Eat Meat, Just Source It Sustainably | Chris Kresser

Eat Meat, Just Source It Sustainably

by Chris Kresser

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Sustainable meat
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Do you feel guilty eating meat? Have you been led to believe that a vegetarian or vegan diet is the most environmentally friendly? In two recent articles, Diana Rodgers dispels several myths about the sustainability of meat production, sharing why meat is magnificent and why it is necessary to eat animals. Her unique perspective as both curator of a working organic farm and registered dietitian allows her to assess the merits of meat consumption from both an environmental and nutritional perspective.

In the first article, Diana covers water, carbon, and methane, the three most common environmental arguments for avoiding meat consumption. She explains that in grass-finished beef, almost all of the water footprint is “green water,” which is primarily rainfall, and that the total water requirements to produce a pound of grass-fed beef are actually much lower than crops like rice and sugar.

In regards to carbon and methane, emission estimates do not take into account the amount of carbon sequestration or methane oxidation. A properly managed pasture supports a healthy soil ecosystem that can take these compounds out of the atmosphere, giving grass-fed beef a net neutral or even slightly negative greenhouse gas footprint. I have written a little bit about this previously.

Read this if you’re feeling guilty about eating meat.

Diana also outlines global trends in food consumption and how our diets have changed in recent years as we have seen drastic increases in chronic disease. As consumers, Americans spend less money on meat today compared to years before, but twice as much on processed foods and sweets. Meat is an important source of iron and B12, two of the most common global nutrient deficiencies, along with many other nutrients.

In her second article, Diana shares her thoughts on the ethics of meat consumption. She argues that although avoiding meat consumption might outwardly seem to be doing the least harm, many more organisms are killed from the chemical pesticides and large machinery used on mono-crop fields of soy and other plant-based protein sources—and not in the humane way done in quality slaughterhouses.

She also addresses a number of common responses that she gets from vegetarians and vegans, calls attention to human social justice issues in farming, and finishes by asking us to reevaluate our notion of the most moral diet.

This is only my quick summary, and I would strongly encourage you to check out both of these excellent articles. Meat is an integral part of the human diet, and when we source it from a farm that uses proper grazing management, we support both our own health and the health of the earth. If you’re looking for great quality meat I would recommend ButcherBox.

237 Comments

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  1. Do you not see the way a apple is a gift from the tree itself and the fruit fits the human hand the banana fits the mouth the mushroom is a gift which if every spore that a single mushroom carries germinated it would bury the earth to the depth of 3 miles we are already in Eden and by accepting death for the sake of taste it will always block our way to mans real evolutionary destiny

  2. Diana makes a very obvious mistake in her view going plant based globally would be a problem. She asserts the grazing land is not suitable for crops. No one ever said we needed that grazing land for crops. Because humans need 1/10 of calories of cows, and 40 percent of body weight is wasted, not eaten, only a portion of the 70 percent of crops raised to feed livestock would be needed to feed people significantly reducing or forgoing mammal meats.

    Looking at sardine box, just 6 ounces can meet both B12 and omega 3 needs with a variety of whole organic plant foods and gives some extra D, and calcium while legumes and whole oats, buckwheat, quinoa… can meet additional protein and iron needs. Calcium in low oxalate greens, chia, fortified plant milks work. There is no absolute need for dairy, grain or grass fed beef in diet.

    • Also, if people want red meat why not hunt lean, smaller game that may need some population control like rabbits or deer, much smaller footprint on environment.

      • You’re going to feed the world on sardines and grains that can only be grown in certain countries? Really? Ever heard of overfishing? How are you going to get all these sardines to all those people living in landlocked developing countries? How are they going to afford to pay for them? Where are you going to find all the quinoa to feed entire countries? How are you going to fertilize the soil to grow all these crops? What are people going to do when all the sardines are gone and all the top soil has eroded?

  3. As CA being the largest producer if dairy in US with very low levels of rainfall, I seriously question the accuracy of green water, here.

    • No you aren’t, you don’t have the enzyme that is needed to metabolize the sugar in dairy products as this enzyme exists in most non european only until about 12 years of age. It is a mutation that allows people to consume milk into adulthood.

  4. A talk by Phil Walder to the Central London Humanists: ‘Should Humanists eat Animals?’ was largely about how food animals are slaughtered, with some shocking illlustrations. There were, perhaps not unsurprisingly, no pictures of how ideal slaughter can be done, which I can only trust is normal here in the UK.

    There was also much discussion about how sentient animals, including insects, are; and should we kill them for medical research as well as eating them.

    Most of the, mainly humanist, audience seemed to be in
    sympathy with Phil Walder’s vegan aims.

    • So the next question is, should humans enslave animals as objects of affection? Also why are we able to so easily divide life based on OUR perception of intelligence? It is convenience only.

      • If you think of entities as being “enslaved” by affection, I feel sorry for your spouse.

        My animals keep me as an object of affection and I am not enslaved one bit. Perhaps you might like to look up the word “mutualism”.

        • Can your dog go for a romp in the woods anytime he likes? Can he answer the bark of another dog when and, for how long he sees fit? Can hen pee at will? hunt at will? Procreate at will? Does he still have his balls or did you mutilate him? Does he eat fresh raw meat– organs and bones, or do you shove rendered, overcooked and unnatural kibble at him? Does he have a choice or do you control his very nature which was never yours in the first place?

  5. I am repeating myself from previous comments on other people’s posts, but seriously, those of you who say “I am a happy healthy vegan,” or “I am vegan and have never had a problem”… that is just so awesome for you! And I really do mean that. But there are many people who just simply cannot say the same. People who do NOT thrive eating vegan. People who have chronic illness who eat vegan and it makes them worse. Again, I have no judgment on others, whatever they choose (which is usually based on what their own body responds best to). But the rest of us deserve the same courtesy. There are so many arguments either way on whether vegan or not is more sustainable (if you are comparing sustainably raised meat, that is), so you can’t stand on that argument.

    People who follow Chris include many who have dealt with serious and debilitating chronic illnesses, who have turned to paleo of some form to successfully heal their bodies. Would you take that away from these people? Or would you prefer we all die of these diseases so that we can allow animals to live? And most of us are so well educated on food, that the sourcing of ALL of our food is extremely important. You can bet that most of us believe in the most sustainable, humanely raised meat that we can possibly find. I know that to a vegan, there is no such thing. But not everyone shares the same beliefs. You would also probably find that our values are very similar to a vegan; eat real, whole foods in the form that they come from the earth.

    The question of vegan vs. paleo, or whatever other diet a person chooses, is as simple as religion. Can we be tolerant others who have a different religion from our own, or are we intolerant and hateful? It’s honestly as simple as that.

    • It is, gratefully, even simpler than that, dear Jennifer. Thank you for your caring, sincere tone and message. You do not much better than I have in the past. I care so deeply, and it freaks me out that there is such strong vegan propaganda that lumps everyone into one boat. We are all in one boat, on earth, and being vegan is a tragic nightmare for someone who must eat complex amino acids to empower, and heal. I know. I was a professional vegan chef, and have been a Permaculture Designer since 2001. I can tell you the simple, most awesome news: There is no such thing as a vegan or a vegetarian ecosystem. There is no such thing as it is not optimal for humans to disengage from being stewards of animals and the earth and cultivating and regenerativing soil as necessary now, with animals living their best lives. It is time to face this beautiful fact. Please, vegan beloved family, enjoy your food, and consider accepting there may be more to the story. Please do not keep focusing on the CAFOs, factory abuse of animals, torture of animals in not farming, it is abuse. It is not human. We need human, humane, real, blessed relations with all animals and that includes the 7 sweet, gentle, tender turkeys I walked down the road with this morning. I am on a tiny island, 13-miles-around, writing about this very subject and taking it a bit wider. What would peace on earth look like? What is the best way to eat, to change climate and bring our children & communities back to beauty, saftey and thriving…Orkney is the place I have found to embody as a community the most stunning common sense, and ancient wisdom based on having been taken over by Vikings, Ship wrecked spaniards, Cree Indian wives being brought back by the Hudson Bay Co men who left Orkney to work, and it is a rich place to learn what is best for us all. 8,500 years of being inhabited is great for teaching humans how to be…human. My ancestors have been here since 1060 in unbroken generations. I was born in California to a Scottish father. I was born to eat meat. It is best in a cold climate and if your ancestors are from cold climates, your body may also not be adapted. I lived on Maui, in Hawaii the past ten years, and that was not beneficial in terms of too much fruit, and hiding in the shade. There really is something to being local and organic and together in cooperation. Thanks Jennifer! And, thanks Dr. Chris. This forum is completely excellent.

      • Wishing I could edit: Sorry. It was supposed to say, “You have done much better than I have in the past, Jennifer.” Because I have been in many heated conversations with vegans as I wish they would stop saying, “stop eating meat, everyone should be vegan…” Torture of animals is NOT farming. I wish we could stop calling CAFOs farms. They are cruel and wasteful and unnecessary. RegenAg solves all this.

      • Our guidelines of vegan, vegetarian may not be most suitable to describe the food chains we have been in , and are currently in. (Although 99% domestication of plants and foods, is not really a traditional model of a food chain).

        For example, gorillas eat only insects (1-2 % diet) as animal sourced foods. Vegetarians, sometimes eat eggs and or dairy.

        Chimpanzees, eat a 97% plant-based diet, which we humans might be called near vegetarian, with both small monkeys and insects, as animal sources.

        Orangutans eat with an even greater plant slant than chimps, maybe 98-99% plant based, some might call them veganish.

        And, yes humans do and have eaten insects and meat in history, both scavenged and hunted, just like our animal relatives. The farther from the equator, more animal sourced foods.

        But something very important changed in homo-sapiens.

        We used fire to cook foods, and genetically gained amylase genes to help us absorb the calories and nutrients from starchy foods: tubers, first and later, other starchy foods were eaten and domesticated, including beans.

        Humans, now have easy, very efficient- few calories expended to secure food- One of them (beans) being a potent protein and b-vitamin rich source that can substitute some of protein grams, b-vitamins and zinc found in animal sourced foods.

        Humans began eating and domesticating other seeds, as well; flax and chia seeds which act similarly to insects in giving essential fatty acids and some protein.

        So, this notion we are still in the same natural food chain, from a million years ago does not apply, particularly when developed countries, like America, are eating 99% of their foods from DOMESTICated plant and animal foods.

        Our cooking and domesticating plants and animals has completely changed what once was our natural place in the food chain, in the world.

        But even before cooking, amylase and widespread domestication, the anthropology of us and our closest relatives, suggest though we have varied diet indeed, the large majority of us have quite a plant slant with little animal sourced foods.

        But, yes, much more with outliers, as Inuit who do have gene mutations, most other non-Inuit humans have, that helps them adapt a little better to a higher fat diet; nontheless, frozen Inuit mummies age 20 and 40 were found to have had advanced atherosclerosis.

        But, the argument, that humans who choose a whole food plant-based diet, 90-100% of foods, is somehow not honoring our place in the natural food chain and history does not hold water.

        Right now, Americans eat 270 lbs. of meat each year, meaning because there are many plant-based eaters, some people may be eating over 330 lbs. of meat each year.

        Many countries are eating only 8-15 lbs. of meat per person or per captia each year.

        Americans are certainly eating excessively more than our fair share of the animal sourced foods pie, including meat.

        We do not complain that other primates/ape relatives are eating 97, 98, 99% plant-based diets and are wrecking the food chain; why would we complain when human choose to eat 96, 97, 98, 99 or 100% plant-based diets? Why is it ok for some of the apes, but not us?

        If some of us are eating more than our fair share of the animal-sourced food pie, and will not reduce this, don’t we need others to eat significantly less to balance this out?

        • I feel if we were honoring our place in the food chain, the health of the Earth would be in better shape than it is right now.

  6. Very interesting article referencing Diana Rogers who from my perspective, gets the facts of life. I am a life long, closer to 80 than 70 years, healthy, grassland beef farmer, for the very reasons she cites.
    I grew up with milk and meat from grass, literally living on Hadrian’s Wall, Tyneside,, in WW11 with first memories of horses, cattle, and the incessant drone of bomber aircraft at night from a nearby R.A.F. Air Field. Because of these early experiences, 42 years ago I migrated with my young family to Eastern Canada where I have been grassland, fattening beef, ever since. This is because of farming history in my homeland where the indigenous tribes have provably, lived on meat and milk from cattle for over 7000 years and where ‘ Irish bog butter’, still edible, over 5,000 years old has been found. According to the writings of Caesar ’54 BC these tribes were of superior stature and stamina than Romans and had not yet learned how to grow grain. This for me said it all and was confirmed, in 1996, when we discovered on analysis that our traditional husbandry practices produced ground beef of up to 220mg/100g, higher than most fish, and with organ meats equaling the best cold water fish.
    I am therefore very amused at some of the ‘close minded’ comments against red meats. It is clear to me that without motherhood we have no humanity and without carbon recycling of mother cows, we have no soil building fertility and sustainable, healthy, future. Some experts believe, due to modern, plant nutrients our very intelligence is declining.
    To quote Diana Rogers, ‘Beef consumption saw a 0% growth over this 50 year time period, while chicken consumption increased nearly 400%’ not only speaks to the least taking of life in modern times for human health, but is the least problematical, if grass finished.
    Further, non of the commenting proponents of vegan lifestyles, seem capable of considering the insane amounts of water involved in the production and transportation of their plant based diets. Grazing cattle, through carbon sequestration into soil carbon, increase water holding capacity 40 fold the soil carbon increase, far greater than their actual use, unlike plant based diets, transported off the field, hugely depleting water reserves, leading to desertification. Grain and plant agriculture cause deserts, a case in point being the so called fertile crescent of the cradle of civilization, Egypt and Middle East, Iraq, etc.

    • My plant based diet (only fish) in the Midwest, where the organic beans, oats, flax, sweet potatoes, kale etc. (my staples) do not need irrigation.

      And, I am not contributing to the near death experience of our beautiful lake due to the poop run off from grass fed and conventional dairies in the area.

  7. This article does not address Dr Greger’s arguments that eating animal products have negative impacts on our metabolism. His arguments are convincing but directly contradictory to Paleo recommendations. I don’t care about these phoney ecological arguments.

    • And we don’t care about what you care, or what Dr Greger’s think. There was no reason to attack the article, which made a case about ecology and healthier meat. If ecology and meat as a food doesn’t interest you, then bypass the article. If we cared about what you cared, we would all be vegans around here, not Paleo. Everyone who already went vegan OR paleo, have made their own research, and have made their own decisions in life. So almost no one who reads these articles here is a rookie that your aggressive comment could sway one way or another. All you did was to waste database space.

      • Dr. Greger’s undergraduate degree is from Cornell University. His medical degree is from Tufts University, one of the highest rated medical colleges in country. He is a licensed MD, and is a published author.

        Interesting note about Dr. Greger: He donates all the proceeds from his latest, book, How Not to Die to charity. His website is also 100% non-profit- he takes no advertising dollars, etc.

        His latest book, check it out in bookstore, is literally filled with nearly a 1,000 references to medical research studies.

        He has been vegan since 1990’s.

  8. Vegans talk about the meat that’s not on their plate, but not about the animals that died to put the veggies on it. My steak dinner killed one 200th of a cow or less. Your meal of tofu and salad killed dozens, displaced thousands, and decreased both the diversity and the carbon sequestration of the land. Mine restored both.

    Death is part of life. Don’t remove yourself from that cycle and then brag.

    • What do you think cows generally eat? The amount of resources it takes to raise a fully grown cow is astounding. The entire worlds population could be fed multiple times over with the food that cows eat in a day.

      • Austin, do you think those resources disappear? Take a longer view… like more than three minutes. Those resources are still there, adding carbon to the soil, harboring diverse life, returning to be used again.

        Plant agriculture just takes. Each pound of salad takes its share of soil nutrients and never returns it. It all goes to you and you flush it into the sea. Those lands are essentially desertified already, they are only sustained by fertilization and irrigation. But grass fed meat animals could restore it.

        • We could switch to compostable toilets, country plumbing if you will, at least in some locales.

          But, the cow poop is causing algal blooms and destructive of water ecosystems, also.

          We are wasting 40% of animal’s body so, much of this poop is for nothing.

        • The non-edible parts or plants of crops for human consumption are recycled also- composting.

          Organic plant (diversified and rotational) farming for human consumption works: builds soil, without acidifying it and does not damage the ozone, creating climate change creating havoc in ecosystem affecting rainfall, temperature, beneficial insects including essential pollinators, such as bees.

          Crops such as organic oats, black beans, peas etc.. are wonderful cover crops that help preserve topsoil
          and legumes fix the soil with nitrogen, eliminating the need for synthetic fertilizer, along with enriching the soil with compost from non-edible parts of plants, food scraps, leaves and urban landscaping cuttings.

          Fruit trees and berry plants also sequester CO2, as well as all plants grown for human consumption, and help conserve topsoil as well. No poop runoff into ponds, lakes and rivers.

        • From Bill DeWitt November 3, 2016 at 1:04 pm

          “Austin, do you think those resources disappear? Take a longer view… like more than three minutes!

          _________________________________

          Bill what an arrogant twerp you are.

    • You obviously have no clue what you’re talking about. The majority of agriculture farming is done to feed livestock, or the corpse that you enjoy. So you not only are YOU contributing to more death by demanding animal products but you are also consuming the animals themselves. Face facts dude, veganism is WAY less harmful than meat eating i. Regards to environmental impact. So either get educated or stop lying to yourself.

      • You obviously have no clue what I am talking about (or what this whole article is about).

        I was talking about my beef, not the majority of beef or the beef you want to talk about. My beef that I eat is pasture raised in diverse fields and borderlands and they INCREASE species diversity, both plant and animal, on the land by their grazing.

        If more people ate locally pastured meat, the feedlot people would change their methods to get a part of that market. Just not eating meat does not change their behavior one bit, because there are plenty of non-vegan customers. They know they will never get any of your money, so they don’t care about you. They care about people who buy meat. Only buying pastured meat will reduce the damage caused by feedlots.

        Educate up before you post. Also, read more carefully.

        • Bill, let it go, veganism is a religion, you can’t argue with them…it’s useless and boring and you won’t move anything, no chance of a constructing confrontation

        • Actually, meat (beef, pork etc.) eating has decreased in US, not because there are substantially more vegans, and vegetarians, but because omnivores are eating less of it.

          Black beans grown in Michigan, soy, oats, sweet potatoes are replacing meats in many omnivore diets.

          People are choosing to eat less for a variety of reasons but cost savings, health and environmental issues with methane etc. are all cited as reasons for American omnivores choosing to eat less meat.

          • You can’t hope that these die hard, must have, cows, pigs, deer, rabbits and many other sundry other animals, as a god given right to kill, at will, for their divine dinning, will ever contemplate, let alone understand, their crass ignorance of land management; but I applaud your perseverance as a sane voice in this free for all animal consumptive Bible belt binge.

        • I am not asking anyone to be vegetarian or completely give up meat.

          But, I have to ask, are your animals fed with forage crops (hay etc) in grass dormancy months?

          and…

          If all feed lot cows (which I feel should be at zero, also) were changed to GF beef, what do we do with the same problems of poop seeping into underground water and methane and nitrous oxide release to keep up with current demand for beef?

          • It takes twice as much corn and soya acreage to feed a cow as it does grasslands. As the worms and insects reoccupy that land, manure is less of a problems, remember, there were twice as many bison on the land as we not have cows, and it was fertile, unfertilized and not irrigated.

            As for your scary gasses, thousands of times more carbon is returned to the soil in that process than is released into the air. Again, we could have twice as many meat animals while returning the carbon in the soil to pre-industrial era levels. BTW, grass fed cows fart less.

            • Methane has 24X the effects of carbon in destruction of ozone layer, so this CO2 sequester is not an offset.

              Also, looking at best choice, beans, fruit trees, sweet potatoes, oats also sequester CO2, without the high amount of methane.
              Composting of the non-edible parts of these crops, also nourish the soil, with a good PH, rather than acidifying and sometimes “burning” crops with manure, have seen it, was a farm girl.

              In fact, growing a pear, apple, peach or other fruit trees in your yard is a great way to sequester and eat as local as you can get.

            • They may fart less but, by what I have read it takes them a year longer to come to slaughter weight and, thus release more methane in their lifetime… but do not advocate grain fed beef more beans… less beef

            • Not sure where you are getting this info. , but this is not what I have read. I in absolute no way advocate grain feeding of ruminants, but

              GF takes are fed an entire year longer than grain fed, grass is s a very low calorie food and it takes 60 lbs. of grass/forage a day, but about 12 lbs. of corn/soy feed a day.

                • No, they did it because it allowed them greater control. Preventing predation and rustling was a higher priority. But with modern methods we don’t need those restrictions anymore.

                  Get some info from people who are not vegans, people who are scientists, ranchers and historians. Quit imagining the world and assuming you are right.

                • Reply to Bill:

                  Respectfully,
                  I actually have a lot of experiential knowledge, here.

                  Have raised GF cattle, when it was the norm, have neighbors who raised both types, raised crops and have worked in a meat packing plant, and am fairly well read on the topic.

                  Excerpts:

                  “As a high-starch, high-energy food, corn decreases the time to fatten cattle and increases carcass yield. Some corn-fed cattle are fattened in concentrated animal feeding operations known as feed lots. In the United States, most grass-fed cattle are raised for beef production.”

                  “The feedlot process not only speeds the animal to slaughter weight but also enhances fat marbling, which is one factor that determines a cut of beef’s USDA rating — the more fat within the red meat, the richer the taste, the higher the grade.

                  “Most supermarket beef is Choice, which is one step below Prime, the top grade typically found in steak houses. Boosting fat levels changes the nutritional composition of the meat, of course, and, from a health point of view, not for the better.”

                  http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/03/29/grass.grain.beef.cookinglight/

            • From Bill DeWitt November 3, 2016

              “Quit imagining the world and assuming you are right.”

              ++++++++++++++

              What a hypocrite.

    • I see where my soybeans, and vegetables our grown. Most of it comes from a valley organic farm, sustainable for over 20 years, without displacing habitat for anyone.

      If people avoided meat, more land and habitat is opened up, because pigs, cows, chicken sheep, etc.. eat 70% of corn and soybeans grow; much less land is needed for direct human consumption of black beans, soy, garbanzo beans, oats, flax, potatoes etc. -staples of whole plant based diets.

      • You don’t know how much it has displaced. Do a soil survey of a wildlands area nearby, then one of the farm and maybe you will learn something.

        I have done this. I do know.

        • Actually, this farm is saving a ton of space, and not displacing habitat like the GF farmers in area. All of their food goes to feeding humans who only need four pounds of food daily.

          Where I live, it takes 60lbs of forage crop per day Per Cow from the months of November through May before grazing grass and alfalfa can be used to feed them, with two years to mature and 40% of body mass wasted-not eaten.

          You can do the math of how much land, habitat displacement, fertilizer and pesticides this is (60 lbs of hay and wheat straw-its exponential!!!, compared to my eating the potatoes, beans, etc. from the organic valley farm. They actually use these really cool tomato stakes to get more yield with much less space!! And the ground is literally pitch black, it so rich in nutrients.

          • Right, as I said, you don’t know.

            It’s a farm. They remove the native plants (and the animals that require those plants) and plant the food that you think you prefer. That’s displacement.

            So go ahead and repeat the propaganda you use instead of logic now, as you avoid actually thinking.

            • OMG, it’s a valley.

              People have to eat.

              The point is they can feed a lot of people in a tiny space, without any herbicides, pesticides and poop run off and less acreage to grow green beans, edamame and sweet potatoes rather than beef.

              Where I live, forage crops take up much, much, much more habitat, more displacement, than vegetables, legumes, berries and fruit trees,

              Americans are understanding this common sense point, and the effects of methane on ozone, thus choosing to curb their beef eating and eating more sweet potatoes and legumes, some locally grown such as black beans in Midwest or chickpeas and other beans from West Coast- Eden Organic.

        • Bill DeWitt November 3, 2016 at 1:12 pm

          “Do a soil survey of a wild lands area nearby, then one of the farm and “maybe you will learn something.”

          +++++++++++

          Such an arrogant attitude, so righteous. Maybe your the one who needs to learn Bill.

    • Organic beans, sweet potatoes, fruit trees, oats… sequester CO2, and legumes, such as beans, fix the soil with nitrogen, making synthetic fertilizers unnecessary, organic crops for human consumption, put herbicides, synthetic, fertilizers and pesticide use at zero.

      A grass fed cow needs 60 lbs. of grass/forage daily, for many manths of grass dormancy forus in Midwest, Northeast and East coast, this means 4-5 months of forage crop, not grazing. Animals can’t graze on dormant grass and frozen ground.

      A human being needs roughly 4 pounds of food daily: say 1 pound beans, 3.5 pound of fruits, veggies, seeds and 1/2 pounds of grain.

      So compare 1.5 pounds of beans and grains for 1 person to 60 lbs of cropped forage for the grass fed animal that will give only 60-70% of its weight in calories to humans.

      The land and resources to grow that 60 lbs. of forage to GF cow in winter months, could be replaced with 1.5 pounds of beans and grain to feed FORTY people.

      These FORTY people can easily eat 6-9 ounces of small fish per week (sardines, herring…) to get B-12 and preformed A or take a B-12 supplement, eat some Nori seaweed, flax etc. and possibly take an algal supplement, if safe for them, and be good to go. And, the beans and grains do not give off the methane and nitrous, oxide, like the cows do, while still sequestering CO2.

      To me, it is a no-brainer on what is the better outcome for the environment and both Cornell U. environmentalists and a large WHO panel of experts make the same suggestion, Less beef, more beans by encouraging a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet at Cornell and the WHO recommends a no-meat and no-dairy, plant-based diet.

      As an individual you can choose to never eat organic beans and grains, and eat 4 oz. beef 1, 2, 3 or more times a week, but you cannot pretend there are not important environmental differences between the two choices , with the environmental experts, top scientists from around the world, saying to eat more beans and less beef.

      Excerpt: Agriculture, particularly meat and dairy products, accounts for 70% of global freshwater consumption, 38% of the total land use and 19% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, says the report,

      https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/jun/02/un-report-meat-free-diet

      Cornell study:
      http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/78/3/660S.full

    • I am not trying to be snarky. Really want to learn your perspective.

      How does my eating organic tofu, black beans, lentils, peas kill thousands of animals?

      I have grown soybeans, green beans and peas (legumes), myself, and no animals claimed their life in the process.

      • Deanna, trying to understand the perspective of someone who ignorantly claims these things, is a non starter and non event.
        I wish you well in your balanced endeavour, but this kind of claim form de wit is borderline lunacy.

      • Read more carefully. I said killed dozens and displaced thousands. Even if you exclusively grew your own and made your own tofu (which I seriously doubt) you almost certainly monocultured to some degree, this displaces the diverse plants and that displaces the diverse plant opportunists. The beetle that would be there eating a wild flower is starving in your soya field.

        If you buy tofu and salad (which is what I said) in the store, it is much worse, those fields are plowed where you might use no-till methods. Kills or displaces birds, mice, worms, insects, fungi, bacteria. Or do you only care about big cute animals?

        • First the organic farm where I buy my edamame etc… is close by so see what they are doing, absolutely do not monocrop.

          I got to do a little fun digging and planting there once and from this experience and from my own organic farming planters at home can tell you the worms, beetles, rolly polly bugs are very happy, thriving.

          This a diverse farm in a valley. They rotate and crop a huge variety of plants each season, varieties you will never find in the store, because they sell all their produce as a CSA, all sold locally, contracted directly with consumers, not having to choose crops that will last longer due to long travel and time on store shelf.

          Literally, they do most of the harvesting the night before or morning of delivery, I pick up my week’s worth, literally, just a couple hours after most of the produce has been picked.

          Their valley fields feed a lot of people in a small space, and leaves a lot more room for the fungi, beetles, woodchucks, skunks etc. for nearby wood dwellers, than the GF dairies who need to grow acres and acres and acres of conventional hay and wheat straw to feed their cows.

          They are not causing eutrophication and algal bloom in the lakes as the GF dairies are.

          • Really, so you think that your little farm justifies all the vegans in the world who eat ramen and macaroni? Well then my locally grown grass raised, grass finished, diversity increasing, carbon sequestering, ethically raised beef justifies every CAFO. See how stupid you sound?

            Especially since even the best organic farm still displaces thousands of animals, the ones you obviously don’t know exist. Come back when you have actually done a soil survey. Or hundreds like I have.

            • Bravo, Bill DeWitt! – She needs to be told this and much, much more…

              If she thinks she knows-it-all and has so much to say, she should start writing her own Blog and tout her wisdom there and hack-it-out with respondents.

              Her responses on Chris Kresser’s blog I find tiresome – as probably many of his readers do – because I/we know most of the stuff she is trying to drum-into-our-heads in such a relentness manner. I certainly do…and I’m not a Vegitarian/Vegan fanatic or Paleo diet follower.
              I’m informed and very much appreciate Chris’ knowledge base and interest in health & dietary issues…and that’s why I follow him and I have read his books.

              I wonder, if she has enough insight to realize she is preaching to the choir?! – Probably not, as long as she gets “responses” from the like of Alessio, etc. (May I suggest she starts emailing him, to hack-out their differences?)

              • No indie it is probably that you just can’t stand a balanced polite opinion.

                Bill de whatever is arrogant enough to state that other people need to learn and not look stupid etc.

                Clearly you aspire to the same brand…

              • Sorry, I didn’t understand what you mean…I decided to respond only to pertinent and respectful confrontations. I already explained my perspective. I agree with Chris and I really appreciate his work.
                My idea about the issue is exactly the same.
                I decided to give up with narrow minded vegans, I only respond to what I think may be constructive.
                I want to be unbiased as much as possible and I can evaluate reasonable thoughts.
                That’s all.
                I don’t want to make useless wars between ideologies, I want to find the truth.
                Up to now I found no better theory and evidence that works as a paleo diet and lifestyle.

              • I do realize I am preaching to choir.

                Respectfully, Bill, soil survey information is not the most pressing issue, health of ozone and decelerating/arresting global warming is.

                This is my last bid/defense for beans. Then I will let my defense rest.

                Giving bbjective source of info. on methane-NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies on why we need to be concerned about methane, and why CO2 sequestration does not offset methane.

                This is from, International Business Times:

                A new study of methane emissions finds that the U.S. is spewing 50 percent more methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times better at trapping heat than carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere than the Environmental Protection Agency previously assumed.

                http://www.ibtimes.com/cow-farts-have-larger-greenhouse-gas-impact-previously-thought-methane-pushes-climate-change-1487502

                Information from Goddard Institute for Space Studies:

                We’ve seen that methane… traps up to 100 times more heat than carbon dioxide over a 5-year period. This means that even though carbon dioxide molecules outnumber methane 5 to 1, this comparatively smaller amount of methane is still 19 times greater a problem for climate change over a 5 year period, and 4 times greater over a 100 year period.
                To put it another way, any methane molecule released today is 100 times more heat-trapping than a molecule of carbon dioxide, or potentially even higher according to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

                • Wanted animal activists to know. I know both GF beef farmer and animal activists can be objective.

                  Just wanted those to know where my sources were coming from so not to cry-bias.

                  I certainly, and many others with me, would rather have a child, say I am going vegetarian because animals are my friends, and I don’t eat my friends, ” becoming a life long member of PETA than the polar opposite…

                  a child who hurts or maimes their or their neighbors’ pets.

                  Animal empathy, including human empathy should and will always be admired by me.

              • One last heed to consider my viewpoint:

                Please thoughtfully consider your sources. Below I have two entities, who have no monkey in this circle of food choices, meaning neither beef farmers, nor animal activists, just hundreds of scientists including Nobel prize winning UN panel and Nasa’s scientists from Goddard Institute for Space Studies, explaining effects of excess meat eating, particularly beef and ruminant meat, and heeding Americans, who eat much more beef and other meat than rest of world, to curb their consumption.

                You can celebrate Bill’s hammering home his soil studies in his, I’m sure lovely, but small part of the world, but I would not consider ignoring these hundreds of scientists’ recommendations, trying their very best to battle global warming, as a reason to celebrate.

                Last but not least, beef farmers, including grass-fed beef farmers, are not immune to the very devastating potentialities of climate change.

                Less snow/precipitation in mountain areas of the Western grazing states, can lead to devastating droughts and high risk of devastating, wide spread fires, that could devastate and nearly wipe out pastured beef farming, and have devastating financial losses for these families just trying to make a living, I get it. I don’t say no beef- less beef.

                We really need to work together to solve these problems and come up with a level of consumption that can work.

                The head of the U.N.’s Nobel Prize–winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Pachauri on Monday urged people around the world to cut back on meat in order to combat climate change.

                http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1839995,00.html

                http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/29/opinions/sutter-beef-suv-cliamte-two-degrees/

                http://www.climatecentral.org/news/studies-link-red-meat-and-climate-change-20264

                This is from, International Business Times:

                A new study of methane emissions finds that the U.S. is spewing 50 percent more methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times better at trapping heat than carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere than the Environmental Protection Agency previously assumed.

                http://www.ibtimes.com/cow-farts-have-larger-greenhouse-gas-impact-previously-thought-methane-pushes-climate-change-1487502

                Information from Goddard Institute for Space Studies:

                We’ve seen that methane, which accounts for only 14 percent of emissions worldwide, traps up to 100 times more heat than carbon dioxide over a 5-year period. This means that even though carbon dioxide molecules outnumber methane 5 to 1, this comparatively smaller amount of methane is still 19 times greater a problem for climate change over a 5 year period, and 4 times greater over a 100 year period.
                To put it another way, any methane molecule released today is 100 times more heat-trapping than a molecule of carbon dioxide, or potentially even higher according to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

              • When it comes to global warming, it is not about some people winning and some people losing.

                We either cool the planet, and everyone wins.

                Or, let warming and climate change continue, unmitigated and everyone loses.

              • I have written a respectful reply to you, but the moderators have not come through, yet.

                Why do the Bill Inde, get to speak freely, and my comment is left out in moderation purgatory?

            • Indeed the vegan cause is supported by medias because food industry want us to eat their highly processed refined grain based stuff.
              If they tell you that meat is bad, most people directly go toward pasta and other amenities.
              That’s the big actual plan.

              • That’s more like it. Back to your myopic viewpoint again.
                Of course, though, you would be the one to know “the actual plan”. Congratulations

                • Pay attention, I didn’t claim that vegans have that plan, but big food has interest to demonize animal products in favour of a grain based diet.

              • To replace protein in diet when forgoing meat, plant-based eaters go first to legumes, such as beans, lentils… and add some whole grains like steel cut oatmeal for breakfast with additional protein and essential fatty acids in seeds, such as hemp, chia and flax.

                • Do you soak, sprout and ferment grains? Do you really have that time to waste to prepare a poor nutrient food that through that though procedure may become barely torelable for few people?
                  Are you sure that you get rid of gluten, lectins and moreover ATIs?
                  Are you sure that you have a microbiota that can handle them better than the average?
                  Studies suggest that amylase trypsin inhibitors may be even worse than gluten, and they are very resistant to digestion and cooking.
                  Why should one be doing that?
                  You risk to get really sick and you have few nutrients…Really, I don’t understand…

                • Excellent stuff!! The grumpy Sicilian goat protein springs into action again. I knew the conciliatory posts couldn’t continue.
                  As before, slagging off has returned.

            • I do not justify CAFO.

              But respectfully, I hope when I say, it takes 60lbs of hay and wheat straw, where I live for 7 months of the year, and I only eat a pound a beans a day, this is huge difference in crop land use.

              These fields of hay and wheat straw are displacing much more and methane is not something you can just wish away.

              If you are going to raise beef, you are the one doing it in the best way possible, no doubt.

              To be honest Bill, what I hope happens, is that if Americans follow the environmental scientists’ advice and eat less and less beef: I hope when they do buy, they buy ONLY grass fed beef from farmers in areas, that don’t need high forage crop production and are doing their best to minimize environmental damage.

        • No trees are being cut down, so there is no habitat loss for birds. They actually are thriving better, because of the seeds left over after harvest: pumpkin seeds.

          And, owls have more food, because the mice like to eat the leftover corn etc. in the fields.

          For me, I understand everyone has to eat. And, I certainly have eaten a lot of beef and dairy in my life, and still eat fish like herring, sardines and perch.

          But, I think it is important for people to have accurate information and decide for themselves what balance of organic and conventional plant sourced food and animal sourced foods makes the most sense for them, both nutritionally and long term health of environment.

          Effects of climate change, its effect on extremely important pollinators, temperatures, rainfall etc. affects us all.

    • Your carbon sequestration from beef does not restore the ozone layer.

      Hundreds of environmental scientists from the WHO and Cornell University, have already extensively studies the effects of all forms of food production and both separate entities have recommended, no beef, no meat. The WHO study also recommended no dairy as the ideal choice for restoring or zone and fighting climate change.

  9. An issue is forgotten here and it is that grazing farm animals also eat concentrates eg at finishing stage. They don’t only rely on pastures. A lot of soybeans produced worldwide goes to feed livestock, not humans. Some valid arguments made about some crops having a higher water footprint than grazing systems, however this is one aspect and is not true across the board. Extensive cattle ranching and soya beans production in South America have had adverse effects on biodiversity and caused damage to some of richest ecosystems worldwide. You could say that for some crops that are used directly by humans too though e.g. palm oil. In a nutshell, it is a complex picture. Though some grazing systems can offer benefits for the environment locally, it cannot be denied that the amount of livestock reared globally is destructive to the environment and a threat to our remaining wild places.

    • Yes. That’s why the whole point of this is to eat 100% grassfed/pasture raised meat. Those animals do not consume soy or grains and they do contribute to restoring the soil that grains and soy are so hard on.

      • Yes, but except for the limited warm climate zones in the West, other grass fed animals need up to 60lbs. crop forage( hay, wheat straw), for as much as 3-6 months of the years while the grass/grazing fields are dormant.

        This creates the same need of land, habitat and tractors as other crops. These crops are almost never grown organically like the organic beans, oats, and flax that many plant-based eaters choose.

      • I think you missed her point.

        Beef in the store can be labeled 100% grass fed beef, and can still legally consume forage crops and a certain percentage of soybeans and corn.

    • The meat I eat comes from 100% scottish highlander grassfed cows that live their entire life free to move and graze where they want in a beatiful mountain environment, far from seeing any grain in their life.
      The farmer told me that a lot of biodiversity is rising in the area.
      And since I buy in a bunch I pay such natural and delicious meat even less than the heavy grain fed one you find at the supermarket.
      Folks if you want to take care of yourself and your planet get rid of crops. We have to make an aware choice as consumers and boycot wheat, corn, soy etc…

      • You said, get rid of crops. I don’t think this is nutritionally possible. We need plant nutrients and fiber in our diet, meat has no fiber, very little antioxidants or plant heavy nutrients like vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, calcium, resistant starch, pectin, beta carotene, folate, antioxidants… and provides this nutrition with much less sodium.

        Do you eat 100% meat and no plant sourced foods/crops?

        • I meant to get rid of grains that are actually the biggest problem.
          I’m an half vegan…half vegan and half meat eater.
          I’m not for all meat eating. Veggies and tubers are crucial to feed our gut bugs.
          We don’t need grains…

          • Grains may not be important for everyone, but if you are a plant-based eater, eating much less or zero meat, t is a constant source of zinc and complements the amino acids in beans.

            This is why traditional plant-based cultures combine beans, grains and tubers at all their meals.

            • And this is the reason because they have nutritional deficiencies.
              In my country, during the war, people ate like that, and there was a striking evidence of malnutrition.
              Bioavailability in plants is very low due to antinutrients.
              Our digestive tract is not equipped to handle them very well.

              • EPIC Oxford studying 10,000+ people at a time, show that people eating whole plant based diets (90-100%) do not have lower levels of many of the shortfall nutrients common in America: magnesium, potassium, vit. C, folate, fiber (97% population deficient) etc. than heavier animal product omnivore populations.

                There is definitely a need for plant-based eaters to take B-12, just like food production animals get, and focus on omega-3’s flax.. and include EPA seaweed, choose fish for 90-99% plant based. But this not caused by, what I believe you are referring to… phytic acid.

                Phytate is a compound found in beans, grains, NUTS and SEEDS. The average daily intake of phytate in vegetarian diets is about twice that of those eating mixed diets of plant and animal foods, which may help explain their low cancer rates.

                Aside from helping to prevent cancer, dietary phytate has been reported to help prevent kidney stone formation, protect against diabetes mellitus, dental cavities, and heart disease.

                Phytates have been shown to inhibit the growth of human leukemia cells, colon cancer cells, both estrogen receptor-positive and negative breast cancer cells, voicebox cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer, liver tumors, pancreatic, melanoma, and muscle cancers. All at the same time not affecting normal cells. That’s the most important expectation of a good anticancer agent: the ability to only affect cancerous cells and to leave normal cells alone.

                If they are such an evil anti nutrient food, why are they a staple of the people with longest health and lifespans on Earth? Sardinians (barley, beans whole bread), Ikarians (whole grains, beans, whole grain bread), Loma Linda Californians (oats, soy, beans whole grains and seeds and nuts, Nicoyans (beans, Okinawans (fermented whole soy and rice)?

                Large doses of phytic acid in a malnourished diet (insufficient calories) with very low intake of both calories any variety whole plant foods (possibly eating only rice) with absolutely no green leafy vegetables and other sources of essential minerals, can worsen the malnourishment and deficiency problems by reducing absorption of minerals, however, phytic acid does not have negative effects for those eating sufficient calorie diets with a balance of different whole plant foods, and in fact, has some life-saving properties.

                Despite some nutritionists who still consider phytic acid an anti-nutrient, Dr. Vucenik says, “Through meetings and collaborations the field of nutrition is gradually coming to consensus that it is beneficial.”

                Please read sources, you may find it very interesting.

                http://preventcancer.aicr.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=7499&news_iv_ctrl=0&abbr=re

                http://nutritionfacts.org/video/phytates-for-the-treatment-of-cancer/

                • This information I forgot to put in quotes come from the two authors of the sources, I cited below, not my own words. Both excerpts.

              • Respectfully, I believe your neighbors in Ikaria Greece and Sardinia, who enjoy long and healthy lives are not worried about the beans, potatoes, whole grains, nuts and seeds in their diet with phytate, ruining their health.

      • You mentioned your beef is from highlands in Scotland, which I have to admit sounds like a very cool location for grazing.

        But, coming from Midwest, and thinking Scotland is not super warm, like here, was questioning was it really possible, when you said 100% grazing vs. use of some forage crops (hay, wheat straw) for these cows in coldest parts of winter.

        And I found this on Scotland GF beef:

        Excerpt (p. 19):

        Grassland management in the hills and uplands

        Livestock producers relying on grass in hill and upland areas face different and more difficult challenges to low ground farms.
        Air temperature drops 1°C in every 100m rise above sea level, which impacts directly on grass growth, particularly the length of the growing season. North-facing pastures take longer to get going in spring than fields looking south. Annual rainfall is much higher and soil depth and quality significantly poorer at higher altitudes. The soils tend to be more acidic and lacking in nutrients as these are leached away with the rain.

        This tells me that they need to supplement grazing with forage crops, in the winter before the spring, meaning 60 pounds of forage crop (hay, wheat straw) daily needs to be given to each cow, before the dormancy ends and spring grasses reappear.

        The 60 lbs of forage crops land used, could rather be used for black, Great Northern, kidney beans, oats, flax on organic soils, that are extremely nutrient rich, and because beans fix the soil, while using compost and other organic farming methods, there is no need for herbicides, pesticides etc. and with significantly less GHG production and, you still get lots of C0 2 sequestered.

        Studies demonstrate crops grown on organic soils are more nutrient dense than those grown conventionally.

        I am not trying to burst your bubble. But I think accuracy when it comes to something as critical as GHgases, the ozone layer and accelerated climate change is essential to progress.

        http://www.qmscotland.co.uk/sites/default/files/QM2564%2BSoils%2BBooklet%2BAW%2B1213%2Blr.pdf

          • Have you eaten all your grumpy Sicilian mountain goats then?
            Could you please leave our Scottish meat alone, we need it to feed the indigenous masses.

            • I’m not from Sicily, but from all the other way around. Here in the northern part Scottish beef thrives all year round. I see my steaks wonder around happy and healthy.
              You have to look for them because they are hidden everywhere due to the huge grazing area full of trees, water, and all the good grass they need.

          • Yes, but even in milder temps, depending on rainfall etc. grass has periods of dormancy or may require extensive irrigation.

            And, my point being, most grass-fed operations, with our various climate zones and rainfall, do not fit into what Diana is able to do on her small ranch in the Western part of US.

      • If they live in a Mountain environment, high altitude, the farmers will need to feed forage in the winter or, possibly bring them to lower ground to feed in winter. Land that is arable and could be used for raising crops for direct human consumption, whether it be potatoes, fruit trees, beans, etc..

        • It’s 1000mt above the sea level, a perfect environment in my country.
          Moreover it’s not far from the sea, a perfect area with the ideal climate

    • You’re talking about conventional agriculture. She’s writing about restoration agriculture. Just Google it. Rapid rotational grazing promotes carbon sequestration and builds soil.

      • All plant crops, fruit trees, oats, beans… sequester CO2, also.
        This is nothing special about manure or poop, and they do not form the really high levels of more damaging methane and nitrous oxide as ruminants.

      • I understand what she is saying but this is only a reality if the demand for beef is reasonable.

        If we turned all conventional grain fed cows, into GF cows, the poop and GHG would not be less, but more because grass fed cows take longer to mature creating more methane during their lifetime.

        Also, you can have too much of a good thing. Too much manure (which easily happens with higher consumer demands) can actually be very damaging to the soil, because it is very acidic.

        Some parts of the Western Plains have seen ecosystem destruction and acidified soils, from cattle ranching, by the manure and acidification ruining native plants and disturbing the ecosystem/food supply of native animals trying to coexist with cattle.

      • Compost (organic farming) and cover crops (oats, beans, wheat …) build and save topsoil, and sequester CO2 w/o 24 x more damaging to ozone, methane, in large amounts.

  10. I’d like to share a yogic perspective. Abstinence from eating meat is about Ahimsa, or non-violence. Violence is defined as doing unnecessary harm to another. So long as we require solid food for survival, we will do harm – to plants, insects, small rodents, all the way up to large domesticated animals. This is only violence to the extent that it is unnecessary. If we sicken ourselves by not eating meat, we do violence to ourselves, a violation of Ahimsa. Basically, we should endeavor to do as little harm as possible without harming ourselves. Vegetarians must also remember that consuming animal by-products often causes great harm, and vegans should know that even things like eating almonds and sea salt causes harm to animals.

    Another aspect of eating meat relates to the disciplining of the chakras. Eating meat increases our base appetites – for food and sex. Removing meat from our diet is one way (though not the only one) of bringing the base chakra under the control of the higher chakras, allowing us to rise in consciousness.

    Overall, we should all realize that eating meat has in one way or another shaped our current existence – both our health and our relationship with the land and other people. For those interested, I found Michael Pollan’s analysis of the vegetarian question in Omnivore’s Dilemma to be one of the most balanced I have encountered.

    • I respect any choice, if one wants to have nutritional deficiencies, it’s up to him…however, it irks me a lot that some people support bogus claims like sustainability of vegetarian diets when they are helping to destroy not only themselves, but the environment that ironically they claim to save with heavy grain and soy consumption. Most people in the paleo community consume much more veggies than vegans, isn’t it ironic for an alleged “all meat diet” ?
      The best thing one can do for our planet is taking awareness of his role inside the chain. We can’t change our nature, if we distort it we pay the bill.

      • One bonus of whole food plant-based diets, that include vegetarians, 90-100% plant-sourced with some meats and 100% plant based eaters, some philosophical vegans, some not, is that because organic beans, fermented soy and oats, rice and other whole grains and flax are so much cheaper than animal products, many of us can afford to buy 100 or nearly 100% of these foods, grown organically, much more nutrient dense and better for environment than conventional crops.

        We typically have more financial and calorie budget for low oxalate, highly bioavailable nutrient dense leafy greens, peppers, berries etc. and these foods are naturally low in sodium.

        Beans with a B-12 supplement is way, way, way cheaper than grass-fed beef. B-12 supplements and fortified foods are not pricey, compared to meat eating.

        And those who want to, can include EPA rich Nori seaweed, or a safe dose of algal supplement with green light from doctor, if they so choose. Algal supplements are much cheaper than fish. Or for those eating a big of meat, sardines, herring, perch, canned salmon are affordable options.

        These are affordable, nutritionally sound choices.

        • Deanna, I can’t believe you are using Chris Kresser’s blog to vent/defent your believes…and go after anyone who responds in such a self-righteous manner.

          Enough already! Its totally self-serving!

          (And don’t bother to respond to me, I won’t get sucked into your spiel!)

          • This all started because he wrote an article directly to me: Why you should think twice about vegan and vegetarian diets? His overdosage of DHA for this group could have lead to serious blood thinning and potentially bleeding to death from what should be a benign accident.

          • I have been a beef and dairy eater most of my life; I don’t have a problem with people eating beef or dairy, not trying to be self-righteous m, but what I don’t like is, people not using accurate information on the effects of food choices, whether it is nutritional info. or environmental.

            I know eating, even the small fish I do, would not be considered environmentally great; I am not trying to say I am perfect, etc.

            But, I think it’s important to be accurate, and though Diana means well, she is not an experienced environmental scientist, and being a GF farmer, there is a conflict of interest in her providing environmental information

            I just don’t like the inaccuracies presented.

          • Well, if there is a balanced view that isn’t self righteous, on this blog, it is from Deana. You obviously cannot tolerate someone who has an understanding of the land and presents the case in a respectful manner. You then lie about the manner in which it is presented.

      • Domesticated beef is not inside any natural food chain.

        We can raise as much as we want to. No natural limits of natural reproduction are placed upon this type of consumption.

      • I want to understand your perspective.

        How is my eating organic black beans, soybeans, oats, wild rice, apples, pears, berries, kale, bok choy, and sweet potatoes grown locally here in the US with 6-9 ounces of fish, with no other meats or dairy each week with B-12 supplement, some on my own suburban backyard, damaging my health and the environment?

        • This is in response to Allesio, love your name by the way, when she said:

          …support bogus claims like sustainability of vegetarian diets when they are helping to destroy not only themselves, but the environment that ironically they claim to save with heavy grain and soy consumption.

          Most vegetarain diets eat a variety of legumes: black beans, canellinni beans, Great Northern, kidney, garbanzo, lentils, peas and really, not just soy and the grain consumption varies. Experts suggest 2-3 cooked (1 cup dried) cups of whole intact grains, such as 1 cup oatmeal, 1 cup rice and 1 cup barley in one day, or a serving of whole grain corn tortilla, polenta, whole grain pasta, whole grain sourdough rye bread …

          • And there are some things in beans and grains that are uber important.

            Resistant starch, crucial for a healthy micro biome and plant sterols (think oats and whole organic soy foods) which are very helpful in naturally keeping your body’s LDL cholesterol levels at that sweet spot 50-70mg/dl, the level where hunter gatherers and other modern day eaters do not get heart disease and heart attacks.

            • You can find resistant starch in other foods like plantains, green bananas, etc.. btw, LDL issue is outdated because it’s about oxidized cholesterol rather than the mere generalized LDL.
              we can’t reason using reductionism, a food should be considered in its entirety, otherwise hemlock would be good for you due to its mineral content. Anyone dares to eat.?

              • Excess LDL being oxidized cannot happen, if LDL is not there.

                Eating carnitine and chopin from animal foods create TMAO which is a catalyst for oxidation.

                So you both increase LDL and create oxidation by eating the meat, eggs etc.

              • I don’t have access to plantains, and I tried a bit of green banana once, and it tasted toxic t me, strong human instinct to not eat.

                Don’t believe humans should eat unripe fruits.

                It is not reductionist to look at what humans with the longest health spans and life spans are eating. A few commonalities among them all is these staples: beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, lack of processed foods and 90, 59, 96% whole plant based foods.

                • Life lenght doesn’t tell all the parts of the story. You can live 100 years (here in Italy it’s not so uncommon) struggling around weakly for decades, relying on pills and needing help to do any kind of daily thing.
                  I see a bunch of 80s and 90s here around that have been struggling for decades with health issues, though not deadly but really bothering.
                  It’s more about how you age, not merely about the age you reach.
                  Animals in captivity have an average higher lifespan, it’s not a secret, but what about the quality of life?
                  Second, the observation of what we define as ‘health’ is not black and white.
                  Observations are polluted by the biased perspective. Let me explain: I’m astonished by observing around how sick people are here, but our sickness is nothing compared to the american nightmare. When american doctors (it seems to me that Dr. Hyman made it too..) observe we italians, they come out like our country was the homeland of health. Nothing so far from the truth. It’s just that you don’t see 2 people out of 3 strolling around with 50 kg of fat around their bellies barely able to walk. America is the disaster of disasters, the extreme.
                  What happens when we compare a processed junk eater with a more conscious whole grain and veggie eater, that is health conscious and tends to avoid other bad habits (smoking, lack of exercise, etc..)?
                  It seems that he’s thriving compared to the others.
                  But let’s compare the aforementioned western ‘super hero’ with the health and fitness of hunter gatherers.
                  You can easily see (even on you tube) many of them in their 70s outrunning a well trained western athlete in his 40s.
                  There was an experiment on discovery channel where an american survival expert, very muscolar, fit and skilled, went to live for a while first with African Samburu tribe, then among Kalahari bushmen, and among an amazonian tribe.
                  He was astonished by the fitness and cognitive ability of the elders, far from being even close to our citizens of that age.
                  The fact that some diets work compared to the average nightmare is undoubtable, but it’s a far cry from claiming that they are the ideal and best diet for human beings.

                • It is true that virtually the majority of the western world cannot possibly compete with certain hunter-gatherer’s lifestyle and fitness, but it is too fanciful to suggest, there isn’t an “ideal or best” diet for those unable to.

                • I am glad you mentioned Dr. Hyman.

                  He actually described himself, at least atone time as pegan, meaning a Paleo vegan.

                  Okinawans, Ikarians, Nicoyans, Loma Lindans are gardening, riding bikes, swimming with great mental clarity, not living in nursing homes in their 90’s and 100’s.

                  These are not frail people on multiple medications.

                  Dr. Wareham, 100% whole plant based eater from Loma Linda, has a natural (no meds) total cholesterol of 117 (LDL 50-60 range) at age 100, does all his own gardening, drives etc..

                • He calls it pegan because he advises more plants than meat, but not because he’s vegan…
                  I just watched the video with him interviewing Chris at the Fatsummit 2 and it seems that they’ve been hardly advocating a vegan diet.
                  They are polite and unbiased since they don’t exclude that some exceptions can do better with a plant based diet, far from being the norm.

        • I admit that your diet is not that bad.
          At least you eat fish and other nutritious stuff.
          It’s not a dogmatic all plant diet

            • Caveat: there is a big problem in this Pegan diet. People need protein, starch and vitamin C, magneiusm, potassium rich legumes, starchy vegetables, berries…

              So.. legumes, starchy vegetables make plant-based diets sustainable. Don’t think Dr. Hyman’s approach is sustainable.

              But he recognizes the dangers of excess animal products in diet, including overconsumption of carnitine, choline, sodium, saturated fats, animal proteins, cholesterol, retinol, branched chain amino acids, hormones, endotoxins, AGE’s etc..

              But, Dr. Hyman, has not yet recognized the power of the bean.

            • To Deanna: Boy, now you are really scraping the bottom of the barrel by citing PREVENTION magazine 2 x with ref. to Marc Hyman, MD.
              Have you looked at this functional medical physician’s web-site lately, read his books, and are you up-to-date what he believes in?
              Maybe you should get it from the horse’s mouth (you will learn that he is a friend of Chris Kresser!) instead of relying on the Prevention’s article that regurgitates his believes!
              This mag. was perhaps 50 years ago cutting edge – when Adelle Davis & and a few others were the health-food gurus – BUT today nobody… yes, N-O-B-O-D-Y goes there for salient & current health & diet information! – Ok, maybe YOU do! – But, given that you want to be so up-to-date/cutting edge in the info & opinions you spew forth on Chris Kresser’s blog…I find that mind boggling!)

              • “But, given that you want to be so up-to-date/cutting edge in the info & opinions you spew forth on Chris Kresser’s blog”

                Well -I-N-D-E- if anyone’s spewing forth, it is definitely you.

      • Alessio, you DO NOT respect any choice, your posts are about slagging off other’s choices as they are not your own.
        You’re obviously still eating too much grumpy Sicilian mountain goat, who simply want to roam free.

      • I agree there are junk food vegans out there.

        But if you replace your serving of meats with a cup of beans, you actually do have more calorie budget to eat more vegetables and healthful fats, like walnuts, chia seeds and flax.

  11. Commercial slaughtering is usually quite traumatic for the animals- but it doesn’t have to be that way. Temple Grandin has done a ton of work making commercial slaughtering facilities far more conducive to a peaceful ending- about half the slaughter houses in the US now use her unique templates that minimize anxiety and allow for a relatively kind death.

    I know an organic farming family and a fellow who grew up on a farm and they testify to the possibility of humane slaughter from personal experience. BUT- their animals are treated like individuals, have a great life and their end is on the farm in familiar surroundings, they are killed instantly by a bolt to the head (or in other humane ways for the chickens) and away from their herd mates. The animal is dead almost before it knows it.

    It’s not an easy thing. Every being, plant or animal, depends on the death of others to survive. I would be vegetarian if I could but since I can’t eat grains, rice, soy or beans, I must eat some meat to be healthy. I try to be grateful for every bite I eat, do my best to remember that some animal or plant gave up its life for me so that I could live. I also did not have kids because I couldn’t take the stress of adding more weight to the planet or bringing up another mouth to feed on the deaths of others. It’s not an easy thing, being alive…

    • I worked in a meat packing house one summer to help pay for college.

      I did not work on kill floor, but occasionally worked with those who did. For the people who have to do the slaughtering, even if being able to do it in a more humane way, pay a huge emotional toll to have to do this type of work.

      Most are people who find it hard to find other work, paying quite as well, but have children to feed. Many times, these jobs are immigrants who are still learning to speak English fluently, making it difficult for them to secure other type of work.

  12. Nature isn’t all Rainbows, Sprinkles and Unicorns:

    First, it’s inaccurate to say: we’re omnivores, therefore we don’t NEED to eat meat as the commenter Will stated – omnivore means BOTH plants and meat, not one or the other. But even putting a label on the entire human population saying that we’re humans so we should ALL be eating this way only shows how much further we have to go to teach people that we’re all different and all have different needs.

    I’m unsure how I would fare living off of blubber, eggs, whale meat and other fish like the Inuits. I like my veggies. Speaking of the Inuit, they live off the land and with the seasons. During the short months of summer (1-3 months) the focus shifts to ripened berries, tubers and dandelions, they get their fill on these but return to an animal centric diet come fall, winter and spring. Similarly, it’s much easier for those living closer to the equator to have a diet higher in fruit and fish, than and “meat” and even veggies.

    On that note of fish vs meat. Buddhists don’t consider the life of a fish or chicken any less than that of a cow, fly or human for that matter. A life is a life. Therefore, the few times a year when they need to supplement their otherwise vegetarian diet with meat, they do so with a goat or a cow. An animal that is large enough to feed their entire group, not just a few people.

    The only vegans I know are surviving off of diets higher in grain than I am comfortable with (my blood sugar does not like high grains, I’m not paleo, I still eat them occasionally) and processed foods like protein powders. Is there such thing as a whole food vegan? I know there are some (everyone’s different right!), but it’s rare and they’re also likely having to supplement with vitamins – another man-made modern day creation. I’ve seen many vegans and vegetarians having to revert back to eating meat because they couldn’t sustain health without it.
    —So if everyone should sustain health without eating meat then why can’t some people stick with the vegan/vegetarian diet? You would think they’d feel so incredible not eating meat that they could stick with it.

    On the subject of ethics and killing. There’s a species of birds where the mom lays her egg in another bird’s nest who also just laid eggs. The encroaching bird’s egg hatches before the other eggs. Now it’s adoptive mom is feeding it and it gains a couple day advantage over the step-siblings. Then this still blind little featherless intruder of a bird begins pecking to death the other birds when they’re just hatching so it can continue getting all the incoming food from its adopted mom. What the hell – (seriously that is so messed up)!! Mother Nature needs to teach these birds (and so many other animals) about ethics (not serious).

    And since we’re on the subject, how about enough of the thunderstorms that cause forest fires and kill so many animals and destroy beautiful trees. Enough of the icy temps and snow that make it so difficult for those adorable penguins to survive and keep their babies warm in the antarctic. Enough of the lions that kill elephants too. I love elephants, they practically get eaten alive 🙁

    The reality is, nature isn’t all rainbows, sprinkles and unicorns, it’s brutal, it’s ugly it’s unethical.
    The bottom line is, there is no ethics argument to win here. Mother Nature isn’t ethical but it is sustainable.

    And on that note… that doesn’t mean we can’t be compassionate.

    • I hear what you are saying.

      Why not have people choose to do their own hunting, fishing for foods, instead of so much domestication of large ruminants. It would bring back a more natural balance, I believe.

      • I would do it right away if it was possible. Unfortunately, it’s been a while since we haven’t been living in a free world. Hunting season is limited to a couple of months per year, you have to pay for anything, you are limited, here you have to take the weapon license, etc..
        As long as the world will work like that, I’ll have to rely on domesticated cattle.

  13. All of these reasons why we shouldn’t feel bad eating meat…it still comes down to ethics for me. In my family, we believe that if we wouldn’t slaughter it ourselves, we have no business eating it. To us, that translates into eating foul and fish and that’s it. I have, and would, slaughter a chicken and I know I can provide a quick and painless end for a chicken. A cow or other larger animal… I wouldn’t even try. Anyone who picks up a steak at the market but would hurl at the sight of a cow being slaughtered…has absolutely NO business eating that steak. I have seen videos on “humane” cow slaughters, even kosher slaughters (in which it is prohibited to cause the animal pain)… I’m not convinced the deed can be done without fear and pain in a larger animal. In a survival situation, my ideals would change of course, but in everyday life, my ethics will always prevent me from purchasing that steak or pork chop, no matter how much it benefits the earth in the long run.

    • And anyone who can’t mass manufacture high end computer chips has no business being on the internet.

      Silly, isn’t it?

      Come on, I pay people to do things I don’t want to do. I don’t want to fix my plumbing, does that mean it’s unethical for me to take a shower?

      And, you say that because you _would_ kill a bird, that validates buying a bird for food? Well… If you had to, if it meant keeping your family alive, you _would_ learn to kill a cow. So that validates you for eating meat. You’re welcome.

  14. I love that you’re writing more about this, Chris!!!
    I’m a holistic nutritionist & a health coach in training and am currently getting clear around how I want to conduct my practice. I follow your work closely for insights I will be applying to my coaching practice.

    I was also vegan/vegetarian for years and got sicker & sicker until I had to open up my mind and diet more. Then I found Ray Peat and paleo/ancestral health & continued to do research & testing to heal myself. Like so many folks, veganism never felt normal unless I subscribed to some extreme dogma! Now I’m going to get my hunting license and take it to the next level.

    It’s just a shame folks get so heated & self-righteous that their minds close down to well-researched articles like this. Healing from multiple chronic ailments is ridiculously hard, if not impossible on a vegan diet and veganism is a modern-day luxury which just relies on too many blanket statements.

    Thank you.

    • “Healing from multiple chronic ailments is ridiculously hard, if not impossible on a vegan diet”

      Are you actually suggesting that meat heals multiple chronic ailments, while plants cannot?

      • I went through a serious chronic illness for 5 years. I ended up in a wheelchair. I relied heavily on the paleo diet because I was muscle wasting; that is, my body was burning its own muscle because it was under such massive stress. I can tell you with 100% confidence that I would not have made it without eating meat. The veggies were equally important to me, but they never could have sustained me. Now that I am recovering, and thankfully out of the wheelchair, I do not require nearly as much meat. One just cannot possibly judge another person without walking in their shoes. We all must make our own choices based on how we best survive this life. NOT taking another life for my own would have possibly meant certain death for myself. Isn’t that how it has been in nature since the beginning of time? That said, I absolutely believe in only eating organic, grassfed, pasture raised and humanely raised meat to the best of my ability. And if I had to hunt to survive, you bet I would.

        • A survey of naturally occurring and high Vitamin B12-containing plant-derived food sources showed that nori, which is formed into a sheet and dried, is the most suitable Vitamin B12 source for vegetarians presently available. Consumption of approximately 4 g of dried purple laver (Vitamin B12 content: 77.6 μg /100 g dry weight) supplies the RDA of 2.4 μg/day.

          To claim, meat only and not plants can cure, is false.

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4042564/

          • You’re talking dangerous nonsense. The vitamin B12 analogues found in some supposed plant sources such as nori will actually *reduce* the amount of bioavailable B12. Even vegans will tell you so:

            http://www.veganhealth.org/b12/plant#nori

            The only natural sources of bioavailable vitamin B12 are either animal tissue or fecal matter. Your choice as to which to eat!

              • No, it’s simply true, and bacteria are not generally considered “animals”.

                I’m not sure exactly what point you were trying to make, but in case you didn’t know: animal feces actually do often contain a certain amount of real B12 since it is synthesized in the gut by some types of bacteria. This occurs in humans too, but the B12 produced by this method is not directly available to us because the synthesis occurs at a later stage of digestion than where absorption of B12 would occur. Therefore, two passes through the gut are necessary to derive B12 this way (at least in humans).

                So, yes — for vegans who want a natural source of B12 but don’t want to eat animal tissue, there IS another alternative (and it’s not seaweed!). Any takers?

          • Apparently the argument for veganism is now down to , “We can fly industrially grown non-traditional foods around the world and/or process it drastically and that’s a natural way to get a healthy, sustainable diet.

            OK…..

            • Nori seaweed is a traditional Japanese food.
              It is prolific grower and very light weight when it is dried.

              It is not flown, but put on a ship, to be honest, it is much lighter weight than the t-shirts and all the other unneeded plastic crap and other “stuff” from China, so unless you buy nothing from China, I would probably not complain too much about someone buying 20 sheets of nori at store, weighing a whopping 1.8 oz. and will last them the year.

              As fish is being rapidly depleted, nori may be a whole food source of at least, EPA, but not preformed DHA, in the diet.

              So, not local, but more sustainable than fish and is a source of iodine for those who don’t get iodine residues from eating dairy.

          • I am sorry, but all the experts: Dr. Greger, Dr. Klaper, both vegan doctors have already noted seaweed is not a reliable source of B-12, and you want to get more than just not be clinically deficient, because you want your homocysteine levels to be optimal.

            Vegans and vegetarians, I am 98% plant-based ant take a B-12 supplement. TAKE YOUR B-12. Check with
            nutritionfacts.org with Dr. Greger, these expert on vegan and vegetarian health!!!

      • If the chronic ailment is B12 Deficiency, then yes, including meat in the diet can fix that problem. Something a plant can’t do 🙂

        • Animals are given a lab derived B-12 supplements, too, so meat eaters are getting B-12 from a pill, second hand, including most grass-fed animals who are in the barn or out in the field drinking chlorinated water in troughs, and eating some dry forage. Just not enough B-12 ( bacteria) to ensure they pass it on to you.

          Also, while the B-12 supplement by plant-based eaters is absorbed very well, animal products absorption can be as abysmal as 9-50%.

          • Please stop shaming others for taking a B-12 supplements, when the animals are doing the same thing.

            But more importantly, it is critical for people to get B-12 and would not want someone forgoing meats etc… to ignore their B-12 due to this type of shaming.

            Please care enough about others and stop this.

          • You are arguing feedlot cows again. Which is exactly not what this article or discussion is about. But you have to do it, it’s called the false dilemma fallacy, to make your point. Either one is a vegan or they eat the worse CAFO meat possible. No, there are other choices and you know that by now. Be honest.

            Shifting the target is a debate tactic used by people who want to win more than they want to discover the truth.

            • This is from Missouri extension for beef farmers:

              B vitamins

              Included in the B-vitamin complex are thiamin, biotin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, folic acid, vitamin B12 and choline. Once the rumen becomes functional, bacterial synthesis is considered to supply the normal requirement of cattle for B-vitamins. Milk is a source of B-vitamins for the calf.

              The lack of a trace mineral, cobalt, CAN RESULT in a vitamin B12 deficiency in cattle. This is because cobalt is a part of the vitamin B12 compound and is essential for rumen bacteria to manufacture this vitamin.

              Choline supplementation of rations for fattening cattle has appeared to increase performance in Washington State trials, but has not been effective in most other areas of the United States.

              Another source:

              http://eerainuh.com/supplementation-of-vitamin-b12-in-cattle-and-sheep-to-prevent-deficiency/

              Vitamin B12 Deficiency in animals is the end result of insufficient Cobalt intake. Cobalt is acquired from the pasture and soil as animals feed and is used to make Vitamin B12 by micro-organisms with the rumen (2nd stomach). Vitamin B12 is then absorbed in the small intestine and transported throughout the body by the blood, with excess being stored in the liver. A female animal will provide B12 to a growing foetus, but will not supply any of the vitamin in its milk.
              The amount of Cobalt available to animals varies as a result of several different factors. The amount of Cobalt occurring naturally in the soil varies according to the type of rock from which the soil is derived.

              Better to be safe than sorry many GF farmers just inoculate animals with B-12.

        • Actually, doctors do not treat B-12 deficiencies with meat.

          95% of deficiencies happen in meat eaters, because they are not properly absorbing B-12.

          They are prescribed usually a dissolvable B-12 supplement that is directed absorbed in the mouth.

      • If the chronic ailment is B12 Deficiency, then yes, including meat in the diet can fix that problem. Something a plant can’t do 🙂

    • With all due respect, Diana is a dietitian and beef farmer.

      She is not a life-long ecologist, or environmental scientists, who dedicated their lives to researching the effects of eating and farming on the environment.

      Her information, is misleading and flawed. The global environmental experts do not agree with her assumptions.

  15. I am so proud of all you people who have commented against slaughting animals. There are some wonderful comments. A few years ago a friend of mine, a professional photographer was hired to take photos of the process in a slaughter house. I am still having nightmares of the images that were taken. The fear of the shacking cows and the way they are killed would put many people off eating them. Eating meat is a choice and I choose not to and have done for years, it does not matter whether meat is raised in health farms or raised in hell in the commercial farms I personally feel that no animal should be born to die for human consumption.

    • I agree that plants have feelings too. If you place something hot near them they move away from it because they don’t like to be burnt. You vegans should be ashamed eating plants as they have a right to live and die naturally like animals. I eat only flavoured air which I get hanging around cafes and other aromatic places. I may be very thin but my ideologies are still in place.

    • Everything depends on something else’s death to survive, even plants. Death and life are entirely interconnected and we can not have one without the other. I studied shamanism for a while and I found very quickly that ALL things have some level of awareness, even stones. It’s how we treat that awareness and how we honor the beings that die for us that is the key to being humane about our diet.

    • I’m so happy to see this comment. As an organic gardener for 30 years, I came to love my plants. I thanked them for giving me their LIVES, because yes, WE KILL THEM to eat them. Or we eat their babies (seeds, flowers etc) Read the Secret Life of Plants…might do us all well to understand that things we eat die, not just animals plants too

      • Interestingly incomplete analogy.
        Artificial insemination aside, can you give the young slaughtered animal life? No, you cannot.

        Planting a seed, nurturing it until it is about to be fit for compost, but eating it instead, no way correlates to your:

        “might do us all well to understand that things we eat die, not just animals plants too”

        I sincerely congratulate you for being an organic gardener, but comparing the natural death of an edible plant, with the killing of young livestock, that isn’t about to die, is mind boggling.

        By the way I love the book you recommended, stunning.

    • It is true, but most crop plants being annuals or biennials, would not live past their second year. So, if we did not pick them, their lifespan would soon come to an end.

      Fruit and nut trees, berries, are not killed by harvesting their bounty, it is a symbiotic relationship. Most plants want animals to eat their seeds so they spread and have better chances of survival- next generation.

      But it is true plants have defenses which help people and other animals, not overeat their leaves, stems etc. so they can survive long enough to spread their seeds.

      Lastly, most children and people do not cringe at picking a dandelion, sweet potato, or carrot out of the ground, but would certainly do much more than just cringe, if being asked to kill a 1,200 pound steer or cow with a knife.

  16. Veg and vegans have no business on this thread. Chris is not a vegan and therefore does not recommend that diet, so please go troll somewhere else.
    No ominivore here is interested in your deficient opinion.

      • When I visit the plant-based site and hear contrary views (trolls if you will), I welcome the spirited and healthy debate.

        If you are confident and at-ease in your position, it should not bother you to hear opposing views.

      • I am a proud daughter and granddaughter of farmers my Dad college degree in agricultural science and study in veterinary medicine.

        When I had to watch my grandfather endure a debilitating stroke, it was devastating for me.

        Then, a near repeat of history by my father: he has been experiencing terrible peripheral artery disease pain and haddesperate need to have plaque removed from his carotid artery. Surgery went great-yeah!

        These events led me to question, my own possibility of repeating history in the family with the unprocessed omnivore diet my Dad and grandfather ate, which definitely was advocated as healthy during this time.

        Investigating and, coming to conclusion, Dr. Esslestyn’s Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease diet struck a chord with me, most scientific, and has given me the best health I have ever had, even though I have always eaten, mostly whole foods and pursued athletic endeavors.

        So, this is who the your troll is.

        • It is easy I know to not understand who a comment is directed toward with all the replies below comments.
          My response was to Stella and not to you.
          This is how the thread went. I am sorry you read it in the wrong way. I never called you a troll. You have every right to be proud.

          stella

          August 10, 2016 at 9:46 am
          “Veg and vegans have no business on this thread. Chris is not a vegan and therefore does not recommend that diet, so please go troll somewhere else.
          No ominivore here is interested in your deficient opinion.”

          Reply

          Andrew

          August 10, 2016 at 11:54 pm

          “Such a balanced opinion, makes me wonder who the troll is.”

          My reply is under Stella’s castigation, not yours.

    • The reason we are here, is Chris puts out a lot of articles, directed towards plant-based eaters. Such as Why You Should Think Twice About Vegan and Vegetarian Diets? and Why Vegans/Vegetarians Should Supplement with DHA (he initially gave vegans an unsafe DHA dosing prescription).

      These come up on our google searches, and I will be honest, it is hard not to respond to what you know as inaccuracies that have important consequences for global warming and climate change.

  17. I was a vegetarian for about 30 years and recently started eating meat because if I try to live on beans and grains I will be a Diabetic in no time at all. A small amount of beans and or grains I can tolerate but any more than that my blood sugar goes up to high. And that goes for fruit as well. I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and soy products aren’t good for my Thyroid. So what does that leave me with? Lot’s of food, actually, as long as it isn’t grain and beans and soy.

    • I hear you.

      I personally, am not telling people, they cannot eat meat.

      But, if you are going to eat meat rather than beans, what about small fish, wild game, omega-3 eggs, or organic and humanely raised chickens that have less impact on the environment?

      And, I know everyone is different, but beans, in human studies, increase insulin sensitivity rather than reduce it due to many of its unique qualities: high levels of resistant starch,and its stimulation of amylase enzyme when eating eat.

      excerpt from something I am working on…
      Legumes, owing to their high nutritive value, are increasingly being used in dietetic formulations in the treatment and prevention of diabetes on account of their antidiabetic potential… It is concluded that the various legumes not only have varying degrees of antidiabetic potential but are also beneficial in decreasing the risk factors for cardiovascular and renal disease.

      (taken from abstract of, Antidiabetic potential of commonly consumed legumes, a review, Crit Rev Sci Nutr. 2014)

      Good luck and good health to you!

  18. This entire article is based upon environment and nutrition – but nothing about ethics. Humans are omnivores, they do not require meat to survive. All of the nutritional needs can be obtained for plant life and some seafood (as necessary). The comment about “humane slaughterhouses” is an outrageous oxymoron. If you believe that all animals have as much right to live as human animals, you do not have to eat meat – it is your choice only. Why not use the argument of cannibalism for obtaining necessary nutrition – of course this would go against most religions (individual beliefs of what is right or not). So trying to peddle the justification for humans to kill and eat animals, especially with all the waste of unused uneaten animal products left at all of the stores, to those that believe it is not right to kill other animal lifeforms (because it is not necessary) is a poor argument at best and ignores the value of other life forms that are not labeled the “human animal”.

    • Yet another insecure vegan with the need to justify his unhealthy habit. I’ve been there – for 14 years. The human body is resilient and will compensate as long as it has reserves. Once they’re gone, you will slowly start feeling tired for no reasons and then more and more issues will show up. For some people it takes a few months, others years and others decades but eventually, it will catch up with you. We are the descendants of hunter-gatherers not cows. And denial is not a river in Egypt!

      • Jamie, there is a difference between a vegan and a non meat eater that eats animal by products such as dairy products and unfertilized eggs (you know, the eggs that are sold at all of the stores) which contain additional supplements such as the b vitamins and other complete nutrients. You choosing a complete vegan diet is probably a mistake for you, but you do not have to kill other animals to get all of your nutrients.

        • Fyi, I was never a vegan. I was a “non meat eater” as per your term. I ate eggs, cheese and fish. At the time, also too many soy products like soy milk and tofu – ugh!
          It took me close to 10 years to rebuild my system.
          Good luck on your journey!

      • I am sorry that a vegan diet did not work for you.

        But, many people do well on a 90-100% whole plant food diet with B-12 (no refined foods, i.e. oils, sugars, other processed foods)

        Some long term vegan examples, simultaneously whole food plant-based: Dr. Klaper, Dr. Greger, Dr. Ellmsworth Wareham 102, practicing heart surgeon, in his 90’s), and many Loma Linda plant-based eaters with a range of vegan, vegetarian and 95+% plant-based, for those interested in seeing what they have done for 20, 40, 50+ years eating this way.

    • Yes why don’t we stop animals say Lions etc from eating meat to make the world more humane. You animal lovers turn the truth around to suit your beliefs. Humans have been eating meat throughout evolutionary history and to deny that is delusional and denies history.

      • Graeme, where do i start? Ok to keep it simple for you, lions and all other cats are carnivores as their bodies require most of their nutriments from other animals or other protein rich lifeforms. Also, many live on seafood, not animal meat, if they are near waters that provide that source. We are not carnivores, never have been. We are omnivores – look it up.

        • Yes, we are omnivores and that means eating both plants and animals.
          Your sound rather in need of some nutrients with your sarcastic and catty comments.
          You don’t have a case on this thread. Lost cause!

        • “Also, many live on seafood, not animal meat”

          Ummm… you do realize that what we call “seafood” (fish, molluscs, and crustaceans, mostly) are types of _animal meat_, right?

          Do you suppose these things just float about in the water and photosynthesize?

          Do you also suppose that clams, snails, and such make up a significant part of a lion’s diet, even if it does live near water?!

          I suggest you take an introductory biology course — it might help you to make a rational argument.

    • Ethics? what do you think happens to millions of animals whose habitat is turned into deserts by big agro?

      Seriously…you may not need animal protein the survive, but you need it to thrive. Oh wait, you included animals in your vegan dystopian world.

      • You confuse ethics with large company greed in destroying the environment. So you think killing animals is the solution to stop this corporate greed? Really? You actually connect the two? You are really out on a limb trying to get to this ridiculous cause/effect argument.

    • Don’t worry about the population problem. The earth will be taking care of that shortly unless we do it ourselves. :/

  19. The authors statement that “green water” is used for raising animals for slaughter may be true for her operation, but it is not true for many. My sister lives near a major cattle ranch in Colorado and they are using well water – sourced by a reducing aquifer to water the cattle. Here in Northern California, due to our Mediterranean climate, i.e. No rain from May to October, either aquifer or reservoir water has to be used to feed all animals, plants and people.

  20. This is all crock, not taking into consideration the human dietetic nature that John Hopkins anthropologists discovered namely that humans both anatomically and physiologically are not carnivorous meaning humans are not made to eat animals, and there is no humane way to kill an animal. Paleo therefore is folly and not based on science in the least bit, you can try to self justify but it is not much different than trying to prove that a car designed to run on gasoline runs fine on diesel, it may run but not like it should and the same with the human body, it may operate on meat but not like it was designed to.

    • Except for those of us who can not tolerate any amount of grains, rice, soy or beans. Seriously. I am sick as a dog if I eat any of those things but do really well on veggies and some meat. My doctors are blown away. I’m 58 and have been essentially “paleo” for about 15 years now. I’m on one medication (progesterone) and otherwise in pretty darn good health. My husband is older than I am, also eats a mostly “paleo” diet and is in similar or better health as stated by his doctors. Diet really is not a one-size-fits-all thing. As far as I can tell, humans are really scavengers rather than carnivores or vegetarians. We seem to be designed to survive on a variety of diets as is shown by all the various populations around the world who live on everything from vegan diets to nearly entirely flesh. Diet is really not a simple thing at all.

  21. I’m still confused how much protein – no matter from what source – an adult needs? The “recommanded amount” seem to be changing!

    In your Paleo Book, you Chris imply that we should let our body tell us “how much” …Oh really!?

    Yet, our “protein tolerance” changes, as we get older, and maybe also our need for it. I no longer can tolerate the daily amount of protein I used to eat (ca. 50-60 gr for my 126 lb- 5.7 frame) although I would like to… without feeling just not well the next day! The less protein I eat, the better I feel!

  22. Next thing you know you’ll be telling us the animals WANT to be killed because they understand their role in the ecosystem is to die so that we may live.
    You seem to be arguing that microbes have feelings too and that any comprehensive assessment of the ethics surrounding meat-eating must take that fact into account. If it is indeed the case that every microbe must be counted and if pastured cows result in fewer microbe deaths than organically grown grains, well, that’s beyond my pay grade.
    Also, what if a technologically superior race from another planet decided it wanted to consume humans raised on grass-fed beef? Would you accept your fate? I didn’t think so. Thus, your position is inherently hypocritical, isn’t it? As long as you are at the top of the food chain, you adhere to it. But as soon as you confront a reality wherein you are not, you’ll sing a different tune.
    I accept that you believe you need meat to feel good plus you like how it tastes. But arguing that it’s the ethical thing to do leaves me cold. I’ll stick with Buddha on this one.

    • There is no evidence that Buddha was a vegetarian, but evidence that he did eat meat. Many schools of Buddhism each meat. The Dalai Lama eats meat for health purposes but attempts to keep his consumption to a minimum. The point is that any modification of ecosystems leads to animals dying, and that grassland ecosystems from which animals are used for human consumption lead to no more deaths than other systems. And yes, there is a food chain, there always has been as always will be – it is called nature.

      • In the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra, which presents itself as the final elucidatory and definitive Mahayana teachings of the Buddha on the very eve of his death, the Buddha states that “the eating of meat extinguishes the seed of Great Kindness”, adding that all and every kind of meat and fish consumption (even of animals found already dead) is prohibited by him.
        He even went on to predict that future monks will concoct spurious writings and falsely claim that Buddha allows the eating of meat.
        I take solace in knowing (or if you prefer believing) that there is such a thing as spiritual wisdom and that almost all of the Eastern teachers have advocated a vegetarian or vegan diet. But, even if that were not the case, my five senses signal loud and clear that, in some sense, I am the animals, that I am intimately related to all sentient beings and that, at a minimum, I ought not kill them.

  23. Christine

    I agree with Samantha…
    We don’t need meat to survive as there are plenty foods one can eat such as beans, etc..
    I am of middle eastern descent and I believe the middle eastern diet that we eat is our staple to healthy eating.
    Mind you I am not a vegan I eat red meat maybe 1 x a year. Chicken 1 to 2 times a week.
    But overall, giving the body a break from animal protein and eating more plant based foods along with fruits and veggies makes for a healthy system.

    Take care…

  24. Eat plants, eat meat, eat fish, etc. Do it as naturally as possibly. Be a student of sustainability, e.g. learn to grow & consume your own vegetables.

    Respect the choices of other to eat whatever they want. Too much energy is wasted on which eating habits are best. Just focus on your own healthy eating in ways that work symbiotically within our natural environment.

  25. Humane way to kill….. Haha
    What is humane about killing a helpless animal that doesn’t want to die? Maybe if I put a bolt gun through her brains or an electrifying clamp on her head I could be considered a humane murderer? If you want to eat meat then start with your own dog, cat, horse etc!

  26. You would lose your bet here where I forage every day and can live off wild plants which are in abundance.
    The article claims that it is necessary to eat meat! Well there’s another myth, millions don’t eat meat and I am perfectly healthy and fit from a lifetime without.
    To claim that eating animals is necessary shows an ignorance of the English language, it is not “necessary” at all, in fact it is a lie.

    • Samantha, I honor the way in which you protect God’s creatures.
      And…
      May I ask you out if you are familiar with the biological process of methylation?
      Briefly, It is a process by which ALL cellular functions are dependent. This is pretty hard, to achieve without the nutrients in meat. Especially for those of us who are genetically challenged – on the autistic spectrum.
      Also, Could you help me to understand how one would nurture their connective tissue, tendons and ligaments without the collagen found in meat.
      Thank you for caring, Bhagavati

    • Hi Samantha

      I really liked what you wrote.
      Is there any chance we can talk!?
      I have a few questions to ask you.

      Thank you

      Christine

    • I don’t usually respond to these things but the are scientific evidence to show that vegetarians and vegans are less healthy than people who eat a variety of sustainable meat and fruits and vegetables in a balanced way do your research and look at the evidence for yourself on the long-term health of vegetarians who don’t eat meat or fish or eggs exedra

      • I don’t need to look at industry paid for research.
        I have my own life experience.
        I suggest you look to some real research outside of industry.

      • I think the key is to the types of foods you eat, whether eating meat or not:

        Eating whole plant foods is a must

        Vegetarians eating

        beans
        vegetables, including starchy vegetables
        fruits
        seeds (flax, chia, hemp)
        whole grains (oats, brown rice, wild rice..)
        b-12 supplement (possibly algal supp.)

        and eliminating oils, sugars and processed foods

        keeps vegetarians and other plant-based eaters healthy and eating chips, sodas, crackers, sugary desserts, and more than modest levels of eggs and dairy won’t.

        This is what research strongly suggests.

      • Randy Voll, just because there is a scientific study, doesn’t necessarily mean it is worthwhile.

        Scientific studies gave the world hydrogenated fats which for decades have been a metabolic disaster.

    • I’m so glad you are healthy and have never experienced a debilitating illness. Not everyone can say the same. You are right in what you say- for yourself! Everyone has their own journey and must make their own choices. You cannot possibly judge unless you stand in someone else’s shoes. That said, There are absolutely better ways of sourcing meat, and that is extremely important.

  27. I don’t think the argument or reasoning for many vegans is sustainability, or even largely environmental factors, but more the choice not to slaughter an animal just to eat.. I don’t disagree that we can’t be meat eaters, but in this modern age we can very easily for-go eating meat in favor of a vegan diet, and yes, get all the Iron and B12 we need. Foods are fortified and we supplement so much, wth vitamin, minerals, protein shakes etc, that we are probably getting too much anyway.
    There is no value in challenging anyone to live of the land for example, for there is very often a convenience store just around the corner for the vast majority of the human population. I doubt very much many people who do eat meat would be ready to catch and slaughter the very pork or lamb chop they eat, or even gut a fish caught from a river. The majority of the planets population live in cities, so what would people know about farms or wildlife. How many have actually seen or been around cows?
    In truth, there is very little intervention in the slaughtering of animals, and meat production. We just don’t live in that kind of environment anymore. Most of this is automated. I think the sooner we get away from the arguments that you need to eat meat and can’t be a healthy on a vegan diet, the better.. It’s just not true..
    Grass fed, grain fed, farm fresh, free range, all terms coined to distract us from the fact that on a massive scale, animal slaugher needs to take place to feed the people. There is too much, ‘i’m right, your wrong’..
    Meat doesn’t have to be an integral part of the human diet, and to try and source it from a farm that uses proper grazing management, while keeping up with the demands of the ten of thousands and more, giant superstores is just a nice though, but because of the current demand, and population, this is never going to happen.. Not only would we not have the space, but the cost to the large corporations would render the process too expensive and unmanagable.
    Then would come the need to fertilize in order to regenerate grass. There is also livestock rotation in order to allow the grass to re-grow.. If you have ever been on a larger farm you would see this is a very intensive and time consuming ordeal. Hense the growth of factory farms, and grain fed animals..
    I hear what Diana is saying, but the reality is far from her idealistic views..
    I am a healthy happy vegan, I can grow my own food, buy organic, but yes, do supplement if needed. There is no shame in it, after-all, it’s in my best interest..

  28. Hunting and eating wild meat is the most suztainable of all. Number one the large hunting community fights to retain as much land as possible in the natural state. The land is treated the way it evolved and the hunting community is its own management eternally guarding gains poaching and land abuse. No pesticides or chemicals are involved and the nutrition is almost exactly what our Metabolism evolved to match. I live in southern Georgia and I have a permanent challenge to Vegans and Vegetarians to live off the wild land in competition for a month eating only what is wild. A $20,000 bond is required, forfeited for those apprehended stealing any farmed produce. Your group will eat vegetation and ours will eat game and vegetation. In South Georgia you won’t last one month. Most are not trained or competent to hunt so grass based agriculture is the least harmful and most beneficial form of sustenance for the environment. Remove animals and replace it with factory style production plantings and we are on the road to unsustainable land degradation and eventual desertification. A simple data set documenting the drastic decline in natural soil nutrients and conditions over the past fifty years shows where we are headed with current mass agriculture. However many single landowners are independently developing more natural agricultural systems which are the way forward to avoid worldwide famine.

    • I agree David; your philosophy follows the natural order of things. And more now than ever, we need to realize that healthy soil is our biggest heat sink and so important in our fight against climate change… conventional agriculture in incredibly damaging. If you are able to run this ‘experiment’ please be sure to publish the results.

    • Love this comment, and couldn’t agree more! It is unfortunate that people become so self-righteous about meat consumption that they attack others who are actually putting in the work to conduct studies. We have been eating animals for so long that continuing to do it feels pretty natural for a lot of us. Being a self-righteous vegan is actually a modern privilege and simply means you haven’t gotten sick enough to see the bigger picture.

    • As I have already told you, you would lose your bet. You haven’t a clue what you are talking about and masses of vegetarians or vegans would outlive your deleterious protein dense diet.

    • This is funny…

      However,
      we are the only animal that cooks and has numerous amylase genes, enzymes. This affords us to eat many nutrient rich, calorie rich foods our primate relatives, do not, and anthropologists give credit to the growth of our bigger brain.

      When legumes (lentils, beans) went from wild to domesticated plants; humans found a very rich protein, b-vitamin rich food source that expended much energy to harvest/hunt than meat.

      This agriculture afforded humans more time and could now, focus more on brains, rather than just brawn and challenge that bigger brain of ours.

      So, I would agree that without cooking and agriculture, plant based eaters are at a disadvantage for calories in the woods-no doubt.

      But we are the only species that cook and have domesticated crops, that is part of our history, too.

      • Meant to say beans expend less energy than hunting for meat.

        I also will admit meat eating is also partially, given credit for our larger homo sapien brain; however, whether it was from more from scavenging or hunting is still a hot debate with anthropologists and…

        later when cooking and legumes came along gave humans another protein and b-vitamin rich choice

    • I would recommend people, look for a local organic CSA farmer you can buy directly from, the longer they have been in business the better to create healthy soils.

      These organic farmers enrich the soil, and it ensures you are eating more nutrient rich vegetables, fruits, etc… eating locally and seasonally, and it edges you to try new vegetables you may not buy on your own in the store, enhancing the soil and environment around you. Bonus, buying directly from farmer can save you a little bit of money on organic produce.

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