceived as a reactionary and “self-centered” idea to some on this forum).

      This is one reason that I’m so passionate about opposing “veganism” in its current incarnation, and put the word in quotes. The reality is that I don’t believe I’ve ever met an actual vegan!

      • Paul says

        “Companionate living” first requires educating and empowering women in order to slow population growth, then religions need a ground shaking awakening in its “dominion” dogmas and then local people need to be allowed to raise there own crops, and the lust for western consumerism needs to burn out.

  75. FrankG says

    Denise Minger and Chris Kresser are real people… inherent in that is a certain level of accountability to what they write and post… up to and including, potentially legal liability for any advice they may give. The research they offer is based on the scientific method.. open to critical scrutiny. the vegan agenda on the other hand is driven by emotion rather than unbiased reason. Just as witnessed in the comments section here.

    If the research on PP’s site is valid, then it will be available elsewhere, without a strong vegan slant put onto it.

    That you fail to see (or accept) my concerns regarding PP, underlines for me your lack of credibility in these matters.

    • OpenMind says

      I respectfully disagree with you on many points you just made.
      And you still did not answer my question, but it appears as though the research you have done is reading blogs – Kresser and Minger to name 2 you site. Thats ok, it is just not enough for me.

      • FrankG says

        My other response is awaiting moderation but in short I owe you no explanation. I am well read and convinced of what I know. You claiming to be “OpenMinded” while persisting in promoting an obviously biased blogger, leaves me in little doubt as to your true agenda here.

        • OpenMind says

          Nope, I was sharing a link for those who might be interested. All bloggers are biased for they are people.

          • FrankG says

            …and some are more biased than others.

            Sure Chris Kresser and Denise Minger (as examples) based on their current convictions, may have a certain slant towards Paleo, LCHF, WAPF, or whatever, but fundamentally they are still wiling to follow wherever the data leads.

            Vegan “science” starts and ends with “killing animals is wrong”… such dogma prevents a person following the data in an unbiased fashion.

          • OpenMind says

            See your response now and Wow. Sorry, this is simply not true whether you eat meat or not: per you “Vegan “science” starts and ends with “killing animals is wrong”… such dogma prevents a person following the data in an unbiased fashion.”

            But it does tell me why you never answered my question as to where you do your research -you apparently don’t. If you did at least read research you find data/research not based on the premise you state but rather trying to find out pieces to better health – hate to break it to you – no one has all the answers.

            • FrankG says

              “…hate to break it to you – no one has all the answers.”

              Where exactly do you see me claiming any different?

              Do you think that spouting platitudes makes you sound wise or something?

              The scientific method is driven forward by questions… if all the answers were ever found, it would stop..! that is why dogma (such as veganity) is the antithesis of science.

              You honestly expect me to believe that I could search the PCRM or PP site and find research that promoted animal-products as healthy alternatives, without, at the very least, some commentary or opinion “debunking” such a study?

              • OpenMind says

                “Where exactly do you see me claiming any different?”

                You constantly do this by claiming that researchers present findings in favor of the value of eating plants can be dismissed on the basis: (1) “Vegan “science” starts and ends with “killing animals is wrong”… such dogma prevents a person following the data in an unbiased fashion.” (2) “expecting unbiased research from such an agenda is like expecting unbiased information on race-relations from a bunch of neo-nazis”. for 2 examples. This way of thinking is may be helpful to others but not to me personally.

                • FrankG says

                  You make no logical sense, it seems pointless trying to have any kind of discussion with you… I was responding to your platitude that “…hate to break it to you – no one has all the answers.”

                  I agree that no-one has all the answers.

                  I take issue with vegan dogma because they THINK that they DO have the answers. They are wrong.

                  My position (and that of the scientific method) is open to change if/as further evidence is presented. Up to and including the possibility (no matter how remote it may currently seem) that becoming a vegan may be best for me and the planet.

                  A dogmatic vegan who believes that “killing animals is wrong” resists any attempt at revising that attitude in the same way that a new earth creationist resists any attempt to convince them (with evidence) that the Earth is over 4 billion years old and we have evolved from simpler lifeforms. Hard to reason with blind faith and emotion-based choices.

  76. OpenMind says

    I personally want to make the most informed decision and try to separate out fact from opinion. Kresser also advocates for supplements for animal eaters – so whats the point here. I don’t know of any woman, with means, that doesn’t take prenatal vitamins and give their children vitamins. So take a vitamin if you want to.
    But what we eat has so many variables including culture, beliefs, money tied to our stance, etc. Reading through the posts, I am surprised how those that eat meat/animal products – think that this is not the norm that science has not been “on their side” so to speak. Looking at the history of food, in the US at least, it is the vegans/vegetarians that have been on the fringes and remain there (although their numbers are growing). Even researchers who have found saturated fats and high cholesterol, etc. may lead to disease – still eat/ate it. Human behavior is so interesting to say the least.

    For those research-minded who don’t have time to research every article cited in the Paleo circles, check out http://www.plantpositive.com. A large body of work from a nutritional researcher that at least raises some educated perspectives.

    • FrankG says

      Right… so be “OpenMinded”, make an informed decision (just so long as it is the *right* one.. wink wink) and as we know you are all too busy to do your own research, let a vegan tell you what to think.. OK?

      • OpenMind says

        You jump very quickly to conclusions about people. I really am doing my own research, including reading Kresser’s site, Plant Positive, PubMed, Medline, etc. I also own and have read too many books on both sides to list here but including The Paleo Diet, Primal Body Primal mind, Vegetarian Myth, China Study, Reversing Heart Disease, The Seduction of Food, The Spectrum, etc.

        So it sounds like you do your own research too, what sources do you use besides Kresser?

        • FrankG says

          “You jump very quickly to conclusions about people.”

          Actually my default position is that there is goodness in all people and I tend to give them the benefit of the doubt… on the other hand I have read enough to learn when someone is trying to pull the wool over my eyes. Momma didn’t raise no fool…

    • FrankG says

      You see what really gets me thinking is why the need to play games and hide, if you have the truth on your side?

      Here we have someone calling themselves “OpenMind” earlier we had “OnTheFence”.. both with obvious vegan agendas. Then there is my favourite [Vegan] Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine…

      I don’t take issue with anyone having an vegan agenda or point of view — that is your right to have and mine to disagree with — but if it is based in truth, facts, unbiased research etc… then surely it ought to speak for itself without resorting to subterfuge.

      You stand a better chance of convincing me without playing games. Do you really have such a low opinion of others that you think them so easily hoodwinked into reading a site like PP? The end justifies the means perhaps? It’s for their own good maybe?

      Sure there are lots of words on that site, plenty of quotes and links to research etc… (makes me wonder how it is all financed.. who has a vested interest in such an anonymous project?) BUT also an overriding amount of agenda-driven interpretation of that research and just plain opinion… verbiage which quite frankly I am not willing to wade through to try and sift for the facts. Much less so after such an underhanded attempt to trick me into reading there.

      • OpenMind says

        Oh see my comment above. I am not trying to convince you or anyone – just sharing a site that shows the research, encourages one to look it up and read it for themselves- no hoodwinking.

        I did find he says when it is his opinion but shows/sites the actually research for all to see. I guess you are not reader/listener “verbiage which quite frankly I am not willing to wade through to try and sift for the facts.” All the diet books and blogs are full of opinion smattered with fact.

        • FrankG says

          Are you PlantPositive? Otherwise how do you know that this anonymous but crazily prolific blogger and YouTube poster (70 hours worth?!?) is a “nutritional researcher that at least raises some educated perspectives” …because he is not willing to share who he is or what qualifies him.

          Once again, the truth has no need to hide behind subterfuge and anonymity.

          • OpenMind says

            I am not PlantPositive. I personally don’t care that he is anonymous because he is showing research I can look up – see for myself – he is not selling a book he has to defend, site is not monetized, etc.

            You didn’t answer my question “So it sounds like you do your own research too, what sources do you use besides Kresser?” and you are anonymous too.

            If anyone else cares -I will include here to save a hoodwinking click to the website but is found under FAQs:
            It was not a mere oversight that I left my name off of all my material. I have made the choice to remain anonymous. Since I don’t make money or personally benefit from this project there is no incentive for me to expose myself to all the negativity that would surely follow a disclosure of my identity (I have received more than enough flak as it is). I make no money from defending veganism and I never have. I have no affiliation with any animal rights organization. Not only have I provided you with references for everything I say, I have shown you actual pictures and scans of the relevant material in those references so you don’t need to track them down yourself. As I write this I don’t know of any advocate for Paleo/low-carb/saturated fat/cholesterol, etc. who has done any of these things with such scale and consistency. In addition, I maintain an active errata page.

            • FrankG says

              Yes I read that FAQ and see no mention of “nutritional researcher” or “educated”…

              Prove to me that the site is not funded by those with a vested interest. Who else has the time and money (just the access to studies is not cheap) to support such an effort?

              I may be anonymous but I am not a blogger… I post under the same alias everywhere I post and I think that my comments speak for themselves. I make no claim to be an “expert”

              I agree that all blogs books etc… have opinion interlaced with fact… my concern is being able to go in with the clear understanding that I am reading from an agenda-driven point of view (and vegan is very much agenda-driven) and not the way you are trying to portray it as if it were unbiased.

              I don’t trust PP and I think you lack credibility.

              • OpenMind says

                Still didn’t answer my question as to who/how/where you do your research?

                For me, I don’t have trouble with knowing the credentials of PlantPositive, he shows the research articles. Also, as you have said before when defending Minger – it doesn’t matter. I was sharing a researched based site in case anyone wanted to take a look is all.

                • FrankG says

                  I don’t see that I owe you any explanation. I am comfortable with my own level of research and my own convictions on these topics.

                  So far as I am concerned you should feel free to share whatever you like… just be honest about it, or you can expect to be called on it.

      • drew says

        Frank, seriously? You would sit back there behind your computer and wonder as to the motivations and possibly “hidden” funding being a vegan-oriented site, and consider it nefarious?

        And you don’t use the same logic for everything else you see regarding food, regarding medicine, regarding things like diabetes and cancer, chemo et al?

        Sometimes we must shake our heads collectively at the ridiculous efforts to maintain the same-ole same-ole.

        Find ANY experienced heart surgeon that will undergo surgery prior to consulting with a plant-based specialist for his or her own health, and then perhaps we can talk.

        • FrankG says

          Where exactly do you see me NOT applying the same critical scrutiny to ALL “expert” advice?

          Veganity is an ideology… as I wrote in a comment below…

          ‘…[the scientific method] follows wherever the data leads.

          Vegan “science” starts and ends with “killing animals is wrong”… such dogma prevents a person following the data in an unbiased fashion.’

    • FrankG says

      Same source…

      “People who don’t eat vegetarian can still be very healthy, and a vegetarian diet comes with its own health risks. For instance, research has also shown that vegetarians are at a higher risk for iron deficiencies, and some experts question whether children who are raised vegetarian get the right amount of nutrients for their growing bodies. Making sure you get the right amount of nutrients is important, and keeping your physician in the loop about your eating habits can make sure you’re meeting all the requirements for good health.”

  77. Jenny Lee says

    How irresponsible of you! A brand new meta-analysis does not seem to argue with what you are claiming here! Not that we don’t already have abundant evidence derived from countless studies supporting the health benefits of a plant-based diet, here is a new meta ananlysis just published in JAMA Internal Medicine, of 39 high quality studies with 21,…000 participants in 18 countries between 1900-2013, proving that vegetarians consistenly have lower blood pressure. While hypertension might seem harmless since it’s often presented without symptoms, overtime, it can can cause serious damage to our bodies – quietly. Some of those include damage to our arteries, heart, brain, eye, and kidneys. It is also one of the leading causes of stroke.

  78. Elly says

    I think everything is okay in moderation.
    Try to eat balanced, try to eat ‘clean’ healthy foods.
    Look after yourself, workout and be happy!

    Who cares if you are vegan, vegetarian or eat meat, or only white meat, or hate eggs, or dont like olives!

    Find a balance, be happy in yourself, dont judge others for their choices and you will find yourself not being so uptight having to defend your own choices!

    AND FYI I have been a vegan, current vegetarian and ate meat!
    I still cook meat for my partner! I dont care!
    Just be happy and try to do the right thing by YOUR health, not by the standards and opinions of others, or by articles written for a majority of people, not individuals (which we all are!)

  79. Corey Barnes says

    You have no true facts to back what you are writing. An amino acid is an amino acid. Your body does not know the difference. The only leg you stand on is more protein per calorie. So what? B12 is found in soil that is why it is in meat, from grazing and eating plants. It can be supplemented quite easily. It is known that you are a paleo follower. Furthermore, you fail to mention the horrors that animals go through to become food. There is no such thing as humanely raised and slaughtered meat that is sold to the public. Articles like this are infuriating.

    • Kevin Connors says

      It is called local farms. My family owns one and knows many farmers in the surrounding states. They raise them in a field, let them graze on the land, and when in comes time to slaughter them, they it do it one at a time. That is life as it has always been. I am not a paleo follower, I stated in my article, that any restrictive diet is inefficient! Enjoy taking supplements! I will enjoy eating 8 eggs with yolk, 1.5lbs of meat every day, along with fruits, veges and grains. I have went to the doctor and have received numerous blood tests… Cholesterol levels are great, triglycerides levels are great, blood pressure, water and fat soluble micro-nutrient uptake efficient, etc…
      My facts are the family members, random people’s family members, that grew up on farms eating meat and lard, and are living 95+ years, walking around and not in wheel chairs, enjoying life as life should be.
      But do what makes you happy, I could give you all the facts in the world to support my view, as people have on here already. Nothing I say will change your view, I am ok with that. Like great people have said before me… More meat for me!!!

  80. Kevin Connors says

    Vegans and Vegetarians, who believe they are being attacked when they are the ones judging others just the same, frustrate me greatly. As well as, argue, with a restrictive diet, that it is better than a non-restricted diet that includes: local, well treated and fed animals; variety of fruits and vegetables; nuts and seeds; and non-processed grains. Any food intake “diet” that restricts any whole food product, is inefficient. I do not care how healthy you feel, most, if not all vegetarians and vegans lack proper muscle and bone strength.
    I am sure, the vegetarian or vegan that will argue with me, that has muscle, is taking supplements… And without supplements, the person that eats a variety of meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and grains; are the only people that will not be deficient in nutrients.
    As a general guideline for daily protein intake:
    –1 gram of protein per bodyweight in kg is needed in a Sedentary person, not doing anything; 1.2 – 2.0 grams of protein per bodyweight in kg is needed and recommended the more active a person is, and the stronger they want to be. If you just run and do not lift weights and tell me you cannot do squats, you further made my point, so thanks.
    If you study those who grew up and work on farms, that eat all natural meat, veges, fruits, grains, etc; as stated above… Most always you here about them living 95 + years. Every older man or woman that I have talked to, and tell them about nonrestrictive diets, that has a parent or relative that was a farmer, stated that their relative lived 95 + years.
    In conclusion, if you are skinny and feel healthy being a vegan or vegetarian, no matter what you say to justify your eating patterns, it is still a restrictive eating style, and inefficient in certain aspects. Any restrictive diet, is inefficient, even if it is not a vegetarian or vegan diet. So, this is not just a bash at those who are vegan or vegetarians, so don’t take it personally. Rather, take it in, understand, and accept it. You don’t have to change if you don’t want to, but stop trying to convince people that it is healthier to eat a restrictive way!!

  81. Bethany says

    Medical Doctor here….. I think it’s important to be able to critically appraise evidence and not just accept a reader’s interpretation of one particular study as truth. I was happy to see that someone posted a full rebuttal against this article (see above comment from Adam- Thanks, Adam!). Give it a read everyone, it might make you think twice about some of the arguments being made here.

    • Karin says

      So I read through a few of the comments, and finally got to a chance to take a look at Adam’s article, and I came across the following paragraph:

      In his dismissal of Kresser’s comments about Vitamin A, Adam states:
      “I was quite shocked to find Vitamin A in this list of possible nutrient deficiencies. Not surprisingly, the author does not provide links to any peer-reviewed publication, but rather links to a page by the Weston Price Foundation which is an organization known to advocate the consumption of animal products.”

      This the same Adam who wrote this to one commenter:

      “I judge all arguments based on scientific merit, regardless of what side they come from.”

      And this to another:
      “If all you can do is dismiss claims based on what side of the fence you think they are coming from, then frankly, I am not interested in debating anything with you.”

      But somehow Adam feels comfortable dismissing Dr. Chris Masterjohn’s masterful work, with over 70 scientific references, because he doesn’t like the site where it appears. Does anyone else see the irony?

      Back to the article. Adam then goes on to state: “Arguing Vitamin A deficiency because conversion of beta-carotene is inefficient is a massive over-simplification and is not an argument for eating meat that stands up to scrutiny.”

      Well, let’s see:

      Variability of the conversion of beta-carotene to vitamin A in women measured by using a double-tracer study design.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10837297

      “Blood beta-carotene and vitamin A responses to oral beta-carotene are variable in humans. Some individuals are characterized as responders and others as low- or nonresponders.

      Variability in conversion of beta-carotene to vitamin A in men as measured by using a double-tracer study design
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11976165

      “The vitamin A activity of beta-carotene, even when measured under controlled conditions, can be surprisingly low and variable.”

      The contribution of β-carotene to vitamin A supply of humans.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21957049

      “We conclude that a safe vitamin A intake in general cannot be reached by consuming only one component (vitamin A or β-carotene) alone, even in Western countries where animal products are commonly available.”

      Lipids and Vitamin A and E Status in Vegetarian Children
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15213372

      “In the group of vegetarian children mean plasma concentration of vitamin A and E was statistically lower as compared to those in non-vegetarian children.”

      The challenge to reach nutritional adequacy for vitamin A: β-carotene bioavailability and conversion–evidence in humans.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23053560

      “β-Carotene is an important dietary source of vitamin A for humans. However, the bioavailability and vitamin A equivalency of β-carotene are highly variable and can be affected by food- and diet-related factors, including the food matrix, food-processing techniques, size of the dose of β-carotene, and the amounts of dietary fat, fiber,vitamin A, and other carotenoids in the diet as well as by characteristics of the target population, such as vitamin A status, nutrient deficiencies, gut integrity, and genetic polymorphisms associated with β-carotene metabolism. The absorption of β-carotene from plant sources ranges from 5% to 65% in humans. Vitamin A equivalency ratios for β-carotene to vitamin A from plant sources range from 3.8:1 to 28:1, by weight.”

      Assessment and control of vitamin A deficiency: the Annecy Accords
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12221259

      “Clinical trials and kinetic models indicate that young children in developing countries cannot achieve normal vitamin A status from plant diets alone. Fortification, supplementation, or other means of increasing vitamin A intake are needed to correct widespread deficiency. To improve the status of young infants, the vitamin A supplements provided to mothers during their first 6 wk postpartum and to young infants during their first 6 mo of life should be doubled.”

      I think that these three statements bear repeating:

      1. “The absorption of Beta carotene from plant sources ranges from 5% to 65% in humans.”

      2. “Clinical trials and kinetic models indicate that young children in developing countries cannot achieve normal vitamin A status from plant diets alone.”

      3. “We conclude that a safe vitamin A intake in general cannot be reached by consuming only one component (vitamin A or β-carotene) alone, even in Western countries where animal products are commonly available.”

      So Dr. Bethany and Adam,
      If 10,000 vegan pregnant women come to Adam’s site looking for nutritional information, and conclude based on the information provided there that there is no need to supplement with pre-formed Vitamin A, are you both comfortable with that? No potential problems there?

      I don’t think Mr. Kresser is arguing that ALL vegetarians or ALL vegans are going to be deficient in any particular nutrient. I do think that he is arguing that SOME are…..because they are getting information that is grossly oversimplified and overly generalized….with really tragic consequences for many. And I agree.

      And if I’m the fetus of a low- or non-responder to beta-carotene, I might grow up to think that folks like you should have been a little more careful about dismissing the issue as trivial…..provided that I’m lucky enough to grow up and develop into a fully functioning adult, that is.

      Humans are not all the same–they are both complex and special. :-) I am both shocked and horrified that I have to explain this to both an M.D. AND a PhD. candidate in the same place….

      • FrankG says

        Hear hear Karin :-)

        because it bears repeating…

        “So Dr. Bethany and Adam,
        If 10,000 vegan pregnant women come to Adam’s site looking for nutritional information, and conclude based on the information provided there that there is no need to supplement with pre-formed Vitamin A, are you both comfortable with that? No potential problems there?

        I don’t think Mr. Kresser is arguing that ALL vegetarians or ALL vegans are going to be deficient in any particular nutrient. I do think that he is arguing that SOME are…..because they are getting information that is grossly oversimplified and overly generalized….with really tragic consequences for many. And I agree.

        And if I’m the fetus of a low- or non-responder to beta-carotene, I might grow up to think that folks like you should have been a little more careful about dismissing the issue as trivial…..provided that I’m lucky enough to grow up and develop into a fully functioning adult, that is.”

        And the veg*n response we keep getting to this line of reasoning..? “You weren’t doing it right” For shame!

      • Adam says

        Yes, beta-carotene conversion from plants is low. Yes, vegans tend to have lower Vitamin A status compared to omnivores. Beta-carotene is only one of hundreds of different carotenoids in plants. To equate low beta-carotene conversion with Vitamin A deficiency is an error. If you do that, you’re no better than people that infer causation from studies showing correlation between meat consumption and heart disease.

        The fact that children in developing countries are deficient is not surprising. Vitamin A status is not only affected by dietary intake, but by the health of the individual – infection can negatively affect Vitamin A levels, and repeated infections can deplete stores over time.
        http://journals.cambridge.org/download.php?file=%2FBJN%2FBJN27_02%2FS0007114572001199a.pdf&code=edfb306fca01e3cabb451e4f5abcf862

        In addition, children get most of their Vitamin A from their mother’s breast milk. If the mother is deficient, then the deficiency can easily be passed on to the next generation. If we add to the mix the fact that poverty is common in developing countries, food selection is less diverse than developed nations, and access to health care is sub-par, it’s pretty easy to see why infant mortality from nutritional deficiencies is so prevalent in these regions.

        If you know of any hard data showing higher mortality in veg*ns resulting from Vitamin A deficiencies in developed nations, I would love to see it.

        As for the 10,000 vegans, they should be consulting their physicians and addressing any deficiencies (including Vitamin A) that are present before getting pregnant, just like ALL women should do.

        • FrankG says

          As has already been pointed out… all this vegan talk is a First World elitist fantasy/ideology… that doesn’t apply to the real world. How many women in developing countries have the luxury of ready access to a Doctor and blood tests… or planned pregnancies for that matter?

          And if they were deficient in ay nutrients during pregnancy, or while breastfeeding… well I guess they just weren’t “doing it right”! Just so long as no animals were harmed.. eh?!?

          And as it seems to need repeating: Chris Kresser’s article is titled “Why You Should Think Twice About Vegetarian and Vegan Diets”

          …rather than “Why NO-ONE Should EVER EAT A Vegetarian OR Vegan Diet”

          But then you’d get much less bank for your buck trying to “debunk” a reasonable caution.. much better to make a straw-man out of it.

          • Adam says

            Funny that you point out the cautionary nature of the article, yet you have the most comments, all of which essentially boil down to the same “vegan propaganda” argument that you use to jump down the throat of anyone with the slightest resistance to your views, including other omnivores.

            At least some people around here, like Karin, are actually scientifically literate and can present their arguments logically.

            • FrankG says

              I don’t think it’s funny at all.

              I take the health of humans, including the ecosystem which supports us, very seriously indeed.

              • Karin says

                Frank, I admire you for striving to remain civil. Many people have remarkably little understanding of the complexities of these issues, and can’t think of a single intelligent or relevant thing to say, so they throw wild punches, hoping to provoke someone, if they can’t shut them up altogether. Or they resort to simplistic phrases like “Vegan=holistic Meat eater=me” -as if that is somehow a compelling or persuasive argument in the context of a conversation about human nutrition and physiology!

                I am sorry that it offends certain commenters that some of us want to talk about human health and nutrition on a site that is devoted to the topic of human health and nutrition, but the fact of the matter is that this particular article is ABOUT human health and nutrition! If that makes me a “self-centered meat-eater” in Ms. Martell’s eyes (despite the fact that I don’t even happen to eat meat) then I can live with that.

                Now, let’s get back to the topic of Vitamin A. :-)

                So Andy, you stated:

                “As for the 10,000 vegans, they should be consulting their physicians and addressing any deficiencies (including Vitamin A) that are present before getting pregnant, just like ALL women should do.”

                Well, Andy, I have to admit that I’m not surprised by that answer, because, well…..how else could you respond to my question, right?

                However, it certainly SEEMS like a disingenuous answer. You know fully well that most vegan women aren’t going to their doctor and getting a full micro-nutrient assessment done before they get pregnant…..don’t you? And I’m sure that you are not so naive about the training of M.D.s to think that they have any extensive knowledge about nutrition, how all micro-nutrients interact, the role individual genetics play, etc. -Just try asking 100 vegan women if they think their doctor knows more about nutrition than they do! (I’ve yet to meet a physician who knows more about nutrition than my 9 year old son….lol).

                And you undoubtedly know that most doctors (at least American Docs) aren’t about to suggest that extensive nutritional screening be done for their patients, even if they DID know how to interpret most of these tests, which they largely DO NOT.

                Most doctors just tell women considering pregnancy to stop smoking, cut out the alcohol, and be sure to get some folic acid. Some might check for iron status. PCRM just advises women to: “Begin a healthful diet before you become pregnant.” Many will recommend a prenatal supplement, which in the case of vegan women will generally contain a small amount of beta-carotene as a source of vitamin A. And that’s that.

                I was vegan at the beginning of my first pregnancy 10 years ago …and between the three midwives and one physician that I saw, I had about 2 minutes of conversation about my diet. I was pregnant again 3 years ago and had a similar experience. Unless I came in there with symptoms of PROFOUND AND OVERT signs of malnutrition, I was on my own.

                So what would sort of comprehensive assessment for micro-nutrient status do you think is actually happening? Is it covered by insurance? Is it already standard protocol in Canada? Would you please share with us your recommended protocol? That way, women will know what specific tests to ask for when they visit their doctor. Thanks!

                Also, I did note in your response to me, you did at least agree that conversion to Vitamin A from beta carotene is low, that vegans have lower Vitamin A status than omnivores, that children with compromised immunity and/or nutritional status are going to have trouble meeting their needs from plant sources alone….and yet…..

                On your own blog you claim that it is “so easy to get it from plant sources.” You even inform the reader that one quarter of chopped carrots provide over 100% of the daily recommended intake of Vitamin A! REALLY? No caveats, qualifications necessary?

                You then go on to claim: “If you know of any hard data showing higher mortality in veg*ns resulting from Vitamin A deficiencies in developed nations, I would love to see it.”

                Oh dear……

                So….is this really the standard that you want to set for children’s health?

                We can point to data that shows that vegan children have lower Vitamin A levels, we can show studies that show that about 45% of the populace has varying degrees of difficulty converting beta carotene to Vitamin A in the blood, we can show that people with thyroid issues, or infectious diseases, or are otherwise compromised are likely to suffer from low Vitamin A status if they are ONLY consuming plant sources. But……..until we see “hard evidence” that vegan children are actually DROPPING DEAD at significantly higher rates than omnivorous children due to Vitamin A deficiencies in developed countries, we should just advise ALL women to become vegan because it is so damn “easy” to get our vitamin A from plant sources? Is that where you want to leave it?

                Note to all sane and intelligent humans of whatever dietary persuasion:

                It appears that the likes of Dr.Bernard, Dr. Gregor, Doc to be Adam, et. al will continue to make their incredibly asinine one-size-fits-all recommendations for everyone…..the individual be damned……..Their minions will continue to promote the “way” as long as their particular child is okay, as long as there remains a single studly looking vegan bodybuilder.

                The burden of proof is on us.

  82. Anne says

    This is all so fascinating.

    Some that comment….. those that have it all figured out…would be wise to remember that we….. like nature, are ever-changing and evolving ecosystems. Things can happen. What appears to be a perfect diet/lifestyle now may change as you grow older and succumb to our natural process ..evolution of passing.

    It will never be as easy as eating one way or another. Lucky those who just go to sleep and that is that. Not many will be so fortunate. Disease will be a part of all of our lives. Diet in many forms will help some of us. Others will struggle to find something that they can tolerate if it is not too late.

    This discussion will seem quaint if you ever find out you have Celiac or other such auto-immune that greatly contributes to health problems induced by diet that would appear to be uber- healthy.

    A gluten-free diet is only part of a lifestyle change to which a person with Celiac must endure. Complex carbohydrates in the form of plant foods, dairy, fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans,etc. can be very offensive to a small intestine.

    Enjoy your good health when you have it…as disease will drop you on your head..a wake-up call to the humble nature of our true being.

    I am grateful for all those who comment in the spirit of helping,sharing their experiences, but not dictating their beliefs on what is a right way to eat.

  83. Erica Martell says

    Just wondering what is the purpose of spelling “veg*n” with a star?

    One thing I notice is that most vegans are ethical vegans, whether or not they catch every single use of animal products. They don’t prioritize micronutrients, and they may or may not have figured it all out – we are moving forwards in terms of people’s understanding of how to execute diet. They prioritize the universal whole, whether or not trucks run over small animals while transporting coconuts or all the other odd points meat eaters make about why vegans aren’t perfect. Meat eaters only address their own well-being. Btw, Chris Kresser is not a doctor, he is an acupuncturist with an interest in digging up and correlating information, however focusing on the small details doesn’t always lead to the big answer, and Chris’s focus is on the well-being of his patients. Vegan focus is on the well-being of animals – or on ceasing the violence done to them in our name. Vegan – holistic Meat eater – me.

    • FrankG says

      I think your record is stuck Erica… try reading some of the replies to your earlier comments. To repeat myself… your assumptions about this “meat eater” are wrong.

    • FrankG says

      Earlier Erica you stated ” OK, meat eaters (and I am not a vegan or vegetarian) let’s hear about how you just want to eat bacon…”

      …and before that you mentioned having been a pescatarian at some point (yes I do actually read the comments)…

      so what gives..?

      Are you a self-centered meat eater or a blessed vegan?

      Wolf in sheep’s clothing, or a sheep in wolf’s?

    • Kim S. says

      Lots of references and praise for Esselstyn and Furhman there. Not one reference to meat on that site except for his bio claim that he enjoys a good burger every once in a while. It appears he’s pushing a veg*n diet under the guise of an omnivorous diet so that he gets more traffic.

      Is there by any chance a coincidence that you and he share the same first name?

      • Adam says

        He’s me lol… and I do still eat meat. Funny that instead of arguing the facts, your defence is “I think he’s vegan.”

        • FrankG says

          That.. in my view.. is a valid response, based on the little I have seen of your anonymous blog.

          Veganity does not come from a basis of unbiased science but from emotion… “I don’t like killing animals!” So as I’ve repeatedly said, expecting unbiased research from such an agenda is like expecting unbiased information on race-relations from a bunch of neo-nazis.

          If you think your little blog post has anything to add to the over 500 comments already posted here well good luck to you :-P

          • Adam says

            It may be a valid response to you, but I think that’s sad. I judge all arguments based on scientific merit, regardless of what side they come from.

            I am not a vegan and have little interest in the ethical reasons for being vegan. I am interested in science, period.

            If all you can do is dismiss claims based on what side of the fence you think they are coming from, then frankly, I am not interested in debating anything with you.

            • FrankG says

              Science does not take “sides”.

              And why the heck you think anyone should accept the “judgement” of an anonymous blogger is beyond me :-P

              But looks like you have a fan in “Bethany” below…

              • Adam says

                I don’t think anyone should accept it – they can decide based on the merit of the argument. It doesn’t take popularity to be credible.

                • FrankG says

                  Who the heck said anything about “popularity’?

                  For example: Chris Kresser is obviously a real person… he has his picture and credentials posted here for everyone to judge for themselves whether they view him as a credible source or not… whether to even read his blog, or not!

                  I expect that some people have even met him in real life.

                  Beyond that he provides links that others can read for themselves.

                  Having read Good Calories, Bad Calories I no longer take any “expert” at their word.. least of all one that I literally cannot tell from the proverbial “Adam”.

                  You have no (zero) accountability to your readers… why would I even read your blog?

                  Sure I *might* find reasonable advice on race-relations at a neo-nazi website but I’m pretty sure I’d have to wade through the mire in order to find it… maybe I am better off going to the UN Human Rights Commission instead … what do you think?

  84. Juliet says

    I’ve been vegan for over ten year, conceived two (super healthy) babies while vegan and and now raising them on this extraordinarily healthy diet. They are never sick (although it seems all their peers are!).Take a peak at how animals are raised for food (no matter how it’s done, it’s unsustainable and beyond cruel if you care even an ounce for animals – and this includes birds who are used for their eggs). Take a peak at the health of vegans who are doing it right (key phrase – doing it right!) as their are many. Kresser can continue to say whatever he wants and because of his status he has a certain amount of clout and people believe what he’s saying but it’s simply not true. You can achieve optimal health on a vegan diet. The methane gases from factory farms are single- handedly destroying our planet, yet there’s still a lot of money to be made and I’d question this doctors personal motivation behind his big meat push.

    • einstein says

      first, i am sorry for your kids. comparing their health with the SAD junk eating other kids in class is misleading. you’d have to compare them to kids on a similar diet with added fish and grass fed meat to see the difference. second: those gases produced by cows are a byproduct of grass digestion with the help of bacteria in the bowel (cellulose is a polysacharide even the cow needs help with despite his 4 stomachs). vegans surely produce a lot of gases during digesting that plant matter in their bowels, thus ruining the planet too! beans, anyone? :-) and by the way no vegan under 40 has voting rights. trust me. a young body can take a lot of abuse, be it SAD or veganism. once you turn 40, all hell breaks loose if you don’t do it right. been there, lived it. just wait and see.

  85. Greg says

    Mister Kresser,
    Humans are the only of the Hominid line that eat meat as a major part of their diet. Humans as other hominids are built to eat plant matter (teeth, intestines).

  86. Kathy says

    Check out this extremely interesting debate – paleo versus plant based diets on Intelligence Squared

    http://intelligencesquaredus.org/debates/past-debates/item/910-dont-eat-anything-with-a-face

    Also, “Consumption of red meat has been found to increase the risk of death from heart disease, even when controlling for levels of fat and cholesterol2. To find out why, Hazen and his colleagues gave the nutrient l-carnitine — found in red meat and dairy products — to 77 volunteers, including 26 who were vegans or vegetarians. One committed vegan even agreed to eat a 200-gram sirloin steak.”

    “Tests showed that consuming l-carnitine increased blood levels of trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), a compound that, evidence suggests, can alter the metabolism of cholesterol and slow the removal of cholesterol that accumulates on arteries’ walls.”

    “But even when they took l-carnitine supplements, vegans and vegetarians made far less TMAO than meat eaters. Faecal studies showed that meat eaters and non-meat eaters also had very different types of bacteria in their guts. Hazen says that a regular diet of meat probably encourages the growth of bacteria that can turn l-carnitine into TMAO.”

    Double checking
    To further make the case, researchers checked the levels of l-carnitine in the blood of nearly 2,600 people who were having elective heart check-ups. By itself, the nutrient didn’t seem to make a difference. However, people who had high levels of both l-carnitine and TMAO were prime targets for heart disease, further evidence that it’s the bacterial alchemy — not the l-carnitine alone — that poses the real threat.

    Finally, the researchers found that feeding l-carnitine to mice doubled the animals’ risk of developing arterial plaques, but only when the mice had their usual gut bacteria. When the animals were treated with gut-clearing antibiotics, l-carnitine in the diet did not encourage plaques.

    Daniel Rader, director of preventive cardiovascular medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, says that the study makes a “fairly compelling” case that intestinal bacteria feeding on l-carnitine increase the risk of heart disease.

    The finding should give pause not only to meat lovers, but also to people who take l-carnitine supplements, which are marketed with the promise that they promote energy, weight loss and athletic performance, says Hazen. “None of those claims have been proven,” he says. “I see no reason why anyone needs to take it.”

    • FrankG says

      I just went through the entire debate and I agree it is interesting. It did not change my position or my convictions but it was interesting.

      My take on the panel, in case anyone cares…

      Neal Barnard is slick — he knows how to present himself in front of an audience but he is also slimy… I do not trust him. I would not buy a used car from this man

      Chris Masterjohn seemed overwhelmed and ineffectual,, sorry Chis but you had the facts.. just didn’t make a great impression with them. Neal Barnard was very pushy (to the point of being rude) and managed to establish himself as the de facto medical authority, which everyone seemed to buy into… no matter that he was being disingenuous

      Joel Salatin is a very smart and down to earth guy… he knows what he is talking about and I could listen and talk with him all day

      I think I was most impressed with Gene Baur… he seems to genuinely care and made some great points. I think he is misguided but I really liked him.

      • Michael Cohen says

        I am a lifelong salesman and I saw immediately that Chris Masterjohn was in over his head. He wrongly assumed that being armed with the facts was enough in a debate setting. The famous vegan doctors are famous because they are super salesmen who have prepared answers for every question. The debate was a triumph of style over substance, talking points and 3 second sound bytes over facts.

  87. Karin says

    This is a blog by a woman who follows a carnivorous diet for health reasons. (Just meat and offal and bone broth).

    http://www.empiri.ca/2012/08/my-carnivorous-diet.html

    No, my point is not to convince anyone reading to consider an all-carnivorous diet. (I don’t even eat meat). I only mean to emphasize that the human body is VERY COMPLEX and a diet that works for you right now might not work for you in the future.

    It should of course go without saying that what might work for you might NOT work for the person (especially the toddler) next door!

  88. Karin says

    Hi Terry,

    Unfortunately, it’s difficult to decipher who is speaking to whom in this thread, but since your question appears directly underneath mine, I’m going to assume it’s directed at me.

    Is this the quote that you wanted credited?

    “Veganism, outside of ascetic religious practices, is a product of a consumerist civilization, a convenience diet that would falter without supplements and highly processed and/or well-traveled food products.”

    It’s by Christopher, and it appears in a statement directly above my own. I’m pleased to have an excuse to repeat it again. :-) Thanks for asking!

  89. Lisa says

    I’ve been Vegan for 17 years, I am healthy, less days off work due to sickness than anyone in my department, in fact I am struggling to work out when I was last of sick, could be four years ago when I got tonsilitus, (which meat eaters get too I believe!). If someone eats nothing but meat, they aren’t healthy, if someone eats nothing but tomatoes they aren’t healthy. Eat a balanced diet, change it up, whether you are Vegan, Veggie or meat eater, don’t buy this article. P.S. Does this guy hold stocks in a vitamin / supplement company????

  90. Christopher says

    I would’ve never guessed when I posted the first comment to this thread that there would be over 500 responses and an ever-escalating flame war. Speaking personally, I am astounded by the level of arrogance and close-minded thinking displayed by most vegans in this thread. But I am not surprised by it. When I was vegan, I was the same way. Plenty of compassion for animals but little for other people’s opinions.

    The thing that stuns me most of all though is the naivete, particularly when it comes to the “less harm” doctrine of veganism. All of us, no matter what we eat, are causing tremendous amounts of harm daily. The only way to avoid doing so is to go off-the-grid and homestead, which very few of us are willing to do.

    We can through studies back and forth at each other (and as much snark as science it seems) but at the end of the day, human beings en masse did not evolve as, or to be, vegans. Veganism, outside of ascetic religious practices, is a product of a consumerist civilization, a convenience diet that would falter without supplements and highly processed and/or well-traveled food products.

    My opposition to the factory farming of animals has not changed, nor has my opposition to conventional mono-cropping of agriculture and GMOs. Worldwide, agriculture is at the forefront of human problems, whether it is starvation or over-consumption or climate change and there are no easy answers, and that includes such simple slogans as “go vegan” or “go paleo.”

    • Karin says

      Thank you, Christopher.

      “Veganism, outside of ascetic religious practices, is a product of a consumerist civilization, a convenience diet that would falter without supplements and highly processed and/or well-traveled food products.”

      Hear, hear! It is the self-entitled elitism that disgusts me the most. I live near Amish communities where people live off the land with the use of animals who they respect. When I was a vegan, I thought I was too good to buy cheese from those farmers–that I was actually doing better by animals by buying food imported from all corners of the globe! As if those ships carrying coconuts from Thailand, chocolate from Africa, chia seeds from Bolivia, etc. etc. etc., have no impact on animal life! I blush at my ignorance now.

        • FrankG says

          It is from the comment just above it, by Christopher :-)

          And I wholeheartedly agree… these are “first World” issues we are having rammed down our throats here… try preaching a vegan gospel in a country that does not have the infrastructure to ship fresh produce in at all times of the year.

  91. Erica Martell says

    It’s true that we, as Americans have received almost no information about nutrition or where our food comes from. Even the mis-directed food pyramid is relatively recent. It is true that one diet does not seem to work equally well for all people, but that many people who try to control their diet based on their concerns did not have the appropriate information to do so optimally, because it didn’t exist. It is heartening that so many people are now able to discuss these things with more information at hand. It doesn’t however necessarily translate into most people making every personal food choice based on macronutrients although people who like to hang out in chat rooms like to go on as though that is the key. It is also true that we have been almost completely kept in the dark about how intertwined our lives are with the most horrific cruelty towards animals and those who take pleasure in posturing about how irrelevant that is to them are mis-directed, and that is certainly not something Chris Kresser is advocating, as he pointed out in the first lines of this blog post. Those people who find compassion annoying and irritating can count themselves at the beginning of their journey…those who simply haven’t been exposed to it but are open to new information are steps ahead.

    There is more information out there now but it makes the tendency to eat donuts no less strong, so all we can all do is learn what we can, attempt to change to a whole food diet as best as we are progressively able, and to respect those whose choices are based on ethical considerations beyond our own, micronutrients be damned.

  92. Karin says

    Okay,

    I can see that none of my challenging questions are going to be answered by the “vegans” here, so for now, I just want to say one thing that’s been on my mind since the start of this exhausting thread:

    I’m a former animal-rights oriented vegan, and I really strived to be as authentic as possible at the time. That meant ending my support for things that I knew required the use of animal parts…..like televisions, computers, etc. If I had to use a computer for college, I went to the school library, so that my choice had no economic impact.

    So I find it really hard to take seriously the folks on here CLAIMING to be vegans, who don’t support the rights of people to use animal products to support the VITALITY OF THEIR BODIES, and yet have no problem buying industrially produced electronic equipment. Let’s make this clear: If you are one of those people and you are using an industrially manufactured computer right now (which contains the innards of animals) you are absolutely NOT a vegan……you are AT BEST an ASPIRING vegan, and at WORST a CLOWN. (Or that’s being mean to clowns…..how about a rank hypocrite?)

    On a less confrontational note, can we ALL agree that some people do NOT thrive on “vegan” diets? For example, I met a mother last week whose daughter has severe allergies to both nuts and legumes. Can we at least agree that it’s a VERY GOOD THING that animal agriculture exists so that this girl can be nourished properly?

    P.S. Someone asked another commenter why he has commented so often….Maybe because he has a lot to say? This isn’t one of those raw vegan sites, where people are banned and bullied and told to go away because they have the chutzpah to complain that their teeth are falling apart!

    • OpenMind says

      Hi Karin, I have noticed you are very adamant in defending your position and I find yours a fascinating story – but there are many gaps and believe me, I don’t expect you to share your life on a random blog. You do repeat many times, that you were a deeply involved “vegan” so seems like you might be making assumptions that all people are the same as you were, although you still don’t eat meat. But because those around you fell short of your expectations and definitions, you gave it up because you saw what other people were doing. “And I found it very interesting that the same people who were criticizing meat eaters…”

      Now you seem to be working just as hard to defend consumption of animal products. Instead, I would have imagined you, of all people, would understand that if someone wanted to do something – like not eat animals or drink their secretions that you would respect their position – that at least this person is doing something. This why I have found your story interesting.

      Although cliched it reminds of the starfish story, maybe a bit of wisdom does come with age: (I will repeat it here just in case anyone has not heard it)

      A young man is walking along the ocean and
      sees a beach on which thousands and thousands
      of starfish have washed ashore. Further along
      he sees an old man, walking slowly and
      stooping often, picking up one starfish after
      another and tossing each one gently into the
      ocean.

      “Why are you throwing starfish into the
      ocean?,” he asks.

      “Because the sun is up and the tide is going out
      and if I don’t throw them further in they will
      die.”

      “But, old man, don’t you realize there are miles
      and miles of beach and starfish all along it!
      You can’t possibly save them all, you can’t even
      save one-tenth of them. In fact, even if you
      work all day, your efforts won’t make any
      difference at all.”

      The old man listened calmly and then bent
      down to pick up another starfish and threw it
      into the sea. “It made a difference to that one.”

      • FrankG says

        “…or drink their secretions…”

        Careful not to let your prejudices show… must keep up that pretense of being “OpenMinded”.

        Is your implication that at least veg*ns are “doing something”..?

        I support my local small-scale farmers, my local economy, I buy local and in season. I personally know, trust and can visit the farm where my grass-fed beef and pastured pork are raised. I personally know and trust the butcher who works directly for that farm. Same for my eggs, milk, vegetables etc… I am convinced that I am supporting a sustainable model of agriculture in the face of almost overwhelming forces which strive to dominate us (in the name of profit) with an incredibly wasteful and unsustainable model… a model that will likely lead to food riots and mass starvation. Surely this “doing something”..?

        • OpenMind says

          1. drinking milk whether human babies breast feeding or milk from an animal – are secretions = fact. (an externally secreted fluid designed specifically to nourish the young).

          2. I was just saying that Karin seems to present an all or nothing premise. So yes those that choose to not eat animals products are doing something as it relates to her all or nothing stance (example.Karin
          FEBRUARY 24, 2014 AT 8:35 AM. Not that those that chose to eat animals aren’t making difference.

          3. I have not questioned yours or anyones decision to buy local, we all know that’s a better choice – I go to the farmers market for my veggies very week.

          I know you would like to put me on a side animal vs. plant but I am high on empathy (highly empathetic person – HEPs). For example – I have the ability to step into the shoes of another person, aiming to understand their feelings and perspectives. So I am a very open minded person and follow the research on both sides of this topic so I can make the best decision for myself and family – not rely on a book writer to tell me.

          • FrankG says

            So you keep saying but for an HEP you seem surprisingly willing to be patronising and insult others’ intelligence… as an example your assumption that I have done no research; based on nothing more than my unwillingness to share with you, my own quest for knowledge… it is none of your business so far as I am concerned.

            Once again, your choice of words leaves me questioning your sincerity and credibility.

            • OpenMind says

              I am sorry if you feel I am patronising and insulting others intelligense – I certainly don’t mean to do this. I was only asking you about your research because you first challenged mine. See ya – no open discussion here.

              • FrankG says

                “But it does tell me why you never answered my question as to where you do your research -you apparently don’t.”

                Quite an insulting reach from my assertion that I am well read on these topics.

                But I agree that with you, there is “…no open discussion here”

          • Karin says

            Hi Open Mind,

            I was about to write a response to your other post, and I noticed this statement: “I go to the farmer’s market for my veggies every week.”

            It will help me to better explain to you my position if I know where you are. You don’t have to be specific if you’d prefer not to be, but could you share me the nearest city?

            I haven’t been able to get veggies at my Farmer’s Market since the fall!

            Thanks!

            Also:

            You claimed that I have an “all or nothing” stance, which is profoundly ironic. Please reread what I wrote.

            I was speaking about people using the term “vegan” to describe themselves. Sorry, but the fact is that veganism IS an all or nothing philosophy. It calls for an end to ALL animal use and consumption. And the people that use it to describe themselves use it to differentiate themselves from those who are merely trying to “do something.”

            There are some self-described “vegans” who describe animal consumption as “murder.” Some of them really believe that feeding milk or beef to a 4 year old is committing a moral atrocity tantamount to murder. And yet, almost every single one of them buys things with animal parts in it.

            What if gelatin from concentration camp victims were used to make that LCD screen instead?

            If you don’t obstain from such products, then you are not a vegan. You may be a vegetarian who chooses to obstain from eating eggs and milk, but you are simply not a vegan. Not nearly. And nobody of consequence should take you seriously if you pretend to be one.

            • OpenMind says

              Hi Karin, obviously I live in a warm climate, I don’t think the place matters here.

              This is confusing without a proper forum to discuss but here goes one more time – you do state as “fact” it is all or nothing: “Sorry, but the fact is that veganism IS an all or nothing philosophy.”

              So the irony is that “their” definition or philosophy doesn’t match your definition or philosophy. You use a specific definition and assume all people use your definition. Fact: there are different definitions : “a vegetarian who omits all animal products from the diet” . Or this one – “Vegan. Does not eat dairy products, eggs, or any other animal product.” So it seems that your ideal definition is: “A vegetarian who eats plant products only, especially one who uses no products derived from animals, as fur or leather.”

              So it is not ironic but purely matter of semantics: “You may be a vegetarian who chooses to abstain from eating eggs and milk, but you are simply not a vegan. Not nearly”.

              So maybe “they” should call “themselves” “simply” animal-eaters that don’t eat animals? Or maybe you could coin a new term for “them”? Karigans = Karin’s Vegans?

              “And nobody of consequence should take you seriously if you pretend to be one.” Who are the people of consequence?

              I am sorry you have had such an horrific experience with “vegans” but this site is too derisive for me to spend anymore of my time on. I am going to go spend time with my loved one who is one of “them” the “pretender”, the animal eater- who doesn’t eat animal products, a real live vegan, a person of “consequence” , “a person who is trying to do something” and not a “they”.

              • Karin says

                “This site is too derisive for me.”

                That is coming from someone whose initial post included a link to one of the smarmiest people on all of youtube. I decided to watch a few minutes of one video created by “Plantpositive”, the “researcher” recommended to us by Open Mind. The video is supposed to be about a critique of Chris Masterjohn’s take on cholesterol. Plantpositive quickly makes a joke about Kresser being “dumb” and then proceeds to make another joke about both Kresser and Dr. Masterjohn being “retarded.” I guess I can’t blame him for being so uncomfortable with himself, considering PP’s limitations. But that level of scholarship is for minds far more “open” than mine.
                ;-)

                • Suzie says

                  Karin, you didn’t answer OpenMind’s post for the most part? Just the derisive statement with another put down of sorts. I would be interested in hearing your reaction to the main subject of the post since you do seem to carry quite a bit of emotion around people who say they are vegan. Don’t get me wrong – we all do carry emotion and passion – its more than research that forms our beliefs around food choice.

                • Suzie says

                  FrankG if you are emotionless, it doesn’t come across this way in many of your posts. Nutritional science is far from perfect. It appears as those if one stacked up all the research “for” eating the modern Paleo vs “against” less animal intake and the impacts to health there is an overwhelming win for against stack. So food choice is complicated and science is not perfect – for food all the answers don’t exist.

                • FrankG says

                  @Suzie.. a person can be passionate and enthusiastic without allowing it to cloud judgement.

                  I agree that the choices are complicated and that no-one has all the answers. This is precisely why I speak out when I hear people writing as if they DO have all the answers.

  93. Curious says

    New to this blog thread: It appears as though many people are off on tangents not related to Chris’s Intro above. Chris himself is not trying to “convert” vegans to meat eaters just wants them to think twice.

    He was just offering as his recommendations, take them or leave them as fact based on your on research (Vit/hormone D synthesized from sun hitting our skin as the best source not mentioned here). It appears, although unsaid, that his recommended diet is also not “optimal” since he also recommends supplements.

    “I hope this article can serve as a resource for anyone on a plant-based diet, whether they choose to start eating meat (or animal products, in the case of vegans) again or not.”

    I must say that writing a book about diet is the way to go$$$! I think I will join the ranks. But off to my day job.

  94. VegForever says

    This article is ridiculous. Brewers yeast? LMAO. It’s NUTRITIONAL yeast, not brewers yeast. They’re completely different. I was raised on it and have never eaten meat in my life. I won the presidents Physical Fitness Award in 2 different high schools.
    I don’t suffer from memory loss, in fact my memory stuns everyone. I can remember when I was a baby.
    My 3rd generation herbivore kids are not deficient either. They are healthy and brilliant – all honors geniuses and have broken 75 year pull-up records at school.
    This article is nonsense. He doesn’t even know the difference between brewers yeast and nutritional yeast.

    • FrankG says

      I guess “kids” is precisely the right word if they are indeed “herbivores”… can they digest grass?

      Seriously, I do wish you and yours well but please don’t think that repeating the same tired mantra will persuade me to change my life choices and convictions.. you are wasting your time here.

      I read this article as being about pausing for thought before blindly accepting that veganity is the healthier choice… for me it is not… your mileage may vary.

    • einstein says

      the only thing i am smiling at here is your comment. i can spot a fake prophet when i see one and you are definitely it. do your kids do weighted pullups at school with 25% of their bodyweight in a backpack? because I do, and I am 47 btw. and no vegan either :-) i have yet to see a vegan to beat me at that. go tell my sixpack how healthy you are.

  95. Phil Nicols says

    People used to think smoking was good for them too. Now, for the first time in the history of this planet, we have internet where we can share ideas globally and so far, fairly freely.

    Blessed are those minds that had this figured out well before internet like Einstein, Da Vinci and myriad of others.

    if vegan was bad for you, then all the vegans would be sick or dead by now but the truth is, we’re not.

    today we have top gold medal winning athletes, bodybuilders. .the strongest man on earth today… all vegans.

    why do people defend meat eating? because its the way they were brought up and some feel that to change, would make themselves look like everything they have believed over the years was … not “wrong” but they just don’t believe another way is possible.

    the other way saves the environment and saves animals. If its all “the way of life etc” .. would YOU change places with a slaughterhouse cow?

    Would you even take your kids to see the slaughter house? of course not. would you raise your dog from a puppy, then one day chop its head off, gut it cook it and feed it to your kids? of course not – not most of us anyway.

    its ok to change for the better. people finally start to realise that smoking is not good for them and they gave it up.

    its a change for the betterment of you, earth, mankind and certainly the animals.

    the answers are not in a laboratory… the answers are in your heart.

    P/

    • FrankG says

      Phil, why don’t you climb down off your sanctimonious high-horse and actually read the thoughtful and well-reasoned comments here before going into auto-pilot and posting the usual vegan spiel… it really doesn’t improve with the telling.

      As for your comparison of smoking to meat eating it really doesn’t work…

      My heart is just fine: in terms of physical health, my life choices and my convictions regarding what I think is best for the planet and our future survival.

  96. says

    This article is so desperate to convince people to go paleo that it ends up being self-contradictory.
    First, the vegan diet is depicted as deficient but then the author points out a study ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8842068 ) that concludes that “there was no survival difference between vegetarians or omnivores. Nor was there any difference in rates of heart disease or stroke between the two groups.” So, were do you see any deficiency?
    What about being a little less self-centered, maybe you would realize that eating meat do not only involve yourself but the animal that was killed too.
    If this study is right and veganism + omnivorism offer the same life expectancy, what about doing something ethical and stop needlessly killing animals?

    • FrankG says

      Surely you’re a conscious of the fact that you are using the term “vegan” and “vegetarian” interchangeably… as if they mean the exact same thing?

      Are you being purposefully disingenuous, or just underlining your ignorance?

      I’m getting really tried of the emotional rhetoric…maybe you should read some of the earlier comments before just spouting off the same tired responses.

    • FrankG says

      Thanks for a moment of sanity in amongst all the veg*an noise :-)

      It really seems that the lunatics are taking over the asylum!

      Hard to believe that so many of those commenting even read here on a regular basis…

      There must be some kind of veg*an jungle telegraph which reaches out to try and overwhelm any opposition: with the same, usual, tired, boring, propaganda and emotion-fueled rhetoric… such a monumental waste of everyone’s time

      Don’t think for yourself, don’t bother reading, don’t bother responding, just recite your prayers boys and girls and maybe you will be get into your fantasy heaven… good grief… what a waste of life.

  97. Ryan Garner says

    I find this article to be fueled by a lot of anti-vegetarian/vegan propaganda and misinformation. Right now as we speak, the top record holding bodybuilders are vegan. There are people in their 70’s and 80’s that are vegan and are still running and working out in a gym like a 30 year old would. Most people on a regular meat based diet are well into their years of limited mobility and an increase in the aging process. To meet some of your opinions half way, I also once knew someone that was vegan and heavily malnourished. Strangely enough this person had a serious addiction vegan baked goods, breads and heavy carbs and was very overweight.

    Our digestive system was never evolved to eat meat. We cannot consume meat unless it is cooked which removes bacteria that could be potentially fatal if consumed. With a little research, you can see that our digestive tracts are coiled like that of a herbivores’. If you were to observe the digestive tract of a carnivore you would notice that the digestive track is very short and uncoiled, seeing as how most carnivores walk on all fours and need a short distance in the digestive tract path to pass what has been consumed. However the fact that we can consume certain sea dwelling creatures slightly proves the fact that we, by nature can be pescaterians to a degree.

    Over the years, the changes in the food industry have rewired the human palette and have made the vegan/vegetarian appetite scarce and unappealing, but only of that which was rendered via propaganda from the processed food and meat lobbies. We have been wired to eat this way folks. We are a product of that which has been taught and observed.

    In every form of plant life contains all of the necessary vitamins, proteins and nutrients needed to sustain life. It is only a matter of doing proper research. However most people are lazy in this day and age of convenience, which serves as an ultimate plunge into poor choices in observing good health. In depth studies have show that consumption of animal flesh and proteins cause the bodies metabolism to naturally slow down and store fat in mass quantities, while plant based proteins accelerate the muscle growth, response and absorption and do not horde unnecessary fatty carbohydrates. Plant based proteins such as hemp provide an amazing array of health benefits as well as a sustainable protein that does not require the digestive tract to work overtime in trying to burn, break down and dispel the fatty proteins of animal byproducts.

    All forms of needed nutrition can be found within plant life. It has been proven time and time again. Do some research. The answers are out there. Talk to a healthy vegan or vegetarian and see how they manage their health. Do not waste your time with mindless drivel that has been debunked but still in circulation because dairy, processed foods and meat lobbies want to maintain their profit margins. Its all about money folks, especially in the USA. The big pharma and corporate food industry lobbies are not interested in a healthy, conscious and alert society. They are interested in subpar health that needs a certain amount of medication to keep that Pharma industry booming. Here’s a kicker for that previous line. Just last year, a lobby of Kaiser Permanente doctors and surgeons recommended that morbidly obese, diabetic and cancer patients go on a vegan diet to improve their condition and their health. Out of all the so-called wonder drugs out there used to treat various diseases and conditions, these top medical doctors advised a vegan diet to combat their symptoms. I rest my case!

    • Michael Cohen says

      Ryan, there is so much nonsense in your post I hardly know where to begin. Lets start with this, “With a little research, you can see that our digestive tracts are coiled like that of a herbivores’.” All digestive tracts are coiled.The human digestive tract is nothing like an herbivores, either in form or function. Cows and other ruminants have multiple stomachs. Do you have four stomachs? The primary digestive mechanism of herbivores is multi-stage fermentation. Cud is chewed and re-digested. Herbivores must spend most of their time eating their low nutrient dense cellulose based food stuffs. Some herbivores eat their own feces. Does this sound like anything humans do? We most certainly have evolved to eat meat. It is the nutrient dense red meat of herbivores that gave us the evolutionary energy to become human. No Anthropologist disputes this. Koala bears have evolved to eat Eucalyptus leaves. Without them they die. Pandas have evolved to eat bamboo, without it they die.Look around you. If humans have not evolved to be eating meat why do the vast majority of people in all cultures, eat meat? If we have not evolved to eat meat, why are there no reproducing vegan cultures? Why has one never been described? Have we humans been doing it all wrong for the last 2.5 million years? I dont think so.
      As far as citing the recommendations of Doctors as proof of the validity of ones position, remember that doctors are not infallible. Remember it was doctors that prescribed paxil,thalidomide, and the dozens of other drugs that have over time killed literally millions of people. It is doctors that performed frontal lobotomies. In the last century it was doctors that ostracized one of their own, Dr Semmelweis, for his medical heresies. Remember what his “Heresy” was? It was that doctors wash their hands between patients to minimize the spread of infections.

  98. drew says

    A few general points, likely to be lost in the jungle of status quo myths being promulgated here.
    1) Nothing you eat will make you an omnivore. That is a physiology descriptor. When you choose to eat non-vegan, you are a carnist. This is a CHOICE. This is also a choice virtually all cultures now force on innocent children. Every category of measurement with humans shows our **evolution** to be that of herbivores. Easily proven if you care to read. Evolutionary time is measured so much longer than the time of “hunter-gatherer” that this minor stretch is only relevant when you consider our level of dis-ease. Stuff enough crap you were not designed to process into your belly and you will get sick.
    2) There is NEVER any measurement of initial states of health of anyone in these studies. When people describe to me about a vegan hero sports star or bodybuilder, i always ask how long they were prior to going vegan, and what they did prior. This is crucial for long-term health. If you base your health decisions on the practices of high-end “fit” athletes, you will be greatly disappointed as you age. Being fit and being healthy are NOT synonymous.
    3) Rarely if ever is the issue of gut bacteria mentioned in these articles. This is one of **the** most important areas to discuss. The gut bacteria of a proper vegan with a varied diet is of a predominantly differing genus than carnists. This is also now being proven that this genus is better as a single dose of this bacteria can resolve lifelong digestive issues in those unfortunate souls who are suffers from non-vegan diets and IBS etc. Even probiotic manufactures are not yet fully hip to this. A vegan taking regular probiotics are actually tossing carnist gut bacteria into their systems, messing them up.
    4) The very simple matter of fact that we have a growing population of very healthy souls, all vegan, who are flourishing for many years proves we do not need meat or dairy. I am 4.5 years in, never get sick, am fitter than most half my age, and far healthier than most around me. If we were not meant to do this, we would be dying in short-order.
    5) Trying to isolate specific vitamins and supplements etc and their effects within a diet is almost ludicrous. Most openly genuine medical folk will patiently explain they don’t really understand what happens when food is digested, it is all educated guesses, snapshot of knowledge at one point in time, very very subject to change. Hell, take a leaf of spinach and chew it, swallow it and you have just ingested hundreds, if not thousands of natural chemicals. Case-in-point, medical science is starting to admit the obvious, that the so-called “junk DNA” miiiiight actually be doing something, and heck there might even be a secondary set of DNA involved. But don’t tell that to Monsanto et al as they screw up our future biosphere with their greed and GMO.
    6) One area rarely discussed is the linking of vegetarian and vegan diets. The ONLY connection they have is that a vegetarian diet is a stepping stone to a proper vegan diet and is horribly unhealthy as, in it’s current definition allowing dairy, it means that dairy has unfettered space to wreck havoc within our digestive tract. Given that dairy milk evolved as a fast-track for young calves to grow into large cows quickly and efficiently, using casein and a whole host of non-human bio-markers, can it be of any surprise how many unhealthy vegetarians there are? Casein is one of the world’s most efficient promoters of cancer, look it up. And oh, don’t forget the blood, pus and antibiotics in dairy milk.
    7) Finally, for now, any reference to how we ate, how we managed in caves etc, is almost entirely conjecture, much like most of how our bodies operate. Hell, science doesn’t even know how memory works. A thought repeated a thousand times does not make it fact. The status quo is a marvellous marketing beast, but being vegan, i won’t eat it.

    bored yet?

    • ashley says

      Wow, what a great place to throw in Mitchell and Webb. There is so much bullshit in these comments, I really needed a laugh. Thanks for a great contribution!

  99. Jacqueline Smith says

    Unless you have scientific evidence to share backing your claims, I’ll thank you now for your impassioned opinion piece.

    Science is on the side of those who choose a whole foods plant based diet.

  100. says

    I am a physician who specializes in weight loss and nutrition. I have been studying nutrition for years. Wrote a book in 2007, The Experts Guide to Weight Loss Surgery, during which I recommended a Zone diet. Problem is that people didn’t do well on the Zone, nor Atkins. I, myself had high cholesterol and high blood pressure. SO I decided to dedicate myself to really studying nutritional science. The results were amazing to me and absolutely completely different to the assertions you make. I began adding a vegetarian diet as a treatment option and the response surprised me. The health of my patients improved beyond what I would have believed. I am now writing a book for Harper and have done extensive research of the literature. I have literally 1000 articles of real science disputing these myths that are so tiredly repeated. Adventist Health Study 1 and 2 among the best. Vegans lived longer and had less heart disease, cancer and diabetes. EPIC oxford study showed vegans compared equally to “healthy” meat eaters who only are meat occasionally. Obviously did much better than the typical English omnivore. The problem with that study is that the vegans only got 25 gm fiber compared to Adventist 45 gm so obviously we’re not eating as much fruits and veggies. More processed food. Also did not take any B12 and did not consume organic food so B12 was lacking, and yet we’re still extremely healthy. German study again showed vegans lived longer and healthier than omnivores. Bone health is actually superior in vegetarians and usually vegans EXCEPT in oxford study but again those were not healthy vegans. They were ethical vegans so didn’t eat right. Vegetarians tend to have slightly lower iron stores but never show increased anemia. Low iron stores may be key to long term health as heme iron causes oxidative stress and is associated with cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. I can go on forever. This internet Pseudo expert BS would be funny if it were not so dangerous to our health. 11 yrs treating obesity and I have never treated a vegan. Never. Lots of meat eaters. All meat eaters. In fact, the thousands of diet logs I have put together for my research show animals products are present at every meal, even when the patients are trying to eat healthy. They also suffer from osteoporosis, Vit D deficiency, B12 deficiency, and anemia.
    I will just add this quote from Eric Rimm. He is one of the head nutrition researchers at Harvard school of Public Health. He is not vegetarian. He has been researching the Men’s Health Profession study and the Nurses Professional study which are the largest prospective cohorts in America. They have published hundreds of studies on the effects of diet and health and introduced a novel statistical analysis called comparative risks analysis. Their studies have been damning to meat and processed meat while very affirming of fruits, veggies, legumes, and grains. Harvard, due to these studies, emphasizes a plant and grain heavy diet but not vegetarian. Given the findings he was asked why they didn’t just recommend vegetarian. He said,
    “Well, we could tell people to become vegetarians,” he added. “If we were truly basing this only on science, we would, but it is a bit extreme.”
    – Eric Rimm, a nutritional epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health
    So if they were actually basing it on science they would tell people to be vegetarian. This from one of the most recognized and accomplished nutritional researchers in the world.

  101. Jan says

    I was never more unhealthy than when I was clinging to the ideal of veganism for 12 years, getting my protein from soy products and consuming grains, eschewing fats of any kind, all in the name of optimal health pounding on a stack of nutritional bibles all the way. Once I added animal fats, meats & coconut oil into my diet and eliminate grains, the migraines, back aches, joint pains subsided, the psoriasis vanished, the acne disappeared, the hair stopped falling out, the anxiety and depression became manageable, my upper respiratory allergies that plagued me year-round all faded away. But during 11 1/2 of those years, there was no way you could have convinced me that my choice was an unhealthy one because I had an arsenal of “proof” I was making a good choice. I do not engage people in conversation about their food choices for exactly that reason. I simply set a glowing, healthy example of a 50+ year old woman who is clearly healthier than her thirtysomething former self.

    • Sharon says

      There are vitamins A, D, E and K that are fat soluble and require fats to be carried within the body. This fact is widely known by many people. It wasn’t the right thing to avoid fats when you were vegan, that was why you might have missed out on absorbing those vitamins even though you were consuming them. And coconut oil reduced inflammation.

      • Kim S. says

        Maybe someone should tell that to Drs. Ornish and McDougall. Because they both promote veg*n diets that are low or no fat.

  102. Monte says

    I know that both vegetarian and the Paleo diets are both healthier than the standard American diet because they both stress eating more real whole and usually organic fruits and veggies, in fact a vegetarian who eats eggs and doesn’t eat wheat/grains or legumes or dairy IS eating a paleo diet. The common ground here is the fruit and veggies. Extremely healthy to either diet follower. It’s the other things that the person is eating that is the main health ruiner. The refined carbohydrates. The flour and sugar and the enemies here. That and the hydrogenated vegetable oils. And vegan/vegetarians eating soy that hasn’t been fermented to get rid of its phytoestrogens/ antinutrient properties, are doing themselves not just a disservice but a health detriment. Plus most soy grown in the US anyway is GMO. The thing to think about is this: yes you can get the 9 essential amino acids (protein broken down) in plant sources but can you also get all the essential B vitamins as well from the same sources? Can you get CLA, ALA, COq10, choline and other nutrients from all the same plant sources? Meat is a one stop major protein source with ALL the essential amino acids but also allll these other sources of vitamins and antioxidants and minerals. Especially vitamin B12. Yes even meat eaters can be deficient in b12 and need to supplement as many people have leaky guts and their intrinsic factor in their gut has gone. Fruit and veggies provide many of the daily vitamins and minerals but it’s harder (but not impossible) to get all the essential amino acids from them. We’ve been lied to about meat being unhealthy. It’s not ESPECIALLY and maybe only if it is grassfed organic free range biodynamically raised. Which is actually a very ethical way to raise an animal which should persuade some vegans/vegetarians to question wether a happy animal that lives a happy life and then gives up it’s life so that people can eat it and actually become healthier, is that animal not serving a higher purpose then? Human beings are the smartest and dumbest animals on the planet and an animal that helps a smarter animal live longer and healthier, that doesn’t seem wrong. Also, why aren’t vegans and vegetarians protesting lions and tigers for eating gazelles? Why is it wrong for humans but not animals? Sure we aren’t running on animalistic instinct but if we deep down CRAVE meat, is that not some sort of animalistic instinct to survive? To feed the body what it needs? The human body does indeed need protein (amino acids) and more to keep physically fit. Muscular. If there is a deficiency of amino acids in the daily diet, the body will break down muscle to get what it needs. This is why a majority of vegans have less muscle tone and are skinnier. Skinny doesn’t equate healthier automatically. This is muscle wasting and is not ideal for health. Being strong is indeed healthy. Having muscles and muscle tone is healthy. And muscles need protein and a lot of it. Because the body uses amino acids for other things than just building muscle. The sulphuric amino acids, like methionine for instance help the body detox. Basically I think as long as a vegan is very smart and diligent in getting the essential amino acids and b vitamins and other vitamin and minerals, than, that diet is on par with a paleo diet. But a paleo meat eating diet isn’t worse. Grassfed organic meat is very healthy and ethically raised. And it’s the easiest source of all the essential amino acids and vitamins, etc in one place. A lot of vegans and even the mainstream society have placed little emphasis on how very important protein is and how very toxic sugar and flour (gluten) is. Both a paleo and vegan diet have more in common than not. Both are concerned in getting enough protein just from different sources. Both eat more fruit and veggies (or SHOULD BE) than the average person. Both realize that these whole foods are helping them become healthier. Both avoid dairy. It all boils down to a vegan/vegetarian eating too much gluten or quickly digested processed carbohydrates just like the average person eats because if you lower the protein intake, a person will usually get their calories from somewhere else and if those foods aren’t off limits then they get consumed more. Adequate protein will NOT induce an insulin response like high GI carbs will, therefore they being made of what the body needs, are not unhealthy. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, consider eating more non GMO fermented soy but keep in mind soy has antinutrients in it so you may need even MORE of the nutrients that it will block absorption of. And if just a vegetarian, eat more eggs, organic pastured free range eggs. And organic raw milk if you can get your hands on it although, consider not having it for a month, see how you feel, then introduce it and see how you feel. Same with eggs. A paleo/vegetarian diet hybrid would NOT be an unhealthy diet at all. Especially if adequate eggs were eaten daily, and plant sourced amino acids from a varying source. Eating Paleo and vegan/vegetarian is a harder diet for either camp but both are healthy. One just needs to work even harder than the other one and THAT is the point Chris is trying to make in this post.

  103. says

    As a vegan I do eat ridiculous amounts of beta carotene, calcium and iron because that is what a plant based diet is all about. I eat sweet potatoes, kale, cilantro, black beans, avocados, nuts and much more everyday. That is a real vegan diet, not this idea of switching meat for soy and continuing a conventional American diet. I think that is what your article is based on – the fact that Americans do not know how to get the nutrition they need.

  104. Christopher Lind says

    Any diet where you have to supplement is probably not a good idea. It just is kinda intuitive to me anyway.

  105. says

    I have been mostly vegan for over a year now. My hair is thicker, my body feels and looks amazing and my energy levels are off the charts. I must admit I’m educated about health and I eat veggies and no processed sugars. Your assessment of calcium is wrong, vegetarian populations have much lower rates of osteoporosis. I understand that most people don’t know enough to be healthy eating vegan but it’s possible. The toxins you consume in conventional meat are horrible. You forgot to mention all the sickness and malnutrition in our conventional diet of meat and sugar. Educated vegans do live longer and are healthier.

    • FrankG says

      “Mostly vegan”?? Is that like being “just a bit pregnant”..? Presumably you mean “vegetarian”.. or maybe even omnivorous?

      All these folks who rationalise the nutrient deficiencies by explaining how others “did not do it right” or that “they need to be educated”.. really does not do any favours for advocating this lifestyle choice… why is eating properly such a complicated task?

      It also makes me doubly-concerned for those who force such a lifestyle choice on innocent children.. especially when I see an advocate of veganity above asking “What specific needs do children have? Care to clarify?” Seriously?!?

  106. Richard says

    Chris and others have their opinion about a vegan diet but from all the studies I read and books written by doctors that have reversed heart disease and diabetes, a whole plant-based diet with some supplements like B12, D3 or sunshine, zinc and K2 is the way to go for the best chance of good health.

    • FrankG says

      Yet I reversed my Diabetes with a “plant-based diet” where I let my “food” eat the the plants for me, and no supplements needed :-P Should I ignore my own experience in favour of some questionable studies and books?

  107. Anofuctus says

    I was a vegetarian from 3 years for health reasons. I was diagnosed with gallstones and kidney stones at the age of 17!!
    I had no real medical coverage and the state wouldn’t provide coverage for the operation. The pompous ass doctor said, “The operation will cost $3,500.00″. I skulked out of the office. I put my mind to work to come up with a solution to my health problem. With the help of Transcendental Meditation, my mind led me to a health food store in a neighboring town.
    I found the books to aid me in my dilemma. So I started out with multiple fasts and changed my diet. After the fasts, I became a vegetarian. I went back to the doctor for an examination of the stones and they were completely gone. The doctor was very surprised and I told him how I did it. However, a bit of unusual strife came my way and I left town for military service. I do miss being a vegetarian and I’ll go back to if I make it to 70 years old.

    • einstein says

      so you were a vegetarian, which made you sick, then you meditated, fasted, became a vegetarian and got better. what a load of BS. hey, let’s keep some level to this thread pls. some comments are really sub-par.

  108. Page says

    A Raw Vegan Lifestyle is a way to THRIVE. Look at individuals like Markus Rothkranz or Lou Corona. They look and feel incredible as I know Lou personally. There hair, skin, nails and bodies are thriving and they have sharp minds! Both living their passions in this life. I say each to their own however know that it is possible. Clean the body out first which both of these individuals did..injoy a simple life not so based around food. .its what we let go of that gives us our vital life power back!

  109. JLRC says

    The thing that is missing here is protein.

    1. Most people are woefully low in daily protein intake, even omnivores.

    2. Too much protein is not bad for you. The amount of protein a person has to eat to stress the kidneys is so astronomically high that you wouldn’t hit half that by accidentally eating all the meat you could. There’s no threat here. People that overeat protein are healthier than people who overeat any other macronutrient (at the same overall calorie level.

    3. The proteins in meats are much more bioavailable than are those found in other foods. You’re lucky to find any non-meat food that approaches being a complete protein. A lean steak is going to have an unbelievable amount of protein while filling you up, being fairly low in calories, and making you feel like you’ve had a real treat. Chicken is even more protein-dense, lower in calories, and arguably more satiating – though I don’t know a ton of people who find it as delicious as a good steak. It’s very cheap, too!

  110. Erica Martell says

    Haha. You can’t just drop Denise Minger’s name as though that is proof of anything. Denise is a pip, no doubt, and she’s just published a book – Death by Food Pyramid… She’s appears to be obsessively thorough, but who knows? You’d have to read both The China Study and her book and come to your own conclusions if that is possible. You can’t just drop “Denise Minger disproved The China Study on a couple of blog posts.” and consider that an argument that holds rice!

    • Dila says

      Erica, you are welcome to read the China Study, Denise’s critique and post your opinion. But something tells me- you are not going to spend several months of your life on thorough research. Far easier to bash the work of others outright.

    • FrankG says

      Haha. You can’t just drop T. Colin Campbell’s name as though that is proof of anything … You can’t just drop “T. Colin Campbell proved The China Study on a couple of blog posts.” and consider that an argument that holds rice!

  111. Dan says

    Lifelong vegetarian no fish or eggs. 42 years old. Full bloods show normal levels for every test. Ran a marathon in November. I’m not sure what the point of an article like this is?

    • Dila says

      What blood tests did you get done? Do you take supplements?

      The point of this article is that the majority of vegetarians run into problems long term. Just because you are doing great so far doesn’t mean the others will. We all have different tolerance to carbs and different requirements in micro-nutrients. People should make informed decisions.

    • FrankG says

      Maybe you should learn to read Dan… :-)

      “The takeaway is that the most recent studies using more sensitive techniques for detecting B12 deficiency have found that 68% of vegetarians and 83% of vegans are B12 deficient, compared to just 5% of omnivores.”

      Lucky you to be in the small percentage who seem to be “doing it right”… shame on those who find it so hard to nourish themselves without animal products.. why the heck is it so hard to eat right???

  112. Erica Martell says

    This is to On the Fence. I like your response. This is how I am dealing with the choice. I completed certification as a health coach. We were encouraged to find a target market – who we were passionate about working with. Broccoli is good, kale is good, but when I started to see what was going on with it’s production I decided that what I was really passionate about was animals – that would be my target market…because I just couldn’t focus on helping people eat broccoli once I had seen where their meat came from. They would have to know as well. Beyond that I couldn’t force myself to watch any of the animal abuse videos on Facebook or YouTube. Honorably then I decided if I wouldn’t watch, I had to stop participating. It wasn’t an option to permit others to commit that kind of violence in my name while I closed my eyes because I wanted to engage in a variety of egocentric consumption. Still, I had to find a process to create change. I still got bacon with my omelet, because I still wanted bacon. And I ate some, with the picture of the Chinese pigs I had seen, standing alive with huge hooks through their jaws waiting to be driven in the back of a truck, bumping up and down with the hook holding them in place. I ate a few pieces with that picture in mind. It was undercooked and fatty. I threw the rest away, which is not common for me. And since then I have not had the desire to eat bacon, ribs, pork dumplings…some of my favorite things. I
    have to peg each decision in place in the moment – I still want cashmere sweaters, leather bags and shoes, honey, cheese,yogurt and diary and I’m hardly at 100%, maybe 75% but I am approaching each decision each day as a conscious choice to be mindful, open and not defensive, and I find I more and more make the choice that supports no direct violence being done in my name. We each have to come to terms with these decisions, but I’d like to see people discussin their conscious mindful choices and instead I see alot of arrogance and derision. At the end of the day, meat is unsustainable and market forces are already moving us towards non-meat or faux meat alternatives because it’s largely just a texture and a very poor economic resolution to what it offers. I don’t want to hear from people who catch a fish, or have a chicken in their backyards. We can’t all catch fish and raise chickens. We’re talking about current large scale food options for millions, and the world.

    • Karin says

      Hi Erica,

      Thanks for your comment. I think if you look at the comments carefully, you’ll see that most of the vegans commenting here believe that vegan choices are ALWAYS better than choices which involve animals. There is no adjusting for context. Most of the comments also imply that if a person who tries a vegan diet doesn’t find that it works for him/her from a physical health perspective, that that MUST MEAN that the person did it wrong. There is no recognition that humans with different genetics may have different needs, and there’s CERTAINLY no coherent plan offered for how to create a sustainable vegan food system.

      In terms of nutritional needs, I offered $100 in exchange for a three day nutritionally complete meal plan for children (my offer is still open, by the way) and I received two of the lamest responses imaginable!

      I also think that the Paleo/Weston Price folks who follow Chris are much more interested in animal welfare than you realize. Dr. Chris Masterjohn, Denise Minger, Melissa McEwan, Dr. Matt Lalonde, and Kresser himself are just a few examples of some really smart thinkers who have devoted followings in the Paleo/Ancestral Health community. These folks originally turned to veganism when they were younger, largely out of a concern for the health and welfare of the entire planet and its inhabitants. Their ideas about animal agriculture evolved but that doesn’t mean that they now dismiss animal welfare as trivial.

      You don’t need to raise your own chickens to make a profound difference in the lives of animals and support sustainable agriculture. However, you DO need to know your farmer. You need to seek out farmer’s markets and CSA’s and talk to your farmer about his/her practices. You can do this whether you live in a rural community, or a place like Harlem, where I used to live. :-)

      You are absolutely correct in your assertion that CAFO meat is completely unsustainable. Grass-fed meat is, on the contrary, totally sustainable, and I assert that as a person who doesn’t eat meat. I would also contend that a permaculture type of agricultural system which includes livestock is actually less violent than large-scale grain based agriculture. (I hate to keep repeating myself, but large scale organic plant-based agriculture is almost completely dependent on CAFO manure for their fertilizer. Every time you buy from those folks you indirectly support the worst treatment of animals. But that is a topic for another time). :-)

      By the way: If you want to really explore the science behind why at least some people require animal foods to thrive, I would highly recommend the work of Dr. Chris Masterjohn.

      • FrankG says

        And these same CAFOs are the breeding grounds for the deadly strains of e-coli, which kill many people each year.. and no longer just from eating undercooked hamburger* but increasingly from cross-contaminated tomatoes, lettuces, peanuts etc…

        *Anyone else here recall how a gourmet restaurant might serve RAW ground-up steak tartar, or a body-builder drinking a jug of milk with a dozen RAW eggs cracked into it, for breakfast? Nowadays in the USA ,it seems that every restaurant has a warning on the menu about under-cooking meat or eggs and anyone who even handles an egg is so paranoid they need to go wash their hands immediately!

        This is the problem with factory-farming… raising livestock, can be done with respect and compassion for ALL life. I am convinced that this is the only sustainable way forward.

  113. Erica Martell says

    Karin,

    That’s a good answer and makes sense except that we are talking about 290 million people in this country alone and factory farming, not one person with a home garden and a cow. That isn’t the premise anyone is arguing against and to suggest that is the option for most people is not following a linear argument. I live in a city of 8 million, not one of whom has the option to grow their own food. Almost no one does. No doubt that would be optimal and then the argument would not be about the cow. People have an issue mostly with factory farming. Yes there are a few real abolitionist vegans but that is not the discussion here.

  114. anna says

    OK, I agree. I am convinced. Everyone should be vegan, except, except, except …. for me.
    And I don’t need that much. A couple of cows, some chicken, some fish, some grass (I hope that the vegan world will share), etc.

  115. Erica Martell says

    Actually I believe it was Chris Kresser who set the topic about vegan and vegetarian diets, not vegan “trolls”.

    • bcflyfisher says

      Yes, but his intention was to discuss the possibility / practicality of a nutritionally-complete veg*n diet.

      The brigade of veg*n visitors has turned it into a preach-fest about their moral high road. Most of them aren’t contributing anything useful in terms of addressing possible nutritional deficiencies.

  116. Susan says

    I would encourage readers to look at the ever mounting research that plant based diets reduce and often reverse a number of illnesses (heart disease, stroke, diabetes). This does not happen when consuming animal foods. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has tons of information, as does “The China Study”. Also one only needs to look at the Blue Zones of the world to see where people live the longest – they eat very little animal products at all, much less daily. In regards to eating tons of soy and grains as a staple, many current vegetarians/vegans do not consume as much soy or none at all as in previous years. Many also eat gluten free. The key is to use whole foods. As with any diet, there are junk food vegetarians/vegans that eat convenience foods out of boxes, or people that use whole foods and cook from scratch. Today’s vegan/vegetarian is not the same as it was even 5 years ago. Many of you keep referring to previous experiences, but those were your experiences based on the knowledge available then to you, not necessarily the same as what is happening now in vegan/vegetarian diets.

    • Dila says

      The China study was totally debunked by Denise Minger.
      She took a few months to thoroughly study it and uncovered staggering faults in it that could not have been done by a simple negligence or mistake. T. Colin Campbell twisted the data on purpose to suit his vegetarian agenda. Denise refutes his book brilliantly. Read her critique for yourself http://rawfoodsos.com/the-china-study/ or watch her presentation here

      • OnTheFence says

        Umm an experienced PhD in nutritional biochemistry up against Denise Minger – not moving me off the fence on this one. He did post a rebuttal to her and was kind in saying:

        “Kudos to Ms. Minger for having the interest, and taking the time, to do considerable analysis, and for describing her findings in readily accessible language. And kudos to her for being clear and admitting, right up front, that she is neither a statistician nor an epidemiologist, but an English major with a love for writing and an interest in nutrition. We need more people with this kind of interest.
        I am the first to admit that background and academic credentials are certainly not everything, and many interesting discoveries and contributions have been made by “outsiders” or newcomers in various fields. On the other hand, background, time in the field, and especially peer review, all do give one a kind of perspective and insight that is, in my experience, not attainable in any other way. I will try to make clear in my comments below when this is particularly relevant.”

        http://www.vegsource.com/news/2010/07/china-study-author-colin-campbell-slaps-down-critic-denise-minger.html

        So I think my time on this blog is done – hasn’t moved me.

        • Stipetic says

          So, an ad hominem rebuttal was all you needed to be convince? No addressing of the science necessary? I mean, was that really a rebuttal? Wouldn’t a head-to-head match-up of addressing the facts been more pursuasive than, “well, she’s just a girl and I’m the mighty T. Colon Campbell” be more worthwhile?

          • OnTheFence says

            I see it differently, if I am trying to look at both sides of this issue – why would i not want to review the rebuttal material – that is the nature of debate, thus the reference to the scientist’s rebuttal. No need to respond to me directly as I am not learning anything new via these posts and apparently I am not adding new either. Good bye. Best of health to you.

            • FrankG says

              So are you now claiming to have actually read Denise Minger’s initial reassessment of the China Study data, then Dr Campbells’s rebuttal, then her response to him… and so on?

              From your above response it seems that you stopped after reading a third party re-hashing of Dr Campbell’s rebuttal… you had the answer you wanted!

            • FrankG says

              … a third-party re-hashing from a clearly vegetarian site… so expecting unbiased commentary there to meet your quest for true knowledge???

        • FrankG says

          Denise Minger has posted the complete 11 part series here including links to T. Colin Campbell’s rebuttal and her response to it…

          http://rawfoodsos.com/the-china-study/

          You’ll find that the scientific method is immune to the type of “appeal to authority” exhibited both by Campbell and Fence just above… you don’t get a free pass based on your credentials, no matter who you may be… the facts have to speak for themselves.

          But as suspected, “OnTheFence” was a bit of a misnomer really… just another passive-aggressive ideologue who has a clear agenda and is not open to reason.

          • OnTheFence says

            I am sorry FrankG you feel the need to insult me – I doubt or at least hope you would not talk to me this way in person. You are wrong – you can see my response to Stipectic directly above as well. Good bye. No need to response directly to me.

    • FrankG says

      And the PCRM is a vegan organisation… if they were not trying to obfuscate their true agenda they would be more properly called the “Vegan Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.. then folks would be able to see that expecting unbiased “science” from them is about as unlikely as expecting unbiased discussion on race-relations from the Third Reich.

      Indeed this is the same issue I see rampant throughout the comments here… on one side we have folks trying to present a reasoned argument: based on evidence-based-science and following where the data logically leads; while on the other we have an emotion-based agenda rooted in “killing animals is horrid”…

      Whatever your personal reasons for choosing not to eat meat, you are not convincing anyone here with even half-a-brain that it is based in science, nor that it is best for the planet.

      Open your mind and your eyes… look at the “Allan Savory: How to green the world’s deserts and reverse climate change” presentation (as posted just above by Drumroll) for a little insight into why we need livestock

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpTHi7O66pI

      The buffalo literally made the Great Plains.. then man came along, wasted them all and ploughed it up just so all that topsoil could blow away in the great dust bowl. Now farmers rely heavily on fossil-fuel derived fertilizers and pesticides to grow their crops.. using up valuable, non-renewable resources, while polluting our ecosystem and wiping all kinds of life off their sterile fields. Give them a chance to turn this around and grow real whole food — support local initiatives.

      Now we can talk about compassion to all life.

  117. Drumroll says

    I think all vegans might be surprised by this extremely insightful view on how raising animals for grazing and meat consumption could potentially reverse soil erosion in the grasslands AND lower the effect of greenhouse gasses on the environment:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpTHi7O66pI

    It certainly throws two of their most common arguments into contention at least.

  118. Erica Martell says

    Chris Kresser started his post mentioning his awareness of the compassionate concerns of people who choose not to eat animals. I don’t see one meat eater who has the same awareness. People choose to be vegan because they choose not to eat current farm animals who are raised with poor diets, in horrific conditions, slaughtered mercilessly by poor souls who have that horrific task 8 plus hours a day, fed the majority of the antibiotics big pharma produces. It has nothing to do with how our ancestors hunted meat. It has nothing to do with our ancestors at all. It is usually a compassionate choice and with that awareness they are usually, if they do any research, able to figure out how to resolve whatever nutrient deficiencies come along. However considering the vast majority of people eat meat and the country is quickly going down the crapper, I wouldn’t argue for meat being the answer. Is bio-individuality the answer? That each person eats what is best for them? Sure, as long as those who choose to eat meat are as aware of the cost as those who have taken the time to expose themselves to the suffering we protect ourselves from (Albert Schweitzer paraphrase). If you can eat meat once you are mindful that many cows have their legs cut off while they are still alive, go ahead. The difference here is in an awakening of compassion, not micronutrients, past or present. And that is why this conversation never comes to any conclusion – because it is comparing apples to oranges and no one seems able to make an overarching statement of why. The why is compassion that comes from eating like you care about more than yourself. Yes, the planet may still be on it’s last legs but some people still choose to commit to each day as though their choices matter to the whole. OK, meat eaters (and I am not a vegan or vegetarian) let’s hear about how you just want to eat bacon, or you just need it to be healthy…or how it’s just about you.

    • FrankG says

      “OK, meat eaters (and I am not a vegan or vegetarian) let’s hear about how you just want to eat bacon, or you just need it to be healthy…or how it’s just about you.”

      So if “not a vegan or vegetarian” what do you eat?

      Beyond that I am getting pretty tired of your overbearing sanctimonious attitude… especially as you also seem to suffer from selective reading comprehension. I personally have responded to you several times already and made my position quite clear as: being firmly against all forms of animal cruelty, of respect for all life and deeply committed to a sustainable and respectful future for humans and all other life on this planet. In my view that includes the rearing and eating of livestock and other animal products.

      I see ALL forms of factory-farming and industrial food production as harmful and unsustainable INCLUDING the vast crop mono-cultures which support this ridiculous “1st world” ideology of veganity.

    • Mina says

      If you can eat vegetables just be mindful that when they are harvested rodents, reptile and baby birds have their legs cut off while still alive and their bodies mangled by harvesters. Go to a farm and watch the threshing machines. Go to a vegetable canning factory and see the dead and dying animals that come down the chute with the spinach. You cannot exist on this planet without taking life. I’m sorry. I know you are tenderhearted and it is beautiful but it is fantasy.

  119. Geo says

    Overall, after reading ALL of these posts and talking to people who have taken different routes to eating and health, I think it should be clear that there simply isn’t ONE right way. People have been able to survive, and thrive, on almost every corner of the globe. It’s about making smart choices and staying away from processed crap. Everyone has an agenda and the arguments both ways have merit, because they can BOTH be right. It’s all a matter of doing what you can do consistently and what you feel is right for you.

  120. Brandon says

    This is absolutely exhausting.

    I am 45 and recently discovered I am hypothyroid. I have been overweight from the earliest photos of myself – even as a child. I am 6′ tall and weigh 230. I would like to be 190-200 as I lift weights and really want/like to be active.

    I have tried any number of diets – including going vegan for a month – and have settled on a vegetarian/paleo type diet for myself. I’ve eliminated most sugars and breads from my diet and do not drink milk anymore.

    My wife is vegan/vegetarian and she seems to love it. Only problem is I m just not convinced it is the ‘right way’ for everyone and certainly not the way that humans have been eating for the last several hundred years.

    I, on the other hand, do not feel ‘right’ without a certain amount of animal protein that is mostly consumed in eating eggs, lowfat cheese, cottage cheese and whey protein.

    I recently quit my job last year and started my own business that was my big goal. My big goal this year is to get in the best shape of my life as someone dealing with hypothyroid.

    The years of beating myself up and self loathing are tempered by the fact that I now know I had a seriously underperforming thyroid and thus unable to lose weight like most people.

    So here I am on a Monday about to head to the gym and once again scratching my head over the confusing information and the back-and-forth dialogue of diet and nutrition information.

    The only conclusions that I have come to in regards to food and nutrition so far in my life are these:

    1 ) Keep testing different combinations of healthy unprocessed food to see how my body responds

    2) I will not treat what and how I eat as a religion. I absolutely believe that living things should be treated in a humane way that maximizes their health benefits, however I feel no moral conflict that we should or should not eat animals. I have no patience for people who try and convert others to their belief system (or dietary choices) by asserting their moral high ground.

    3) I believe that it is the chemicals/hormones that is put in most meat, fish and poultry that leads to chronic health diseases. For this I blame our government for their ignorance, their ability to be bought, and desire to treat human beings like cattle.

    4) I believe that my body is strong enough to handle a greasy hamburger and fries or a stack of pancakes with bacon once every 2-3 months.

    5) Sugar, for me, has proven to be one of the worst chemicals I can eat – causing depression, fatigue, anger, irritability and more.

    6) Water is my friend. Drink as much as I can during the day.

    I’m not sure where I was going with this comment but maybe there are other people like me out there who deal with some kind of health issue, and are confused and frustrated over all this back-and-forth information.

    Before I knew about hypothyroid, the answers for me were all about diet and exercise. Now, after being diagnosed, it’s about diet exercise and genetics.

    What I conclude from all this conversation is that every human being is not made to eat one diet, but rather based on their genetics may need certain combinations of nutrients/foods/portions different from the next person and this takes time and experimentation to figure out.

    That’s all I got.

  121. Erica Martell says

    I made the first post in response and I’ve followed the argument since….which is just as I knew it would be. Lots of people splitting hairs about micronutrients when in fact most people won’t even drink an extra cup of water if they don’t feel like it much less pursue all their micronutrient realities in real time – although they can sling the language in message boards. The other thing that gets missed in these discussions is that vegans have mostly watched the videos where they show you cows being hacked apart while still alive, including grass eating cows who still don’t go to happy slaughterhouses, and baby chicks being dumped by the tens of thousands into macerators because they’re male, baby calves being removed from their mothers at birth so we can drink their milk. They are thinking about more than themselves. The meat eaters are to a one talking about themselves and their micronutrients. They never address the whole or others. I’ve eaten meat all my life and I spent not one second pursuing micronutrients in real life. I’m sure I have that in common with, as one person just mentioned, 99% of the American population. The major disease, as expressed by Michio Kuchi, the father of macrobiotics, is arrogance, and that I see in spades in this discussion.

  122. Sharon says

    This is another educational video of Dr Jameth Sheridan explaining how some vegans did not eat as nutritionally as they should on a vegan diet and later go back to eating meat.

  123. Sharon says

    I want to say that if I have to rely on animals to live, I would rather have a short existence because such a way of living is just not worth living a long life. I want to be happy and beautiful inside and out. Eating eggs and meat is just ugly and it doesn’t make me feel beautiful.

    If I have to live with any possible non-threatening deficiencies from being vegan then so be it, it would be my willing sacrifice for wanting to live a life away from needing to rely on animals for anything.

    But I still don’t believe that vegans can be deficient because nutritional science is so advanced to provide for any possible lack of nutrients from any diet.

    • Karin says

      “If I have to live with any possible non-threatening deficiencies from being vegan then so be it, it would be my
      willing sacrifice for wanting to live a life away from needing to rely on animals for anything.”

      I used to say the same thing. In a way I still find it sweet, if hopelessly naive. You seem to have no clue about the numbers of non-human lives that people are responsible for taking and/or displacing every single day JUST BY LIVING.

      Do you grow all of your own food? How do you think the organic farmer replaces the nutrients lost when the vegetables are harvested? How do you think the vegetables get to market? Have you ever thought about what it takes to get a coconut from Asia to the United States? Do you even have a GUESS about how many animals, including highly intelligent marine animals are harmed in the process? How about the process of transporting almond milk from California to New York?

      May I ask if you eat any processed foods? Do you even have a CLUE about how VEGAN food processing impacts the world around you?

      • Christopher says

        Sharon, you seem like a kind-hearted, good natured person and it is a shame you are so naive. Wanting to be happy and beautiful are wonderful goals but eating meat and eggs isn’t a roadblock to that unless you’ve indoctrinated yourself to think so.

        If you would rather live a short unhealthy life than rely on animal products to survive, well that is your choice but if your ancestors had made it, you wouldn’t be here right now.

        • Sharon says

          Nope, I’m not as naive or simple-minded as you think I am. I have done my research in nutrition and am convinced that the vegan path supported with the required supplements is safe for me to lead a healthy and happy life.

          And I don’t follow the fallacy of appealing to nature/tradition so I will gladly use technological advancements in nutritional supplements to help me on the vegan diet.

        • Sharon says

          Nope, I’m not as naive or simple-minded as you think I am. I have done my research in nutrition and am convinced that the vegan path supported with the required supplements is safe for me to lead a healthy and happy life.

          And I don’t follow the fallacy of appealing to nature/tradition so I will gladly use advancements in nutritional supplements to help me on the vegan diet.

      • Sharon says

        Sorry, but I’ll have to say that the naive person is really you. It is a well known fact that 60 billion land animals are killed annually to satisfy the demand for meat. Thanks for your meat recommendation but I’ll go with the much less cruel, less polluting and more healthy alternative.

        I’ll take my chances with as much advanced supplements as I can and you are welcome to take yours with the cancer-causing toxin-filled meat and dairy.

        • Karin says

          Sharon,

          I regret that I don’t have time at the moment to watch all of the video links that you have provided.

          May I ask what you typically eat and where you purchase your food? It would be enlightening to learn how you grow your food and have it processed and transported to you without involving/harming a single animal.

          As I stated elsewhere in the thread, a homesteading family can sustain itself for a year almost entirely on the milk of a single cow slaughtered at the end of that year, supplemented by a gently-managed garden plot enriched by the cow’s manure. One life given. One life taken.

          A “vegan” family, by contrast, can purchase thousands of pounds of avocados, coconuts, bananas, tomatoes, grains, legumes, etc., etc. etc. over the course of the same year. How many lives are taken by displacement, how many lives are mutilated by tractor blades, snares, and shipping collisions, how many lives are harmed by the extraction of the oil, the greenhouse gases, the water pollution, sound pollution etc.; how many mammals become roadkill in the process of getting that food to that family? If it is possibly greater than one then maybe we have some serious thinking to do about how we evaluate these matters.

          If I were to be reincarnated as an animal I would sooner live the life of that cow than that of an animal killed by some cargo ship transporting coconuts thousands of miles from its source, making our oceans more of a violent cesspool than a habitat. But that is me; I can understand how someone else might come to a different conclusion.

          I think that humane living is a matter of doing the best we can with the information that we have, flawed animals that we are.

          • Sharon says

            Karin, you seem to hold on to the notion that one has to always eat in a way so as not to harm a single life such as an ant or fly, which in my opinion is just unrealistic and frankly quite extreme.

            • Karin says

              Hi Sharon,

              I’m so happy to see that you’re back on the thread! Maybe now we can address each other’s specific points/questions.
              :-)

              Anyway Sharon, you stated:

              “Karin, you seem to hold on to the notion that one has to always eat in a way so as not to harm a single life such as an ant or fly, which in my opinion is just unrealistic and frankly quite extreme.”

              On the contrary, I thought I made myself quite clear that it is NOT possible to obtain one’s food without harming other living things, and that in fact, MANY conscious meat eaters eat in a way that actually causes LESS SUFFERING than those who consider themselves “vegans”. When I was “vegan”, for example, I didn’t give nearly enough thought to the tremendous costs associated with trekking things like almond milk, avocados, chia seeds, coconuts, etc. thousands of miles from every corner of the globe in an effort to provide for my daily nutritional needs. I believe now that I was willfully delusional.

              Unfortunately, it seems that you either didn’t understand my last post, or that you deliberately misinterpreted it, so I will repeat some of it below, (with apologies to others reading!) in the sincere hope that we can actually engage in a REAL (rather than a pretend) discussion about the issue that I was raising:

              “A homesteading family can sustain itself for a year almost entirely on the milk of a single cow slaughtered at the end of that year, supplemented by a gently-managed garden plot enriched by the cow’s manure. One life given. One life taken.

              A “vegan” family, by contrast, can purchase thousands of pounds of avocados, coconuts, bananas, tomatoes, grains, legumes, etc., etc. over the course of the same year. How many lives are taken by displacement, how many lives are mutilated by tractor blades, snares, and shipping collisions, how many lives are harmed by the extraction of the oil, the greenhouse gases, the water pollution, sound pollution etc.; how many mammals become roadkill in the process of getting that food to that family? If it is possibly greater than one then maybe we have some serious thinking to do about how we evaluate these matters.”

              Sharon,
              Upon rereading that last paragraph, I hope that you finally realize that I was talking about HORRIFIC VIOLENCE done to some of the most conscious and intelligent animals on earth, not the harm done to a “single ant or fly”. (Perhaps your dainty way of rephrasing the issue was a coping mechanism on your part??)

              Anyway, Sharon, would you agree that in some cases people can do LESS HARM by directly taking the lives of animals than they can in pursuit of a self-entitled vegan fantasy life?

              As I stated earlier, if I were to be reincarnated as an animal I would sooner live the life of that cow than that of a marine mammal mutilated by some cargo ship transporting coconuts thousands of miles from its source.

              I know that vegans think constantly about the horrors of taking lives, and if I were given the option of a life on a factory farm or nothing at all, I would absolutely choose nothing at all.

              HOWEVER, if I were given the option of a short life on a family farm where I would be valued and respected or nothing at all, I would probably say okay to the family farm, even with the knowledge that my life would not be particularly long. Again, the choice is NOT between life or death–It is between having a short life or NO LIFE AT ALL. I would be just as fine with being a cow with the idea of being a zebra or a gazelle, knowing that my last few moments on earth are unlikely to be pleasant. Nothing lasts forever.

              I asked you previously if you had any ideas about how veganic farming would look like from your perspective, because again, almost all self-described vegans are subsisting on food that COULD NOT have been grown without the existence of animal agriculture. I still would love to hear about how you obtain your food and any ideas that you might have for how agriculture would work in a vegan world.

              My final question pertains to the fact that people have different nutritional needs due to genetic/biological differences: Would you agree that at least some people cannot live normal human lives, much less thrive on a plant-only diet?

              For example, I know of one woman who is living on an ALL-MEAT diet for health reasons, due to vast and severe food sensitivities, and that she credits her carnivorous diet with keeping her bipolar disorder in remission. Would you agree that it’s not unethical to take the lives of animals to feed unfortunate humans beings such as this woman, who has sensitivities to grains AND legumes AND nuts AND various fruits and vegetables?

              I’ll stop there for now, because I could go on all night, lol.
              Bye for now!

          • Sharon says

            And not willing to take the time to watch a 4 min video yet is willing to express oneself from writing paragraphs of long texts that takes longer, only makes one seem quite willfully ignorant and lazy in research, frankly speaking.

            Sorry but I prefer not to continue a discussion with someone who is not truly earnest and patient enough to desire seeing the bigger picture. I wish you all the best in your hormone, antibiotics and toxin-filled diet.

        • Daniela Soledae says

          Sharon,

          I am so proud of your video and I just wish it was easier to share the message with other people. I just feel like I have to tell them to watch “Forks Over Knives” and “Food Matters” and other documentaries to see if they will get it! But I have hope that, one by one, we can share this message so that our people can stop dying of cancer and heart diseases! Thank you for helping share the message!!

    • Colin says

      If animals were in our position on the food chain, then wouldn’t give us an ounce of mercy and compassion. Remember that the next time you go on another one of your self aggrandizing rants.

  124. says

    I’ve been vegan for 25 years and consider it one of the best decisions of my life (my doctor agrees). I lost 25 lbs and kept it off all these years!

    Here’s a video to help everyone understand why so many people are making this life affirming choice and why the number of vegans has doubled in the US in less than 3 years.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKr4HZ7ukSE

    Also, here’s a link for everyone who wants to join the revolution: 21-Day Vegan Kickstart http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/kickstart/kickstart-programs

  125. Jenny says

    Just wanted to let you know there’s a small typo in the zinc section! “Omniovorous diet” or omnivorous diet? :) Delete this after you’ve read it! No need to keep nit-picky comments like mine.

  126. Karl says

    I have to go to work so don’t have time to read. I’ll read later. At work there are too many vegetarians. I believe one picked it up to suck up to the others. I notice they always get cold and are cranky. They’re all women of course, and I think witchy is a better word.

  127. Florence says

    I continue to spread the word about your site and sound advice that is so well documented. Your information has been crucial to resolving my heartburn and esophageal spasms that were so bad, it was causing me to lose my voice. After seeing specialists, I was diagnosed with GERD and prescribed prevacid and gaviscon which failed to work. It was your article, “Get rid of heartburn and GERD forever in 3 simple steps” that put me on the road to recovery. I was tested positive for H-pylori which was cleared up with an H-Pac and now I follow your guidelines and have been heartburn free for 6 months plus my voice has returned to “almost normal”!

    I purchased your book which is amazing but it is your dedication to this site that has been a life-saver for many of us who read it faithfully. Thank you so much for all the hard work you do. Best wishes in all that you do.

    • Florence says

      I wanted to add that the doctors recommended a low-acid, vegetarian diet which I tried for a few months and only felt worse. The legumes were particularly difficult for me to digest no matter how I tried to cook them. My stomach felt like it was cannibalizing itself. Once I cleared up the H-Pylori and resumed a regular Paleo diet, my health was back to normal within weeks. I am not saying that what worked for me would work for the next person but I would suggest they at least try it if they are experiencing the same symptoms as I did.

      This post is also to express concern for the increasing personal attacks, not at the data, but at the people posting. Why is this moving away from an adult discussion of the data to a “if you are not with us, you are against us” mentality? We all have the personal choice to eat what we want and this forum is simply another place to provide us with specific information regarding these choices. It is only one part of a toolkit that you compile to live your life.

      IF you find that some of the information conflicts with what you believe in, then by all means, present your argument. But don’t let it get personal because then your message is lost and where is the value in that?

      Thank you again Chris for your hard work and information that works for me.

  128. KC says

    I have read this whole string of “crap”. I find it peculiar that there are only Vegans/Vegetarians testifying that they eventually had to start to eat real food after a 5, 10, 20 year stint of not. It takes a lot of courage to Denise Minger/Lierre Keith yourself and admit you were damaging your body.

    What is absolutely hilarious is with every testimony a Vego will pop on and say “you weren’t doing it right!” Are you kidding me! When you make an active choice to eat Vego, it aint easy, it is like a full time job! Eating correctly is not that tuff, eat real food. It strikes me that a complete Vego diet is nothing more than a hodgepodge of side dishes from around the world that were meant to be eaten with some form of animal product. But instead of the animal products the side dishes are put together 3 to 6 at a time in an attempt to replicate something healthy.

    The other peculiar thing is, Kressers web site is like the last place I would expect to see Vegos in full force. Which confirms that the McDougal / Ornish Vego propaganda notification networks is still alive and well. In other words post anything on the interwebs that may even slightly question the Vegos and prepare for mountains of bullshit propaganda, and statements like, “meat rots in your gut” which disqualifies the poster as having a working frontal lobe.

    Eat real food. It is that easy. And for those of you all touchy feely about killing things, thank your lucky stars you live in the “now” because if it were 200 years ago, life would have been really rough for you.

    • Christopher says

      Amen. It is only in the last few generations that people haven’t had to kill for their meals. My grandparents had to raise and kill their own chickens in post-war Europe because there was little else to eat. I am grateful I don’t have to do that but I would if I had to. Even when I was vegan, I knew that was reality and the convenience of industrial society is what has allowed veganism to thrive… which is why they are causing as much harm as good (at least as much as the rest of us).

  129. says

    From the Vegan Society website (so ironic isn’t it): A study in the UK of 34,696 adults, over five years, found that the vegans studied had a higher risk of bone fracture than the meat eaters, fish eaters and vegetarians studied. This appeared to be a result of their lower calcium intake – no increase in risk was found in those vegans consuming at least 525 mg of calcium per day – and highlights the importance of ensuring an adequate intake of calcium.4 Recommended intakes are given in Calcium Requirements above.

  130. KTB says

    After reading all the comments here, my disdain for Vegans has been re-verified. The ego of Vegans knows no bounds.I was ‘fluffy’ as a vegetarian and only got lean and had much more energy when I added meat back to my diet. Same with my son-in-law who was forced to be vegetarian by his dad and was chubby until he started eating meat. Only in fantasyland is being vegan or vegetarian not based on starchy carbs and grains. If you choose to not eat meat or dairy—good for you. But keep your big vegan nose out of my business—because meat is good for many people as we are all individuals. This concept seems impossible for Vegans to accept.

    • says

      You guys didn’t know how to eat right. Did you know vitamins A D E and K require fats to be carried within the body? Do you also know where to get iodine, and do you also get sufficient vitamin D, sodium and fats?

      • ktb says

        “You guys didn’t know how to eat right”

        Exactly– You have a point, because to ‘eat right’ we needed eggs and meat, which we eat now and have energy, muscle definition and have lost the fluff from grains.

  131. Emily says

    you are definitely misinformed about the vegan diet. b12 is the ONLY vitamin i have to supplement, and all my other nutrient levels are fine. there is just as much calcium in a couple tablespoons of tahini or chia seeds as there is in milk, and there is iron in almost every food i eat – calorie for calorie, there’s more iron in beans than meat. AND beans have other nutrients such as fiber and phytochemicals that animal protein does not. also, it’s been proven time and time again that milk proteins are carcinogenic… if it were suddenly known that cigarettes provide 30% of your daily calcium, you wouldn’t become a smoker, right? milk isn’t any different. but hey, i guess all of these claims are just an excuse for people to eat high fat animal protein

  132. Karin says

    I am a former animal-rights oriented vegan (at least I thought of myself as vegan at the time) and I was embarrassingly self-righteous about it. Now that I know more about human nutrition, agriculture, and sustainability (I have a degree in crop and soil science) I feel that incorporating carefully chosen, locally-grown animal products is a far more rational and ethical choice for me. (In fact, just about all “veggie” organic agriculture is COMPLETELY DEPENDENT ON CAFOs, so I actually don’t know that I’ve ever met an authentic vegan, but that’s a topic for another post). Anyway, I’m here to post today’s first challenge of the day:

    I will happily send $100 (via paypal) to the first poster who can provide a reasonable three-day meal plan for two children, ages 9 and 2.

    Here are the rules:

    1. It must be vegan.
    2. It must be based on whole, minimally processed foods.
    3. It must be soy and gluten free.
    4. It must meet children’s basic nutritional needs, including the U.S. RDA for vitamin, mineral, protein, and fatty acid requirements, without resorting to supplements. (However, for argument’s sake, lets make an exception for Vitamin B 12).
    5. The ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fats must be less than 4:1.

    I post this challenge in peace. I hope that it will be instructive for everyone, including me! I will prepare the meals for my children and post our experience/thoughts on Youtube. Thanks and good luck! :-)

    • says

      Simple.

      For breakfast, eat organic rolled or quick-cooking oatmeal with fresh or dried fruit.

      For lunch, use dried chickpeas soaked for at least 8 hours(or overnight) and boil for 10 mins, then drain and serve whole or mashed in a food processor. Add sea salt for iodine if required. Spinkle flaxseeds if more omega 3 is desired. Variation: add a little tumeric powder for smoked ham flavor.

      Serve fruits such as honey melon or kiwi for dessert.

      For a dinner, the 2 yr old can eat pureed green peas or pureed boiled carrots or pumpkin. The 9 yr old can also eat those or eat additional spiralized zuchini spaghetti served with avocado sauce with lemon juice or pureed tomato sauce with diced capsicum. Add fresh alfafa or pea sprouts.

      Repeat for all 3 days using different flavoring for all meals.

      • KTB says

        OMG—I’m hungry for eggs and meat just reading this. WHO can eat this and be satisfied. My blood sugar would be so screwed up with all the starchy carbs and no sustenance. Where is the healthy fat to help with neural development???? Try offering a healthy teenage boy boiled pumpkin with peas for dinner and see what happens…LOL!!

        • Karin says

          I know….this is just too ridiculous for words. Okay kids….we are having a big bowl of chickpeas with sprinkled flaxseeds for lunch……three days in a friggin row!!!!! But don’t worry……I’ll switch up the flavorings….turmeric Monday, oregano Tuesday, saffron Wednesday. Then we rinse and repeat.
          I have to go because I’m crying too hard to see the computer screen….

          • Sharon says

            There is nothing wrong in having the same foods for 3 days in a row. Try mocking the African children who have maize everyday of the year. Are you that privileged to think that simplicity is an anomaly?

            • Karin says

              Actually, Sharon, my family and I were just discussing Timothy’s proposed meal plan last night. My 9 year old asked if I had sent Timothy the $100. I informed him that I absolutely DID NOT because it did not come close to meeting the requirements that I laid out in the challenge, particularly with regard to providing the RDA for various vitamins and minerals. Had his plan at least done that, I would have grudgingly sent him the cash despite the fact that it did in fact contain gluten and was FAR from reasonable.
              On your contention that I was “mocking” simple diets: I would actually PREFER to eat the same foods every day IF I considered it a healthy way of eating. However, at best it is not a good choice if one is after optimal health.
              Here is a link to a pubmed article on food allergies. You can find many others with similar information: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23282480

              “Certain unique food allergens, such as buckwheat, chestnuts, CHICKPEAS (emphasis mine), bird’s nest, and royal jelly, which are consumed extensively by certain Asian populations have resulted in clinical food allergy of little importance in other populations……The high consumption of these foods…..may explain this phenomenon….”
              Anyway, Sharon, if you desire to look into this topic further, you will see that food sensitivities and allergies are most common when people consume the same foods day in and day out. In Israel, for example, people are more likely to develop sensitivities to sesame, in Spain to chick peas and lentils, etc. On a related note: I volunteer at a community center, and I met a woman yesterday whose daughter has life- threatening allergies to legumes and nuts. I for one am very happy that they are not strict vegans!

              • OnTheFence says

                I am not sure that this study is helpful to your point of eating a variety of foods: dust mite and cockroach allergens.

                The high consumption of these foods and possibly coupled with cross-reactive tropomyosins from dominant inhalant dust mite and cockroach allergens in this region may explain this phenomenon. In contrast, the prevalence of peanut allergy is relatively low in this region. The reasons for this difference are not apparent. However, this may be a reflection of the general reduced propensity in this region to allergic diseases as seen with asthma.
                CONCLUSIONS:
                : Further research on food allergy in Asia is warranted because it offers unique opportunities to further our understanding on the influence of population and environment.

                • Karin says

                  Hi on the Fence,

                  I’m responding to your other question here, because there is some glitch with the reply buttons. (Chris Kresser, We love you, but we need to be able to see who is responding to whom to have a coherent discussion!)
                  Anyway On the Fence, I didn’t just pose the challenge for my own family, but for illustration purposes. Certainly, I would prepare MORE vegan meals if the challenge were met, particularly in the summer time, when I have access to more fresh local produce at my farmer’s market and from my CSA. But I don’t believe that trekking in the majority of my food from around the world does the animal world any favors. (As I stated earlier, I don’t believe I have ever met a vegan who is able to follow a purely vegan diet, because organic food production is currently dependent on animal agriculture. So the present question really isn’t WHETHER we should have animal agriculture at all but how it should work. I have yet to hear a coherent plan for how to feed people veganically, i.e., without using the by-products of animal agriculture. Right now, the organic producers buy manure, blood, bone meal, etc. from CAFOs. A very small minority buy it from neighboring organic farms, but it is almost entirely animal centered at its core. In my opinion, the most humane option at present is to only purchase non-animal foods from small scale farms that raise their own livestock with deep care and respect.

              • Sharon says

                If you are referring to the possible contamination of gluten found in oatmeal, then there is the gluten-free version. You can also include black or brown rice porridge for breakfast.

                The reason for food allergies can also originate from GMOs and pesticides, the study didn’t say what were the discovered causes of allergies from those foods.

                There is a study that found the delayed presence of gut microbes to be linked to food allergies and sensitivities.

                http://www.nature.com/…/v479/n7374_supp/full/479S5a.html

        • says

          People who are spiritual like me can be satisfied on simple foods. If you want eggs, you can make it with chickpea and mashed tofu. If you want meat you can make seitan from gluten flour and oatmeal. You need to be more creative rather than dumpster dive constantly from the meat trash bin.

          • Michael Cohen says

            If I want eggs I will eat eggs. Try some in good yellow grass fed butter. You will not explode, you will simply feel better

          • Karin says

            Okay, well maybe when I feed my two year old his egg yolks tomorrow I’ll tell him that if he were only more “spiritual”, he wouldn’t need to get the RDA for pesky things like Selenium, Zinc, choline, calcium etc. in his diet.

            And if he gets REALLY evolved, maybe he’ll learn to start conversations by calling people “stupid” for having different opinions and/or biological needs.

          • charles grashow says

            If I want meat I will eat REAL GRASS FED/FINISHED BEEF

            If I want eggs I will eat REAL EGGS FROM FREE RANGE CHICKENS

          • Mina says

            Timothy Tang, I love that you call yourself spiritual but you entered this site and started calling everyone who eats meat “stupid”. Your spirituality has overwhelmed me and your compassionate attitude has enlightened me.

          • Michael Cohen says

            No, but I suspected from your meal plans for children, that you have never really fed any. I am a former vegan whos health was undermined by my erroneous beliefs.

              • Karin says

                My 9 year old found it ironic that your proposed meal plan suggested peanuts as a source of added Calcium. And that you thought sea salt was a good source of iodine. And that you proposed next to nothing with selenium or zinc. Maybe he’s just too “stupid” to fit in with the vegan set.

                • Sharon says

                  So you think your 9-year old knows sufficiently about nutrients. If that is the case, why don’t you ask him to come up with the 3 day meal plan himself? Ridiculous.

            • Sharon says

              You’re saying that if someone can be wrong about child-related nutrition then it would mean that they never had children? You’re saying that having children would make parents knowledgeable about all things child-related? Another ridiculous statement.

              • Sharon says

                There was no reply option on your other post, so I’m responding here instead:
                Yes, in answer to your question about my brilliant son, he probably already knows more about nutrition than 99% of the American population and the ONLY reason we didn’t come up with such a plan together is that we didn’t really see how it was possible to meet the nutritional demands of children by natural vegan foods alone. (And I didn’t even ask for locally grown and sustainable foods, which I probably should have). In their recommended vegan meal plans for kids, you’ll see that even the Physicians’ Committee For Responsible Medicine resorts to recommending Cheerios and Calcium-fortified orange juice and soymilk. The message should be clear: Without heavy supplementation, and reliance on Big Agriculture, it is not clear how a person who eats about 1000 calories a day (like my 2 year old) can possibly obtain the RDA for all essential nutrients. If they don’t think the RDA is really necessary, then the LEAST that they owe parents considering veganism for their child is to come out and admit it!

              • Karin says

                Sharon,

                There was no reply option on your other post, so I’m responding here instead:
                Yes, in answer to your question about my brilliant son, he probably already knows more about nutrition than 99% of the American population and the ONLY reason we didn’t come up with such a plan together is that we didn’t really see how it was possible to meet the nutritional demands of children by natural vegan foods alone. (And I didn’t even ask for locally grown and sustainable foods, which I probably should have). In their recommended vegan meal plans for kids, you’ll see that even the Physicians’ Committee For Responsible Medicine resorts to recommending Cheerios and Calcium-fortified orange juice and soymilk. The message should be clear: Without heavy supplementation, and reliance on Big Agriculture, it is not clear how a person who eats about 1000 calories a day (like my 2 year old) can possibly obtain the RDA for all essential nutrients. If they don’t think the RDA is really necessary, then the LEAST that they owe parents considering veganism for their child is to come out and admit it!

                • OnTheFence says

                  So Karin, it sounds like you have done all your research and found that is not possible to feed children on a vegan diet and are a childhood nutrition expert. So I am wondering why you raised this challenge. If it was possible to raise healthy children on a whole unprocessed vegan diet – would you do it? If not – challenge is not worth exploration.

                • Sharon says

                  Are you Karin or ‘Sharon’? It seems like you are going through an identity crisis. But anyway, thanks for the discussion, I need to read a magazine now.

          • ktb says

            The point is Timothy Tang that infants and children have very specific nutritional needs especially for neurological development that vegan foods canNOT supply! If an older teenager decides on their own to go vegan or vegetarian, that should be their choice but with a caveat that they could be missing out on very important nutrients that they won’t notice for a decade or two. If eating Vegan makes you feel good—-go for it. But as a person with no children and obviously no knowledge of the proper nutritional needs of growing children, I suggest you either do some research and base your suggestions on that or just accept that you could be wrong thinking YOUR diet is for everyone.

      • Karin says

        The PCRM website’s meal plan doesn’t provide certain key nutrients, doesn’t provide them in a whole foods form, and sneakily adds things like soymilk (which is synthetically fortified) to avoid addressing the deficiencies of these foods as they exist in their natural state. Try doing the math on calcium and zinc with the sample meals. Good luck finding Vitamin K2 in these meals. Not to mention cofactors that we are yet to discover! I didn’t see a sample plan provided by nutritionfacts.org, run by a guy who incidentally seems to be suffering from some sort of chronic wasting disease…..

        • Karin says

          I checked out that PCRM site again and noticed that the best it can do to provide kids with enough iron and zinc is to add food-like substances like Cheerios to the meal plan. Absolutely shameful. And I used to be a member. (By the way, do vegans really think that these industrially produced foods are manufactured and transported in a way that doesn’t involve the deaths of animals?)

          A family of 6 can feed itself quite well on a single dairy cow that is slaughtered at the end of a year. The manure that that cow survives can fertilize all of the supplementary foods that said family would need. One life taken.

          Let see an estimate for the number of lives taken in the manufacture and transport of the almond juice and Cheerios alone for the same family of six over the course of a year….Anyone?

        • JacquieRN says

          Sorry, I was just trying to help apparently I didn’t. I was new to this site but now it appears to me that no new information or evidence-based info is being exchanged just tired same-old “arguments”.

          Somehow it seems strange to me that you tell the story of your choices but if someone else has a story you will are not open to hearing it-but instead “run by a guy who incidentally seems to be suffering from some sort of chronic wasting disease…..” : Dr. Greger’s work, health and story is quite amazing albeit different from yours.

          One last thing before I go…over my many years as a nurse, I have had the privilege of seeing human body from inside and outside; in pieces and as a whole – it can be resilient and survive but we as people are often blinded by an idea.

          Best of health to you and your family.

          • Karin says

            Hi there. Thank you for the wishes of health. I wish you the same.

            I guess I didn’t really perceive you as trying to help….considering that I was specifically asking for a three day meal plan based on WHOLE FOODS and not synthetic additives, one that was gluten and soy free and met all of a child’s nutritional requirements. You however chose to post not a plan but a link to meal options that included heavily processed foods with synthetic additives, made with wheat and refined oats and soy. I mean, did you REALLY think that I couldn’t have found THAT myself? And if you’re so opposed to collecting $100, couldn’t you have given it to a darn charity? We’re talking 3 days of nutritionally complete, natural vegan meals here….Is that really so hard?
            I fear that the answer is yes.

  133. Lucy says

    So who did the research. The meat and diary industries? There is absolutely nothing wrong with being vegan. In fact I have never felt this healty. I even was able to turn around my diabetes. Hmmmm

  134. Timothy Tang says

    I just want to say that people who still think that meat is the only nutritious food is just plain stupid and backdated, and only want to believe so because they cannot move away from the addiction of strong flavors. There is a proper way to be vegan without facing the nutrient deficiencies. Stupid people can just remain in their stupid meat diet.

    • Karin says

      Ha ha ha! I don’t happen to eat meat, but I can tell you that a whole lot of paleo-style eaters would be more than happy to eat soy ice cream and boca burgers and bread slathered with Earth Balance if taste were such a priority!

      Bone broths and liver aren’t exactly addictive foods, lol. :-)

      • KTB says

        Hmmm……then why does my mouth water when I think of butter fried liver and onions and salty bone broth with lots of fatty marrow???? Not every body can thrive on plant foods. I know mine didn’t and I am so much happier and healthier eating plenty of healthy fatty meats with my gobs of veggies and fruits. Taking out grains and legumes was the healthiest decision of my life.

        • Karin says

          I totally agree with you, KTB. My only point was that people aren’t ADDICTED to liver like they are to Doritos, for example. They might find it desirable, however, because they are in tune with what their body needs. The notion that people who eat meat are only doing it for the sake of their taste buds is just patently absurd.

          • says

            If you have done your research properly, you would have known that vegans go back to eating meat because they crave salty foods and fats too perhaps, because they didn’t eat a balanced vegan diet and deprived themselves from much salt and fat.

            KTM even said he/she wants to eat salty foods, your 2-person team-up is like going backwards.

            • Karin says

              Or, if you do your research, you may find that it’s because they develop things like osteoporosis, gaping holes in their teeth, and neurological disorders.

              • says

                That’s because they didn’t know how to eat right and suffer from deficiencies. In another words, they were stupid. If only vegans can suffer from osteoporosis then all the people in the world who suffers from osteoporosis must be vegans? Not true. They did not consume enough calcium, the foods they bought were grown on nutrient-deficient soils that is the norm nowadays, they did not take enough fats to carry the fat-soluble vitamins and they did not take enough B12.

    • Michael Cohen says

      Timothy Tang by “stupid people ” do you mean the 99.999+% of humanity that is not currently vegan? My God !! have we stupid humans been doing it all wrong for the last 21/2 million years?
      Does it make any sense to you as to why there are no reproducing vegan cultures? Why one has never been recorded? Veganism is an intellectual construct based on a defective view of nature. It often reflects an extreme bodily negative attitude. One has to ignore or over-ride the 911 calls ones body is sending. It is a form of slow self-righteous starvation.

        • Karin says

          That reminds me, Timothy….did you make the computer that you’re on? Because last I checked, commercially produced computers are far from vegan. You’re making this too easy. :-)

          • says

            The idea is to minimize suffering to animals as much as possible. If I wanted to minimize all possible suffering to animals I would have killed myself. Maybe that notorious vegan girl from Britain killed herself for such a reason too.

            And I choose to buy 2nd hand computers unlike most people who buy new ones.

            • Karin says

              “The idea is to minimize all possible suffering to animals as much as possible.”

              Are you implying that you would DIE if you gave up use of that computer?!? Or can you be honest and admit that you just really LIKE to use your computer?
              After all, it would have been POSSIBLE for you to just give up computers altogether, right? (As I did when I went vegan, giving up TV, film, cameras, etc.)

              And if your second-hand computer had been sold to another bloke while you stayed true to your vegan principles, THAT would have prevented a new computer from being sold.

            • Michael Cohen says

              Timothy Tang “Minimize the suffering” This is exactly the distorted view of nature and the natural world i was talking about. A quality is added to the natural world and its cycles that simply does not belong there, it is “compassion”. Every living form is happily devouring other living forms in order to maintain its very existence. The purpose of an herbivore is to feed a carnivore, and most die in a very natural way, being killed and eaten by a carnivore. The vegan excuse, minimizing animal suffering comes from a disassociation from nature, not from a closeness. You have avoided answering my question so I will answer it for you.There are no naturally occurring vegan cultures because in the long run it is inherently nutrient deficient and anti life. Veganism is often the expression of a bodily and vital negativity. Self deniai is reveled in and justified because it is for a “good cause” Animal rights !!. Veganism is itself a form of animal abuse, it is the abuse of the animals most intimate to us, our bodies. Many many animals are killed growing grains and vegetables. Are their deaths qualitatively better than the deaths of animals used directly for food?

              • says

                Raising land animals up to 60 billion heads is not natural.

                “no naturally occurring vegan cultures”

                There are lots of monks in Asia who are vegan. The advancement of the B12 supplement and other minerals such as iodine also allows modern people to go vegan unlike precious generations.

                • Michael Cohen says

                  I said reproducing vegan cultures,surviving over generations. The negative effects and nutrient deficiencies will manifest more and more over generations until there will be no reproduction. The only person I know that was raised vegan was one of my teachers, a Taoist monk, raised in a monastery because he was orphaned as a child. He said that he started eating animal food the day he left the monastery. He has had lifelong bone problems. You point to an extremely isolated, miniscule part of society as an example of the universalviabilityof a vegan diet and ridicule me and dismiss my arguments saying that most of the world does not eat this way?

                • Michael Cohen says

                  A monastery is not a naturally occurring culture. It is based on intellectual and emotional constructs.No one naturally chooses to eat this way.

  135. Jake says

    You can expose mushrooms to sunlight for more vitamin D
    “Here is a simple experiment we did one summer afternoon in Kamilche Point, Wash. We compared several forms of organically-grown shiitake mushrooms, which had starting levels of 100 IU/100 grams. We compared the vitamin D levels of three sets of mushrooms, all from the same crop. The first was grown and dried indoors. The second set was dried outdoors in the sunlight with their gills facing down. The third set of mushrooms was dried outdoors in the sunlight with their gills facing upward for full sun exposure. The most vitamin D was found in shiitake dried with gills up that were exposed to sunlight for two days, six hours per day. The vitamin D levels in these mushrooms soared from 100 IU/100 grams to nearly 46,000 IU/100 grams (see chart). Their stems, though, produced very little vitamin D, only about 900 IU. Notably, vitamin D levels dropped on the third day, probably due to overexposure to UV. “

  136. JoJo says

    My goodness! Such a large amount of dogmatic preaching and not enough listening by the varied range of pretentious vegetarians. We choose our own paths as dynamic and unique individuals. What works for some, and not coincidentally, what works for some family lines, does not work for all as evidenced by the ongoing cracking of the human genome code. There will always be outliers and exceptions and that is what precisely reinforces our uniqueness. Instead of hurling insults and creating the perception that this article promotes the consumption of CAFO meat, just read and digest the comments. Nobody in this forum has given a thumbs up to this inhumane practice and yet the vegetarian brigade repeatedly thumps that bible.
    We all choose our path and few can be argued as morally superior to another because, as an active member of any society, our presence and habits have far reaching implications on all creatures, sentient or otherwise. The individual may think more highly of their own beliefs but that is inherently biased. And, when you only surround yourself with like-minded people you tend to only strengthen the vigor of your heel position.

    • Helen says

      Lol, my thoughts pretty much, lots of soap box preaching, riding around on personal hobby horses, certainly some not prepared to accept that we all can have a valid opinion, and that everyone is different. There are some on here determined to shove their views down everyone else’s throats, not the best way to go about things.

      What a can of worms has been opened :)

      Thankyou to Chris, he has certainly been a great help to me, I have bought his book, but also appreciate all the free advice given by him and others

  137. JacquieRN says

    Chris, I see many beliefs; myths (and culture) surfacing in this discussion and as an RN having worked in many settings with many people so I am not stranger to this. Therefore, I respect you for your gentle words in this post. However, many are sweeping statements and these could easily be said about animal/dairy eaters and to me don’t make a compelling argument for optimal health choices. Maybe you will do a follow up post on “Why You Should Think Twice About Animal and Dietary Diets”.

    For 1 instance:

    “Vegan diets, in particular, are almost completely devoid of certain nutrients that are crucial for physiological function.” I would challenge this as not factually backed by meta-analysis and research studies. I could easily agree that some “vegans” may not be eating a healthy balanced diet that could be devoid of some nutrients if prolonged – eating Oreos, coke, potato chips, licorice, etc. If one eats a whole foods, plant-based diet only one supplement B12 (due to our sanitation practices) may be necessary if not eating any B12 fortified foods.

    However, the exact same could be said for the majority eating the standard, processed meat, poultry, and dairy diet – just because people eat animal products doesn’t change the fact they too are devoid of many nutrients that a plants provide.

    And you actually advocate people to take certain supplements in a link in this post so not much difference on vegans taking for optimal health if needed.

    Also, I am puzzled that you would have cited a research paper (12) that addresses “nutrients of concern” but clearly states vegetarians are healthier with lower mortality rates: “As a result of these factors, vegetarians typically have lower body mass index, serum total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, and blood pressure; reduced rates of death from ischemic heart disease; and decreased incidence of hypertension, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers than do non-vegetarians.”

    Lastly, and most curious – you opened by saying: “Some are compelled by the environmental impact of confinement animal feeding operations (CAFO). Others are guided by ethical concerns or religious reasons. I respect these reasons and appreciate anyone who thinks deeply about the social and spiritual impact of their food choices—even if my own exploration of these questions has led me to a different answer. “

    You didn’t address how your social, spiritual, ethical, environmental impacts, etc. exploration lead you to a “different answer” – only the same belief that eating animal products = is to eat optimally. Change has to happen at the personal level to impact a global system that is no longer sustainable, if for no other reason than we should be good ancestors or there will be no food:

    “In every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation… even if it requires having skin as thick as the bark of a pine.” (Iroquois Law)

    • John Richards says

      Maybe you missed it but Chris has repeatedly stated that some of the anti-meat conclusions in research papers (12) do not distinguish between eating highly processed meats such as hot dogs and pepperoni versus eating only grass-fed beef. Then there are also unaccounted-for confounders such as meat eaters more frequently engaging in unhealthy behaviors including smoking and alcohol consumption.

    • Stipetic says

      Speaking of the Iroquois, which my great-grandmother was:

      Meat was also a large part of the Iroquois diet, it provided them strength and allowed them to endure the harsh winters.The men were counted on to bring the tribe its meat.The men hunted a vast range of animals using bows and arrows to kill black bear, elk, deer, rabbits, and wolves. They trapped wild turkey, ducks and other birds. They also hunted turtles for their meat and shells. Like many indigenous groups the Iroquois did not waste any part of an animal. Often bones and other unwanted parts were made into tools, spoons, knives and other household items. Whatever the men brought back from the hunt was cooked by the women and shared among the whole village.

      • OnTheFence says

        Oh yes, the Native peoples lived off the land and used all the tools they could to survive as did all our ancestors. Its just that the masses don’t live that way today. We need to keep evolving. Meat was used for most generations (and few populations today) when and where it could be found hunted down – which involved miles of walking and or running – for the masses we don’t hunt, run walk for miles, work to clean the meat and work to fashion tools. We drive to the store, hunt at the meat, fish, poultry counter. I am referencing populations not individuals – because we do have a very small number of people able to get true wild animals for food. I just don’t think we humans stopped evolving – no longer need wisdom teeth (jaw is getting smaller) the planet needs us to do so for generations coming – some thing has to change in how we are destroying our mother earth. PS: I don’t want to go back – I like modern conveniences, sutures, antibiotics, c-sections (rather that die in childbirth, etc.)

        • Christopher says

          Modern conveniences and ancestral eating do not need to be in opposition. As a species we benefit from improvements to medicine but we do not benefit from so-called improvements in food, particularly industrial processing.

          As for our jaws getting smaller, evolution may or may not be in play. There are theories that diminishment due to improper nutrition may be a factor as well.

        • Stipetic says

          In the previous post, OnTheFence, one of the vegan flock mentioned an Iroquois quote to support her position. Well, I’m using the same quote to support mine as I am only 3 generations removed from my great grandmother, and so it appears the Iroquois way should be maintained for at least four more generations; it is a way of eating that is still relevant as the time elapse is not enough time to have evolved much as a species. So, eating plentiful meat (from the entire carcass) seems like something I am optimally designed for. And so are you, if you open your mind to it. Whether I kill my own cute-faced prey is irrelevant as I don’t find this immoral, certainly no more than a lion devouring a wilderbeast while it is still alive. Nor is it relevant that I’m at a computer now or that I live in a large city, etc. I eat for health; animal products are exquisitely nutritious and healthy.

  138. Erica Martell says

    This is how I hear these conversations breaking down: On one side “I’m tired of hearing….” “I want a belly full of bacon.” On the other side the arguments are always about the whole, never about the individual. In other words people who eat vegan diets are expressing here they do so after considering the whole, or others – even if they went back to meat at some point. People who are defensive about meat, or say they just like it are usually defending their individual interest. Be all that as it may, the way we are living is not-sustainable. Let’s hope there’s still time to change course, but it will require the willingness to change, and not stubborn self-interest. Some people feel it’s already too late, but whatever people feel, we’re on the path…

    • FrankG says

      Well you are wrong Erica…

      I HAVE considered the “whole” and am convinced (as I already stated in earlier comments) that the only sustainable way to feed the world and save the ecosystem which sustains us, is with small, local farms, including the rearing of livestock.

      • OnTheFence says

        Hi FrankG, how are you working toward this end? Are you able to farm or buy only directly from farms? How will small local farms provide enough of the animal products to feed the masses? I don’t have answers – only that it appears the buy decreasing consumption (which is healthy) supple and demand will slowly cause a correction.

        • OnTheFence says

          oops typos: only that it appears that by decreasing consumption (which is healthy) supply and demand will slowly cause a correction.

  139. Whisper Horse says

    I’d also like to bring up results of the curing effect of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes by many many people now who have adopted a whole foods plant based vegan diet. If we were supposed to eat meat, cheese, and eggs, then why are all these people curing our top killing diseases by removing these animal products completely from their diets. Also, the physiology of our own bodies dictates that we do best with minimal to no acidic foods, our physiological system is not made for processing acidic foods and prefers to be on the alkaline side 7.5 so this bring up the truth about all and every animal product that exists, they are all highly acidic! An acidic body gives cancer a place to thrive because an acidic body has more inflammation and decreased circulation. Cancer thrives where there is decreased circulation, and it was shown in 1907 that cancer dies in an alkaline environment. Another study that was done, in fact the largest and most long term study on human nutrition that took over fifty years to complete The China Study that no one has yet been able to debunk because they can not debunk that big of a study. It not only took many doctors and medical scientists but because of the amount of time and effort put into that study it was reviewed and the results were astounding. Dairy is one of the largest cancer promoters that exists today, even more so than tobacco.

    • bcflyfisher says

      China Study? *sigh*

      Frank already answered that one. Welcome to 4 years ago!

      Want a long term study? Try Framingham.

      Next you’ll learn that meat doesn’t cause cancer, saturated fat and dietary cholesterol don’t cause heart disease, heart healthy whole grains are anything but, that “vegetable oils” are one of the worst things we ever invented, and that sugar is a wee bit of a problem.

  140. chelsea says

    No. Just no. I know that you’ve given up your morals to start eating meat again and this is your excuse, but no. Really try to come up with something better. Nutritionfacts.org is a great place to start. Good luck.

    • FrankG says

      How dare you judge others by your own “moral” standards!?!

      I do not see eating meat as in any way amoral or immoral.

      Get off your high horse and if you want to see respect for all life you might try starting with your own species.

    • bcflyfisher says

      Do meat eaters troll veg*an websites the way you’re doing here? You’re here strictly to preach your own misguided agenda.

      Yet I never see the reverse happening.

      Either way, believe whatever you want but don’t wander into someone else’s playground and start dictating the rules.

      Or, as Eddie Murphy said, “it’s my house, and if you don’t like it……”

      • OnTheFence says

        Actually, since i am on the fence I visit different sites/conversations and of course, then do my own research.
        Paleo/meat-eaters on numerous on the veg sites and most are not at all kind! Even here one of the “meat men” slammed all veg women – maybe they are “witchy” not due to food but they have to work with him – sorry as a woman I couldn’t resist that one.
        That is why this topic is not a battle of research – but from what i see and for me a battle of the heart. I am leaning a bit – the arguments on both sides are getting old. I think the amount of research and clinical outcomes on the mostly plants, rare meat or vegan side is greater and more convincing. Sustainability aspects = veggie. Animal CAFOs for those of us who don’t have farms or farmers near us = veg.

        Personal stories have too many variables – health vegans and healthy meat eaters – but then some % smokers live long healthy lives – so I look at decreasing risk.

  141. says

    I was a vegetarian for over 20 (!) years so I speak from experience. While this diet suited me just fine for several years (a good clean out?) it was not healthy for me in the long haul. My thyroid was shot (too much soy?) and I was thin but low in muscle. During this period my first husband developed severe heart disease (he followed a low fat vegetarian diet) – needed 4 bypasses and heart valve replacement surgery. He survived only a year after surgery and was diagnosed with “failure to thrive”. I believe years of too little protein damage his heart ( a muscle) and left him without the resources to recover.
    I like to remind people who are on strict diets not to get too cocky about it. The diet you follow today may well NOT be the same one you follow years from now. You may find yourself “eating crow”. I used to teach macrobiotic cooking classes. I would NEVER thought I’d trade my tofu for a steak.

    • Sharon says

      If you have thyroid issues it could meant you were deficient in iodine. There are fat-soluble vitamins that need fats to be transported within the body. Too much high GI carbs in one setting can lead to inflammation of the blood vessels and glycation, which both can leave to heart disease. Omega 3 fatty acids has been found to lessen heart disease. Olive oil has been found to damage the endothelium(blood vessels) that can worsen heart disease.

  142. Sylvia RN MSN NP-C says

    Great article Chris! Thank you for sharing! After trying a vegan diet in college that left me feeling tired and sick I realized that it is NOT the way to go! I’m follow the Weston A Price/Paleo diet now today, in better health than ever before, as well as lean & muscular! :-)

    • JacquieRN says

      Hi Sylvia, as an RN MBA myself I am wondering what vegan diet you were eating in college that made you “jump” to Price? I had looked at several of the Price research articles and commentary – so many points are unscientific and find mythical – for instance: “…the diet of modern American women is so appalling, and their preparation for successful breastfeeding so lacking, that their breast milk provides no better nourishment for their infants than factory-made formula.”

      High protein diets will help short term for
      “lean” but can’t be healthfully sustained long term – just one paper with multiple research cited as example: http://www.pcrm.org/pdfs/health/High-Protein-Diets.pdf

  143. Sybil says

    I have been on a vegetarian diet for the majority of 40 years. My annual blood work does not find me lacking in any of the nutritional elements discussed in your article. Like most people, I do take supplements….

    But the MOST important reason to be vegetarian/vegan is the cruelty of factory farming and the murder of cogent, sensitive animals.

    Other important reasons:
    …the enormous cost to our planet to raise animals for food. They eat more grain etc per pound than it would take to sustain hungry humans.
    …destruction of the rainforests to make room for cattle grazing.

    Our planet is in serious ecological difficulty, part of which can be offset with a vegetarian/vegan diet.

    Stop letting your taste buds dictate your conscience.

    • John Richards says

      What about the fact that in the wild these “sensitive cogent” animals tend to eat each other, ripping bodies apart without regard to humaneness?

      And what about all that forest land being changed to more and more intensively farmed crop fields, causing run-off of fertilizers and pesticides as well as depletion of essential micronutrients and microorganisms from the soil?

      I’m tired of vegans and vegetarians assuming this holier than thou attitude.

      • Whisper Horse says

        Actually the rain forests are being ripped apart for growing more feed for cattle and for raising “grass fed” cow flesh. A larger amount of green house gasses are caused by cattle than all of the vehicles on the planet put together. The run off of feces creating massive acres of dead zones. The number one destroyer of our planet is animal agriculture.

        • FrankG says

          It’s like someone opens a tap and out pours all the exact same vegetarian/vegan verbal diarrhea… dressed up as pseudoscience, or social, or moral commentary with the (probably sincere but hopelessly misinformed) devotees mindlessly repeating what they have read, or been told by other vega*tarians… without even pausing to question any of it, or bothering to read earlier comments where many of these points have already been addressed. What a monumental waste of everyone’s time.

  144. Audrey says

    I like what Frank said and Erica too…even though they might seem somewhat contradictory.

    I’ve made the decision based on my own experiences, medical advice, etc. to eat some meat. But to really reduce the amount (s) I was eating previously. I didn’t feel good when I tried to be a vegetarian in the past and somehow I gained weight. I probably craved carbs. Now, I’m eating no grain, no sugar, no junk foods, small amounts of animal products, lots of vegetables…..just doing the best I can. I think that is all anyone can do. And I see my doctors regularly and have my vitamins tested and so forth.

    But I have seen those documentaries about animal cruelty. The things Erica mentioned. It is horrid.

    Even though I still eat some meat, I feel like the excessive consumption and demand for meat likely helped to cause such atrocious behaviors.mGreed, high demand, competition, lack of humane and appropriate regulations, etc.

    IF you can accept people see things differently and move forward….What can the general population do, both vegans and meat eaters, to help protest these in-humane behaviors in this industry? Is there any hope for change?

  145. John Richards says

    You mention bacon as being a processed meat, in the same category as hot dogs. Just why is bacon bad, and is the same true for uncured bacon?

  146. Erica Martell says

    I think we are just obligated to move towards awareness and compassion, away from defensiveness and self-involvement. To become more and more aware of the whole. I don’t know why we’re so separated from the natural world – the only beings that move in disharmony. Kind of makes me feel Adam and the apple came from someplace… To come up with a 360 degree understanding of what we choose and why. It doesn’t matter if the world is over or if it makes a difference or if it’s too late.

    While we are alive we have to figure out what our purpose is and how we are going to play our cards. Most people who experience suffering or the suffering of others have an experience of awakening that changes their behavior towards compassion. The only thing anyone can ask of anyone else is to be open to exposing themselves to new information and to become mindful of their daily choices.

    For me – although I’d been a pescatarian for many years once, recently I’d been happily eating a little meat for over 25 years, not thinking anything about it. I recently completed health coach certification at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, which was a great intro. Broccoli, good, kale, good… beef. hmmm.. There was only one lecture during the whole year on factory farming, by an ex-rancher, but it stayed with me. Then I met a man sitting in Central Park who owns a company that provides alot of beef to Whole Foods and he said to me “I’d never eat that stuff.” Just another piece of the puzzle that stayed in my mind. Then I got on Facebook for the first time a few months ago and started following dog rescues and somehow the cows and pigs and chickens got in there as well, and I began to be offered the opportunity to see things I had never seen – dogs boiled alive, dogs baked alive into flat pancakes, cows hacked apart while still not quite dead, baby chicks being dumped into a macerator by the thousands, thousands of livestock dieing on these boats of hell from Australia to the Middle East for what I call fetish slaughter…. I thought it might challenge my sanity, but I also thought I could not make believe it didn’t exist. So then what? I don’t grow my own chickens in the backyard, I don’t have a cow to milk. I don’t want anyone doing that violence in my name. Frankly I feel the people who are forced to do that in order to make a living are experiencing not much less violence than the animals they kill and it makes them brutal. That’s where I am now. I take everything into account and I try to make each decision mindfully and in the present moment.. I struggle but more often than not I am making them to come out on the side of all and not only my own interest.

    • FrankG says

      First paragraph of this blog post…

      “There are many reasons why people choose to go vegetarian or vegan. Some are compelled by the environmental impact of confinement animal feeding operations (CAFO). Others are guided by ethical concerns or religious reasons. I respect these reasons and appreciate anyone who thinks deeply about the social and spiritual impact of their food choices—even if my own exploration of these questions has led me to a different answer.”

      I agree with Chris… my own exploration of these questions has led me to a different answer.

      We are each of us allowed to choose what we eat, where it comes from and how we get it, just forget the sanctimonious, holier-than-thou, preachy stuff, guilt trips, pseudo-science etc.. to try and convince others that your way is the only way.

      • chelsea says

        Preachy stuff? You mean like the suffering and death of billions of animals? That’s not preachy stuff that’s compassion. Try to get over all of this other b.s.

        • FrankG says

          Preachy stuff like you trying to force your world-view down my throat… I’m not the one bothered by your personal choices or what you eat and yet you seem overly bothered about mine

          I respect your choices to do as you please but please don’t dress it up as anything else in order to rationalise your choices.

        • John Richards says

          It’s preachy because you try to persuade by emotion rather than by science, and you fail to acknowledge that
          a) all living things have to die, and
          b) in the wild, many animals eat each other, often killing in very brutal ways.

  147. David says

    To those that disagree with this article, would you please get a blood test for B12, calcium, iron, zinc, EPA & DHA, vitamin A & D, and post your results here? And repeat yearly, since for some it takes years for deficiencies to develop. Would you be willing to do that?

    • Stephen Albers says

      David makes a point that I forgot to include in my earlier post.
      Nutrients deficiencies are not a daily, weekly, or even monthly concern. Fasting regimens of up to 40 days where NO nutrients are consumed are routinely administered to patients without deficiency symptoms occurring because the body stores nutrients. Therefore a personal nutritional strategy should have a long term horizon. That is why nutrient testing is so valuable. It confirms what past absorption has been for whatever diet the individual has actually consumed for an extended period. Everyone who is concerned about nutritional adequacy should adopt the motto: Test, don’t guess.” Test results will eliminate the uncertainty by disclosing the truth in a clear easily understood form that can be the solid basis for future nutrition goals.

  148. Chris H says

    It’s an objectively correct article, but it’s also biased and full of generalizations. It’s very easy to write a blog post which ignores facts that do not support your argument. If I were to make as many generalizations regarding people with omnivorous diets as this acupuncturist has about people with vegan diets, I could write a lengthy and objectively correct article about why people with those unhealthy eating habits are more likely to suffer from afflictions such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, hypertension, etc…

  149. Susan says

    I can’t speak for anyone but myself but after 32 years of being a strict low fat vegetarian I found myself with a B12 and B1 deficiency and osteoporosis. For over 4 years I have reversed all of these problems (plus a lot of digestive problems) by eating a diet of pastured, organic, grass finished and wild caught sources of animal protein, a LOT more vegetables and a lot of unprocessed fats (ghee, coconut and animal fats). I also don’t worry about gaining weight anymore. I found the change hard and a little heartbreaking at first but as long as I am careful to find local, humane sources of meat, I’m now okay with this. I don’t consume mass quantities, just high quality and I know I was meant to be an omnivore.

  150. Erica Martell says

    We get most of our information about nutrition from the latest popular books, which often make their writers successful, and speak to different audiences depending on who the author feels is his target market. The Paleo Code written by Rob Wolf was one of those, sort of a modern Atkins, South Beach. Considering they barely teach nutrition at Harvard medical school it’s sort of a “new” science for most people. If you are eating burgers and donuts, Paleo would be an extension of your knowledge and your capacity to handle your own choices about your health. However, everything is on a continuum, and Paleo was an idea, not an answer, which is something Chris Kresser addressed in his book The Paleo Code, which said you should use the information as a tool for yourself, not as dogma.
    It’s moved us further down the line in terms of understanding and self-care. Someone here pointed out that paleo in 2014 is not paleo in 2008.

    Two things though – I observe that people love to argue about this stuff on the internet, however I have no doubt that many people who can quote chapter and verse on taurine, choline and other nutritional minutiae are also sitting behind their screens eating donuts. Internet research is not the same as spending alot of time calibrating what you actually eat. Two, there is a continuum – what I see meat eaters talking about here is themselves – optimizing their own enjoyment, and down the continuum – their own health. What I hear vegetarians and vegans talking about is the “whole” which includes animal welfare and the earth. In this gap there seems to be no communication.

    Vegans are saying “put on the lens that shows you that our entire lives are deeply entwined with the violence that is done to animals” in the same way that early abolitionists were committed to rejiggering reality until all people saw through the lens that slavery was not just this or that but was incompatible with and central to living a just life on any level. You can imagine the conversations then – when slavery was something everyone had grown up with and took for granted as the way things were, even most slaves. So this is the palette that vegans are working with.

    I suggest if you want to eat meat you at least get on Facebook or the internet and take a look at the violence inflicted on cows, pigs and chickens. I don’t think you can necessarily get it all at once. I myself refuse to expose myself to much of it, especially the videos, and the honorable alternative, I decided, was that if I could not watch, I should not eat it. I’m not a vegan, yet. I’m making changes every day, because it involves my clothing and feeding my dog, as well as adjusting those things that have supported me through stressful times, like half and half in coffee. My thought about this is not to replace them with vegan alternatives, like soymilk in coffee, or veggie burgers and fake bacon, but to take a completely new look at what’s out there. Maybe I’ll try espresso instead and of coffee with half and half….much of the world chooses it. I’ll look into Indian food, Thai food, raw food, etc. etc. It’s the beginning of paying close attention, and if I need to take a supplement or two, I’ll figure it out. In these arguments remember that much of the world is starving and and Albert Schweitzer said “Give a thought to the suffering from which you so carefully protect yourself.” (slight misquote from memory).

    • FrankG says

      Firstly I do NOT get my “information about nutrition from the latest popular books”, nor am I sitting here “eating donuts”.

      But most importantly I am getting more than a little sick of the sanctimonious preaching and attempts at guilt by those opposed to animal cruelty. Read my comments… I am ALSO against animal cruelty, factory-farming, mono-cultures and all the other ills of our modern food-supply chain. It is disrespectful, damaging to our health and that of our ecosystem… and it is NOT sustainable.

      I am not a hypocrite: I have before and would again, kill and prepare my own meat.. face to face. No hiding behind anonymous, boneless, skinless, shrink-wrapped protein patties. It is not something I relish, look forward to, or enjoy
      but it is something that can be done with dignity and respect for all life… including humans.

      Local, sustainable farms COULD feed the world, but if they can’t, it would be because we have already over-reached ourselves as a species, with our throw-away attitude to finite resources such as fossil fuels.

    • JacquieRN says

      Hi Erica, if you have not read the following book yet, I think you might find it interesting: Why we Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows by Melanie Joy, PhD Ed.M. (Harvard-educated psychologist, professor of psychology and sociology at the University of Massachusetts Boston)

      “We don’t see meat eating as we do vegetarianism – as a choice, based on a set of assumptions about animals, our world and ourselves. Rather, we see it as a given, the “natural” thing to do. We eat animals without thinking about what we are doing and why, because the belief system that underlies this behavior is invisible.”

      • FrankG says