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. Reta Vong says

    Very interesting article.A vegetarian diet is the optimal way to meet your nutritional needs. The key to a healthy vegetarian diet or vegan diet is variety – which includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes….….I’m hoping we’ll be able to see results soon.

  2. Kathy says

    Presumably the author will follow this article with one about the dangers of eating meat. Forget those stern warnings about rare problems facing vegetarians and vegans who don’t eat well. Let’s hear more about the long line of common illnesses that affect meat-eaters instead – heart disease, cancer, gall bladder disease, kidney stones, diabetes, and so on.

    Meanwhile, I don’t have to take statins. Thank you Vegan Diet!

    • maxthedog says

      The author mentioned the “Health Food Shoppers” study where there was no difference in longevity seen between health-conscious veg*ns and omnivores.

  3. deanna says

    I think it is unfortunate that people put fear into others for challenging the norm of eating meat daily or frequently and adopting a plant-based diet to reduce risk of vascular disease, diabetes, cancer etc…

    This is what I’ve learned sinced going plant-based:

    If you want to go plant-based…
    1) Drastically reduce omega-6 sources of food and include
    daily flax and modest amounts of walnuts in your diet to increase your EPA/DHA levels. Consider DHA supp. for insurance-no mega doses needed. If you are not opposed to eating animals have a few sardines or salmon on top of a yummy salad, but do not feel you have to eat any mammal meats to get the protein you need. Every plant you eat (even the highest carb fruits) contain protein.

    2) Include traditional vegetarian foods: seaweed, miso, mushrooms, lentils, quinoa, black rice, brown rice etc..

    3) The phytates in legumes are removed when soaked, rinsed and cooked thoroughly. Also, consider fermented legumes such as miso and tempeh. Prepare and cook them as has been done for centuries. Lentils have been around for millennia!

    4) 95% of patients treated for B-12 deficiency are frequent meat, egg and dairy omnivores. Elderly with PPI use are at very high risk. They have absorption problems and are not treated with increased meat intake.

    5) Most iron deficiencies occur in omnivores-not more likely in plant-based eaters or vegetarians, and it is due to excessive bleeding either with mentruation, polyps, fibroids etc… Eat daily greens with a little lemon juice for best iron absorption.

    6) Just because a nutrient is lower in a particular dietary pattern does not equate to deficiency (testosterone, carnosine…). Omnivores also have much higher IGF levels, but we certainly do not want to raise these levels in anyone.

    7) Look at cuisine of cultures thriving on plant-based diets and emulate them: Okinawans, Ikarians, Nicoyans, Loma Linda Adventists etc…

  4. Simona says

    I recently gave up meat after 15 years of struggling with digestive problems. I went to see a dietitian and took a whole lot of blood tests. The outcome was that I am lactose and glucose intolerant. My blood type A+. I always cooked healthy and every once in a while we would treat ourselfs with some take aways or junk food… I never enjoyed the after effect.
    Now 4 weeks down the line eating “Clean” I must say that I feel like a whole new person. I have more energy and my joints aren’t aching. I am no longer bloated and I have lost about 5 kg. It is not easy to make such a change after 32years of being an omnivore and we as south Africans loves our “braai’s”. I ate a chop the other night and instantly I felt heavy in the stomach and the sore joints were back in the morning. I chose to try a vegetarian diet to improve my health and accommodate my lifestyle. I still prepare meat for my partner but he is also happy to veg out with me. I take my hat off to all vegetarians as I believe your minds are creative and clean. I will continue being a vegetarian and feeling awesome and even a few pounds lighter. As for deficiencies nothing a few supplements can solve.
    Something that I find so sad in above comments are that even though it is personal choice to be who and what you are…… neither parties respect each other. Its choice and if it works for you let it be and learn from each other rather then criticize one another. Thanks for all the great tips and links and information all comes in very handy.

    • Justin says

      How exactly is meat polluting our body? If you’re asking people to let their body adapt to the vegan lifestyle, then why not let yourself adapt to the omnivorous lifestyle?

  5. matthew says

    Forget your arguments about factory farming and the like, the real problem is that there are too many people in the world.

    • Judy says

      And you would solve this problem how??? Since we can’t magically depopulate the world, those of us who are able to need to step up and reduce our impact on it.

      • michael mckee says

        The best start is to stop eating and wearing cows and cow products. After the US military, cows are the single largest source of greenhouse gasses in the world. If you account for deforestation for pasture land they may be the largest. Grass fed cows are worse that grain fed for pollution.

        • Judy says

          I’m with you. Michael. Haven’t eaten meat of any kind in a quarter century. I also haven’t bought any products derived from cows (or other animals, to the best of my knowledge) in a decade. Unfortunately, a lot of people have a blind spot on this topic due to cognitive dissonance, or maybe some just “want what they want” and don’t care about the consequences.

  6. Erica says

    China has purchased America’s largest pork “producer” Smithfield Hams. If you’d ever seen the picture of pigs jogged for miles in the back of open trucks with huge hooks holding them in place impaled through their lower palate and jaw you’d feel nauseous at the thought of bacon. That’s if you can feel their pain. If not, online papers are reporting today that the 80% of antibiotics produced by big pharma and fed to “livestock” are creating antibiotic resistant bacteria that now travel through the air. So those who demand bacon and their pleasures, despite the cost to the animals and poor suckers who are forced to make a living slaughtering them, will probably live to die of it.

  7. Erica says

    K_______M – no one who is concerned about the specism involved in the raising of animals for slaughter should be “embarrassed”. They are simply more conscious, period. There is no other way to look at it. Further, all this concern for the nutritional deficiencies of vegans is touching but misapplied. Nutrition is a young science, there’s not all that much food science out there, we’re all being poisoned anyway, and animal products, although bad for the soul and the environment, are not the determining factor. The difference between vegans and non-vegans is more simply an ability to see beyond their own needs and desires.

  8. Lisa says

    As a Bachelor’s prepared RN who made straight As in nutrition, I couldn’t pass without a comment. I have COMFORTABLY converted to a plant based diet, free of anything processed for the most part. I do occasionally eat yogurt, cheese, egg whites, and humanely raised beef and fish. However, a diet of plants is no less healthy than a carnivorous diet. Humans are fit to eat plants and animals, diary is a bit more in question (after about 18 months of age we no longer need diary). An big consideration is balance. The real issue from a nutritional standpoint is chemicals, over cooking, and incorrect proportions of nutrients. The real social issue is the lack of stewardship and the disregard for animals in the way we raise them as a food/goods source. The author of this article hasn’t adequately researched this issue, and hasn’t indicated medical training of any kind. This is of great concern to me because these days folks take anything they read on the web as gospel, and this article is inaccurate and misleading. If you want the answers to your individual dietary needs, refer to a licensed medical professional or 2 or 3. And remember, the unnatural chemicals in our foods (foods are all broken down into chemical molecular components…your body doesn’t see chicken, it sees chemical components of chicken) alter us on an atomic level, often permanently. More so than meat vs plants, the issue should be how you can consume a healthy balanced diet free of contaminants.

  9. Leah Bradshaw-Smith says

    I just read this, and I’m thinking, will becoming vegetarian help me lose weight? Well I’m almost a teenager (age is just a number folks, I am actually very tall and mature for my age) and I’ve overweight for almost my whole life. I can’t really give up meat (my race is basically revolves around meat, if you know what I mean. I don’t think I worded it right). But I will try if it will help me lose weight along with exercise. I’ve read about all the nutritional deficiencies, and I really don’t want them because I’m only young and I don’t want my grades to drop. So I’m kind of split two ways with this decision. Should I go vegetarian, or is there a healthier option?

    • Leah Bradshaw-Smith says

      ‘ I’ve read about all the nutritional deficiencies, and I really don’t want them because I’m only young and I don’t want my grades to drop ‘ What I really meant is that I don’t want to get ill from deficiencies.

      • Anne says

        You are very “UNINFORMED” and old fashioned. If you are eating a balanced plant based nutrition, you don’t have anything to worry about. It is the meat that is full of cholesterol and fat and is linked to cancer, diabetes and obesity among many other diseases.

        • John says

          Unfortunately your information appears outdated. Please google “Cholesterol in food not a concern, new report says. (FEB 19, 2005) and I quote: “The 2015 DGAC – evidence shows NO appreciable relationship between consumption of dietary cholesterol and serum blood cholesterol, consistent with the AHA/ACC (Am. Heart assoc./Am. College of Cardiology) report. Cholesterol is NOT a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.” Only 15% of circulating cholesterol comes from what you eat; the remainder, from the liver – according to a Dr. Steven Nissen at the Cleveland Clinic. Additionally, grass-fed beef has healthy amounts of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) in it which is heart healthy. Meat is NOT evil.

    • Lisa says

      A plant based diet will not help you lose weight, necessarily. You need to eat carbs sparingly, and avoid processed foods because they have unnatural chemicals and high calorie sources that are hidden. Once you have removed processed foods, and an overabundance of carbs and high calorie foods, you should exercise. You can be a carnivore and be as thin as you can as a pescetarian, ova-vegetarian, lacto, etc. Moderation, caloric reduction, no processed foods, and exercise :)

  10. VL says

    Honestly…. it doesn’t matter what you say, the FDA has recently published new guidelines urging people to consume less animal product. It is FACT that we consume far too much and we’re unhealthy because of it. Also, I’ve never met an unhealthy vegan/vegetarian who was doing it right. Yeah, you’re unhealthy if you’re not providing your body with the correct nutrients when you decide to cut something out. Animal product isn’t the only way to live, we can get our nutrients from a combination of all kinds non-animal products and this article glossed over that.That’s the beauty of the fact we have thousands of food items to choose from. Also, this is something people forget: EVERYONE’S BODY IS DIFFERENT so honestly there is no right or wrong choice when it comes to the health of your body because everyone digests and absorbs their nutrients differently. But let me tell you nothing from companies like Perdue or Tyson or any other “factory-farm” is good for you or healthy. If you choose meat/animal products pleace choose locally and educate yourself on the companies that produce it all. You will be surprised to find that there is a very damn good reason people becomes vegans and vegetarians… lol

    • Eric says

      I think the point of this article was not to say that a vegetarian or vegan diet is bad. It is more of a caution as to not assume that going vegetarian or vegan will automatically lead to a healthier lifestyle. It is instead wise to try out various healthy diets that may or may not contain animal products or byproducts.

      I know for myself, I come from a family that has a very high metabolism, and due to this and an active lifestyle, something like a vegetarian diet is ultimately something I can’t do. I need animal products in order to consume all the nutrients I need to be healthy. That’s why there is no “one size fits all” diet out there. It just depends on the person’s lifestyle and body.

      • Anne says

        No human body needs animal products. You are eating a rotted flesh of an animal that was slaughtered, packaged and shipped from the other part of the country. It is full of antibiotic, hormones, steroids, feces and fear, not wanting to die. Your intestines are well over 20 plus feet long and meat stays in your system over 72 hours in 98.6 degree temperature, while your body is consuming so much energy to digest. While its rotting in your body, its distributing into your organs forming diseases and complications.

        • Eric says

          So you would throw hundreds of thousands of years of anthropological history out the window because, when you boil it down, eating meat hurts your feelings? See, this is EXACTLY why a lot of people despise vegans. Instead of keeping to themselves and being happy with their “superior diet choices,” they have to stand on a soap box and get all preachy to those who are eating the kind of diet man as a species has eaten since the dawn of time.

        • Lisa says

          This is also not accurate…meat or plant, all your body sees is chemicals. There is a chemical reaction to break the food down into molecular components, regardless of what it is. The molecules are moved around the body and used in various ways. This is a false and poorly researched argument!

          • Matt says

            You’re wrong. Different enzymes will help break up different chemicals. So the enzymes which break apart haemoglobin are not going to be the same enzymes that are needed to break apart whatever chemical holds plant-based iron.

            • Judy says

              All that is needed to properly absorb iron from plants is to eat it with a food high in vitamin C. The amino acids (which I think she was referring to) in plants and animals are all chemically the same.

        • Justin says

          Your intestines are about 1.5m long, that is correct. But food stays in your stomach and small intestines for around 6 to 8 hrs. This is a fact. No food is going to stay for 72 hrs, because then your intestines would be bloated and it would possible explode. Meat doesn’t rot in your intestines. While in the stomach, the gastric juices, which contain the enzyme pepsin, and hydrochloric acid, aid in the digestion of proteins, to form polypeptides.. In the small intestine, the pancrease secret trypsin which further breaks down the polypeptides into smaller peptides and amino acids.

    • k_m says

      It is not a “fact” that we consume too many animal products, it is solely your own (flawed) opinion. Processed meats that are full of hormones, antibiotics, and various unnatural additives are absolutely detrimental to people’s health when eaten in abundance. High-quality animal products, on the other hand? You’re embarrassing yourself.

  11. elle says

    I’ve been vegan for nearly four years. I recently had an exhaustive blood test, revealing only a vitamin D deficiency, which my doctor, and any decent researcher, reported most people in the Northern Hemisphere also have. High scores in all vitamin Bs, protein, high calcium & magnesium, zinc is fine, etc etc. Low cholesterol, low blood pressure :) I’m not saying I’m a miracle vegan- I’m saying that you are likely wrong. 😀 cheers

    • Shogun says

      Perhaps wrong for you, but not for others. It’s kinda like saying you studied for a test using flashcards and got an A and everyone else who didn’t use flashcards will fail, even though there are several other ways to study and still get an A. There is more than one right answer to this problem. If a vegan diet works for you, fantastic. If an omnivorous diet works for you, awesome.

    • Anne says

      Hi Elle,

      Same here, over 3 years as a vegan, tests are amazing, low cholesterol, sugar and excellent levels all across. I couldn’t feel healthier.

    • k_m says

      Hate to break it to you, but it’s most likely your body cannibalizing itself for its remaining storage of nutrients. Blood tests aren’t detailed enough to expose these kinds of health problems. Many vegans experience those so-called perfect blood test results in the first few years before even that no longer lasts and their body turns malnourished and sick.

      • Judy says

        Her body is “cannibalizing itself”? Why, because she’s vegan? That’s ridiculous. I’ve eaten 100% plant-based for over a decade and have increasingly excellent health and lab results, much better than when I was eating meat and cheese. Many people have been vegan for decades, or all their lives, and are the epitome of health, particularly if they’re “whole food” vegans as opposed to “junk food” vegans. Google Ellsworth Wareham, M.D., vegan centenarian, as one example. Another is senior runner/cancer survivor Ruth Heidrich. Both have been vegan for decades and are stellar examples of good health and lives well lived.

    • Wendy says

      It’s interesting that you have so few vitamin deficiencies. I had testable deficiencies in iron, Vitamin D, and B12 on an omnivore diet.

      My doctor recommended the horse pills of B12, because I just didn’t absorb enough.

      I tried going vegan, and within 7 weeks, my blood tests when from being fairly normal, to have glucose levels being near pre-diabetic, doubling triglycerides, and cholesterol levels so low that it was outside of the normal range. Within a few months, I was almost non-functional.

      What I got most out of the article was that there are genetic components that explain why some people can do quite well, and some experience issues almost immediately.

      That to me seems to fit why there are such varied experiences to people eating essentially the same diet.

      • Bruce Clifton says

        Hi Wendy, The trouble is, all the people who are technically vegans are not “eating essentially the same diet.” Vegan diets vary greatly, just like omnivore diets do. Some vegans eat a healthy diet and some eat an unhealthy diet. Most omnivores who eat an unhealthy diet will end up with scary lab results, and most vegans who eat an unhealthy diet will also end up with scary lab results.

  12. Erica says

    How topical, Jesus Fries. Read the article in The Natural News (Mike Adams blog) about how California is returning to the desert it was due to people “drinking” other people’s water – for their golf courses and for bottling for sale (Dasani, Coca Cola). Those who are annoyed by ethics will nonetheless eventually be forced to confront a truth beyond their own preferences. Unfortunately California also grows quite a bit of our produce so we’ll see how it goes. They’ll keep shifting the pieces to maintain the status quo until perhaps there is nowhere to shift them. Right now they’ve just announced a 25% water restriction – but not watering highway medians is not going to resolve this – too little too late. For a scare you’ll never forget watch Climate Refugees on Netflix and pay attention to what is happening in Calais.

    • Jesus Fries says

      I’ve watched all of the videos that you vegetarians ask me to. Scary? I don’t think so. Do you even know the right percentage of factories that abuse their animals? No? Until then, I wouldn’t even bother to think about becoming a vegetarian.

      • Lisa says

        99.9 percent of chickens for meat, 97 percent of laying hens, 99 percent of turkeys, 95 percent of pigs, and 78 percent of cattle in the US comes from factory farms.

          • says

            Disregarding the fact animals whether raised organically or factory farm still go to the same utterly unhumane slaughter houses (which means IMHO 100% of meat animals suffer) most people would agree factory farming is inherently cruel – below it the relevant section in the wiki entry, data credited to Worldwatch Institute.

            “Factory farming is widespread in developed nations. According to the Worldwatch Institute, as of 2006, 74 percent of the world’s poultry, 43 percent of beef, and 68 percent of eggs were produced this way.[13] In the U.S., as of 2000 four companies produced 81 percent of cows, 73 percent of sheep, 60 percent of pigs, and 50 percent of chickens and according to its National Pork Producers Council, 80 million of its 95 million pigs slaughtered each year are reared in industrial settings”

  13. Bruce Martin says

    There are studies showing that vegetarians live in average 3-4 years longer, so even with all these risks of vitamin deficiency the risk of having too much protein is much higher; proteins makes the body releases growth hormones that speeds up the aging process and makes our body deteriorate faster, not to mention animal fat as well as chemicals known to cause cancer found in meat when heated over 170 degrees celcius/centigrade.

    Vegetarians are unhealthy on average, perhaps. But meat eaters are worse. Otherwise, vegetarians wouldn’t live longer.

    But myself, I have cod liver oil, and some milk products, just to keep healthy. One needs 25 kg of vegetables to produce 1 kg of beef meat, so with the rising food prices for poor people around the world eating meat is extremely unethical. It’s basically stealing other peoples food.

    • JesusFries says

      I find no fault in your upper comment, but unethical? Really? That’s like saying that it’s unethical to drink water, because poor people have no access to clean water. Drinking clean water is basically stealing other people’s water.

      • Judy says

        Obviously it isn’t the same. Everyone needs water. Nobody needs meat, and eating it takes away valuable resources that can be used more efficiently to grow plant food.

    • Matt says

      That is ridiculous. Those vegetables wouldn’t otherwise find themselves halfway across the world and be put into the mouths of hungry people, they wouldn’t be produced at all. So are you basically murdering people by guilting them into a harder to manage diet that may not even be nutritious enough for them to live off from a genetic standpoint?

      • Judy says

        There’s no need for vegetables to go halfway around the world in any case. Land, in many countries on all continents, is being used to mass-produce grain and soy to feed farmed animals that are extremely inefficient at turning these plants into meat, and some of that land could be used to grow healthful plant foods that are part of the local tradition, directly for people instead. A potential bonus: Because growing plants directly for human consumption would require less land than for animal feed, a portion of the land formerly used to grow animal feed could theoretically be returned to its natural state.

  14. prema says

    frankly i am sick of all these comments……being a vegetarian for some of us is something we absolutely must do…..if i am unhealthy for it the rest of my life well then i will deal with it knowing i have not killed any animals much less eaten them….it is ridiculous to debate this…..either you slaughter and eat other very intelligent beings on this planet or you don’t and you take some supplements and you know that you are doing right by not murdering….the rest is just non- sense……you have to die of something….however in general i like Kris and what he has to say…..even Mercola tells one to eat animal products……they are just not evolved enough….the end….

  15. jesl says

    i lost respect for this author when he said vegans are b12 deficient. really? then why is it that i know meat eaters that drink milk, eat meat, and dairy and they are b12 deficient???

    • Jesus says

      That’s like saying “I know water-drinkers who are dehydrated often.” The reason why the people you know are b12 deficient is because they simply do not eat enough of it. Also, did you see that the author states that 5%of omnivores are b12 deficient? You should read all of the information and not just what you want to read.

    • Jordan says

      No one is saying that meat eaters don’t get B12 deficiency. Just a lower percentage of them compared to vegans.

  16. BO says

    I am a pescetarian. You talk about DHA and EPA but not arachidonic acid. The ratio of DHA + EPA + DPA/ ARA is very bad in meat, poultry, fowl, organ meat and eggyolk is bad. Omega 6/3 ratio is also very bad. It is also true about butter and some fat cheese. avoid this. In milk you get enough B12 D vitamin and omega 3. Iron combined with c vitamin makes it easy to absorb iron and if you add some seafood even better. I don´t eat 150 kg of fish every year but at least 300 to 400 grams a week of fat fish. You also have to Think of gout. Why get it if you don´t need to.

  17. Erica says

    Hi,

    I am young, really young still in my early teens, i have recently been shown the light of the cruelty and inhuman ways of factory farming. And i absolutly want to go vegetarian because of ethical reasons, however my parents are not that convinced since they are worried that i won’t get ‘enough nutrition’ (especially about iron, zinc vitamin b12 deficiencies) even though i have shown them your articles and other information from intensive research. How do i convince them that i should go vegetarian? And how can i tell if a product is ethically manufactured?

    Thank You!

    • says

      Hi Erica –

      I study nutrition at Rochester Institute of Technology. The program accredited for registered dieticians. You could have your parents contact me if you wish. I am 46 years old, have been on an all plant based diet for 3 years. My mother (65) son (22) and fiance (46) are also all plant based. I also have a background in exercise physiology and used to be a personal trainer. I would love to explain to you or your parents about nutrition and where it comes from more in detail but the short of it is as follows, and this is in every textbook for dieticians:

      All vitamins, minerals and nutrients including protein comes from plants. Plants have broadband capabilities to synthesize proteins whereas animals do not. The way for any animal or human to get protein is one of two ways: eat plants or eat an animal that ate plants. The plants make protein from the nutrients in the soil and from the sun. The only vitamin a human can get from the sun directly is vitamin D. Vitamin D does not occur naturally in milk – it is added to it so milk is not the real way to get Vitamin D. The sun or a supplement is. Vitamin B12 comes from soil. It is only in the animals because they eat grass and they don’t wash the grass before eating it. Unfortunately they are not allowed to eat grass anymore and forced to eat diets of grain and candy and any throw away food (they used to be allowed to feed them cement and chicken poop too) and so cows are now given supplements of B12. B 12 is manufactured by microorganisms in the soil and it runs off into water. Since we humans do wash our produce and drink filtered water now it is good to take a B12 supplement. It is not naturally occurring in an animal. The animal gets it from soil and water, the same way we used to before we washed everything. Since all nutrition does come from plants, there is nothing healthier than an all plant based diet. The advantage is that you also get fiber and flavenoids and antioxidants not found in flesh. I would love to tell you more. Just let me know.

      Laurie [email protected]

      • Jay Way says

        “Take supplements”.

        I must disagree. We should eat all natural food. The best source of B12 is organ meat such as beef liver. Vitamins in supplements are often times synthetic compounds that “mimic” real vitamins. This is NOT healthy.

        Plant based diet is not healthy. If you care about animal cruelty, then you should accept that, living an unhealthy life is the price you are willing to pay.

    • says

      How to tell if a product is ethical: As long as it did not come from an animal then that is a start. The most ethical diet is the one you grow yourself. But if you can’t then visiting a local farmer is the next best step. But the first step is not eating any animal or her products.

    • Erica Martell says

      Wow, Erica, so impressed with your awareness and willingness to begin this most valuable journey. This is the only path to change the world at this point – each person coming to awareness of how their own choices support industry’s cruel practices which are devised purely for profit and brutalize all involved – including the consumer. I see Laurie has reached out to you -kudos to her. You can also check Vegetarian Health Institute which is a brilliant simple source or Dr. Michael Klaper, Ritamarie Loscalzo, or just google any question you think of and the riches of the internet will provide a variety of answers. Laurie’s answers on B12 was brilliant btw and true! And my favorite source of inspiration – YouTube “Luiz Antonio and why he won’t eat his octopus.” :)

    • Erica Martell says

      Erica, you can also tell your parents that the largest land animals got that way on a purely plant diet… If it works for an elephant it should work for you. That’s always a mouth-shutter!

      • Charlie X says

        That’s all well and good, apart from the fact the we are not actually elephants, and did not evolve on the same diet, seriously, this is a total lack of science or logic (the first things to go on a strictly Vegan diet)

      • Jordan says

        This strawman argument needs to die already. Actual herbivores can break down components of plants that we cannot. For instance, “insoluble” fiber may be indigestible to us, but a cow could break that down into fatty acids and protein.

  18. anna says

    it’s articles like these that discourage people on the edge of becoming vegan/vegetarian. could there be on non bias article out there? when I searched “vegan or not vegan” it unanimously came up with, “vegan is bad, you don’t get enough vitamins, you lack nutrition, not any healthier” well neither vegan/vegetarian or omnivore diets are perfect. if you looked at the other reasons people want to switch over you’d get their desicon

    • Shogun says

      All the article explains is an alternate viewpoint to the whole dieting concept, that there isn’t one right diet for everyone. There has been cited sources of research that support Chris’s claims, so it’s not like he is just spewing out his pure opinion. It’s just cautionary to people who are considering going to a vegetarian or vegan diet when it may not be the right for their body or lifestyle.

  19. Erica says

    Mark, check out Vegetarian Health Institute online. I’ve been working my way through 50 very clear, simple lessons that answer everything in a very clear, simple way. Also check the website of Dr. Michael Klaper who has been vegan for 25 years and who provides info to the Vegetarian Health Institute lectures. Also can check Ritamarie Loscalzo. There is simple clear info out there and these are my best recommendations for a start….

  20. Bill says

    One cup of sweet potatoes in one day is nearly impossible? I’m no competition eater but I’m confident I could force that down.

    • Tina says

      i am so tired of this vegan-vegetarian bashing articles…
      Just why can’t we accept the way people eat. I neither of the two. However I have very many friends who are vegetarians for generations and they are in perfect health. Their kids are great looking too.
      I see this article being posted everywhere like it usually happens in the health foodie circle – all waif bloggers post the same over and over again. Just tired of it.
      Btw, I have no issues with individuals thoughts but remember it is your truth only. Don’t impose it on others. This is for the bloggers and make it the universal truth
      Let’s not be food racial.

      • Neal says

        You do realise of course that the meat and dairy industries actually employ ‘agent provocateurs’ to write articles like this trying to destroy the credibility of veganism?

        Many of these types of Internet blogs are written by such people and sadly there are all to many meat and dairy consumers who are only to happy to be told what allows them to continue being selfish without having to feel guilty (assuming some of them otherwise would!) because now they can continue their selfish habits and believe they’re doing the right thing at the same time.

        That’s a real example of ‘shoehorning a diet into a lifestyle’.

      • Nesta Hejduk says

        He/she does explain to us that he/she has respect for people’s food choices while also stating facts… Being vagitarian or vegan is in fact unhealth by replacing meat with unhealthy CHEMICALLY MADE PROTIN POWDER…

        • Neal says

          Of course he/she does. He/she would look a bit obvious if he/she didn’t. The whole point is to make it plausible otherwise no one will believe it.

          If we are going to discuss what is healthy or not with respect to food choices then we can only do so seriously if we consider EVERYONE INVOLVED in a particular dietary choice.

          As an analogy we wouldn’t discuss the issue of rape by discussing whether or not it was beneficial for (only) the rapist.

          An extreme example?… perhaps, but the PRINCIPLE is identical because eating meat involves not just the consumer but also the consumed. So, if we stop thinking selfishly for just a moment. It is actually far less healthy overall.

          A non-meat product may or may not adversely affect me in some way (and for every bit of science that says it will there’s a bit that says it won’t) but the risks appear small and negligible given that so many people have been eating them healthily for so many years now.
          We can argue either way on that.

          However, what isn’t in doubt is this…

          a vegan diet MAY or MAY NOT involve some risk to me (just like crossing the road really) but it completely avoids the death of an innocent party which, if that were you, you would insist was important.

          So..

          Vegan diet: debatable risk to the consumer (although I personally I doubt it)

          Meat diet: debatable risk to the consumer and guaranteed death to the consumed.

          Now which should we consider to be “least healthy”?

          It just comes down to each of us thinking outside our own little box and considering the bigger picture. Doing that is something (one of the few things left) which actually defines us as different from other species.

        • Neal says

          In fact it reminds me of a quote from the animal rights activist and author Isaac Beshavis Singer who, when at a dinner party was asked by a woman. …

          “Are you abstaining from eating chicken for health reasons Mr Singer?”

          He replied…

          “Yes madam! For the health of the chicken! “

      • mark says

        Sure is difficult to digest all of the information and make an informed decision. My wife and I have been vegan for 2 months (ok, we cheat a little bit with fish) – we try to take supplements that we feel are necessary. For every great article that supports Vegan or Vegetarian, there is another article that chastises the diet. I only wish I had enough knowledge to decipher who to believe. Education and research is the key but I sure seem to run into a lot of contradictory information on how vitamins and minerals are or are not absorbed and what is and what is not healthy..

  21. Linda says

    Hi
    I always mention when people ask me about my vegetarian diet, that they need to educate themselves just like you would think people would do when they are on a meat based diet.

    I have been a vegetarian for over 30 years and I am now in my 60’s I love it and I find it has made me more aware of nutrition and the essential minerals vitamins etc the body needs.
    And “animals are my friends and I don’t eat my friends”. (George Bernard Shaw) All the best, it is good to educate people so that they can be responsible for their own decisions.

    • Dan says

      What do you eat and do you supplement, if so what do you supplement, and what about collagen Arthritis etc…, I attempted vega diet and bout killed me, lost 40 lbs, and becameso weak could not hardly walk, I packed away more and more calories did no good, No Hard shugars either, I even supplemented last month’s before Doctor took me off the diet, was at 207, down from a atheletic 270, I am now back to meat’s egg’s, as I wish, still supplementing at up to healthy 240 with muscles packing back on thank you

      • Judy Sangillo says

        The most critical supplement would be Vitamin B12, assuming the diet is made up of mostly unprocessed vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and fruit. Although you can get some Omega 3s from nuts, seeds, and greens, it might also be wise to use a vegan, algae-derived DHA/EPA supplement. You would get the benefits of fish oil without the negatives. (Fish get their DHA/EPA from algae.) Vitamin D is often recommended for people who don’t get enough sunshine due to lifestyle or geographical location. Maybe when you went vegan, you were consuming more of something that you unknowingly have a problem with? Wheat or soy, maybe? Neither of those is necessary on a vegan diet. Regarding arthritis, many people with arthritis find relief when they go on a whole foods vegan diet, because of the inflammatory nature of dairy and some meats. Best wishes to you.

  22. e! says

    I see a lot of the critics in the comments believe that if you don’t feel well eating a vegetarian or vegan diet, you’re doing it wrong. It took me many years to realize that this way of thinking is just the beginning of the slippery slope to orthorexia — and yet it’s probably the most commonly argued veg(etari)an propaganda you’ll hear. Please quit telling people that they’re doing your lifestyle wrong — *your* lifestyle isn’t necessarily right for everyone, and it’s damaging to other people to try and convince them otherwise.

    • Judy says

      I understand what you’re saying, but I”m not sure which comments you’re directing it toward. For example, I think suggesting that a vegan (or any) diet is healthier if it minimizes processed foods and includes healthy fats is just plain good advice.

  23. Elizabeth Schafer says

    I strongly disagree that healthy omnivores eat “liberal amounts” of EPA and DHA containing fish. I think healthy omnivores tend to eat plenty of vegetables and small amounts of healthy animal protein, usually fish. I also think the thing that really helps them is the lack of processed food. As a vegetarian, who is not particularly healthy due to eating more than the recommended amount of convenience food!, I have made some changes in my diet to improve nutrient intake. I traded bread for nuts, soda for fruit juice spritzers and sugary cereals for plain, instant oatmeal. This, in addition to substituting beans and soy for meat and fish, should take care of any of those deficiencies you mention above. Though it is true that plant foods often have less absorbable nutrients, I believe most heavy meat eaters consume more of these nutrients than they need, considering the calories and cholesterol accompanying them. I also think many people eat too many empty calories, lots of fast food and soda and a healthy dose of vegetables wouldn’t hurt them any. A vegetarian diet encourages vegetable consumption.

    • brenna says

      I would have to agree. When I still ate meat, I NEVER ate any type of seafood, and neither does my family. We live on the plains and fish just isn’t something that is consumed often here. There are plenty of people not eating seafood, in which it is claimed the only place that you can get these nutrients, yet omnivores who don’t eat seafood don’t have this issue…hmmm.

  24. Erica says

    Layla, you talk about a Chinese medical doctor who is from a culture which has a long history of knowing the medicinal properties of food. Are we talking about the culture that is chopping and boiling every wild animal on the planet into extinction in order to make it’s sex potions? Not to mention boiling whatever cats and dogs they can get their hands on alive just for the regular medicinal lunch?

  25. Herb Silver says

    I am looking forward to long term prospective studies on diet. There are plenty of long term epidemiological observational type studies of indigenous diets diets all over the world where people had low rates of the now common “western diseases.” I don’t know of any purely vegetarian societies though. Usually at least some milk and eggs. It doesn’t take a lot of at least some animal based foods. Not the slabs of steaks most people talk about. But my observation after being a vegetarian for 15 years and observing people with chronic pain is that a vegetarian diet certainly doesn’t work for everyone. May be some folks but not everyone. So the take home message should be that the is huge variability in what will work for people. Maybe in the winter, more animal based foods and less or none in the summer varying the diet throughout the year. That is probably the most beneficial diet for our gut bacteria as well. But, like I said, I am waiting for long term prospective studies to get the real answers. I wish I could be a vegan for moral reasons–I don’t like the idea of killing animals but it certainly didn’t work for me after a while.

  26. says

    “…but there was no survival difference between vegetarians or omnivores.”

    Could a take-away be that the best thing we can do is to avoid those things that health-food shoppers? I don’t mean to be too much of a naysayer, but from a devil’s advocate perspective, it seems to me that the study you’re referencing causes damage to the bio-availability argument (etc) that you put forward in the article?

    • ManfredPJ says

      There always seems to be at least one inane, unfunny and completely useless comment like this one in any discussion that mentions vegans. How original of you.

  27. says

    The author may wish to use current research. A balanced vegan diet will promote a thriving human. The key is balanced. This is true for any diet. A little training may be required as a balanced diet is not the old diet minus animal products. A balance diet does not require a load of grains. This article is a good source of examples of debate tricks to win an argument with out relevant facts.

    • Susan says

      I totally agree with Michaelb. For years I’m improved my “balanced” vegan diet with plant based foods and supplements, and feel I’m in excellent health for a 63 year old! Almost daily saunas help tremendously with detoxing! Not to mention…what an enjoyable way to detox!!

  28. Chris says

    I have horses and dogs. They both need and eat protein. My horses eat grass and hay (plant protein). They have many side to side grinding molars, a digestive process called hind-gut fermentation, a large cecum (like your appendix) that is attached to their large intestines with tons of strong bacteria, in order to utilize plant protein. My dogs chew with a chopping action, have a very short digestive system, way more potent stomach acids. In summary completely different animals and I think humans are in between. Plant protein and animal protein require very different systems in order to be utilized.

    • Judy says

      Humans have the most in common physiologically and anatomically with frugivores (which includes other primates), whose diets primarily consist of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, but who also have the capability to digest other foods.

  29. SlateMR says

    Sorry, but this just sounds like anti-vegan BS. I’ve been a vegan for over 15 years, and at age 55 my doctor tells me that I have the heart and physique of a 29-year-old. I run marathons regularly, and usually finish in the top 10%. My weight and blood pressure are now ideal, and I am literally in the best shape of my life.

    • David says

      It’s entirely possible to feel OK and still be lacking on some important health metrics. For example, I never felt a vitamin D deficiency. Running marathons can be fun, but it’s strength training that stimulates mitochondrial growth – did your doctor tell you anything about that?

      There are many aspects of health. Being pro or anti-vegan isn’t really nearly as important as being pro-health, regardless of dietary philosophy.

      • SlateMR says

        Hello!
        My point was that, contrary to the article’s claims, a vegan diet can be entirely healthy. Obviously ANY diet can be unhealthy if it’s not done correctly.

        And thank you for your concern–but I have NO vitamin deficiencies. And while I don’t concentrate on strength training myself, I have plenty of vegan friends that do. :-)

    • SUZY says

      This article is really the biggest piece of rubbish and BS that I have seen for a long time. The writer has no knowledge or clue of what they are talking about. If we follow a PROPER vegan diet as so many of us do, we are doing what is best for our health, the environment and the animals (who are violently and barbarically mistreated and all for nothing). I really can’t stand it when ignorance is so obvious as in this article.

      • Layla says

        You are incorrect. The author is a Chinese medicine Dr. which has thousands of years of understanding of the medicinal quality of food. In Chinese medicine we need animal products to nourish certain aspects in order to maintain balance in the body. Veganism is a new fad and as humans have been around for hundreds of thousands of years – there is no sustainable culture on earth that is vegan. Woman who are are vegan diets have a hard time reproducing and people who may stay on a vegan diet will find that aging (past their 50s ) will be very difficult.

        • Judy says

          Your claim about reproductive difficulties while vegan is unsubstantiated. There is no effect on fertility with adequate calories and healthful, plant-based fats. In fact, the higher intake of folate in the diet by most vegans helps prevent neurological birth defects.

          The claim about vegans finding aging past their 50s “difficult” is ludicrous. Vegans have lower rates of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity than meat eaters or vegetarians. In my mid-50s, I am the only vegan in my family of origin, and also happen to be the only adult who isn’t on prescription medications, such as statins and blood-pressure reducers. Google Ellsworth Wareham, M.D., centenarian vegan who retired from working as a heart surgeon in his 90s. He’s profiled in the book Blue Zones. Then there’s Donald Watson, the Englishman who coined the term “vegan.” He became vegan in the 1940s and died in 2005 after an active and healthy life at the age of 95. And Ruth Heidrich, who switched to a vegan diet in 1982, when she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. She is now a 79-year-old motivational speaker, eight-time senior Olympic gold medalist, and six-time Ironman triathlon finisher.

          • Kristi-Anna says

            Layla, I am also a Chinese Medicine Dr AND vegan.
            I agree with Suzy & Judy. He needs to look at more up to date research and get his facts straight.
            TCM also promotes some animal products which are endangered species, which most western practitioners do not use for ethical reasons. In the same way, an ethical diet/lifestyle like veganism can be amazing for you, like any diet done correctly, without harming anyone.

  30. Steve says

    Vegan has grown into a fad diet in the recent years, and I am glad someone finally speaks about the real risks of such behaviours.

    • says

      Yeah eating a diet that is beneficial to the environments/oceans/rainforests/wildlife/starving children(grain grown in poor nations is sold to affluent nations to fatten up your beef) is such a fad. I mean doing good for the planet is pointless, it doesn’t benefit you at all! You have to give up steak,milk,eggs,cheese…I mean if I want to eat these foods at the expense of the planet let me! (obvious sarcasm)

  31. says

    It’s really not that difficult to switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet provided you can experience the benefits or ROI. The physical and mental benefits of switching from a meat based diet become more obvious when you also change your lifestyle routines. Incorporating new fun physical and mental activities, ones that you may have left behind years ago when professional commitments started to become top priority. By bringing back the fun physical and mental things you did when you were younger you will see how a more healthy body and mind can regain its lost flexibility, spirited love of life and adventure. A plant based diet can help you get there. Peter Sabbagh | Founder http://www.thinkmatcha.com/

  32. Travis says

    I’ve been a Vegetarian (with minimal dairy) for about a year and haven’t felt better. I do take a daily multivitamin but I’ve grown accustomed to cooking my own meals 95% of the time and heave become a better cook and saved money because of it.

    In all honesty you could drink a Red Bull for a bit over a dollar a day and cover your B12 deficiency and then some by a large margin so that’s a silly point. Then again I hate coffee and can tolerate energy drinks so I may be bias. And soy milk is very nutrient dense as well…

    The only reason I’m not a 100% vegan is because my family insists on eating out every couple of months and I end up eating cheese now and then due to that.

    Still, I’m doing great, I have biceps that are larger than most meat eaters yet weigh quite a bit less and am faster. There are benefits to plant protein over laggy but more dense meat protein.

    I hated Tofu at first but as time went on it’s my go-to additive to soups and I love it.

    • Leslie says

      Soy Milk? Get with it, it’s 2015 for christ sake! No one uses soy milk any more, it’s not good for you and it’s all GMO crap! Switch to organic unsweetened almond, cashew or hemp milk!

      • Judy says

        I don’t think you’ve looked at a carton of soy milk in recent years. They’re all nonGMO, as are tofu, tempeh, even most soy ice cream. Yes, most soy grown in the U.S. is GMO, but it’s mostly used for animal feed, soybean oil, and biofuel, not for soy milk, tofu, etc..

      • trish huber says

        …and if you are depending on cow’s milk for calcium, you might as well be popping a supplement. That is how present-day cow’s milk gets its calcium. It is fortified.

  33. says

    Facts are in regarding Red Meat, it is not native to the Human Diet because it contains a chemical that’s unnatural to human biology, a sugar molecule called Neu5Gc from those meats gets fully incorporated into human tissue. The immune system then attacks that substance, leading to tissue inflammation and a higher lifetime risk of cancer.

    The same process also could happen when people consume whole milk, certain cheeses and caviar, which consists of fish eggs. (Fish can produce Neu5Gc, but they store it in their eggs and not their fleshy muscles.)

    • says

      Steve; A Study about Cancer among the Inuit

      http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.ca/2008/07/cancer-among-inuit.html?showComment=1215236520000

      It is also common knowledge that a carnivorous people such as the Inuit, that Diabetes was unknown, until our government forced them off the land into government housing in villages sometimes hundreds of miles away from their traditional hunter-gatherer areas. The Anti-Fur Movement also destroyed their economic mainstay, diminishing their ability in acquiring traditional meats such as seal, polar bear etc. Once transitioned to wheat, sugar, HFCS in Soda’s their Lower Limb Amputation rate from Diabetic Neuropathy is 3 X that of Southerners. They are a perfect example of interference by know-it-alls re: traditional diets.

      • Joe says

        They are not a good example! They represent an edge case, living very different lives in a very different environment. Their average life span is 48, and so should not be considered as a model for most Western diseases which usually develop at a later age. Wheat, sugar and HFCS do not belong in a vegan diet – they do not belong in any diet! Refined food in an Innuit diet maks for a bad argument against veganism.

        If anything, they are a good example of how Western cultures wreak havoc on indigenous cultures by spoiling their environment and feeding them processed food. Their existence adds nothing to the meat Vs plant debate. Same goes for the Massai. Leave them in peace!

  34. Desert Mouse says

    Facts are in regarding Red Meat, it is not native to the Human Diet because it contains a chemical that’s unnatural to human biology, a sugar molecule called Neu5Gc from those meats gets fully incorporated into human tissue. The immune system then attacks that substance, leading to tissue inflammation and a higher lifetime risk of cancer.

    The same process also could happen when people consume whole milk, certain cheeses and caviar, which consists of fish eggs. (Fish can produce Neu5Gc, but they store it in their eggs and not their fleshy muscles.) http://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases/Pages/2014-12-29-sugar-molecule-in-red-meat-linked-to-cancer.aspx http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2014/12/25/1417508112.abstract http://www.techtimes.com/articles/23745/20141230/neu5gc-sugar-molecule-in-red-meat-that-causes-cancer-in-humans.htm http://carta.anthropogeny.org/moca/topics/n-glycolylneuraminic-acid-expression http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/dec/29/red-meat-cancer-varki-neu5Gc-sialic/ http://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases/Pages/2014-12-29-sugar-molecule-in-red-meat-linked-to-cancer.aspx As for nutritional levels, I have been monitored by some of the best medical professionals in the country, and my nutrition levels are superior, and I m a vegan for over 8 years.

  35. Erica says

    Sam –
    The Vegetarian Health Institute, founder Trevor Justice, is a great place to get simple clear answers to everything that people get hung up on – protein, how to get more iron, the truth about soy, Vitamin D, B-12, dairy and replacements, everything – SIMPLE AND CLEAR. He uses a Dr. Michael Klaper as a source and you can go directly to his website I’m sure as well, although Trevor’s site contains about 40 hour long recordings of conversations with Dr. Klaper about every topic vegans would want to master. Rita Marie Loscalzo is also a solid source. You can google her. There are recordings of her as well on Trevor Justice’s site. I’m pursuing a certificate in Vegan mastery he offers because I need the CEU’s to renew my massage license but I think you can access his information very inexpensively if you don’t want to earn certification, or even review it for a short time for free.

  36. Sam says

    Hello! I’ll start this by saying I’m a vegan and am not about to change that, so please refrain from telling me to eat animal products. I have a question for anyone who knows enough to answer it. This article suggests that it is possible to supplement a vegan diet to meet human nutritional needs, but does anyone know what is adequate? Do I need to be taking each supplement everyday or is a multivitamin that contains everything and then a supplement for DHA adequate? I’ve been a vegan for seven years and a vegetarian for twenty (I’m 25) and don’t seem to be experiencing any negative side effects, but I’d rather not wait until I do to fix it.

    • Kathleen Buchanan says

      I just want to mention one thing. Watch out for vitamins. Many types of vitamins do not use the right type of vitamins (like your vitamin A should be beta-carotene). One doctor mentioned about patients. When he did a colonoscopy, that he saw vitamins that were still as intact as if the patient had just taken it. Don’t ever take vitamins from a pharmacy or grocery store. Everything that I have read in articles for years says that vitamins from grocery stores or even those from pharmacies are not any good. The type of magnesium in a lot of vitamins is no good. Watch out for this because a lot of the vegetables that you should get magnesium from, you probably do not. Farmers don’t like to pay extra money if they don’t have to, and the soil used over many years has been depleted of magnesium, but why should a farmer care about adding more into the soil if his plants look just as pretty without it. I bought magnesium malate (by itself) individually and other types that are also good are magnesium citrate, taurate, glycinate, chloride, and carbonate. The worst kinds are magnesium oxide, sulfate, glutamate and aspartate. Magnesium is very necessary for a lot of functions but for me the lack of it kept my body from absorbing calcium. It can also cause lower back pain (just the lower back) After I had a magnesium drip (sit for an hour and be attached to an IV while magnesium slowly went into my body) and the next day my lower back pain was gone. Magnesium is necessary for protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation [1-3]. Magnesium is required for energy production, oxidative phosphorylation, and glycolysis. It contributes to the structural development of bone and is required for the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and the antioxidant glutathione. Magnesium also plays a role in the active transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes, a process that is important to nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, and normal heart rhythm.
      Brands I have found that I think are good include the Bluebonnet brand. Bluebonnet Super Earth Multi-Nutrient Supplement works very well on me except they have the wrong type of magnesium. I am very disappointed in that item but the other ingredients make up for it. I take a magnesium malate (also known as Malic Acid) supplement. It’s suppose to be the best for people who have fibromyalgia. One way to see how you body is doing is to have a hair analysis. Analytical Research Labs is the place my doctor sent the sample to and it looked very accurate. I knew my husband had lead poisoning and aluminum poison before he had the test done. The test said he did have toxic levels of those metals plus more. The vitamin and mineral content are really accurate because it can tell over a large period what is in your body and not just what is in you blood at that given moment. It will also tell you if you have any toxic metals in your body. One other way to see if your vitamin is working is to look at your toes. If the nails don’t look pretty than you need vitamins or go to the doctor. Nail abnormalities often indicate an underlying medical condition or a deficiency in certain vitamins and minerals. Warning signs to look out for include yellow nail discoloration, nail splitting, crumbling nails, nail cracking, black fingernails (if you hit your toes on something it can just be a blood blister) , ridges on nails, white spots on fingernails and if the nails start looking like a scoop (nails turning up on the edges) and if your toe nails get thick and white. When I forget to take my vitamins some of these occur. When I get back on my Bluebonnet vitamins all of these signs stop. That is one of the reasons I believe that the BB Super Earth MultiNutrient Supplement is a quality multivitamin and multi-mineral plus enzymes, amino acids and herbs, plus more. To find this brand you need to go to a health food store or on the internet. I just wanted to tell you about the vitamins and magnesium is one of the most important.

    • Kathleen Buchanan says

      Sorry, I forgot something else. I believe that anyone would like to avoid GMO foods (foods where a vegetable (or whatever) is genetically crossed with the herbicide Roundup). Monsanto is the largest producer of GMO seeds (they also made DDT, PCB, Agent Orange, nuclear weapons, Polystyrene, Dioxins (most toxic products on the earth), Petroleum-Based Fertilizers (kills beneficial microorganisms, sterilizes the soil), Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH), These make the cows fatter and us too. Unfortunately they can make the animals so heavy that some cannot standup, they are just to heavy for their legs to support. That definitely will help the animals, if you do not buy milk or buy milk with no antibiotics or hormones. Monsanto also makes the herbicide Roundup that is a Glyphosate. Glyphosate herbicides were quickly adopted by farmers enabling farmers to kill weeds without killing their crops. (GMOs) They can drench their crops with Roundup and it will kill the weeds but not the GMO crops. Scary! Now we have superweeds, that are resistant to Roundup. Roundup has almost succeeded is wiping out all the milkweed in the U.S. and it is the sole food of Monarch Butterflies. Needless to say they have almost wiped out the Monarch Butterflies as well. Monsanto also produces aspartame. (bad stuff) It gives, a large amount of people, splitting headaches, like me. GMO foods are nothing like crossbreeding, they will not solve world hunger, just as much pesticides are used on GMO foods as other crops. Monsanto’s GMO food is crossed with the herbicide Roundup, not any pesticides, so they have to be sprayed just like other regular crops, and yes they have been proven to be dangerous when tested by real independent studies, (not studies in the U.S. that are in one way or the other controlled by Monsanto), that is why the E.U., Russia, China, and Australia refuse to import them into their countries. You cannot believe what the F.D.A. says about GMOs. They say they are safe. Well of course they do, maybe because President Obama appointed Mr. Michael Taylor, former vice-president of Monsanto, as head counsel to the F.D.A.
      Crops that are GMOs include soybeans, sugar beets, (if you want non-gmo sugar buy cane sugar) potatoes, corn, tomatoes, squash, golden rice, Rapeseed/Canola, salmon, animal feeds and cotton. This means that corn oil, canola oil, and cottonseed oil are GMOs. Cottonseed oil is even worse. Cotton is not considered a food crop so more toxic pesticides and the frequency of their use makes cottonseed oil very toxic. There are a few GMO crops made by other companies. These are where a vegetable or fruit is genetically crossed with another vegetable or fruit. I don’t know if these are really toxic but many scientist say they are. It’s just so obvious that those made by Monsanto (almost all of them) are dangerous since they are crossed with the most toxic herbicide there is. Almost all processed foods have GMO foods in them. Try to avoid processed foods. At this very moment there is no GMO wheat or oat crops. You just have to shop knowing what is a GMO food and you only know by reading ingredients. If it has something like corn or soy you can be sure that it is GMO, unless it says NON-GMO. If a manufacture makes a product without GMO ingredients, they will label it as such, because that’s what people are looking for. General Mills touts that the regular cheerios has no GMO. Well think about what that means. It means that all of their other products are GMOs.
      I just wanted to mention the GMO crops so anyone vegan, vegetarian, or omnivores can avoid these crops. That is another way to be healthy.

      • Kristi-Anna says

        In my opinion, the average meat eater would eat far more GMO soy etc than your average vegan. They indirectly eat it through all the animals and animal products that they eat!

    • David says

      Sam, here’s the thing – some deficiencies aren’t felt until you’re in really bad shape. The body can store some nutrients for a long time and is really good about preserving itself.

      The liver is basically a nutrient “warehouse.” If you’re not getting enough from your diet, your liver (and to some extent your gut bacteria) have to make up the difference.

      In some cases, if you’re deficient, it can cause serious health problems. You might also impair your immune system, e.g. decrease WBC count and specifically neutrophils.

      For example, take choline. If you’re not eating egg yolks or animal liver, you do not have a significant dietary source of choline. If you happen to be one of the many, many people who are inefficient at producing your own choline, and *if* you become truly deficient in it, you’re going to suffer some nasty health problems eventually.

      One of those problems, according to some research, is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. But, it can also contribute to other problems, possibly elevated lipid levels (cholesterol). When you’re deficient in choline, the body taps folate reserves to make up the difference. Then, you run the risk of developing a folate deficiency, and you don’t want that either. The folate deficiency causes other problems…

      In your 20s, you’ll probably be fine. After 30, your body doesn’t start bouncing back from the abuse (lack of nutrition) quite as easily.

      It’s hard to say, without expensive testing, what you need in pill form, because that’s not how the body works.

      To continue the choline example, your need for it depends on how much your body makes on its own, how efficient you are at methylation, and a few other things. Those other things are, in turn, dependent on other nutrients you get from, wait for it, diet.

      …and that is just one nutrient. Pretty much all nutrients in your body work that way. Their need depends on several factors, and many nutrients are synergistic with, or antagonistic to, other nutrients.

      So, it really *starts* with diet. You *can* supplement if you confirm a deficiency in something, but you also need to know why you’re deficient so you can correct that deficiency with food, if possible. Food is an uncomplicated solution. Supplements are a complex engineered solution that can sometimes cause more problems than they solve.

      Throwing pills at a deficiency that’s easily made up with food is also kind of nonsensical, IMO, because of the logistics of micromanaging single/isolated nutrients. In other words, you can’t shoe-horn supplements into a dietary framework that’s lacking the fundamentals, like animal protein. Well, you can, technically, but it’s probably not a great idea.

      I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but biology is pretty complex and that’s just the way it is.

      • Judy says

        Actually, there are many common plant-based foods that are good sources of choline: bananas, oranges, oats, wheat, nuts, tofu, apples, dates…and many more. If one consumes a wide range of plant foods, one is assured of getting plenty of choline.

        Folate deficiency is extremely unlikely for individuals on a plant-based diet, because it’s found in abundance in legumes, greens, and seeds. According to the recent EPIC-Oxford study, vegans have higher circulating levels of folate than either vegetarians or omnivores.

        • David says

          Oi. This is the difference between someone who knows what they’re talking about and someone who’s just talking out their ass because they are trying to shoehorn a diet into a moral/philosophical framework.

          I really don’t want to hammer on anyone’s personal lifestyle choices. And, at the same time, there are facts that can’t be ignored – like the fact that fruits and vegetables do not contain significant amounts of choline per 100g.

          I eat a LOT of veggies every day. Vegetarians are often surprised by the amount of foliage I eat. 6-8 cups of veggies a lot. On paper, I get a lot of folate – more than should be necessary. And, while a randomized double-blind study is cool and all, when I did an RBC micronutrient analysis on my own blood, both folate and choline was low.

          Please don’t spread your confusions about dietary sufficiency. It really is complex. I promise. I’m not just making this up.

          Choline sufficiency is also not strictly diet-dependent. You can be deficient in nutrients due to poor absorption, altered gut ecology, but also because of impaired methylation and stress.

          If you are truly deficient in choline, and you’re looking for nutrient-dense options for repletion, liver and egg yolks are, by far, the highest (and most practical).

          So, while I’m not against people eating fruits and vegetables, let’s be honest. They’re poor sources of choline. Yes, there are minuscule amounts of the nutrient in there, but you don’t typically eat them if you’re concerned about maintaining adequate dietary intake (if that’s really a concern for you) for the same reasons you wouldn’t eat watermelon for iron if you’re anemic (and then tell people that watermelon has iron in it so don’t worry about iron intake).

          If you’re not concerned about your health, that’s fine. No one is holding a gun to anybody’s head here. But, if you are, I think people really need to put down their philosophical guns and adopt a policy of reason and practicality.

          • Lisa Z. says

            Interesting. I’ve been a vegan my entire life (I’m 43), and on your recommendation just had an RBC micronutrient analysis done on my blood. Both folate and choline were fine. In fact, everything was fine. If you want, I could post the complete lab results along with my doctor’s positive comments.

            • David says

              Hey if you’re happy with your diet, have at it. I’m just relaying my personal experience.

              It is interesting that you received your lab results back so quickly.

              SpectraCell holds some kind of patent on their micronutrient testing, and my experience is that it takes at least 3 weeks to get the results back. So, even if you took the test the same day I posted my reply, you’d probably still be waiting for results.

              So, I guess that’s really impressive speed on the analysis, given that the lab somehow got the test done in under 3 weeks, you were able to schedule a followup with your doctor, he was able to comment on your labs, and you have the sheet ready to upload.

              huh. Maybe I need to switch doctors and get in on this fast-track lab work.

              • Lisa Z. says

                Sorry, but if you’re insinuating that I’m lying you are way out of line. The lab results took roughly 2 weeks. My insurance is Kaiser, and they posted my results online via their (password protected) website. I had no reason to question the amount of time it took to get the results, and frankly the few days difference that you’re making such a big deal about seems insignificant and petty.

                Since it seems that you are more interested in starting arguments than having a serious discussion I have no further interest in corresponding with you. Please troll somewhere else.

          • Judy says

            Wow, you are something else, assuming that I’m “shoehorning a diet into a moral/philosophical framework.” As it happens, I went 100% plant-based over a decade ago for health reasons. It was either that or be put on a statin, which my internist recommended. My health improved substantially in many respects as a result of going plant-based, and I haven’t for a moment regretted my decision. Since that time, I have learned more about animal agriculture and its inhumane practices both toward animals and human workers as well as its negative effects on the environment, all of which further confirm my decision.

            I also don’t appreciate being told I’m “talking out my ass” regarding nutrition. I’ve taken numerous college-level nutrition courses and have completed Cornell’s certificate program in plant-based nutrition. I’ve read over a hundred books on the subject and participated in nutrition conferences and seminars.

            Sure, you can get more iron from beef and more choline from an egg than from any one plant food, but so what? The negatives from consuming them outweigh the positives. You can get all you need of those nutrients and others, and in a more healthful manner, by consuming a wide variety of unprocessed plant foods.

            Your condescending attitude, not only to me, but also to Lisa Z, is astounding and counterproductive to your aim, which I gather is to convince others of your own questionable opinions.

    • Judy says

      B-12 is the only vitamin that’s essential for vegans to take. It’s also good to take vegan D3 if your lifestyle or location don’t permit adequate daily sun exposure. Vegan algae-based DHA/EPA supplementation may be a good idea, but you can also increase the body’s conversion of plant-based omega-3s (from sources such as ground flax seed and walnuts) by keeping your intake of omega-6s minimal. Other than those, a well-balanced, varied plant-based diet provides everything you need in abundance. It’s not a good idea to take supplemental Vitamin A or folate anyway. Best wishes to you!

  37. Erica says

    I think the final moral source is your own commitment to a moral life, not a book even if it is called the Bible. Look what is being done in the name of Koran lately. They find justification for their behavior as well.

    No matter what the Bible says the first time you see a cow defecating in fear as he approachs slaughter and then being hacked into pieces while still alive and hanging from a hook inserted in his flesh you’d probably have trouble swallowing it. And if you don’t care about cows did you know that about 80% of antibiotics are sold to be injected into chickens and livestock? What did the Bible say about that? It’s all about the money and you are the sucker.

    • pjb says

      Not all animals are treated that way. It’s amazing how vegans try to shame omnivores by telling us we are cruel to animals. I’ve actually met the chickens we will be eating later this year. They roam around a large property and eat at their leisure. They are well treated and humanely killed. I’ve also met the pig we will be consuming later this year. Same story. No antibiotics, no hanging from a hook, etc. And it’s not at all about the money. I could eat a lot cheaper if I gave up my expensive, ethically raised meat. But I follow the science and eat for health.

      • Neal says

        I’m not sure I understand your point there.

        You seem to be suggesting that the chickens won’t mind being killed (whilst still less than half way through their natural lives) because those shortened lives are in nice surroundings.
        Is that your point or have I misunderstood?

        If it is your point then I’m curious about what you would say if another species ever starts doing that to you and your family.

        Presumably if you’re happy with the principle of it (for the chickens) then you would be equally happy to practice what you preach should you’re kids ever be on the receiving end of the same thing??

        Otherwise you’d be a hypocrite and I’m sure that’s not what you intended.

        Just wondered if you could clarify. Thanks

        • Pree says

          You do know that those chickens would never have experienced life at all, if they had not been grown for meat? Would they rather have not lived at all, or have lived a happy life and come to a humane end?Nobody can really answer these questions, but we do the best we can.

  38. Mark S says

    Not only EPA and DHA (long-chain unsaturated fatty acids), but medium-chain *saturated fatty acids* are just as important for optimum health.

    These are available from plant sources but *only* tropical ones.

    The best is coconut (most easily obtained as cold-pressed oil), but most other tropical edible nuts and seeds (again, the cold-pressed oils from them) are also excellent.

    At high latitudes – temperate through to arctic – nuts or seeds contain no fatty acids beyond mono-unsaturated.

    In these regions people once had no choice but to eat meat to stay healthy.

  39. Mark says

    What vegetarians and vegans don’t realize is that your brain needs certain protein to remain balanced. Yes, you can get away with eating fruits and veggies most of the time but at least once a week you should be eating red meat at a meal. Red meat contains a protein not found in fish, chicken, beans etc… That the brain needs this to function properly. Many vegans can become air headed or loopy if they choose not to realize this. Also, a child should NEVER be raised on a vegan/veg diet. They are too young and it WILL hurt their development.

    • Judy Sangillo says

      Mark, can you please name that “certain protein”? Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and all the essential amino acids (those that aren’t produced by the body) are available in abundance in plant foods.

      Regarding your opinion on children being raised vegan or vegetarian: How many vegan children do you know? I know about a hundred, as well as young adults who’ve been vegan since birth. They are, if anything, healthier than most. My ten-year-old, vegan all her life, is bright, athletic, and never misses school. “Air-headed and loopy”? Not at all. She’s never needed an antibiotic and is mystified by the illnesses her classmates get. Strep, diarrhea, throwing up…These are not part of her experience, although, going to public school, she’s exposed to all the bugs that go around. Her omnivorous pediatrician says my daughter is one of her healthiest patients and tells me to make sure she “just keeps doing whatever she’s doing.”

  40. Leslie says

    You’re not going to convince a die hard meat eater to stop eating meat, and meat eaters you’re not going to convince the vegan or vegetarian to start eating meat. Granted I haven’t gone through all the comments, but from what I’ve seen on here there is a futile back-and-forth going on. We need to do what works for our bodies. For some people it just does not work to eat vegan, and for some people it doesn’t work to eat meat. That doesn’t mean that either person is wrong. I get so tired of people telling me what I should put in my body, and why. Just the other day I was sharing some information with women who have PCOS, and a vegan woman spent forever trying to convince me to live on vegetables, starchy vegetables, and fruit. I tried to explain to her that I’m eating in a way that lowers my blood sugar, and that high amounts of starchy vegetables, and fruits take my blood sugar up too high. I told her that when I ate a mainly plant-based diet, but had too much fortunate my blood sugars were almost 300. She kept on me for about an hour trying to get me to change. Telling me if I just tried it I would see she was right. I was polite, but I wanted to tell her off, and say what part of it made my blood sugars go up to 300 do you not get lady? The irony of the whole situation: this woman wasted so much time trying to convince me that her way was best, and my whole post was information on different ways of eating including vegan, vegetarian, ketogenic, Paleo, clean eating and plant-based diet, and I was encouraging people to do what works specifically for them. It’s okay to educate someone but then let it go. If you have a moral objection to eating meat, or if you feel it’s healthier that’s your business. I like to eat grass fed/free range meat raised by my local farmer, and I’m not going to change my mind about that. That doesn’t mean that I think you are wrong for not eating meat, but that means I don’t want you pressuring me.

    • susan says

      Thank you, I agree. I also have PCOS and additionally am histamine intolerant, so my food choices are quite limited. I can’t eat vegetarian or vegan; its simply not possible for my health. Yet in forums where I am trying to get nutritional information I am often accosted by vegans insisting that they know my health issues better….somehow.

      Preaching to people on your own moral issues with animal products approaches religious fervor with some. I don’t need converting, I know what sort of foods my body can digest.

  41. MattA says

    There is a big difference between people who avoid eating meat and people who actually eat plants.

    The more plants a person eats, the healthier that person is. People who eat exclusively plants are the healthiest by far. There is need for SUPPLEMENTS of vitamin B12 for vegans. Some people argue for EPA/DHEA supplements too – I take them – and vitamin D supplements should probably be taken by everyone in the northern hemisphere in the fall and winter.

    I agree that just being a vegetarian or a vegan is not good enough to insure nutritional superiority. For that a person must eat a plant based diet and take appropriate supplements.

  42. gene says

    I was fat all my life as a kid I was fat my life sucked out loud I started cut out the meat and the wheat and rice and corn I have got rid of a 163 lbs. I am in better shape of my life you have to go with what works

    • MO says

      You realise cutting out the wheat was probably the main factor there? Meat, assuming its not processed crap, and eaten in moderation wouldn’t cause you to gain wait.

  43. Rachel says

    What annoys me is how much hate there is towards vegans. Not all vegans are stuck up jerks trying to push their beliefs on you, it’s not a religion. It’s just not wanting to eat something or use certain products. You don’t need to justify your choices or get defensive because it has nothing to do with you. There’s radical people in every controversial topic, but not all of us are like that. Even other vegans try to tell me I’m not being vegan “the right way” and I roll my eyes. Just do whatever it is that makes you happy and feel good and leave me to my vegetables and fruits and the occasional package of oreos haha

    • Stephen says

      I’m a bit of an extremist vegan sometimes but it is because I care deeply about the animals, and I think most vegans are similar.

      Imagine you lived in a world where child prostitution was normalized as part of culture and when you enter a cafe or restaurant men (including your friends) would order little girls to rape. That’s how I feel when I see people eating meat, and I think that’s how most vegans feel as well.

      • James Tapp says

        Eating meat = raping little girls?

        Wow, sorry you feel that way.

        Morally, rape is wrong and eating animals is OK. Check the number one source of guidance on morality issues- the Bible.

        • Carrie Wilcox says

          Mentally, many animals are at the same level mentally as small children. Many Vegans/Vegetarians such as myself are aware of this and it makes the idea of manipulating and killing them just that much less attractive. I’m sure you don’t see it that way since, as most of us were, you were conditioned not to see animals as sentient, thoughtfull and emotional beings. It isn’t surprising that you feel this way.

          • David says

            Animals aren’t small children. That’s straight-up anthropomorphizing. Animals in the wild kill other animals. There’s no lack of respect there. It’s just what they do.

            (Many) humans do the same thing. I love animals, and it’s not true that I was never taught to see animals as emotional creatures.

            At the same time, there’s a huge difference between a dog and a cow, and I’m thankful for the cow’s life, since it converts low calorie nutrition into high calorie nutrition for me.

            You could just as easily argue that the animal that gives its life to you as food is the most prized and respected of all animals.

            • says

              “In Germany, a border collie named Rico can recognize over 200 different objects and has an IQ comparable to a 3-year-old child.”
              I’m not making this up, this is the result of scientific research.
              Is there something wrong with comparing animals to humans? Have you never been guilty of comparing humans to animals? Probably not when it was convenient to do so.
              Not all animals kill other animals, and when they do, it’s usually because they are hungry and it’s a matter of survival. They do not have the options that we have.
              Yes, there are some differences between a dog and a cow – on a mental level that may be just a matter of a few IQ points, the same goes for humans. We are not all on the same level intellectually.
              “…the animal that gives it’s life to you…” ??? Are you sure about that? Because I’m pretty sure that it’s life was taken, by us, without the animal’s consent.
              Rather touching concept, though.

              Read more : http://www.ehow.com/info_8221852_animals-iq.html

              • David says

                Oi. I’ll pretend you didn’t just post a link to eHow (hardly an authoritative source of information). Demand Media (which owns eHow) has pretty wonky editorial standards. I know. I’ve done contracted work with them in the past.

                Anyhow, here’s another take on it, written by a vegetarian:

                http://www.amazon.com/The-Vegetarian-Myth-Justice-Sustainability/dp/1604860804

                I don’t really want to go back and forth about mythological flaws in studies that equivocate dogs with humans. Let’s just agree to disagree on that part.

      • says

        Stephen, interesting you consider Fertilization as RAPE! Hen’s can lay as many eggs as they want without a Horny Rooster. But if we want chicks, well, in your view the rapist rooster has to be involved, as cows only conceive when in heat. Natural cycles of conception R only Rape in the mind of an AR’st Vegan.

        • susan says

          I have found that most extreme vegans tend to not have much practical experience with animals other than as pets.

          And usually people who throw the term rape around as a descriptor for unrelated things…such as food….tend to have no experience as a victim of rape. Tasteless metaphor, Stephen

    • RichardD says

      It sounds like you have a healthy viewpoint. I respect that. I’m a former vegan. I must say that I have come to despise the vegan health cult and it’s leaders — e.g., T. Colin Campbell, Esselstein, McDougall, Ornish, etc. The cult believes that humans evolved as plant eaters and that animal consumption in any amount proportionally increases your chance of death and disease. Since I have started reading outside sources, I have come to believe that they are scientifically unsound, and, actually, fraudsters. The worst is Campbell. His epidemiological “grand prix” (how they love to quote Jane Brody on that), the China Study, is the house of cards on which all their so-called science is based.

      • Carrie Wilcox says

        I’m willing to be you got tired of dealing with the inconveniences to the Vegan lifestyle and had no trouble finding adequate excuses to revert back to eating meat. Yes, some Vegans are fanatical. Some meat-eaters are fanatical Some Christians are fanatical. Some football fans are fanatical. You find that everywhere. That doesn’t make all religion or sports wrong. And I’m willing to bet that that “so-called” science was much more accurate than you care to acknowledge.

      • Joe says

        If it didn’t work for you I am sorry – but taking your anger out on livesaving doctors rather than taking responsibility for your own decisions is pathetic.

        Calling Esselstyn and Ornish cult leaders is actually offensive considering the fact they are esteemed published scientists with a long and well defined history of saving peoples lives through dietary and other interventions. They have been advancing the idea of diet as a treatment protocol for decades.

        And as for the China Study – it certainly is not perfect – as no study is – but it represents the work of hundreds of scientists and many universities from all over the world. It is not the single voice of Colin Campbell.

        Or did Denise Minger tell you otherwise?

  44. Cat says

    Why is it that vegans blast everyone who writes an article as being a pawn for the dairy and meat industry? Do you realize how entirely insulting and inane that is? It gets old. Would you like it if we treated you like a pawn for the grain industry or the soy industry? Which does enough of its own damage, from the sounds of things….

  45. David says

    just a note on B12…. over 50’s in the USA are recommended to start taking a synthetic supplement as part of their normal diet, whether they eat a lot of meat, a little meat, or no meat at all… i am 31, a vegan, and i take this supplement also, as well as using other foods fortified with calcium, iron, and B12, so your argument about not being able to get these vitamins is pretty weak

  46. Kevin says

    There are 5 “Blue Zones” in the world. These zones define the longest lived people on our planet. Only 1 of these communities are vegetarian and 4 eat meat . just saying! :)

      • Louis says

        Actually the Sardinians diet is the only full vegetarian blue zone, the rest are semi vegetarian meaning they consume meat but there diet is still built around veggies, the Okinawan diet is a perfect example of semi vegetarianism as they eat mainly veggies but they do eat small amounts of fish and squid daily and they also eat pork as delicacy of sorts on ocasion and if you look at another blue zone which is in Costa Rica they consume beef, chicken and eggs every day and even have a high consumtion of fried food such as plaintains and eggs but they eat alot veggies to round it all out. The one thing all these blue zone diets have in common is the high consumtion of legumes

        • Steve says

          I just wanted to clarify the Costa Rican diet. We don’t really eat a lot of vegetables. Most of our diet is starch-based, and we love to fry our food. You can do a google images search for “gallo pinto costa rica” and “casado costa rica” to see what our main breakfast and lunch/dinner dishes are. The Blue Zone in Nicoya eats the same diet as the rest of us do throughout Costa Rica. It is thought that perhaps the reason for the Blue Zone in Nicoya is actually because of the mineral-rich water, since their diet isn’t any different than the rest of CR.

        • Judy Sangillo says

          The people in the Loma Linda community who were profiled in Blue Zones were all vegan or vegetarian, including Ellsworth Wareham, the heart surgeon in his mid-nineties who had been vegan for thirty years. I recently read an update on him; he’s now 100 and still going strong as a vegan.

        • Vixxi says

          Your information is incorrect. Sardinians eat more meat then all the other blue zone groups, namely pork. I’m not sure if any of them are fully vegetarian and certainly not vegan. I also just recently read someone who said they were from Sardinia, and they had this to say, which I was surprised by and it makes me want to visit there myself and find out what’s actually true “The whole low on meat aspect is actually pretty inaccurate. I’m Sardinian and there wasn’t a single day we didn’t have meat, and in central Sardinia it is normal to eat whole roasted bores at least once a week. Fatty meats are essential for a healthy nervous system. Also, we don’t eat much pasta. That’s an Italian thing — and we aren’t Italian. Grain products such as breads and pasta cause inflammation of the arteries which leads to heart disease. Cholesterol is a must in a diet and is needed to repair such damage, but when eaten in conjunction with damaging grains, the cholesterol keeps piling on to fix the damage causing clogging of the arteries. Also, the sudden blood sugar spike pushes cholesterol into the fat cells which otherwise would be used to maintain the brain and nerve functions. Seafood is also a big part of the diet on the coast as well as local wild plants and fruits. But you won’t see a meal where chicken, or pork, or beef, or donkey, or horse isn’t on the menu.”

          I read that they are a frugal people, making simplistic meals and having a fun perspective of the world, time having less meaning and stress being rare.

          I honestly think diet has less and less to do with health, in comparison to mental health. If you’re wanted and loved or stubborn, you’ll live longer. Which is why all those cultures have family, camaraderie and usefulness no matter the age in common.

          Unwanted people die sooner regardless of a good diet. Being apart of a community and being social.
          The mind has a lot of power, for all we know many of the effects of any diet might be placebo considering placebo can have an effect on actual health, not just feeling better.

          On the subject of diet though, I think any diet that requires supplements is not optimal.

          But like I said, I think the brain has a lot more power on health then food does, considering it controls all the signals that make us healthy, or unhealthy including cortisol, insulin etc.

          • Vixxi says

            To add, because I couldn’t find the edit button, another Sardinan said this “To the man who claims he’s Sardinian. I am Sardinian, born and raised and I cannot relate with any of the statements you made. No bread or pasta? We’re not italian??? LOL So when exactly did Sardinians seperate from Italy? Why didn’t they send me a letter? Nobody told me. I’ve been living a lie for 63 yrs, wow. All this time thinking I’m italian and yet the whole time I wasn’t. Why did they teach us italian in school, it was a mandatory class. We had to learn Sardo and italian. How peculiar. Pistoccu, Pane Carasau, Su Coccoi, these popular and ancient sardinian breads that I’ve been eating since birth must have been a figment of my imagination. I can’t really remember eating donkey or horse, mostly porccedu, lamb, and fish, even lumachi. I have family in the north and I reside in the south, yet we seem to eat more or less the same things, differing slightly. Very bizzare.”

            Which still suggests that being vegetarian is not a thing there. But it does pose confusion on the actual diets. I would love to visit there and see it for myself.

          • Judy Sangillo says

            Vixxi, the tiny Sardinian community with unusual longevity that was profiled in Blue Zones is not reflective of Sardinia as a whole. It is a tiny mountainous community where even fish consumption is rare. They are not vegan but are nearly vegetarian. Read the book; I think you’ll find it very interesting.

            I agree with you that diet is not the entire reason some people live longer. You touch on something very important there. The people in all the Blue Zones are an active, appreciated part of their communities into their 90s and beyond. And they are physically active all their lives., not by going to a gym, but by climbing mountains, farming, etc. However, the dietary factors common to all the tiny Blue Zone communities is that they eat mostly whole foods, including lots of beans, whole grains and vegetables, and not a whole lot in the way of animal protein.

  47. Alicia says

    Can you please at some point comment on this new alleged vegan D3? I’m withholding judgment about whether it is truly D3, but my attempts to google it only yielded articles questioning whether it was truly vegan.

  48. Erica says

    Flamed. My position is both flexible and examined sufficiently to be unshakable! On the one hand the decision will more and more be taken out of the hands of individuals as the price of meat continues to go up and the big new money invests in meat replacements. Meat is simply unsustainable on so many levels and the way information travels now the back door secrets that kept it looking clean are out of the bag. But I just don’t think most people who defend it are aware. You can still easily avoid knowing about the industry. If you do learn about it there is no way you can’t begin to try to make the switch. This country runs on the endless silent scream of animal abuse – millions of sentient creatures a day suffering and being tortured silently and without pause or recourse. It’s interesting – you can see by the 1000 comments here it is the hottest topic around. I feel hopeful. Slightly. In the meantime I also hope for the end of mankind! :)

    • James says

      You hope for the end of mankind? Humans are sentient beings too. To hope for the end of mankind is to hope for the end of billions of sentient beings.

  49. Erica Martell says

    Nice comment Ramon. As always vegans consider the whole and meat eaters talk about themselves. For people eating McDonalds Paleo is a great advance but it’s largely a money making concept for a few of it’s promoters. Vegetarian, or preferably vegan, eating is conceptually worlds ahead as it takes into account the economic and spiritual whole and not just the needs and preferences of the individual. This is the key fact that people who eat meat simply cannot wrap their heads around. Their comments are always about “I”. It’s why there is no ability to dialogue.

    • drew.. says

      I absolutely agree Erica.. and you will likely only get flamed for such comments as anything else will force a person to look in the mirror and truly see their choices for the darkness they represent. Most do not realize it was choice made for them while they were infants and to awaken would mean to admit wrong and to do the same onto their parents.. Interestingly, it is of no shame to be caught up in the status quo when information was harder to discern, but today, such is NOT the case.

  50. Ramon Medinabello says

    Are we to believe the musing of a man who eats the same, or tries to eat the same diet as our ancestors did over 5000 years ago? Despite all the science humankind has uncovered, technological advances and the whole wealth of food we have available today he still thinks a caveman diet is optimal? Does he not realise that caveman had no nutritional knowledge at all and simple scavenged around and pretty much ate whatever he could find? Which was by the way mostly a whole foods plant based diet with little meat if he could get his hands on it. Personally I prefer to look to the future not the past for my dietary needs. I have been vegan for 20 years, vego before that and have never broken a bone or been to the doctors or had any health issues whatsoever. My eyes are perfect, blood test showed no deficiencies so to say that vegans are deficient in all these nutrients and minerals is inaccurate. In the interests of full disclosure, I do take B12 and D, not that I was deficient as I wasn’t, more of a precautionary top up and its so cheap.

    • gray man says

      Then stop taking B12 and D if you are so healthy.
      I have been eating bacon and eggs every morning for breakfast for over 30 years straight. All my bloodwork shows the body of a much younger man. I’ve never been sick or gone to the doctor for health issues. Nor broken any bones.
      By the way, evolution does not work the way you seem to think.

    • Kevin says

      animals around the world have no knowledge of nutition (as per our hunter gatherers) yet they eat what is optimal for their survival?? You think modern processed foods are superior to old fashioned non-processed foods?

      • Judy says

        Ramon didn’t say anything about processed foods, Kevin. I’m not sure where that came from. And hunter gatherers ate what they were able to find, which varied from one region to another. They didn’t (and many couldn’t) in some magical way eat what would be optimal. Evolution only cares that a species stay alive long enough to procreate, not that it live a long life.

  51. Ash says

    ANY diet can be missing crucial macro and micronutrients. I wish folks that practice carnism would also write articles on the negative health benefits of animal by-products and how a carnivorous diet also leaves a lot to be explored. There are always articles arguing one way or the other, but what everyone should be arguing for is better education on what our bodies need and not some stupid social tug-a-war over personal choices and lifestyles. There are tons of resources out there about the proper way to live vegetarian and vegan lifestyles, but not too many on how to eat animal by-procucts in a proper way aka not over doing meat consumption because it is just as harmful to have too much of certain nutrients as it is to have too little.

    • JessManhire says

      Totally agree that it doesn’t matter what diet you eat just as long as you don’t get too little or too much of the nutrients. I think a vegetarian or vegan diet is the way to go as it’s ethical but you have to do your research and not just cut out meat products. Organic foods also have more nutrients than non-organic so that has to be taken into consideration. Cronometer.com is a great website to measure the nutrients you are eating and is based on the best research out there – not all research is perfect yet but it is a good guide to give you an idea.

  52. Angela says

    Wow — I have been vegan over 25 years. Raised three healthy kids to adulthood, (all still vegan) nursed them a total of 8 years. At every stage, they were healthier then any of their non-vegan peers. They have never had antibiotics, never broken any bones, They are intelligent, athletic and kind!

    But what I want people to know is this: I had health challenges along the way — for example, at one point, for almost a year, I developed chronic fatigue, no surprise my first concern was that it was because I was vegan…but I was simply not willing to consider giving that up, so I searched for other things to try — it turned out, I had a root canal from years ago, that had failed. Thankfully a good dentist helped me figure it out, and once it was all cleaned up, I fully recovered.
    So glad that I did not give up my healthy vegan diet mistakenly!

    I

      • Kendelle Trotter says

        Was that sarcasm I sensed? If so, you really ought to look back on that comment. Her point was that you can be just as healthy, while also being ethical, with a vegan diet. Of course, the slight implication that a vegan diet is superior to a normal diet health wise is silly, but the rest is perfectly logical.

      • KevinsUniverse says

        Kevin, funny how vegans care so much about the planet eh? meat eaters can rejoice as the world revolves around themselves… If a meat eater actually considered that animals have consciousness, considered his own jaw chews and grinds side to side rather than snapping up and down, considered the impact of the meat industry on our environment and finally considered anything beyond “I”, just perhaps they wouldn’t write a farcical article like this to justify and console other meat eaters into a belief that actually it’s ok. To Mr Grayman “I eat bacon and eggs every day”. Why not use the less poetic approach? remove the camouflage and absorb the fact you’ve been eating slices of slaughtered pig corpse, the unfertilized chicken embryos were probably free range so you can feel better about that right?

        • Prometheus68 says

          “unfertilized chicken embryos”

          You do realize that there are no chicken embryos in unfertilized eggs, right?

          • KevinsUniverse says

            This may in itself be a valid reply Prometheus68. However it does not address the point in question and adds nothing of real value. You do realize that your pedanticism “speaks volume”, right?

    • Judy Sangillo says

      Angela, thank you for sharing your experiences, which have been similar to mine. My two older children, raised vegetarian, were healthier than most of their peers, and my youngest, vegan since conception, at age ten has been even healthier than her siblings were. No antibiotics, no stomach issues (throwing up? what’s that?), never misses school. It’s not genetic, as my husband and I were both frequently sick as kids.

  53. says

    We can all argue the nutritional science until we’re blue in the face, there are studies that obviously show benefits of living an animal or plant based diet either way.

    The one fact that you can’t ignore is that a living being must be bred, fed and intentionally kept alive in order to kill it, how would you like it if your execution had been planned before you were born.

    I turned Vegan a couple of weeks ago after becoming fully aware of the inhumane and unfair suffering that we put on animals not to mention the environmental damage that is now being caused by animal agriculture and population increase.

    Whether the nutritional science is for or against it, we as fellow species on this planet with finite resources will need to change our eating habits in the years to come to avoid the environmental costs that future generations will have to bare.

    In my mind my selfish reasons for following an animal based diet are not justification enough anymore to be part of the torment, torture and environmental damage.

    It’s worth finding a way to get all that we need from plants.

    You may want to watch these documentaries, as they may help you to take a different look at your decisions:

    • Roy says

      Hopefully one day soon, synthetic meat can be produced and bypassing the biologically expensive requirements of growing everything else present day livestock requires, would be a great benefit to everyone.

      Animals would not need to be farmed for their meat. The resources used to grow the meat would be used more efficiently. There would be no moral or ethical dilemma. We would all eat to satiation and live long, fruitful and happy productive lives.

      One day…

  54. Martha Harrison says

    I went vegan for a year a few years back. Decided I would eat vegan from Jan. 1st to Dec. 31st, and just see how I felt. I am a woman in my early 60s now. Anyway, I researched for months everything I needed to know about being vegan – prior to starting – and felt very comfortable with the eating changes I would be making. My observations are this: I wasn’t as tired on the vegan diet, I actually spent less money on food on the vegan diet, and overall I think it was okay. There were two problems I, personally, had with it. First off, I had tremendous cravings for meat, eggs, milk, dairy. These were easy to deal with, for the most part….but it did bother me. However, more importantly – again, in my opinion – I was sick constantly. And I mean constantly – colds, flu, sinus infections, bronchitis, more colds and upper respiratory infections, and then more colds and flu. I was sick more that one year than the previous 10 years combined. So….I quit. And, have only been sick once since. I added back meat, eggs, cheese, milk, yogurt to my diet. Overall, I learned a ton being vegan – and believe it or not – I would recommend it to anyone to try for at least one year. For me, it just didn’t work. I learned so much though – and I still eat many of the new dishes I learned to make/cook when I was vegan.

    • drew says

      With respect, and thank you for a thoughtful discourse, but you were not experiencing sickness, you were experiencing your body ridding itself of a lifetime of toxins.

      Every acidic body experiences this, the severity of which depending on the level of toxicity. Tis a shame you gave up without better understanding the internal cellular processes. You were getting close! To be alkaline is the key to health.

      • Prometheus68 says

        How, then, does your “detox” hypothesis explain Martha’s remission after she reintroduced animal products back in her diet?

        As for your opinion that she should have continued this diet in spite of the ill-effects it was having on her, the following Einstein quote comes to mind: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

        • drew.. says

          It you re-read my comment without bias or without need to protect that which you are used to, the answer is clear:

          Once the body starts to detox, and STARTS is the key here, the exiting toxins will manifest in what mainstream would identify as dis-ease. After many decades of poor health decisions, do you expect any body to shed a lifetime of ills quickly?

          A return to the status quo simply shutdown the detox process, that is why dis-ease disappeared. It is very elementary once you see it.

          And make no mistake, proper nutrition is only one part of a multi-faceted approach to true detox.

          • katarina says

            I have a son who was being fed a healthy vegan diet for the first 2 and 1/2 years of his life. I let my son experience chronic colds, sinus infections, bronchitis and eczema without me even realizing that it might be extreme nutritional deficiencies causing this.

            And yeah, I am completely sure now, that it wasn’t detox because that poor child of mine had no previous ‘lifetime of toxins’ period since he was fed such an excellent diet since childbirth.

            He is 6 years old now and he is still calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and B6 and B12 deficient! Thankfully, he is not so sick like he used to be anymore.

            With my daughther I decided to take a different path and feed her liberal amount of animal products, especially the ones that come from our own family farming.

            Luckily my daughter is stronger, taller and calmer than my son and what is more important is that she is rarely sick. How does that make sense with this crazy detox idea?

            • drew.. says

              let me guess: fully vaccinated, surrounded by electricity, covered in sun-block, fed non-organic food.

              Kids these days barely stand a chance on being healthy with the extent of the lack of knowledge coupled with the zealous need of everyone to defend the status quo.

              • Serena says

                I was vegan for first 4 years of my life and extremely HEALTHY. For various reasons I then transitioned to ovo lacto vegetarian and am now eating primarily vegan again and couldn’t be happier than the couple of years where I did introduce more animal products into my diet.

          • Gerald says

            hey Drew, since you’re making us BC boys look bad with your comments here, maybe it’s better to back up what you say with some scientific references. Open the door for us, don’t ask to blindly trust a random dude on the internet. Nothing of what you say resonates with me on any level, not a single word; it all sounds like horse sh*t. So if you want to convince anyone of your hypotheses, send us some info (keep the naturalnews, realfarmacy, mercola, etc. to yourself).

            If you have enough energy to comment here, you hopefully have enough energy to go this extra step. Otherwise just keep your comments to yourself next time.

            • drew.. says

              Geez whiz Gerald, given your thoughtful, kind and polite nature, i am sure i will take the time to help you.

              And what’s more, i am sure i will filter ALL my sources to fit to a mainstream library, where all the nonsense lives.

              At least my profile is public. Feel free to come to my wall and ask direct, polite and thought-out questions.

              As for the off-hands rude comments, you only reflect your own bias and negativity with such displays. Cheers.

            • Birch says

              EXACTLY what I wanted to say. Oh and yes, we should totally toss vaccs out the window because you know, who the HELL wants to protect their children from diseases that killed and harmed so many? Why protect our children from the sun and how dare we feed them wholesome animal AND vegetable foods? —– seriously Drew, you are probably a really nice guy but I think you read too much pseudo-science on the interwebss. 😉

      • David says

        the cravings for milk and cheese are because cows milk has a chemical in it that acts as an addiction for the calf, making it want to suckle as much as possible… you get the same effect on the human body, EXCEPT THAT YOU’RE NOT A CALF

      • Dan says

        Should totally Detox within 7 days, heavy metals within 3 month’s, 12 months to detox? we change out our entire body’s immune system, blood, not to mention the vast intakes of water/fluids, and shedding of skin, 6 months your hardly the same you, detoxing for a year that is In-sain,

    • Cat says

      I became extremely sick as well on a vegan diet, mostly with severe chronic fatigue and depression. Considering Blood Type, it was not for me. I now eat a mostly vegetarian diet and some animals that are ethically raised and treated. I realized there is a balance that needs to happen and I got back in touch a bit with the food chain and how the universe really works. Besides that, some of the vegans I know are some of the most extreme personality types, obsessive, and condescending types I’ve ever met and I frankly got tired of listening to them all the time. I get veganism, I do. But it didn’t work for me and I hate how they look down on everyone who eats a little animal protein here and there or gives up on the vegan diet because it’s not right for them. As well, I have to say that not many of my vegan friends looked very healthy at all – sallow, prematurely aged complexions on most of them. Some of them already showing signs of ostea spine curve. Cutting out so much from my diet caused me to crave more and more carbs and pretty soon I was making myself sick from too many grains, legumes, corn, and starches. There were only so many nuts I could eat and soy products don’t agree with me, nor does wheat gluten. You may have become sick from the grains. Some of them do not agree with a lot of people. I am a book-seller and kept selling this one book, Dangerous Grains. I never read it but will at some point.

  55. Dreasan says

    I had been afflicted with gallstones and kidneys stones at 17 years old. My parents, poor as we were, couldn,t afford the expensive $3,500.00 operation back in the ’70’s. So I struggled with the pain. I asked GOD for help. Show me, lead me, open the path for me. HE did indeed. It came in the form of 2 books, 1 on fasting and the other on a specific diet.
    I tried the diet first which helped to alleviate the pain, but I wanted to dispel the stones. I did 4 consecutive fasts. After the fasting, the stones were no longer present which shocked or amazing the quack of a doctor that I was seeing at the time. At that point, I decided to stay with the diet which evolved into a vegetarian diet. I had asthma at the time also and it was no longer present. I was a vegetarian from 1973 to 2006. Long time huh!? Somehow, I took to using drugs and now everything is much worse!!! I’m planning on going back on the vegetarian diet by the Spring of 2015. I’m going to gradually re-introduce myself to this excellent regimen.
    Why? Because it’s the best alternative to taking a pharmacy full of medicines and going “Under the Knife”!

    • MrCuddles says

      Well the next time you get into a car accident *bless that you may not*, instead of going to the hospital, tell your parents or friends that you’re gonna pray to God and eat some green leaves. I bet that’s gonna help you a whole lot!

  56. Wendy says

    Ah man! Isn’t it obvious by now …?!

    People are not machines or clones of each other. ‘One man’s meat is another man’s poison’ and all that. We each need to eat what’s appropriate for us as individuals. Therefore, ALL of the comments here are ‘true’ for some of the people some of the time, but they are NOT true for all.

    Consequently, any generalisations made from cherry-picked studies (and all of us have a tendency to cherry-pick studies whose conclusions align with our personal biases) are, ipso facto, false. And any prescriptions any of us might want to make for the entirety of humankind based on our personal biases would result in poor health for all those people who don’t thrive on the same diet as us. Where’s the compassion in that?!

    I have a small organic farm where volunteers can come and work for a while. I don’t farm animals for meat but I do keep poultry for eggs. I eat a predominantly vegetarian diet with occasional locally-sourced, traditional and individually-reared animals. I have yet to have a single vegan volunteer who had the power, strength and stamina to do the work. So it strikes me as wickedly ironic that if missionary vegans had their way (and there seem to be an unfortunate prevalence amongst vegans of people who’s sole mission in life seems to be to brow-beat the rest of humanity into their totalitarian utopia), then it’s unlikely there’d be anyone left actually capable of growing the world’s food …!

    • SvenTheBold says

      “Consequently, any generalisations made from cherry-picked studies (and all of us have a tendency to cherry-pick studies whose conclusions align with our personal biases) are, ipso facto, false. And any prescriptions any of us might want to make for the entirety of humankind based on our personal biases would result in poor health for all those people who don’t thrive on the same diet as us. Where’s the compassion in that?!”

      This is a wonderful example of the appeal to balance fallacy. When you say that there can be NO prescriptions applicable to the whole of humanity, what you are really saying is that there is NOTHING that *everyone* shares in common. This is false, both with respect to biology, and with respect to everything else.

      I respect the notion that we should avoid “over-generalizing,” but we’ll all gain more of truth by us each attempting to justify whatever generalizations we make, so that our multiple perspectives remain focused on the same viewed object of the world.

    • David says

      you say don’t lump everyone in together, because one mans this is another mans that… yet you lump all vegans into a weak, lazy group?? there are many vegan athletes, and many many many weak and lazy meat eaters

      perhaps the vegans lacked the motivation to help you because they didn’t agree with what you were doing… just a thought… remember, vegan is not a ‘diet’, its a lifestyle, based on ethics and morals

  57. Erica Martell says

    Neda,

    Read my comments below. Check out Dr Ritamarie Loscalzo, The Vegetarian health Institute, Dr. Michael Klapper…. You just need some information. You can add iron to your diet by using a cast iron pan, by adding acids such as lemon to vegetables, by chewing more completely, by supplementation. But you don’t want too much iron either, as it ioxidizes or “rusts” in your body, in essence. Go to http://www.vegetarianhealthinstitute.com where you can find this informaiton in very simple short form. Or just google your questions “How to get more iron from a vegan diet.”

  58. says

    The author was never a vegan. That’s for sure! Probably too scared to try. I say, “fine”. Go on eating and promoting your carnivore lifestyle. Then when the joint pains, high blood pressure, and related sickness begins, take prescription medications- and go on laughing at all of your healthy vegan friends who keep on looking younger and healthier than you and your stupid doctors.
    I was a vegetarian for 45 years but recently switched over to vegan 24 months ago and never felt better in my life. My digestion is great, metabolism is normal without food cravings, emotionally happier, doing lots more exercise including 200+ push ups a day. I’m 63, male, 5’11, 185 and have a 331/2 inch waist.
    Doing just fine, my carnivore friend. While you’re following your doctor’s advice for pain and inflammation, I’m playing golf, tennis, going to parties and enjoying living.

    • Aly says

      Here are the flaws within your argument: 1. You are using anecdotal evidence. Congrats, you claim you feel great on a vegan diet. That is not science. 2. You imply, without evidence, that omnivores need pain medication, have high blood pressure, feel unhealthy, etc. These are just your assumptions and emotions talking. Did you not read the study mentioned in the article? Both vegetarians and omnivores are likely to have similar longevities provided they are health-conscious. There is a way to eat a clean, nutrient-dense, fresh food-dense, unprocessed diet that involves salmon and meat. Unfortunately, the standard American diet includes a myriad of fast food, junk food, and desserts. Maybe that’s the cause of some health problems, no? 3. You fail to acknowledge that all humans are different. While you may thrive (or at least claim to thrive) on a vegan diet, there is evidence that plant based diets can cause chronic illnesses. I am exposed to these cases all the time, since I am one of them. I know giving up meat is both addictive and rewarding, but remaining so emotionally close-minded and assuming everyone else is unhealthy is unfair, biased, and destructively dogmatic. It also sounds like you didn’t read the article. I wish you the best.

    • Cat says

      Great way to be a snooty, condescending vegan. Maybe vegans should work on that – not stepping on everyone else’s feelings, while they are being kind to animals, by taking cheap pot-shots at people for not being vegan. You catch more flies with honey than putting others down.

  59. 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!!

  60. 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

    • Aly says

      You do not have to pay a fortune for grass-fed meat, especially if you eat 1-2 servings a week. Please do not make assumptions.

    • Birch says

      It is REALLY important for your children to be getting good levels of fat for brain development. If you need to ask on a blog comment section about the difference between a vegan diet for children and adults then I suggest you hold off on making that change for your kids. Keep them on their whole fat milk , cut out processed foods. Buy ethical meat – it does NOT need to be eaten each day. Maybe 3 times/week. Some free range eggs, healthy greens and whole grains.Toss out the Mac n cheese, Pizza Pockets and white bread. Throw away the Koolaid and fruit juices, give them whole fruits and lots of fresh water.
      In the meantime, YOU become vegan if you wish and after a period of time , after you’ve learned the ins and outs of veganism and figured out how to prepare healthy meals that include all the nutrients you need, THEN see about how to extend that to your children if you really feel you want to take them off of meat/dairy/eggs.
      It’s a big commitment and please for your kids health, make sure you have learned what you need before changing their diets.
      You might find that doing the above – throwing out the processed carbs, sugars, artificial colours etc might be enough. Being vegan isnt healthier if you are still going to keep in all the other junk. Just something to keep in mind.

  61. 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.

    • Neda says

      Hi
      Its near a year that I am in plant based diet and I get problem with iron deficiency , my hair falls alot and my teeth is near to crack , please help me I love being plant based but I dont know what to do?

      • drew says

        “Corn, wheat, and soy are killing the environment” ..

        And where do you think a VAST majority of this crop goes? Given the starving nations in the world, is sure as shit isn’t them.

        .. It is to the animal agriculture business. Wake the hell up.

    • Valeria says

      Exactly my thoughts. Especially because, even if all the points made by the author would be true (which I doubt, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt since he does provide references and he has done his research, although it might be outdates) they would all be invalidated by the fact that animals GET supplements themselves. “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.” good morning sunshine, go tell it to the cows who get calcium and B12 added to their feed. Where is the twisted logic, that we eat animals who got (huge amounts of) supplements themselves, or that we consume (collectively smaller amounts of) supplements ourselves? You have done some research. Do some more. And use your logic better.

      • Birch says

        hm, maybe you should compare the nutritional composition of a Deer, Elk, Moose or other wild game with a cow and tell me why the cow is not higher in vitamins then? If indeed as you say, meat is only more nutrient dense due to vitamins put in the feed. Wild game has no additional vitamins added to their food. Just leaves, berries etc.
        What about long chain fatty acids? or any of the other nutrients?
        Please research your facts before making such incorrect statements.

      • Alicia says

        Factory farmed animals need vitamins for the same reason vegans need vitamins: their diets are unnatural and inevitably deficient.
        Also, we’ve bred dairy cows to give obscene amounts of milk. It makes sense that they couldn’t possibly keep up with their increased calcium needs from diet. Modern cows need calcium supplements because of what we’ve done to them.

  62. 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.

  63. 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

    • Birch says

      “Who ever wrote this article is stupid” — What a really insightful comment. Why don’t you look into all the research done yourself and then you can also call all those researchers stupid as well and feel REALLY great about yourself.

      • prema says

        I agree with Peony…..that is because anyone can take the research which begins with bias to begin with and then reduce it to whatever they want…..read Kris K’s article on baking soda…..now there he is totally wrong in my book and you will find half the research in favor of what he says and half totally the opposite…..pick whatever you want…but in my book…..murder is murder…..we live in modern times … we can get vegetarian food all year round..eating flesh is just plain murder and violent……if you don’t know that then you are just not very evolved…..sorry…….

        • Jonathan says

          Murder is technically unlawful killing. Its why when people say “Thou Shall Not Kill” in regards to biblical referencing they are a bit off.

          Killing that’s not against the law is not murder.

          Now law as a concept is completely man made so if its a law to you personally I guess you could call it murder under your “law”, but I don’t personally agree so its not murder to me.

          I think people likely do eat more meat than they need, and eating less is a good idea. I don’t believe eating none is necessary or useful though. I think its much easier to stick to a diet that includes Fish/Seafood, Meat, Nuts, Seeds, mostly non starchy vegetables, small amounts of fruits and little to no grains.

          Large amounts of unused carbohydrates is what creates most of the health problems not animal foods.

          There are plenty of perfectly healthy people that eat animal foods. There are even some who do well with almost all animal foods just as there are those that do well with mostly plant foods.

          I think it boils down largely to different ancestral makeup. Some have ancestors that ate more meat and some less and their systems are used to the different combinations.

          I still think it pretty interesting I have yet to have any vegan/vegetarian actually refute or explain the reason why every animal except for humans who are meant to eat plants and only plants like herbivores change most of the plant matter into fats which is than used for fuel.

          Humans do convert to some extent, but don’t have as large or complicated digestion to allow for most of their energy needs to be from fats converted from plants.

          Humans who eat large amounts of starches or fruits derive most of their energy from carbohydrates and not the conversion of carbohydrates into fats through fermentation in either multiple stomachs or fermentation vat intestines like Gorillas have.

  64. 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.

  65. 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.

  66. 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!

    • Aly says

      Haha. “Before you make a decision, you MUST watch 2 incredibly biased documentaries that use propaganda.” I recommend people just try the vegan diet themselves and see how they feel long-term. I’ve watched enough people’s bodies slowly shutting down to know it’s not sustainable for *most.* and every vegetarian I know (without a chronic illness) admits they have some health problems that they know are causes by lack of meat. It’s a religion, though, so they won’t change their diet or views.

      • says

        Here’s the thing abut what you just said though, because i have thought much about this topic and done much research: i can take my vegan friends who have health issues and look at their family members who eat meat and those family members also have health issues. i know soooo many people with health issues and so few without it really has more to do with the generation we are in and the toxic environment humans have created for themselves.

        many times i know veg clients and friends who tried going paleo or eating some fish or meat to see if they would get better, and they didn’t.

        many meat eaters are also very deficient in vitamin D and in B12.

        What I see, as a practitioner who works in an integrative pharmacy, is it turns out it has much more to do with whether they got the proper immune support at birth, what good or bad bacteria their mother (and possibly the hospital if c-section) had or didn’t have to innoculate them with at birth, whether they were breast fed, whether they were exposed to foods that their immune system was or wasn’t ready for at a young age, whether they were exposed to vaccines, anti-biotics, GMO foods, pesticides; what genes and mutations they were given, etc etc…

        so really it is much more complicated than just adding or subtracting animal flesh or organs to a diet. adding meat to a diet does not equal health, we all, including the very intelligent author of this article can agree on that.

        most important is the amount of stress we have and the sources for our foods and medicines, and maintaining a healthy microbiome aka gut, as well as the quality and purity of everything else we put ON and IN our bodies.

        Considering ethics and the greater good is sooo what we need right now in our world, so i support everyone who is doing that and changing for the better, whatever level they are ready for whether Paleo and choosing their animal medicines very very carefully, such an upgrade compared to SAD and fast food culture, or veggielicious folks who should also be choosing their food as medicines very carefully and making sure to choose Organic and Beyond Organic. I also support everyone on both diets to supplement to make up for the previous generations toxic creations, to make up for the over zealous use of anti-biotics and to make up for all of the pollution.

        supporting the body with extra nutrients, nutritionally dense superfoods like chlorella and dulse, stress preventing adaptogenic herbs like holy basil and rhodiola- this is where it’s at in this day and age. the plants and mushrooms and bacteria have much intelligence beyond what we comprehend and can truly help us in our evolution. <3!

        (thanks for the inspiration and for your awareness everyone!)

        • gray man says

          “i can take my vegan friends who have health issues and look at their family members who eat meat and those family members also have health issues.”

          And I can take meat-eating friends and my meat-eating self, who have no health issues and say the same about our vegan family members. Except that every vegan I know has health issues.

  67. 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.

  68. 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.

  69. 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

  70. 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.

  71. 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.

    • David says

      mate, come on… are you really comparing yourself to a tiger? an animal that eats EVERYTHING of the animal it kills… it doesn’t skin it, cut off a small chunk, then season it, then COOK it… it has a biological system to deal with processing meat… check out our biology, we don’t… we share nothing with carnivores, or omnivores, but our biology is the same as a herbivore… also, you are not a predator… if you have a pet cat, or a pet dog, for example, this is why you don’t attack it and rip it to pieces, you love it and enjoy its company… you also don’t run into a field and attack a cow… you have been sold a product, an ideal that meat is necessary for humans… animals kill for need, humans kill for greed

      • Prometheus68 says

        You are setting up a straw man argument there David. Of course, humans are not exclusive carnivores like tigers but we are if fact biologically well-adapted to digest meat and assimilate nutrition therein. Humans are opportunistic eaters, and can sustain themselves on a wide range of diets, from all living kingdoms (which make humans, by definition, omnivores). Here is an intellectually honest perspective on human omnivorism from a vegetarian resource group: https://www.vrg.org/nutshell/omni.htm

        That said, just because humans *can* extract nutrition from meat doesn’t necessarily imply that they *need* to do so to get adequate nutrition.

    • Cat says

      Thank you, Christopher. After becoming a sick and exhausted vegan and spending too much time around self-righteous vegans, this is the same conclusion I came to myself. Death is not a pleasant business for any living thing and it will come one way or another and me being vegan is not going to halt the food chain. I make ethical decisions around how much meat I will eat and how it is fed, raised, and even slaughtered. Animals die worse deaths all the time on their own….I had the misfortune of getting in with a group of fanatical vegans who just couldn’t shut up about so many things all the time, I developed a case of PTSD listening to them. There was no way to have just a normal dinner with them without talk of animal abuse or vegan canine diets or vegan wines (those not filtered with animal guts) or putting down meat-eaters or comparing chickens to domestic dogs and cats. I felt like I was at an AA meeting a few times being introduced at the start of my starting to become a vegan “as on my way” . They didn’t know I was that into the idea or not at the time…. I tried it and it didn’t work and as well, I got really tired of the extreme company it caused me to keep.

      • Cat says

        One of the really strange things I ever heard from my vegan friend was that if we all don’t eat animals, eventually racism and discrimination of all types will be wiped out….

  72. 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!

      • Alicia says

        She says she is physically unable to stick to a vegan diet and that her non-vegan vegan husband is adamant that veganism should be enough for her to be healthy (forget fertile!) just because he’s healthy on his non-vegan vegan diet. And you suggest that she watch a movie so intellectually dishonest it’s insulting claiming to prove that a vegan diet without enough fat to even absorb the fat soluble vitamins in veggies is the only way to avoid a painful demise? That strikes me as rather sadistic.
        And yeah. Listen to your body. My motto: when it comes down to pleasing the author of some book (who you will likely never meet) and your own body, go with your body. I didn’t do well on vegetarian OR low carb paleo. Note: this advice only applies to food that has some arguable nutritional value. If you’re craving cookies there is a reason for that too, and you should find out what it is, but eating more cookies is unlikely to be the answer. Sleeping more, increasing or decreasing your carbs… But fish, eggs, steak? Those messages are real and true.
        If you want to get pregnant and have a child with the best chance at health, eat not just fish but also eggs, and some grass fed dairy if you can handle it. Grass fed butter (vanishingly small amounts of lactose and casein) if you can’t. If you crave red meat, eat it too. Trust your body – there is something in it you need there. Most cultures make a point of giving extra animal food to pregnant women, not asking them to grow healthy babies without adequate nutrition.
        As far as your husband, I don’t know him so I don’t know how to break the news. But it seems like pointing out that he’s been lying to himself about the adequacy of his “vegan” diet and has got a lot of gall asking you to do what he won’t would be one bullet point in the thing.
        Reading some ancestral eating websites on fertility/pregnancy/nursing diets and shoving them under his nose would be another. Whether they are strictly accurate or not (my gut says 80% true, 20% overblown) is immaterial to the goal of converting him to allowing BOTH of you to eat a complete fertility diet.
        Good luck with Project Baby!

    • 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

      • Gina says

        So true. If he eats meat occasionally then he’s not so vegan to judge you for eating it occasionally either. So you should tell him definitely.

    • 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!

    • says

      There is wisdom in all that. Discuss it with him as a medical issue, you are having food cravings, that is soooo normal. Consider getting an integrative doctor who specializes in C.A.M. or functional medicine who can do your full profile to see what you are missing, and also check what you are “sensitive” or allergic to.

      Cravings come from different reasons- the mind seeking comfort, our microorganisms (good and bad) seeking food, our nutritional needs. Whatever your body is trying to get- it could be iron, could be protein- then be sure to supplement it using whole food based supplements in the best possible form. Consider: the super nourishing Health Force Nutritionals “Vitamineral Greens”, and their “Warrior Food” for protein. Also consider taking the vegan DHA and Methylcobalamin (active form of b12). or ask your husband if he would agree to you eating fish once a week or taking fish oil for now. There is a great vegan prenatal by Kind Organics, a super ethical 100% non-gmo vitamin line.

      PS. Most lunch meats have preservatives like BHT so they really aren’t a good thing necessarily.

    • JessManhire says

      Hi Vicky

      I would suggest you get regular blood tests done to see if you are deficient in any vitamins and minerals. It is always best to listen to your body but there could be some other reason you’re craving meat and it might not be protein you need e.g. you are not eating enough. If that is the case maybe try eating more or eating high calorie foods like avocado or nuts. I’m no nutritionist but they’re some thoughts that come to mind. You’re body will be trying to find ways to make up for the extra nutrients you need during pregnancy. I’m sure if you explain that to you’re husband then he’ll understand. I’m vegetarian but have always said I will have meat during pregnancy if I need it-best to not take chances during this crucial time. Perhaps see if you can get the extra nutrients with plant foods first. Hope that helps.

  73. 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.”

  74. 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!

    • Dave says

      I’m not sure why people get their undies in a bunch over this.

      There’s other articles on the internet that show the downfalls of eating meat.

      Kresser is just pointing out the potential deficiencies of a vegan diet.

      Just like Dr. Greger points out that meat consumption increases disease.

      It’s not a big deal.

  75. 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.

  76. 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.

  77. 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.

    • Leeann says

      Loved your comment, Kai. Reasonable and thoughtful. I would like to try vegetarian, as I’m not a big meat eater. I don’t eat steak or ribs and would be thrilled to never eat ham or chicken again. The problem is I don’t like the taste or texture of most fruits and vegetables. (Just smelling a mushroom makes me to gag.) I’ve been trying, and I have expanded my vegetable tastes a little over the last ten years. Your specific comment, “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” makes me feel much better. Thanks!

  78. 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.

    • Krin says

      Hey, guess what? That applies to me too. And I’m NOT a vegan!!!! Wow!!!! Anecdotal evidence doesn’t mean anything!!! Welcome to science 101!

  79. 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.

  80. 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.

  81. 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.

      • Cat says

        Grow UP! Why don’t you try compassion for people too who had to try something else? If you can’t say something entirely condescending and just plain mean and ignorant, say nothing….

      • Paul says

        We hate to break it to you, but it’s not like the man has his own dungeon full of animals just for himself. Him doing or not doing his dietary experiment is not going to suddenly pull the meat that is available for him to purchase off the shelf. Believe me, someone will buy it. But it won’t be you, obviously. But it will still go to someone’s nutritional benefit, like it or not…

    • Cat says

      Rob – Same thing happened to me. I got really sick with chronic fatigue probably due to more reliance on grains and legumes. Have switched to a more primal diet and I feel must less bloated and exhausted and foggy all the time. I became really depressed as well. I’m still healing from all that. I also did not eat wheat and still felt bad. I noticed that a lot of my vegan friends look older than they should for being so healthy, supposedly. Not to mention sallow-complected.

  82. 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.

  83. 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 😀 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!

    • Jennifer L. says

      See, like someone else mentioned above, it depends on who you are. I spend a lot of time tweaking my diet to fit MY needs. When I find what my body likes to eat, I eat it. I don’t shout it from the rooftops–“Hey everybody! I always have really great lab results (I always do)! Come eat the way I eat!!” I was vegetarian for nearly half of my life and vegan for three or four of those years. When I became pregnant, I added fish and liver back into my diet. I’d rather get my vitamins from food if possible. While I am nursing my kids, I add more animal products to my diet. When I am beyond this stage of my life, I might go back to being vegetarian if that is what helps to keep me healthy. I feel pretty good on a vegan diet when my body is not working over-time keeping up with small children and breastfeeding! In addition to eating well, I also sleep, exercise and enjoy my life.

      While it’s fun to sit around and nitpick which diet is best for ourselves and the environment, we have to mindful of where people are in their lives. The fourth-generation pure vegetarian is still a human living on this planet, as much as the kid who is being raised eating burgers from McDonalds (I’d like to think this is a trend of the past, but judging by the lines at the drive through, we’re not there yet). We all have room to contemplate the bigger issues at hand and make decisions about what is ethical, moral and responsible. It’s easy to point fingers at who is wrong and who is right, but it’s harder to teach people to really listen to their own bodies. No one gets a gold star from God when they die based on their holier-than-thou dietary principles.

  84. 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

  85. 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.

  86. 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.

  87. 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!

  88. 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.

  89. 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.

  90. 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.

      • Alicia says

        She didn’t say she needed yummier recipes. She said her health was faltering. And if she’s poking around on websites trying to find the least un-vegan diet that will cause her to stop feeling like hell, I’d say the probability is she’s already tried improving the nutrient density of her vegan diet.
        As far as the original question, a pasture raised egg a day, a can or two of sardines a week, and three cans of oysters a week will correct basically every deficiency in an optimally rich vegan diet. Add a few ounces of gouda a week and you’re even getting K2 and rounding out any calcium deficiency you might have.

  91. 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.

  92. 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.

  93. 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.

  94. 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.

  95. 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…

  96. 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.

    • Kay says

      Very astute observation, Frank. I read a blog about a woman who spent a lot of time denying how sick she was getting on a vegan diet and then as a feminist realized how oppressive and self-abusive it was all getting to be before she wised up and started eating what her body really needed to survive and heal the problems that her vegan diet caused. It was a really interesting read and she cautioned women who have ever had an ED (eating disorder) to be very careful with the vegan thing – that it can be a cover for self-restriction. As a failed vegan, myself, I can’t tell you how many rail thin and totally anorexic women I saw who were vegans. Your comment and this other woman’s blog makes a lot of sense. Veganism can become a covert, feminist oppressive issue as well.

  97. 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!

  98. 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.

  99. 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.

  100. 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.

      • Judy says

        Ridiculous. Jobs didn’t discover any such thing. His cancer was growing long before he changed his diet. Where he went wrong was in not agreeing to conventional treatment. Not consuming animal products if anything probably bought him some time.

  101. 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.

  102. 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

  103. 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.

  104. 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.

  105. 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/

  106. 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.

  107. 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

  108. 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!

    • Alicia says

      Funny how people who don’t like fruit and veggies don’t argue that that means their bodies don’t need them. And people they say it to either say A) force yourself to eat it anyway or B) you just haven’t found a good way to cook them yet.
      And yet “I don’t enjoy meat/fish/eggs/dairy” is somehow considered adequate argument that one is a different species than the rest of us and their bodies are telling them they will do best as vegans.
      I was vegetarian for 15 years (probably gave me the CFS I’m still getting out from under). When I started eating meat again I thought it was disgusting, but my body liked it so much I persevered, and have now found plenty of recipes that I find quite yummy.
      Not that you will (since the theme here is ‘only speak for yourself, don’t tell others they will have their experience’). But my mom doesn’t like vegetables and can’t be bothered to prepare them in a way she’ll like, and she plows through a little bowl of kale every night, like taking medicine. Find something you can almost gag down and do it.

  109. 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

  110. 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?

  111. 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.

  112. 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.

    • David says

      Well said Karin because a lot of vegans get on their “high horses” when they talk with me (I am a meat eater). They think there is no blood on their hands. I have made similar arguments to them about the loss of animal life in the harvesting process. Perhaps collateral damage doesn’t count?

  113. 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.

  114. 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..

  115. 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.

  116. 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.

  117. 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……

        • Colin says

          Nice thought-terminating cliche. “I’m sorry the truth (my opinion) upsets you so much….” Gotta love that d-bag vegan snark.

      • Cat says

        Exactly. This is what I cannot stand about the vegans I know as well. I don’t want anything to do with them after a while. I find it insulting to be called a bad person in any way, shape or form – if I eat an animal protein, even to the best of my ethical decision making process. I eat mostly vegetarian with some animal protien here and there, but veganism made me sick. It was not for me. I tried everything with it and I lost my energy over time. But I was treated like a sell-out or a bad person and that just made me mad. I can’t stand vegans now for this reason alone. They always get around to insinuating that the rest of us are barbarians. For what? being part of the food chain? I just also got tired of them going on and on about vegan canine diets as well….

  118. 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!

  119. 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.

  120. 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! :)

  121. 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.

  122. 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.

  123. 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

  124. 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.

  125. 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”.

  126. 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. <<

  127. 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.

  128. 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.

  129. 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.”

  130. 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.

  131. 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.

  132. 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.

  133. 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.

  134. 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.”

  135. 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.

  136. 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!)

  137. 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!!!

  138. 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!!

  139. 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.

  140. 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.

  141. 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 😛

          • 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 😛

              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?

  142. 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