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Why You Should Think Twice about Removing Animal Products from Your Diet

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Reviewed by Christina Graham, MSN, APRN, AGPCNP-BC

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. #nutrientdensefoods #paleocure.

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. Low B12 is correlated with low holotranscobalamin II, while homocysteine and methylmalonic acid are usually increased 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) Researchers have identified purple laver nori (seaweed) as a plant source of bioavailable B12; however, it could contain high levels of cadmium and arsenic. (7, 8, 9, 10) More studies are needed, but there is a potentially serious problem with relying on purple laver nori for adequate B12.

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. (11, 12, 13)

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. (14) 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. (15, 16) 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. (17) 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. (18) Despite similar iron intakes, another study published this year showed vegans and female vegetarians having low ferritin levels. (19)

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. (20, 21)

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. (22) Thus, even when the diet meets or exceeds the RDA for zinc, deficiency may still occur. (23) One study suggested that vegetarians may require up to 50 percent more zinc than omnivores for this reason. (24) A meta-analysis of 34 studies found that both zinc intakes and serum zinc concentrations were lower in vegetarians than non-vegetarians. (25)

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: (26, 27)

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. (28)

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. (29)

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. (30, 31) 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. (32333435) 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. (36, 37, 38, 39)

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. (40, 41) 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. (42)

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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. (43) 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. (44) 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. (45) 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. (46)

Another study found that creatine supplementation in vegetarians improved memory, while having no effect on fluid intelligence or working memory in meat-eaters. (47) 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. (48, 49) 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. (50)

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. (51, 52) 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. (53) 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. (54) 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. (55)

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: (56)

  • 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. (5758, 59, 60)

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. (61, 62, 63, 64) Selenium has a role in immune function, supports thyroid hormone synthesis, and protects the thyroid from excess iodine damage. (65, 66) Selenium also helps prevent mercury toxicity. (67)

Selenium deficiency is also common in those with digestive health issues like Crohn’s disease or celiac disease. (6869) The best sources of selenium include:

  • Brazil nuts
  • Crimini mushrooms
  • Some sea foods
  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Lamb
  • Turkey
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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. (70)

In the Boston area, urinary iodine levels in vegans were barely half that of vegetarians, and vegans were at high risk of iodine deficiency. (71) Several studies of Scandinavian populations confirm that vegans finished last in iodine intake and/or urinary iodine levels. (72, 73, 74) 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. (75)

But even those following a Paleo template can be at risk for iodine deficiency if they are not regularly consuming seafood. (76) 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. (77)

Vegetarian and vegan diets for children carry significant risks of nutrient deficiencies that can have dire health consequences. (78, 79, 80)

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. (81) Devastating case studies have reported B12 deficiency in young vegan children that have led to neurological damage and developmental delays. (82, 83)

Low nutrient intake extends beyond vitamin B12. Other case studies have attributed hypothyroidism in young children to a maternal and/or childhood vegan diet. (84, 85) 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. (86) 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.

1,873 Comments

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  1. 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

  2. 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 totally hold my ground….half of what you said I said I didn’t WACKO ……the most wacko of the wackos!

            • 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

  3. 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!

      • I agree. ridiculous. Vegans are healthier and thats it. Only B12 must be takes and not always. Come on.

        • 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!

            • That’s good that you tried to go without meat for 8 weeks. but not feeling well has to do with how you were doing the diet.

              • 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. “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.

  11. *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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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?

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