Why You Should Think Twice about Vegetarian and Vegan Diets | Chris Kresser
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Why You Should Think Twice About Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

by Chris Kresser

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Vegetarian and vegan diets can’t offer the same nutrients as this grilled meat.
Are vegetarian and vegan diets healthy? If you’re not eating meat, you’re missing out on key nutrients animal products provide.

This is an update of an article I published in 2011. I affirm that animal products are among the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat and that vegetarians and vegans are at risk for multiple nutrient deficiencies. I have included up-to-date research and expanded the list of nutrients that are often lacking in vegetarian and vegan diets.

Maybe you have considered going vegetarian or vegan for the health benefits. Or maybe you know someone who feels strongly about it as an ethical choice, and you wonder if they can really follow the diet in a healthy way. I respect these reasons and appreciate anyone who thinks deeply about the social and spiritual impact of their food choices—even if my own exploration of these questions has led me to a different answer.

But many choose a vegetarian diet because they’re under the impression that it’s a healthier choice from a nutritional perspective. It is this last reason that I’d like to address in this article. For the last 50-plus years, we’ve been told that meat, eggs, and animal fats are bad for us and that we’ll live longer and enjoy superior health if we minimize or avoid them. This idea has been so thoroughly drilled into our heads that few people even question it anymore. In fact, if you asked the average person on the street whether a vegetarian or vegan diet is healthier than an omnivorous diet, they’d probably say yes. But is this really true?

If You Want Nutrient-Dense Foods, You Need to Eat Animal Products

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

Followers of vegetarian and vegan diets, beware: You could be missing out on B12, iron, calcium, and other key nutrients. Is it time to rethink your diet plan and add meat back to your plate? Find out.

Vegan diets, in particular, are almost completely devoid of certain nutrients that are crucial for physiological function. Deficiencies can take months or years to develop, and many are easily missed because they are not routinely tested for in primary care settings. Several studies have shown that both vegetarians and vegans are prone to deficiencies in:

  • Vitamin B12
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Long-chain fatty acids EPA and DHA
  • Fat-soluble vitamins like A and D

Let’s take a closer look at each of these nutrients.

Vegetarian and Vegan Diets Don’t Provide Enough Vitamin B12

B12 deficiency is especially common in vegetarians and vegans. To properly evaluate B12 status, total serum vitamin B12 isn’t enough. A better marker for vitamin B12 is holotranscobalamin II, the biologically active fragment, which should be measured along with total homocysteine and methylmalonic acid, both of which are usually decreased in later stages of vitamin B12 deficiency. (2) The most recent studies using more sensitive techniques for detecting B12 deficiency have found that up to 77 percent of vegetarians and 92 percent of vegans are B12 deficient, compared to just 11 percent of omnivores. (3, 4, 5)

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

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

It’s a common myth among vegetarians and vegans that it’s possible to get B12 from plant sources like:

  • Seaweed
  • Fermented soy
  • Spirulina
  • Brewer’s yeast

These plant foods don’t contain B12. They contain B12 analogs, called cobamides, that block the intake of—and increase the need for—true B12. (6)

 If You’re Vegan, You Might Be Missing Out on Calcium

You know that calcium is important for bone health, but did you know it’s essential for muscle and nerve function and that it’s involved in blood clotting? On paper, calcium intake is similar in vegetarians and omnivores (probably because both eat dairy products). Vegans, however, are often deficient. (7, 8, 9)

Calcium bioavailability from plant foods is affected by their levels of oxalate and phytate, which are inhibitors of calcium absorption and thus decrease the amount of calcium the body can extract from plant foods. (10) So while leafy greens like spinach and kale have a relatively high calcium content, the calcium is not efficiently absorbed during digestion.

One study suggests that it would take 16 servings of spinach to get the same amount of absorbable calcium as an eight-ounce glass of milk. (11) That would be 33 cups of baby spinach or around five or six cups of cooked spinach. There are a few vegetables listed in this paper that have higher levels of bioavailable calcium, but it’s important to note that all of the vegetables tested required multiple servings to achieve the same amount of usable calcium as one single serving of milk, cheese, or yogurt.

This suggests that trying to meet your daily calcium needs from plant foods alone might not be a great strategy. For those who don’t tolerate dairy well, fish with edible bones like sardines are great sources of calcium on a Paleo diet.

You’re Also More Likely to Be Iron-Deficient on a Plant-Based Diet

Vegetarians and omnivores often have similar levels of serum iron, but levels of ferritin—the long-term storage form of iron—are lower in vegetarians than in omnivores. (12, 13) This is significant, because ferritin depletion is the first stage of iron deficiency.

Moreover, although vegetarians often have similar iron intakes to omnivores on paper, it is more common for vegetarians (and particularly vegans) to be iron deficient.

For example, this study of 75 vegan women in Germany found that 40 percent of them were iron deficient, despite average iron intakes that were above the recommended daily allowance. (14) Among Australian men, iron intake among vegetarians and vegans was 29 to 49 percent higher than omnivores, but their serum ferritin concentrations were barely half that of omnivores. (15) Despite similar iron intakes, another study published this year showed vegans and female vegetarians having low ferritin levels. (16)

Why would this be? As with calcium, the bioavailability of the iron in plant foods (nonheme iron) is much lower than in animal foods (heme iron). Plant-based forms of iron are also inhibited by other commonly consumed substances, such as:

This explains why vegetarian diets have been shown to reduce nonheme iron absorption by 70 percent and total iron absorption by 85 percent. (17, 18)

Red Meat, Fish, and Poultry Are Your Best Sources for Zinc

Zinc is important for the immune system, cell growth, and wound healing. You won’t usually see overt zinc deficiency in Western vegetarians, but their intake often falls below recommendations, probably because red meat, poultry, and fish are the best sources.

This is another case where bioavailability is important; many plant foods that contain zinc also contain phytate, which inhibits zinc absorption. Vegetarian diets tend to reduce zinc absorption by about 35 percent compared with an omnivorous diet. (19) Thus, even when the diet meets or exceeds the RDA for zinc, deficiency may still occur. (20) One study suggested that vegetarians may require up to 50 percent more zinc than omnivores for this reason. (21) A meta-analysis of 34 studies found that both zinc intakes and serum zinc concentrations were lower in vegetarians than non-vegetarians. (22)

You Might Be Missing Out on the Benefits of Essential Fatty Acids

Plant foods do contain linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA, omega-3), both of which are considered essential fatty acids. In this context, an essential fatty acid is one that can’t be synthesized by the body and must be obtained in the diet. However, an increasing body of research has highlighted the benefits of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. These fatty acids play a protective and therapeutic role in a wide range of diseases: (23, 24)

While it is possible for some ALA from plant foods to be converted into EPA and DHA, that conversion is poor in humans: between 5 and 10 percent for EPA and 2 and 5 percent for DHA. (25)

Although no official recommendation exists, the daily suggested intake of combined DHA and EPA is around 250 to 500 mg. In theory, this means vegans and vegetarians would need to consume between five and 12.5 grams of ALA per day to obtain 250 mg of DHA. In reality, vegetarians and vegans consume merely 0.97 g/day and 0.86 g/day of ALA, respectively, according to a study of over 14,000 Americans. (26)

Vegetarians have 30 percent lower levels of EPA and DHA than omnivores, while vegans have 50 percent lower EPA and nearly 60 percent lower DHA. (27, 28) Moreover, the conversion of ALA to DHA depends on zinc, iron, selenium, and pyridoxine—nutrients that vegetarians and vegans are less likely than omnivores to get enough of. (29303132) Eating 12 to 16 ounces of cold-water fatty fish per week remains the best way to get adequate EPA and DHA. The fish will also provide bioavailable protein and selenium.

Vitamins A and D: What You’re Missing

Perhaps the biggest problem with vegetarian and vegan diets, however, is their near total lack of two fat-soluble vitamins: A and D.

Fat-soluble vitamins play numerous and critical roles in human health. Vitamin A promotes healthy immune function, fertility, eyesight, and skin. Vitamin D regulates calcium metabolism, regulates immune function, reduces inflammation, and protects against some forms of cancer.

These important fat-soluble vitamins are concentrated, and in some cases found almost exclusively, in animal foods like:

  • Seafood
  • Organ meats
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products

Some obscure species of mushrooms can provide large amounts of vitamin D, but these mushrooms are rarely consumed and often difficult to obtain. This explains why vitamin D levels are often low in vegetarians and even lower in vegans. (33, 34, 35, 36)

The idea that plant foods contain vitamin A is a common misconception. Plants contain beta-carotene, the precursor to active vitamin A (retinol). While beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A in humans, the conversion is inefficient. (37, 38) For example, a single serving of liver per week would meet the RDA of 3,000 IU. To get the same amount from plant foods, you’d have to eat two cups of carrots, one cup of sweet potatoes, or two cups of kale every day.

Moreover, traditional cultures consumed up to 10 times the current RDA for vitamin A. It would be nearly impossible to get this amount of vitamin A from plant foods without juicing or taking supplements. And if supplements aren’t consumed with a fatty meal, the actual absorption will be low. (39)

Vegans and Vegetarians, You Could Be Missing These Key Nutrients

If you don’t eat meat or other animal products, you could also be missing out on:

  • Choline
  • Creatine
  • Taurine
  • Methionine
  • Glycine
  • Selenium

Choline

Vegetarian and vegan diets, along with the Standard American Diet, pose risks of choline deficiency. (40) Choline is required for:

  • Healthy cell membrane function
  • Methylation
  • Cognitive development in children

It’s so important that the FDA recently set a daily recommended intake of 550 mg for men and 425 mg for women, which should increase to 450 mg during pregnancy and 550 mg during breastfeeding. Recent research suggests that only 8.5 percent of women meet the daily choline requirement. (41) With egg yolks and organ meats as the most potent sources of choline, it’s not surprising that even omnivores are not getting enough. This is another reason I encourage giving organ meat dishes another try.

Creatine

Creatine plasma and muscle levels are usually lower in vegetarians than in omnivores, as meat provides the richest source of creatine. (42) Creatine may play an important role in cognitive function. A randomized controlled trial found that six weeks of oral creatine supplementation significantly improved vegetarians’ performance on tests of fluid intelligence and working memory. The difference in scores between groups was enormous. (43)

Another study found that creatine supplementation in vegetarians improved memory, while having no effect on fluid intelligence or working memory in meat-eaters. (44) These results suggest that vegetarians’ baseline scores may have been impaired due to low creatine intake.

Taurine

Taurine has a central role as a neurotransmitter, promotes the development of the central nervous system, and upholds the structure of cell membranes. Although the body can synthesize small amounts of taurine, vegetarians and vegans often still have low plasma and urinary taurine levels because taurine is found primarily in animal products. (45, 46) Low plasma taurine in newborns is associated with lower scores on mental development and arithmetic tests at age seven, suggesting that dietary taurine aids in neural development. (47)

Methionine

Methionine is another amino acid that is restricted on a plant-based diet. Low methionine intake has been linked to longevity in scientific research. However, methionine is still an essential amino acid, and too little methionine may impair detoxification and reduce fertility. (48, 49) After being activated using ATP, methionine becomes the universal methyl donor.

On the flip side, too much methionine can also pose problems. After methyl donation, methionine becomes homocysteine and must be recycled back to methionine by B12, folate, or betaine (derived from choline). Because meat is high in methionine, diets heavy in muscle meats but low in connective tissues can result in increased homocysteine levels, a risk factor for CVD.

That said, studies have shown that vegetarians and vegans have significantly higher homocysteine levels on average than omnivores. (50) In one study, the average homocysteine level among vegetarians was 13.9 nmol/L and among vegans, 16.4 nmol/L, compared to 11.3 nmol/L for omnivores. (51) This puts most vegetarians and vegans in a range that carries significant risk of CVD. In fact, according to one study:

The prevalence of hyperhomocysteinemia among vegetarians may actually be higher than that among non-vegetarians already diagnosed with heart disease. (52)

Glycine

Vegetarians and vegans don’t consume as much glycine as meat-eaters, as the richest sources are the “odd bits” of animal foods, like: (53)

  • Skin
  • Bones
  • Collagen
  • Gelatin

Glycine is one of the building blocks of collagen, found in our connective tissues. In addition to its structural role, glycine can also act as a neurotransmitter, plays a role in blood sugar regulation, and stimulates the production of glutathione, the body’s master antioxidant. (5455, 56, 57)

Some Paleo dieters can be susceptible to low glycine intake, too, if they are eating tons of muscle meat and ignoring the “nose-to-tail” philosophy. Glycine helps balance out methionine levels, in part by acting as a buffer for excess methyl groups. Low choline and glycine intake, common in vegetarians and vegans, can further contribute to high homocysteine levels and increased risk of CVD. Eating bone broth regularly can help balance glycine/methionine levels.

Selenium

While a few studies show no difference in selenium status among diet types, most research shows lower intake and/or levels in vegetarians and vegans compared to omnivores, including one study that measured glutathione peroxidase, a selenium-dependent enzyme and an excellent marker of active selenium status. (58, 59, 60, 61) Selenium has a role in immune function, supports thyroid hormone synthesis, and protects the thyroid from excess iodine damage. (62, 63) Selenium also helps prevent mercury toxicity. (64)

Selenium deficiency is also common in those with digestive health issues like Crohn’s disease or celiac disease. (6566) The best sources of selenium include:

  • Brazil nuts
  • Crimini mushrooms
  • Some sea foods
  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Lamb
  • Turkey

I recommend getting selenium from whole foods instead of supplementing, as selenium supplementation can be dangerous.

Eating Animal Products Could Also Help Your Thyroid Health

Thyroid hormone synthesis requires iodine, a nutrient that can be lacking from omnivore and plant-based diets alike. Most iodine comes from the sea; the soil—and therefore vegetables grown in soil—usually contains very little. In a typical mixed diet, the highest sources of iodine are iodized salt and animal products like:

  • Dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Seafood

Vegetarians and vegans are at risk for low iodine intake. (67)

In the Boston area, urinary iodine levels in vegans were barely half that of vegetarians, and vegans were at high risk of iodine deficiency. (68) Several studies of Scandinavian populations confirm that vegans finished last in iodine intake and/or urinary iodine levels. (69, 70, 71) To make matters worse, isoflavones found in soy products, which are sometimes consumed in large quantities in vegan and vegetarian diets, may exacerbate iodine deficiency and hypothyroidism. (72)

But even those following a Paleo template can be at risk for iodine deficiency if they are not regularly consuming seafood. (73) Sea vegetables, especially kelp, are the highest sources of iodine ounce for ounce.

Your Kids Need Nutrient-Dense Foods to Thrive

Because of the prevailing idea in our culture that vegetarian and vegan diets are healthy, more and more children are being raised from birth (and even from conception!) on meat-free diets. Both the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) and USDA have said that vegetarian and vegan diets are safe during pregnancy, but critical analyses by several researchers have questioned whether these recommendations are based on sufficient evidence. One review remarked that “the evidence on vegan–vegetarian diets in pregnancy is heterogeneous and scant,” suggesting that more research is needed to answer the question of whether they are, in fact, safe during pregnancy. (74)

Vegetarian and vegan diets for children carry significant risks of nutrient deficiencies that can have dire health consequences. (75, 76, 77)

Studies have shown that kids raised until age six on a vegan diet are still B12 deficient years after adding at least some animal products to their diet. One study found an association between B12 status and measures of intelligence and memory, with formerly vegan kids scoring lower than omnivorous kids. (78) Devastating case studies have reported B12 deficiency in young vegan children that have led to neurological damage and developmental delays. (79, 80)

Low nutrient intake extends beyond vitamin B12. Other case studies have attributed hypothyroidism in young children to a maternal and/or childhood vegan diet. (81, 82) Compared to omnivores, breast milk from vegan mothers had lower levels of DHA and EPA, which are vital for brain development, especially in the first year of life, when a baby’s brain literally doubles in size. (83) In short, just like adults, children on vegetarian and vegan diets often have lower intakes of iron, iodine, vitamin A, zinc, and more.

Childhood is the critical time for proper nutrition. Kids can be notoriously “picky eaters,” so we should be sure that each bite counts by providing the nutrients they need to thrive.

Your Best Choice for Optimal Nutrition Isn’t a Vegetarian or Vegan Diet, but a Paleo Template

With care and attention, I think it’s possible to meet most of your nutrient needs with a vegetarian diet that includes liberal amounts of pasture-raised, full-fat dairy and eggs, with one exception: EPA and DHA. These long-chain omega fats are found exclusively in marine algae and fish and shellfish, so the only way to get them on a vegetarian diet would be to take a microalgae supplement or bend the rules and take fish oil or cod liver oil as a supplement. (84) Still, while it may be possible to obtain adequate nutrition on a vegetarian diet, it is not optimal—as the research above indicates.

I don’t think it’s possible to meet nutrient needs on a vegan diet without supplements—and quite a few of them. Vegan diets are low in:

  • B12
  • Bioavailable iron and zinc
  • Choline
  • Vitamins A and D
  • Calcium
  • EPA and DHA
If you’re intent on following a vegan diet, make sure you’re supplementing.

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

Is It Time to Rethink Your Diet?

From an evolutionary perspective, is difficult to justify a diet with low levels of several nutrients critical to human function. While it may be possible to address these shortcomings through targeted supplementation (an issue that is still debated), it makes far more sense to meet your nutritional needs from food.

This is especially important for children, who are still developing and are even more sensitive to suboptimal intake of the nutrients discussed in this article. Like all parents, vegetarians and vegans want the best for their children. Unfortunately, many are not aware of the potential for nutrient deficiencies posed by their dietary choices.

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

What are your thoughts? Are you considering changing from a meat-free diet to a Paleo template? Let me know below!

1,872 Comments

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  1. You made a point in Rogan debate that Mormons live as long as Adventists and are meat eaters but I do not think this is true. Mormons live as long as all Adventists but when you drill down to Veg Adventists they beat Mormons by over 2 years. You also make a point that outcomes trump mechanisms and yet you switch to mechanisms when it suits quoting nutrients at length. Data shows that WFPB live long and healthy lives, yes maybe Nutriomnis could but we dont know that for sure. Thought you gave Kahn a bloody nose in the debate but he made the mistake of trying to prove meat eating is the elephant in the room

  2. It is good to see articles like this, it just shows how many people enjoy keeping their head in the sand lead by people who enjoy keeping their head in the sand!

    Once people had a hard time convincing the world that the earth was not flat, once more you would get killed off if you tried to teach others this fact.

    Surgeons never cleaned their hands before surgery, look what happened when they pulled heir head out of the sand.

    In the later half of 2018 the world got conned into believing coconut oil is total poison, it was claimed that there had been no research done to show the benefit of coconut oil, the person who promoted this claim had absolutely no qualifications in health heeling, the person had a PhD in bio-statistics, it seems strange for the qualifications this person had, there is lots of information available on Internet to show coconut oil research.
    Once more coconut oil is the only known antidote for aluminum phosphide poisoning many hospitals around the world use it, without coconut oil death is certain. How can it be “total poison”? Pacific Islanders had great health eating coconut products, until they where introduced to the western diet, now their health is rubbish.

    Today cancer is going rampant due to modern 21st technology living style Electrical & now Electronics, The American Amish community just dont have cancer like the rest of the world, how strange! It is because they have not got into modern technology. See more from youtube by Dr. Samuel Milham M.D. M.P.H.

    My city library has a wealth of information from non-fiction books to keep ones health in tip top condition, so why is poor health going rampant?

    I am sure one could write a book on how ignorance is wrecking our health, loved by those who get great warmth keeping their head in the sand, by just looking at history and using it for example.

  3. Why not look at Dr. McDougall?
    Dr. Michael Greger?
    Dr. Neal Barnard?

    Have you been to Nutritionfacts.org? -the most up to date nutrition information in the world…
    What about PCRM.org?

    Why does this need to say these things? How many people are clearly deficient in these nutrients anyways? This is not very well done as you’re not comparing appropriately the most well nourished of either side. You have a bias and it’s very disappointing. With so many confusing articles floating around I wish you would have at least been unbiased about this.

    • the “bias” is based in experience…it is what kressor and so many others see in their practice………and what I have seen in many long term vegan/vegetarians…..and my wife..

      I think of vegan/ vegetarianism like I think of ketosis…..perhaps a very valuable as a tool, but very difficult and potentially unhealthy to do long term. There are a ton of former vegan/vegetarians gone towards an ancestral style of eating (many of whom registered on the autoimmunity spectrum to such a point – like Terry Wahls – that they had to change )……and I would bet that it is rare for a true healthy paleo eater to go to vegan/vegetarian……and stay there. And although I cant prove it I would be very surprised if many of the paleo enthusiasts that are doing it properly are having the problems with autoimmunity as compared to vegan/vegetarians. This is nothing personal….not bias….just obvious evidence that is near universal in our(ancestral health folks) experience.

  4. Just the high levels of gluten, lectins,and phytates resultant from high grain, legume, and nut diet seems to set up long term vegans and vegetarians for leaky gut and auto-immunity(the research seems to be piling up daily in this area) ….as well as the deficiencies documented above. Then there is the fat problem….anyone who has experimented with a healthy higher fat diet(lower carb) will tell you how their brain smoothed out. Maybe that is why so many in the vegan/vegetarian groups seem so sensitive?…lol…(actually I am serious)…..ask Terry Wahls how a vegetarian diet worked out for her and how she was healed from MS.

    • I agree with your statement. I was strict vegetarian for 14 years. I thought that my diet was very healthy. Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with Grave’s disease and had lupus antibodies as well. I changed my diet to paleo and within 4 months, I was in remission from Graves. It turns out, I cannot diegest cow dairy, beans (peanuts, green beans, soy, and peas included), and most grains. I have to be cautious to not eat too much broccoli, kale, or cabbage as well. I really only enjoy eating fish and venison. I totally avoid beef and most pork products. While I love veggies and fruits, humans are homivores and we need some animal protein in our diet. Also, I think heritage has to do with ability to digest these things. I am primarily Northern European and I think our guts just do not have the enzymes to break these things down.

  5. Studies do show however that Pescitarians live the longest of all sub groups although I do hate this simplification of Vegan V non vegan subgrouping. As one doctor said veganism focuses on what we should leave out of the diet whereas a whole food plant based diet focuses equally on what should be in the diet. In my opinion a whole food plant based diet with some wild fish is the healthiest diet.

  6. What the Health movie was very one sided…compared SAD diet with healthy vegan…there are many varieties and depends on where you are coming from as to how healthy you will get ….that said…grass fed organic animal products have a more nutritionally dense calorie stamp than vegetables. It is something to consider. I prefer whole plant food diet with some organically grass fed and wild protein animal products and high quality dairy. I think it is the best way for me

  7. ..I mean this children argument is double edged since because meat eating 40000 children daily die of starvation )so why not use them in considering ‘preferable diet’ .Ask them what would they rather have..

  8. Great informative article. Clearly well researched and easily accessible. Thanks!

    I’m vegetarian for ethical and environmental reasons but will have small amounts of fish a few times a year because even with supplements, I get deficiencies due to a genetic disorder that I have. I simply can’t absorb and hold onto certain things.

    I think it is possible to be vegetarian and vegan and healthy but you also have to be able to afford the supplements. It’s not cheap to buy 6 different vitamins monthly.

    • You don’t need to buy 6 different types of vitamins. And even non vegans should take vitamins (good quality) because non vegans can’t get all they need either. Especially with our soil being so poor anymore, and animals being shot up with all kinds of steroids, etc. I’m a student, and have been fully vegan for 12 years. I also have a son, and have to pay for his school. My husband uses his money to get us out of debt and pay our bills. Yet we have all been vegan for many years (my son since conception), and we can afford the one or two different vitamins we take. We take a good, natural multi for vegans, and a good quality liquid B12 spray. The thing is, more meat eaters have been found to be lacking B12, and calcium (milk actually causes osteoporosis. Look it up) far more often than vegans, because we study how to be eat and be healthy because we have to rethink everything we were taught.

      • This is very true. I’m an omnivore and recently I was told I was deficient on B12 and vitamin D. So who knows what the deal is there. Anyway, I’m considering eating way more plant based foods and occasionally having organ meats and cheeses. Wish me luck.

          • Hi Oof! Me and my husband just watched “What the Health” on Netflix a couple of days ago and this has really opened our eyes to what is really going on in food industry and how this is slowly destroying our body and our environment. We are slowly transitioning to becoming Vegan after what we have seen in this documentary! It still makes me cringe thinking about what we saw in that movie and that it is the harsh reality of our food industry!

          • Now why would you want to watch a propaganda film like “what the health” when it contains bad science? You can read the studies online, where it is easy to fact check it.

            • You can actually fact-check the points made in the documentary as well, and I’m not talking about Google. Actually do some due diligence and read a book or journal bc, contray to popular belief, Google doesn’t have all the answers.

  9. I really wish that if you choose to comment it is constructive, well thought out and researched. Its incredibly disrespectful to be so self indulgent to make everyone have to read through some of these immature and disrespectful dialogues. Please consider exchanging emails so you can indulges your selves and spare us.

  10. Fake information Raw Vegans are really active person, really full of energy, we can talk for ours with no stop. Go to any Raw Vegan channels on you tube and see how mentally healthy we are. It’s the all way around animals products have a net value in the nutrition scale and you know very well this, but you agenda it’s to make others think that vegan is because we want to save animals live or because we are sick.

    • If you are not trying to save animals or are on a medically mandated diet to avoid animal protein (organ, muscle, etc) then there is no reason to avoid including them in your diet.

      I’m not saying that you’re sick or a tree/animal-hugger, nor am I decrying those that are. I’m saying if you’re not, there’s no reason, nutritionally, to do so. The only way you eat a balanced diet as a complete raw vegan is with supplementation, which is 100% against the very core that is raw veganism (no processed).

  11. To establish my ethos – I hold a BA majoring in Psychology and minoring in philosophy, and a BSc majoring in Biological Sciences. I am currently half way through a two year MSc in the biological sciences department. My main topic of interest is biomedical science, I have completed both undergraduate and post graduate courses in medical biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, research preparation, and protein science, and so on. I have hands on experience in several different laboratory settings, including chemistry labs, biochemistry & protein science labs, social psychology labs, cellular & molecular biology labs, etc. and many hours experience trawling scientific literature, and with research and review article preparation. My current research is in the area of drug resistance in cancers.

    I think many of the articles on this website are heavily biased. When publishing scientific information, whether for a journal or for a public article, it is crucial that claims are fact based and that the overall weighting of the literature has been adequately considered. Cherry-picking of studies that suit an authors prior position will significantly undermine the core recommendations of any article that the author publishes.

    There is a large scientific literature base documenting large amounts of strong evidence in disagreement with a number of the claims made in many of Chris’s articles. I encourage anyone reading this article to do their own research. Do not take my word for it, and do not take the author of this articles word for it. Fact check everything, and be as objective as is humanly possible.

    Chris, I think you have a well designed website and a well coordinated team. Your writing style is, overall, clear and effective. This site really could be something that is overwhelmingly positive for society…Please consider looking at ways to constructively criticize your own positions, and the articles that you publish. Promotion of healthy lifestyles is a highly valued pursuit, but at the moment there is a lot of room for improvement of article quality.

    Cheers.

    • Most “scientific” studies are biased and “fixed” but presently differently. If you are in research you know this is true.

      A lot of research studies are paid for by the people who want the outcome to favor them.

      Not saying anything else but that.

    • Why is it that everything posted online draws rude people that just want to insult and debate over everything and anything? I think the author made some good points and believes that you can be healthy or unhealthy, regardless of whether you are vegan, vegetarian or omnivore. I actually found it quite refreshing to hear such a balanced view that doesnt choose one way over the other or make the claim that there is only 1 way to eat in order to be healthy. Others clearly believe differently and choose to eat a particular way based on what they believe, which is their choice and perfectly fine. We all know that so many things go into health, including things we have no control over, such as genetics. There are also countless variables besides diet that affects peoples healths, including how they handle stress, the quality of love in their close relationships, their faith beliefs, other habitual lifestyle choices, medications they take, the list could literally go on all day – that can and do affect their health, so to conclusively say that one way of eating is the only way to achieve health is not very logical and is a very limited view of holistic health. Plus, we all know that in everything, what works well for one person isnt necessarily guaranteed to be the best choice for another person because we are all different. I also think people like to read things that agree with their point of view and if it doesnt, then they attack as though someone personally insulted them. I noticed that almost every comment here seems to come from enraged people who only want to demean & invalidate the author, while at the same time elevating their own intelligence and point of view with their own examples and experiences. This isnt a debate and no one “wins”. Has anyone here ever heard of ” Live and Let Live” ?

      • I disagree the article discourage to go for more information o vegan style. For example in your case you are ignoring that every body are different but don’t know why. Our body contains trillions of bacteria like a forest preserver and every person have a different print of balance between god guys and bad guys. So we are not only depend on what we eat is also how we absorb or eliminate the toxins. The symbiosis in our guts make the difference of course the life style also. But animal protein does not have a net values in nutrition vs raw vegan.

      • Bahahah I don’t even feel the need to comment on anything you’ve said here (unsubstantiated and based on popular thought without knowledge of emerging research) because anyone who asks a group of vegans (who are simply opposing an article based on half truths claiming that our lifestyle and our diets are misguided) if we’ve ever heard of “live and let live?”
        Did you have a stroke when you wrote that?
        You do realize that everything we stand for is essentially based on that principle, right? We live, and we let animals live… we don’t operate under the dated, anthropogenic modality that we (1) need the corpses of non-animals to survive and (2) that we have any right to inflict suffering on other creatures for our own benefit.

        I honestly don’t blame you because it is clear that you have never been taught to think or had the drive to break out of the mold society laid out for you. If you had, maybe you would have more to contribute than regurgitated cliches that don’t help your case in any way.

        Also not for nothing this article does have a “balanced” view.

        Peace, love and vegetable <3

    • I have mixed feelings on this subject. I have been vegetarian most of my life, although I was not vegan, but I easily ate vegan many times per week and was strict vegan for a little over a year. I did it mainly, because wanted to avoid harming living creatures as much as possible… You can not talk people out of their ethics.

      As a vegetarian, I was pretty healthy. Once I had low iron, but was not anemic. That’s it. Oddly, as a meat eater for a few years, I was anemic and also had a D deficiency. So, there you have that. However, I never experience the illness I developed as a vegan and I was never tested for B12 levels… so, perhaps I was already sick and veganism exacerbated?

      Let me preface, I was a “healthy” vegan. At least I thought I was. Not only did I eat abundant vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains- I cooked almost all of my meals and even grew a lot of my food. I took a B complex and a Multi-vitamin just about daily. I thought I was doing everything right.

      I never felt great after become vegan, but I felt good at first. I had more energy, digestion was better and I felt better emotionally, as eating animals was a burden for me. However, I had been chronically plagued with fatigue even as a vegetarian and a meat eater and this never left me. I used to attribute it to my chronic and severe back pain, which I think now, is caused by my gluten sensitivity (after an elimination diet I am 80% better- I have played with this, introducing and eliminating for a year and I know for a fact, Wheat products cause me severe pain). Anyhow, I mention this, because I suspect that I may have celiac or something similar that could be inhibiting absorption of nutrients and maybe I was low in B12 before the sickness from veganism began.

      Anyhow, a few months into being vegan I woke up several times shaking. I didn’t know what was happening, thought there was an earthquake, in retrospect, I was having either- seizure, convulsion or tremor… it’s unclear. I started supplementing with a better quality B12 lozenge and seemed better for months, only occasionally would I get this shaky feeling- which I referred to as some type of tremor. Mainly, I would only feel this internally and there were no outward clues.

      Months later a doctor ran a B12 test, which she did not direct me to fast or stop my supplements, so the test was inaccurate. I didn’t realize this at the time… She told me to ease off the B12 because my levels were too high, and I did and BOOM! It took a few weeks, Shakes started slowing before bed then became tremors, vibrating sensation, intense depression- emotional breakdowns, literally thoughts of suicide… my digesting slowed to a halt. I felt like I was dying. These tremors, shakes, convulsions, perhaps they are even seizures started happening every night- it’s been terrifying. Of course, at first I wanted to believe it was just stress and tried to yoga and meditate it away, which – these things help ease the stress, but this is a REAL ailment that can’t be Om-ed away. I began taking my high dosaged of B12 again, which didn’t eliminate but eased the symptoms. I literally though Parkinsons, MS… I mean these symptoms were severe! and I still do not have answers yet, but we are still working on a diagnosis. Because I don’t have great doctors, so it’s taking forever as they order a few tests at a time rather than a complete nutrition profile, which I think would speed this process along.

      I was supposed to stop taking my supplements for a week, last week, to get accurate B12 levels and I only lasted 4 days before the neurological symptoms became unbearable… the tremors, shakes, vibrations would be nonstop all day, all night- I couldn’t sleep or work.
      It’s literally my entire torso into my legs. I get cramps in my feet, feeling of being pinched or bitten in random parts of my body, sometimes it feels like a bug is crawling on me, shadows in the corner of my eyes… it’s enough to think I have gone mad! I have had to do a lot of self-soothing throughout this ordeal. I ended up taking the test early and am hoping the results are accurate. And now I am back on supplements and feel better. I am also eating small amounts of animal products: fish and eggs. What a gross combo! Lol.

      Testing has confirm slightly low vitamin D and also showed that hands down I get my D mainly from sun, as D2 was tiny levels (that’s D from plants). Although my iron looked better than ever, that is probably due to supplementation. My MCH was low- pointing to anemia or B12 deficiency though we don’t know for sure yet as B12 was most likely a false high, my alkaline phosphatase was low, which also points to malnutrition or deficiency… It’s so difficult to know what it off specifically, because I have been supplementing and at this point, I seem to get horribly sick if I stop taking the supplements even for long enough to get accurate blood readings.

      One thing this has taught me, supplements are to supplement your diet, NOT REPLACE!

      I am going to also get the calcium test, as I did not know it but you can have severe symptoms from calcium deficiency such as tremors and many of the symptoms I have been experiencing. I will say, eating a little animal product, taking high doses of B12, at least 5,000mcg, taking Vitamin D3, Magnesium and Calcium Citrate has made my symptoms much better, nearly over night- although, they are definitely not gone- it’s just less intense and terrifying.

      This has been such a scary experience. With that said, I am not sure veganism is bad, my problems could be unique to me, perhaps I have something else wrong like I am not absorbing nutrients correctly… or maybe I am nuts- not talking almonds here! (Also, I took probiotics, was fermenting my own foods and used apple cider vinegar quite a bit to aid in absorption- I was a “healthy” vegan, or so I thought). I think some people can be vegan without issue. And I also think we should not mindlessly gorge ourselves on dead animals not treat them the way we do, they do not exist to be food. They may become food, but that is not their only purpose. I really do stand behind that.

      With that said, never in a million years did I think a nutrient deficiency(ies) would ever do this to me. (Did I mention I am also very healthy, do yoga, job, weights, meditation etc?). I am definitely rethinking the benefits of small amounts of animal product and researching more info on leaky gut and malabsorption issues while I wait for my official prognosis, which I KNOW is a nutrient deficiency. It is not a coincidence that a radical diet change happened and then this.

      On a positive note for veganism! My cholesterol appeared slightly elevated, but further investigation showed it was due to GOOD HDL being so high, I had adequate protein and iron and besides the Vitamin D, MCH and Alkaline Phosphatase- all other blood work was great. So, definitely, this story is not an excuse for cannibalistic glutony! Please, eat greens and veggies primarily… but maybe some animal stuff is okay too. I guess make decisions you can live with, for me- I am still struggling for my malnutrition haze and half the time don’t know what to eat. Tried eating meat a few times in the last few weeks. I was capable of it, but did not enjoy. Dairy was repulsive. I think the little kippers and eggs will have to suffice for now.

      I do apologize for any snarkiness I have had throughout my life in regard to this topic or judgements I may have held.

    • This was an excellent response by Matt. I’ve come to Chris’s site looking to hear points of view regarding nutrition and longevity, but I’m highly disappointed in this article.

      He completely cherry-picked and misrepresented several research studies. The one he chose as a solution to the “healthy person bias” hardly looked at what he was talking about at all. They made a few singular comments in the entire study that he grabbed and misstated.

      For example, they found that vegetarians were 15% less likely to suffer heart disease, but that it was insignificant using their statistical method. Overall, the study aimed to look at high fiber diets, not vegetarian for omnivore.

  12. I don’t agree with this info. I am not a medical or nutritional or dietary expert, but I do know this: I switched to a vegan lifestyle, with occasional vegetarian, while taking a b12 supplement, and it has done wonders for my health. The labs my Dr has last done were so very much improved, he encouraged me to continue. A family members Dr told him to adopt the diet I was using. Feel better than I have in years. And losing weight. There needs to be more research done by you in this, because what you are saying is all misinformation. Just my two cents.

    • He did say, ‘some people seem to do well for years on these diets, while others develop problems very quickly.’

      I was a vegan for 4 years, then a vegetarian for 3. Had little energy, my hands and feet were always cold and I became badly emaciated. I did, however, feel lighter and cleaner. It could be because I didn’t implement the diets properly (you shouldn’t need a degree in nutrition to apply veganism) or I had underlying digestive issues.

      Ayurveda supports the genetic difference point of view. ‘One man’s meat is another man’s poison’. If you are 300lbs and live in California, of course you will improve your health on a vegan diet. If you are thin as a rail and shivering in Alaska, I wouldn’t recommend it.

      Most vegans wash out after a few years. In the meantime they are ideologically insufferable.

  13. Because of an allergy to cooked ocean fish (I can eat Sashimi just fine) I get almost no Ocean Omegas.

    My allergy makes me hesitant to try fish oil (EpiPens are expensive) but on top of the premium “vegan” price, the “vegan” Algae Omegas seem to have issues with additives and bioavailability.

    I can’t imagine my EPA/DHA numbers are very good on a basic Omnivore diet of ALAs. How do I check and what might be the best DHA/EPA supplement solution?

  14. I’m so sick of every tablet and vitamin out there being “vegan” that I literally decided to take a break from taking vitamins for a few months. I’m sure my energy will suffer, but I just can’t face the continual hopscotch of “no, that one has FOS, no that one has iron in it, no that one has ginkgo, no, that one has a bizarre ratio of vitamin a to c… etc”

    Whoever comes out with a line of NOT vegetarian vitamins with good things in it to help people with gut problems, they will be my #1 brand. For heaven’s sake, use gelatin, people! Give me magnesium sulphate (epsom salt) for my magnesium… please! It works great for my gut. Add molybdenum, or a bunch of trace minerals, give me iron free and iron containing options, give me the option to leave out the calcium/magnesium if I want… Is there someplace that makes custom vitamins? Maybe I should ask at a compounding pharmacy.

  15. Any functional medicine principles info on fibromyalgia would be helpful to me and others. . I’m already on anti inflammatory diet and have followed the Gaps diet in 2015. I Eat fermented foods and take probiotic supliments. I choose sardines , eggs , salmon and chicken stew for proteins. Avacado, butter , nuts for fats. White rice and select veggs daily. Thanks for an interesting site. Very helpful.

  16. it is purely a personal preference based entirely upon personal reasons or should be. as for health; you can be a healthy vegetarian just as you can be a healthy omnivore. there are certainly some things you need to address with regard to nutrition and potential health concerns if you choose vegetarianism but then again so there will be with eating meats too. we can go back and forth yelling about which is the better lifestyle and the answer is simple, whichever one you prefer. as a physician and clinical nutritionist for over two decades i have treated many vegetarians and many meat eaters. imo the problem with our health and nutrition issues in this country arent meat or non meat based but instead; sugars. but thats for another topic forum.

  17. This was the most uneducated article on veganism and vegetarianism I have EVER read. Well, besides one that states that vegans and vegetarians eat animal flesh. Which is also a false.. like most of the BS I just wasted my time reading. But there are so many “facts” and statistics backed by your “research” with 50 WOW, 50!!! participants that are just absolutely ridiculous and incorrect. I do not understand how this could be published, and you are considered to be someone people go to for advice on health and nutrition. My cat knows more about animal products than you do, and by the sounds of things, she eats a healthier diet. Anyway, this was a waste of my time, and as someone who is a vegan of 30 years, and 9 months if you count the time I was in the womb (omg I am surviving) I am NOT lacking these nutrients, I take a simple multi-vitamin, my blood work is pristine from my physician when needed and I am not deficient in any of the above nutrients. And guess what, I have a younger brother who was raised vegan as well, and we are both thriving, are not FAT like the rest of America because we are not EATING COWS and other innocent animals. SO NO, there is no reason to think twice about going vegan or vegetarian. If you want to be vegan or vegetarian, do it! Do it for the animals, for your health, for the planet, or just do it for the hell of it! You will thank me later when you stop getting the common cold, when you lose that stubborn weight, when you start to feel better, and when those pesky diseases this fool writes about on this blog start disappearing, because your health is everything. Good luck!

    • I couldn’t agree with you more. CK’s “essay” is so ridiculously inept that it’s impossible to address the myriad of mistakes and misinformation. Suffice it to say that there is much better information on vegan and/or vegetarianism elsewhere.

      And to just add a little personal info – a friend, raised whole food plant based (which is different from plain ol vegan) had an angiogram for a structural/mechanical reason. His cardiologist commented afterword that he had never in his life seen healthier blood vessels in an adult man. My niece – vegetarian until 12 and then vegan until present, at 29, just gave birth to her daughter, a healthy baby. And yes, she was monitored by her doctor throughout her entire pregnancy with no nutritional problems at all. Dr. Benjamin Spock – also known as America’s Pediatrician – recommended WFPB-diets for all in his last book, children through adulthood.
      As well – if you are interested in reversing cardiovascular disease, if you have it, read Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell Esseltyn, M.D. Dean Ornish, M.D. has also reversed cardiovascular disease through his program. These programs to reverse heart disease are so successful and work so well that Medicare – the government health insurance program for the elderly – PAYS FOR YOU TO ATTEND AND REVERSE YOUR HEART DISEASE. They followed THE SCIENCE and determined it is less expensive to pay for you to attend Dean Ornish M.D.’s reversal program than to treat your heart disease for the rest of your life. Medicare Insurance will also pay for the Pritikin Heart Disease Reversal Program as well. Both are whole food plant-based (WFPB) vegan programs. Both have decades of research, now, to backup the facts.
      As well, Dr. Ornish has also shown that a WFPB program will reverse some prostate cancer. How, you might ask, did he prove that scientifically? He took men with PSA levels that were elevating and showing prostate cancer but not cancer aggressive or progressed sufficiently to warrant more extreme treatment like surgery or radiation or chemotherapy. These were cancers that needed careful watching. While they were watching, some of the participants were put on a WFPB vegan diet. The controls in the research stayed on their regular American diets. Over time the PSA tests of the WFPB vegan diet eaters REVERSED – the PSA numbers went down and back to normal levels. Dr. Ornish was able to REVERSE THE PROSTATE CANCER. The “Controls” in the research all went on to require surgery. None of the WFPB-vegan diets eaters required surgery. If you are interested, you can learn a little bit more about this here:
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/cancer-reversal-through-diet/
      Thank you.

    • Omg yes! I completely agree 100%.. downright misinformation on the authors part.. anybody can get a vitamin deficiency if they don’t include it in their diet. Meat eaters are the highest ranking in vitamin deficiencies, diseases and digestive problems out there. Who in their right mind would want that for their children?

    • If you take a multi-vitamin then you were lacking these nutrients, you just found a different way to get them instead of eating meat, didn’t you?

    • I am a vegan or was, until I began having what we are still figuring out is tremors, seizures or convulsions… I took my multi-vitamins, cooked all my meals, grew my own veggies, worked out everyday… I am very sick right now, and it comments like yours that encouraged me to not link my veganism to my health problems for 10 months while I became progressively worse. I am still figuring out why I have these problems, especially being raised vegetarian and eating plant based most of my life- but it wasn’t until full veganism was applied that I got very sick. Neuroloogical problems from deficiency is the most terrifying thing I have every experienced. While I think we should do our best to avoid animal products, I also think that some people have different needs. It could be do to underlying conditions like malabsorption problems. Literally, I have markers in my blood tests that show malnutrition. Regardless of the ridiculously healthy foods I eat and the supplements I take, I am deficient to the point of illness which I never had before being an occasional ovo-lacto vegetarian. This can’t be ignored. I don’t want to die, nor do I want to kill animals- however, I have incorporated some eggs and some small fish like sardines and shrimp (lower food chain). I don’t feel great about it ethically, but I really think my body is sick because it’s not getting what it needs from my vegan diet. I wish I didn’t have any problems and was as healthy as you as a vegan. I grew my own food for goodness sake! Has numerous cooking pages where I taught people how to savor healthful vegan food, cook veggies… I can’t believe this happened to me. I look completely fine too- in shape- nice hair and complexion, I am not overly thin at all- most people guess me 5-10 years younger than I am. Definitely benefits of eating lots of veggies. But, I am deficient in D, B12 and Calcium and probably more- despite taking supplements every day. Sucks- and the tremors are terrifying especially around my heart.

  18. I would also like to comment that while these things may be true of Stereotypical vegetarians and vegans, that would be including all vegans and vegetarians who do not necessarily calculate WHAT they eat, merely just not meat and dairy

    Secondly, there are only 14 articles used to support this theory. There are dozens and dozens more articles supporting plant based diets as a way to cure and reverse chronic diseases. In addition most of the articles he sites are not double blind placebo controlled randomized control studies, therefore do not have the highest level of evidence. They are also very small sample size studies therefore not able to be generalized to a larger population.

    • Let’s get real here. It is well-nigh impossible to conduct long-term, double-blind, placebo controlled study on diet. You have a way of feeding humans different diets so that they do not know what they are eating? And what might a “placebo food” be? There are no tests of plant-based diets fitting these criteria, either. Tests of human diets are correlational/observational by their nature. We can argue these points until the cows come home, or the soybeans are harvested, but there are uncertainties and bias in all analyses of human diets. When the Cochrane group recently analyzed the “studies” correlating CVD and saturated fats, they found no conclusive evidence to support the advice to replace saturated fats with unsaturated ones, despite years of advice to do so by the medial establishment. I am not sure what you mean by stating “there are only 14 articles used to support this theory”. What “theory”? And why would you think the number of “articles” (pop media reporting? peer-reviewed studies? other?) is the defining factor for any “theory”, as opposed to the quality of supporting research?

  19. I find these types of articles amusing. But also a little irresponsible. I’ll explain.

    First, I should make clear that most people don’t have access to the kind of research the author (I’m guessing) does. PubMed and other peer-reviewed sources that professionals refer to are typically off limits (and often too expensive) for the layperson to access. But without them, the public is vulnerable because it’s impossible to properly fact check any of this stuff, which, I’m sure, is a large factor in why we have so much conflicting advice out there.

    The thing is, if you did have access you’d learn that yes, vegans on average DO tend to be deficient in a number of nutrients (namely B12, D, Calcium and Zinc). That’s good news right? Absolutely, particularly if you stop there.

    But in this case, there’s more to the story. See, if you can view the vegan numbers you can also see the other numbers. And here’s where it gets messy for the author and others like him… Turns out, almost EVERY lifestyle diet has tendencies for deficiencies in various critical nutrients (vegan, Paleo, SAD, etc) and the nutrients vary depending on which diet you follow.

    This is a pretty big omission. It muddies the author’s own argument so I see why he left it out, but it certainly can’t reflect well on his professionalism.

    But let’s get back to this trend of cross-platform deficiencies.

    In Tech-speak, we might classify this as a “user error” issue. In other words, if “users” are experiencing the same problem (i.e.: nutrient shortfalls) regardless of which software they use, the first place to look might be to the user. In this case, it appears that misinformed consumers of all stripes don’t know (or care) enough about nutrition to make sure they’re addressing whatever likely deficiency their preferred diet tends to lack.

    Look, I’m not here to bash ANY particular diet. My point is this: a false equivalency persists among the general public about nutrition because of information out there like this, which on the surface is factually correct, but omits just enough to skew toward whatever agenda serves the author’s business model. In the end, the consumer winds up the loser.

    Bottom line: If information isn’t balanced, it’s safe to assume there’s an agenda.

    Over and out.

  20. I find it unfortunate that your blog will not allow contrary views and healthy debate by taking an extraordinarily length of time to moderate and post an extremely respectful reply.

    And, I have also noticed, you do not place reply buttons on most of the pro Paleo, pro grass-fed comments, while always putting a reply button on others.

    I think all of your readers, want a real debate, not one that is manipulated in any way, except for the rare exception of someone being inappropriate.

    • Reply to Annie,

      I have already mentioned I am veganish with a bit of fish, frequent nori seaweed, and lots of chia, flax and some walnuts, so I do get lots of omega-3’s in my diet, eliminate vegetable oils, so a good omega ratio, including EPA and DHA in my diet. But, thanks, I guess, for your concern on my DHA.
      I just don’t eat any mammal meats, eggs or dairy. So feel free to point out that I am not getting enough cholesterol, choline, (actually collard greens) saturated fats, carnitine, calcium (chia, kale, bok choy, fortified plant milks) heme iron in my diet, if you wish. I got really thick skin.

      Secondly,
      My beef with grass fed beef, is the amount of land, and crops (hay, wheat straw in case of grass fed beef) needed to grow and, most of all, the effects of the poop.

      Organic Legumes, grains and tubers do not have these problems. I include tubers like sweet potatoes, as an example, because they actually are a good calorie, and decent calcium and other mineral, nutrient rich food that can replace some of calories and nutrients from grass-fed butter, cheese and milk, with a lot less sodium, than cheese and butter.

      Paired with just a tbsp. of chia, or a little cooked bok choy (more calcium) they easily replace dairy servings in the diet, and they are so prolific, even in colder Midwest climates.

      In organic soil, it is amazing the pound of product and calories you can get in such a small space! The kids at school were amazed at the growth underground and the immense harvest they had.

      I have not seen any scientific evidence from you showing me growing organic beans and whole grains for human consumption takes more land, resources, water, habitat loss, loss of animal habitat or life etc. than grass fed beef.

      Remember, most crop farming is for animal consumption, 70% in America.

      The beans and grains are a good nutritional substitute for b-vitamins and protein in meats. While grains and seeds provide the zinc.

      In my opinion, great nutrition without the poop problem.

      • Again, you are complaining about things I never said. Please copy and paste in your reply the alleged comment where I claimed that growing said vegetable foods takes more resources than producing beef. As far as the “poop” and the land, I have already steered you to references, including CK’s newest blog, that the “poop” enriches the land on which the livestock are grazed, just as the poop of wild herd animals has done for millions of years: and that it does not “take” arable land for livestock production. Grass-fed livestock are, as those references note, raised on scrub and grasslands unsuitable for any agricultural purpose other than grass-feeding. So, even after I gave you sources, you have just reiterated the same opinion that you did several comments prior. So, as another commenter asked me, “why do I bother?”

        • You make it sound that grass fed cows’ poop, water and forage needs have no impact on the environment and, this is simply not true.

          If the government, said 100% no to grain feeding cows, and we had 100% grass-fed operations, this would still cause an environmental problem due to the green house gases, including refrigeration, transportation, methane, and production of hay, and wheat straw to feed these cows.

          Grass feeding cows does not magically take away the environmental problems of beef production to meet American very high demands for beef.

          Though I think, grass fed is better nutritionally and in many environmental ways, these animals take much longer to fatten up. This may mean 2 more years of eating forage, meaning 2 more years of farting and pooping, before their meat is harvested.

          As far as the bonus of manure used as fertilizer, the same fertilizer can be found by composting the non-edibles of the legume, grain and tuber plants. So, the stalks, leaves etc. can be composted.

          If people choose organic beans and grains, these plant parts, as well as, city grass and tree clippings can be recycled to enrich soils. We really don’t need all that poop.

          I really do want to be open minded about this. Can you give me a scientific comparison of green house gases, water, and land needs for a 4 oz. serving of grass fed beef to a 4 oz. serving of beans?

        • annie is missing the point and on another rant.

          the reason deanna posted her diet is because annie accused her of not having enough preformed dha.

          so i must assume that annie has overdosed on dha, which is causing the comprehension problems.

          • It is extremely arrogant, presumptuous, and inaccurate of you to think you can assess what I am “missing”. I know very well what Deanna’s diet includes, as she posted it several comments back — perhaps you “missed” it? However, eating “a bit of” fish does not guarantee one is getting enough DHA. You “missed it” completely, but that was a bit of snark because of comments she made. “On a rant” — that’s amusing. Perhaps if you did not project so much, you could follow the thread and recognize a bit of sarcasm.

            • It is extremely arrogant, presumptuous, and inaccurate of you to make a comment about Deanna and DHA and write it off as “a bit of sarcasm”

              talk about projection.

              • Oh, didn’t you just gripe about “parroting”? If a little snark bothers you so, perhaps the mean ol’ freewheeling “Net is not the best venue for your tender constitution.

        • I really want to be open minded.

          Could you give me a comparison of greenhouse gases, land and water use of 4oz. of grass-fed beef and 4 oz. of organic beans for human consumption?

          You assume grass-fed beef is on non arable land and that somehow there is this infinite supply of non-arable land for all people to eat grass-fed vs. grain fed beef, making it sustainable for the whole world, but this is not reality.

          If the govt. said no to grain fed beef, the same issues of poop, and land and water use would remain, even if these animals are fed forage.

          Also, non-edible parts of bean, tuber or grain plants are composted and used to fertilize soil. Along with tree, grass and shrub clippings from urban areas to fertilize plant sourced proteins; we don’t need the poop fertilizer.

          Viewed a presentation by environmental scientists tonight, who said that grass fed cows need about 70 pounds of forage food daily, and because they take longer to come to slaughter, release more greenhouse gases in their lifetime, than grain cows. I do not agree with grain fed ruminant livestock, however.

          It also takes huge amounts of water!!

          • Deanna, please check out the references I’ve already given, especially CK’s latest blog. I’m not going to waste time reinventing the wheel with yet another calculation. You’ll find in CK’s interview (the latest blog) why there is such wide variation in “unit this per pound of that” — the numbers are highly dependent on the base assumptions (which are arbitrary) and the weighting assigned to various factors (e. g. feeding the world’s population vs. minimizing GHG vs. minimizing all-cause mortality vs. whatever-your-pet-priority-is). I also gave a reference to a recent study done by a team of scientists from Cornell University and other institutions, and published in the journal Elementa, that concluded farming for a lacto-vegetarian diet is the overall “best” choice for land use. And that requires cows.

            • What I just can’t understand is why you feel the need to detail your achievements and education in quite such a confrontational manner. You are obviously very well read on the subject – I congratulate you. However, I suspect your complaints about veganism have fallen on deaf ears, including my own. I think perhaps your passion could be better exercised in a more suitable forum. Enjoy your retirement – put it to better use than arguing with strangers on the internet about what they choose to put in their bodies!

              • Interesting that you think I am being argumentative, when there are some commenters sending 10-15 replies to me every day, asking for citations, justification for producing certain foods, etc. Perhaps your comment says more about your mindset than my posts. I don’t care what people eat. I have never told folks they should eat meat or dairy or anything else. There are some here that feel compelled to attempt to lay a guilt trip on those that follow an omnivorous diet, and actually tell others what percentage certain foods should make up in their diets. But, it easy to see what you want to see, rather than what’s there, when you have an agenda.

                • Diet should not be immune to critique just as religion should not be. Can I lay a guilt trip on those who eat my human friends? Would that be allowed? Some people equate animals and humans thereby avoiding speciesism.

                • Although another person’s diet OR his religion is none of your business, you make yourself a sanctimonious clown by pretending to be the “moral” scold of this blog. By all means, if anyone kills and eats a human friend of yours, criticize away. Most would think it more effective to call 911 and report the murder, but, in your case, none would be surprised if you used the occasion for a frugivore screed.

                • What a psychopath! All that sugar from too much fruit does that to people. If one of your friends gets killed and eaten, you’d be my prime suspect.

                • No, dear, you are the hypocrite. You are a speciest, too, but you want to pretend otherwise. If it were worth my time, it would be easy to do reductio ad absurdum in your case. The natural world is speciest. You like to call others denialists, but that’s just your projecting.

            • I did see the lacto-ovo- vegetarian as winner in another article I read also.

              So beans are better than beef, for your choice of protein!!

              Almond milks and fish would not be the best eco choice for calcium, agree with that.

              However, there are a couple of big problems with this. Many Americans, particularly if you are not caucasian, are lactose intolerant. Those like me, who have breast and ovarian cancer in family history… will not touch bovine estrogens and progesterones with a ten foot pole.

              And, if you are already vegetarian, eating conventional eggs will certainly tip your omega ratios in the wrong direction- omega 6 heavy. (Though organic, omega 3 enhance would have a much better ratio).

            • From: Food Revolution Network:

              https://foodrevolution.org/blog/the-truth-about-grassfed-beef/

              There is a dark side even to grassfed beef. It takes a lot of grassland to raise a grassfed steer. Western rangelands are vast, but not nearly vast enough to sustain America’s 100 million head of cattle. There is no way that grassfed beef can begin to feed the current meat appetites of people in the United States, much less play a role in addressing world hunger. Grassfed meat production might be viable in a country like New Zealand with its geographic isolation, unique climate and topography, and exceedingly small human population. But in a world of 7 billion people, I am afraid that grassfed beef is a food that only the wealthy elites will be able to consume in any significant quantities.

              What would happen if we sought to raise great quantities of grassfed beef? It’s been tried, in Brazil, and the result has been an environmental nightmare of epic proportions. In 2009, Greenpeace released a report titled “Slaughtering the Amazon,” which presented detailed satellite photos showing that Amazon cattle are now the biggest single cause of global deforestation, which is in turn responsible for 20 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases. Even Brazil’s government, whose policies have made the nation the world’s largest beef exporter, and home to the planet’s largest commercial cattle herd, acknowledges that cattle ranching is responsible for 80 percent of Amazonian deforestation. Much of the remaining 20 percent is for land to grow soy, which is not used to make tofu. It is sold to China to feed livestock.

              Amazonian cattle are free-range, grassfed, and possibly organic, but they are still a plague on the planet and a driving force behind global warming.

              Trendy consumers like to think that grassfed beef is green and earth-friendly and does not have environmental problems comparable to factory farmed beef. But grassfed and feedlot beef production both contribute heavily to global climate change. They do this through emissions of two potent global warming gases: methane and nitrous oxide.

              Next to carbon dioxide, the most destabilizing gas to the planet’s climate is methane. Methane is actually 24 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and its concentration in the atmosphere is rising even faster. The primary reason that concentrations of atmospheric methane are now triple what they were when they began rising a century ago is beef production. Cattle raised on pasture actually produce more methane than feedlot animals, on a per-cow basis. The slower weight gain of a grassfed animal means that each cow produces methane emissions for a longer time.

              Meanwhile, producing a pound of grassfed beef accounts for every bit as much nitrous oxide emissions as producing a pound of feedlot beef, and sometimes, due to the slower weight gain, even more. These emissions are not only fueling global warming. They are also acidifying soils, reducing biodiversity, and shrinking Earth’s protective stratospheric ozone layer.

            • Couple problems with this:

              Most adults who are not caucasian, are lactose intolerant.

              Women, like me with breast and ovarian cancer in family history, would not touch bovine estrogens, progesterones and natural growth hormones with 10 foot pole.

              And, vegetarians, already not eating fish, when including conventional eggs and dairy would be tipping their ratios of omegas, way into too much omega-6. Though omega3 enriched eggs do have a better profile, and grass fed a bit better on dairy.

              But the study does show beans are more economically friendly than meats, as primary protein source.

              • If you disagree with the study, why not argue the points with the authors? I am not getting paid to defend anyone’s studies; I just pointed it out as a reference, among many, that disagrees with your position. Your statement on lactose intolerance is not correct; lactase persistence is prevalent in many populations that have traditionally been herders. There are peoples in Africa that measure their wealth in cattle, and whose diets are rich in dairy products. Likewise in Asia. I’d suggest you track down the study, and contact the authors for further info if the article does not address your questions.

                • Scientific study at Cornell on lactose intolerance:

                  Sherman and former Cornell undergraduate student Gabrielle Bloom ’03, now a graduate student at the University of Chicago, compiled data on lactose intolerance (the inability to digest dairy products) from 270 indigenous African and Eurasian populations in 39 countries, from southern Africa to northern Greenland. Their findings will be published in a forthcoming issue of Evolution and Human Behavior.

                  On average, Sherman and Bloom found that 61 percent of people studied were lactose intolerant, with a range of 2 percent in Denmark and 100 percent in Zambia. They also found that lactose intolerance decreases with increasing latitude and increases with rising temperature, and especially with the difficulty in maintaining dairy herds safely and economically.

                  http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/2005/06/lactose-intolerance-linked-ancestral-struggles-climate-diseases

                • This study is supporting my view that a 90% plant-based diet is the way to go, and they specifically stated it be vegetarian, no beef at all.

            • Sorry, you can try but you just cannot

              polish this turd.

              The methane, nitrous oxide and eurtophication caused by grass-fed poop cannot be ignored or denied. In the scientific community it is well accepted, and, thus the vegetarian recommendation you pointed out.

              • I have given you several references that address the questions you raise. It does not appear you have read them. I will address your “poo” and methane issues when you explain why these “issues” have never been a problem for the vast herds of wild ruminants that have existed for millions of years. You might also want to do a little research on why cow manure is such a valued fertilizer, as compared the plant-waste compost. Here, in Western Washington, where it rains a lot, and we have an amazing number of ocean-connected waterways, and runoff contamination is a big issue, every County has a “manure exchange” program to encourage its usage by gardeners, community growers, and farmers that don’t have their own on-site livestock. The soil companies charge the highest rates for their ag mix that contains a large percentage of manure. I could give you many other examples, but you have just ignored them, and keep reiterating that it is a problem. Obviously, there are many private parties, government agencies, NGOs, academic institutions, sustainable ranches, etc., that are seeing the glass at least half full, even if you disagree with them. Obviously, my continued replies and citations are not working to encourage you to research the issues for yourself. “You can lead a horse (or cow) to water….”

                • I can easily explain why wild ruminants have never been a problem in history.

                  In history, the govt. never subsidized crops fed to stock, to make it a cheap food for the masses. At one time, meat was too expensive, and people could not afford to eat it regularly.

                  People never ate the huge amounts of DOMESTICATED ruminant meat and dairy products that Americans, Australians, and Europeans do today.

                  Predators, and natural, rather than AI , kept wild ruminant populations in balance.

                  When settlers started killing too many buffalo for their hides; they almost went extinct, no fear of this would happen with artificial insemination and domestication.

                  There was a natural respect to keep your food supply coming; unlike settlers, Native Americans were smart enough not to overhunt and overeat buffalo, and included many other calorie sources in the diet, so each year they would have enough buffalo to get them through winter, but leave enough alive to breed and continue the cycle.

                  Wild ruminants like deer, elk mountain goat, sheeps etc. have never been staples or large portions of the human diet in history, for all large, thriving populations.

                  For centuries, staples (largest percent of calories) of countries and various cultures around the globe have been starches: rice, cassava, taro, potatoes, corn/maize, wheat etc…

                  Besides cold climates, mostly European and Scandinavian countries, dairy has not traditionally been part of the diet, most Asians and Africans are not lactose persistant.

                  Our much larger human population today eats much more large ruminants and their byproducts on such a large, unprecedented scale.

                • Cow manure is very intense, but also very acidic, which limits its use for some plants and soil use.

                  Compost works wonderfully on our valley farm CSA. Never seen greens and tomatoes so abundant!!

                • Some ranches are more sustainable than others, for sure.

                  The evidence I see is that beans, tubers and grains for human consumption is the more eco-friendly choice, than grass fed beef, on many levels, and this is what the experts at Cornell found.

                  I did read your citations, and, of course you can always improve things a little, but the evidence truly supports eating more beans rather than beef for green house gases, land, water use and health of waterways.

                • Annie, I appreciate your patience and the back and forth debate we have had. But we likely need to agree to disagree.
                  
You said, people who say it can’t be done should step aside to those who are doing it.

                  
Many said, reversing heart disease with diet and eating a 100% plant-based diet couldn’t be done long-term, but both myths have been shattered by Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. Ornish, doing both simultaneously with whole plant foods and no oils, (not just throwing animal products under the bus, here), reduced amounts of sodium and modest sugar intake.


                  So, I would say to those needing to take a stance that plant-based diets, vegan, vegetarian, veganish with fish or eggs etc. is not doable, ridiculous, unnatural, what have you, need to step aside and let those doing it successfully do it, without degradation, condescension, or shaming due to need for B-12 sup. and lower blood levels of DHA in studies. (However, I do think it wise to use this info. to improve the diet with inclusion of more ALA and EPA in seaweed or algal sups. available, if need be.)

                  
The unfortunate fact is, 50% of Americans succumb to cardiovascular disease, many times decades before their natural health span and with many years of disability.


                  Every 80 seconds, a woman suffers a cardiovascular event, and 1 in 8 American women will have invasive breast cancer in their lifetime.


                  Don’t kill the messenger, but It is true that…
                  dairy is associated with increased risks (breast , ovarian and prostate cancer) and decreased survival in breast cancer patients. Butter has 11x the estrogen and 14x the progesterone in milk.

                  So, before attacking those minimizing and avoiding animal products, why not have an open mind to what they have to share and say?

                  

I am very happy with my veganish diet, it has been sustainable for me for over a decade with vibrant health; I am lucky. And I feel very good about my diet in terms of carbon footprint, etc…
                  I am not creating the local lake algal blooms with butter, yogurt, cheese pizza and ice creams cones, from dairy poop run-off. It already has been suggested by papers to taper consumption to save the lake.

                  But, I appreciate other peoples’ choices, I have been a dairy and beef eater most of my life, so I have been there.

                  I just wish there could be a little more respect and more open minded thinking in some of the Paleo crowd for plant-based diets, and potential benefits of the environment, and health for those who choose this (even if it’s not for you).


                  WFPB and Paleo both forgo processed foods (oils, refined flours, excess sugar), so there is some common ground.

                  
For everyone, whatever diet you choose, I wish you good health and happiness.

                  And, Annie I will continue to read about food choices and the environment, but for now I am going to leave the blog. As long as they post this last post of mine.

            • I am glad you mentioned the lacto-ovo vegetarian environmental recommendation.

              Previously, I mentioned my advocacy of 90-100% whole food plant based diet.

              This environmental recommendation is in accordance with what I was suggesting.

              People could add 1-10 % calories from an organic omega3 enhanced egg, non factory farmed, huevos rancheros with poached egg, or goat cheese on a salad, or yogurt, but if lactose intolerant soy yogurt or an oat milk kefir would be a better choice, and without the hormones in lacto (goat or dairy products). I also still stand by advocacy of a bit of wild game people may hunt that could be included in this 10%: wild rabbit, turkey or deer.

            • I did read CK’s blog about grass-fed, but Diana was I believe, inaccurate and sometimes misleading in many of her claims.

              Chris said B-12 and iron are common deficiencies, but they are just as common in heavy meat eaters as vegetarians and light meat eaters, mainly due to gastric atrophy in elderly who only eat meat and no supplemental B-12 (95% of B-12 deficiency in US happens in meat eaters . Iron deficiency (though sometimes genetic influences may play a role) is typically caused by heavy periods or aberrant bleeding This iron deficiency during pre menopause is not more common in vegetarians.

              So his and Diana’s thoughts here do not support good reason to eat beef, not that it does not have other great things like zinc or concentrated protein. In all honesty, vegans and vegetarians, can occasionally cook in cast iron pans during their time of highest risk, premenopausal stage. Most postmenopausal women and men, not only rarely become anemic. It is shown this population is at high risk of iron overload associated with Alzheimers’ and atherosclerosis,

              Water Claims in article:
              A lot of grass fed dairy products are produded in CA, and dry parts of the West, similar to CA. Whether using grey, blue or green, it requires a lot of energy because it needs to pumped mostly from the thaw of the Sierra Nevada, to where it is needed. requiring a lot of energy (CO2 emissions) to use.

              Pumping and irrigating dry Western ranches for cattle farmers requires energy to move the water, there, even if it is mostly retained rainwater or Mountain snow thaw from somewhere else.

              Also, she said 410 gallons of blue water needed to produce beef. I’m sorry but, it is misleading only to give blue water use.

              I have seen much higher numbers for beef and much lower numbers for plant foods. Is she also giving blue water numbers for rice. It appears she is not, so this is not an accurate comparison, and misleading.

              Again, other water (grey, green) still has environmental impacts, if it has to be pumped and irrigated to the cows.

              Meat production is 30% of America’s total water footprint.

              But what I have read, it appears tofu, beans, oats, fruits, whole grain pasta, vegetables, and even rice (its never caused environmental water, eutrophication, GHG land use or water problems for centuries in China, and Asians are eating less, so why shouldn’t we eat more?) are good choices for reducing water footprint. But, it is true nuts do require a lot more water.

              Manure and CO2 sequester:
              Plants like beans, grains, fruit trees and vegetables also sequester CO2, but do not release the large amounts of the more damaging methane and nitrous oxide to our ozone layer, so this is nothing special about cow poop.

              Cow poop and grazing with increasing demands and larger herds, actually can overly acidify the soil and unbalance the plants/forage ecosystem to other animals trying to coexist with the cattle.

              Comparing beef farming to mono cropping used to feed grain fed animals, does not make grass-fed beef a better environmental choice than organic beans, vegetables, grains and fruits staples of a plant-based diets, with convetional and organic, rotation crop farming for plants for human consumption.

              Her concerns about people eating more plants:
              The US has plenty of valuable farmland, that can more than meet the demands of most Americans adopting a 90-100% plant-based diets. The 70% of farmland growing food for livestock, can be used similarly for raising plant foods for humans. So her comment about food storage, or chemicals for direct crop growth for human consumption, holds no water.

              She displays two very misleading charts, showing money spent rather than actual amounts (calories or pounds eaten) and the global calories for meat. Americans, Australians, Canadians, Brazilians Europeans are making the most GHG impacts from meat eating, because we are more eating in many cases double and triple amount of reasonable share of the pie.

              Meeting Protein/Caloric Needs for Plant-based diets:
              A combination/balance of beans/legumes, fruit, whole grains, seeds and vegetables including more calorie rich starchy vegetables are not only nutritionally rich, including robust protein to meet, rather than double or triple recommended amounts, and calorically sustainable, but easy to grow on America’s farmland to meet demands of plant-based diets.

              Her tips to improve GF beef farming…

              It’s great that she mentions, increase non-grazing feeding, but in most of the climate areas in the US, this can never happen. Grass fed dairy is concentrated in many areas, with many months of grass/forage dormancy.

              Rest the land tip is also great, but if all corn/grain fed cattle operations were shut down because everyone went to grass fed, this gets increasingly difficult (higher volumes) along with 100% grazing. Just not reality, not sustainable for the masses (if everyone at GF beef). I am not suggestion grain fed livestock- more beans, less beef.

              Area of agreement!
              I would also like to see America eating less sugar, high fructose corn syrup etc that she suggested but for animal based foods, for best nutrition and overall best for environment I would suggest…

              Much less big fish (tuna and salmon), but replace with smaller fish: sardines, herring, possibly scallops- eat lower on the fish food chain, and include some Nori seaweed for prolific source of EPA in diet.

              organic omega-3 enriched eggs, from humanely raised chickens

              wild game: rabbits, duck, turkey and deer

              for those not lactose intolerant or needing to steer clear of animal hormones: grass fed goat cheese

              Rather than GF beef.

              And include more eco-friendly plant foods:

              Less almond milk, more organic oat and soy milks

              Less nuts, but more seeds: flax, hemp, chia

              Eating variety of organic beans for protein, b-vitamins, antioxidants, resistant starch etc..

              Interestingly, the world is eating grain and in some areas starchy vegetables, as staples and outside of Western countries, they do not have the osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimers and obesity rates we do. Don’t see whole grain as a problem, but rather paired with more beans and miconutrient rich greens, vegetables, maybe a little bit of lithe fish low on food chain and wild game, and less sugar, as a solution!!

              • Just can’t let go, eh? What I find so amusing about “vegans and LF plant-based diet” advocates (since you are not a “true” vegan) is the complete lack of awareness of the hypocrisy. It’s OK for LFPB’ers to keep on and on, repeating the same mantra, ignoring the natural world, and they characterize themselves as “perspicacious”. But, if someone that supports a different dietary regime pushes back, then the push-backer is being “argumentative”, “flaunting her knowledge”, “obsessed”, etc. These characterizations say a lot more about the LFPB’ers and their vegan friends than about the supporters of a more moderate, evolutionary-based diet. Does the vegan/LFPB lifestyle attract such personalities? Or, is there something in that lifestyle — a deficiency, perhaps — that drives those folks toward that behavior? The old “chicken or egg” conundrum.

                • Truly, I respect your tenacity and the strength of your convictions, Annie, even though our views are contrary. In fact, I think this is something we have in common.

                  I know that I personally have never used any of those words, you mentioned to describe you: argumentative, flaunting her knowledge or obsessed.

                  In my opinion, being in a debate and being a bit argumentative is part of the fun of visiting a blog, and I would rather woman let their intelligence shine than hide it. And, if I called you obsessed, I would be calling the kettle black.

                  Thought I was just having a spirited back and forth, respectful debate, and I was respectfully, though I know laboriously at times, making rebuttal to claims and citations you gave me.

                  You, Chris and Diana’s comments about GF beef, as being just as environmentally sound and sustainable as plant-sourced foods such as beans, grains and tubers, is not in agreement with my views. I don’t think you should be surprised I won’t just let it go, or because I won’t change my views that means I have any character flaws.

                  Perspicacious: shrewd, perseptive, discerning.

                  Though I do have character flaws, definitely prone to getting stuck into debates with people with very different views than my own as part of the list, I do feel I am persipacious or discerning.

                  I used to eat the healthy omnivore diet, meat and dairy with lots of veggies and whole fruits, no chips, soda, candy etc.. But I was still struggling with my weight and feeling sluggish, even though I exercised.

                  With much research about nutrition, at book store, online at the library (Have read a lot Paleo, Zone, Jillian Michaels, a little of everybody)

                  When reviewing it all, I found Dr. Esselstyn’s book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, most compelling and scientific, and decided to give it a try, partly because my Dad and Grandpa had very clogged carotid arteries, and seeing my Grandpa suffer through a devastating stroke, was an incredibly painful experience for me.

                  Dr. Esselstyn’s plan worked for me. Because I do not have established heart disease, I am not quite as strict as his patient protocol, but I have found a balance that works for me.

                  Knowing something is not working, researching how to make it better, and then finding a solution that works, in my view, is discerning. This is what I did with my own health.

                  I know that I am confident and passionate about my position/views on nutrition and environment, but have remained here as long as I can, partly to work on my debate skills, but also to open my mind to what you and others have to say, and I have read everything, all the citations you have given.

                  Definitely, I do not think you have a character flaw, just because I have not changed your mind. Never expected that I would, but hopefully, I have made you think just a little bit about some of the things I have brought up, and maybe gained acceptance that what may not work or be desirable for me, may work for someone else.

                  I never once said to you, personally, that you needed to eat a different way or suggest that you have certain nutrient deficiencies you need to address.

                  Only gave what I thought is a great option for people, both nutritionally and environmentally; something that has worked for me.

                  Lastly, I honestly, do not believe I am ignoring the natural world as you said. My diet is very similar in plant sourced and animal sourced foods as the traditional Okinawans, Loma Lindan Adventist population, the PapauNew Guinea Highlanders, Central Africans, traditional rural Chinese (billions of people) and, really, is probably most like the Sardinians, because I often choose sardines, and I like to have my red wine on the weekend! Too bad it is Monday morning, ’cause I think I could use a glass right now. But will just sip the rest of my green tea and wish you well.

                  So I will agree to disagree and I will let you respond to this and have the last word.

                • Deanna, I did not want to leave the impression that I was accusing you of saying I was argumentative. That was said by another commenter that was not even involved in our conversations. I personally believe that such discussions as we have had are productive — they at least get us thinking about other viewpoints, and perhaps further researching information that supports both viewpoints, even if, ultimately, we just agree to disagree. They also make us realize that the entire field of human nutrition/food production is very complex, and that there are no black-and-white answers. Why that bothers uninvolved parties, I do not pretend to understand.

            • I did read CK’s blog about grass-fed, but Diana was I believe, lacking accuracy and did not portray the realistic conditions of grass fed operations in cold climates, and was misleading at times. Let me explain.

              Chris said B-12 and iron are common deficiencies, but they are actually more common in heavy US meat eaters as vegetarians, mainly due to gastric atrophy in elderly who only eat animal products with no supplemental B-12 (95% of B-12 deficiency in US happens in meat eaters). When a B-12 deficiency occurs, the doctor does not prescribe a not very well absorbed piece of meat, but a well-absorbed B-12 supplement, usually the type that dissolves on tongue that is directly absorbed in body without entering stomach.

              Iron deficiency (though sometimes genetic influences may play a role) is typically caused by heavy menstrual periods or aberrant bleeding or sometimes, heavy junk food eating. This iron deficiency during pre menopause is not more common in vegetarians.

              So his and Diana’s thoughts on iron and B-12 deficiencies, do not support eating beef.

              Iron is in many environmental friendly plant foods. In all honesty, premenopausal women pairing eating fruit for dessert with legumes, vegetables, grains…. can increase iron absorption from plants X4, and can occasionally cook in cast iron pans during their time of highest risk, premenopausal stage. However, cast iron is absolutely not recommended for men and postmenopausal women. Most postmenopausal women and men, not only rarely become anemic (except for bleeding polyp or other bleeding); it is shown this population is at high risk of iron overload (storing too much heme-iron ingested) associated with Alzheimers’, diabetes and atherosclerosis.

              Water Claims in article:

              A lot of grass fed dairy products are produded in CA, and dry parts of the West, similar to CA. Whether using grey, blue or green, water it requires a lot of energy because it needs to pumped mostly from the thaw of the Sierra Nevada, to where it is needed, requiring a lot of energy
              (CO2 emissions) to use.

              Pumping and irrigating dry Western ranches for cattle farmers requires energy to move the water, even if it is mostly retained rainwater or mountain snow thaw, from somewhere else.

              Also, she said 410 gallons of blue water needed to produce beef. I’m sorry but, it is misleading only to give blue water use.
              I have seen much higher numbers for beef and much lower numbers for plant foods she listed. Is she also giving blue water numbers for rice? It appears she is not, so this is not an accurate comparison, and misleading.

              Again, other water (grey, green) still has environmental impacts, particularly in the dry West states, where much of the ranching happens, it has to be pumped and irrigated to the cows. So I thought the blue water emphasis was not entirely accurate and misleading.

              Meat production is 30% of America’s total water footprint.

              By what I have read, it appears tofu, beans, oats, fruits, whole grain pasta, vegetables, and brown rice (its never caused environmental water, eutrophication, GHG land use or water problems for centuries in China, and Asians are eating less, so why shouldn’t we eat more?) are good choices for reducing water footprint.

              But, it is true nuts do require a lot more water, which many times can easily tip your omega 6’s in wrong direction and put too much fat in diet, so best to eat sparingly anyway (if you do eat nuts, choose walnuts with better omega ratio).

              Manure and CO2 sequester:

              Plants crops: beans, grains, fruit trees and vegetables also sequester CO2, but do not release the large amounts of the more damaging methane and nitrous oxide to our ozone layer, so this CO2 sequester is nothing special about cow poop and is a drop in the bucket, compared to methane produced, in terms of impact to ozone layer.

              Cow poop and grazing with increasing consumer demands and larger herds, can and does overly acidify the soil and unbalance the plants/forage ecosystem to other animals trying to coexist with the cattle, on some ranches; it is not as 100% rosy as she describes.

              Comparing beef farming to mono cropping used to feed grain fed animals, does not make grass-fed beef a better environmental choice than organic and conventional farming of beans, vegetables, grains and fruits staples of with rotation and mixed crop farming for plants for human consumption. Her point only drives home the need not to allow or encourage mono cropping.

              Adressing her concerns about people eating more plants:

              The US has plenty of valuable farmland, that can more than meet the demands of most Americans adopting a 90-100% plant-based diets. The 70% of farmland growing food for livestock, can be used similarly for raising plant foods for humans. So her comment about food storage, or chemicals for direct crop growth for human consumption, holds no water.

              She displays two very misleading charts, showing money spent rather than actual amounts (calories or pounds eaten) and the global calories for meat. Americans, Australians, Canadians, Brazilians, Europeans are making the most GHG impacts from meat eating, because these countries are eating in many cases double and triple amount of their reasonable share of the world pie of animal products.
              
Meeting Protein/Caloric Needs for Plant-based diets:
              ▪ A combination/balance of beans/legumes, fruit, whole grains, seeds,vegetables including more calorie rich starchy vegetables are not only nutritionally rich, including robust protein to meet, rather than double or triple recommended protein amounts, are calorically sustainable, but easy to grow on America’s farmland to meet demands of plant-based diets.
              ▪ 
Her tips to improve GF beef farming…
              ▪ 
It’s great that she mentions, increase non-grazing feeding, but in most of the climate areas in the US, this can never happen. Grass fed dairy is concentrated in many areas, with many months of grass/forage dormancy.
              ▪ 
Rest the land tip is also great, but if all corn/grain fed cattle operations were shut down because everyone went to grass fed, this gets increasingly difficult (higher volumes) along with goal of 100% grazing, much harder to do with higher volumes. Just not reality, not sustainable for the masses (if everyone ate GF beef). I am not suggesting grain fed livestock- rather more beans, less beef.
              ▪ 
Area of agreement!

              ▪ I would also like to see America eating less sugar, high fructose corn syrup etc that she suggested but for animal based foods, for best nutrition and overall best for environment I would suggest…
              ▪ 
Much less big fish (tuna and salmon), but replace with smaller fish: sardines, herring, possibly scallops- eat lower on the fish food chain, and include some Nori seaweed for prolific source of EPA in diet.

And include more eco-friendly plant foods:
Less almond milk, more organic oat and soy milks. 
Lot less nuts, but add some seeds: flax, hemp, chia. 
Eating variety of organic beans for protein, b-vitamins, antioxidants, resistant starch etc..
Interestingly, her chart shows the world is eating lots of grain and in some areas starchy vegetables, as staples. Outside of Western countries, they do not have the osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimers and obesity rates we do. Don’t see whole grain as a problem, but rather paired with more beans and miconutrient rich greens, vegetables, fruits and less sugar and oils- a solution, both environmentally and nutritionally!!



        • With respect, you have brought up…

          that grassfed beef (meaning take away all grain fed cows and replace with grass fed cows) would be sustainable for the whole world, so me bringing up land use is an appropriate rebuttal.

          You have brought up habitat loss and killing of other animals due to crop farming with fire, herbicides, pesticides and, I believe, farmers directly killing animals scavenging their plants. So land use and growing of forage crops (not grain), and iterating the large amount 60lbs. daily of forage, is an appropriate rebuttal; these same problems happen with forage crop farming. And forage crops are almost never grown without herbicides, pesticides and synthetic fertilizers (causing algal blooms, destroying lakes and pond ecosystems).

          I have seen with my own two eyes the feeding of grass fed cows with dried forage crops (hay and wheat straw) and also, being fed grass, alfalfa and other forage growing in fields that formerly grew crops (corn, wheat, soybeans etc.. ), so it is not accurate to say grass fed beef is only grown on non arable, unfarmable land.

          Any farmers’ coop in any town, will have dried forage (hay, wheat straw) for sale to grass-fed farmers needing it. And the farmers who are selling it, are rotating these crops, meaning on the years they do not grow hay or wheat straw for the grass-fed cows, they are growing soybeans, corn or other crops. This forage for grass fed cows is grown on farmable land!!!

          So, my bringing up these points: land use, forage needs etc.. in comparison to crops grown directly for human consumption (organic beans, tubers, grains) are in direct rebuttal to claims you have made.

          • So, because some of your neighbors are not farming/ranching sustainably, that means that people that are doing so, or that want to start doing it, should not be allowed to do so? And, folks that are producing hay, even though it’s been done for thousands of years, should stop because they are rotating crops on arable land (even if they are vegetable crops), and resting/enriching their soil? No one shall be allowed to let any arable land go fallow or produce a non-edible (to humans) crop. That does not seem logical, but, we could try one of go’s “thought experiments”, and we could play that game on any number of other activities, too. Several commenters have noted they tried vegan or vegetarian diets, and were unsuccessful. In some cases (by their own descriptions), it appears they were not doing all they could to achieve success. So, because they failed, even if that failure was their own doing, no one else should try such a diet, and the people that are following such a diet should stop. We could have a lot of fun applying this approach to lots of other activities, as well.

            • This is not though experiments. The study you pointed out did not say eat grass fed beef. Their recommendation was a vegetarian diet with some eggs and dairy.

              • As I said previously, this is getting ridiculous. You keep wanting to “refute” things I’ve never said. Yet, you fail to address what I HAVE said. You continue to insist that your neighbor’s feedlot operation is somehow relevant to sustainable ranching. You continue to insist that some activities, like winter feeding and manure removal, are absolute necessities for ruminants, but you fail to identify who did these activities for, say, the buffalo before they, the humans they fed, and the prairie ecosystem where they thrived were essentially exterminated to create marginal “cropland” that now requires massive inputs of chemical fertilizers, fossil water that cannot be replenished, and vast quantities of pesticides and herbicides. Nor do you address the huge GHG impact of producing the chemical fertilizers — more than a ton of CO2 per ton of fertilizer, which is usually produced from natural gas, with its attendant CH4 emissions. Of course, the fertilizer and pesticide runoff, the erosion of soil (the “buffalo commons” now = the dust bowl), and the groundwater contamination by past and present fertilizer and pesticide production can just be conveniently ignored. And, there, we’ll just glide by the false equivalence of equating a pound of veggie waste compost to a pound of manure, or a pound of processed soy with a pound of beef. I can see you have a hang-up with cows, and I can also see that you are determined to let nothing in the way of facts deter you from it. So, have fun demonizing cows! Don’t let me, other sustainable farmers, research scientists, NGOs, the UN or environmental protection agencies stop you. I find it is sad, but true, that sometimes the factory-farm folks are more reasonable in achieving progress toward sustainable agriculture than those that profess to be environmentalists or animal advocates.

                • It is relevant.

                  They are doing the best they can with the climate they are in.

                  Grass fed cows cannot graze on frozen ground.

                  This requires growth of forage crops for feeding during the grass, alfalfa etc. dormancy in winter.

                  There happen to be a lot of dairies saturated in our area. They make a lot of cheese nearby. This saturation is causing the problem. They are farming based on high demands of consumers.

                  Americans eat a lot of cheese.

                  I am not sure what you what me to respond to that I have not already, but like I said the moderators have not posted many of my replies.

                • Conventional crop farming with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides is far less than ideal, in comparison to organic crop farming, no doubt. But methane gas emissions are some of the most damaging and potent climate change factors.

                  I would encourage everyone to eat as much organic and do as much edible organic landscaping as they think they want to tackle: grapes, apple trees, planters of herbs, vegetables, berries etc.

                • Causing more damage to the ozone layer, which GF beef does with the methane and nitrous oxide, not offset by CO2 sequestration, by what I have read, is not sustainable for our planet. I am sorry.

                  What I don’t understand is why you are so against someone like me eating and promoting organic beans, steel cut oats, greens, plant milks and other plant foods with sardines for my main source of protein, calcium and all the other nutrients needed, rather than GF beef and dairy?

                  This diet is both sustainable and kind to the ozone layer, and uses no synthetic fertilizers and pesticides? Why are you so angry about what the environmental scientists at Cornell and the UN would call a fabulous choice.

                  Headline: UN urges global move to meat and dairy-free diet

                  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, which has been launched to coincide with UN World Environment day on Saturday.

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

                • I am not “against” you. I think you are misrepresenting, albeit based on sincere beliefs, other approaches to producing healthful, sustainable foods. I’ve already stated my views on the evolutionary/historical bases for ranching and farming, so I am not going to go through those again. As you said, let’s just agree to disagree. I think if we actually compared our diets, we’d find a lot of common ground, besides the sardines and red wine ;-).

                • The only NGO’s that, I think, will try to stop me would likely only be:

                  The Dairy Council, Milk Marketing Board, and the Beef Council.

                  But I don’t think their interest would be to stop me from ruining the ozone layer and accelerating climate change.

                • Those are not really “NGOs”, but industry/trade groups. NGO generally refers to charitable nonprofits — Red Cross, Kiva, Heifer Project, FINCA, Doctors without Borders, etc., that perform social work projects that governments sometimes do. I am never surprised that industry trade groups push their own agendas (perhaps sometimes stretching the facts) — that’s what their members finance them to do. I think their ability to stop outspoken critics is more limited these days, since the court system has “slapped” them back when they try to use a SLAPP lawsuit to intimidate folks whose opinions they don’t like. It’s a different story when many of our government agencies (particularly the FDA and USDA) function as trade groups. The USDA especially, as it has a two-fold mission, the parts of which are inherently in conflict — to protect the consumer of agricultural products AND to promote the sale of US ag products. Then people wonder why there’s little progress in restricting practices like the wholesale dosing of food animals with antibiotics, or the widespread use of pesticides that kill off pollinators. These practices hurt people that are trying to follow a more healthful lifestyle, whether vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore. It’s too bad there is not more cooperation in addressing these issues across the spectrum of proponents of more healthful lifestyles.

            • I never, ever said my neighbors were not using sustainable practices. In cold weather you have to feed forage crops!!!

              The problem in our area is the huge demand for dairy, and the saturation of dairy farms in our area. There is just too much poop. They have, trust me, tried turning the poop into biomass and all kinds of things to try and solve the problem.

              It is really sad. We have one of the most beautiful lakes, and it is being destroyed by cow poop run-off.

            • I am suggesting a 90% whole based diet; I am not telling anyone they need to go vegan or vegetarian.

              I myself am not vegan or vegetarian. But I am best described as veganish with only fish.

            • We would not be letting arable land go fallow.

              The goal would be to get Americans to not eat 6% of calories from whole plant foodsby hard working American farmers, but 90% of calories, and 10% from animal sourced foods.

              The land opened up by less grass fed livestock and forage and grain crops to feed stock, would be used for the higher demand of organic beans, tubers, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. And not import all that sugar, chemicals and not real food that Americans are eating now.

              Like Michael Pollan said,
              Eat real food, not too much, mostly plants

        • For all grass fed cows, in areas that have ground freeze (mostly Nov.-April), they need to be fed 60lbs. of forage crop daily. This is a big portion of the US. In the milder portions, that tend to be very dry, it requires huge amounts of water to irrigate forage crops and water the animals.

          In the very cold months, their poop is hauled out of the barn with an electrical manure machine plopped on one side of the barn.

          As this manure thaws in the spring, though some of it can be used on other crops, much of it seeps into the ground and into the underground water. It eventually makes its way to creeks, ponds and lakes, over or excessively fertilizing the algae, causing algal blooms and destruction of pond or lakes’ beauty and ecosystem, killing fish and other waterline and making it unsafe for people to swim there.

    • Might this be a problem with your computer or ISP, or a “technical difficulty”, rather than with the moderator? I get copies of all the comments, and all have had “reply” links. I have not noticed any undue delays in copying comments to subscribers, either. All of your recent ones have come into my inbox quickly.

      • There has been one post, completely respectful, so should not be deleted, that did not get posted.

        And, most of your comments do not show a reply button on my screen.

        • All of your posts, and everyone else’s, show up in my inbox with a reply link. That’s why I asked if it might be possible that what you are seeing is a tech problem. Have you gotten in touch with Chris’s webmaster to see if there is something of that sort? I think most folks that come to Chris’s site learn from the back-and-forth discussions. I doubt that there is an active effort by any of his folks to stifle the give and take.

          • Experiment, I will post it here and see if moderators do post it or not.

            Annie, I appreciate your patience and the back and forth debate we have had.

            But we likely need to agree to disagree. If you could give me a comparison of greenhouse, gases, land use and water for 4 oz. grass fed beef vs. organic beans for human consumption; this might help me to open my mind or persuade me to look differently grass fed beef vs. plant foods (beans, tubers…)

            
You said in earlier post, people who say it can’t be done should step aside to those who are doing it.

            
Many said, reversing heart disease with diet and eating a 100% plant-based diet couldn’t be done long-term, but both myths have been shattered by Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. Ornish, doing both simultaneously with whole plant foods and no oils, (not just throwing animal products under the bus), and reduced amounts of sodium and modest sugar intake.
 So, I would say to those needing to defensively take a stance that plant-based diets, vegan, vegetarian, veganish with fish or eggs etc. is not doable, ridiculous, unnatural, what have you, need to step aside and let those doing it successfully do it, without degradation, condescension, or unnecessary fear-mongering because of need for B-12 sup. and lower blood levels of DHA in studies. (However, I do think it wise to use this info. to improve the diet with inclusion of more ALA and EPA in seaweed, reducing omega 6 oils, adding algal sups. available, if need be.)

            
The unfortunate fact is, 50% of Americans succumb to cardiovascular disease, many times decades before their natural health span and with many years of disability.


            Every 80 seconds, a woman suffers a cardiovascular event, and 1 in 8 American women will have invasive breast cancer in their lifetime.

            Don’t kill the messenger here.. 
It is true that…
            dairy is associated with increased risks (breast , ovarian and prostate cancer) and decreased survival in breast cancer patients. Butter has 11x the estrogen and 14x the progesterone in milk. The trend to put grassfed butter in coffee and eat with wild abandon is akin to taking a mini-hormone replacement pill for women, proven to increase risks of heart attack, strokes and breast cancer in women.


            So, before trying to shame a plant-based eater on their need to take B-12, or eat Nori, with very little omega6 oils, and maybe take an algal supp., why not have an open mind to what they have to share and say?


            
I am very happy with my veganish diet, it has been sustainable for me for over a decade with vibrant health; I am lucky. And I feel very good about my diet in terms of carbon footprint, etc… In my local world, I am not creating the local lake algal blooms with butter, yogurt, cheese pizza and ice creams cones, from dairy poop run-off, that is really destroying the natural beauty we are blessed with.It is a huge problem where I live.


            But, I do appreciate other peoples’ choices, and everyones body is different. I have been a dairy and beef eater most of my life, so I have been there. I just wish there could be a little more respect and a more open minded thinking in the some of the Paleo crowd for plant-based diets, and potential health benefits (for some- even if it’s not for you) and benefits of the environment, for those who choose this.

            
WFPB and Paleo both forgo processed foods (oils, refined flours, excess sugar), so there is some common ground.
 I feel I have been able to debate my views with accurate information in a respectful tone. And, again, I have appreciated your patience in our debate.

            For everyone, whatever, you choose to eat, I wish you good health and happiness.

            • Thank you for posting this. I do feel that you are being fair moderators by posting, this, though I don’t know why it took so long.

              But thank you.

      • Just sent two respectful, but maybe hit a nerve posts. One twelve hours ago, and one 10 minutes, ago with no reference study to look through and both are still in moderation.

        But my other posts get posted within second?

  21. I am hoping you will not dismiss my very respectful post, I recently sent.

    It will give me closure, and I will not feel the need to post anymore. Not sure why this post would take so long for moderation.

    Don’t want to be a Paleo troll, but you did write an article about vegans and vegetarians that come up on our Google searchers.

  22. I will not badger you, Annie, after this post. I will agree to disagree with you on environmental impact of animal sourced grass-fed proteins vs. plant sourced (organic legumes and grains). This is more time consuming than getting sucked into political debates!


    You said, people who say it can’t be done should step aside to those who are doing it.


    Many said, reversing heart disease with diet and eating a 100% plant-based diet couldn’t be done long-term, but both myths have been shattered by Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. Ornish, doing both simultaneously with whole plant foods and no oils, (not just throwing animal products under the bus), and reduced amounts of sodium and modest sugar intake. 
So, I would say to those needing to defensively take a stance that plant-based diets, vegan, vegetarian, veganish with fish or eggs etc. is not doable, ridiculous, unnatural, what have you, need to step aside and let those doing it successfully do it, without degradation (WWWWAAAACCCCKKKOOOO s
    Vegans are wackos- posted in reply to my giving info. on omega-6 fatty acids in dairy, chicken, eggs…), disrepectul banter and condescension.

    The unfortunate fact is, 50% of Americans succumb to cardiovascular disease, many times decades before their natural health span and with many years of disability. 
Every 80 seconds, a woman suffers a cardiovascular event, and 1 in 8 American women will have invasive breast cancer in their lifetime.
It is true that…

    Dairy is associated with increased risks (breast , ovarian and prostate cancer) and decreased survival in breast cancer patients. Butter has 11x the estrogen and 14x the progesterone in milk. The trend to put grassfed butter in coffee and eat with wild abandon is akin to taking a mini-hormone replacement pill for women, proven to increase risks of heart attack, strokes and breast cancer in women.
So, before attacking those minimizing and avoiding animal products, why not have an open mind to what they have to share and say?


    Grass-fed or grain-fed cows, poop. Heightening the demand for beef, indisputably, puts more poop out there, and the problems that come with it

    .
I am very happy with my veganish diet, it has been sustainable for me for over a decade with vibrant health, I am lucky. And I feel very good about my diet in terms of carbon footprint, etc… I am not creating the local lake algal blooms with butter, yogurt, cheese pizza and ice creams cones, from dairy poop run-off. It is a huge problem where I live.


    But, I appreciate other peoples’ choices, I have been a dairy and beef eater most of my life, so I have been there. I just wish there could be a little more respect and a more open minded thinking in the some of the Paleo crowd for plant-based diets, to the potential benefits to the environment and health (for some, even if it’s not for you).

    WFPB and Paleo diets both forgo processed foods (oils, refined flours, excess sugar), so there is some common ground.


    If I am passionate and outspoken about plant-based diets, and that makes me a wacko in someone’s eyes, I am more than ok with that, and I feel I have extended a factual and very respectful tone to my views.

    I share my views, because I believe, this diet, for some with as much as 10% animal foods, can alleviate some of our greatest ills, both health of people and planet, not because I want to prove anyone else’s opinion wrong.

    Whatever diet you choose, I wish you good health and happiness.



    • Deanna, this is a well-stated comment.

      I would suggest one course correction, however. Namely, using V belief to defend your views on their health benefits is not in your best interests. According to the most recent and well done, relatively large survey of those diets when compared with a meat-centered diet clearly shows that mean dietary fat is virtually the same for all three, 30.0-30.9%, while mean dietary sugar is 22.6-22.9%. Dietary nutrient composition is the best predictor of food effects on human health. These data show therefore why the health benefits of the V diets are often only modest. This occurs because 90% of vegetarians still use dairy, often with some eggs and fish. Vegans, while choosing not to use animal-based foods for ethical reasons, does not mean that this conclusion applies to the scientific evidence. This is why vegans still get much too much heart disease and cancer and people on the whole food plant-based foods do not. And this is why critics of these V diets are getting away with their criticisms. Arguments for the health benefits of plant-based eating which are primarily based on ideological belief may do more harm than good.

      • Thank you for the response.

        I know, for me, two of the best things I ever did, was reading the China Study, and Dr. Esselstyn’s book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.

        Because, I do believe for me, it was not until I really squeezed the oil out of my diet that I gained the vibrant, unbelievable health and increased cardiorespiratory fitness, I enjoy today.

        Another lifesaver, was Jeff Novick, who gave some great tricks on how to squeeze and dilute the extra sodium out as well, from foods seemingly healthy like salsa, condiments etc..

        I am glad you reminded me, and everyone on this blog, that it is important to clarify the WFPB diet it is not just the limiting of meat products (as you see in vegan, and vegetarian diets), but also the oil, sugar and total low amounts of fat (including limiting vegetarian choices: coconut, dairy, eggs…) that make WFPB diet, such a health success!

  23. There’s nothing wrong with veganism when one takes the time to do it correctly in order to stay healthy. But most people with bad dietary habits could make reasonable changes that would be much easier than trying to throw themselves into a strict regiment like veganism. The majority of folk who are overweight and feel unhealthy could make great strides towards losing weight and improving their general health by simply cutting back on meal portions and after snacking outside the 3 daily meals.

    • Uh. oh. There you go, being logical again! What you are recommending is a version of the KISS principle. It seems people would rather contort themselves into vegan pretzels instead of trying this simple, no-cost (actually would save them money on grocery and medical bills) approach.

  24. For my plant-based friends, since the article is trying to “help” plant-based eaters, by making a case for meat and dairy, rather than informing how someone can get these potential shortfall nutrients in plant foods, fortified foods and supplements (just like dairy and meats are fortified and supplemented with vitamin D, and B-12):

    Best zinc sources: pumpkin seeds, lentils (soak with little vinegar and water, drain and cook with fresh water), shitaake and crimini mushrooms, quinoa, garbanzo beans, mushroom, tofu, peas, oats, broccoli, sea vegetables, cocoa powderand to lesser extent chia and walnuts. These are great choices because they have zinc without too much omega-6 fats to keep your omega fats balanced near the ideal 1:1 ratio.

    Making a daily habit of eating oats, quinoa and some pumpkin and chia seeds (maybe as cocoa pudding some days), a few walnuts and including mushrooms, lentils, tofu, bok choy and rest regularly works for most.

    http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=115

    For vitamin A, most plant-based eaters, for health, easily get daily multiple servings of leafy greens and orange root vegetables. Cooked kale, collard greens, carrots, as well as squash, sweet potato, paprika, cayenne, basil, parsley, thyme, marjoram, oregano, cantaloupe, pink grapefruit, chili peppers, peppers, broccoli are all on the menu. I don’t have a juicer, but once a week I treat myself, rather than Starbucks, to a carrot, ginger and parsley juice from my grocery store juice bar and spike it with a little orange juice or pomegranate juice. It is fabulous!

    http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=106

  25. First, many patients of Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. Dean Ornish are still alive, and thriving, 20-25 years after their cardiologist gave them a few months to live due to late stage cardiovascular disease. They accomplished this by adopting a vegan diet. These patients are not waaackos as described by Ms. Cambria. They have saved and improved the quality of their lives, giving their families much more time on Earth with them. It should also be mentioned that many of the male patients joked they owed Dr. Esselstyn an extra check, or, hey, something has come up… because their erectile dysfunction was reversed, as well. So let’s not disparage life-saving treatments, with caveat vegan diets need to be well planned.

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

    If you are a vegan, vegetarian, veganish/plant-based reading this article and comments, your best information sources are other long term vegan, vegetarian and plant-based gurus; Chris is an expert on Paleo and immersed in Paleo, not plant-based diets. Some expert dietitians and doctors, such as Dr. Greger, Dr. Esselstyn, Dr. McDougall, Dr. Klaper, Dr. Barnard and dietitians Brenda Davis and Ginny Messina, who wrote a wonderful resource, Becoming Vegan talks about how to plan a nutritionally strong vegan diet, supplemented with B-12 and some encourage an algal supplement, with physician approval. And the others have websites, check out nutrition facts.org. by Dr. Greger who also does recommend algal supplement, for most. Also, Forks over Knives is a great website with recipes, etc.

    Though it is necessary for vegans and vegetarians to take B-12 and, it’s encouraged to eat plenty of soaked chia and some flax with a well-balanced plan eliminating Omega-6 oils, as well as encouraged by some to take algal supplement (but can cause bleeding, easy bruising etc. -not for everyone, contradicted with some meds and in some people), B-12 is also recommended for omnivores, particualry over age 50. And, researchers have noted many omnivores have too high omega-6 to omega3 ratios not conducive to optimal health.

    Omnivores are actually getting their B-12 through a supplement (though second hand) too. In our modern world, with chlorinated water etc.. farm production animals also require B-12 supplements so they can pass on B-12 to you. 95% of farm production animals require a supplement. Almost no one, including animals, in our modern world is getting B-12, naturally as they used to. Also, some products like eggs have very poor B-12 availably; eggs have only 9%. So no one should plan on getting enough B-12 from eggs.

    And one correction: bok choy, collard greens, and kale have much higher absorption and bioavailability of calcium than dairy products. Excerpt from American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: In contrast with the poor absorption previously reported for spinach calcium, kale, a low-oxalate vegetable, exhibits excellent absorbability for its calcium.

    Plant-based eaters get the same benefits of vitamin D from sunshine and fortified plants milks as omnivores do from sunshine and fortified dairy. Dairy is not a natural source of vitamin D. Fish and, to a less reliable and lesser degree, mushrooms have vitamin D, without fortification.

    Also, because plant-based eaters are eating many vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables at their meals, and avoiding tea at mealtime, their absorption of iron is fabulous. They also include garlic frequently to boost both zinc and iron absorption. As a premenopausal 98% plant-based eater, my blood iron is always very robust.

    Pumpkin seeds, oats and other seeds and whole grains add to the zinc requirement. But even an occasional bowl of Cheerios or a little in a trail mix will provide a zinc boost and a little preformed vitamin A, for those who want a little insurance policy, for these nutrients. Or, is already covered if someone chooses a multivitamin.

    • I stand by my observation that a lot of the comments on this board are wacho!

      I did not, however, say a person cannot maintain a healthy vegan diet. I am sure a lot of people who are very unhealthy can change their tragectory with a vegan or vegetarian diet. The more unhealthy a person is the better they will get when they remove toxins from their diet.

      I do not feel that eating healthy meats, fish, eggs, cheese and raw organic dairy is unhealthy wtih lots of fruit and vegetables. It is a person’s choice.
      I also think some animal products is more healthy than none.

      The reason why I call people wackos is because they refuse to accept that something other than what they believe is true or just as good or even otherwise appropriate.

      • I truly appreciate the response. But I think you have to be careful to not overgeneralize. When you say vegans are wacko. You are saying all vegans are wacko, and that includes people under Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. Ornish’s care, their family members supporting them, and tons of other wonderful, intelligent, kind, environmentally conscious, and just plain incredible people.

        There is already too much vegan prejudice. It would just be nice if people would be careful, not meeting one vegan, they don’t like or don’t think is “not psychologically normal” and lump all vegans this way. Just in the same way they would not overgeneralize or discriminate against someone by race, gender or sexual preference.

        • “Too much vegan prejudice”…Really? And what is it when vegans call omnivores “blood-mouthed carnivores”? When they say that non-vegans are not so ethically advanced as they? When they assert that omnivores are just “too cowardly” to kill their own animal food (Besides not knowing who does and does not butcher their own food, this shows that vegans — at least the one that made the comment — are too hypocritical to acknowledge the environmental degradation that crop farming causes, the agonizing deaths of wildlife whose habitat has been destroyed for crop farming or who have been poisoned by the pesticides used in same). There is an old saw, “People that live in glass houses should not throw stones”. Perhaps if vegans refrained from so doing, they’d find a lot less “vegan prejudice”.

          • Of course not all vegans are wacko. I didn’t say that. I said the ones that are calling meat eaters names and have a very narrow minded view of anyone who doesn’t agree with them. Again, the patients on the vegan diets that are having miraculous turnarounds in regards to good health are probably people who were very unhealthy to begin with and that needs to be stated. If you like a vegan diet and you are healthy that is great but there are many people who are not healthy on a vegan diet and many who eat animal products that can prove it is better for them and for the environment (not all of them I know) ….the wackos are the ones who just can’t see past there spinach.

            • >there are many people who are not healthy on a vegan diet

              because they don’t know what they’re doing.

              >and many who eat animal products that can prove it is better for them and for the environment (not all of them I know)

              rubbish

            • As a plant-based eater, veganish with bit of fish, and a former dairy, egg and beef, poultry, pork eater, I do think both sides of the aisle should be as incredibly kind and respectful, as they can be.

              Some vegans who are very passionate about animal welfare, and have received untruthful and mean comments about a vegan diet, sometimes get too aggressive, taking out anger from former discrimination on others at times, but this is not ok, I won’t sugar coat that. It can, however, be very difficult to be the 1% going against the grain or convention.

              One thing that might help someone understand why, when a vegan gets passionate, overly aggressive, perhaps, about eating farm animals, it is because he/she may view animals as and equal part of the human family. Most people would find eating pet dogs or cannabalism, very wrong and disturbing, I am guessing by talking to some vegans, this is similar to how many vegans for animal welfare reasons feel.

              But, I also want to be clear, some vegans are doing it for health reasons, such as reversing heart disease diabetes etc. and others for environmental reasons or a combination of all three.

              Many of Dr. Esslestyn’s patients, only people in world reversing their heart disease, were not what most would consider bad,unhealthy eaters, just typical Western diets with meat, dairy, eggs and occasional desserts like pies etc., not fast food eaters, with burgers, fries, soft drinks, candy and chips. Similar to what people as way back as 1940s, when heart disease was and still is our #1 killer.

              Not trying to argue, here, but just stating what I know and have read:
              Most of the pesticides, farm land (topsoil loss) and crops grown in America are from feeding farm animals, not direct human consumption (70% of grain stock goes to feed farm production animals, not humans). It takes 12 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of beef and 35 pounds of topsoil to make that 1 lb. of beef.

              A quarter pounder then takes 3 pounds of grain, over 8 pounds of topsoil, and about 800 gallons of water, and creates lots of greenhouse gas from cow methane, processing, transportation, and refrigeration of product.

              A cup of cooked organic rice and beans, replacing quarter pounder in diet, is only a
              few ounces dried grain vs. 3 pounds. The beans actually fix the soil with nitrogen and, do not require fertilizer, greatly reducing fertilizer runoff ruining our lakes with algal blooms (eutrophication) that kill fish and disturb marine ecosystems.
              Because the beans and rice for human consumption are many times, organic, no pesticides or herbicides are used.

              Farm production animals are not fed organic grains, and only 5% of American farm production animals and by products (cheese, dairy, eggs) are grass-fed, rather than grain fed. 95% of what Americans are eating are animals fed grain that is mostly GMO corn and soybeans and treated with pesticides and herbicides.

              You many want to try this experiment, go vegan for a couple days before the next event or party, with a lot of people you don’t know, say no thanks on the cheese or dairy item and casually say it looks delicious but, you have gone vegan, without saying anything about animal welfare, health, environment etc.. and you might be surprised at the intense, negative reactions and comments you get. You will likely feel humiliated and shameful, though you have done nothing wrong.

              I agree any category of diet can be unhealthy: vegan, vegetarian, Western diet etc..

              But, in my opinion, a 90-100% whole food plant based, meaning 0-10% comes from animal products, is what current research shows has the best health span, least disease and disability and greatest longevity, and these diets’ include 1-10% of animal products that are mostly fish, small mammals or poultry, raised in backyard, and not beef. These animals are raised without growth hormones, antibiotics, and pesticide and herbicide treated grains, which is what 95% of the animal products available to Americans in grocery stores and restaurants.

              Though some Americans are able to hunt deer, catch their own fish, and buy grass fed organic products exclusively (though these animals still typically receive some grains, not required to be 100% grass fed to be labeled this way), this is a very small minority.

          • >And what is it when vegans call omnivores “blood-mouthed carnivores”?

            there’s actually blood in the food that many eat . you have a problem with the truth?

            >When they say that non-vegans are not so ethically advanced as they?

            more truth

            >When they assert that omnivores are just “too cowardly” to kill their own animal food

            most are. those that are not manage to suppress natural feelings.

            >the environmental degradation that crop farming causes, the agonizing deaths of wildlife whose habitat has been destroyed for crop farming or who have been poisoned by the pesticides used in same).

            the above is acknowledged by many and is easy to minimize. you do a lot of generalizing. and the above does not justify the current eating practices.

            ooh, vegans step on ants! hypocrites!

            • I don’t actually have a “problem” with your ignorant misinformation, myth-making and the silly lack of scientific basis for your rant. I just find it amusing that you preen on your “ethical” pedestal while engaging in rank hypocrisy. To start with, there is very little blood remaining in meat, even red mammal meat. Do a little fact checking. And the hysterical, over-the-top idiocy that eating meat makes an omnivore a carnivore has been thoroughly debunked. I suppose my eating plant foods makes me a “juice-mouthed herbivore” as well. Eating meat does not make an omnivore a carnivore; eating plants does not make an omnivore an herbivore. Just. not. factual. Vegans are not ethically more advanced. Many of them are hypocrites of the worst kind, employing emotional drivel to make themselves feel superior because they know their dogma has no factual basis, particularly the dishonesty about “no animal suffering”. Such dishonesty is the antithesis of ethical behavior. “Most are…” – more baseless drivel. Have you interviewed “most” omnivores? You are making sweeping generalizations with no corroborating evidence, just to justify your dishonest stance. And the vegan comments on this site do not acknowledge the environmental degradation caused by crop farming. What I have said is not “generalizations”. These impacts on the environment have occurred and are still occurring in SE Asia in connection with palm oil plantations, in the American Midwest in connection with the loss of over 90% of our prairie ecosystem, in South America, where non-arable land is cleared for crop framing and in many other locations. If you want, I can give you a list of numerous citations for these examples, as well as for many others. Citations from science-based organizations that have investigated and analyzed them. Not just “most of x do y” myths, but documented examples. And then, of course, there is the abysmal arrogance of the dogmatic vegans that reject 2.5 million years of human evolution to proclaim the “one, true faith”. Get real. Get science. I suspect the blindness to facts and the lack of self awareness of some vegans are related to some of the dietary deficiencies they are experiencing.

              • You say grass fed beef farming is sustainable for the world, but all the scientific evidence I have seen is to the contrary.

                Here are just a few of the numerous links:

                http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/elist/eListRead/can_seven_billion_humans_go_paleo/

                https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/vegetarian-or-omnivore-the-environmental-implications-of-diet/2014/03/10/648fdbe8-a495-11e3-a5fa-55f0c77bf39c_story.html

                Excerpt:

                Examining almost 50 years’ worth of data from the world’s 100 most populous countries, University of Minnesota Professor of Ecology G. David Tilman and graduate student Michael Clark illustrate how current diet trends are contributing to ever-rising agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and habitat degradation.

                On top of that, they write: “These dietary shifts are greatly increasing the incidence of Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and other chronic non-communicable diseases that lower global life expectancies.”

                In the study, published in the November 12 online edition of Nature, the researchers found that as incomes increased between 1961 and 2009 people began consuming more meat protein, “empty calories” and total calories per person. (“Empty calories” — sugar, fat, oils and alcohol — now account for almost 40 percent of food purchased in the world’s 15 wealthiest countries, according to the research.)

                When the researchers combined the trends with forecasts of population growth and income growth for the coming decades, they were able to project that diets in 2050 will contain fewer servings of fruits and vegetables, about 60 percent more empty calories and 25 to 50 percent more pork, poultry, beef, dairy and eggs. These are changes that are known to increase the prevalence of type II diabetes, coronary heart disease and some cancers.

                Using life-cycle analyses of various food production systems, the study also calculated that, if current trends prevail, these 2050 diets would also lead to an 80 percent increase in global greenhouse gas emissions from food production as well as habitat destruction due to land clearing for agriculture around the world.

                “We showed that the same dietary changes that can add about a decade to our lives can also prevent massive environmental damage,” said Tilman, a professor in UM’s College of Biological Sciences and resident fellow at the Institute on the Environment.

                https://ourworld.unu.edu/en/new-research-says-plant-based-diet-best-for-planet-and-people

                http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/panther-lounge/2013/09/beef-to-beans-understanding-the-impacts-of-our-protein-consumption/

                Excerpt:

                Did you know that beef eaters use 160 percent more land resources than people who eat a plant-based diet? Here’s why:

                It’s estimated that between 2006 and 2050 the world population will increase 35 percent. That will push the number of humans on the planet to over 9 billion. After 2050, the general consensus had been that the world population would stabilize, but recent studies are now saying that’s not the case. Instead of global populations slowing down, we’re expected to keep growing to an anticipated 11 billion by 2100.

                That’s a pretty huge number to imagine squeezed onto the planet, especially when you consider how much land livestock take up. Of the land that isn’t currently covered by ice, livestock take up 26 percent of it with another 4 percent dedicated solely to growing livestock feed. That’s 30 percent of potentially habitable land worldwide dedicated solely to animal agriculture!

                The big winner of the bunch was soybeans at 263 pounds of usable protein per acre. That’s over 7 times more protein per acre than meat! If we focused more on producing plant proteins for human consumption, we could do a far more efficient job in a smaller amount of space.

                One acre of land yields:

                50,000 punds of tomatoes
                53,000 pound of potatoes
                30,000 pounds of carrots and..

                250 pounds of beef

                http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/eat-for-the-planet-meat-and-the-environment/

                • This is getting a bit tiresome. I have posted citations, I have pointed out how herds of grass-feeding mammals have thrived for millions of years on their own, etc. There is an old saying that people that say something can’t be done should get out of the way of people that are doing it. Rather than point out, again, how your contentions are based on your own assumptions, which are biased by your own worldview; that, as someone that farms several acres with organic methods, I find the figures on tomatoes and carrots suspect; present evidence that there are enormous drawbacks to soy as a major protein source; or dispute each of your current citations, I am just going to refer you to Chris Kresser’s new podcast on sustainable ranching: https://chriskresser.com/impacts-and-ethics-of-eating-meat-with-diana-rodgers/

                • With all due respect, Annie, you are not the only farmer with experiential knowledge, here.

                  And, I am backing up my experiential knowledge from well respected scientists, who are not vegan or vegetarians, themselves, no bias., here.

                  I understand, no matter how much evidence I give, in a number of ways, it will not convince you beef takes more land, water and creates more overall damage to environment than organic vegetables, beans and grains; however, I believe the other readers on this blog deserve to hear both sides of the argument.

                  I recentlly, grew sweet potatoes in small planters at my kids’ school. 32 square feet of land, soil free from city compost. We were able to donate 45 lbs. of sweet potatoes to the local food pantry for families in need. This is a whole lot of nutrition and calories in a teeny bit of space and very low maintenance, crop, no herbicides, pesticides etc… Just a little watering by kids at recess.

                  I am not just talking the talk, I am walking the walk.

                • This conversation is either getting really silly, or you are having fun trying to pull my leg. Now you tell me you are concerned that no matter how much evidence you provide, you won’t convince me that factory farming of beef is worse for the environment than growing organic veggies. Really??? I’m a retired environmental scientist. Spent my career looking at these things. Getting ready to go back to school and get my PhD in sustainability science. I farm organically. Veggies. That’s what I grow. Remember when we started this conversation (that’s now gone into goofy territory) that I said how abominable factory farming of meat AND veggies is? That the factory farming system is obsolete, unsustainable and will eventually do itself in? That I said it was a logical fallacy (straw man error) to compare factory-farmed beef to organically-raised veggies? And now you think that I think raising veggies organically has more environmental impact than factory farming of beef??? Maybe you really do need a little extra preformed DHA in your diet. Try scrolling up and re-reading….

                • 1. you would be better served to be more professional, considering your background. a youtube video of course does not constitute science, the content of said video does, with references to pubmed and ideas presented.

                  2. as i have said, and you have failed to refute, other than parroting me, is that we are omnivorous only via cooking, with few exceptions such as eggs. in addition it would seem that babies and children know more about proper diet than learned scientists, seeing as they gravitate towards fruit and veg when not being prodded by adults into eating seasoned and otherwise revolting foodstuffs.

                • I certainly don’t accept you as a judge of professionalism — you might arrive at better conclusions if you’d lighten up a bit. I didn’t need to personally refute your nonfactual bunk about cooking — as I noted previously, checking any basic evolutionary biology text shows that for the wild speculation it is. And any basic survey of world cultures will reveal that people routinely eat animal protein in its raw state — yes, even eggs. We are getting into the season when eggnog is popular. Your evidence that infants and babies go for fruits and vegetables? It’s a common complaint of parents that their kids don’t like veggies — you can actually google that. There are thousands of articles suggesting how parents can sneak those dreaded veggies into the diets of their little ones. Many kids tend toward candy — will that be your next idea, that gummy bears are the natural food of humans? Are we biological gummivores?

                • >I certainly don’t accept you as a judge of professionalism

                  I never said you should

                  > I didn’t need to personally refute your nonfactual bunk about cooking — as I noted previously, checking any basic evolutionary biology text shows that for the wild speculation it is.

                  I have no idea what you’re going on about. our ancestors and extant apes eat/ate raw foods. we did quite well apparently. of course we then acquired fire and weapons and that changed the game. however the negative aspects of cooking and processing and animal foods are not acknowledged by those promoting said foods. changes occur to the macro and micronutrients, causing ill health. all the other millions of species do just fine on raw foods suitable to their physiology. cooking causes us to eat things we should not be eating and those things cause ill health. certainly we killed and cooked and that served us in environs where insufficient plant matter available but at a price. today with transportation , everything considered, we would be healthier both us and the planet if we increased plant foods and decreased animal foods. the only valid reasons for some animal foods is from the self sufficiency standpoint when it can be difficult to grow sufficient caloric dense foods. otherwise the typical nutrient concerns are merely weak justifications for one’s desire to eat animals. these justifications have been amply refuted by reputable organizations. one cannot talk about the alleged fringe needs of a hypothetical people with alleged problems going vegan to justify general prescriptions.

                  > And any basic survey of world cultures will reveal that people routinely eat animal protein in its raw state — yes, even eggs.

                  you are reverting to silly justifications. I have already noted that eggs would be one of the only animal foods efficiently harvested without weapons and cooking. and as I have also said, the phrase “animal protein” is a poor choice of words as an animal (or any other food) is not “protein”, it is a conglomeration of a multitude of nutrients. assigning some primacy to animals as “protein” sources is both false and distorting as plants contain sufficient protein, and no you do not need to food combine beans and rice to do so.

                  >We are getting into the season when eggnog is popular. Your evidence that infants and babies go for fruits and vegetables? It’s a common complaint of parents that their kids don’t like veggies — you can actually google that. There are thousands of articles suggesting how parents can sneak those dreaded veggies into the diets of their little ones.

                  true, and that is why extant apes primary foods are Fruits with some young greens and celery etc. I agree that most veggies (they are man made hybrids to an extent anyway) are unpleasant.

                  >Many kids tend toward candy — will that be your next idea, that gummy bears are the natural food of humans? Are we biological gummivores?

                  the idea is that raw foods lead to optimal food choices . that is all. certainly your method and kresser’s method is better than most, but it should not be promoted at the expense of the truth in such things as certain nutrients being allegedly unavailable or veganism not being viable.

                • I’m gratified to see you are into recycling, even if it’s recycling the same baseless myths that got blasted to smithereens by several more science-based commenters a few weeks back. Got to wonder, though, how much GHG are generated by these overheated hot gases….

          • As a plant-based eater, veganish with bait of fish, and a former dairy, egg and beef, poultry, pork eater, I do think both sides of the aisle should be as incredibly kind and respectful, as they can be.

            Some vegans who are very passionate about animal welfare, and have received untruthful and mean comments about a vegan diet, sometimes get too aggressive, taking out anger from former discrimination on others at times, but really not ok, I won’t sugar coat that. It can, however, be very difficult to be the 1% going against the grain or convention.

            One thing that might help someone understand why, when a vegan gets passionate, overly aggressive, perhaps, about eating farm animals, it is because he/she may view animals as and equal part of the human family. Most people would find eating pet dogs or cannabalism, very wrong and disturbing, I am guessing by talking to some vegans, this is similar to how many vegans for animal welfare reasons feel.

            But, I also want to be clear, some vegans are doing it for health reasons, such as reversing heart disease diabetes etc. and others for environmental reasons or a combination of all three.

            Many of Dr. Esslestyn’s patients, only people in world reversing their heart disease, were not what most would consider bad eaters, just typical Western diets with meat, dairy, eggs and occasional desserts like pies etc., not fast food eaters, with burgers, fries, soft drinks, candy and chips.

            Not trying to argue, here, but just stating what I know and have read:
            Most of the pesticides, farm land (topsoil loss) and crops grown in America are from feeding farm animals, not direct human consumption (70% of grain stock goes to feed farm production animals, not humans). It takes 12 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of beef and 35 pounds of topsoil to make that 1 lb. of beef.

            A quarter pounder then takes 3 pounds of grain, over 8 pounds of topsoil, and about 800 gallons of water, and creates lots of greenhouse gas from cow methane, processing, transportation, and refrigeration of product.

            A cup of cooked organic rice and beans, replacing quarter pounder in diet is only a
            few ounces dried grain vs. 12 pounds. The beans actually fix the soil with nitrogen and, do not require fertilizer, greatly reducing fertilizer runoff ruining our lakes with algal blooms (eutrophication) that kill fish and marine ecosystems.
            Because the beans and rice are organic, no pesticides or herbicides are used.

            Farm production animals are not fed organic grains, and only 5% of American farm production animals and by products are grass-fed, rather than grain fed. 95% of what Americans are eating are animals fed grain that is mostly GMO corn and soybeans and treated with pesticides and herbicides.

            You many want to try this experiment, go vegan for a couple days before the next event or party, with a lot of people you don’t know, say no thanks on the cheese or dairy item and casually say it looks delicious but, you have gone vegan, without saying anything about animal welfare, health, environment etc.. and you might be surprised at the intense, negative reactions and comments you get. You will likely feel humiliated and shameful though you have done nothing wrong.

            I agree any category of diet can be unhealthy vegan, vegetarian, Western diet etc..

            But, in my opinion, a 90-100% whole food plant based, meaning 0-10% comes from animal products is what current research shows has the best health span, least disease and disability and longevity, and these diets’ animal products are mostly from fish, small mammals or poultry, raised in backyard, and not beef. These animals are raised without growth hormones, antibiotics, and pesticide and herbicide treated grains, which is what 95% of the animal products available to Americans in grocery stores and restaurants.

            Though some American are able to hunt deer, catch their own fish, and buy grass fed organic products exclusively (though these animals still typically receive some grains, not required to be 100% grass fed to be labeled this way), this is a very small minority.

            Sources to back up my statements:

            http://www.livescience.com/37102-vegetarians-live-longer.html

            http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/1997/08/us-could-feed-800-million-people-grain-livestock-eat

            http://www.earthsave.org/environment.htm

          • As a plant-based eater, veganish with bit of fish, and a former dairy, egg and beef, poultry, pork eater, I do think both sides of the aisle should be as incredibly kind and respectful, as they can be.

            Some vegans who are very passionate about animal welfare, and have received untruthful and mean comments about a vegan diet, sometimes get too aggressive, taking out anger from former discrimination on others at times, but really not ok, I won’t sugar coat that. It can, however, be very difficult to be the 1% going against the grain or convention.

            One thing that might help someone understand why, when a vegan gets passionate, overly aggressive, perhaps, about eating farm animals, it is because he/she may view animals as and equal part of the human family. Most people would find eating pet dogs or cannabalism, very wrong and disturbing, I am guessing by talking to some vegans, this is similar to how many vegans for animal welfare reasons feel.

            But, I also want to be clear, some vegans are doing it for health reasons, such as reversing heart disease diabetes etc. and others for environmental reasons or a combination of all three.

            Many of Dr. Esslestyn’s patients, only people in world reversing their heart disease, were not what most would consider bad eaters, just typical Western diets with meat, dairy, eggs and occasional desserts like pies etc., not fast food eaters, with burgers, fries, soft drinks, candy and chips.

            Not trying to argue, here, but just stating what I know and have read:
            Most of the pesticides, farm land (topsoil loss) and crops grown in America are from feeding farm animals, not direct human consumption (70% of grain stock goes to feed farm production animals, not humans). It takes 12 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of beef and 35 pounds of topsoil to make that 1 lb. of beef.

            A quarter pounder then takes 3 pounds of grain, over 8 pounds of topsoil, and about 800 gallons of water, and creates lots of greenhouse gas from cow methane, processing, transportation, and refrigeration of product.

            A cup of cooked organic rice and beans, replacing quarter pounder in diet is only a
            few ounces dried grain vs. 12 pounds. The beans actually fix the soil with nitrogen and, do not require fertilizer, greatly reducing fertilizer runoff ruining our lakes with algal blooms (eutrophication) that kill fish and marine ecosystems.
            Because the beans and rice are organic, no pesticides or herbicides are used.

            Farm production animals are not fed organic grains, and only 5% of American farm production animals and by products are grass-fed, rather than grain fed. 95% of what Americans are eating are animals fed grain that is mostly GMO corn and soybeans and treated with pesticides and herbicides.

            You many want to try this experiment, go vegan for a couple days before the next event or party, with a lot of people you don’t know, say no thanks on the cheese or dairy item and casually say it looks delicious but, you have gone vegan, without saying anything about animal welfare, health, environment etc.. and you might be surprised at the intense, negative reactions and comments you get. You will likely feel humiliated and shameful though you have done nothing wrong.

            I agree any category of diet can be unhealthy vegan, vegetarian, Western diet etc..

            But, in my opinion, a 90-100% whole food plant based, meaning 0-10% comes from animal products is what current research shows has the best health span, least disease and disability and longevity, and these diets’ animal products are mostly from fish, small mammals or poultry, raised in backyard, and not beef. These animals are raised without growth hormones, antibiotics, and pesticide and herbicide treated grains, which is what 95% of the animal products available to Americans in grocery stores and restaurants.

            Though some American are able to hunt deer, catch their own fish, and buy grass fed organic products exclusively (though these animals still typically receive some grains, not required to be 100% grass fed to be labeled this way), this is a very small minority.

            Sources to back up my statements:

            http://www.livescience.com/37102-vegetarians-live-longer.html

            http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/1997/08/us-could-feed-800-million-people-grain-livestock-eat

            http://www.earthsave.org/environment.htm

            • Hear, hear on your advice for people following various dietary regimes to show respect and understanding for one another. It is the only way we can meet the challenges of seeing that all people have access to nutritious, adequate food. I don’t want to dash cold water on your eloquent post, but I would just point out that: 1) Factory-farmed plant foods kill animals, too, often in ways that are slower and more agonizing than butchering animals for food. Even if the humans that eat those crops don’t eat the animals, habitat destruction, pesticide poisoning, killing of wildlife to protect crops — all take their toll. 2) Plant-exclusive diets have not been the only ones to reverse CVD and related diseases; there are also “miracles” among those following a high-fat/low-cab regimen. 3) The amount of grain/topsoil used to produce a pound of edible animal flesh varies widely, depending on the assumptions one makes in doing the analysis. I personally discount any evaluation from a vegan-oriented website and any from industry, such as cattlemen’s associations. 4) Ideally, it should require NO quantity of grain to produce beef. Grains are not a natural food for ruminants. Sustainably-produced beef does not use grain feeding. Note that sustainable and organic are not necessarily equivalent methods. 5) It’s logically fallacious (straw-man defense) to compare the impacts of organic plant food production to the factory-farming of animal foods. That’s also known as “stacking the deck”. Please compare FF animal production to FF plant crop production, and sustainably-farmed plant crop production to sustainably-farmed animal food production to achieve a meaningful, valid comparison. 6) For every article claiming that vegan diets increase longevity and promote health, there is a peer-reviewed, science-based article showing that evolutionarily-appropriate omnivorous (human) diets do the same.

              • Thanks for the nice comment and also very professional. This article certainly hit a nerve with many and the responses that are well written and not offensive are very interesting. Really enjoyed this learning experience and just for the record I agree with Chris’s article all the way

              • I mean this to be a very respectful question not a challenge.

                I have heard claims that diets with meat and dairy have reversed heart disease, but have not seen any research or documentation, such as baseline and post angiograms, or research articles doing this. The only two doctors, I have seen scientific evidence of reversal, rather than just a slow down of progression, is Dr. Ornish and Dr. Esselstyn’s patients on the plant-based diet. Do you have any info. you can share on this? I would like to see what foods etc. they used in their treatment creating reversal.

              • Hope you enjoy a back and forth, healthy debate. I was raised on a farm girl and have harvested a variety of crops, and also worked a summer in a meat packing house. It was a better paying job than most college students cold get.

                I can tell you that though accidents with farm machinery can kill small mammals seeking to do their own harvest in the fields happen, just like unfortunate fates of road kill, b this is infrequent and, obviously, unintentional.

                While I was just packing ribs off the assembly line, not on the kill floor, of the meat packing house, I did have to work occasionally with people who worked on the kill floor. This is one of the very worst jobs imaginable and it took a huge toll on these people psychologically.

                Animals being killed accidentally while harvesting crops, is in no way similar to slaughterhouse kill floors. Not trying to gross people out, just give honest, upfront perspective.

                • If you appreciate having a factual discussion, I hope you are not seriously suggesting that the occasional accidental killing of a small animal by machinery during harvesting is the extent of animal deaths from raising crops? Surely not. The loss of habitat is the gruesome killer of animals — by poisoning, by fire, by starvation, by purposeful elimination. But, people generally don’t see that. The slaughterhouses are much more visible and public. Please do a little research on what many conservation groups consider to be the biggest threats to wildlife, particularly endangered species, and habitat loss is right up there at the top. Even for those species where poaching is a big factor, so is habitat destruction. It is what’s driving many animals to extinction. I doubt domestic cattle are in any danger of extinction. While the slaughterhouses botch their killing sometimes, starvation has to be a more prolonged agony. And yes, I am very familiar with slaughterhouses, having lived in Dodge City, KS for 7 years within 2 miles of two of the largest ones in the US. Again, these are part of factory farming system, like the CAFOs and other elements of FF that cause environmental destruction. Having to deal with the all of the gruesomeness (and I don’t mean the killing of the cattle), up close and personal, is one of the main reasons I will not buy FF meat.

                • In response, to animals killed by growing plants and factory farms vs. grass fed animals.

                  For me, our sweet potatoes and organic soybeans, tomatoes, greens, berries etc. (for freezing), as much as I can buy, come from a 20 year old, local organic farm in a valley in the Midwest surrounded by woods, with absolutely no interference with the wildlife that has coexisted for decades. The farmers put up some fences around some crops to keep rabbits out, just like backyard gardeners do.

                  Vegetables and legumes do not have to be factory farmed on excessively large farms, either, potentially creating habitat loss.

                  Many plant foods can be grown right in urban areas, vertical gardening on sides of buildings, rooftops, and hydroponically, right inside cafeterias, etc. or community gardens in green zones, parks, schools, etc.

                  Grass fed cows can and do cause habitat destruction. The run off of their poop into creeks, rivers and lakes creates a big disturbance in the ecosystem. If wild animals do not have a safe water supply they do not survive. In many parts of the world, habitat destruction is caused by grazing/grass fed livestock.

                  One of the first lessons, at about age 8 or 9, you learn on the farm just from observation, is that you can actually grow a huge portion of the family’s food supply-canned vegetables, berries, apples, legumes (peas green peas, and sweet and white potatoes on a about a 1/4- 1/2 acre of land. While numerous other acres are needed to feed the livestock, even when feeding grass or hay/silage and, no grains..

                  Vegetables, legumes berries and tubers require much less land (habitat) and water.

                • Now you are arguing that what YOU do to ensure your vegetable crops are not harming the environment is the norm. That’s simply not the case. Currently, most US animal AND plant foods are produced by environmentally-damaging factory farming (usually monocropping) methods. The discussion needs to start with this reality. You keep referring to “poop runoff” from grass-fed animals. Poop runoff is a problem caused by CAFOs, and the CAFO is an artifact of factory farming. The runoff occurs when there is no ground cover. Are you serious? Did the European settlers find the streams of midwest America polluted by runoff from the vast herds of buffaloon the plains? Did they find African waterways contaminated by the runoff from the herds of wildebeests and other hooved animals on the savannahs? ? Or do you think someone was cleaning up and collecting the manure from these grassland creatures? As I have noted before, the vegan arguments against sustainable animal husbandry tend toward a straw-man mish-mash that is just a comparison of factory-farming of animals to organic, sustainable farming of plant crops, which is not a credible comparison. Properly managed, sustainable animal production practices can actually improve soil fertility, minimize topsoil loss, and increase carbon sequestration — as occurred in natural grassland systems for millions of years. http://www.nature.com/news/agriculture-steps-to-sustainable-livestock-1.14796
                  http://asi.ucdavis.edu/programs/sarep/about/what-is-sustainable-agriculture

              • Comparing sustainable legumes, fruits, tubers, and grains to “sustainable” grass fed dairy and meat in a common sense approach:

                A grass-fed cow can weigh 10x an average sized woman 1,300 lbs. vs. 130lbs.

                Grass is a very low calorie food. A 130lb human needs ~2,000 calories, eats about 4 pounds of food with an average food calorie density of 500 calories per pound.

                The cow being ten times the size needs ~ ten times the calories, and only about 60% of animals’ weight produces meat for human consumption.

                WFPBD eaters (eating 90-100% plant sourced foods) get calories mainly from starchy foods: beans, starchy vegetables, whole grains, but, also, fruits, likely 3 of the four pounds, the other pound from veggies and seeds, with seeds contributing much more calories but much less weight.

                Grass fed cows likely don’t need only 10x pounds of food than we do (40lbs.) but much more because they eat low calorie grass, much less than 500 cal. per pound. This is a whole, whole lot of wet grass clippings, for just one day of eating!!! This is such an incredible amount, the govt. lets grass-fed cow farmers feed some grains, and human leftovers to their cows, and consider wheat straw forage as grass food.

                Because these cows are given dry hay/forage most of the time the weight of daily food is less than 40lbs. because moisture is removed, but the point is- it is a whole lot of plant food and contains a lot of things other than grass.

                Part of the grass-fed menu is wheat straw, which I take, means the stem of the wheat plant vs. the seeds/grain, but they are still eating wheat…

                Meaning the same farming effects on environment of wheat crops for humans to make whole wheat flour (wheat seeds), also is used to feed grass-fed beef (wheat stem, called wheat straw), but in a much larger, more destructive habitat, pesticide and herbicide use scale because a 1,300 pound cow needs 10X as many calories as a 130lb. human.

                Source:
                http://beef.unl.edu/cattleproduction/forageconsumed-day

                • (sigh!) I guess this is one of those “thought experiments” that doesn’t have to meet the minimum standards of a scientific experiment.

                • “(sigh!) I guess this is one of those “thought experiments” that doesn’t have to meet the minimum standards of a scientific experiment.”

                  dismissive and condescending with someone who is trying to have a conversation with you. nice.

                • A little hypersensitive, are we? No, not dismissive; merely an accurate observation on a set of allegations presented with no corroboration. Rather like your myth of the biological frugivore human.

                • First, there is little evidence that scaling calories linearly by weight is accurate within a species, much less for species as diverse as cattle and humans. Your analysis of caloric needs has no scientific basis. For humans, legumes, fruits, tubers, and grains are also very low calorie foods. Ruminants do not digest grass in the same way humans digest plant foods. You are making assumptions and comparisons that are not biologically accurate. Do you have some peer-reviewed references to support your assumptions? Something that lays out the assumptions made and their basis? You seem unwilling to acknowledge that large numbers of ruminant animals flourish in the wild, and have for millions of years, sans any human supplementation with wheat stems or whatever. Sans any human removing their poo. Sans any evidence their existence does anything other than improve their respective ecosystems. Sans any evidence that their grazing lands could be converted effectively to growing crops for human consumption. Sans any evidence that any natural population of humans has ever existed for any significant period of time eating “legumes, fruits, tubers, and grains” without animal protein. Sans any evidence that there is currently widespread sustainable production of legumes, fruits, tubers, and grains. It is very frustrating to go through this non-rigorous, non-science-based discussion over and over, ad infinitum, with vegan advocates. When I point out some of these things, you just fall back on your nonfactual scaling of human and cow caloric needs.

                • …For humans, legumes, fruits, tubers, and grains are also very low calorie foods

                  The above is not only false but has no reference or context.
                  Secondly you don’t even know what a food is.
                  Thirdly anyone who uses the phrase “animal protein” has no clue of nutrition.
                  Fourthly, talk of worldwide this or that is not only false in the way u are asserting it, it is not relevant to Primar y considerations.
                  Fifthly, all your other sciencey ramblings are irrelevant and ego driven.
                  Is you hair still red?

          • As a plant-based eater, veganish with bit of fish, and a former dairy, egg and beef, poultry, pork eater, I do think both sides of the aisle should be as incredibly kind and respectful, as they can be.

            Some vegans who are very passionate about animal welfare, and have received untruthful and mean comments about a vegan diet, sometimes get too aggressive, taking out anger from former discrimination on others at times, but really not ok, I won’t sugar coat that. It can, however, be very difficult to be the 1% going against the grain or convention.

            One thing that might help someone understand why, when a vegan gets passionate, overly aggressive, perhaps, about eating farm animals; it may be because he/she may view animals as an equal part of the human family. Most people would find eating pet dogs or cannabalism, very wrong and disturbing, I am guessing by talking to some vegans, this is similar to how many vegans for animal welfare reasons feel. My daughter at 3 1/2 , after rooting for Wilbur on Charlotte’s Web, declared at the dinner table: “animals are my friends and, I don’t eat my friends”. Thought it would be a phase, not so. But has made us all a lot healthier.

            But, I also want to be clear, some vegans are doing it for health reasons, such as reversing heart disease diabetes etc. and others for environmental reasons or a combination of all three.

            Many of Dr. Esslestyn’s patients, only people in world reversing their heart disease, were not what most would consider bad eaters, just typical Western diets with meat, dairy, eggs and occasional desserts like pies, cupcake at birthdays, etc., not fast food eaters, daily soda drinkers, with burgers, fries, candy and chips.

            Not trying to argue, here, but just stating what I know and have read:
            Most of the pesticides, farm land (topsoil loss) and crops grown in America are from feeding farm animals, not direct human consumption (70% of grain stock goes to feed farm production animals, not humans). It takes 12 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of beef and 35 pounds of topsoil to make that 1 lb. of beef.

            A quarter pounder then takes 3 pounds of grain, over 8 pounds of topsoil, and about 800 gallons of water, and creates lots of greenhouse gas from cow methane, processing, transportation, and refrigeration of product.

            A cup of cooked organic rice and beans, replacing quarter pounder in diet is only a
            few ounces dried grain vs. 12 pounds. The beans actually fix the soil with nitrogen and, do not require fertilizer, greatly reducing fertilizer runoff ruining our lakes with algal blooms (eutrophication) that kill fish and marine ecosystems.
            Because the beans and rice are organic, no pesticides or herbicides are used.

            Farm production animals are not fed organic grains, and only 5% of American farm production animals and by products are grass-fed, rather than grain fed. 95% of what Americans are eating are animals fed grain that is mostly GMO corn and soybeans and treated with pesticides and herbicides.

            You many want to try this experiment, go vegan for a couple days before the next event or party, with a lot of people you don’t know, say no thanks on the cheese or dairy item and casually say it looks delicious but, you have gone vegan, without saying anything about animal welfare, health, environment etc.. and you might be surprised at the intense, negative reactions and comments you get. You will likely feel humiliated and shameful though you have done nothing wrong.

            I agree any category of diet can be unhealthy vegan, vegetarian, Western diet etc..

            But, in my opinion, a 90-100% whole food plant based, meaning 0-10% comes from animal products is what current research shows has the best health span, least disease and disability and longevity, and these diets’ animal products are mostly from fish, small mammals or poultry, raised in backyard, and not beef. These animals are raised without growth hormones, antibiotics, and pesticide and herbicide treated grains, which is what 95% of the animal products available to Americans in grocery stores and restaurants.

            Though some American are able to hunt deer, catch their own fish, and buy grass fed organic products exclusively (though these animals still typically receive some grains, not required to be 100% grass fed to be labeled this way), this is a very small minority.

            Will share some sources at next reply as it takes so long for moderators to go through it.

            • Interesting comments but very inaccurate. I have seen this sort of calculation (water use and land comparison between various crops and animal production). I went back to first principles and calculated water consumption to address the nonsense about 800 gallons of water per quarter pounder. Being Australian these numbers are in metric:

              Cattle drink about 50 litres of water per day. Assuming that the cattle are slaughtered at 2 years that would give 36500 litres of water consumed. At this time the cattle weigh approx 600 kg so clearly they have not retained all 36500 litres. Respiration and excretion in urine and faeces account for most of the water consumed (conservatively approximately 90%), which is returned to the environment. Our 36500 litres actually becomes a consumption of 3650 or 6 litres/kg of live weight or about 10 litres per kg of burger mince (assuming for the sake of this discussion that everything is minced). We need to factor in the use of water in the abattoir cycle etc. From experience this is about 5 megalitres/1000 head of which up to 80% is recycled. This is another 6 litres/kg of burger mince. I should add that these are overestimates and conservative in nature.

              The reported water use figures of 800 gallons per quarter pounder come from some very questionable assumptions. They work only if the full water consumed in the growth cycle is thereafter excluded from the environment (somehow magically retained by the cattle – which would then weigh about 36.5 ton) and the abattoir uses only single pass water (i.e. no recycling) AND only a quarter pound of mince is obtained from each processed animal.

          • Not trying to argue, here, but just stating what I know and have read:
            Most of the pesticides, farm land (topsoil loss) and crops grown in America are from feeding farm animals, not direct human consumption (70% of grain stock goes to feed farm production animals, not humans). It takes 12 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of beef and 35 pounds of topsoil to make that 1 lb. of beef.

            A quarter pounder then takes 3 pounds of grain, over 8 pounds of topsoil, and about 800 gallons of water, and creates lots of greenhouse gas from cow methane, processing, transportation, and refrigeration of product.

            A cup of cooked organic rice and beans, replacing quarter pounder in diet is only a
            few ounces dried grain vs. 12 pounds. The beans actually fix the soil with nitrogen and, do not require fertilizer, greatly reducing fertilizer runoff ruining our lakes with algal blooms (eutrophication) that kill fish and marine ecosystems.
            Because the beans and rice are organic, no pesticides or herbicides are used.

            • Vegans prefer to focus on the grains grown (by factory farming) to feed animals (raised by factory farming), as if all other plant foods (consumed by vegans) are raised organically and sustainably. That’s a straw-man argument in every respect. Factory farming is damaging to the environment — and that damage includes animal suffering — whether it’s producing grains for human OR animal consumption, OR animals for human consumption, OR plant foods for human consumption. Humans eat other plant foods besides grains; look at the problems with (to identify only two) fruit and nut farming in CA, and palm oil production and SE Asia. I have no problem with people following a vegan lifestyle if they choose, but it is hypocritical and dishonest to pretend that such a lifestyle is better for the planet, that it will do a better job of feeding the world’s population, that it does not result in animal suffering, and/or that it is the optimal diet for human health. Not one of those contentions is supported by facts. There have been several citations posted to analyses by vegan bloggers/advocates; YouTube videos by the “biological frugivorian” movement; vegans that generalize their own personal experiences to all of humanity (sometimes with medical diagnoses made long-distance without any knowledge of peoples’ age/gender, much less their actual health status); assertions that “it just is, and that’s that”, etc. Those are not science, and they are not facts. When an omnivore lists a citation to a study or analysis based on mathematical/scientific principles, invariably a militant vegan comes forward to say there is a hidden agenda, that studies all conflict, etc. We’d make actual progress in reducing the impact of human food production on the planet (and there ARE impacts, even from organic methods) and reducing animal suffering by working together to find better methods, rather than engaging in inconsequential, pseudointellectual vegan vs. omnivore tiffs.

              • Just having a vegan diet doesn’t make it 100% eco-friendly.

                But, the whole food plant based diet (WFPBD) that is gaining popularity, does focus on whole plant foods eaten seasonally and locally, things like palm oil or other refined plant foods would not be on the menu. But, I agree things like almond milk, would not be sustainable and the best environmental choice for the masses, but still less of footprint no eutrophication, or e.coli problems like dairy. Oat and soy milks are typically available organic and grown locally.

                The trend for environmentally conscious omnivore and vegan, alike, is to join local community supported agriculture (CSA) which is a fancy way to say you buy directly from the farmer for a season or the year, or frequent farmer’s market visits.

                Research does show that beans and lentils, as well as organic oats, are some of the best environmental choices for protein-least carbon footprint.

                And, most on a whole food plant-based diet are eating 3 servings each of these, daily, 6 servings of vegetables and about 2-3 fruits, mostly seasonal: apples, pears, berries, grapes, citrus, but bananas shipped all times of year are also a part of it.

                Flax is a huge staple- local and great environmental choice. Chia, great health wise, but not local for most. And though nuts take up a lot of water and fossil fuels for shipping etc.. this is actually not a huge part of the WFPB diet encouraged on Forks Over Knives etc.

              • I did want to point out, respectfully, grass fed farming is not sustainable for the whole world, it is not just factory farms that is an environmental issue. It’s not just that grazing takes up a lot of land but…

                If everyone ate the Western or Paleo diet, throughout the world, we would have major environmental issues, including huge increases in global warming gases. The poop run off and methane alone from grass fed cows for meat, butter and dairy to feed everyone in the world on this type of diet would create a crisis.

                The poop run off would wreak havoc on lakes, rivers and even coastal ocean marine animals.

                If we took that much land to feed the cows, some people would have to go hungry because you would be using up much, much more farmland to eat meat, cheese, milk etc. than for people to eat legumes and whole grains.

                There is only so much land/topsoil and irrigation, in many instances, for grazing and crop production; there is not an infinite supply.

                • Actually, it IS sustainable for the whole world – that’s a scientist’s view, not a dreamer’s. We will have to change our eating habits to some degree, but that’s inevitable anyway. Remember, Nature sustainably “ranched” vast herds of ruminants across the globe for millions of years. And humans sustainably “ranched” food animals across the globe for thousands of years. We in the US are myopically attuned to our way of factory farming. The UN points out that the world’s food future depends on small, local farms; currently, the factory system uses 70% of the earth’s ag resources to produce 30% of its food. Small farmers use 30% of those resources to produce 70% of the world’s food. One does not need to be a mathematical genius to see which is more efficient. Even some of the large US university Ag departments, beholden as they are to US “Big Ag”, are starting to admit that sustainable farming is very scalable. It is factory farming that is not going to meet the world’s food needs, and that is not sustainable in the basic sense of that word. I’ll track down citations for you when I get a chance — kind of pressed for time right now — well piping problems here, so I have to tend to my personal water issues.

                • The (wrong) assumption is always that if we didn’t farm animals, we could use the land to grow food crops. But often animals can be and are farmed on unirigated areas many of which are unsuitable for food crops. They also don’t need to be fed grains or soy. Take for example goats – by far the most popular meat in the world, even if Americans might not eat it. They can live in quite arid and rocky areas that are completely unsuited for any sort of agricultural endevour. In fact, truly arable land that doesn’t constitutes only a fraction of the area we use for food production. Most requires a very involved and destructive process to actually make it arable, copious irrigation thereafter and repeated applications of fertilizers and pesticides and lots of it. Sure, if we were all to live Paleo lifestyle it wouldn’t be sustainable. But if we were all to live on plant foods only it wouldn’t be sustainable either. We’d have to expand the arable areas, which means environmental destruction, more fertilizers, more pesticides. And you’d have to expand it by a lot. Since we’d have no farm animals all the fertilizers would have to be petrol based, which is another problem.

                  As for Omega 6 – yes, industrial production of meat, fish, eggs etc. results in higher levels of Omega 6 in the finished product. However, if the animals are kept in natural conditions the levels of Omega 3 are higher. It’s because of what they are fed – grains and soy. Same applies to people: If you eat industrially raised meat and eggs you’ll end up with Omega 6 levels that are too high. But if you consume vegetable oils, certain nuts, processed foods (which many omnivores AND v***ans do) and plenty of grains you’ll end up the same.

                  No diet is perfect, but I’d say that a diet that is as close as possible to the one we’ve evolved on might be a better option than a diet that would be impossible to maintain (and stay healthy and thrive over generations) without the comforts and conveniences of modern life.

                  Note to those who might feel compelled to respond to this: Please, none of the nonsense about not doing it right etc.

                • Sorry, it should read:
                  In fact, truly arable land constitutes only a fraction of the area we use for food production.

                • Wild herds of ruminants, such as mountain sheep, goats, cattle, elk, deer, antelope, in history were eaten mostly by carnivores, such as mountain and savannah lions, rather than primates like humans, chimps, orangutans or gorillas (who ate none- only animal sourced food being insects).

                  But having said this, I am a big supporter of deer hunting and, also support deer and elk farms, as a better (more eco-friendly) alternative to cattle.

                  I can tell you from personally raising and, observing neighbors raising cows/cattle that were grass fed, this requires much, much more land resources than legumes, vegetables, including tubers and local fruits such as apples, cherries and berries, which can be canned and frozen for out-of-season use.

                  With exception of south and west coast of US, hay/silage needs to be grown and harvested to feed the cattle during cold months when grass is dormant. Straw, a grain, is grown for the animals’ bedding. During fall, winter and early months of spring, in most parts of the US, grass-fed cows need to be fed the hay/silage until the grass returns in mid-spring. This takes many acres of land for a not so large group of cattle.

                  Also, the cattle quickly eat and tromp on the grass and must be rotated to keep a steady supply during the grazing season; this in itself, requires many acres of land.

                • Whether wild ruminants were eaten by carnivores, or little green men from Mars, does not change their role in the ecosystem. I never claimed that nonhuman primates ate ruminants, so I am not sure what your point is on that. However, our closest relatives (chimpanzees and bonobos) are indisputably omnivores — their preferred meat is that of monkeys. And yes, when modern humans evolved, they definitely hunted and ate wild ruminants. Hunting wild ruminants was an important part of human culture. It remained so even among early agriculturalists. Check out the extensively annotated study of Catalhoyuk, where, even though the farmers had other domesticated animals, hunting and eating wild cattle were a central element in their lives. See “The Leopard’s Tale: Revealing the Mysteries of Catalhoyuk” by archeologist Ian Hodder. In the America, such activities were likewise central to their lifeways, from the time the Americas were first settled.

                  During the free-range part of their lives, cattle get little supplementation with other feed, unless the weather conditions are extreme. Once the ranchers want to start the market prep phase of the cattle’s lives, yes, they herd them into more crowded spaces. If your neighbors that are raising “grass-fed cows” have them so crowded they are trampling the vegetation, then, I’m sorry, theirs is NOT a sustainable operation. In the US, ranchers can label their beef grass-fed, even if they finish the beef conventionally in a CAFO or feedlot.

                • Hunting, important part of human history. Drinking soda is an important part of culture. Therefore…. What?

                  You’re claiming we are obligate carnivores? Obligate omnivores?

                  Your logic is wanting.
                  I have not received your pet cat or dog yet. Why don’t you just cut them up and send to me. Is your corpus collosum severed is that how you cope with your hypocrisy?

              • A couple responses:

                I brought up lions rather than humans eating large amounts of ruminants because humans eating ruminants daily or in large amounts has never been part of the natural food chain. Even lions, carnivores, do not eat ruminant meat on a daily basis.

                But reindeer has supplied a good calorie source in Scandanvia, and deer in woodlands of North America, but again, never eaten on a daily basis. On a health perspective, this wild ruminant meat is a fraction of the calories and fat than grass fed beef.

                Until very recent history, cattle, even grass fed, has never ever been eaten on the grand scale that Americans eat beef today.

                Human diets have varied widely, the Tarahumara and Papau New Highlanders are veganish, plant-based as well as traditional Okinawans from Japan 96-98% calories from plant sourced foods. The animal sourced foods in these diets are lean fish and small, lean game-think wild rabbits,very different than domesticated animals today, both grass and grain fed.

                I am suggesting that a 90-100% plant sourced diet would be good for both people’s health and animals. This would mean eating a lot more vegetables and legumes, and 0-200 calories a day of animal sourced foods.

                Some great choices could be: 2oz. sardine, herring a few days a week, a sprinkling of goat cheese another day, a poached organic omega-3 enhanced egg on top of black beans and rice, or a piece of wild turkey or venison in a soup/stew with lots of veggies.

                If everyone chose this type of diet, climate scientists at Cornell and around the world agree many of our most costly and scary climate change problems could be resolved, but too much sardine and herring consumption could pause a problem, that if aquaponic advancements could solve would be wonderful!

                • This is an article from American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on sustainability of plant vs. animal based diets.

                  I do like it when people can provide evidence for their viewpoint in a debate. But I do think it is common sense to agree 1,300 pound cows need more calories than 130lb. woman and that yes, grass is in fact , a low calorie food.

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

                • Yes, grass is a low-cal food. That’s why ruminants evolved to maximize the nutrition they derive from it. There are many wild species that thrive on what we humans would consider “low-cal food”. Even primates other than humans can digest some of the “low cal foods” that humans cannot metabolize. That’s why trying to scale nutritional needs from a human to a nonhuman is not a valid comparison.

                • You are correct that man never ate ruminants, or any other animal, daily. There were natural populations whose primary prey source was ruminants. But these were not eaten everyday — it was a feast or famine (and often small amounts of dried/salted meat somewhat routinely) affair. Like nonhuman predators, human hunters are not successful 100% of the time. But you are not accurate in implying that human hunter-gatherers went for “lean meat”. Eating mainly lean tissue leads to deficiencies, and fat-phobia is an artifact of our modern, misguided ways. Indeed, like many nonhuman predators, human hunter-gatherers, early pastoralists, and even non-wealthy modern folk used all of the animal. Hunter-gatherers started with the fattiest parts — brain, other organs, bone marrow. Obesity was never a problem for them as it is for modern Americans. The latter eat too much food, period, plant or animal. And, sadly, our calorie intake has increased over the last few decades, although the largest increase has come from sugar and refined carbs, not meat. Not surprisingly, our meat animals suffer from being fed an unnatural diet of the same. Last year, Americans achieved the dubious distinction that their largest single calorie source was carbonated beverages (sodas). Animal fat is not the cause of our modern obesity epidemic. I doubt you’ll get much argument from health-conscious people following ANY dietary regime that the Standard American Diet (with the apt acronym “SAD”) should be a model for anyone. Not only does the American diet suck, but Americans have the highest rate of food wastage in the world. The UN estimates it’s over 40%. Even without going 95% vegan, we could make our food production far more healthful (for us and the animals) and planet friendly.

          • You many want to try this experiment, go vegan for a couple days before the next event or party, with a lot of people you don’t know, say no thanks on the cheese or dairy item, and casually say it looks delicious but, you have gone vegan, without saying anything about animal welfare, health, environment etc.. You might be surprised at the intense, negative reactions and comments you get. You will likely feel humiliated and shameful though you have done nothing wrong.

            I agree any category of diet can be unhealthy: vegan, vegetarian, Western diet etc..

            But, in my opinion, a 90-100% whole food plant based, meaning 0-10% comes from animal products is what current research shows has the best health span, least disease and disability and longevity, and these diets’ animal products are mostly from fish, small mammals or poultry, raised in backyard, and not beef. These animals are raised without growth hormones, antibiotics, and pesticide and herbicide treated grains, which is what 95% of the animal products available to Americans in grocery stores and restaurants.

            Though some American are able to hunt deer, catch their own fish, and buy grass fed organic products exclusively (though these animals still typically receive some grains, not required to be 100% grass fed to be labeled this way), this is a very small minority.

            • An alternate experiment: Go to an event that is attended mainly by vegans, casually mention that you occasionally use sustainably-produced animal products (even honey and/or silk) and see how many times you are called insensitive, blood-mouthed carnivore, destroyer of your grandchildren’s legacy, etc. All this regardless if you have devoted your career to wildlife conservation or environmental protection, you are an organic farmer, you have chosen not to reproduce, etc. The animosity between omnivores and vegans is a classic example of “both sides do it”.

              • I would agree that there needs to be a higher level of tolerance on both sides.

                It is great to make a case/point, for the way of eating you find best for a variety of reasons, health, animal welfare, the environment et.. but just like in a political debate; it is done best with sensitivity to the other person’s right to their beliefs and views.

              • This is in reply to your comment grass. I was not making a nutrition comparison.

                My comparison was that a cow needs more crops and forage (calories) than ahuman, creating more energy intensive and toxins from crops/forage grown to feed a cow, which 40% weight is wasted/not eaten. Cows cannot magically extract more calories/energy from what is there.

                This is a response to your UC Davis source:

                Did read your source from UC Davis carefully, well respected research university.

                Important points I got from their article:

                Taken Directly from article:

                Grazing livestock: “Prolonged concentration of stock that results in permanent loss of vegetative cover on uplands or in riparian zones should be avoided.”

                This vegetative, ground cover loss, from grass-fed agriculture is an issue and creates detrimental top-soil loss. This is why Davis researchers are addressing it.

                “waste management (poop) are key issues in confined livestock operations. The moral and ethical debate taking place today regarding animal welfare is particularly intense for confined livestock production systems. The issues raised in this debate need to be addressed.

                Confinement livestock production is increasingly a source of surface and ground water pollutants, particularly where there are large numbers of animals per unit area. Expensive waste management facilities are now a necessary cost of confined production systems. Waste is a problem of almost all operations and must be managed with respect to both the environment and the quality of life in nearby communities. ”

                These are not issues for growth of plant proteins, such as soy, black beans, lentils, oats, teff etc.

                The poop is an issue due to the sheer number of cattle (both grass-fed and grain fed) cows make similar amounts of poop. So, if humans eat 20,30, 100, pounds of beef a year, even if it is grass-fed, this creates a lot of poop to meet demands of those wanting to eat beef. More demand – more poop, whether grass fed or not.

                Their view ons sustainable agriculture:
                They promote practices that are…

                Least toxic and energy intensive

                Buying organic beans and whole grains is easy to find and easy to do and less toxic, and much less energy intensive than livestock production.

                Also organic beans and whole grains are not significantly more expensive than conventional legumes, easy for people to make this choice. Organic beans, lentils, oats are some of the cheapest foods in the store.

                Methods to protect and enhance the productivity of the soil include using cover crops (soy,teff, beans and oats are considered cover crops), compost and/or manures, reducing tillage, avoiding traffic on wet soils, and maintaining soil cover with plants and/or mulches.

                Cattle grazing creates a lot of traffic on wet soils, and soy, oats, etc.. are cover crops used to protect and enhance soil.

                Another good resource, for sustainability, not promoting vegan or vegetarian diets, but breaking down what people can do, for anyone interested:

                http://www.wri.org/blog/2016/04/sustainable-diets-what-you-need-know-12-charts

                • Exactly. You are doing a great job of arguing my points on sustainable ranching. The quotes you extracted explain why, if your description of your neighbor’s “grass feeding” operation is accurate, it does not meet the definition of a sustainable operation.

                • Sustainable ranching can only happen with reasonable amounts of demand.

                  Western and Paleo diets are shown by scientists to not be reasonable demands for the whole world.

                  If American only ate 20-50 pounds of animal sourced foods a year: beef, chicken,. eggs, pork, dairy. Sustainable ranching could maybe be done.

                  But this is not the trend; this is not the Western diet or variation of Western diet (take out sugar, grains and beans) called, Paleo.

                • You are joshing me, right? You go on Chris Kresser’s blog — Kresser the Paleo guru — and imply that the Paleo diet is meat-centric? Seriously? Do you actually read his blogs? Did you read his Paleo Diet book? You do realize, don’t you, that the Paleo Diet is what modern humans evolved on, and what fed the world until the spread of agriculture was complete? That the modest amount of meat that is actually part of the Paleo Diet has to be wild-caught or grass-fed, or it isn’t “Paleo”? That Paleolithic Man did not raise livestock on factory farms? And what “scientists have shown” anything about the Paleo Diet? I’ve seen lots of articles by people that pan their own silly stereotype of the Paleo Diet, but don’t know the Paleo Diet from the Cordon Bleu Diet.

              • Also, wanted to respond that legumes, tubers and whole grains are not low-calorie foods, much much higher than vegetables/grass.

                Vegetables and grasses (about 100cal. pound) and fruits (300cal. pound). This is the range of calorie density for legumes, grains and tubers:

                FOOD CALORIES PER POUND
                Potatoes, pastas, brown rice, sweet potatoes, corn, hot cereals 280 to 650
                Legumes: peas and beans, such as pinto, garbanzo, black, and lentil beans 400 to 750.

                In addition, to the protein in legumes and whole grains, the calories in these foods, make plant-based diets (90-100%) nutritionally, calorically and environmentally sustainable.

                • I find it fascinating that you spend so much time “refuting” claims that you invented but that I never made. As I noted previously, the world is replete with species that thrive in great numbers on “low-calorie” foods. One of the primary “low-calorie” foods is grass. As I also noted, may species have a digestive system quite different from the human one, so scaling nutritional foods by weight (or other factors) is not accurate physiology.

                • Again, You cannot create more energy (calories) from grass than is there, whether you have four stomachs or not. I am not claiming ruminants should eat anything other than grass/forage… The point is it takes more land, energy and creates undesirable environmental consequences to feed cows for meat and dairy products than…..

                  for humans to directly eat higher calorie (low land need) crops such as organic legumes, grain and tubers (sweet and white potatoes).

                  I have raised both types of foods. Cows take much more land, water and crops (wether grass or hay or wheat straw) than to grow our canned crops such as potatoes, tomatoes, beans, apples, berries, grapes.

                  Sorry, but you are not the only farmer here, with experiential and scientific knowledge.

                • Actually, you can create more (or get less) energy from a substance than its “calorie” content would indicate. It depends how you assess calories, and how an organism processes them. How well could you survive on crude oil? It intrinsically has a lot of “calories” (a calorie is merely a measure of energy), but, as humans go, it effectively has zero food calories. But there are organisms that can access those calories. Further, as I have noted (over and over again), you cannot scale calorie needs for humans to calorie needs for other creatures. And why do you insist on “refuting” statements I never made? That’s not logical. I never said that vegetable crops take more land or resources than beef or other livestock. Where did you imagine that? I also never said that I had more experience/knowledge than any other farmer. Anyone that farms knows there are a multitude of factors that can affect a crop. Even factory-ranch raised beef, raised by folks using the same breeds and inputs, will vary in productivity. You assert that raising livestock is detrimental to the environment, but that is not universally true. It is not true for sustainable ranching, just as it is not true for wild grass-eating animals. In fact, the opposite is true — just as the wild grass-eaters improve the land on which they graze, so do sustainably-raised-by-humans grass-eaters. Sustainably-raised livestock are fed on land that is not suitable for crops, with inputs (grass, rainfall, etc.) that are going to be present whether the livestock are there or not. These inputs on these lands are not going to contribute to crop farming. And you seem to forget, in asserting that it’s more efficient for humans to eat plants than meat, that, first, ideally, these uses don’t compete, as they use different land types. Second, one cannot base equivalence merely on calories and/or weight of food — nutrients and their bioavailability are important factors. And third, there has never been a natural vegan human population. 2.5 million years of omnivorous human evolution — i. e., Nature showing what works and what doesn’t — do not support your assertions.

                • I should be more clear: Chris is very animal product heavy, since you must raise grass fed dairy cows to produce grass fed butter and cheese it still creates grass fed cows.

                  Amount of meat eating is very personally relative, for me..
                  meat/animal heavy means eating more than a couple ounces of wild game mammal meat to go with 3 oz. serving of fish per week with no dairy and eggs.

                  I think he is advocating for much, much more that 5-10% of calories from all animal sourced foods: dairy and meats, than I am.

          • I will not badger you after this post. This is more time consuming than getting sucked into political debates!

            You said, people who say it can’t be done should step aside to those who are doing it.

            Many said, reversing heart disease with diet and eating a 100% plant-based diet couldn’t be done long-term, but both myths have been shattered by Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. Ornish, doing both simultaneously with whole plant foods and no oils, (not just throwing animal products under the bus), and reduced amounts of sodium and modest sugar intake.

            So, I would say to those needing to defensively take a stance that plant-based diets, vegan, vegetarian, veganish with fish or eggs etc. is not doable, ridiculous, unnatural, what have you, need to step aside and let those doing it successfully do it, without degradation, condescension, or unnecessary fear-mongering because of need for B-12 sup. and lower blood levels of DHA in studies. (However, I do think it wise to use this info. to improve the diet with inclusion of more ALA and EPA in seaweed or sups. available, if need be.)

            The unfortunate fact is, 50% of Americans succumb to cardiovascular disease, many times decades before their natural health span and with many years of disability.

            Every 80 seconds, a woman suffers a cardiovascular event, and 1 in 8 American women will have invasive breast cancer in their lifetime.

            It is true that…
            dairy is associated with increased risks (breast , ovarian and prostate cancer) and decreased survival in breast cancer patients. Butter has 11x the estrogen and 14x the progesterone in milk. The trend to put grassfed butter in coffee and eat with wild abandon is akin to taking a mini-hormone replacement pill for women, proven to increase risks of heart attack, strokes and breast cancer in women.

            So, before attacking those minimizing and avoiding animal products, why not have an open mind to what they have to share and say?

            And lastly, grass-fed or grain-fed cows, poop. Heightening the demand for beef, indisputably, puts more poop out there, and the problems that come with it.

            I am very happy with my veganish diet, it has been sustainable for me for over a decade with vibrant health, I am lucky. And I feel very good about my diet in terms of carbon footprint, etc… I am not creating the local lake algal blooms with butter, yogurt, cheese pizza and ice creams cones, from dairy poop run-off. It is a huge problem where I live.

            But, I appreciate other peoples’ choices, I have been a dairy and beef eater most of my life, so I have been there. I just wish there could be a little more respect and a more open minded thinking in the some of the Paleo crowd for plant-based diets, and potential benefits of the environment, for those who choose this.

            WFPB and Paleo both forgo processed foods (oils, refined flours, excess sugar), so there is some common ground.

            Whatever, you choose, I wish you good health and happiness.

      • >>I do not feel that eating healthy meats, fish, eggs, cheese and raw organic dairy is unhealthy wtih lots of fruit and vegetables.

        your feelings are irrelevant. they are all unhealthy and this has been shown in many ways. but of course people don’t want to confront it.

        >It is a person’s choice.

        then it’s my choice , and it SHOULD be fine with you, for me to go to your house and eat your pet cat and dog, and all the pets of your friends and family. it’s my choice. right?

        there’s no difference qualitatively between a “PET” and another animal.

        the fact that people are too ignorant to figure out how to eat a healthy plant diet is the problem. that’s not an insult, it’s a fact due to propaganda.

        we are humans. we have empathy. unnecessary killing (animal products have been proven to be not necessary for humans) is cruel and damages all things.

        • Your reply has to be one of the most ridiculous examples of non-equivalence and illogic yet posted here. No, you have no right to come to my house and eat my pets. Nor do you have a right to come to my house and eat plants from my garden, food in my fridge, or anything else that is mine. Do you own all the cows, sheep, chicken and farm animal raised for food in this country, that omnivores are stealing your possessions for their dinner? No. Do you own all the fish and sea creatures that omnivores are catching to eat, that they are stealing your possessions for their dinner? No. And you are incorrect that there is no distinction between pets and animals raised for food. There are very clear, legal distinctions. What’s that you say? Those are artificial, man-made differences? Yes, they are. So is wearing clothes vs. going around naked in public. So are most of the underpinnings of our life in the modern world. Now, if you want to raise your OWN “pets” to eat, by all means, have a go at it. You will find, however, that in most States, those artificial legal distinctions will fall on your head if you do so. It’s sad to see what a deficient diet does to the human brain.

            • I was not responding to you. I was responding to the wacko (go) that made a ridiculous comparison between eating meat from animals raised for that purpose and acquired legally to the criminal act of kidnapping and murdering people’s pets to eat them. And, yes, that comment was a prime example of lack of logic and non-equivalence. I claim no responsibility for the comment board placing comments in the wrong spot.

              • Deanna, brilliant stuff, unfortunately your audience is not of a mind to use it only repeatedly try and poke holes in it.

                Annie Laurie, the rationalizing diversion lunatic, does not know the concept of a thought experiment. Designed to point out the incredible hypocrisy of petting your friends and eating the ones you don’t “own”, legally. All in the name of phantom nutrient needs.

                • Poor Goo doesn’t know the difference between rational and rationalizing. I suppose it was a “thought experiment” that brought Goo to the conclusion that humans are “biological frugivores”. In science, we can turn “thought experiments” into actual experiments, wherein we test our conjectures against the real world, dispassionately and honestly. If the data refute our conjectures, we cheerfully and rationally abandon them and seek a better alternative. Some folks rationalize away the data and cling to their fantasies.

    • “And, researchers have noted many omnivores have too high omega-6 to omega3 ratios not conducive to optimal health.”

      The high omega 6 level is most probably due to consumption of vegetable oils not animal products.

    • Those dieticians that you mentioned promote vegan propaganda and have been known to cherry pick on information on papers while ignoring the whole gist of the paper. Dr Gregar is one of them. He has been heavily criticized by the science community many times that he only picks to promote his theories. Instead of just relying on what their information, have you researched on other papers on healthy omnivorous diets? It will give you a better more none bias view.

      Dr Mcdougall and his theory of pure white rice and white sugar to cure diabetes. Tell that to any diabetic doctor or endocrinologist and they will probably flip. Dr Ornish himself also failed to show 2 studies done on over a hundred individuals that his diet is in fact not superior to other diets like the weight watchers or Atkins.

      http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/207088
      http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/205916
      http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/200094

      I’m not keen on reading up on websites or books of gurus who promote vegan propaganda. I am only interested in reading real scientific papers because they are more reliable though they sometimes can be occasionally be biased too but at least its been vetted by the Journal’s panel before being published and its scientific evidence till it is debunk. And are also conducted by scientists with a neutral mentality.

      When it comes to diet, overconsumption of food is the problem not the food itself. Your theory on eggs really needs to be relooked as it is already widespread information that they are more healthy than you imagine as long as you don’t overconsume. They might be high in certain nutrients like omega 6 but they are also high in other nutrition that our body needs like vitamin A, B12, D and E as with other trace cofactors. Same goes with fish and diary.

      Meat is also demonized I don’t know why when the best source of iron comes from animals because our body can absorb heme iron better than non-heme iron. This is at least a well known fact in SE Asia as we give nursing mothers chicken liver to eat during their confinement to replenish iron due to blood loss.

      I trust scientific studies and my own body. Carbs especially grains like rice, wheat or grains in general prevalent in vegetarian or vegan diets wrecked havoc on my body. I tried vegetarian once hoping to heal myself but nope I got weaker and eventually anemic. I then went low carb, ate lots of vegetables and healthy amounts of meat, diary eggs did my health became good and got even better now. Even the doctor told my prediabetic mother in law to stop eating grains

  26. Chuckle…
    Does anyone ever wonder if any of these “authorities” or their minions have ever practiced a plant based diet with the intention to be as healthy as possible? It seems like they talk a fair game about studies; all these studies (which seem to change like the wind) and all of their perceived pitfalls with such conviction; almost like they have experienced any of the negative effects they seem so afraid of. It also appears that in fact the main tone is fear. They spread it like the Nazis did regarding jews. They promote death through propaganda. If they have not in fact participated in such a practice and have not in fact experienced any of their reported negative experiences they are in fact spreading propaganda which promotes the enslavement, rape, murder and dismemberment of others due to fears which are not actually validated by themselves. Nazis did this as we are all aware. I’m waiting for one of these dead animal gurus to report exactly how much dead animal we need to eat to be healthy. Then we can “know” exactly how many animal to murder without eating 1 milligram more than that amount due to the fact that we like the taste. It seems most do not realize there is a difference between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge being the pure aquisition of information and wisdom meaning the KNOWING of such information. Knowledge is easy to obtain but wisdom requires the effort that most would forego. They set up belief systems based on aquired knowledge rather than discerned wisdom and never move beyond their blind and untested beliefs, toward wisdom. Fear is behind these folks and they want you to be just as afraid as they are so they can make money off of you. I am amused that at this point in time (it’s 2016 I think lol) we are remotely driving around rovers on Mars and still have places called slaughter houses, mothers grind up dead animals to feed to their babies, folks dress up in their best to sit down to a meal of carcasses and on the most special of occasions inflict massive amounts of extra death and suffering so all can participate in what clearly can only be considered pure gluttony. Hmm interesting. Slaughter and slavery are for sure not a way forward regardless of the past which is 100% uncertain and unable to be proven. It seems like the only thing that can be proven is that many different people from many different places throughout many different time periods ate many different things with many levels of success; proving that the the human body (the most amazing machine the world has ever known) is highly inteligent and adaptive. Logic would bring one to the next point which is with what would you fuel a highly inteligent and adaptive machine:
    A: tortured dead animal parts
    B: an inteligent mixture of “gifts” from our inteligent planet.
    Dead animals are not gifts. Gifts are things that are given and come in brightly colored packages and that do not try to defend themselves and their young when you go to take them. You know gifts like the kind you don’t have to steal because otherwise you are a thief and I think we all know how we feel about thievery. Eat a consciously planned gift based diet and KNOW how healthy it is. You will then not be a thief but a healthy recipient of the beautiful gifts that the earth/source/god/whatever has bestowed upon us and you will have no choice but to be healthy. In turn you are returning the gifts back to the earth/source/god/whatever by not defiling her. There is no defense for eating dead animals. You either live with the land and need to eat them which requires no defence because you are a part of the natural order or you are some combination of fearful, ignorant and narsasistic which additionally requires no defense because one can not defend that in which one does not possess. Blessings and happy eating

    • I wouldn’t use such harsh words, but I, too disagree with the article. Those interested in the full story of these supposed deficiencies in the vegan diet should check out Proteinaholic by Dr. Garth Davis. Talk about eye opening and backed by tons of legitimate research!

        • There’s tons of eye opening, legitimate research out there that supports Chris Kresser’s views. We believe what we want to believe. We read what confirms our views. It’s called confirmation bias. It doesn’t prove that what we believe is true and it doesn’t prove that we’re right.

          It seems like vegans come to this website not to learn something and give it a thought, but solely to disagree with the views expressed here and to reassure each other that they’re right and Chris Kresser, the research he quotes and anyone who agrees with him are not. What a waste of time, don’t you think?

            • Ah, well, if it’s “demonstrably false. Period.” then I think we don’t have anything to talk about. You’ve settled the science. And to prove that you point me to Vegan Gains – are you kidding me? That YouTube troll, well known for his aggressive outbursts directed at anyone who doesn’t agree with him? Not the best advocate for your cause.

              Btw, he obsesses about Kresser being acupuncturist. What is he? A Prof. Dr. of human biology?

              • I see that you are incapable or unwilling to contemplate facts, logic, evidence presented , instead resorting to absurd ad hominem. (strange how chris says rich roll is successful vegan, but apparently the only one on the planet, and his diet is just so very very difficult – while chris sells supplements for his perfect diet on his website. lulz. eat your animals for god’s sake, just stop trying to rationalize it, it’s embarrassing how people contort themselves .

                • Point me to where Chris says that his diet is perfect for everyone. Thank you.

                  Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe vegans don’t live supplement free or do they?

                  As for capabilities and willingness or lack thereof etc. – right back at ya!

                  Ad hominem attacks and consumption of meat… Yes, looking at the aggression Vegan Gains is known for and the offensive comments meted out by vegans in this forum alone I can understand that you’d assume someone who isn’t aggressive or offensive but merely points out the facts is an omnivore.

                  And this time you’d be right.

                  And if you’d assume that their decision to be an omnivore were based on what they’ve learned about human biology during their studies and decades long scientific career in this field you’d be right again.

                  Please let’s finish this conversation here. Cheers.

                • One supp is needed. One. Big deal. It doesn’t matter how long you studied it matters what you studied. Vegans only seem rude because they grow tired of the nonsense . the reason diet is so confusing is because of the original error. Cooking . if you don’t cook, what to eat is obvious and automatic just like all other animals.

                • Diet is not confusing. People knew instinctively for millennia what to eat. They ate everything they could put their hands on and that didn’t kill them. They found ways to make the most precious foods and the nutrients contained in them available to them. They went to great lengths to obtain those foods.

                  Vegans don’t seem rude – they are. They’re highly offensive in their assertions that anyone who doesn’t agree with them must be an ignorant moron, who never think about their choices in life and just mindlessly do something because they don’t know and don’t want to know any better. Unlike vegans who state ‘I don’t care what you say, you won’t convince me’? Who don’t even contemplate ‘contemplating facts’ if those don’t agree with their believes.

                  Ok, so more than 30 years of studying and practice is not enough for you. However you’d give me credit for medicine (gastroenterology), human biology and biochemistry? Or are those the wrong disciplines to be in any way qualified to chime in?

                • Vegans do that because meat eating apologists end up leaving the discussion rather than facing facts. No your studies have nothing to do with finding the correct diet.

                • You want to convince vegans of what? They actually do it healthfully and the only fallback to the naysayers is to claim that we’re all different or “genetics” . It’s denial of experiential data, rationalization and food addiction from the animal eating promoters. Even Chris admits it’s possible to do healthfully but then comes up with all kinds of excuses to minimize it or say how difficult it is because he personally couldn’t figure it out.

              • this is what passes for science for most people – “I didn’t do well on X diet, therefore X diet sucks” . I mean , you couldn’t have possibly done ANYTHING WRONG on your “vegan” diet, right chris? alex jamieson didn’t do anything wrong on her diet either! incredible.

                • Do you mean ve*ans who say that the fact they feel better without animal products, because those made them feel heavy and bloated is proof that being ve*an is the healthiest way to live? You see, had they known anything about human physiology and digestion they’d have thought of the possibility of simply having low stomach acid. But they didn’t and so they did meat eating wrong.

                • A vegan diet cannot sustain human life for MOST people without supplementation…This in itself should be an indication that it is not the best diet for most of us.

                • The vegan diet IS suitable for virtually everyone with the addition of b12. And that is ONLY because our cultural environment is relatively sterile.

          • Actually, I don’t even necessarily consider myself a “true” vegan at this point. I thought Paleo, WAPF and the like had some good points, but felt a lot of guilt about animal products.

            I happened to watch Forks Over Knives only recently, and decided to look into it all further. I picked up Proteinaholic at the library on a whim. It wasn’t even the book I was looking for.

            He points out why a lot of “studies” are not scientifically sound. I highly recommend the book for anyone, vegan or not. However, I think most people would have a hard time continuing to consume animal products after reading it!

            So, I came to this website to see if there was something that is lacking in the vegan diet, and see that it’s the same misinformation that I’ve read for years and, unfortunately, believed.

          • I wish I could do without meat. But in my case is purely humanitarian aspect, love of animals. I tried it once for 8 weeks and I really didn’t feel well.
            I am not a big meat eater, 2-3 times a week chicken, occasionally pork and fish. Steaks, never.Too hard to digest.
            And at age 64 I feel quilty( eating meat).Try to eat balanced diet, drinking protein shakes, taking fish oil and few other supplements, only almond milk…..well in my age I have no issues, no medications and my MRI scan says , better neurologist, my brain looks 20 years younger then my chronological age.
            But reading these comments, vegetarians and mainly vegans.They are so defensive, argumentative almost rude.They are like far left political party and nothing in this world would convince them to think about all aspects.They just don’t want to hear it!
            Live and let others live.Whatever works for you!

              • The most amazing benefit of the vegan diet is the way it gives its practitioners the ability to make medical diagnoses of a person’s problems from her brief comment on an Internet forum. No need for physical exam, medical history, lab tests and all that science-y stuff.

                • That was a comment that accurately reflects the vegan response to anyone that states that a vegan diet did not help their health problem. If a vegan diet isn’t working for you, it’s because YOU are doing it wrong. Now, that is a lame diagnostic. It couldn’t be because vegan diets don’t work for everyone (a fact that even so-called vegan experts acknowledge). Veganism has sadly become a cult. It is an unnatural eating pattern, and a relatively recent one at that.

                • Yes in the vast majority of cases people do it wrong . I have demonstrated this countless times in real world examples. And of course u still ignore the ramifications of the statements of all nutritional orgs and u fail to respond to the critique of kresser that I posted. So typical avoidance as I said. And typical rhetoric about the 1 percent that have a genetic issue and even those can be managed. Carnivory is a cult, sadly, with endless apologists.

                • It is silly vegan name-calling to speak of “carnivory” when discussing human diets. There are vegan sites, books and articles that call humans that include animal products in their diets “blood-mouthed carnivores”. Are such over-the-top histrionics considered normal in your circle? Humans are omnivorous — not carnivorous, not herbivorous. Yes, even the Arctic peoples are omnivores. Omnivory is Nature’s “cult”, a dietary lifeway arrived at by 2,500,000 years of successful human evolution. Yet a very tiny group of humans are advocating an unnatural diet with a very short history. You throw out figures like “1%” of people needing animal products — that is another example of vegan “pop science”. We have learned more about human nutritional needs in the last decade than we knew during the previous century. We’ve even “discovered” nutrients vital to human health that were unrecognized even 20-30 years ago. The fact is that we still do not know what percentage of people will suffer ill-health if they lack certain nutrients, how many have trouble absorbing certain nutrients from certain sources, and how much our abilities to absorb/synthesize certain nutrients changes with age and other conditions. But some vegans are smug enough to pretend they have all the answers. Again, all can advise them is to “get science”.

                • you’re still going?

                  >It is silly vegan name-calling to speak of “carnivory” when discussing human diets.

                  I am aware of the fact that humans are not carnivores. I used the word in reference to the activity. when eating animals, humans are acting in a carnivorous manner. humans are not omnivorous. humans are biological frugivores. we are only able to ACT as omnivores via the act of cooking, which should tell you something, but apparently it does not.

                  >>There are vegan sites, books and articles that call humans that include animal products in their diets “blood-mouthed carnivores”. Are such over-the-top histrionics considered normal in your circle?

                  I would suggest that you spend less time talking about your opinion of vegans “attitudes”. it’s pointless and diversionary as I have already told you. you have avoided the ADA position, the video, ginny messinas article, etc. and that is because there is no argument against them other than for you to say “vegan propaganda” , “evolution”, and “not 100% of people can go vegan”.

                  >>We have learned more about human nutritional needs in the last decade than we knew during the previous century. We’ve even “discovered” nutrients vital to human health that were unrecognized even 20-30 years ago. The fact is that we still do not know what percentage of people will suffer ill-health if they lack certain nutrients, how many have trouble absorbing certain nutrients from certain sources, and how much our abilities to absorb/synthesize certain nutrients changes with age and other conditions. But some vegans are smug enough to pretend they have all the answers. Again, all can advise them is to “get science”.

                  until you can get specific, there’s nothing to discuss. it’s just fearmongering on your part.

                • Oh, for goodness sake! Biological frugivores! I guess no-one told the Inuits and the Maasai.

                  It boggles my mind that in this day and age people spout this sort of nonsense and feel their ‘knowledge’ is superior. It doesn’t bode well for our species. How did we ever make it to the moon?

                  We’ve become omnivores because of cooking? There is plenty of non-plant foods that can be consumed raw like honey, dairy, various kinds of seafood and fish and also meat. Plenty of vegetables that can be eaten raw. And there is fruit that requires cooking or other sort of preparation to make it palatable.

                  Please, go and learn something – anything! – about human physiology. Also, I recommend to you the history of humanity. It will show you that none of the old, ‘primitive’ cultures, not one of them was vegan. They weren’t even vegetarian. They all valued animal foods highly and went to great lengths to obtain them. Although they were ‘primitive’ they obviously knew more about health and nutrition than you, the ‘biological frugivore’.

                  You can afford to be vegan because of the privilege of living here and now.

                  AnnieLaurie Burke, I don’t know why you still engage with this person. You surely know the old saying about the horse – was it? – that you can lead to the water, but you can’t make it drink?

                • >>Oh, for goodness sake! Biological frugivores! I guess no-one told the Inuits and the Maasai.

                  omg, you’re an idiot.
                  what the hell do inuits and masai have to do with our digestive system? the fact that the masai drink blood means they are suddenly bloodivores? all you paleos ever do is put out exceptions and think it means something.

                  >It boggles my mind that in this day and age people spout this sort of nonsense and feel their ‘knowledge’ is superior.

                  what nonsense?

                  >We’ve become omnivores because of cooking?

                  yes

                  >There is plenty of non-plant foods that can be consumed raw like
                  honey, (not easily acquired)
                  dairy, (go suck on a cow then, unnatural)
                  various kinds of seafood and fish and also meat.
                  difficult for humans to catch and eat and digest and not attractive for our senses.

                  Plenty of vegetables that can be eaten raw.
                  (you don’t even know what a frugivore is! you think it’s exclusively fruit? and you call me ignorant? )

                  >And there is fruit that requires cooking or other sort of preparation to make it palatable.

                  then it shouldn’t be eaten! duh!
                  what’s that got to do with frugivore?

                  >Please, go and learn something – anything! – about human physiology. Also, I recommend to you the history of humanity.

                  I am well versed in it.

                  >It will show you that none of the old, ‘primitive’ cultures, not one of them was vegan. They weren’t even vegetarian.

                  some were some weren’t

                  > They all valued animal foods highly and went to great lengths to obtain them.

                  because they moved out of their original climate zone or insufficient proper food available.

                  >Although they were ‘primitive’ they obviously knew more about health and nutrition than you, the ‘biological frugivore’.

                  not likely

                  >You can afford to be vegan because of the privilege of living here and now.

                  true.

                  and you can afford to not be vegan by being cowardly and having someone else kill your animals.

                • I am convinced vegans like the ones that are screaming here are totally nuts. There is no logical communication with them.

                • Or you are brainwashed! You are like a member of a cult!
                  And you are totally rude.

                  Makes me want to do eat some animals and all their babies.

                • When I see such foolishness as “biological frugivore” , my 45+ years as a scientist compel me to comment. Not for the sake of convincing “GO” (old saw says the hardest person to argue with is the one that has no idea what he is talking about), but for the sake of other people reading the comments. There are people that are very sincere in their beliefs about being/becoming vegan, and such nonsense as thinking they evolved to eat fruit, at worst, might lead them to a deficient diet, and, at best, will make them look ignorant if they discuss human nutrition with others. Honestly, I cannot understand the vitriol directed at Chris for this article. He tried to point out the potential downsides of vegan diets so that people could educate themselves and take steps to avoid those if they choose a vegan lifestyle.

                • Some people just have a strange need to be right and to convince others that their right. They voice their opinions (because it ain’t knowledge) with religious fervor. They are immune to any rational argument. They can’t be helped. Oh, well… I understand your concern, but it really is not worth it getting upset about it.

                • There goes the silly pseudo-science again. An animal may be eating a certain food at a certain time, but that does not change his nature or his classification as omnivore/herbivore/carnivore. So when my cat chews on some catnip leaves, she’s an herbivore? Get real. She remains an obligate carnivore regardless of how much grass she nibbles. Humans are NOT frugivores. A fruitarian diet is lacking in many nutrients humans require. I’ve seldom heard even the most ardent vegans recommend a fruitarian diet. We evolved as omnivores. All evidence from evolutionary biology, genetics, and anthropology support the omnivorous nature of humans, as does our physiology. Even our closest relatives, the bonobos and chimpanzees, are omnivores. More intensive study in the last two decades of those primates have shown the importance of hunting (meat acquisition) in their groups. If you want references, check out any anthropology and/or evolutionary biology textbook, treatise, study, etc. There are literally thousands of them, with hard scientific evidence of hunting and meat eating from the earliest members of the genus Homo.

                • >>>There goes the silly pseudo-science again. An animal may be eating a certain food at a certain time, but that does not change his nature or his classification as omnivore/herbivore/carnivore. So when my cat chews on some catnip leaves, she’s an herbivore? Get real.

                  all of the above is absurd as I have never made that claim.

                  >Humans are NOT frugivores. A fruitarian diet is lacking in many nutrients humans require.

                  you, and Agatha don’t even know what a frugivore is.
                  ” It can be any type of herbivore or omnivore where fruit is a preferred food type.”

                  NOT EXCLUSIVELY FRUIT!
                  fruit and other plant parts.

                  and there are no nutrients lacking except maybe b12 and as I have already said, that’s only because we live in sterile environment.

                  I am aware that we have eaten animal foods. has nothing to do with what I am saying.

                  even if we have never eaten fully vegan or frugivore it is still the best diet for today for a multitude of reasons.

                • You did say, “when eating animals, humans are acting in a carnivorous manner. ” No, we are acting in an omnivorous manner, because omnivores eat both plant and animal foods. When we eat various foods, we are not alternating between carnivory and herbivory. That’s semantic drivel. And you are incorrect. Frugivore is defined as an animal that eats fruit as it’s main dietary component. You cannot change the meaning of terms to create your own word salad. Now you are saying that, even if humans did not evolve as frugivores/herbivores, that’s still our ideal diet because … reasons? Please, get science. You are embarrassing yourself.

                • >>>And you are incorrect. Frugivore is defined as an animal that eats fruit as it’s main dietary component. You cannot change the meaning of terms to create your own word salad.

                  YOU are the one who was implying that frugivore was ONLY FRUIT and there were nutrients missing! so was agatha.

                  so stop lying.

                  >Now you are saying that, even if humans did not evolve as frugivores/herbivores, that’s still our ideal diet because … reasons? Please, get science. You are embarrassing yourself.

                  such condescension from a non vegan? for shame.

                  1. foods that are not plants have negative consequences for humans, especially if cooked. yes i am aware that some plants have neg conseq that’s why they should be avoided also.

                  2. all species eat foods based on their physiology and digestion in the raw state. following that directive we automatically go towards plants as we do not have the capacity to acquire and digest animals foods efficiently.
                  3. there are many other reasons with respect to uricase and other enzymes, etc.

                  humans are in a unique situation due to movement away from ideal climate, cooking and other factors, but many many factors indicate that plant based and as raw as possible is best for health.

                  why don’t you take some time and provide some POSITIVE input if you wish this to continue and describe your specific diet and why you choose it.

                • Frugivore is a noun that describes any chiefly fruit-eating organism, so no, humans are not frugivores.
                  Contrary to your assertion humans are perfectly capable to acquire and digest animal foods including meat. They’re also perfectly fine with eating cooked foods.

                • >>Frugivore is a noun that describes any chiefly fruit-eating organism, so no, humans are not frugivores.

                  you are in a bounded area. in that area is you, a nest of bees in a tree, fruit hanging from trees, some other plants, some bitter some not bitter, tubers, squirrels, cows, birds, nests with eggs.

                  you tell me what you would eat.
                  you gonna eat the cow? the honey?
                  tubers? birds, eggs? you gonna steal the poor babies from the mother birds, when there’s fruit and leaves and celery freely available?
                  (answer:you would be frugivorous)

                  of course in our current environment with weapons and cooking we eat just about anything. and what health has that given most of us? no, it’s not just junk food that causes ill health.

                  >Contrary to your assertion humans are perfectly capable to acquire and digest animal foods including meat.

                  mostly with tools and weapons. children are not attracted to eating bloody animals or most other animal foods. only through culture do we accept it.

                  >They’re also perfectly fine with eating cooked foods.

                  there is nothing perfectly fine about the health of humans while eating cooked food. and many people have demonstrated the benefits of moving from cooked to raw diets. the whole problem with cooked is that it enables us to eat things we wouldn’t normally eat, and this creates problems. of course we do it to survive as survival is better than not survival.

                • you would eat the hooey? did you mean honey?
                  see what happens when a logical situation is presented and it conflicts with your dearly held beliefs?
                  you run away.

                • Hooey, poppycock, hokum, bunk – look it up in a dictionary.

                  No, the problem is there is no logical anything in what you write and I’m not going to waste my time trying to convince you to give science a chance, because that’s not gonna happen, right? I mean, you’ve been arguing your case here for what, two years now? I guess, it would be un-vegan to give rational thought a… well, a thought.

                • Indeed. Some anthropologists and evolutionary biologists hypothesize those two factors (adding meat with its more readily assimilated nutrients, and cooking, which made some plant nutrients more bioavailable) contributed to the rapid relative growth of the human brain and enabled us to become modern humans more rapidly.

                • That has to be your most ignorant comment yet. Various nutrients do, indeed, vary in how readily assimilable they are, depending on their source, the co-factors which naturally occur with them in a given food, etc. Do a little research on plant vs. animal-sourced omega-3s, heme iron vs. plant iron, etc. Are you quite daft? This has been established science for decades. You are working hard on destroying any shred of credibility you still have. That, and your use of yourself as an example of the efficacy of your dietary recommendations, ought to give pause to anyone still taking your comments seriously.

                • You were trying to claim advantages to eating animal food due to being more assimilable and you are clueless as diet must take in all factors not individual factors. And Excess iron, which often occurs on animal diets is a bad thing not a good thing. Finally, and I do mean finally, you claimed insufficiency and I used myself as an example to refute your generalist claim. Of course insufficiency CAN occur, but it can occur on any diet and EXCESS , which nobody seems to recognize, occurs more frequently on animal food diets, hence kidney and other organic problems. Adios.

                • More nonscientific nonsense from “some Internet guy”. And your “citation” is a youtube video. We don’t need no stinkin’ peer-reviewed technical journals….

                • Your post consists of disingenuous blather, misrepresenting what other commenters said. But the one, rare interesting phrase in there is: “such condescension from a non vegan? for shame.” It appears you think it’s OK, then, for vegans to be condescending. And, indeed, many of them are, as evidenced by some of the comments in response to this article. But raw fruitarians must be in a class by themselves. Out of one side of your mouths, you make a distorted appeal to evolutionary biology. Out of the other side, you reject it completely. So, yes, please get science. Real science. Not fantasy “science”. You want shame? How about the knowledge that anyone naive enough to follow your advice could end up with severe deficiencies, not to mention bacterial food poisoning?

                • “such condescension from a non vegan? for shame.” It appears you think it’s OK, then, for vegans to be condescending.

                  no, I was merely stating something that you would claim vegans do and turning it around to you since you were exhibiting that behavior that you claim vegans are guilty of. get it?

                  see? you just did it below, but it’s ok for you to do it.

                  >> And, indeed, many of them are, as evidenced by some of the comments in response to this article.

                  >>But raw fruitarians must be in a class by themselves. Out of one side of your mouths, you make a distorted appeal to evolutionary biology.

                  fruitarian not equal to frugivore
                  the appeal is real, not distorted, you must be wearing prisms instead of glasses.

                  >Out of the other side, you reject it completely.

                  yet another false statement.

                  >So, yes, please get science. Real science. Not fantasy “science”. You want shame? How about the knowledge that anyone naive enough to follow your advice could end up with severe deficiencies, not to mention bacterial food poisoning?

                  ooh, scary. funny how I have no deficiencies and have had nutritional testing done, 30 years not long enough i guess.

                  so you’ve decided not to offer anything positive?

                  tell me about these deficiencies, is it the typical broscience? dha, vitamin K, blah blah?

                • You did say, “when eating animals, humans are acting in a carnivorous manner. ” No, we are acting in an omnivorous manner, because omnivores eat both plant and animal foods. When we eat various foods, we are not alternating between carnivory and herbivory. That’s semantic drivel. And you are incorrect. Frugivore is defined as an animal that eats fruit as its main dietary component. You cannot change the meaning of terms to create your own word salad. Now you are saying that, even if humans did not evolve as frugivores/herbivores, that’s still our ideal diet because … reasons? Please, get science. You are embarrassing yourself.

                • Too true : )

                  Eva, do what works for you. Vegan doesn’t and that’s all right and not at all surprising. It has nothing to do with you doing it wrong. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. No need for steaks. Organ meats and cheaper cuts like beef cheeks or osso bucco, that have to be slow cooked are much better – they cheaper, they tastier and richer in nutrients than muscle meat. I’d do that instead of pork and add a bit more fish, 2-3 times a week if you can get wild caught fish instead of farmed and if you can afford it. As for chicken – I hope this includes chicken broth.

                • for example:

                  “Try to eat balanced diet, drinking protein shakes, taking fish oil and few other supplements, only almond milk”

                  No. not even close.

                  joe science

                • That does not make sense in relation to my comment. But, with very little tweaking, it sounds just like the vegan universal prescription (with my comments on parentheses): “Eat a balanced plant-based diet, get your protein only from plant sources, take B-12, and use flaxseed for omega 3s, use only almond or soy milk because animal milks are ‘bad for you’ (nice quantitative term there). Man is the only animal that drinks the milk of other species (not true, but makes a good sound byte)”. Man is also the only animal that cooks its food, wears clothes or publishes books, so lets get rid of those unnatural perversions, too — they must be “bad for you”.

                • You’ve learned well from kresser and Rogan. You think that just saying vegans believe x is an argument.

                • I guess a vegan diet may also impair one’s reading comprehension. I didn’t say “vegans believe x”. I merely noted the very common vegan dietary prescription, the very common vegan tendency to blame anyone’s ability to thrive on a vegan diet on the person, and the very common vegan habit of making medical diagnoses of a person’s dietary issues from a brief comment on Internet blogs. Not all vegans do this, of course, but a great many do. One has only to read the comments on this article to see that. And I forgot to mention, the very common vegan habit of attributing the content of other commenters’ comments to authors the vegan does not like. You have absolutely no idea whatsoever where I have acquired my knowledge of human nutrition, nor do you have any idea of the content of said knowledge. Remember what “they” say about assumptions….

                • You’re boring and ranting and of course avoiding. Bottom line ,for many reasons humans can and should get as close to vegan as they can and stop the lame excuses and pay attention to those who make it work, instead of following dumb advice like ingesting oils or thinking ur gonna be protein deficient.

                • I’m boring? I suppose you think your silly ad hominem attacks and rejection of logic and science make you the most exciting thing to ever come down the pike. I don’t find ignorance and arrogance particularly exciting. Veganism has sadly become a proselytizing cult. People that follow other dietary regimes are content to seek their own health goals, share experiences if asked, and acknowledge that others have the same right to seek what works best for them. Many vegans feel compelled to announce their philosophy to one and all, insist it is the one true faith, ignore their part in animal suffering and environmental degradation, reject the wisdom of 2.5 million years of human evolution, and assert that they are right “and that’s it”. It would be amusing if it were not so pitiful and harmful.

                • As I noted previously, and as you continue to substantiate, you have a reading comprehension problem. Obviously I am not avoiding you. I continue to respond to your off-topic and insulting posts, in the possibly vain hope that you will address the issues raised in the article, and those germane to same by other commenters.

                • You post links to biased, unscientific vegan propaganda and expect that will suffice in lieu of science. But you don’t consider that to be “game playing”. Amazing. To begin with, it is disingenuous to label the points in the article as “Kresser claims”. There are no “Kresser claims”. Chris has posted links and citations to the studies from which the points in his article are drawn.

                • you REFUSE to address the points made!
                  you talk about the source even though scientific studies and logic are presented in the video!

                  either didn’t even watch the video, or are incapable of critiquing it.

                  either way, you have fulfilled my original prescription as a serial avoider.

                  take care and have a great life.

                • “Stalking”??? Do you understand what that term means? What silly, overblown drama and paranoia! Perhaps there was something to that article after all. This is a comment forum for registered members, of which I am one. You implicitly agree, when you post, that anyone that is a member can reply. That is the format in which comments are noticed to members. Surely you do not expect that being rude and overbearing will bully other members into silence, no matter what insults or erroneous information you post? This is yet another example of the pattern other commenters have noted — some vegans want to pretend that, if non-vegans respond to their dogma, they are being attacked.

                • that was a joke. see the smiley? of course you did, you just wanted to go on another rant . you animal eaters are so angry! see I can generalize too! now stay in character, and continue to not respond to the SUBSTANCE of the video i posted or the link to the ADA position on veganism or anything else. are we done yet?

                • What makes you think I’m angry? I could be having a blast needling overwrought vegans. Many of them are thin-skinned (it’s probably the lack of B12, D3, DHA and such). But it’s for a good cause, to push for more logic, rigor and science in their arguments. Not “we are healthier and that’s it”.

        • “Vegetarians are healthier and thats (sic) it”. Gee, what an illuminating use of scientific evidence and grammar wreckage to boot! Not to offend the religious, but this is like that bumper sticker that asserts “God said it, I believe it, and that’s it”. That my be a valid sentiment about faith, but is not acceptable when it comes to human physiology. While some vegetarians, and some vegans in particular, claim they are being harassed by omnivores, in actuality, it is their smug, cultish, faith-not-science-based assertions about their supposedly superior lifestyle that triggers some of the responses they receive. First, there is no hard scientific evidence that vegetarians are healthier than omnivores. Next, a vegetarian lifestyle does NOT eliminate animal suffering — research the wildlife and habitat destruction caused by agriculture (palm oil, anyone?). But what is most sadly amusing to many of the scientists among us is their arrogance in rejecting the wisdom of 2.5 million years of human evolution. Can a person be healthy on a vegetarian or a vegan diet? Probably. But no one is going to arrive at that goal by citing opinions such as “thats it”, nor dubious references such as “Cowspiracy” and other such unscientific foolishness. Kresser has tried to identify potential problem areas in a vegetarian diet (based on science), and offer some suggestions for avoiding those (again, based on science). If some folks would rather accept the unsupported assertions of a self-proclaimed “vegan-expert-on-the-Internet” in lieu of science, I sincerely hope she does not run into dietary deficiencies as a result.

          • And the “problems with omnivory”? Do you want me to write a book on that? No it’s always veganism. Do you know why? Because people think the rdas are carved in stone. Classic

  27. Hi Chris,
    I want to know about cruciferous-vegetable-extract. I have an important question. My father is 70 years old. His Total Testosterone is 343 & Free T is 10. Estrogen level = 20.

    I want to increase his T levels but I am worried that taking your above product might not reduce the estrogen levels too much. As you mentioned optimum levels for estrogen is between 21-30 and too less(less than 18) and too much- both are bad. So I am afraid his levels might not reduce below 18.

    Can you please provide your opinion on the above question asked so that I can get clear. It’s quite urgent.

    Thanks a lot.

  28. Here is some empirical evidence. 48% population in India are Vegetarian… Average life expectancy for the past 3-4 years 66!!! Before that 40-50.
    Lol @yoga and @eating grass! Centenairians all eat mixed diet. And if you get the chance to meet one… Common thread is activity / out in the sun / animal protein portions with almost all meals. Ps I live in Japan. I’ve personally never met a healthy vegetarian… Pretty feeble non energetic tend to be little mentally unbalanced and biased. You might like the grass bandwagon for the last 1-3 years let’s see your health when you do 5 years plus+. Protein salad should be a new trend! Beef / fish / eggs / pork / cheese.

    • While I hold no firm position either way on the matter, I did want to mention that the number you ascribed to vegetarian Indians seems suspiciously similar to the life expectancy numbers for Indians on the whole (66). According to random google searches, only about 30% of Indians are vegetarian, therefore, I was curious if you are sure your data corresponds to them, or if you were just talking about Indians on the whole; on the whole, there is a lot of corruption and poverty in India so…without controlling for confounding factors such as those I am not sure how relevant dietary data could be obtained.

      However, oddly, there are studies with 7th day Adventists indicating that those group of vegetarians have lifespans on average exceeding the norm. However, there again – confounding factors as these people are farm oriented, don’t drink, and most likely get a good deal of physical activity (and perhaps have a healthier psychological outlook than most).

      At any rate, I don’t know many centurions but, I do know a person who lived to 95 and, he made the comment that it’s not the quantity of your years, but the quality. I personally hold no position as to what dietary choices lead to highest quality, but, it seemingly is something overlooked entirely by some in favor of a number.

      • Thank you, Alice, for pointing out at least two factors that may render many opinions on the vegan-vs.-omnivore longevity debate moot: first, none of the studies cited to support either side adequately deals with confounding (non-dietary) factors; and second, some of these confounding factors may ultimately have more to do with longevity than any specific dietary regimen.

      • Agree health span and quality of life, top priority. Good news! the centenarians of Blue Zones, also enjoy lengthy health span and high quality of life in twilight years, not just increased longevity. These people eat a range of plant-based diets, from 90-100% plant based. The animal sourced food is typically fish, and small backyard animal foods: chicken, special occasion stewed pork, with fat skimmed off, and organic eggs.

        Dairy and beef are notably absent or, for dairy, in small amounts in fermented form: yogurt or cheese, not milk.

        • Agree. I would go with the very compelling evidence offered up by Blue Zones. Modern day folks living healthily and happily into their late 90s or 100s. Isn’t the end goal of any so-called “life style” or “diet” (paleo, primal, or otherwise)?
          I tried primal over the last 12 months and it failed me on the autoimmune promise. Admittedly, I sabotaged myself with too much cow dairy and likely too much suspect/non-organic meats. At least with Blue Zones, there is limited/no cow dairy and limited/low meat consumption to short-circuit things.

    • I have lived in Japan for over ten years and was not active and was over weight for most of that time. I see and hear of quite a few people dying here at around 60 from cancer which I think is related to ever worsening diets. You observing “Pretty feeble non energetic tend to be little mentally unbalanced and biased” people (vegetarians?) I’d call your bias myself. At least if you’re applying averages as in your disconnected observations of Indians. Yes, Japan’s famous level of health and longevity is collapsing and if you’re making comparison then use statistics which are closer to (your current) home instead of India and talk about your reality. There is plenty of empirical evidence suggesting the excess meat Japanese people are tending to add into their diet is in parallel with their diminishing lifespans. Now that I’ve learned to take a more rational approach to health and as you say become active, fit, educated about nutrition and even vegan I have a much healthier outlook and am able to be more rational in my day to day life. As the earlier commenter said I’m going for quality of life.

      • Hi Colin,
        I’m afraid I must take partial responsibility for Reezy’s digression about the Indians…I originally brought up that tangent because I read about it in many vegetarian circles, not as a counter argument, but usually as an argument that a vegetarian diet can be healthy for a large group of people. So I too would be guilty of looking abroad rather than close to home for empirical evidence. At any rate, I’m also very impressed with the Japanese longevity – particularly because it seemed to rebound even despite Hiroshima and what I’m imagining was pretty severe residual radiation. I know they are a heavily pescatarian culture…or were…and, I’m wondering how this will pan out with Fukashima being there. From my limited perspective, it seems like a lot of their health benefits probably derived from eating a largely plant based, but also pescatarian diet, but that this is no longer feasible due to oceanic contamination. Anyway, I’m not a big proponent of any one dietary choice, although obviously vegan is most ethical in terms of moral and ecological perspectives. On a tangent, since we’re struggling with secondary infertility, I am alarmed at how many vegans seem to post about this topic (fertility) – and I continue to have reservations about it’s ideal-ness for reproducing women and very young children, but I know others differ in their beliefs on this, and I respect that varied belief. Anyway, I obviously don’t believe vegetarians to be unbalanced people, but felt as though I should take some responsibility for that tangent…the India part.

  29. I’m sorry, but vegetarian/vegan diets are the best out there; as long as you follow them correctly (include fruits, veggies, whole grain/wheat, nuts, seeds, etc.). There is more evidence out there proving vegetarian/vegan diets than disproving them.

  30. I see sometimes people still read this. In case any vegetarians/vegans make it down to this post, I’d love to hear your comments. Here’s my issue: I completely agree about the evilness of animal torture and personal accountability. However, here are the issues I am facing.

    I read that the daily recommended iron intake is 33mg per day for a vegetarian woman (as opposed to 18mg per day for a meat-eating woman). I started doing some math and identified lentils and beans as having 5 mg per cup. But that basically seems to mean I’d have to eat nearly 7 cups a day of beans. Or lentils. Is this the quantity of beans and/or alternatively, 5 entire 10 oz packages of spinach? This just seems like a lot…we sometimes eat chickpeas in our chana masala but, the quantity required just to meet the iron quota is intimidating…are these the quantities you guys are eating every day?

    I know some people say to eat fortified foods or to use vitamin supplements but, I have a high distrust of these companies and I recently read that iron supplements can cause cellular damage: http://www.techtimes.com/articles/133742/20160215/iron-supplements-may-damage-dna-within-10-minutes.htm.

    I also struggle with the B12; as we all know Fukashima went off in Japan, and also even besides that B12 obtained from seaweed/algae grown in China is oftentimes contaminated – not, I believe, because it inherently has to be – but just again, suppliers taking shortcuts. I recently found a source of Spirulina from India that seems promising but, I don’t know; I really feel high anxiety taking supplements as the industry is riddled with (to me) lack of ethics.

    So how do any of you (vegetarians or vegans) meet all the nutritional recommended values (please be specific – if you could list out your diet with quantities that would be great).

    I was recently also frustrated by chia seeds. I routinely add flax seed and chia seeds to my greek yogurt, and my husband came around saying not to eat the chia seeds unless they are ground as something about their shell and that the HCL doesn’t manage to get it all off and then they cause bowel issues; I haven’t experienced this but, this is part of my frustration – I don’t have a degree in nutrition – and I’m always relying on 2nd hand information – so I don’t know what to trust.

    Anyway, the most confounding issue in all of this is I have babies, so I’m breastfeeding as well. My son is finally getting old enough (past a year) to eat foods but, is still largely breastfed, and literally cannot consume the vast quantities necessary to get 7mg of iron a day. Strangely, he never has tested anemic even despite our not supplementing iron. So I don’t even know if the whole requirement thing is bogus, as it was derived from animal studies in the 60s and 70s but – assuming it is not I guess?

    Anyway, at this point we are murdering sardines and the occasional salmon, but I am thinking of returning to the grassfed chicken that is humanely raised on the local CSA no-spray organic hippie farm next to us (the chickens do not have the cut beaks, and are always roaming around outside, and have pretty spacious accommodations). However, obviously, they are still killed so, no delusions about that.

    Anyway, my temptation with going the chicken route is not really for the chicken meat, but for the chicken liver, because I see it as a way to give my children their required iron in a reliable way that does not cause cellular damage.

    But I am curious if someone smarter than me may have figured out a way around this in the vegan vegetarian culture.

    Part of me feels like maybe I will be able to transition to that diet, but part of me feels a great terror of winding up nutrient deficient…so, help me out with details.

    • Another source I found that lists iron in plant foods: http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/iron
      P.S. I agree it’s hard to know what is best for you and your family especially with so much conflicting “evidence” supporting different diets. But one thing that I have never seen disputed is that the more veggies you eat the better off you’ll be.

      • Thanks for the empathy Amber! It’s been very stressful. I read over that website but, while a good source of information, a lot of which I was aware of – it still doesn’t get me over the “volume” consumption aspect – well, at least with the kids.

        However, I’ve come across a happy revelation – this could be key; chickpeas are my go-to iron source, but, according to the Simple Truth brand 120 g only contain 10% of the recommended iron intake. I was frustrated by this and then was shocked to look up on Google that 100g actually as 6.2mg of iron. Basically that takes us down from 6-7 cups of chickpeas (for me) to just 3 cans, which is much, much more doable from a daily perspective. I’m actually on the phone with Kroger trying to figure out if there’s something particularly wrong with their chickpeas or something. It’s stuff like this that is maddening – I’m not sure what I can trust any more.

        WELL, I just got off the phone with Kroger and now I’m stunned – THEY are correct – because “canned” garbanzo beans apparently have 1/2 the nutritional value of “raw” garbanzo beans. The same volume. Crazy. Maybe it’s absorbed water or something? They go off the USDA website. So, apparently…I should be getting these raw? I wonder if boiling them destroys the iron somehow? Man, and I thought I had the solution.

        Anyway, I have other problems. My babies don’t seem to want to eat the sardines either. So right now, it’s down to the chicken livers for iron – or nothing. Well, I guess one of them is still breastfeeding. I even read on a vegan website that due to oxalates spinach blocks iron absorption? And then people debating that in the comments. That would be really terrible for us as I’ve been trying to desperately push spinach and eat tons of it myself in hopes for iron.

        But I saw an even more mindblowing video about this commune that eats only fruits. According to the USDA, these people and their kids should all be dead. I mean…or at least sickly with anemia. They all did look incredibly thin but, I don’t know…I would think anemia or serious health issues would be more observable? They seemed to be active and otherwise alive…maybe it takes more years for someone to die from just eating fruit?

        I don’t know how much stock I can put in anything the government recommends, but, at some point someone has to trust something.

        In short, I don’t know, and I’m frustrated – now I am trying to figure out why boiled garbanzo beans have lost 1/3 of their nutrients…

        • First, chia seeds will gel in liquid. They do not need to be ground. Flax seeds should be ground though.

          It is very difficult to get enough iron without eating animal products. Eggs are good, liver is terrific. Your baby will not test anemic because the baby gets what they need but you will get depeleted. It takes time for the ill effects of diet to be seen. Some people have an easier time with vegan, and even raw diets due to their inherited gene expressions. I don’t know if we know enough people that have been raw vegans for generations to be able to properly critique the lifestyle. Some people seem to do so well because they cut out a lot of toxins and poor quality food.

          • Thanks for the reply Deborah! Actually, we were recently worried that my baby itself could be anemic as his pin prick test tested low; I say baby but…he’s actually more of a toddler…16 months. However, we did a full blown blood test and, surprisingly, he tested normal for hemoglobin, despite having low iron.

            In the interim I had started trying to feed him liver out of desperation and a distrust of vitamin supplements. However even this he only ate a few bites of, and I learned that it’s dangerous to get iron primarily from liver because of the possibility of vitamin A overdose if one consumes it too frequently. But he does now eat his daily egg.

            We’ve had some tremendous luck in that recently the kids have taken to beans. I’ve had a bit of a scare from some studies about phytoestrogens in sheep and sterility, but, just as we have sometimes a meat addiction, sadly, probably from my efforts to turn us vegan, we also kind of have a bean addiction now for better or worse. I know there’s a heated debate about phytoestrogens but, having only boys, even the possibility of inducing prostate cancer or overloading them with estrogen obviously concerns me but…on the other hand, they are such good sources of iron. I guess some sheep eating alfalfa sprouts became sterile or something for a while though. It seems like everything is questionable, including, I have found, the original studies about iron to begin with (they were conducted almost exclusively in ghettos, and sometimes the kids also were exposed to lead and a variety of other things that definitely strike me as “confounding” factors). It’s hard to trust any study out there (personally).

            However, the kids appear healthy on a somewhat meat reduced diet. I fully understand where people are coming from; I believe animals are sentient and, perhaps hypocritically, I do believe they should have rights and that it’s immoral to eat them. However, I am frequently at junctures where I have to make less than perfect choices in order to ensure survival. Though we’re trying not to be excessive, I’m much in the same boat as a lot of others in just trying to cautiously curb consumption as much as possible.

            Lately we’ve really reduced our dependency on milk itself. We always got organic (and used to get it raw off of a farm before they stopped the share) – but, even with this, I know it’s not really that healthy of stuff. Finally managed to reduce our eldest son’s intake (the younger one with the supposed iron deficiency never touched the stuff – but according to the doctor could not get sufficient iron through my milk alone at this stage). But hypocritically we still eat cheese, and sometimes heavy creams. And butter. Supposedly the cows are free range grass fed but, you never know what stuff means with marketing anymore.

            We’ve tried to reduce actual consumption of the meat itself though. Once every two weeks we will have an organic, grass fed roast, and every other week we will eat a wild caught salmon. Sometimes the kids eat organic turkey ham. So that’s where we are at. It’s a far cry from being perfectly ethical. But it’s still pretty reduced.

            The rest of the time we eat various combinations of beans with quinoa or chana masala or other Indian-like dishes, or salads, or roasted vegetables, etc. As much unprocessed foods as possible.

            I’m not a perfectly ethical person, and I’m okay with that, because my lifetime is finite, and eventually fungus will eat me. However I try very hard to find sources of animal meat that hopefully have helped to ensure the animal was not tortured during its existing life. As much as we can.

        • Best resource: Brenda Davis and Gina Messina, Becoming Vegan is a comprehensive book on all essential nutrients and how you get them on a vegan or plant-based diet. Both are dietitians and long-term vegans.

          Best $15 I ever spent.

    • It is recommended that vegans eat more foods rich in iron because we seem to absorb less iron from plant foods. However, if you make sure you include enough vitamin c in your diet, you will absorb more of the iron you eat. I eat a lot of peanut butter, black strap molasses, and spinach, and my iron levels are great without really paying attention to my iron intake. Make sure you eat enough greens, beans, and nuts, and you will be fine as long as you don’t have some other issue that prevents you from absorbing it properly. B12 is an interesting one. I am currently supplementing with methylcobalamin to be safe, but it is the only supplement I take, since I don’t like taking supplements either, but I don’t mind taking one if that is the only sacrifice I have to make to save animal lives. Iron really shouldn’t be an issue though as long as you are eating real food and eating a reasonably varied diet. Peanut butter mixed with sweet potato is a good way to get vitamin c with your iron and it is delicious :). And even if you are worried about it, several cups of greens cooked down isn’t really hard to eat at all, so you should be fine.

      • Thanks for the reply Christian! I guess…I’m kind of a numerically based person, and I want to feel “safe” but…lately I’ve been wondering if my faith in the nutritional recommendations of the normally accepted “sources” is misplaced. I mean, I always want to err on the side of caution, however I do want to follow the most ethical beliefs too, but I also have a lot of anxiety when doing something new, especially something unconventional and I tend to rely on facts and numbers perhaps a little too much. Sometimes I am able to overcome this in a leap of faith for myself, but with my children my anxiety is about 10 fold more.

        I’m still at a bit of a crossroads; I’ve been trying to eat more and more chickpeas and lentils because of their high iron content. I used to do spinach and was mortified to read something about oxalates supposedly blocking iron absorption from it; I’m not really versed in biology, and interpretations always seem to be changing – and though I still eat spinach I don’t always go the greens route anymore. Ironically, I find it curious that nobody mentions ethically harvested/produced chocolate – I found out that 9 pieces of my dark chocolate was supposedly 35% of a normal person’s iron intake. It’s 71% dark (not 90, but, edible). Anyway, I’m curious about the vitamin C thing; I’m not trying to be confrontational, just curious – do you have any sources for that (I always like to look at studies, but that’s a rabbit hole as I don’t believe in fully objective studies – on either side there is a lot of confirmation bias but, if it’s a biological mechanism…perhaps it’s more objective).

        Anyway, I did find something that was rather encouraging to me. I have no desire or plans to do raw foods or even fruitarian but, I saw this video about this hippie commune that was all fruitarian on youtube, and their kids were still alive and seemingly intelligent with no obvious signs of anemia. I just kept watching it and looked over my numbers in terms of daily values of essential nutrients and my mind could not process the cognitive dissonance; I kept wondering “how are these kids even alive??” And yet they were. I mean, yes, the adults were all emaciated but, the kids actually looked…not really unlike other healthy kids I meet…of course that’s just an appearance but, it did chip away a little more at my reliance on “scientific” recommendations.

        I have other problems too though – a lot of familial pressure – not so much for me – I mean, I’m a full grown woman, nobody cares that much for my dietary choices at this point, but – the grandparents are on me about the B12 and they keep saying things like “oh, by the way, they’ve shown it won’t be properly absorbed in pill form” etc. etc. And I’m still at a cross roads especially with the youngest son in terms of the iron because, he literally will not eat almost anything besides the breastmilk, except here and there a couple of bites. So while I know it is murder I still give the kids a minimal amount of chicken livers, that are obtained from an organic, free range farm; I know this isn’t fully ethical, but, the organ meat at least is not really an in-demand item there, and hopefully will not really reinforce more chickens being killed than already are. I only plan on using this crutch until the kids are better able to eat the quantities necessary for full iron absorption from plants. Sometimes I eat sardines too; I know that’s bad and I agree that fish are cognizant and that it is a form of murder but, I am still very scared about the bio-availability and safety of DHA obtained from Spirulina and algal sources (even though I know for the fish it is biovailable). But I really try to keep it to an absolute minimum. I know that’s not saying much, but that’s where we are right now, though we are trying to progress to a higher state of ethics.

        However, we’ve had some progress on that note. The kids seem to love the chickpeas, and my husband has started taking to them too, so, this has been really encouraging to me, as I was afraid they might eschew them all together. Also my husband almost had gotten gout (he previously ate quite a bit of meat – both at work, and some at home) – but since we switched to mostly vegetarian the pain in his foot has vanished so, it was delightful to see a health benefit pop up amidst everything.

        I know where we are is not perfect, but, I think we are getting closer to an ideal, even if, we are not there yet.

        • Excuse my skimming through your comment, Alice. It’s 1:30am and I just finished watching a movie.

          Let me start by saying, I’m a high carb plant based vegan. So I applaud your family’s transition to a more plant based diet. Personally, it took me 1.5 years to fully becoming vegan from a low dairy, low egg plant based diet.

          I’d like to address your vitamin C issue and your B12 issue.

          First off, perhaps if you’re vitamin C deficient, eat more fruits. Contrary to most instagrammers, most vegans do not eat large plates (or bowls of coconut) of fruit at one sitting. It’s time consuming, and idealistic. Personally, I make a morning green smoothie that does not taste anything remotely like greens. It’s got 22g protein, 149g carbs, 0mg cholesterol, 390% DV of vitamin A, 335% DV of vitamin C and 93% of iron. And that’s just one part of my breakfast. It’s merely 3 bananas, 4 tbsp hemp hearts (super great source of iron), 3 noor dates, 3/4 cup frozen pineapple, 1/2 cup frozen mango and 3 cups of raw spinach and one tsp of hawaiian spirulina, all blended with water. That’s it. So essentially it solves your problem with vitamin A and C (which I honest to God have never heard of vegans having issues with). And it tastes like the tropics. It’s great. I’ve asked my sisters, grandmother, parents, colleagues to try it with their eyes closed and they’re ‘always’ surprised at the vibrant green colour when they open their eyes. My sister now makes it part of her morning routine.

          Secondly, I don’t take any supplements at all. I can’t stomach any iron supplement or B12 supplement that I’ve attempted to have. I recently went in for blood and urine testing, as part of an annual checkup. Everyone freaks out about B12, and I did too–I thought I was going to be deficient. My B12 levels are great (so are my iron levels), and my doctor was relieved. It’s 712 ng/L, whatever that means. The point is that it’s nowhere near deficiency. My only intake is nutritional yeast, which I just have usually twice a week in vegan mac and cheese, and quite honestly, it’s only like 4-5 tbsp that I’m ingesting at one go. I also sprinkle it on pasta and popcorn on the occasion, but mostly for taste and not for supplementarity issues.

          I would strongly advise you to stop worrying about nutrients and macros blah blah until after you go for testing. I wasted so much time and effort online and in my kitchen eating foods I didn’t like months before testing. It isn’t worth it. I stopped stressing a month before testing and I didn’t have ANY issues. No iron issues, no vitamin A (that’s a right joke), D or calcium deficiency, no issues with any omegas. Just go in for testing, and see what you’re lacking. Then, enjoy your food and always keep trying (but not stressing) to do better.

          • Hey thanks for the awesome and detailed reply Celine George! We’re still in the transition process – but, thank you for the cool recipe suggestion; I’ve been thinking of incorporating such type of whole foods smoothies for a while now, I may just try yours. I was really surprised about the hemp hearts – I ate them once before – had no idea they were a source of iron!

            Anyway, we’re still in process – my main goal is to get to vegetarian first, and then reduce the dairy; I know this will piss people off but I’m unwilling to give up eggs (we pay quite a hefty price to get these from our local organic CSA, and, given that I’ve seen these chickens, and their egg laying ones are not the ones they sell as meats – I just don’t see the conflict of interest in eating uninseminated eggs). However, we’re still a far cry from even getting to that level, as we still eat fish once in a while, and every once in a while (I don’t know, once every two weeks) lean red meat (I know, terrible).

            I guess I have only a few hesitations left on the spirulina…my husband found some website that documented some absurdly bad side effects to spirulina (which, I take in pill form from an Indian supplier, hoping to escape Fukashima radiation); I did read about the Hawaiian one but, there were a few negative amazon ratings about health problems that developed for those people, and it’s always hard to tell when thinking of taking any supplement (or, I’m imagining the raw seaweed?) whether the 3% of bad reactions is just those people’s problems or something with the plant. But I suspect this can be done without the spirulina too, not sure.

            Ultimately I think you’re right about not stressing and just getting tested as…I’ve come to an increasing lack of confidence about USDA dietary recommendations. I mean, I can’t believe that they recommend a full 33mg a day of heme-iron consumption versus like 16mg for regular people. It’s like they just arbitrarily doubled it to be safe, or something like that. I don’t listen to the authorities on any other health issue so…I guess it’s weird for me to assume they are working in my best interest on this one.

            I’m sure I will eventually transition over to a fully vegetarian diet that’s lower in dairy. That’s my goal for now. I’ve had some success with getting the kids to eat chickpeas in fried form (chickpea fritters) and the baby has a penchant for spinach so…hopefully this transition can happen sooner than later.

            But sometime fear gets to me and I worry and give them a roast. Honestly I know that sounds terrible but it’s not more than twice a month – even though it is murder and, at least we’re reducing.

            I know I will eventually overcome my fear.

          • Celine,

            I am a recovering Paleo/Crossfitter. My cholesterol went high 225 total although my ratio was good, I gained 20 pounds and for two years my body never recovered from my workouts. I took the 23andme.com genetic test and found out I am APOE3/4. I should NOT be a meat eater but a low carb, low fat eater. Basically, I should follow Caldwell Esselstyn’s plant based theory. I also have celiac and Hashimoto’s and my father just died at 67 from CAD. I don’t want this to be my fate. I’m 5’9, 160 pounds, very fit/muscular. I started to have migraine with aura last September after this 2 year Paleo experiment and I believe I created a microvascular disease for myself through my high fat diet. UGH. I’m in my second week vegan/fat/oil free moderate carb. I’ve always had clear skin but my face has just gone crazy. Any advice (anyone) on what to expect during these early transition weeks from meat eater to plant eater? Also, anyone have any experience regarding the APOE3/4 gene? I’m going to have my cholesterol done after one month off the meat/dairy/oil to see what happens. I’d love to know if anyone else has a similar experience. I had posted here last year believing paleo was healing me but after seeing my genetic report, I realize that is not the case.

            • Hey Kris,
              I’m perhaps not the best person to answer your questions as I’m not fully to the point where we could be called vegetarian (we still eat red meat twice a month, and salmon once a month BUT) – aside from this we are plant based. I only wanted to comment in that, I noticed recently from my transition from relatively high meat to relatively low meat that I actually had the opposite effect – even though I had other problems, my skin, surprisingly, cleared up. Just take my experiences with a grain of salt, just wanted to add my experiences to the pile. I’ve noticed the most dramatic difference after our vacation where we did eat processed foods (including processed meats). But it did take about a week. However I also wanted to mention that my brain fog/ weird pressure that develops around my cycle lifts after eating red meat, so – I’m not saying that this is the only source of whatever I am missing but, kind of the reverse of your experience, I notice if I go prolonged periods without any meat (1.5 weeks +) I start to have head pressure, and I really don’t know why.

              Anyway, hope your skin clears and that your health is optimal!

            • Kris, if you are eating low carb AND low fat, AND no meat (so I assume relatively low protein as well), just what do you eat? The Esselstyn diet is not low-carb. It includes legumes, whole grains, fruit and starchy veggies.

    • Here’s my story. I ate a typical Western diet until I was diagnosed with stage 3.2 breast cancer at the age of 42. While going through chemotherapy, I couldn’t eat, look at, or stand the texture of chicken. So we stopped eating it. Then it was fish, beef and finally pork. In the meantime, I was researching and learning and we started eating a lot of beans and plant based recipes. That was 12 years ago. I eat a mostly vegan diet. I look and feel better than I did 12 years ago. People don’t believe I’m almost 54.
      Don’t worry about those numbers. Listen to your body. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. You’ll get plenty of nutrients if you do. And yes, I take 1 B-12 pill 1x a week.
      If you want to make this switch, you’ll do it. It’s that simple. If you want to do it, stop worrying and wondering and do it.

      • Thanks for the encouragement Betsey! We never really ate much pork, if any, but have also weaned off of chicken. We do eat fish every once in a while and lean beef roasts twice a month, the latter of which has been the hardest for me to break. I’m not a huge fan of salmon, but, the beef roast is absolutely the hardest thing to give up, even though I know it is also the most unethical. I’m not saying this in any way justifies it, but, I feel great after eating it, so I don’t know if I can rely on that. I know this works for some foods, like, say, a doughnut – I feel pretty bad if I eat even a small quantity of processed foods but -given that the meats we eat are unprocessed…if I rely on my physical feedback, I may never get to the optimum choice (just in my personal experience). However, I get where you’re coming from and am definitely working towards full vegetarian.

    • Try challenge 22 you will find non biased dieticians work with the group of mentors and will help you transition to a vegan diet , as well as advising you of all the myths currently out there in the world. We ve been raised with lies about nutrition so its best to understand that and know that there are billions of dollars at stake every day and the the industries are acred and will try anything. chickens are social inquisitive and intelligent creatures with lively personalities and great social structures, don’t eat them. they don’t deserve to die!

    • Alice, I just read this article. I have been a vegetarian my whole life, I breastfed without issue, I am on the low side of iron but quite strong and healthy in middle age. Hemp hearts have a considerable amount of iron, blackstrap molasses as well, I’ve never had an issue with chia seeds, egg yolks have iron if you can eat custard or flan. My husband is an omnivore, more meat than veggies, and has had to give blood at least once a year to release some iron from his system. We are all built differently. Try to feel well and take care of yourself and your little ones.

    • Check out Dr. John McDougall’s online advice for feeding babies and small children or read Disease Proof Your Child by Dr. Fuhrman. It may ease your mind. Really, meat is not necessary, is carcinogenic and just not good for you. We are so brainwashed. I started eating meat and more dairy and eggs a couple of years ago because of all this crap advice online and felt terrible (ethically and physically) until I stopped. Thanks to watching Forks Over Knives, reading Proteinaholic by Dr. Garth Davis and The Starch Solution by Dr. John McDougall, I feel free of the need to eat animal products for health reasons. It is such a good feeling.

      I am breastfeeding and introducing my baby to solids. I am going with the iron fortified organic rice cereal first. (Yes, I know WAPF and Paleo people would cringe.) Maybe mixing the iron fortified cereal with other foods would help you feel more confident your baby is getting enough? According to Dr. McDougall the main reason you see iron deficiency anemia is because the calcium and casein in dairy blocks the iron absorption. Also the heme-iron found in meat is not good. Plants have the safest form of iron for our bodies.

      I am actually having major regrets ever introducing meat and dairy to my older child. So hard to get it out of her diet now that she has grown accustomed to it.

      As for B12, do make sure you both take a supplement. That is the one supplement recommended. Methylcobalamin is the preferred form. I take it a few times a week (5000 mcg – larger than needed) and sometimes add fortified nutritional yeast to my food.

      And, really, at least read Proteinaholic. It is so well researched and just totally debunks the Paleo movement and WAPF propaganda.

      Good luck!

    • The higher recommended mg of iron for veg. is given by persons, who assume non-heme iron is not as well absorbed; however, if you eat legumes, grains, and maybe even some baked beans with molasses added paired with vitamin C rich veggie like red pepper or follow your meal with fruit (rich in C) for dessert you will increased your iron absorption X4 or four fold. Cooked greens and broccoli already have some vitamin C in them, but again adding fruit with them is fabulous.

      Do not eat meals with tea: green, black, white, this interferes with iron absorption, but between meals is ok.

      If you have heavy menstrual flow, you can also cook a couple meals a week in cast iron, pan also. But cooking in iron regularly for other members of household, who can overload on iron is not recommended. For a surprising iron rich treat, stack a chunk of dark chocolate on dried apricot! Pumpkin seeds also provide both iron and zinc in vegan diet.

      But doctors, highly recommend people refrain from iron supplements unless treating anemia with dosage supervision by doctor.

  31. B12 is only an issue for those that don’t know how to make their own. Supplement if you don’t know.

    Vitamin D deficiency leads to the deficiency of calcium, iron, zinc, the long-chain fatty acids EPA & DHA, and active Vitamin A.

    1) Vitamin D increases the absorption of minerals.

    2) Active Vitamin D3 -> Thyrotropin-releasing hormone -> Thyroid-stimulating hormone -> Thyroxine -> beta-carotene to active Vitamin A conversion.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8475673
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3937314

    2) Retinoic acid(Active Vitamin A) -> Fatty acid desaturase -> ALA to EPA/DHA
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11414679

    And you forgot Vitamin B3.

    • Plant -based eaters enjoy the same vitamin D benefits from sunshine and a fortified plant milk (oat, soy, hemp, almond) or orange juice as Western and Paleo diets provide vitamin D from sunshine, fortified foods, and, for some, from fish.

  32. I’m just going to leave this here:

    American Dietetic Association

    It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.

    Dietitians of Canada

    A well planned vegan diet can meet all of these needs. It is safe and healthy for pregnant and breastfeeding women, babies, children, teens and seniors.

    The British National Health Service

    With good planning and an understanding of what makes up a healthy, balanced vegan diet, you can get all the nutrients your body needs.

    The British Nutrition Foundation

    A well-planned, balanced vegetarian or vegan diet can be nutritionally adequate … Studies of UK vegetarian and vegan children have revealed that their growth and development are within the normal range.

    The Dietitians Association of Australia

    Vegan diets are a type of vegetarian diet, where only plant-based foods are eaten. They differ to other vegetarian diets in that no animal products are usually consumed or used. Despite these restrictions, with good planning it is still possible to obtain all the nutrients required for good health on a vegan diet.

    The United States Department of Agriculture

    Vegetarian diets (see context) can meet all the recommendations for nutrients. The key is to consume a variety of foods and the right amount of foods to meet your calorie needs. Follow the food group recommendations for your age, sex, and activity level to get the right amount of food and the variety of foods needed for nutrient adequacy. Nutrients that vegetarians may need to focus on include protein, iron, calcium, zinc, and vitamin B12.

    The National Health and Medical Research Council

    Alternatives to animal foods include nuts, seeds, legumes, beans and tofu. For all Australians, these foods increase dietary variety and can provide a valuable, affordable source of protein and other nutrients found in meats. These foods are also particularly important for those who follow vegetarian or vegan dietary patterns. Australians following a vegetarian diet can still meet nutrient requirements if energy needs are met and the appropriate number and variety of serves from the Five Food Groups are eaten throughout the day. For those eating a vegan diet, supplementation of B12 is recommended.

    The Mayo Clinic

    A well-planned vegetarian diet (see context) can meet the needs of people of all ages, including children, teenagers, and pregnant or breast-feeding women. The key is to be aware of your nutritional needs so that you plan a diet that meets them.

    The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada

    Vegetarian diets (see context) can provide all the nutrients you need at any age, as well as some additional health benefits.

    Harvard Medical School

    Traditionally, research into vegetarianism focused mainly on potential nutritional deficiencies, but in recent years, the pendulum has swung the other way, and studies are confirming the health benefits of meat-free eating. Nowadays, plant-based eating is recognized as not only nutritionally sufficient but also as a way to reduce the risk for many chronic illnesses.

    • Thank you- love this!!!

      Some, maybe not wanting to loosen the reigns on our Western diet traditions, may overemphasize potential shortfalls, like calcium, B-12, protein… in a vegan or vegetarian diet, but there is not danger of this with well-planned and executed diet with B-12 supplement and a variety of whole plant foods, including omega-3 rich seeds.

      However, the deleterious effects and dangers of over conconsumption of omega 6 fats, heme iron, carnitine, choline, preformed vitamin A, cholesterol, branched chain amino acids, acid forming foods, sodium, sugar, growth hormones, estrogen, endotoxins, and AGE’s from the Western diet is finally being recognized by dietitians, and medical professionals around the world.

  33. “Both vegetarians and omnivores in the health food store group lived longer than people in the general population…but there was no survival difference between vegetarians or omnivores. Nor was there any difference in rates of heart disease or stroke between the two groups… omnivores who are health conscious live just as long as vegetarians that are health conscious.” So, what I’m reading is that a vegetarian diet is at least as healthy as a “healthy” omnivorous diet. So why not choose compassion?

    • Everybody’s different, some people’s health collapses on a vegetarian diet. Those people usually then have to put their own life before animals. Unfortunately for the animals.

      • The myth that the vegan lifestyle does not kill animals or adversely impact the environment is just that — a myth, and a pernicious one at that. It is based on self-delusion and an inability to examine one’s own role in the environment in an objective manner. It enables some vegans to wrap themselves in a phony cloak of self-righteousness and moral superiority from which to criticize others. It is not fact-based, and is actually a rejection of humans’ basic nature as omnivores. While the article correctly points out many well-documented potential nutritional pitfalls inherent in a vegan diet, Chris was perhaps “politically correct” in avoiding the major reason one should exercise care in adopting the vegan lifestyle — namely, the tendency to fall into a pattern of self-deception, science-bashing, and sanctimonious contempt for those that follow a different, and more reality-based, path.

        • The only person with contempt for anyone here is you. What is your issue? You don’t want to be a vegan then don’t… Not sure where all your anger comes from but it’s unnecessary, boring and frankly irrelevant. You think people are misinformed or deluded for following a vegan diet. Fine. But if it makes them happy then why do you keep going on and on and on? Please find something to put all of this rage and anger into that is worth your time. You might actually make a difference in the world and that’s precisely why vegans follow their own path, not dictated by argumentative idiots on diet blogs.

          • Project much? I am not angry, I am just very bored with the contempt — and that is exactly what it is; go back and read the comments — that some vegans show for people that do not follow their lifestyle, or do not acknowledge them as higher beings that have the only path to compassion and enlightenment. Many vegans refuse to acknowledge the impact of their lifestyle on nonhuman animals and on the planet in general. I tried veganism at one time, but soon recognized the lack of scientific basis for some proponents’ claims that it is more healthful, less damaging to animals, and better for the planet. I’d offer your words back to you — follow a vegan lifestyle if you want, or don’t if you choose not to. But don’t use self delusion and phony science to place yourself above others that do not share your beliefs.

            • It’s basically a religion. I’m saying this as an ex-vegan. I finally had to stop because no matter what I did to tweak my diet, I was feeling lethargic as well as bloated, and nauseated after I ate. I had to cut out the soy and add in some good quality animal protein so I didn’t feel depressed and crappy all the time. (and yes, before the Vegan Police come and tell me to read such and such book, I’ve probably already read it.)

              • Thank you for sharing your experience. I fear you are correct about the cult aspect of veganism for some that practice it. I am also ex-vegan. I have an advanced degree in environmental science, so I thoroughly researched everything relating to the vegan lifestyle, joined a group, subscribed to magazines and newsletters and read lots of books. At the time, I was living in CA, where there was a lot of support, live and printed. I finally realized that, first, it is an unnatural diet for humans, as borne out by science; and second, the attitude of condescension toward others was unmerited, as producing plant foods results in animal deaths and environmental damage. Above all, anything that fosters an attitude of condescension and superiority toward other people is also dangerous.

                • I think so. If anything, it automatically turns people off to their cause. There are a lot of ways to treat animals more humanely. I don’t believe anymore that death in general is unethical, everything dies. I do believe there are kinder ways to go about obtaining what we need. And the angry vegans generally don’t help the cause, and spread a lot of misinformation.

              • Out of curiousity, when you say you added “animal protein” was that in the form of meat or eggs/dairy? I’m asking because I’m genuinely interested in both sides of the argument. I’m transitioning from a paleo diet to an “as-vegan-as-possible” diet (somewhat lenient when it comes to milk/eggs). I want to make an informed, healthy decision for myself and so far after a month I feel great. P.S. I agree with your comment that there are kinder ways to obtain meat, and yes everything dies, but killing animals when they’re several months to a couple years old is greatly reducing their natural life span. I’m not saying this from a holier-than-thou perspective, but I definitely am taking animal lives/suffering into account in choosing the best diet for myself.

                • I started by adding in eggs from my friends backyard chickens, butter from grass fed cows. Then I added a little more grass fed meat and wild fish, while cutting out the soy and processed crap. Personally, I think the only ethical issue is how the animals are treated while they’re here. But that’s just me. If you want to go more vegan, and it works for you, great. 🙂 Upwards of 75% of vegans and vegetarians don’t make it more than a few years I guess, so just make sure you take supplements like iron, D3, B12 and K2 and get plenty of protein. I think part of my issue is my autoimmune disease and the fact I’m missing half a thyroid. I don’t do well on a lot of soy, carbs or beans.

                • AnnieLaurie – I would love to hear you explain some of your claims. Its simple to just say things like “myth” and “not backed up by science” but can you elaborate further?

                  Lets put aside whether or not it is more healthful (despite the fact that based on my own study and experience it most certainly healthier to eat a plant based diet). You however reject the idea that veganism is less harmful to animals and the planet.

                  On what basis?

                  Please believe that I ask this with genuine interest.

                  KAT – I am sorry to hear about your thyroid but soy and beans are definitely not a massive necessity in order to be vegan. Regardless it probably doesnt matter if you have found an ethical position you are happy with. I would point out, as non aggressively as possible, (it is difficult to use calm body language in text and everything comes across confrontational), that since you do still care about animals conditions prior to death that you still should consider your contribution carefully. Butter from grassfed cows for example contributes just as much to cruelty.

                  Also, where did you read the 75% figure? Any study I have read into the topic (of which there are very few) has indicated that 93% – 97% of vegans stick with it. Vegetarians have similar statistics.

                  Leaving ethics and veganism aside you say you were eating processed crap and you cut that out. The processed crap was probably why you were feeling bloated and lethargic. Just a thought.

                  Finally with regards to nutrient deficiency it is common for vegans to be deficient in 3 things Calcium, Iodine and B12 HOWEVER it is common for meat eaters to be deficient in 6 things Calcium, Iodine, Fibre, Folate, Magnesium and Vitamin C.

                • Shane, I have posted some citations. Give me a specific on a “claim” that you think is invalid, and I will be happy to provide other references.

        • Every diet has environmental impact, we all have to eat, and it all takes some amount of resources- land and carbon footprint to keep the world fed.

          I agree instead of arguing so much we should try to work together on tackling the sustainability problems.

          Some interesting solutions to feed the world, including those who want to include 10% or more of their diet from animal sourced foods, include overcoming obstacles to sustainable and healthy aquponics- raising fish and plants symbiotically, with little soil.

          Using hydroponics, indoors in homes, cafeterias and restaurants, and use underutilized urban spaces for growing foods: rooftops, green spaces etc. vertical gardening on building surfaces.

          Choosing smaller ruminants for animal sourced foods such as goat cheese, and meat patties, other than beef such as deer or elk.

          But the land resources, ill effects of methane and eutrophication of lakes and rivers caused by both grass fed and FF cattle farming is substantially more taxing and destructive to the environment than farming for, easy to find/purchase organic legumes, tubers and whole grains.

          And, a good scientific argument can be made that humans do not do as well on more than 10%, and certainly not more than 20%, of food calories from animal sourced foods, particularly the most taxing environmental choice- beef.

    • Animals don’t show any compassion and eat other animals, why should we feel superior to them? If I can’t meet my needs on a vegan diet without any industrial supplements, it simply means that the vegan diet is not made for humans. I used to be vegan and stopped after developping multiple sclerosis symptoms that were caused by that so called healthy vegan diet that was slowly killing me because I didn’t get any vitamin B12 for too many years and when you are B12 deficient for several years, you become extremely sick to the point the symptoms ‘fake’ multiple sclerosis, dementia, lack of memory, paralysis, etc. I don’t have any regret, and when I see nature in action, animals can be worse than humans, that’s life.

      • Thank you for sharing, Vesper. There are still myths lingering about B-12 having reliable amounts in certain foods.

        It is important that vegans and plant-based eaters get their B-12, and that the government tightly regulates animals being supplemented with sufficient amounts of B-12 to ensure humans get the B-12 they need.

      • Pointing the finger doesn’t benefit anyone.

        The reason why the world is messed up is because nobody is humble enough to admit their ignorance and are too arrogant to admit that there is great intellectuals out there; polymaths. Therefore polymaths stay quiet with their discoveries.

        If you don’t have complete factual proof to support your cause; then be quiet.

  34. *FACE PALM*

    I can’t believe we are still arguing about vegan lifestyle in the year 2016, after all the proof and info dug up on the animal agriculture and their past killings of anyone who stood up against them, people are still supporting them in 2016? After all the proof found of the impact they make on this world? No one has watched cowspiracy?. How about all these other amazing info out there? Cmon people do your research. This business is worst then the tobacco and sugar industry..

      • Talk about facepalm!!! When an organic rancher or farmer points out that sustainable practices for meat production can be neutral or beneficial for the environment and the world’s population, he is “obviously” a shill for the meat industry and his facts and arguments are therefore tainted by his “ulterior motives”. When vegan documentaries based on dubious and outdated “data”, such as “Forks Over Knives” and “Cowspiracy” are touted by vested interests promoting their diets, books, etc., why, how could you think they are motivated by profit? Most people are not that naive, I hope. “When you do it, you are a capitalist profit monger. When I do it, I am just acting on humanitarian principles”. Ri-i-i-i-ght.

        • Did you know that the GHG emissions of grass fed cows are 19.2 kg of CO2 per Kg live weight. The GHG emissions of feedlot cows is 14.8 kg of CO2 per Kg live weight. The GHG emissions of soya is 2 kg CO2 per Kg of soyabeans. Think about the ramifications of these numbers.

          https://www.researchgate.net/publication/222660040_Comparative_life_cycle_impacts_of_three_beef_production_strategies_in_the_Upper_Mid-western_United_States

          http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10584-014-1169-1

          • Did YOU know that enormous hers of ruminant animals roamed the earth for millions of years before man domesticated any of them, and that their flatulence never caused climate change? Did YOU know that All cattle start out foraging on grass? Did YOU read the second sentence of your second citation? It states, “The objective of this study was to estimate the difference in dietary GHG emissions between SELF-SELECTED (emphasis mine) meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans in the UK”. Any conclusions from a “self-selected” group are not generally applicable. Further, if you look at the article, there are numerous sources of emissions that were not included, so this can hardly be considered a comprehensive study. As for “estimates” of CO2 emissions, whether from grass-fed cows, grain-fed cows, of human activities, they are all over the map. The results one gets are entirely dependent on the assumptions one makes. GIGO.

            • No disrespect, but I think it is safe to assume, that since soybeans do not fart or go #2, they are not releasing any methane, and have substantially lower greenhouse gas emissions, than ruminants. Their greenhouse gas emissions is mostly from energy needed to harvest, transport and refrigerate product. Which cattle products also need. Growing green beans, soy and peas in your backyard can cut this CO2 footprint even further.

              And, because soybeans and legumes (green peans, peas, lentils) fix the soil with nitrogen, rather than take up nitrogen, and use free sunshine to make their food, they are going to use a lot less resources than cows, eating about 30 lbs. of dried forage (which equates ~ 60 lbs. of wet forage every single day for 2 years before slaughter).

              Also, because soy fixes the soil, it creates a better nutrient packed field for next year’s crop being rotated on this same field, whether it is potatoes, kale, or wheat and no poop run off to disrupt the natural water cycle.

            • Three key words you used… before domestication and ruminants, not beef cattle.

              Other ruminants, sheep, goats, elk, deer being much smaller have much less impact.

              If only wild cattle and ruminants were left; we cut out all domesticated cows, etc.. it would subtract a huge chunk of CO2 emissions, contributing to climate change.

              Letting people only hunt wild ruminants sounds like a great idea.

          • When I was vegetarian I was putting out some serious GHG emissions myself. Now I follow a plant-based diet with modest meat consumption. You may have heard of it – the Mediterranean diet?

            • This is hilarious! They do say beans, beans the magic fruit… the more you eat the more you…

              I see it as a good sign I am making healthy amounts of butyrate and other beneficial microbes with all that resistant starch!

    • Pay attention idiot. No one cares about the lives of animals. the article was about NUTRITION and how decidedly unhealthy vegetarian morons are.

      • How can you be so rude and say that no one cares about animals and the environment? You made yourself look bad not him. And highly doubt you mean those words, your a human being, I’m sure your not that heartless. And FYI vegetarian are healthiest people on the planet, as long as they do it right, they live long healthy lives.

      • Wow, yes I’m SO unhealthy. I’m practically dying. There has been plenty of research into the effects of vegan diets that contradicts every single point in this article. But yes, read one thing and decide vegetarians/vegans are morons. I think you’ll find they are the people that educate themselves fully on both sides of the story and then made informed decisions about their diet and nutrition. No, it’s not all about animals. It’s also about the biggest killer on the planet – heart disease.

      • Why don’t you care about the lives of animals? Did you know that 82% of chickens bought in supermarkets have hock burns, where the ammonia in the bird droppings they are forced to live in burns right through their skin, creating open burn wounds. This figure only drops to about 40% for organic chickens. Does this not bother you? Why not? http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00071660500181149

        Furthermore, did you know that 15% of cows are not made unconscious using captive bolt (the most common method used to stun cows) before slaughter http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22061934 They are still conscious as their throats are cut open. Again, why don’t you care about this?

        And surely any diet we chose also has to be environmentally sustainable? A meat based diet uses twice the crop land of a vegan diet, and will in the future lead to even more deforestation to grow crops to feed to all those animals. http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2016/160419/ncomms11382/full/ncomms11382.html

        An omnivorous diet uses so much more crop land because we feed animals so much human edible crops. As the following study says regarding the animal feeds and human edibility “The proportion of edible feed in typical UK concentrate formulations ranged from 0.36 for milk production to 0.75 for poultry meat production.” So for chickens 75% of what we feed them is human edible http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S175173111100005X By going vegan all that land could be rewilded to support biodiversity.

        With all this wasteful use of land and crops, and methane from cows, is there any wonder then why a meat based diet produces three times (yes that is right three times) the GHG emissions of a vegan diet ( 3.4 CO2 Gt⋅y−1 for vegan diets vs 11.4 CO2 Gt⋅y−1 for omnivorous diets) If one considers all the potential loss of life from climate change, I think we have a pretty strong set of reasons to go vegan. http://www.pnas.org/content/113/15/4146.full

        Oh yes, and before you mention grass fed cows. Did you know that the GHG emissions of grass fed cows are 19.2 kg of CO2 per Kg live weight. The GHG emissions of feedlot cows is 14.8 kg of CO2 per Kg live weight. The GHG emissions of soya is 2 kg CO2 per Kg of soyabeans. Think about the ramifications of these numbers.

        • You throw out a lot of allegations with no proof they are accurate. There is little science to back up your contentions. Nevertheless, I will address only two of them. Deforestation – beyond the stunning magnitude of historical deforestation that has occurred since the beginning of agriculture to produce crops to feed humans, not livestock, please do a little research on the current issues with the production of palm oil, a component of food manufacture used extensively in vegan products so as to avoid animal-based oils. Second, it is NOT necessary, nor is it desirable, to feed grains and similar foods to ruminant animals. It is an unnatural diet for them. For thousands of years, humans hunted, then raised, such animals for food with relatively minimal impact on the environment. To cite current industrial farming practices as the norm for omnivorous diets without acknowledging that they are equally the norm for the production of plant foods is self-deluding at best, and intellectually dishonest at worst.

      • I am not a scientist. I have no scientific background. But, as a vegan who works at an elementary school where I am exposed to viruses and bacteria daily, I am one of the very few staff members who never gets sick. When they had a blood drive, people were turned away left and right for low iron. My iron count was great. My cholesterol levels are extremely low. I am not a “health junkie “. Just average. My science is life experience and observations and the vegan diet not only saves animals lives but as a side effect has improved my own health and wellness.

  35. Surely it would have been more helpful to suggest which foods to eat to combat deficiencies in these vitamins?

    • Pay attention. He did. Those foods are called MEATS. You must be a vegetarian. Very hard to focus when you are nutrient deficient.

      • Seriously, who is this guy?

        “MEATS” have nutrients in them, yes. This is by no means a balanced article though. It doesn’t detail any of the adverse effects meat has on the body that outweigh the apparent nutrients you get. How about the relation between meat/dairy consumption and osteoporosis? Alternative article: Why you should think twice about being an uneducated meat eater and telling other people how to live their lives without doing any of your own research. Massive snore.

      • Joe, that is probably the most ignorant comment I have read so far. The vitamins listed there are very easy to get with a vegan diet; I can’t believe he actually mentioned vitamins A and D in this article. Eat a sweet potato and freaking go outside (both are extremely cheap), problem solved. The only exception is b12, and cows need b12, but they only eat grass, so obviously there is a vegan way to get it, but supplementing is an easy way as well.

  36. I also find this article to be biased. First, the article suggests we consume dairy which we all know is highly inflammatory and probably causes cancer. It’s baffling to me how our government decided to make it a “food group” and that ideology still exists today. Second, rather than point out all the difficulties with a vegan diet, this article could have instead informed people who choose a vegan lifestyle about what to watch out for in getting proper nutrition. Third, given the disastrous effect of farming on our planet, combined with the absolute cruelty that occurs to animals every single day, it is myopic and quite frankly an sadly outdated viewpoint to suggest that eating animals is acceptable, appropriate and/or necessary. I think CK has a lot of great content and viewpoints, but this one was truly disappointing.

    • While that may be true in the case of conventional dairy, raw dairy, from healthy grass fed cows, is not inflammatory, nor does it “cause cancer”. CHris Kesser is and has always been a proponent of raising animals humanely, on open pasture, and avoiding CAFO produced anything. THere is a HUGE difference in the quality of dairy, just like any other food source, and how it is raised or produced.

      Sweeping generalizations about an entire food group are inaccurate at best.

      • I have to disagree. Even on organic farms, there is nothing humane about impregnating cows without their consent over and over again (and even on “humane” farms, calves are taken away almost immediately from their mothers-who cry out for days for their babies; and the baby male calves are still used for veal- a direct byproduct of the dairy industry; as if that weren’t enough, when organic, pasture raised dairy cows become “downers,” they are still slaughtered in inhumane ways – often having throats slit while still conscious). How can a person possibly think that is humane? And fyi, dairy isn’t a “food group.” Dairy got classified as a “food group” in the first place as direct result of politics and lobbying. In fact, its actually quite unsettling to see how much our government (and the special interests that own it) has shaped our relationship to “food.” You can read more about that here: http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2013/09/invented-food-pyramid/. Is raw better than factory farmed dairy? Sure, that may be true. But if you think about dairy from the most common sense perspective, it simply doesn’t make sense for us to be consuming the milk of another species – a formula loaded with hormones that are powerful messengers aimed at growing baby cows. It’s actually quite absurd for humans to be consuming it.

        • Was dairy identified by the government as a “food group” due to industry pressure? Sure, in part, that was a factor. That was also a major factor in identifying grains at 11 servings per day as a group. There is industry pressure on government policy for any crop (animal or vegetable). That’s a fact of economic life in a large industrialized democracy. This accusation is as silly as the one I see vegans level against dairy just as frequently, i. e., that humans don’t “need” milk. That is certainly true. It is also certainly true about ANY food, plant or animal, that you could insert in that statement in place of dairy. Humans were successful due to their omnivory. If they can’t get one food containing the nutrients they need, they can eat another. As for “humane” practices, there are vegans that claim any human use of animals is inhumane, even keeping pets. These are the folks that rail against the use of honey because, they claim, it “exploits” bees. And yet … they happily scarf up any number of bee-pollinated plant foods. Do you understand how bee pollination of commercial crops works? The bee colonies are hauled from pillar to post for intensive pollination of numerous fields during the short fertilization season for that particular crop. And don’t even get me started on the pernicious myth that a vegan diet does not result in animal deaths. That’s self-delusion at best, and intellectual dishonesty in most cases.

          • Totally agree 11 servings of grains is insane, and who puts dairy as an essential when so many adults are lactose intolerant?

            But I do think the 6 servings of vegetables a day is spot on.

            There is a lot of improvement in recommendations, yet to be done, but at least they are finally telling people to eat their veggies, and giving people the option to include both plant proteins, and if they wish, animal proteins, as protein sources, not just consider animal sourced protein as only potential protein source in diet.

      • If sweeping generalisations about an entire food group are inaccurate at best, what about all of the sweeping generalisations made here about an entire lifestyle and diet choice?

  37. I find this misleading and bias in nature, it’s important to note that most serious long term vegans are aware of these points, and make eating choices acordingly.

  38. So I’m really confused. I am already sick; it’s too late for prevention. I’m suffering from congestive heart failure and getting worse. I do NOT want to go the conventional medicine route because I know it will entail toxic drugs, invasive interventional procedures and possibly surgeries. So I’ve been searching for a dietary solution and come across Dr. Dean Ornish, et al and finally bought Dr. Fuhrman’s “End of All Heart Disease – Eat to Live” book because it was most recent and had a slightly less restrictive approach. But it’s full of eat beans, and approves of soy and other red flags, so now I’m just confused. He claims to be able to reverse heart disease with this diet, but I don’t know if I can even manage such a restrictive regime for a couple of weeks let alone the rest of my life. I’d sure appreciate any opinions and insights.

    • Can I be honest with you? If you really wanna tacele your heart disease you’d be willing to do anything to LIVE, including a strict diet. The plant based diet for heart disease is strict can enjoyable, it removed anything that can inflame the heart, including meat and dairy. I know it sounds hard but you can do it I know you can. Find a doctor near you who specializes in plant based nutrition, so you can get started, educted, and monitored. Try to do some research first.

    • Hi Amanda, I can feel your frustration and worry, and I’m so sorry. You need to go with your gut – in both a spiritual/emotional sense and practical sense – meaning that how your body is digesting the food you eat makes a world of difference. I would suggest a Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist practitioner who can run some lab tests and work with you to determine what diet is best for your body, rather that trying to sort through dogma. Food may taste good, but that doesn’t mean it won’t stress out your body.

      • One caveat on Dr. Davis.

        When Dr. Ornish took the track your plaque test, through Dr. Davis, his score was zero. This told me a lot.

        Dr. Esselstyn who is turning 83, is on no medications and has enviable blood pressure and cholesterol readings- most men his age are on multiple medications to treat their advanced atherosclerosis.

        Though less processed foods on Dr. Davis’s plan is definitely helpful, his use of eggs, bacon, dairy etc.. still put atherosclerotic plaque in the human body. LDL cholesterol are the bricks of heart disease.

        Dr. Davis did improve his own HBA1C levels, but he has not documented reversed heart disease in anyone. Dr. Ornish and Dr. Esselstyn have.

    • Just eat real food and avoid synthetic additives. It’s simple… If you can make it in your kitchen then it’s real… If it requires a laboratory then it’s not real. Make sure the animals and their products were raised on their natural diet and were not confined. Make sure the animals are outside all day. Just choose food and avoid chemicals and you’ll heal!

      • Ah, that would be the discredited China Study and its conclusions based on cherry-picked data. Better to look at some more recent and more objective analyses.

    • Hi Amanda, check out Dr John Bergman on youtube. ypr in your specific problem and see what comes up -he is absolutely excellent on so many topics and gets results where noone else does

    • Cutting out the animal products and oils on these diets can be a real challenge at first. Taste preferences change. Fruit, crunchy green salads, a warm bowl of oatmeal with cinnamon and flax, all are enjoyed immensely. Believe it or not, my bok choy and kale with balsamic is one of my favorite things to eat. A black bean, salsa and corn tortilla taco with chia seeds and a glass of white or red wine is not deprivation.

      If I were you, I would research Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, also.

      In my lay persons’ , humble opinion, your best best is to sign up with Dr. Ornish program or Dr. Esslestyn at Cleveland Clinic without delay. Dr. E and Dr. Ornish program doctors and dietitians will work with your cardiologist to set up a treatment plan best for you.

  39. Eating HIGH QUALITY animal products (WHOLE ANIMAL) has changed my life exponentially. I have struggled with adhd, sleep apnea, and severe anxiety my entire life. Before I recently began to use logic and eat animal foods, I was on a strict vegan diet and boy was that a mistake. I remember not even being able to meditate because my brain was so STARVED, crushing depression and anxiety made it impossible to focus. I’m surprised I didn’t end my life. On the flip side, I now enjoy little to no anxiety, full focus, and general tranquility. I eat the whole animal, FULLY fermented grains, raw dairy, yadda yadda yadda. It’s freaking awesome. It’s INCREDIBLE how much of a difference these REAL foods have made. My IBS is GONE. My schizo-like symptoms are GONE. I am free at last.

    • That’s unfortunate, did you try supplements before going back to animal products? What do fermented grains have to do with anything? Also I would be careful of raw milk, it’s a primary carrier of Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria.

  40. Im new to Veganism and so am very interested with the above article. Im still learning about a balanced diet but from people i have met and things I’ve read it is my understanding that there is sufficient calcium in many vegan foods including something as common as soy milk? In terms of protein the issue is not in getting insufficient levels but in fact too much, which leads to health problems. The question i would have in terms of the research behind the article is who is funding it?

    • This has been written by a guy who is a diet entrepreneur – not a doctor. All vegans know they need to supplement B12 which is a tiny price to pay for all the benefits. B12 is a simple squirt of a spray once every few days or so. And it’s tasty. This article, as sound as it might seem, has a commercial agenda – aka Paleo pushing. Paleo has been scientifically debunked by highly regarded academics. Deets on the author Chris are here: https://chriskresser.com/about/

    • I highly recommend sweet potatoes in a vegan diet 🙂 I constantly eat them, and if you add some fat (I use either nuts or avocados, and they are really good mashed with peanut butter) it increases the absorption of beta carotene, which means more vitamin a. Also, they are freaking delicious! 🙂

    • Adam, you are absolutely right. There is as much calcium in your average soy milk and almond milk as in cow’s milk. Cheers on switching to veganism! Your body will thank you. Just remember to consume B12 (supplementation sprays or as I do, nutritional yeast) and you’ll be A-OK. This article is a piece of crap, and it doesn’t seem like the author has done enough research on veganism or vegetarianism to come to the conclusion that we should all be consuming animal cruelty and supporting even worsening environmental degradation (stfu trolls, most everything we do contributes to environmental degradation) by consuming dairy, eggs, and other animal products.

  41. It doesn’t matter if a vegan diet is good or bad for you.. killing animals or any living sentient being just so you can survive knowing in your heart there’s another way to eat to survive is selfish. Point blank, end of discussion . . Vegan is a lifestyle not just a diet.. point blank, end of discussion

    • That’s exactly what I thought, and after 7 years of vegetarianism my health was awful, getting the flu every couple of months, regular cold sores and muscle strains that wouldn’t heal.

      Going Paleo has really restored me and given me far greater energy levels and made me realise how little my notions of whats right and wrong have to do with my body being effectively nourished.

      • Vegetarian?.. Why didn’t you just go vegan? Vegetarians consume a lot of dairy, dairy makes you sick. Paleo lifestyle doesn’t consume dairy. Maybe you just feel better because of the dairy out of your system. Don’t blame it on the vegan diet. I went vegan at first just for my health and it saved me, my kids, and my family. We where morbidly obese. And 1 year later, where 78 pounds less, and healthier then ever. You just have to do your research before jumping into any lifestyle. ALL DIETS come with good and bads, including paleo, vegan, and most definitely the standard American diet. It’s up to you to make the best of your diet aND lifestyle. My vegan lifestyle has opened my eyes not only to the animal cruelty, but the lies our government and food industry’s poison they put in our food, it’s taught me to be conscious of my food. And we can all agree paleo and vegan are amazing just for that reason alone.

        • Totally agree. I was vegetarian for about two years. Getting terribly sick, developed IBS, stress, anxiety, poor skin. It was a bad time in my life despite feeling like I was doing good for the planet. I became vegan about a year ago and I have never felt better. I never expected that removing the dairy and eggs would make such a significant difference to how I feel. I would, and do recommend it to everyone I know.

          • This is true. That’s one thing no one can argue about, is the bad affects of dairy products on the body.. I just read a study on the okinawa’s. They live so long, look into there diet, research. It’s amazinf, the longest people living on earth in Japan, and they never consume dairy products. And are mostly plantbased. There high intake of fish makes the old people
            E so active even in there old age. Too bad all the fish in toxic now unlike back then, but they consume a lot of seaweed and rice and vegetables and miso… 80% plant based. They only ate pork only on special occasions and rituals. The considered it to be a luxury..

            • And just where do you get “That’s one thing no one can argue about, is the bad affects of dairy products on the body”?? And you laughed when another commenter wrote that “Vegans generalize too much”? People certainly can, and do, argue that your grossly inaccurate generalization is just that — grossly inaccurate. (I won’t even go into the grammatical and spelling errors, which certainly do not add to your credibility). Dairy can be a healthful dietary component for people that do not have a sensitivity to lactose. Like any other food, any dairy products you consume should be made without the use of hormones, pesticides, and other unnecessary and extraneous inputs.

              • So let me get this straight.. you read through my entire comment right, and decided to cherry pick my Grammer and sense of writing, seriously? And FYI ALL DAIRY PRO DUCTS CONTAIN HORMONES IN IT, ORGANIC, OR FACTORY ALIKE. Weather it’s artificial injected, or naturally present in baby cows milk, it has hormones in it. It’s meant to turn a baby cow into a 400 pound female cowl in 8 months. Just google it, “does organic or unpasteurized milk contain hormones in it” and do your research. Why don’t you try this experiment for me. Drink a glass of Milk, whatever organic or factory, 4 times a day for 8 months right, then come back and let us know if it don’t make you gain at least 200 pounds.. I might not can’t write as good as you, but I don’t need to be smart and articulate to know what’s good or bad for my body.. pfft.. burrrrnnn..

              • Oh and another thing. You seriously think that the entire world can be fed on organic milk? I’m from Philly. The REAL GHETTO part of philly. And everyone I know tell me they can’t afford organic and pasture fed meat. The majority of Americans can’t afford that kind of meat and dairy luxury. They buy the worst stuff. And it’s killing them. Just one gallon of grassfed unpasteurized milk to feed a family of only 4 (cause where I’m from, our families our bigger then that, and we need to feed a lot of mouths) is around like 14 dollars. Our food stamp average is only 500 for four people to eat a month. All other monthly earnings go to rents and utilities . An average American family of 4 goes through a gallon of Milk every 5 days. You do the math. That kind of mindset on this fantasy of grassfed, unpasteurized organic milk would only bed affordable to 20% of the population, while the other 80% are on food stamps or midclass-to poverty level.

              • I just committed 4 hours of my life to put myself back in the mindset of a dairy eater. I tried look for ways of how milk can be healthy. Take this into consideration. I am a vegan, and believe ethical reasons of consuming dairy is just plain wrong. See I know how bad all milk is for you. But I never researched thoroughly raw, unpasteurized milk. And I’ve come to the conclusion that possibly the only way that this dairy may possibly be healthy for anyone, is if it is fermented. When you ferment it, say like in cheese, you let it age to at least 50 days, the micro naturally produced breaks down the harsh protien and hormones naturally present in milk. So it will make it easier for human to digest it. So MAYBE that’s a little bit healthier. Drink raw milk aka risk of listeria, especially of mixed with pasture milk. But you can’t drink fermented milk. And now that I think of it, the father’s of cheese( french, one of the first inventors of cheese) didn’t believe in drinking milk, they knew the way it was was bad to drink, so they made cheese. The cheese we have now is nothing near the cheese that was aged and created hundreds of years ago. Fermented old cheese is the only thing I would support for a dairy ingester. Say this person gets his own cow, mills his own cow, takes care of there cow, and cows baby. Makes there own old cheese like our ancestors. THEN I would support fermented cheese. But I know that’s never gonna happen on a large scale basis. So back to the vegan min set of cheese is bad. Know why?? Because modern cheese and dairy IS BAD..

                • I am sorry, but your rant makes no sense and is without any scientific basis. You “spent 4 hours” to “put yourself in the mindset of a dairy eater”??? Obviously, you did not. Your biases and your erroneous beliefs prevent you from doing so. Your statements lack any scientific basis. You go on about hormones, but it is obvious that you do not understand what hormones are, what foods may contain traces of them, and how that might affect humans that consume them. Try googling phytoestrogens. And you are totally off the mark in your assertion about modern cheeses. It is not true that modern cheeses bear no resemblance to cheeses of days gone by. While their is certainly a lot of mass-produced junk cheese out there (and the same is true of any plant-based food you can buy), there are also literally hundreds of artisan cheeses that are traditionally crafted. Many people even make their own cheeses — several universities here in the Pacific NW offer cheesemaking classes. And I won’t even address your assumption that all milk comes from cows. You are, by your own admission, a vegan with a certain set of beliefs. Belief is not fact. It is not science. Beliefs, unlike opinions, are also impossible to “suspend” to put yourself into another “mindset”. If you don’t want to use dairy products, fine. That’s your choice. But you are only further destroying your credibility by such a fact-challenged rant as this.

                • The SAME PLACE you research your info, is the same way I research mine. Google, books, and others who are smarter then me and willing to educate me. Why do I need to post links for you to believe me, I don’t see you doing that? Because it’s so sole, you don’t have to be a genius to know that fermented food is better for your body. And you don’t have to be a genius to know that if you want to research the truth, if you know where to look for it, you can find it. You are biased, and so am I. Except I admit it, and I was nice enough to drop the bias and try to put myself in your shoes to justify dairy consumption. But your not open minded at all. You Nick pick any info you want to slander and make someone look bad to make your argument valid. You need to take a chill pill and take a step back and try to drop the bias like I did and and try to look at everything in our view like I tried for you..

                • I’m not sure why you think that you can’t drink fermented milk? Of course you can. Millions of people do it every day and have been doing so for millennia. Also, man started making cheese not because he knew that milk is bad but as a way of preserving food. Cheese keeps for longer and it travels better than milk.

    • Thank you for your sanctimonious closed-mindedness! I am sure that will settle the discussion.

    • No it’s not always selfishness. Some people need meat to be healthy. There are even some that have an emotional need to meat. not all people who like to eat meat hate animals and don’t care about their well being, it’s jus that they also need to take care of themselves

  42. What a lot of people do have a deficiency in on here is serotonin. Serotonin is what we call will power or impulse control. To keep answering people who obviously make you angry is not a sign of a sane and balanced person. Not being able to stop arguing back and forth shows a lack of control (lack of serotonin) and you are far from logical. A sane person would not give two hoots what someone thinks of their diet and other than advising others a sane person would not post messages on any site like this. Round and round thinking ( like people get when trying to sleep at night) is caused by low serotonin, as is a preference or tendency to do anything over and over (our brains cannot do much else repetitively whilst trying to sleep other than thinking and cannot sleep with low levels of serotonin so raises its serotonin level by round and round thinking/posting on websites and not being able to stop.

    So hmmm. I think I’d look at my diet again if this was me. Especially as serotonin is very easily raised with a vegan diet.

    • That’s an interesting note about serotonin. Thanks for sharing. Those types of comment wars make me laugh. xD

    • I would add that by clicking on the links you will find that the “proof” is written by vegetarian advocates, one even having written “Nutrition and Wellness: A Vegetarian Way to Better Health”. My suggestion is to avoid all sites that have something to sell. Even the veggie ones. Try Nutritionffacts.org. Information from non profit doctor analyzing articles on nutrition.

  43. If anyone is interested in a vegan or vegetarian diet, something that has cleared up alot of misunderstanding for me is the 80/10/10 diet book by Douglas Graham. Also his site is pretty good too. My opinion is that not all diets considered “vegan” are actually helpful.

    • A little common sense goes a long way in many areas, including nutrition. So you really think a diet of sawdust and ketchup that is certainly vegan might not be healthy?
      I never heard of anyone supporting a vegan diet without some details as to what is suppose to be consumed on a daily basis, did you?
      I call my diet a whole plant-based diet….which of course is vegan but unlike the poorly written article above claims, it does not include unfined anything, be it oil, grains or what have you in cans, jars and plastic wrap….
      In the past I thought consuming wild salmon a couple times a week would be good but some time back I changed my mind and dropped that last bit of animal protein.
      Most of the blah, blah in the article is just a diversion. Facts show that whole plant-based diets lead to a healthier and longer life. It is not necessary to be vegan but a significant reduction in animal protein compared to the Western Diet is…
      However, I am not trying to convince you of anything. You are going to do as you wish and like most people you will end up a burden on the taxpayers.

      • Could you share with the readers some citations for your “facts” and for your contention that people that consume meat end up disabled on public assistance?

  44. The number 1 rule to go by is: What would it be like naturally and try to figure it out and stick to it, even if it goes against the grain. As a result, things should eventually start to make sense. There is so much confusion about the way we should live, but following the way we were meant to be like will give us happiness.

  45. I was thinking of becoming vegan due to the unacceptable cruelty on farms, but I have done research and found that it is near impossible to get sufficient amounts of all necessary vitamins and minerals on a vegan diet without supplements, a whopping 92% of vegans are deficient in B12. Proponents of veganism claim it to be healthier than any other diet, but a diet cannot be healthy if you need supplements to follow it, for a diet to be healthy you need to be able to get everything you need naturally, any diet on which supplements are required is not a good option. I have nothing against vegans, in fact I admire their commitment to animal rights, which are very important, and I wish I had the willpower to do it.

    • You are right that any diet that has to have supplements to complete it is not perfect, but plants can potentially supply everything except b12(that naturally comes along with our food as dirt) IF the soil they are grown in is as healthy, mineralized, and live as it can be. It’s no secret that our planets’ soils have been terribly depleted. If one is devoted to following the design for life, there is nothing to lose except bad health.

      • Exactly. If we drank from untreated stream water and plants directly from healthy soil, that’s where we would get our b12. Most factory farm animals are supplemented with b12, too, because they eat processed foods and don’t make enough on their own. So when we eat their muscle, we’re just consuming the supplements they’ve been given.

        • Untreated stream water is likely to give you dysentery and even cholera. Not very healthy. The whole “we can get B12 from dirt” is rather ignorant. How MUCH dirt?

    • FYI, The world’s largest body of nutrition professionals, the American Dietetic Association (now the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) put out a 2009 position paper stating: “appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.” http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/2009_ADA_position_paper.pdf

      • Would that be the same ADA whose conventions and continuing ed are underwritten by Coca-Cola and other junk-food industry firms? Not so sure I’d accept them as the last word on anything dietary.

    • The “unacceptable cruelty on farms” you refer to is a media agenda myth. I farm and raise beef and know of no one that is cruel to the animals that provide a living for them. Their may be one in a million, the same with the treatment of pets and children. If you choose to not eat meat, fine, but falsely accusing a whole group of good people is not fine.

    • I think as long as someone is eating real food on a vegan diet they will be fine. I am a very healthy vegan, but I know people who eat a lot of oreos, meat substitutes, and other processed crap, and they are not as healthy. Personally I think what he mentioned about vitamin a is very strange, since I don’t think it is difficult at all to eat a sweet potato or a couple cups of kale a day if one is actually eating real food. The only exception is vitamin b12, which I supplement with, but that is due to our crappy farming practices, not nature. Cows need b12 (yes, they produce some of it in their stomachs, but so do humans), and they get all they need naturally from grass. Personally, I am vegan because I believe that torturing and/or killing for convenience is wrong, but I know there are people who believe that they need meat and dairy to survive and be healthy, and if that is why someone does it, then I see nothing wrong with it.

      • Thank you, Christian, for being the voice of reason. While I respect your intent to spare animals, vegans need to stop deluding themselves and realize that producing vegetable crops kills animals, destroys habitat (which kills animals indirectly and by slow, agonizing processes as compared to butchering), and, unless you are consuming organic exclusively, leads to poisoning of the environment with toxins (which also kill animals). I know vegans that will sanctimoniously condemn the use of honey as “exploiting” bees, yet they don’t see the irony in eating many bee-pollinated crops. Those are produced by hauling bee colonies from pillar to post during production seasons, and is more stressful and exploitative of the bees than taking some of the honey (which is usually produced in quantities far beyond the insects’ needs). BTW, industrial production of a large number of vegetable crops involves the use of pesticides that are killing bees in large numbers. for those that are completely honest and realistic, ALL human food choices have environmental impacts.

        • Veganism is about causing the least amount of harm possible. Yes many small rodents are killed in the harvesting of plants and forests are cleared which results in hurting animals BUT you do realize that as a meat eater you are resulting in 10x amount of the damage? The animals you eat need to eat right? Cows eat around 25 POUNDS of food every day, usually grains, corns, soy, or a mixture of the three. And are usually around 14 to 16 months old before slaughter. You want to do the math? Animal agriculture is also the leading cause of deforestation. If you wanna factor in the animals directly killed for your consumption, the animals killed in the 10x (at least) rodents and other small animals in harvesting of crops, 10x as much deforestation so 10x as many wild animals, the animals killed in the testing of your makeups, the animals that die of exhaustion and malnutrition in your zoos, circuses, and fairs, and the animals killed for your leathers and furs, I’d say that vegans still do the least amount of harm to animals. So quit bringing up these things as if we don’t already know them in an attempt to make it seem as if you aren’t that bad.

          • Vegans generalize to much. Not everyone mistreats animals. I know personally that not all zoos and circus’ mistreat there animals. While they may not have as big of an environment to roam around they have a meal everyday they have vets that look after them they are treated with love and respected as one of the family. Just because you heard of this one time doesnt mean that you should condemn everyone it means you should try and change the minority’s behavior.

        • I love when animal eaters become vegetable rights activists. Out of interest, what do you think those animals eat? Have a little google and come back campaigning for broccoli when you find out how much cows eat.

          • Do you have a reading comprehension problem? Where do you get “vegetable rights”? It is puzzling that some (not all) vegans, who like to flaunt their self-assigned status as animal-rights advocates, are either too self-deluded or too intellectually dishonest to acknowledge their own impact on the environment. If they were truly interested in promoting sustainable food production practices, they would examine their role in environmental degradation and animal suffering, and work with everyone trying to feed the world’s human population in a way that is most healthful for both humans and the rest of the planet. Of course, that would mean some painful self-scrutiny and the loss of their phony pedestal of moral superiority. I suppose it’s too much to expect for the emperors to admit they have no clothes. At least, most of the readers of this blog know that said vegans also have no science.

  46. A quick side note, I read the comments to further improve my understanding of the subject matter. However it seems to me that a boat load of these people are using false credentials and sound like pretentious yahoos. Correct me if I am wrong. I would also like to introduce the caveat of athleticism and performance of said athlete on a well established vegan diet and how that’d affect the individual. I am asking a question as an ignorant 19 year old that would like to know more. Those are the only credentials I have to offer.

    • It’s really easy to get all the vital nutrients you need on a vegan diet. As far as B12 goes… B12 comes from soil, and animals eat that soil and that’s how it ends up in animal products… and the reason vegans need to supplement today is because our ancestors would naturally get it from drinking creek water and eating produce with small traces of dirt on it. Other than that… the only reason our ancestors ate meat was during the winter when there wouldn’t be enough fruits and vegetables available so they had to eat meat in order to get the nutrients they needed. In today’s world in our country we have plenty of lentils grains. fruits, and vegetables all year long so it is not necessary. 🙂 Go to Netflix and watch vegetucated you’ll learn a lot! Made me start to transition into veganism.

      • B12 is actually a bacteria and is usually always injected into the animals. If you aren’t a big fan of taking supplements or often forget (like i do) I really suggest nutritional yeast! When added into recipes it tastes like cheese and is a great source of B12!

    • There are vegan athletes — even vegan bodybuilder’s. A vegan diet means you have a slightly slower recovery time (I have heard — I have not physically read the scientific papers myself), which is obviously far from ideal, but, apparently manageable for at least some individuals given there exist athletes that manage to compete and stay vegan.

  47. B12 deficiency is especially common in vegetarians and vegans.

    This is false, it’s more common among meat eaters. I’m not the best vegan and got my blood tested and b12 levels were great. It’s not hard to maintain at all, so many things are fortified with it. Even meat is supplemented with it

    • You could still be deficient as blood serum tests for B12 are pretty much worthless unless you are at an absolute critical level of b12. There is plenty of information about this out there (Also see Methylmalonic Acid test) Another thing is your body recycles B12 but due to some genetic traits some people recycle at a much lower percentage so even on a meat diet these people will become deficient. On a vegan diet they would become deficient even quicker.

    • Jen, thanks. Does anyone know where the above numbers come from? I haven’t found one study that says that vegetarians in general have lack of B12. I would just really like to see the studies. Imagin country were being vegetarian is just common. In India there are whole communities that haven’t eaten meat ever.

    • If we take your word at face value you still didn’t stated if you supplement with b12 or not, which may be why your levels are supposedly alright. Secondly, it’s anecdotal at best, that’s why studies have at least a few people as a sample size, in order to mitigate individual variations. Finally, there’s plenty of literature that points to deficient intake of b12 amongst vegans and vegetarians, just google what plants have actual b12 vitamin and you’ll see why.

  48. That is why you take an organic multivitamin supplement and make sure its not synthetic. If you want to campaign consuming meat, eggs, and dairy. Please make sure you do extensive research before stating a weak argument. Other than that your argument in my opinion is nothing but irrelevant. GO VEGAN!!!!

    • If you have to take vitamin supplements to stay healthy, you can’t say that your diet is great. The best diet gives you what you need without additional supplements.

        • Appeal to nature fallacy galore. ranchers have to feed their cattle synthetic b12 because of modern farming practices, what’s natural about factory farming?

          • While there is certainly nothing natural about factory farming/ranching, it’s inaccurate to state that that ranchers have to supplement their cattle with synthetic B-12 due to “modern farming”. Supplementation can become necessary if the cattle get insufficient cobalt in their diets to manufacture cobalamin. All cattle start our free-ranging on grass. Soils in these grazing lands vary widely in their mineral content naturally; some minerals may be “deficient” in the cattle’s diet because they were never present in the grassland soils to begin with. It has nothing to do with their depletion by “modern farming”, as these grazing lands were never suitable for, or used for, farming.

            • I think they mean modern farming, in terms of having to give the animals treated/ chlorinated water, most grazed animals are getting a water supply in their water tank that is treated, so has no B-12 in it.

              • You make these assertions with absolutely no substantiation whatever. Most cattle operations, yes, even those factory-farming, CAFO-ridden ones, are not in urban areas. They depend for their water on wells, rainfall, and surface waters. The water is not treated. The well water pumped, generally by wind power (because there are no other utilities) from aquifers. Seldom are treated, municipal supplies available for livestock. Check out http://water.usgs.gov/edu/wulv.html

      • It’s very true you should get all your nutrients from food, but it is only as healthy as the soil and environment it came from.

  49. I have been vegetarian for 16 years, and a vegan for 5. When I was just a vegetarian, I was slightly anemic (during that time I probably ate more processed foods than I should have). Since going vegan a little over five years ago, and eating a predominately whole foods, plant based diet, I have had ZERO issues. The only supplement I take is B12 (which by the way is naturally obtained from the soil, we just wash our vegetables so well now that it is lost). I honestly don’t even take it religiously. During my physicals the last two years, I specifically asked the doctor check for common deficiencies claimed to be an issue in vegan diets (such as calcium, protein, iron, B12, folic acid…). My levels are absolutely perfect. I actually am on the higher end for calcium, iron, and folic acid- without taking any supplements. You can absolutely get the nutrients you need to live a perfectly healthy life eating solely a plant based diet. We are the ONLY species who consumes the milk of another animal after the infant stage, by the way. Does anyone really think that nature intended a completely different species to provide us milk that is only produced naturally when they are pregnant or have a baby themselves? Not freaking normal.

    • Well, I am not going to bilk you of your change by asking you to bet that no other animal consumes the milk of another species, as I have (figuratively) done with other vegan-vegetarian commenters on other blogs. I’ll just refer you to “Relentless Enemies: Lions and Buffalo”, a National Geographic bood by Dereck and Beverly Joubert. This is the husband and wife team that has done many NG documentaries on African wildlife. They’ve also documented that lions will consume the milk from nursing buffalo they kill. Predators in Nature must be opportunistic feeders, and don’t let any good protein resource go to waste. While milk from other species does not form a large part of nonhuman animals’ diets, it is inaccurate to say that only humans consume non-species milk.

      The ability to digest lactose was, after all, a spontaneous genetic mutation in some human populations — again, Nature’s way of utilizing available resources. OTH, there was no spontaneous natural mutation to address consumption of tofu and other processed foods, which are not consumed by nonhuman animals. You are on rather weak scientific ground arguing against a food because it is not consumed by nonhumans.

    • What you or anyone else thinks is normal does not influence my diet choices. I do not consume any dairy based on studies available to everyone but the fact is that nutritional science really does not know much of anything for certain yet and I am not going to be around in 100 years when they will likely have many more answers.
      So I can not say for certain that consuming very little meat, eggs , dairy and fish is the way to go but I will stick to it likely for the rest of my life…

    • Thanks Kim. I agree. Never ate meat in my life. Grew up like that. No issues. Do drink milk sometimes. Just love it, but don’t think that it is good for any of us.

    • Dear Kim, thank you for your comment. I have ever consumer meat even as a child I didnt want it. Had to vomit when I was forced during my teenage years after our GP said that it would be better for me. Thankful everyone understood that I just don’t need it and obviously my body neither. Now after many years I am more familiar with Ayurveda and understand that people are different and not everyone should eat meat, not everyone should be vegan or shouldn’t consume milk or meat. Everyone is different. I am not taking any additional vitamins. Look way younger than most of my friends same age. I feel good and have no issues. Eating meat is just comfortable for most people. We don’t have to be extrem about everything but really think about what you eat and what the supermarkets offer us.

    • Yes I am the same. Since transitioning from vegetarian to vegan my iron levels and calcium levels have improved and are now optimal. My blood pressure is also great. I don’t take any supplements, and I live a pretty normal life, working in the city, going out to dinner with friends etc. it’s a low maintenance lifestyle

      • After reading the these comments, I got curious and went to see my doctor and got all excessive test. Never had meat in my life and literally all my levels are perfect. No deficiencies at all!!!!!!!

    • Kim says: “We are the ONLY species who consumes the milk of another animal after the infant stage.” I don’t think that is true. Many animals (carnivorous or omnivorous) would eat milk if they would have access to eat. My grandma’s cats were always eating milk. My mom’s dog has no problem eating cow milk. We as animals on this planet we would eat anything that provides nutrients to survive the next day. Well I agree that we are taking it form another species in an unfair, unmoral way. But we can for sure drink milk and we are not the only one who would do it. Same with eggs.

      • Gabriel, you are absolutely right. Such behavior in wild predators has been documented when their victim happens to be a lactating female. The milk is a nutritional bonus. Nature lets nothing go to waste. Beverly and Derek Joubert (National Geographic wildlife researchers) have documented in their excellent book (and video) “Relentless Enemies” lions in the wild doing this with buffalo they have killed. One could make equally silly statements that “humans are the only animal that does X” about any number of things. And even if the erroneous statement about the milk of other species were true, what does that prove? Only that we are smart enough to exploit another resource in the contest for survival. BTW, the ability of many humans to easily digest the milk of other species is a mutation that occurred naturally, in response to this nutritional resource becoming more readily available.

    • So ridiculous when vegetarians say that “humans are the only species to drink another animal’s milk.” When would a wild animal get a chance to drink another species’ milk? Likely never though would lap it up if given the opportunity.

      I can say that my cat loves grass fed cow and goat milk and drinks it daily.

    • Like the China Study and many other supposedly objective evaluations of diet, the Blue Zones cherry picks data, oversimplifies actual dietary practices, and is by no means a rigorous or scientific analysis. You can easily google the numerous commentaries pointing out the shortcomings in Buettner’s book. While Buettner is an accomplished athlete and author, nowhere in any of his promotional materials is there a mention of any medical or science qualifications. Draw your own conclusions from that.

      • No doubt, all those people in Okinawa claiming to be over 100 are really only 18 and the disease stats from Japan are fake!

        But I only lived in Okinawa for four years so you probably know much more about it than I do so enjoy all that meat, eggs and milk while you can!

        • You vegan types are really amusing. I am really beginning to believe that your dietary deficiencies affect your reading comprehension. First of all, I said nothing whatsoever about your experience in Okinawa, nor about the Okinawan diet itself. Get yourself a little protein snack, some vitamins B-12 and D, and re-read what I wrote. Buettner is trying to sell books and his diet packages. The defects in his work have been documented by many credible researchers — it’s not just my opinion. I actually like his books, and I think he does a lot of good by encouraging Americans to look at other ways of eating than the aptly-acronymed SAD.

          As for the hysterically humorous vegan notion that omnivores eat a diet where animal products make up the largest component, get real. Check out Chris Kresser’s Paleo menus. Omnivores that follow a healthful diet of natural, unprocessed foods likely consume a lot more natural, unprocessed plant foods than most vegans. The latter seem obsessed, judging from their blogs, with whether the latest fake meat product tastes more like “real” meat, whether Oreos and other processed junk foods are vegan, and such topics that indicate their diets are anything but pristine. There is NO scientific evidence that consuming meat, milk or eggs raised organically (or even on small conventional farms) is harmful, unless the consumer has an allergy to such foods I challenge you to produce even a single peer-reviewed, published study that shows otherwise. And, please, don’t go through the farce of referring to the recent IARC determination. I’ve spent a lot of time these past few months urging people to go back to the original monograph and Q&A so they can see what the IARC actually said.

          • @annielaurie98524

            Please eat meat raw for a month without sweet condiments; then come back and tell us that your current cooked meat addiction is natural.

            Just because the majority haven’t figured out how we humans produce our own Vitamin B12 with bacteria; it doesn’t mean that intrinsically motivated individuals haven’t figured it out.

            “There is NO scientific evidence that consuming meat, milk or eggs raised organically (or even on small conventional farms) is harmful”

            Yes they are harmful when a person is inactive. Animal products are survival food; not thriving food and naturally require the exertion of energy to consume said animals and their products in the first place.

            Animal products didn’t increase cranial size; nor sexual organ size. Therefore there is no benefits to consuming animal products unless there is no quality plant foods available.

            • First of all, I do not use ANY “sweet condiments”, on meat or anything else. Second, I eat meat (and I am including all animal tissue in my definition) both cooked and raw. Third, I have no “addiction” to any kind of meat, nor to any other food. “Addiction” is a medical term that is bandied about, often with the user having no concept what “addiction” is. I am not advocating for my diet for others. Each person must be willing to find what works best for him. I am quite familiar with the vegan diet, having practiced, and eventually rejected it, years ago. And, finally, your interpretation of the role of meat in human evolution and development is not supported by any scientific evidence from paleontology, evolutionary biology, archaeology, or human history.

              • Neat with the highlighting.

                Addiction is when a type of stimulant unnaturally raises our neurochemicals to unnatural levels which eventually leads to said levels of neurochemicals to fall much lower then they were initially. Simple enough?

                Cooking meat produces polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF03189998

                There is no Vegan diet since veganism is a movement. There is many plant based diets as there is many diets that include animals.

                Nonsense speculative science: paleontology, evolutionary biology, archaeology.

                Real science: Neurochemistry and biochemistry.

                Big cats still have small 350cc cranials yet they consume plenty of meat. Is there anything in meat in sufficient quantity to raise the levels of neurotrophins? Do you have any real science?

                • Project much? Speculative “science” is your contention that first, cooking meat produces PAHs. It is a possibility and is highly dependent on the cooking method. Whether PAHs produced in meat can act as a human stimulant is highly speculative. Whether they would act as addictive agents is pure conjecture. Your definition of addiction is simplistic. It’s not enough that your “neurochemicals” (?) fall to their preconsumption levels, it also requires that the organism comes to seek out and depend on this type of rise and drop. And it is NOT necessary that the addictive chemical be a “stimulant” — in fact, far from it. The American Dietary Association, the USDA and other entities have actually defined a “vegan diet”. Too bad for them they did not check with you first. However, your characterization of the vegan lifestyle as a “movement” rings true for many commenters that have noted the cultish behavior of some vegans. I supposed that paleontologists, biologists, etc. should have also checked with you before labeling themselves as scientists, since you have apparently been appointed to decide which fields are speculative and which not. As for your contention that, if meat enabled human evolution, it should have made lions into rocket scientists, it took me awhile to stop laughing. It must be then obvious to you that it is the abundance of plant-based nutrients (and absence of meat-based ones) in the diets of sheep and rabbits that has enabled their astounding development of more advanced intelligence in relation to other nonhumans. Or not.

        • And what do Okinawans eat? The main meat of the diet is pork, and not the lean cuts only. Okinawan cuisine, according to gerontologist Kazuhiko Taira, “is very healthy-and very, very greasy,” in a 1996 article that appeared in Health Magazine.19 And the whole pig is eaten-everything from “tails to nails.” Local menus offer boiled pigs feet, entrail soup and shredded ears. Pork is cooked in a mixture of soy sauce, ginger, kelp and small amounts of sugar, then sliced and chopped up for stir fry dishes. Okinawans eat about 100 grams of meat per day-compared to 70 in Japan and just over 20 in China-and at least an equal amount of fish, for a total of about 200 grams per day, compared to 280 grams per person per day of meat and fish in America. Lard-not vegetable oil-is used in cooking. Okinawans also eat plenty of fibrous root crops such as taro and sweet potatoes. They consume rice and noodles, but not as the main component of the diet. They eat a variety of vegetables such as carrots, white radish, cabbage and greens, both fresh and pickled. Bland tofu is part of the diet, consumed in traditional ways, but on the whole Okinawan cuisine is spicy. Pork dishes are flavored with a mixture of ginger and brown sugar, with chili oil and with “the wicked bite of bitter melon.”
          ————–

          19. Deborah Franklyn, “Take a Lesson from the
          People of Okinawa,” Health, September 1996, pp 57-63

          • The diet is changing due to western influence. Before about WW2, the Okinawan diet was mostly sweet potatoes and not much meat at all. They had an almost vegan diet, and that is the diet that the 100 year olds in Okinawa were raised eating. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a drop in the life expectancy of Okinawans in the near future due to these changes.

            • This is simply not accurate. Vegans seem to think that, because a population does not eat American-style burgers every day, they were “almost vegan”. There has never, in the history of the human race, been a natural vegan population. Various populations have been, and continue to, use animal resources that generally do not get counted as “meat”. They eat insects; small reptiles; terrestrial, aquatic and marine crustaceans, etc. I have commented before that “meat” is an ambiguous term. As it is commonly used in the US, it includes mammal and poultry tissue. Many animal food sources are far more nutrient dense than mammal and poultry tissue, and make up a significant part of the diet of so-called “meatless” populations. And as for your last “prediction”, consider this: Japanese life expectancy has continued to rise, even as they adopt a more “Western” diet. It would be very helpful for all health-conscious people to have a science-based discussion on the components that might be included in an ideal human diet, but your speculation on what “wouldn’t surprise” you hardly fits into THAT framework.

              • Didn’t say they used to be vegan, said they used to be close to it. And recently Okinawa has had an increase in obesity, so that isnt exactly what I would call healthy. Was there anything else I said that you would say is incorrect?

                • I stand by my comment. You did not refute anything I stated. Can you educate all of us with your quantitative definition of “almost vegan”? The obesity rate in many countries is increasing. Many nutrition experts believe this is due to increased consumption of refined carbohydrates, particularly various forms of sugar. These carbohydrates, despite the meat-bashing, also make up the bulk of the American diet. The obesity rate (and the BMI index) in Japan had also started to increase until they took national action to curb the rise. They are still adopting a more Westernized diet, yet their longevity is unaffected.

    • If you really do look at the way live in the Blue Zones, rather than just relying on the selective presentation of an author promoting his diet/cookbooks, you will see that, first, their diets are extremely varied (e. g., the Cretans eat a lot of molluscs); and second, many lifestyle factors other than food influence their longevity. Among those are conditions we generally lack in “modern Western civilization” — stronger social networks; a vigorous outdoor life; intermittent fasting; a slower tempo of life; a less refined, cleaner, fresher, more varied diet (aside from its composition); a less polluted environment. In fact, Chris sent out an article today describing a study that showed strong social networks can offset life-shortening habits like smoking and lack of physical activity.

      • How does the Blue Zones author’s promotion of his work and products differ from this site’s or related others? Buettner is careful to include the non-food factors in the equation, even in the cookbooks. Cut the guy some slack. Unlike the faddy meat-heavy diets out there based on cavemen with 40 year life expectancies, you’ve got real live ppl going strong into later life, sometimes with no meat at all.

    • http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301211516302615

      “The study showed that the vegetables-based food intake decreased sperm quality. In particular, a reduction in sperm quality in male factor patients would be clinically significant and would require review. Furthermore, inadequate sperm hyperactivation in vegans suggested compromised membrane calcium selective channels. However, the study results are cautiously interpreted and more corroborative studies are needed.”

  50. Could someone clarify food sources of DHA for me? Chris says it’s just fish but i’ve read somewhere that grass fed cows, lambs and game contain it as well as pastured cheese, milk and eggs.

    Thank you

  51. The second half of this article warns against the “healthy user bias,” which states that you should not conclude that the vegan diet makes you healthier just because observational studies show that vegans are healthier than non-vegans. This makes sense.

    However, using the same logic, you should also conclude that the vegan diet doesn’t not necessarily make you nutrient deficient just because observational studies show that there is a correlation between being vegan and deficiency in select nutrients.

    The first half of this article suggest that this is the case and is therefore guilty of the “healthy user bias” that is rails against in the second half of the article.

    Just because you are vegan, it doesn’t mean you’ll be deficient in these nutrients.

    A well planned vegan diet is healthy just as a well planned omnivorous diet is healthy as well. Just because many vegans don’t eat the vegan diet properly doesn’t mean the vegan diet is unhealthy in the same way that many omnivores not eating healthy doesn’t mean the omnivorous diet is unhealthy.

  52. For the 2nd night I am not starving and trolling my refrigerator and cupboard looking for a healthy snack to gnaw on. I have been mostly vegan these past five years and as a health food foodie, I ate a very nutritious diet with whole grains, beans, tofu, lots of vegetables and fruit. Initially, I felt great but this past year I have been starved and was not satisfied with my meals. I continued to be hungry and constantly thought about food. My homemade nut butters were my elixir and I would consume copious amounts of it in an attempt to satisfy my hunger. I recently learned the results of my yearly blood work and was shocked to see it was flagged for being too low in certain areas. My iron, protein, B-12, Vitamin D and white blood count were flagged by the lab as being below the normal levels. My physician recommended a multi-vitamin, which I just started taking. I ate poultry and salmon these past two days, along with an egg and plain Greek yogurt for breakfast. For the first time, I am not starving. I have not snacked between meals. I purchased my meat at a health food cooperative where it is either wild caught or humanely raised without antibiotics. I continue to consume my whole grains, beans, lots of vegetables and fruit. I know other vegetarians who have followed this vegan diet their entire adult life without any problems. I myself, do battle Chron’s disease and take medication to treat it. Maybe this is why the vegan diet is no longer helping me. I do not judge other people’s choice of diet, but I just want to be healthy and not thinking about food continuously. I found this website on Google in an effort to see if there are others like me. Thank you for your time.

      • As a chrons colon cancer patient I beg to differ with that opinion. Animals being consumed for food and animal based products are detrimental to the colon of a chrons patient. I suggest more research should be done on her behalf before giving out bad advice.

  53. I am 65, garden everyday, (lots of digging, cycle, climb trees, coppicing, logging and axing in winter, sailing in summer, climb mountains, walk miles etc etc etc.

    I haven’t eaten meat or fish for 60 years. The only dairy I consume, 2 eggs a day.

    As for studies by agro-industries regarding protein requirements, they are the same kind of profit driven myths perpetrated by other corporations, like the salt institute.

    I am living proof that a vegetarian diet, for someone with an uncompromised metabolism, is absolutely fine.

    • Henry, you are not proof of anything in regard to any other human other than yourself. You seem confused about how science works. Your case is what medical researchers would call “anecdotal” — a subjective self-assessment of one person’s (the subject’s) health and the impact of his diet thereon. You offer no indication of your credentials to make the assessment, nor any quantitative evidence to support its accuracy. You offer no data, nor even any hypothesis, that would lead one to believe that your regimen would work for any other adult male whose physical characteristics match your own, much less any that differ from you; and even less yet that it might apply to women or children. Think about it this way: the causal link between smoking and lung disease is well established. Yet, we all know someone that will tell you that his grandfather was a heavy smoker, was never sick, and died peacefully in his sleep after his 103rd birthday. Amongst the many other flaws in your reasoning, your sample size is too small and too prone to subjective bias.

      • Your rhetoric and castigation’s of complete denial of individual facts, regardless of your inability to prove otherwise, leads me to scientifically believe that you are in denial of anyone’s experience, other than from the perspective of your own warped agenda.

        Stating I am not proof of anything, shows that you are unable to comprehend a truth, due to your massive prejudices.

        • My “rhetoric”?? “Scientifically believe”??? I am not denying your individual experience at all, as you can clearly see from my comment, despite the fact that you provide no data to support your claims. I am telling you that your experience cannot be be generalized to all humans. And that’s a fact, Jack. As I noted, again in clear terms, one individual’s experience may differ greatly from the general pattern. That’s why science-based studies use a reasonably large sample size. Sample size does, btw, affect the reliability of one’s conclusions. Try reading a few peer-reviewed, independent studies on human nutrition and it will become clearer.

          • Try listening to people with 60 years of experience! 60 years of plant based food, that’s a fact Jill. Scientists are the kind of people who gave us the metabolic toxin that is hydrogenated fats! So much for your highly vaulted and totally suspect view of science.

            Try reading a few peer-reviewed, independent studies on human nutrition and it might become clearer to you, or not.

            • My dear Henry, why do I need to listen to your 60 years’ experience? I’ve got a good 10 years on you. So, science gave us hydrogenated fats. They also gave us the atom bomb, toxic chemicals, and automatic weapons. Oooo! Science bad! Ignore science! Listen to internet poster claiming to be healthy 65-year old vegetarian man. But who could be bacon-addicted 20-something posting from his parents’ basement — how would we know? Sorry, I didn’t realize I was conversing with an anti-science Luddite. I erroneously assumed all the commenters here read Chris’ blog because it IS science-oriented.

              • My dear annielaurie:
                You too could be a spotty adolescent posting from her parent’s basement pretending to herself that she isn’t a Luddite and supposedly her 70 years is an experience worth commenting on.

                Oooo! Science all good! Ignore any science that is proved to be rubbish.

                Listen to scientific myopic internet poster claiming that science is the only way you decide, despite 60 years of experience.

                I din’t realise I was dealing with someone so narrow minded, so i will leave you with your erroneous assumptions.

                • Henry, try making an original comment. Merely parroting back anything I say is not an argument. On most blogs, my picture appears, and anyone can check me out on Facebook. I don’t hide my identity. You also have a real reading comprehension problem, don’t you? I never said science is all good. Science is neutral. It’s how we use it that determines whether it works for good or not. But science is also objective and replicable. It’s not clear whether your alleged success with vegetarianism is. I am not advocating that folks follow my example, but rather, that they investigate what works best for themselves as individuals, using a science-based, not an anecdotal, approach.

              • annie try making some original comments instead of crap like:

                ” Your alleged success with vegetarianism”

                Your sanctimonious ramblings, accusations and pious sniping suggest you are becoming a cranky old witch.

                My approach to food isn’t anecdotal, neither is my experience, but you are too myopic to recognise, anything that doesn’t suit your warped scientific dictat..

                • Henry, “your” approach and “your”experience ARE anecdotal, by definition. Don’t you understand what the term “anecdotal” means in the context of a scientific study? Further, by your own admission, you are NOT a vegan (also by definition), as you eat eggs. You are an ovo-vegetarian. It’s very difficult to have a rational discussion with someone that wants to play the Alice-in-Wonderland Queen when it comes to words whose definitions are established.

                • Henry , I can’t believe you and laurieanne are in a flame war; that’s so 1990s.
                  Me anyone not eating the Standard American Diet of overly processed foods has got to live longer than anyone eating half the garbage they advertise on billboards, radio, tv, and the internet. Vegan’s Vegetarians, Omnivores, and Carnivores are healthier if they don’t eat things that come in a package.
                  Whole Grains, Once Upon a Time might have been healthy to eat before they started using Potassium or Calcium Bromide to oxidize them so that they’d raise better but if you care for your health don’t eat even whole wheat unless you grow it yourself and if you oxidize it for better raising use Potassium Iodide like they used to back in the early 1960s. Oh and our government doesn’t make them put that on the lable but if your eyes burn when your bread is in the over it is a bromide in your flour doing it.
                  I can’t walk by a bakery without that stuff assaulting my eyes. Perhaps if you’re only eating the grain in tabouli it won’t have any bromide in it. Also you may be one of the lucky people who live in the west and have enough natural minerals in your water to counteract all the poisons in our foods. Or you live where the local government doesn’t make a chemical war against it’s citizens. Lucky You. Please stop your fighting you’re both right for yourselves.

                • Wow! And I can’t believe the level of reading comprehension here — that’s so 1950s. The name is AnnieLaurie, not laurianne. And Henry and I are not “flaming”. We are representing the timeless antagonism between science and mythmaking. You know, you actually can get grain products that are free of added bromine compounds. You can even get grains that are the old, pre-Borlaug strains.

        • Henry. My dad is a 65 year old who has smoked cigarettes since he was 10 , An ex heavy drinker and eats meat daily, He eats it in moderation and doesn’t have junk food (maybe the old piece of chocolate here and there). He’s also quiet thin with a beer gut. I don’t see many 65 year old men go out and cut firewood and do the stuff like he does, He uses a chainsaw to only fall and cut the tree into logs according to the size of his fireplace, He climbs up 6-8 foot embankments to get to the trees. He chops all the hardwood with an axe, None of this soft wood like pine. What can take me 3 swings to split 1 log in half he can do in 1 swing (I’m a 29 year old male eating the same diet as him, But I’m an IT tech, Not an lumber jack. lol). He also gets under the car and does what needs to be done as well as get out and cut the grass on his hilly property. Though a workplace accident he had 15 years ago that nearly killed him and slowed him down with knee and back troubles, He still keeps up with guys half his age until his knee starts collapsing. You and my dad seem to be blessed with great genetics and resilient bodies. I believe my dad over some random on the internet, Because Ive seen the living proof for myself. My dad’s friend is the same. Meat and animal products aren’t bad for us in the slightest. Its all about moderation, portions, Variety, Balance and regular exercise as well as staying away from or minimizing fast and processed foods that are loaded with chemicals, Bad fats and artificial crap. Its nice to hear that your diet seems to be working for you, But without having blood works taken. You have no idea.

          • I think I’d pick Henry here… The outliers in this country (e.g., Adventists) get to live into their late 90s and beyond, perhaps aided by an outlier diet (i.e., non-SAD, very low or no meat, no dairy)

      • @annielaurie
        I’ve worked in the field of nutrition research for awhile and can tell you that much of the incessant focus on saying “you need proof, there’s no data, there’s no science supporting you” tends to come from scientists who are industry paid. I actually used to be this way because I was trained by industry funded scientists. I’ve seen first hand how actually “credible” many of these scientists are. A friend of mine was conducting research on egg consumption reducing calorie intake later in the day – the effect sizes were ridiculously small and reduced calorie intake by about 30-40 calories at best, yet the egg board funded this research and took the results to make the conclusion that eggs make you eat less and stay full longer…uh huh. A lab I have worked for did research for a weight loss shake company and we found that a reduced calorie solid diet cured cravings and hunger better than the shakes, but the shake company made it seem as though their product was better than the whole food diet. The current state of nutritional science is fake arguments made from unsound research. The university I work for does plenty of research on polyunsaturated oils and much of this research is focused on proving that they are good for you (like corn, soy, cottonseed, canola, safflower, etc.) yet are funded by those oil manufacturers. Much of the research on meat consumption is funded by various agricultural industries and their affiliates and the actual results are taken out of context and their questionable results are generalized to the public. Many scientists are paid off by companies specifically to go around saying that sugar isn’t bad for you because “there’s no evidence,” that meat isn’t bad for you “because there’s no evidence,” that processed food isn’t bad for you “because there’s no evidence.” I’ve experienced these people first hand because I’ve worked for one! Nutritional research is perverted by industry money the same way that politics are perverted by industry money. It isn’t the case for all scientists in the field of nutrition, but a good majority are putting money, grants, and their careers ahead of sound science. They perpetuate bad science while attacking other bad (or even good) science because they are getting paid off. But of course, I don’t have data to support my argument and it’s just anecdotal, despite the fact that revealing the university or specific scientists could land me in a heap of trouble. It’s a lot worse than you really think it is, and this is coming from an actual nutrition researcher. Many of my colleagues and previous professors or research partners are publishing dirty research or research that is misinterpreted even by other scientists while trying to derail all of the independently funded research which is often contrary to the industry funded research. I’ve had many colleagues complain about how dirty science in the field of nutrition has become. It may help if you went to get some firsthand experience on the subject matter before attacking points of view and research that isn’t dirtied by interest funding. The conflict of interest statements that researchers give are a load of crap. I’ve had to sign them before when I knew they weren’t true for fear of losing my job and funding. Now I realize that getting the truth out is more important than a career in a dirty field. You sir, are the one who should educate himself and get some firsthand experience in what you claim to know so much about.

    • … pssst … eggs are not dairy, Henry (I hope you don’t consider yourself a vegan) … as for anecdotal evidence, NOT eating food my food eats (mostly including grains and other refined carbs, which includes high-carb/low fibre plant foot/vegetables) has got my T2 Diabetes reversed … neener, neener … LCHF is the way for me! 😉

      • Be careful of consuming too much fat. Study below shows that high levels of fat in the body causes insulin resistance.

        “Insulin resistance (IR) is a common feature of the metabolic syndrome and an important factor in the cause of type 2 diabetes. There is abundant evidence that increased levels of plasma lipids, predominantly free fatty acids (FFAs) and triglycerides, are causally involved in IR.”

        http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/52/1/138.full

        “[L]owering of elevated plasma [free fatty acid] levels can reduce insulin resistance/hyperinsulinemia and improve oral glucose tolerance in lean and obese nondiabetic subjects and in obese patients with type 2 diabetes…”

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/0010480616

        “In healthy adolescents, an acute elevation in plasma [free fatty acid] with I[intralipid] infusion is accompanied by significant increases in [intramyocellular lipid content] and reductions in insulin sensitivity with no race differential.”

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23122836

        Study below is more unclear about the effect of fat on insulin resistance.

        “Studies in genetic and dietary obese animal models, genetically modified animals and humans with obesity or type 2 diabetes suggest plausible mechanisms for effects of fatty acids, lipid metabolites, inflammatory pathways and mitochondrial dysfunction on insulin action in muscle. Many of these mechanisms, however, have been demonstrated in situations in which lipid accumulation (obesity) already exists. Whether the initial events leading to muscle insulin resistance are direct effects of fatty acids in muscle or are secondary to lipid accumulation in adipose tissue or liver remains to be clarified.”

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18460913

      • ooooh Eggs have always been classed as dairy even though we all know that they have not been laid by bovines.
        Don’t know how it started but have always been classed as dairy just as pork has been classed as white meat.

      • Save your breath with Henry. He doesn’t understand the meaning of anecdotal claims, he thinks science is BAD, and he isn’t a vegan anyway. He eats eggs.

      • It might not prove anything to you as you were not part of the experiment, but 60 years proved something to me.

        Yo too are obviously suffering from scientific myopia

        You can join annie on your scientific soap boxes.

        • Ah, Henry, there you go again, misrepresenting what you said. In your first comment posted to this piece you said, “I am living proof that a vegetarian diet, for someone with an uncompromised metabolism, is absolutely fine.” Now, that is both advice to all with normal metabolisms that your dietary style will work for them (which you accused me of being untruthful about), AND a claim — “proof” — that your experience can be generalized to all such persons (which you snarked to Mike that you did not do). As for scientific soapboxes, Mike deserves his very own scientific soapbox, as do all the commenters that want to use science, not hearsay, to learn what dietary approach is most beneficial for them. I would not presume to suggest any of them get on my scientific soapbox — it might not fit their needs.

          • To add to your comment, my mother tried a vegetarian diet. Not even full vegan diet, still nearly got hospitalized for malnutrition. What works for one doesn’t work for all, it’s very much reliant on the individuals body. That’s something Henry seems to not comprehend, along with many (not all) vegetarians and especially vegans. One person can get by on it their whole life, someone else may need supplements (which is what the article said, something else Henry failed to grasp). But he’s more experienced than dietary specialists, I suppose…

            • Some people can engage in a logical, science-based discussion at 3 a.m., or any other hour. Others find it impossible to to do so at 2 p.m., or any other time of day.

    • Vegan diets cleanse, then when the cleansing is over, time to find a diet that works. However, the guy who claims vegan’s the way to go, T. Colin Campbell, is living proof vegan diets are not the way to go. Look at him and the China Study was proven to be pure nonsense and nothing more than someone trying to sell us on veganism. Any diet that is nutrient deficient is questionable, no, it’s harmful. Going across the ocean without vitamin C proved that, plus a few other disorders when deficiencies ruin us or kill us, but vegans believe they are pure, right, and one of God’s Chosen people. It’s irrational. illogical and as the brain shrinks due to low protein, nutrient deficiencies, sad. It was started by those who had no choice, no meat, fish and insects somehow weren’t the most appealing protein choice, co, fruits, or whatever was an easy choice. This guy eats two eggs and gets some protein from produce, for at least 20 grams. I’m 84, eat 55 grams of protein, hike, have a girl friend, do interval training, lift weights but not that often, walk over 7000 steps per day, sleep soundly, curl 40 pounds with one arm, do 40 pushups every day, etc., so what does that make me? It’s not luck, it’s something I work at. I eat organic, grass-fed meat, wild salmon, raw butter, ghee, coconut oil, veggies and hardly any fruit and only in season, pure water, no dairy but when I did dairy it was from pastured cows, and raw. I miss the milk, but it’s for babies not adults, and certainly not cow milk, but the human female of our species. I don’t drink, use drugs, smoke pot or anything else, and I have my own business which is quite physical. Vegan diets will eventually destroy those who persist on such nonsense, and it is nonsense. We didn’t get to where we are on vegan diets, our brains grew because of meat, red, pink or otherwise. That, girls and boys, it reality. Will this convince vegans to go sane? No.

      • Let’s you and Henry fight! Seriously, what you say about evolutionary eating makes sense from a scientific point of view. I am sure, because you don’t buy into the vegan myths, that you realize that works for you specifically might not work for everyone. But the evolution of homo sapiens shows that some animal protein — and there are myriad types — works for everyone. I am sure there are millions of healthy, active octogenarian omnivores (and septuagenarian “youngsters” like me) that are basing their diets on evolutionary (scientific) principles. OTOH, veganism is a relatively recent dietary regime in terms of human evolution.

      • “Vegan diets will eventually destroy those who persist on such nonsense, and it is nonsense.”

        “Any diet that is nutrient deficient is questionable, no, it’s harmful.”

        Being on a vegan diet will not necessarily make you nutrient deficient. Even if there is a correlation between being vegan and deficiency in a particular nutrient, we need to remember that correlation does not imply causation. The vegan diet does not cause any particular nutritional deficiency.

        “It’s irrational. illogical and as the brain shrinks due to low protein, nutrient deficiencies, sad.”

        Once again, there is no evidence that a vegan diet will cause a protein deficiency. In fact, protein requirement is 42 grams per day. The chart below from a study shows that vegans, vegetarians, meat eaters, etc all consume more than 60 grams of protein per day.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4081456/figure/F1/

        • That requirement is dependant on a person’s weight, bmi, and activity level, along with whether they’re trying to drop, gain, or maintain weight, especially muscle mass. For a lot of body builders, eating 1g protein per pound of lean body weight is pretty common, where more sedentary lifestyles require closer to the number you posted. There is so “one size fits all” diet. What is dropping fat and building muscle for me, might make, say, a high school cheerleader that weighs 110lbs soaking wet, get fat.

      • I don’t usually respond to such insulting drivel but you ask people to look at me as if there is something wrong. I am one month away from 82, I take no drugs, I can easily run 3-5 miles a day and I am as fit as I have ever been. My wife of 75 also is very healthy and takes no drugs. Also, you will find no advocacy of veganism or vegetarianism in The China Study–evidence shows that their dietary fat content is not very different from the standard American diet. Neither diet can do what a whole food plant based diet can do–reverse (i.e., cure) heart disease, type 2 diabetes, etc.) and make superior athletes. It was never my intent to do research to prove the health value of these diets–indeed, it was the opposite. But after continually getting over four decades of very competitive, professionally approved research money from taxpayers like you, after publishing over 300 professionally (peer) reviewed research studies and, after giving over 600 lectures (all invited and mostly to medical schools or their conferences), I know, in spades, that a whole food plant based diet creates health far better than any other dietary version for the vast majority of people. I wish you the best of luck in your continued health.

  54. Thanks Chris for your balanced and thoughtful approach. I have had both vegetarian and Paleo clients come to me and I respect their individual food philosophy. The reason some (not all) vegetarian or vegan clients come to me for nutritional help is that they didn’t know the difference in nutrients between an animal and plant-based diet and what sources of protein have complete amino acids or how to make it work. Even vegan nutritionists think it’s important to consult with them to make sure people know what the best sources of proteins, healthy fats, and carbs are and how to combine or supplement food as needed.

  55. I am not really interested in spending my time reading these comments. Can you please unsubscribe me. I have tried already but you make it very difficult hence i am still getting emails

      • I consume around 85% of my calories eating whole plant-based foods. Less than 5% of my daily calories are from animal protein and other than vegetables the fat comes from nuts/seeds and avocado…no added oils. Should be obvious that I do not fry anything, no dairy and two eggs every other week.
        I left weights three times a week and ride a stationary bike six times a week. I am a Taekwondo instructor about six times a week for 1.5 hours daily.
        I will be 75 years old soon and not on any prescriptions, 5′ 10.5″ and weigh 154 pounds.

  56. It is not a myth or invalid studies that indicate a greater percentage of people lived to be over 100 years old following their traditional diet and life-style in Okinawa.
    You would be much wiser to learn about that traditional diet consuming over 85% of calories from whole plant-based foods, loads of Japanese yams, some soy, eggs and pork but not the amount of animal products near the typical Western Diet.
    Except for one’s special physical defects no book is going to convince that whole grains are not healthy for the majority of people because too many past cultures have done much better than we do on them.
    B12 actually comes from the soil and many years ago consumers of vegetables were getting their B12 from the soil remaining on the vegetables. There are greens and legumes that provide adequate levels of zinc,iron and calcium if one is not over-consuming animal products.
    No long-living culture has been vegan that we know of but that does not justify consuming large amounts of animal protein or some containing toxins.

    • Every time I hear a vegan claim how veganism is so wonderful because the people in Okinawa live to be over a hundred, I have to laugh. Because do you know what the defining element of the Okinawan cuisine is? MEAT!!!

      I quiote from the wikipedia page on ‘Okinawan cuisine’:

      “Another characteristic of Okinawan cuisine is its reliance on meat. The main protein sources of Okinawan cuisine are derived from livestock, specifically pigs. Buddhism spread less widely in Okinawa, and the islands were less influenced by the non-meat eating practices of the Tokugawa shogunate. Okinawan has had a culture of using livestock since the Edo era. An Okinawan saying states that Okinawan cuisine “begins with pig and ends with pig” and “every part of a pig can be eaten except its hooves and its oink.”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okinawan_cuisine

      • The truth about the traditional Okinawan diet that resulted in so many living to be over 100 is public information. Feel free to eat all the meat you like and to believe whatever you like…I really do not care except that people like you do more to create global warming than my car, increase my medical insurance and income taxes to pay for all you sick ones…
        You can also spike your soda with the thought that I never suggested the best diet is vegan…

  57. In the 1930s onwards people were taught they would die without meat and there are people to this day who still believe this even though there are millions of Indians who have never tasted meat and are vegan and live to a rip old age. The meat industry is very powerful. The highest most bio available protein food on the planet are algae’s. The dairy industry is also mighty powerful and tells us to consume their product for strong bones because it gives us calcium. When the dairy industry found that there was calcium in their product they jumped all over this to get people to buy more dairy even though the amount of calcium in their product is vastly overwelmed by the amount of calcium that is pulled out of your bones in order to absorb it causing osteoperosis. Everything is about money and they spin any kind of lie to get you to consume their products. There is no money in getting people to eat more vegetables. Spinach has the highest calcium content of any vegetable and despite the oxolates, which reduce its absorption of calcium,you still get plenty from spinach.
    All living things have been designed with the equipment it needs to be able to accumulate and assimilate everything it needs to be healthy so when i have any doubts about information i look to nature because it always gets things right. Why are the vegetarian vegan mammals like the elephant life span 50 years and the hippopatamus 40-50 years living longer and are also stronger compared to the big cats who are lucky if they live 8 years and its not just because of their violent lifestyle because in captivity they struggle to live longer than 30 years. For every study that says meat eaters and vegetarians have the same life span there are loads more that say you live longer on a plant based diet. Example the china study. Incidentally none of the research that promotes meat eating never says that meat eating compared to being a vegetarian or vegan will make you live longer but the vegans vegetarians are saying that they live longer not just equal to carnivors or omnivors. You might think animal foods are nutrient dense but they are not bio available because people normally cook them which denatures the protein and so the protein is not as bio available and even if you eat it raw (which you should be able to easily do if we were designed to chase our food and bring it down and devour it then and there) our digestive system is not designed to eat that stuff hence why most carnivors have 12lbs of meat permanently rotting away in the guts and that meat stays there for years.
    There are 3 nutrients that are difficult to get if you are a vegan. One of them is vitamin D sorry hormone D which is deficient in the population as a whole whether you are a cornivor or not. Zinc is not easy to get as a vegan. Fat soluble vitamins is not a problem because there is plenty of fat in vetatables that is where vegatable oil comes from. The best form of EPA or DHA which is omega 3 is not from fish. You need to go to the source. Where do fish get their omega 3 from the algaes. So you want the algaes. The reason omega 3 is more important to concentrate on to make sure you get enough is because you need omega 6 and 3 in equal quantities because omega 6 is inflammatory and omega 3 is anti inflammatory so they balance each other out. In the standard diet we have way too much omega 6.
    Calcium is not a problem when you eat your leafy greens despite the oxolates. Iron can be a problem if you have too much or too little and you get that from your raw leafy vegetables. The fat soluble vitamins , A D K and E can be absorbed easily when you don’t have a problem digesting fat which you get copious amounts from your vegetables. Remember vegetable oil is from vegetables. Hope you find this helpful

      • Seriously? The world wide health organization finally clasified all processed meat as a class 1 carcinogen and all other meat as class 2(likely carcinogenic to humans). That is the result of the largest study ever done on meat and is unbias, with scientists from over 20 countries. Look this up.

        • Bob, please take your own advice and “look this up”. You have misrepresented what the WHO report said. Gross misrepresentation and oversimplification does a disservice not only to the readers of this blog, but also to the effort that IARC-WHO put into this work. You might start with their definition of “meat”, then enlighten yourself on the classification system (there is no “Class 2”), and finally read their “Q&A on the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat” at http://www.who.int/features/qa/cancer-red-meat/en/

          • Wait another fifty to one hundred years for more complete nutritional studies or look at the five Blue Zones where a much larger percent lived disease free and to over 100 years old.
            All the Blue Zones consumed over 80% of daily calories from whole plant-based foods. Consumed less than 10% of calories from animal protein, little or no dairy and a significant portion of the whole plant-based foods were either yams or whole grains in addition to vegetables and fruits.
            You can blah blah all day about fad diets like the Paleo, low-fat, low-carb etc etc or you can get healthy fats from nuts/seeds and avocado, small amount of meat plus the 10% that vegetables average.

        • Pure unadulterated b.s., Bob … basically their data was GROSSLY misinterpreted by the press — the difference in overall mortality was 18% … given that a diet of processed meat or red meat was about 4% probability to lead to cancer, that brings the danger to … wait for it … 6%. The result: uber-alarmist vegan propaganda. q.e.d.

      • “But how did we ever get around to inventing the wheel and building empires if we were plucking plants all day long?”

        Cooking food greatly enhanced its nutritional profile, not just cooking animals but also plants.

    • Comparing the lifespans of different types of animals and concluding their longevity is based on diet is pure BS and demonstrates a woeful lack of knowledge of zoology (both its basic principles and the diversity of creatures it studies). How about killer whales that eat meat exclusively and have a lifespan at least equal to that of elephants? Or bowhead whales with an omnivorous diet of plankton and various crustaceans and a lifespan of 200 years? Comparing animal lifespans as a guide for what humans should eat is a fool’s errand at best.

    • You know we are factually omnivores, right? It’s a scientific fact that our bodies require an omnivore diet, not an herbivorous diet. Veganism is pseudo-science.

  58. Chris,
    While this article is going on 2 years old, perhaps it’s time to consider updating and re-emphasizing certain points, in view of the IARC announcement today listing red meat (all mammal muscle meat) as a class 2A human carcinogen. While the Q&A from the actual IARC monograph is far more nuanced, headlines are screaming that red meat will kill us. Can you please put his all in perspective?

    • Hi. I am not replying specifically to you but my phone won’t let me just reply.
      How do I get off this list.
      It is tiresome and my life is too busy for Internet talking.
      Thanks

    • There’s is another article about the IARC finding that unprocessed meat causes cancer and red meat may cause cancer.

      This article is about whether the vegan or vegetarian diet is healthy.

  59. I’ve been eating a well balance diet of veggies,dairy,fruit,meat,carbs. I’m extremely healthy with healthy hair and nails and flawless clear skin. Six months on a vegetarian diet my hair become dry and brittle, I got horrible break outs, dry skin,brittle and soft nails,all ways hungry,light headed,so happy I add meat back to my diet.

    • You dont know how to eat vegetarian, you need to research and apply the research to your diet. Not eating meat is not how you get healthy…

        • I know! We were taught all these misconception on why to depend on meat and dairy, that we never cared to learn about how to eat in alternative ways. It’s not right or fair! It’ good to have alternatives.

        • Rule #1: question ALL authority (especially your national “medical, dietary and nutritional self-anointed experts”.

          Rule # 2: read the research carefully for misrepresented conclusions (like the recent “red/processed mead is bad for you bullshit from the U.N.) … have a good look at the math AND the declared conflicts; if NO conflicts are declared, GOOGLE the authors to fine potential conflicts.

    • Even worse, their cats, who are obligate carnivores. Even the vegetarian veterinarian Karen Becker, who publishes a pet-care blog, warns people NOT to feed their dogs and cats a vegetarian diet.

        • Alright so let me get this straight. There are millions of animals every day getting artificially inseminate against their will, mothers having their newborn babies taken away, chickens having their beaks broken off, animals have their testicales ripped out while they are conscious, hundreds of animals being hung from their feet while they are beheaded every second (and this list goes on) but the tragedy in this situation is people feeding their dogs vegetables. Unbelievable.

  60. By restricting ourselves from the food we evolved on, we will be reducing the capabilities of our body. We know that we process oxygen from the air we breathe. Restriction should be due to scientific, moral or legal compulsions and not to make it ‘easier’ for the human body.

  61. Interesting…According to this, I should be deficient in B12, Iron, Calcium, Zinc etc. etc. But I got my bloodwork back yesterday and except for slightly low B12 (WHICH IS OK, ESPECIALLY AMONG VEGANS), everything is exactly where it should be. It’s almost like you can get everything you need to be healthy from plants…someone should look into that. Oh wait.

  62. This is a terrible article.
    Readers: I suggest you actually click on the links to the studies (found at the end of sentences). Read them for yourself, and then form your conclusions.

    • I completely agree, Peter!

      In response to the Conclusion, in which he writes, “I think it’s possible to meet nutrient needs with a vegetarian diet that includes liberal amounts of pasture-raised, full-fat dairy and eggs, with one exception: EPA and DHA.”

      My husband is from India and most of them live their entire lives, not eating ANY meat (including eggs), while many are also vegan (or mostly vegan). They also do not need a doctor to write prescriptions, for them to get medicine; they just go to the pharmacist and ask for the drug (or explain their symptoms to him and he tells them what drug they need). This shows that they do NOT have a culture addicted to prescription drugs (like the U.S.), suggesting that, on average they have less health problems (and use food as medicine, such as turmeric for inflammation). Given this information, how do you explain their thriving culture and lack for medical intervention?

      • I’m not sure India is the best example for healthy lifestyle.
        For an instance take a look at their life expectancy – 66 years (below world average). Out of 194 countries they are 139th. In short their lack of medical intervention seems to cause more problems than it solves.

      • Please note in India they also get protein from the bugs that got into their food. Vegans from India sometimes had trouble when they moved to England according to a study

          • Why is that ridiculous? It is true. You realize your comment is not only offensive to me, but all people who have experienced true to what I stated which you state is ridiculous.

      • This is simply not true. Less than 1% in India are vegan (mostly expats.) and only 31% are vegetarian. 61% of adult women have iron deficiency anemia and India now has the highest type 2 diabetes rate in the world.

        • Yes, the westernization (increased consumption of meat and processed food) has not surprisingly caused an increase in “diseases of affluence” in that country.

  63. I love how this people write articles like this and pretend to sound smart…
    Those nutrients that you’ve listed.. you can find them on plants.. as a Vegan, you just have to know to replace animal products for nuts, grains, fruits, vegetables and everything else… EVERYTHING IS IN PLANTS….

    And the worse thing is that you actually convince people that veganism is a bad idea, now let me tell you…
    There are *MILLIONS* of animals dying every single year due to high human demand of animal meat and products.
    Animals are being abused and robbed of their right to live just like us, and people are dying from high cholesterol, heart deceases, and other crap that you acquire by consuming large quantities of animal products.

    Open your eyes and seriously stop spreading lies about the most healthy and honest way of living.

    Sincerely,
    A pissed off vegan bodybuilder.

  64. Hi Chris,

    Great article. I’ve used it as a reference many times.
    Dietitians of Canada recommends Red Star nutritional yeast for B12, and I am wondering, would that also be a B12 analog and therefore, not recommended? I haven’t been able to find an answer to my question when researching.

    Thanks!

    • The B12 in Red Star (and other major brands) nutritional yeast is not an analog. It’s actual vitamin B12 produced by bacteria in a lab. It’s the same that’s used in supplements and added to nondairy milks. For some, especially the elderly, it can be more readily absorbed than the B12 from meat.

    • I would like to get back to a vegetarian/vegan diet, but with the US/Iran Nuclear Deal, what the use is a longer life?

      • Mercola is basically a meat-pusher who misleads people with his completely unfounded rationalizations about nutrients only found in meat. Simply not true, Almost ALL nutrients start with plants. B-12 is produced by bacteria in the soil and SHOULD be available from plants, but modern, industrialized agriculture and changing the soil has made it too difficult in our modern society; Vit D is from exposure to sunlight – anyone living in northern climates needs to supplement, Vit K is produced by bacteria in our gut. Essential oils are found in plant foods too.

    • Grains have twice the correlation with cancer as meat. Pescatarian is the healthiest diet with 47% reduction in cancer risk. Pescatarian is pretty much a vegan diet + seafood, which prevents deficiency in EOA/DHA Iomega-3, vitamin D, B12, iron, iodine, zink, copper, calcium, and highest foid source of protein.

      • What is your source regarding your statement about grains and meat? The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends a diet high in whole grains because of their cancer-preventing fiber and other healthful compounds.

        • One source is the China study. No not the book but the actual study. You can obtain the base data from the study itself and work through the data if you have a statisical bent. The highest correlation for diet was wheat consumption and cancer. Contary to what the book says, there was no benefit to esting less meat. You will note thst the book never shows data from the study.
          There is annecdotal evidence that people with celiac who stop eating wheat while still young have a very low cancer rate.
          Of course cancer is not just one disease so only protective from some types.
          Cheers

  65. i was vegetarian for 14 years. After I came down with an autoimmune disease, I eliminated wheat, dairy, and beans from my diet and added meat. I am happy to report that I am in remission! Some veg protein sources are poison to our bodies. I must tell u that I eat mostly fresh fruits and veggies with a little bit of organic meat.

  66. Great article, in response to some of the comments, of course you can get all of your daily needs, micronutrients and protein from vegetarian and potentially vegan sources.

    The challenge though is that the level of protein and other essential vitamins that are needed for optimal health and athletic performance are difficult to obtain without meat or other animal products, i.e. when attempting to develop strength and size, it’s difficult (but not impossible) to get protein from a vegan diet.

    • These links can help you a bit. I’m not a bodybuilder myself but I keep in great physical shape while living a vegan lifestyle. I have no problem with maintaining muscle, shape, or health, and I don’t find it difficult to do. It’s something that’s worthy to learn how to do so why not. I eat a lot as an active vegan and that suits me because I love food.

      Here’s an article about the The PlantBuilt Vegan Muscle Team. I think it was noted somewhere that they comprised 10% of the competition but won 40% of the medals.

      http://www.veganbodybuilding.com/?page=article_robert_austin_2013

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/VeganBodybuildingAndFitness/ Here’s the FB page.

      There are tons of vegan fb pages with thousands of people discussing topics and providing great info. I was helped and I’ve helped others.

      Vegan is really not difficult to do. Want a burger then try Field Roast. They’re amazing. And add Chao cheese and “Just Mayo Chipotle” to it along with the tomato/lettuce/fried onions/mustard/whatever you normally put on it… and you’ll see how good it can get.

      Every carnist that’s tried it says that Field Roast is in a class by itself. It can’t be compared to meat because it beats it on every level. It’s that good. So why not. And “protein” while important is very misunderstood when you actually start to study it. I don’t even think about protein. I just eat.

      Peace,
      John

      • And I take no supplements/vitamins/protein powers. The only thing I take occasionally is b12, but it’s rare I do because of the way I eat. Be sure to read the other comments from vegans on b12 and then do further research into how it all works. There’s a whole lot to study on that subject and that’s important for your health which you clearly care about.

        Regards,
        John

  67. this is the most biased muck i have ever read. There is so much crap on the internet and if you dont know that you do not obtain any calcium from dairy you really should not be giving health advice. Although there is calcium in dairy yes, but it is high in phosphates like all animal products causing acidity and because of this acid the body has to reduce this acid by taking calcium out of our bones and dumping it into the blood then after the calcium has done its job of putting out the acid fire it is dispersed throughout all the soft tissue of the body causing all sorts of calcification problems such as calcified arteries, kidney stones etc. look at the relationship between osteoperosis and consumption of dairy in the scandinavian countries where they consume absolutely loads of dairy and they have the highest rates of osteoperosis.

    • Janice, Your comment is absolutely wrong and misleading. The calcium form dairy products is well absorbed. The problem in the Northern courtiers is the lack of vitamin D due to the reduced sunshine. Also I see that you are an extremist. You take only the extremes into consideration. You compare vegan diet with only meat diet. If you eat 6 oz of meat per day and combined it with enough vegetables you will never get reduced blood pH. I am always curious how people without any clue of science can write “scientific comments”. In a large study recently have been demonstrated that vegetarians and vegans have a lot weaker immune system and are predisposed to anemia. The results were in comparison not with meat eaters but normal omnivores diet. Humans are created omnivores and it doesn’t mean that we can eat either meat or plants. It means that we must eat both in order to survive.

    • That acid/alkaline diet theory is not based on sound science. It is erroneous. You better hope some of your body’s systems have an acid pH or they will not function properly. Other systems function at an alkaline pH. You can actually do very little to change the pH of various parts of your body by diet. The body knows what pH regime it needs and works to maintain the optimum range for that particular function.

    • The acid-alkaline theory of nutrition (and I hesitate to call it a theory, as that gives it a scientific veneer it does not merit) is nonscientific bunk. It has been shown to be such by several writers, including the very Chris Kresser whose blog this is. Several foods that vegans claimed were “acidifying” actually produce an alkaline residue when analyzed in the lab, rather than in someone’s fevered new-age pipe dreams. Not that this matters a whit for your overall health. See http://skepdic.com/alkalinediet.html, https://www.metabunk.org/debunked-alkaline-diets-cure-cancer.t5401/, http://www.webmd.com/diet/a-z/alkaline-diets, and http://www.naturalnews.com/041623_alkaline_diet_pH_level_myths.html, to cite only a few. Any benefits from the so-called alkaline diet result from its emphasis on getting people to consume more fresh vegetables and fruit, not from any blood-pH balancing.

    • Your body pulls calcium from your bones when protein is consumed no matter what source the protein comes from; animal or otherwise.

  68. I think that’s a good article although I have been doing a lot of research on vegetarian diets and have found out that a person can get all nutritional needs without supplements. It just takes a lot of balancing of diet and a lot of eating foods that absorb those nutrients. Many people fail to do that because of what ever reason. I just thought I would let you know.

    • I’m sorry but on a vegetarian diet, or worse vegan, you will be lacking active vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin K2 (if yoB12u dont ferment your veg), calcium, iron (heme), CLA (only found in ruminants fed on pasture), enough cholesterol (to fulfil vital functions), long chain DHA, biotin, B12, choline, this list is endless….

      • Nonsense. The only nutrient necessary for vegans to supplement is B12, though many choose to take more, just as many meat eaters do. Active vitamin A is unnecessary and can be problematic in excess, as can heme (animal-based) iron. The body forms all the vitamin A it needs from the beta carotene in vegetables. The safer non-heme iron is plentiful in dark leafy greens, legumes, whole grains such as buckwheat, nuts, and seeds. To ensure absorption, consume it with a food high in vitamin C. There’s plenty of calcium in plant foods, especially dark leafy greens, beans, seeds, and plant-based milks. Algae-derived (vegan) long-chain DHA and EPA supplements are widely available. (Algae is where fish get their omega-3s.) And with a diet lower than typical in omega-6 (in other words, a whole-foods, plant-based diet), conversion of short-chain omega-3s in foods like walnuts and flax seed to long-chain becomes efficient. Many common plant foods, including tofu, quinoa and broccoli, are good sources of choline. CLA is found in abundance in a variety of mushrooms. With the addition of a simple B12 supplement, a well-rounded plant-based diet provides all the nutrients needed for excellent health without the risks inherent in a diet high in animal products.

        • Actually, not everyone can convert beta-carotene to vitamin A. As a naturopath, I see many people that are deficient in vitamin A.
          BETA CAROTENE IS NOT VITAMIN A

  69. Great article Chris! I’d add that although it’s possible to get all of our essential amino acids from vegetables most vegans and vegetarians are still deprived of protein. When I went on a high vegetable low-protein kick for a week, I noticed that my nails were brittle and my hair was starting to shed. I think the best solution is to eat locally raised, high nutritious meat and a substantial amount of produce into your diet as well.

  70. Great article Chris! I’d like to add that although its possible to get all your essential amino acids from vegetables, most vegans and vegetarians are still deprived of protein. I think the best solution is to eat locally raised high quality meat and include a substantial amount of fresh produce into your diet.

  71. I tend to be skeptical when people point to just one study that happens to support their point of view while ignoring the many others that may not (and no, they are not all plagued by healthy user bias – there are many ways to control for that possibility).

    Also the link you gave for the study does not confirm the results you wrote about. I just looked at it and it does not mention anything about comparing vegetarians with omnivores.

    However, if it really is the case that health conscious omnivores and health conscious vegetarians live equally long, then it seems that the vegetarian diet has no disadvantage. Yes they may need to take supplements, but so do many omnivores. Really there is no health reason in a modern society to kill animals for food.

    • Hello….it is written in scriptures that many people before Christ had and did kill all kinds of beasts for food and clothing and the Lord said Every beast of the land every fowl of the air are meat for men.the lord also says eat meat sparingly. …so it is meant for us to eat meat.but we are giving agency to chose for ourselves what we do as by choice and free will.

  72. I was a vegetarian for two years . I was always hungry and had low levels of energy. I made sure that my diet was balanced as I was aware of the risks, so please don’t tell me that I did not do it right. I also exercised regularly.

    After doing lots of research and thinking, I decided to go back to eating meat. I introduced all natural chicken slowly, then lean organic beef. My body never felt happier. I lost 15lb (I weight 120 now), never hungry, and full of energy. No diets, just listening to what my body is telling me (and that is eat meat in moderation, lots of veggies, nuts and fruits). It’s been 5 years since I got back to the natural human diet the way God intended us to eat. Never been happier in my life.

    I think all the people who claim how being vegan/vegetarian is the best thing that ever happened to them are just experiencing powerful placebo effect since , as the author mentioned, the myths of devastating meat diet vs happy and healthy vegetarian are still extremely prevalent in our society.

  73. This article is so poorly informed. I just had my blood tested and I have perfect levels of B-12, iron, calcium, I had a full panel done. I’ve been vegetarian for 7 years and vegan for 2. I was actually anemic when I ate meat and dairy. It’s a little embarrassing that the author didn’t examine any actual evidence and assumed our diets are lacking, despite the vast amount of healthy, happy vegans in the world. We have a ‘health bias’ because veganism follows general health. People who do nutritional research learn that it’s better to suit our natural bodies, which, from our intestines to our stomach acids, are suited to plant-based diets.

    • I agree with you 100%. I’ve been vegetarian, mostly vegan, for 8 years and my blood work is phenomenal. I was anemic and had high cholesterol when I used to consume meat and dairy products. Sounds like this author was paid by the meat corporations lol. The food pyramid is bias as well since the people on the panel who decide what foods to eat are sponsored and paid by the dairy industry.

      • I agree!!! Vegetarian and complete blood counts always perfect!!! I don’t take any supplements. So I have had no issues being vegetarian…I love it!!!

      • Considering that his specialty is alternative medicine and healthy living, he doesn’t receive any more from the meat industry than a chiropractor receives from pharmaceutical companies.

  74. I am 71 years old. I became a vegetarian and mostly vegan forty years ago. I take no medications and I run five miles every day (slowly). Until recently, I never took B 12 or Omega 3. Why am I not dead? (after listening to talks by Dr. Gergen and Dr. Stanger on the net I do take B 12, to be on the safe side). I know this is anecdotal evidence, but, I wonder exactly what foods those folks who are deficient are eating? I have bean, rice and tofu almost every dinner, and I make a shake of whatever veggies and fruit I have around, because I can’t stand to eat them if they are not ground up and banana flavored. Also, meat does not have B12 in it, rather the B12 is on it. Also, I take no Omega 3 supplement like flax. My point is that there seems to be a lot that is unknown.

    • awesome,,,thats amazing,,i am 53,,stopped eating meat six weeks ago,and became vegan a week ago,,i feel amazing already,,but i just know the advantages to not eating meat,,,hope to live along healthy life,,med free,,,

    • Why are you not dead? Well much like you and maybe 30-40% of people you probably can recycle b12 very efficiently. Unfortunately alot of people have this gene mutation which means their b12 depletes over time, some people faster then others which means a vegan diet isn’t really a fit for them unless they supplement every day.

  75. I’ve cut out dead animals and all dairy and eggs and I’ve never felt so good. It’s forced me to eat healthy and eat twice as many veggies and fruits as I use to. I’ve lost 20+kg since changing my lifestyle and feel amazing. I’ve also been seen a specialized nutritionist. There is no need to kill animals and eat their rotting flesh, and eat chickens periods (eggs) and drink cows milk (made only for their calves that are killed because they are a by product of the dairy indistry and a cow must always be pregnant to produce milk)

    • awesome,,me too,,,,i don,t understand why its so hard to figure out,,meat and meat products clog our artieries and cause heart disease,,,vegetables and plants, do not,,and how can we justify all this cruelty,,,,milking cows,,chickens laying eggs,, i have seen the videos,,i am disgusted,so glad to be vegan,,,and saving animals,,,,,

  76. Jenica Xeno – Impressive and inspirational. Thank you.

    John J – typical and non-impressive. Cows got B12 from the soil that stuck to the grass they ate. They no longer eat grass. Next. Meat is old school. Pretty soon it will just be replaced with more economic models for the masses. Why? Because follow the new big money.

    It’s always the same…..vegans speaking for the whole and meat eaters speaking for their stomachs and ego. Vegans can hear meat eaters but meat eaters are incapable of hearing anything more holistic than “me”.

    • That is so not true. I have recently met a vegan lady of 20 years who has, with her knowledge, managed to (willingly) convert me to veganism. I was an avid primal eater before this, feeling great. I have now been vegan for 3 months (no, not long), but feel like utter crap. I tell my new friend how I am feeling. I can now feel aching joints, I have sore feet, I am in bed by 8 o clock because I am exhausted, my libido had vanished, amongst other things. She will not have it even though she is always ‘not well’, tired, headachy, has sinus issues, a husband (who is also vegan) with kidney stones, a tantrum throwing child (also vegan) who is always in fairy land. She does not ‘hear’ what I have to say about how I am now feeling. No, she doesn’t just think herself either, she is all for the animals. Now I am in a place of not knowing what to d. I can’t go back to eating meat because of what she has taught me and what I have seen and now know, but I can’t continue feeling like shit either. So me, as a meat eater, did ‘hear’ my non-meating friend and was easily converted to veganism, but her, on the other hand will not listen to why I think small amounts of organic, pasture raised meat may be good for human health.

      • Not true,

        I am vegan. I happily work 14 hr shifts. Sleep 6-8 hrs a day… I do not consume coffeine and plenty of juice and fruit every day! Been doing this for 5 years now without any problems.. In fact I feel happier AND healthier than my meat eating neighbors who are constantly going to doctors for check ups or gain and lose weight uncontrollably
        ..

  77. Thank you. Sound reasoning. The bible says nothing about it being better for people to be vegans. In a vision, God presented Peter with “All manner of four footed beasts of the earth(possibly cows), and wild beasts(possibly pigs) and creeping things and fouls of the air. This was MEAT.

    Peter was then told by The Lord to KILL and EAT these creatures, to which Peter responded, “Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common and unclean”. The response came, “What God hath cleansed, call not thou UNCLEAN.”

    Of course the vision was about Peter letting go of his prejudice toward the gentiles, but there is also a scripture that says ”

    But the word of God states plainly in ITimothy4:1-5

    Verse 1/ “Now the spirit speaketh expressly, that in latter times, some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

    Verse 2/ “speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

    Verse 3/ “forbidding to marry, to abstain from meats, which GOD HATH CREATED TO BE RECEIVED with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

    Verse 4/ “For every creature of God is GOOD, and NOTHING TO BE REFUSED, if it be received with thanksgiving.

    Verse 5/ “For it(Meat) is SANCTIFIED by the word of God and prayer.”

    There you have it in a nutshell. God DOES NOT call for Christians to be vegans. This scripture plainly states that Christian vegans have been bewitched by seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. Veganism is not of God by any means.

    • “How long will the land mourn, and the grass of every field wither? For the wickedness of those who live in it the animals and the birds are swept away, and because people said, ‘He is blind to our ways.’” —Jeremiah 12:4

      “The righteous know the needs of their animals, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.” —
      Proverbs 12:10

      Daniel 1:11-16
      Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over him: “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their meat and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.

      “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.” —Matthew 5:7

    • “How long will the land mourn, and the grass of every field wither? For the wickedness of those who live in it the animals and the birds are swept away, and because people said, ‘He is blind to our ways.’” —Jeremiah 12:4

      Scholars looked at the etymology of the word “meat” used in biblical times and concluded that it just meant “food”. Likewise, “fish” may have meant “fishweed” (seaweed).

      What I learned from “Vegucated” (please watch it) is that God may have allowed humans to eat animals after the “Fall”. This lines up with an archaelogical theory that says we may have started eating animals only after a major catastrophe (like a flood). It’s time that we return to a more natural way and stop eating animals now that there is no desperate need to eat them.

      And even if God said humans could eat animals (out of dire need), the intention was likely to only take the ones who were near death:

      “Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it.”
      Genesis 9:3-4 (NIV)

      Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving feasts – all orgies of death:

      Isaiah 1:11-16
      “The multitude of your sacrifices– what are they to me?” says the LORD. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations– I cannot bear your evil assemblies. Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood; wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong!”

      “The righteous know the needs of their animals, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.” —
      Proverbs 12:10

      Daniel 1:11-16
      Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over him: “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their meat and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.

      Isaiah 65:25
      “The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither hunt nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the LORD.

      “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.” —Matthew 5:7

      P.S. I don’t believe in the bible. I believe it was a book written by ordinary misogynistic homophobic men in an effort to control others. Quite successful too. It’s something people use because they have lost the ability to think for themselves and to know in their own hearts what is right. I just wanted to illustrate that bible quotes can be cherry-picked and used for any argument.

      • well,,thank you,,that was great,,,i copied some of it,,,i too,don,t believe in god,but like you said,,these passages can be used and viewed for both sides,,oh,,i am vegan,,,,and would never eat meat again,

        • You do not have to eat animal products if you do not wish to but you have to remember that you are missing some important nutrients and get them from somewhere. The facts that we know right now is that no past culture was vegan and just being vegetarian is not indicative of how healthful you are eating.
          What is indicative of a healthy vegetarian diet is having daily calories over 85% of whole plant-based foods, less than 10% animal products and some healthy fats like nuts, seeds and avocado with additional supplements for the important nutrients like B12, zinc and iodine, if you do not consume much salt or seaweed.

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

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

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

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

      • Don’t bother….the lack of B12 is preventing the vegans from comprehending the content of this good article. It’s a shame really!